Predictions: NHK Trophy 2016

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The exhaustion is real, people. I have spent the entire day talking about how tired I am and I will do so again if I don’t keel over and sleep. Keeping it real simple like I did with TEBĀ  – names on the podium. I’ll hopefully have time to spell out my thoughts a bit more before the GPF. The roster here is fairly strong and hopefully that’ll make the predictions a little more straightforward. Though you never know. Ice is slippery, after all. Now, predictions!

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Predictions: Cup of China 2016

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The Grand Prix series is already starting to wind towards the finals and I am super excited! I apologize for the short posts but time has been precious and I am doing my best to try and juggle my time between my different priorities. I will at some point sort through my Skate Canada pictures and post a few of the better shots. (My crappy camera is nothing compared to some of the equipment used to take close-ups of Yuzuru’s face. If you think I was joking about the fan closeups, think again.) Anyways, onwards with the predictions!

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Predictions: TEB 2016

Apologies for the late post. Like a good chunk of the world, I’m still reeling at what happened Tuesday. Although I’m north of the border, the global trend is truly alarming and I pray for the safety of many of my American friends. So readers, please hug a loved one today, and call someone that you haven’t talked to in a while and reconnect. More than ever, we need to stay decent to each other in times of great fear.

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Time is tight, as always and I’ll admit to writing this clandestinely at work so I can do nothing more than names on the podium. Let’s go.

Men

Gold: Javier Fernandez
Silver:
Nathan Chen
Bronze: Adam Rippon

Possible spoiler: Denis Ten if he gets it together.

Ladies

Gold: Evgenia Medvedeva
Silver:
Maria Sotskova
Bronze: Mao Asada

Pairs

Gold: Aliona Savchenko & Bruno Massot
Silver:
Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov
Bronze: Vanessa James & Morgan Cipres

Ice Dance

Gold: Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron
Silver:
Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier
Bronze: Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue

Let me know what your predictions are in the comments! Hugs!

~Rinkside Cafe

Predictions: Skate Canada International 2016

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Tessa & Scott from Skate Canada International 2009.

I am so unbelievably excited for this weekend. I hesitated for the longest time to buy tickets but when I saw that Yuzuru and Tessa & Scott were on the roster, I was sold. Unlike Skate America last week, the roster here seems to be more focused on creating a pretty decent field with a seeded event. (Though right now, I’m good with the U.S. winning all the medals. Seriously, darling southern neighbours, you guys are already great. K? Hugs.) Now, onwards to predictions!

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Predictions: Skate America 2016

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Yes, I know, competition has started. And I haven’t written about Worlds at all. At school, they never teach you that adulting is hard. So many demands for my time so I will keep this short. I should try to correct my rambling writing style anyways.

Men

  • Shoma Uno will be hungry to redeem himself at Worlds. He was crying at the kiss and cry (it was so heartbreaking). I think we all knew that he could’ve been the World bronze medalist.
  • Strange. I thought Boyang Jin was supposed to have gone to Frank Carroll for coaching but I don’t see that on his ISU bio. Wonder what happened. Either way, I hope he’s worked on his skating skills during the off season.
  • Dear Skating Gods – I’m not asking for much. I’ll take boring programs over the secondhand embarrassment I felt watching Maxim Kovtun’s programs from last year.
  • I also hope that Jorik Hendrickx doesn’t put the entire speaking track of a movie in his music this year. Actually, maybe for entertainment value, he should. I had a good laugh over it though my seat neighbours in Boston probably thought I was being creepy.
  • Home ice advantage should favour Jason Brown. Unless he bombs and Adam Rippon does well. Who knows, who needs skating skills and fully rotated jumps when home ice advantage can win you a silver medal? (I’ll admit that I’ve leveled that barb unfairly at the men – both Brown and Rippon have good skating skills.)

Gold: Shoma Uno
Silver:
Boyang Jin
Bronze:
Jason Brown

Ladies

  • I feel as if I will have to lower my expectations for Mao as she tries to find her step again, as Carolina did after two disastrous Olympic cycles. Ganbare, Mao-san!
  • You should probably be able to discern my feelings on Ashley Wagner’s World silver medal. Regardless of how I feel, the home ice advantage comment should apply here too.
  • Someone give Gracie Gold programs she actually likes. Firebird was frankly worse live and she looked miserable skating to it. The field is pretty thin here so I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried to give 2 medals to the American ladies here.
  • I admit I wached Mai Mihara’s SP for the competition. She lacks musicality, which is to be expected of someone so young but she skates with so much speed and she lands her jumps really smoothly. I’m impressed.

