Skate Canada International 2012: Predictions

Ok. I totally should be doing something else right now but I suppose I do need to do these predictions before the competition starts tomorrow as well. I also have a few comments on Tessa and Scott’s Carmen FD but those will have to wait until the weekend.

Prediction time! A picture of Tessa and Scott in practice beckons you in…

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Beginning of the Season Predictions for Worlds 2013

I’m working on Skate America predictions, I swear but I figured it would be fun to make predictions for the World Champion at the beginning of the season and see how close or how far my predictions are many months down the road. I won’t make any silver or bronze predictions just because I’m so short on time (so many chores and other things to do!) and I need to write the Skate America predictions before the competition starts on Friday.

Let’s begin!

So just to remind you, Worlds will be in London, Ontario, Chanada Canada this year. The above picture is there for foreshadowing… More

Worlds 2012 – Chan gets booed and Romeo is bronze

After seeing such overwhelming interest in my The Future: Yuzuru Hanyu post, I figured I should get a move on for my post for the men’s competition at Worlds this year. So without further ado…


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Worlds Predictions – Nice 2012

When I saw all the tweets on “Nice 2012″ on my Twitter feed, I panicked, just a little bit. This must be the twenty millionth time I’ve apologized for not updating but my life has been crazy in unpleasant sort of ways. I was forced to move recently and previous to that, there were a lot of issues that I didn’t cause but had to deal with. I sincerely hope that I can say that things are calming down now but I have no clue what life will throw at me next. In any case, I promise to do my best to update. I have a few unfinished posts that I need to publish but since Worlds is looming so closely ahead, I figure I should get this out of the way first.

Prediction time. Breathe. Okay.

Men

I can think of who can win gold without much debate here. I’d be disappointed if Patrick Chan 1) didn’t fall several times 2) get crazy high scores and 3) get gold despite all of his mistakes. As I said in an earlier post, the REAL question is what Patrick Chan has to do in order to NOT win anything at this point. At least his Aranjuez LP is a lot more watchable than his PotO program. Sigh. Whatever. I want to say I can’t wait to see him retire but I’ve got a sinking feeling that we’re going to get Patrick Chan, Russian edition, in his place. Anyways, let’s not dwell too much on the unpleasantries.

Daisuke Takahashi should have the skills and the passion for silver, though I will unabashedly admit that I wish that he could be the champion at the end of the day. Unfortunately, I don’t think Skate Canada will allow it. Let’s just hope he skates his programs well because they’re absolutely wonderful. His SP especially so. If you want a REAL 10 in choreography and interpretation (not the PChiddy kind), look to Daisuke. He becomes the music.

I wish I could say that Yuzuru Hanyu would be the one in bronze position, he can probably only accomplish the great feat of being in the top 10, possibly top 5 men this year. More likely candidates for bronze are Javier Fernandez who has gotten decent choreography since switching coaches to Brian Orser. The Spaniard has enjoyed great success this season despite bombing the European Championships. None of his programs are especially inspiring and it’s clear that he runs out of gas in the second half of the program but with semi-consistent quads (a toe and I believe, a salchow as well), he’s not one to underestimate. That and I don’t think the ISU would allow a North American sweep of the men’s podium.

Other candidates: Artur Gachinski who won the bronze at Worlds last year and 1) did well at Euros this year and 2) is Russian and currently Mother Russia’s best shot for a medal on the men’s podium in Sochi, though I don’t think she’s putting any bets on this guy. Jeremy Abbott had a better season this year and can be contender at Worlds, though he tends to peak at Nationals and implode at the most important competition of the year. Oh Jeremy, so much talent, too many nerves. His programs this year are a bit too cluttered for my liking though it’s packed with points and super hard. The fight for bronze will certainly be interesting this year. Despite the almost certainty that he won’t get bronze, I’m cheering for Yuzuru.

Predictions:

Gold: Patrick Chan
Silver: Daisuke Takahashi
Bronze: Javier Fernandez

Ladies

I think this year might be Carolina Kostner‘s year to be World Champion. It’s a pity that she didn’t get the title when she was doing those giant 3F-3Ts at the beginning of her programs… in fact she’s really regressed in terms of jump content in the last 2 seasons but I suppose that we’ll have to chalk up her possible win to a weakened ladies’ field.

Mao Asada is slowing regaining her consistency though I’m not sure if she’s improving fast enough to ward of Kostner and the young Russian divas. The latter is a lesser threat to Mao in the long run since Carolina will be pretty old when Sochi rolls along but those Russian divas are only going to get better and more powerful politically as the clock ticks closer to 2014. As much as I would like Mao to win after all the hardships of last season and this season, I don’t think she has what it takes right now to beat the momentum that Carolina has built over the season. I just hope that this little Japanese fighter proves me wrong.

