I remember when Aunt Joyce announced that Worlds will be held in Mother Russia, he said something along the lines of, “Welcome to Moscow, get ready for some bullshit judging.” And if any discipline is going to be subjected to Russian bs judging, it’ll be pairs, which will be exciting to watch only because of the new Russian team that is making its first appearance at a major international competition.
Personally, I don’t think Russia needs bullshit judging in this discipline since there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that the pairs podium at Moscow will likely be composed of Savchenko & Szalkowy, Volosozhar & Trankov and Pang & Tong. Maybe in that order. S/S have been really strong all season and their programs are technically more difficult that the others. Admittedly, the pink panther costumes are a bit painful to the eyes but the judges aren’t the fashion police. The only question is whether S/S can perform the way they have been doing all season at Worlds despite the change in schedule. If they can, gold will be theirs handily. If they screw up horrendously, then Mother Russia can pull a win here.
V/T are a very new team but they skate a lot better than some teams that have been together for years and years. I have them placed in front of P/T because the Chinese pair have been consistently having problems all season and their wins are based on the simple fault that there just aren’t that many *great* pairs teams out there at the moment. The pairs competition seem to have stagnated after the change in the scoring system while innovations in ice dance has grown leaps and bounds. I’m not sure what’s going on with P/T this year but I don’t think they can defend their World title. Or even snatch the silver. Especially when the Russians have been looking really strong in their various practices and minor competitions AND they have home ice advantage. And when it’s the Russians that are involved, expect inflation of Skate Canada proportions.
It’s a pity that Sui & Han and Iliushchekina & Maisuradze aren’t skating at Worlds. It would be nice to see how they stack up in the pairs field on route to Sochi. Oh well. I hope the Chinese Communist Party is hard at work at faking more papers for Sui, who might *actually* be 12 or something of the like. I’m sure they can do it.
Anyways, in case you weren’t reading any of the above:
Gold: Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szalkowy
Silver: Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov
Bronze: Qing Pang & Jian Tong