Gold: Ashley Wagner
Silver:
Mai Mihara
Bronze:
Gracie Gold

Pairs

  • Huh. I feel like I should just pick out 3 teams whose names seem familiar and make that my prediction. The field is really, really thin at Skate America this year.

Gold: Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov
Silver:
Julianne Seguin & Charlie Bilodeau
Bronze:
Vanessa James & Morgan Cipres

Ice Dance

  • The ice dance competition should look like USA vs. Russia with two sets of teams for each country.
  • The Shibutanis should be able to win this with the home ice advantage. I hope they continue in the same vein as last year – as in they have programs really suit them.
  • I would like to see what progress Hubbell & Donohue have made, though I feel as if I have a fondness for this team because of Marie-France Dubreuil & Patrice Lauzon (who I hope will be the new rulers of ice dance – I am ready for the end of the reign of Queen Marina).
  • I really hope that Ruslan Zhiganshin has really stepped up his game this season. It would be a pity for Elena Ilinykh’s talent to go to waste. She alone is better than Bobrova & Soloviev but unfortunately, ice dance doesn’t work that way.

Gold: Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani
Silver:
Elena Ilinykh & Ruslan Zhiganshin
Bronze:
Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue

What are your predictions for Skate America 2016? Let me know in the comments!

~The Rinkside Cafe

Worlds 2016 – A bit of Yuzuru fun

As an introvert, Worlds 2016 left me utterly drained of energy and exhausted but in the happiest way possible. It’s been hard to find time to post with life, friends, commitments and other projects so I apologize that my Worlds posts will be rather late.

In the meantime, enjoy these shots I got after the Men’s medal ceremony where Yuzuru was struggling a lot while holding flowers and the flag. When the press photos were done, he decided to put the flowers down and fold up the flag. It was kind of adorable. Enjoy!

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All done!

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Is it bad that I still want to pinch his cheeks?

Worlds 2016: General Thoughts

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The U.S. ladies drought is over!

I am currently still feeling the after-effects of an exhausting but wonderful weekend (crowds and excitement are super draining for an introvert) and a really delayed flight back home. Still, I thought I’d share some random musings about Worlds before I get into the posts on each specific competition.

  • The crowd and people were so lovely. At almost every event I attended, I managed to strike up a conversation with the people sitting beside me. It was so nice to be among fans.
  • My predictions are all over the place but for 3 out of 4 of the competitions, it seems that the podium is composed of 1 team/skater who clearly did better than the rest for gold, my personal favourite for silver and a complete surprise for bronze. The only exception is the ladies event, partly because almost everyone skated really well that evening and partly because Ashley isn’t a personal favourite but whatever.
  • The ladies long program was an evening of great skating. I feel so lucky to have been there.
  • Despite some of my favourites (sentimental and otherwise) being off the podium, I am anticipating some great Grand Prix rosters. I am seriously considering attending Skate Canada this fall.
  • Watching programs live gives you a very different sense of a skater’s ability both technically and as a performer. I have been to Skate Canada long ago but with higher stakes and a field of tough competitors throughout, you can really see some of the key differences in ability when you watch the events live.
  • The Kween and I occupied the same building at some point. Keep breathing…
  • I have a lot of cheesy music stuck in my head now. I’m pretty sure Celine Dion has been stuck in my head for the last 6 hours.
  • Yuzuru fans are really, really, really, really, really intense. Some of them were parked in front of the small medals podium right before pairs with small blankets as if they were on hanami (flower-viewing, usually associated with cherry blossoms – people reserve spots very much in advance by laying down a large blanket and the parks become super crowded). They got kicked out since the arena gets cleared for each new competition but when I left after the pairs LP, people were already lined up at the metal detectors waiting to get into the ladies competition, which was going to start in more than an hour. They were all Asians and likely fans of Yuzuru. I ended up squished against a pillar for the men’s LP small medals.
  • I still love Boston as much as I did when I visited 5 years ago. Great city.

I am about to fall asleep on my laptop so I will end here. How did you enjoy Worlds 2016? At home or live? Tell me in the comments section!

~The Rinkside Cafe

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