Bronze. Bronze. Bronze. Why is it that the bronze is always the hardest to predict? I seem to always get stumped when I have to decide who gets the bronze these days. Likely candidates: (a very deserving) Akiko Suzuki, who hasn’t skated 2 clean programs together this season but has vastly improved her performance level. I’ve never seen Akiko so radiant and confident and if she doesn’t win a medal in Nice, I think she should reuse her “Die Fledermaus” program. It shows off her cheeriness, confidence and love of skating very well. Ashley Wagner has been doing well this season and actually beat Mao at Four Continents this year, though in Nice, she won’t have home-ice advantage as she had then. With Wagner as a contender, I don’t think the USFSA will put any money on Alissa Czisny now. I know that Aunt Joyce sees something in Czisny but I fail to grasp at what it is. She has nice flow, line and spirals – qualities I adore in female skaters but she is unfortunately forgettable and lacks star quality. Then again, I don’t think that Wagner has any more of that “it” quality than Alissa does. In the case of Wagner… well… at least Czisny doesn’t have a poor attitude as I’ve gleamed from her tweets. But enough about that.

Predictions:

Gold: Carolina Kostner
Silver: Mao Asada
Bronze: Akiko Suzuki

Pairs

Confession: I hate writing pairs predictions. I also have very little interest in watching pairs for the past few seasons because other than the top 3 teams (which I sometimes force myself to watch) and the 2 itsy bitsy teams (Sui & Han and Takahashi & Tran), I find the entire discipline rather painful most of the time. The pairs field right now is… well, pretty darn lame right now. Actually, in recent times, it’s been pretty lame since Shen & Zhao went back into retirement. Ugh. Ok. Let’s make this quick.

Gold – as always, a toss off between Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy and Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov. Aliona was injured at Euros and I wouldn’t put it past the Russians to take this opportunity and run away with it. Still, it’s been a while since Euros and S&S’ Pina LP is unique and wonderful.

Bronze – another toss-off. This time between the Zhangs and Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov. K&S have been performing really well all year and their “Clair de Lune” LP is actually watchable this season due to improvement on Yuko’s part for not looking like a creepy voodoo ragdoll. As for the Zhangs… they’ve been really forgettable this year. I can’t even remember their programs right now. >_< I’ve got a feeling they’ve been inconsistent in their LP…

Predictions

Gold: Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy
Silver: Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov
Bronze: Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov

Ice Dance

It’s another toss-off as Tessa & Scott and Meryl & Charlie face off again! At this point, the team that skates with no mistakes (or in other words, better), wins! It’s just as skating should be. I have no clue which one of them will win at this point so I’ll just toss a coin to decide who will get gold in my predictions. In terms of choreography, the judges have determined that the programs are pretty much evenly matched though Meryl and Charlie’s SD has been beating Tessa and Scott’s throughout the season. Knowing Tessa and Scott, they’re probably going to make more changes to those programs and I’m looking forward to it. I’m also looking forward to new programs from both teams because frankly, both teams can do better. (And the Shibutanis might be a better match for that “Die Fledermaus” FD.)

As for bronze, Nathalie Pechalat has decided to postpone her nasal surgery so she can compete more effectively at Worlds. I’m not sure if this will affect them but I’m sort of hoping it would so that Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje can snatch the bronze with their wonderful “Je Suis Malade” program. This is what Anna Trebunskaya (who was Evan Lysacek’s partner in Dancing with the Stars) said about them after watching their FD in this article: “The chemistry are able to portray on the ice together, wow,” she said. “Some of the couples who are older, more mature and more experienced cannot showcase that much chemistry. I was very, very impressed with them,”  and “To me, they’re like the leading man and leading lady,” she said. “They have all the right ingredients; charisma, chemistry and great dynamics in their own bodies. They should do what they do and get better in all the technical elements. Everything else, they have.” Alas, I doubt the ISU would allow for 3 North American ice dance teams on the podium again so I think P&B will get their medal this year. Though they should really stop having delusions of gold, even if they are on home ice. Queen Marina and King Igor’s prize pupils are at the moment untouchable.

Predictions:

Gold: Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir (prove to me that the coin was right!)
Silver: Meryl Davis & Charlie White
Bronze: Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat (though Kaitlyn and Andrew are free to prove me wrong and take their place)

What are your predictions for Worlds?

~The Rinkside Cafe

Predictions: Four Continents 2012

Wahhhhhhh!!! It’s that time of year again! Euros has just passed and the rest of the figure skating world is testing the waters before the World Championships later on this season. Four Continents is here! It’s time for PChiddy to win another medal! Onwards to predictions!

