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.
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.
Gold: Patrick Chan
Silver: Daisuke Takahashi
Bronze: Javier Fernandez
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.
Gold: Carolina Kostner
Silver: Mao Asada
Bronze: Akiko Suzuki
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…
Gold: Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy
Silver: Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov
Bronze: Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov
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.
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