So here is part II of my predictions for worlds that will happen in T minus 4 days. Hopefully I’ll be able to watch most of the event.
So the men. With Evan Lysacek, Evgeni Plushenko, Johnny Weir and Stephane Lambiel gone after the Olympics, the men’s field has thinned out a bit compared to last season when there were about 10 different guys who could’ve made it onto that Olympic podium.
The front runners, however, are definitely Daisuke Takahashi and Patrick Chan
Score. The gold will probably be a toss-up between the two (although Nobunari Oda may win the short program and then do an extra jump combination in his long that won’t count towards his score and then fall down the standings) and the winner will probably be determined by:
- Whether Chan lands his 3 quads and more importantly, his 2 triple axels. Daisuke may attempt his quad flip but he’s never landed it with one foot in competition.
- Whoever has more political (and emotional) backing: the Japanese Skating Federation and the sympathy for the Japanese people (not to mention the JSF is probably one of the richest federations and Japan one of the biggest markets for the sport) or Skate Canada and how they’re telling everyone that Chan’s wipeouts on 3As deserve a +3 GOE because he fell so prettily. The winner gets a higher PCS. We all know how Chan has been getting bullshit marks all season (*cough*Skate Canada and Canadian Nationals*cough*) but during the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami, ISU president
$peedyOttavio Cinquanta, seemed very eager to appease the JSF. So who knows what will happen!
- Whether training has been severely affected by the postponement of Worlds. Chan didn’t go to Four Continents probably because his coach did not want him to peak too early (just look at his 2007/8 results) but the tsunami seems to have thrown a monkey wrench into those plans. I wonder how the change in timing has affected Chan… Daisuke’s training wasn’t severely affected by the events in Japan (unlike the up and coming star, Yuzuru Hanyu) and he also skated at a fundraiser for tsunami victims rather recently. From the news clips, he looked pretty good. (On another note, I absolutely love, love, love Shizuka Arakawa’s dress. She looks wonderful in it.)
There may be a few people who have the potential to change things. One is perennial podium bridesmaid, Nobunari Oda. Nobu will need to skate clean and even though his programs aren’t as entertaining as his Charlie Chaplin LP from last year, he still has great jumping technique. (Those knees!) Also, if Nobu wants to win this, he may need to learn how to count his combos while doing a long program. Maybe he should take lessons from The Count from Sesame Street!
Ok, maybe not.
Another possible medalist is Takahiko Kozuka. He seems to be winding down after his win at Japanese Nationals but I’ve underestimated this guy too much this season to discount him from my predictions. He has the skating skills, he just needs to relate to the audience. One thing to note: Takahiko’s chances of medaling probably depend on how badly Daisuke, Chan and Nobu perform rather than on himself. The international judges have been sparing in his PCS and I think it’s about time this guy lives a little. Get your heart broken, do something crazy, go on a weird adventure, I don’t care – just bring out that angsty, passionate artiste from within because your skating skills are too good to go unnoticed at this point in your career!
On the European side, Brian Joubert, Tomas Verner and Florent Amodio seem to be the strongest contenders for a medal but I’m not sure how they’re going to beat the Japanese and Chan because they either have a) so-so skating skills b) shit and just weak choreography or c) a severe and chronic problem of being a headcase. I won’t be putting too much money on these three but maybe one of them will surprise us (in a good way) like Jeffrey Buttle did in 2008.
Oh yes, and the American men are F*&$%!. Most of them don’t really have experience in major international competitions and I don’t even remember the men’s podium at U.S. Nationals anymore. That’s how sad the men’s team for the U.S. is at the moment. I have no clue what the USFSA was thinking but Jeremy was trailing the bronze medalist by a little bit and I’m pretty sure that none of those guys can do what Jeremy did at Four Continents: beat at least one of the Japanese men. Say goodbye to a spot or two at Worlds next season…
Gold: Daisuke Takahashi (for the love of God and all that is holy!!!)
Silver: Patrick Chan
Bronze: Nobunari Oda (or Joubert, Kozuka… who knows? They’re all equally able to implode.)
This World championships will be exciting and maybe unpredictable because of its postponement and its effects on the skaters. I can’t wait!
~The Rinkside Cafe