Men

By now, I’m just expecting Patrick Chan to get ludicrous scores for everything he does. His recent 300+ score at Canadian Nationals indicates that Skate Canada is behind him full force. I have yet to watch those performances in fear of projectile vomiting onto my lovely laptop. Then again, I might be just a tad disappointed if Chan doesn’t get a crazy score just because the spectacle is somewhat amusing. There’s always a sense of excitement when you wonder many points can the judges award to a program that Chan bombed whether or not he’ll be in 1st place.

Daisuke Takahashi will probably take silver even if he skated two perfect mesmerizing programs. At this point, I’ll look at the positive and just hope that Daisuke will skate his best because those programs deserve perfection and I know he can achieve it. So in short, screw Chan and just skate your heart out, Daisuke.

Bronze, however, presents a bit of a conundrum for me in terms of predictions. There’s no clear cut competitor who’s evidently ahead of the rest but behind Chan and Daisuke. It seems that a lot of the major figure skating unions are opting to put some fresh faces out there to give the youngin’s a bit of experience in a competition that doesn’t have as many high stakes. Most the competitors are pretty much in the C/D/F-lists anyways. It’s a pity that Jeremy Abbott withdrew from injury but I guess my best guess for bronze would either be Adam Rippon, the young talent that the USFSA has been promoting for the last few years and Nan Song, a surprising young skater from China and first alternate at this year’s GPF. Adam has been known to be inconsistent but he also has the USFSA behind him. At the moment, it’s a bit of a tossup.

Predictions:

Gold: Patrick Chan (Prove me wrong, Daisuke. Or at least try to.)
Silver: Daisuke Takahashi
Bronze: Nan Song

Ladies

I expect some favouritism to be shown for Ashley Wagner as she will have some home ice advantage at Colorado Springs but in the end, I don’t think she can trump the survivor and legend that is Mao Asada. Mao has shown herself to be the most resilient and courageous of competitors. She doesn’t have the “instant win” fairytale story that Yuna Kim had but in that sense, I think I find her more endearing that way. Life will always be full of ups and downs and sometimes you don’t win but Mao shows us that with hard work, courage and the determination to never give up, you can achieve great things. Hopefully, her newfound consistency will be present at 4CC and I can’t wait for another dazzling performance of her Liebestraume LP.

As for the bronze, Cynthia Phaneuf could surprise us (or perhaps not bore us) with some consistency now that she’s being coached by Brian Orser. To tell you the truth though, I don’t know think even Brian Orser can give people ***STAR POWER*** I mean, he couldn’t do that with Christina Gao and that girl had potential. Phaneuf on the other hand… let’s just say that the Olympics aren’t in Vancouver anymore and she has a snowball’s chance in hell to win a medal at Worlds. She might be able to pull through with a medal here but I sincerely hope that Kanako Murakami has practiced the shit out of her LP so she can snatch the bronze.

Predictions

Gold: Mao Asada
Silver: Ashley Wagner
Bronze: Kanako Murakami (please, please, please Kana-chan, don’t let me down)

Pairs

Gosh, this pairs competition is going to be lame. The itty bitty Chinese pair (Wenjing Sui & Cong Han) are going to be there as will Narumi Takahashi & Mervin Tran. The latter and Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford are the only teams to have made it to the GPF. There’s also the possibility that the crowd will favour Caydee Denney & John Coughlin.

I have no clue how this competition is going to turn out (and this doesn’t even make the competition that exciting which shows how lame this competition is) so I’m just going to make a wild guess.

Predictions

Gold: Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford
Silver: Narumi Takahashi & Mervin Tran
Bronze: Caydee Denney & John Coughlin (prove me wrong, itty bitty Chinese pair!)

Ice Dance

Oh my… a rematch between Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir and Meryl Davis & Charlie White. I think the big question on everyone’s minds is – if Scott didn’t fall in the SD, would they have won the GPF? The fall gave them a 1 point deduction but it definitely affected the presentation of the program, the score on skating skills, choreography, etc, which would account for the huge margin of win. I’ve got a feeling that they might let Tessa and Scott win 4CC to save some of their dignity but ultimately give the World medal to Meryl and Charlie. Who knows, Tessa and Scott are always free to prove me wrong and I hope they do so. In any case, the highlight for me would definitely be Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje’s “Je Suis Malade” FD, though this team will have to give it their all if they want to beat the Shibutanis who are definitely being bogged down by this year’s sexy SD but bolstered by home ice advantage. This will be one tough call, I must say…

Predictions:

Gold: Meryl Davis & Charlie White (taking home ice advantage and the fact that the Americans probably won’t win a gold in any other discipline)
Silver: Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir
Bronze: Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje

These were difficult predictions to make. What are you predictions?

~The Rinkside Cafe

Grand Prix Final 2011: Predictions (Men and Ladies)

So I decided to take a look at the ISU website, thinking that the GPF was a week or two away. Nope it’s in the upcoming week. aoifjisjfsdljflkajdla. Time to take a break from the stresses of life and make predictions. Woot!

Men

The roster (in no particular order):

Daisuke Takahashi
Patrick Chan
Yuzuru Hanyu
Jeremy Abbott
Javier Fernandez
Michal Brezina

Substitutes:

Nan Song
Takahiko Kozuka
Adam Rippon

The men’s field this year is super exciting. Half the field here (Jeremy Abbott, Yuzuru Hanyu and Michal Brezina) are less likely to get on the podium but any mistake from the other three (Patrick Chan, Daisuke Takahashi and Javier Fernandez) and they will be sure to give them a good run for their money and perhaps even snatch a medal from under their noses. I have no doubt that Patrick Chan will fall and then be rewarded with insane scores and probably win gold. However, Daisuke’s been having a good season so far and I’m looking forward to seeing his SP again. He may give Chan a run for his money in the SP if Chan falls. Daisuke doesn’t have a quad, but his performances surely cannot be inferior to Chan’s, though that’s not up to me. It’s a pity that Takahiko Kozuka’s not here though there’s very little chance of a Japanese men’s podium sweep.

It’s also a pity that there only a slim chance that Yuzuru will medal but having two solid skates at the GPF will definitely bolster his chances at shoving Oda off the Japanese National podium this year. Unlike what Kanako Murakami did to Akiko Suzuki last year, Yuzuru would be shoving off a skater who may not have much to offer any more. Especially since Oda continually fails his “Counting 101″ class. Also, compared to Kanako, Yuzuru has the polish, flow, performance and skating skills to make a decent splash in the senior scene. We’ll just have to see how the rest of the season goes. If Yuzuru is promising, the Japanese Federation may want to position him to take the reins of Japanese men’s figure skating should anything happen to Daisuke on the road to Sochi.

In other news, Javier Fernandez should medal here. He’s been skating solidly though he does have some stamina issues. Leaving Morozov was a good move and if he wins a medal at the GPF, it’s likely that we’ll see him at the top of the men’s podium at Euros. Then again, even if Michal betters Javier here, there’s still a good chance that Javier will be European Champion with Brian Orser (and great skates) behind him.

Jeremy Abbott, as always, will be a wildcard. I don’t know if he can garner the PCS when he’s up against Chan and Daisuke but Jeremy’s just as talented as the aforementioned men and his programs are like fascinating art pieces with the most intricate details. The only thing preventing Jeremy from being the best is Jeremy. You never know when he’ll implode and because he does, you never see his full potential and as a result, you never really know how he stacks up to the top players. Come on, Jeremy, I want to see you push through and skate well.

In any case, here are my predictions for the men’s competition:

Gold: Patrick Chan
Silver: Daisuke Takahashi (Please prove me wrong and skate fabulously, Daisuke!!!)
Bronze: Javier Fernandez

Ladies

The roster (in no particular order):

Mao Asada
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva
Alissa Czisny
Carolina Kostner
Alena Leonova
Akiko Suzuki

Substitutes:

Adelina Sotnikova
Mirai Nagasu
Ashley Wagner

The ladies competition doesn’t have the most exciting roster. (Then again, there isn’t much of a way to make it any better because of the current ladies field.) It’ll be hard to make a prediction, though, especially for the bronze medal.

Mao Asada wasn’t the best at the Cup of Russia but this season has proven that more than anything, she’s a trooper that won’t give up. Good for you, Mao. She’ll probably work her non-existent ass off for the GPF and hopefully she’ll be in top form. Her Liebestraume program is just lovely. If she skates clean, no one can touch her. Ganbare, Mao-chan!

Other than Mao, the other one to watch at this competition is Elizaveta Tuktamysheva. She’s bested her arch-rival, Adelina Sotnikova, with her GPF results and if she medals at the GPF, we may be looking at the new Russian National Champion this year. Liza’s been solid all season and her star quality is something you cannot deny. I don’t care if PJ Kwong calls her old fashioned, I’ll take her over boring Cynthia Phaneuf any day. (I remember 2009 Skate Canada when I was *literally* yawning throughout Phaneuf’s LP because I was so bored. It wasn’t even exciting to watch her fall because you knew that it would happen.) I didn’t think that Liza could beat Alissa Czisny or Carolina Kostner but she proved me wrong and I’m happy she did. The question at this point is, can she beat Mao? At the moment, I think the answer is no, especially with the PCS the judges have been giving her. The choreography for her LP is terrible but at least she makes it work.
As for the rest… Let’s see… Let me write off Alena Leonova now to not waste any time because she’s never going to win anything against this field. Akiko Suzuki has been making mistakes throughout both her programs and unfortunately, she probably won’t be rewarded with decent PCS because she will probably be the #2 Japanese lady at Nationals this year. It’s sad because this girl is skating with a wonderful confidence this season. Carolina Kostner has also been skating pretty well this season and has bested Alissa Czisny at TEB (and in my opinion, at Skate America as well). I think I’ll peg Caro for bronze, though any mistake from her and Alissa or Akiko will be there to snatch it away from her. (I would also love it if Akiko proved me wrong…)
Predictions:
Gold: Mao Asada
Silver: Elizaveta Tuktamysheva
Bronze: Akiko Suzuki

Trophee Eric Bompard 2011: Predictions

My life is still filled with forms to fill out and stuff to write and a;iehf;adkfsakdfja;sdkfasdjkfla. Again, I can’t promise posts on all the competitions but I’ll do my best and I’ll make sure to do a predictions post every week. Normally, I would do predictions on who would make it into the final but with this 3 competition rule, everything gets thrown out of whack because I have no clue who’s in 3 competitions and I don’t have the time to check. I might just do the list blind and come up with a list of 6 skaters/teams for each discipline.  For now, here are my predictions for TEB 2011.

Men

Patrick Chan will undoubted win this competition, even if he does fall on his ass a few times. As much as I love figure skating, I don’t know if I can watch this discipline and have faith in the new judging system. As for silver, Nobunari Oda can very well take it… if he’s finally learned all the lessons from counting 101 that is. If not, then Michal Brezina seems to be on the rise and he could snatch silver from under his nose. If Oda can count, then I think he has the ability to steal bronze from heavyhitters like former European and World champion, Brian Joubert and current European champion, Florent Amodio. Brian Joubert has been a bit washed out in the past two seasons while Florent’s new LP is just WTF. The kid needs to leave Morozov, the Russian Gino is not doing him any favours.

Edit: Joubert has pulled out of TEB. (Source) That won’t affect my predictions though.

Predictions:

Gold: Patrick Chan
Silver: Nobunari Oda
Bronze: Michal Brezina

Ladies

TEB is going to interesting here. We’re going to have a rematch of Carolina Kostner vs. Alissa Czisny and then we’re going to throw Skate Canada winner, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva into the mix. Her arch-rival, Adelina Sotnikova couldn’t win against the likes of Carolina and headcase, Mirai Nagasu and I’ve got a feeling that with tougher competition, Liza will not be able to so easily clinch the gold. As much as I admire Czisny’s elegance, I find her performances and personality very forgettable. Czisny’s programs have better choreography but it’s just more exciting to watch Carolina. Both ladies have gained a great amount of consistency so this will be another tough call. Czisny won last time but can Carolina beat her this time?

Predictions:

Gold: Carolina Kostner
Silver: Alissa Czisny
Bronze: Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (though I’d love it if she beat Czisny)

Pairs

Barring major disaster – actually – even if they fell a couple of times, Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov should have this competition in the bag. There are no real threats for gold other than them even though their SP this yes is just not pretty. Really, Tanya and Max, we’re no longer wannabe emo teens. Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov may have enough to muster silver while bronze is a bit of a toss of between two headcase North American teams: Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford and Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig. I’ll just go flip a coin and decide who to put in that 3rd position.

Predictions:

Gold: Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov
Silver: Vera Bazarova & Yuri Larionov
Bronze: Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford

Ice Dance

The ice dance lineup isn’t that bad, there are quite a few interesting competitors. The gold should easily go to Olympic Champions, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. I really hope they’ve improved since Skate Canada (I’m sure they have) and more importantly, I hope they’ve made some changes to their programs. They’re really going to have to step it up if they want to be competitive with Meryl and Charlie. Davis and White’s FD this year showcases their athleticism and if Tessa and Scott don’t change their pause-ful Funny Face FD, they might find themselves in 2nd place this year. Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat should have the support of the home crowd and possibly the silver medal but bronze will be an interesting matchup with the emerging young Italians – Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte and the rising young Russians – Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov. We may see how much Mother Russia is actually pushing for these two…

Predictions:

Gold: Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir
Silver: Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat
Bronze: Elena Ilinykh & Nikita Katsalapov

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