2011 Worlds Predictions: Ice Dance

I’ve decided to save my favourite discipline for last for my predictions post. So, off we go!

The podium for ice dance, like pairs seems to be set – the order on the other hand, not quite. For the ice dance podium, the expected medal winners are: Meryl Davis & Charlie White, Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir and Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat.

The battle for gold will be exciting as Meryl and Charlie battle their teammates and archrivals, Tessa and Scott. As much as I love Tessa and Scott with all my heart (they brought me back to figure skating in the first place), I will have to say that Meryl and Charlie have a definite advantage over the Olympic champions (even though they got a month extra to train because of the tsunami) just because Meryl and Charlie have been undefeated all season and they’ve had so much time to tweak their programs and get feedback from international judges. Not to mention that the Americans are injury-free. Whatever happens, I will be super excited to see the rest of Tessa and Scott’s FD. It’s a pity that they had to change the lift to reduce the torque on Tessa’s back though, it was a really pretty lift… In any case, both teams have to skate their best to get the gold, there is no room for mistake here. (*Sending psychic reminders to Tessa and Scott to get their twizzles right and hoping they receive this message*) If both teams skate their best, the results will depend on:

1. How much weight the Olympic champion title carries over into the next season.

2. How much politicking Skate Canada has done for Tessa and Scott. Because the USFSA doesn’t really give a shit about ice dance.

As for Nathalie and Fabian, it’s obvious that they’re the strongest European team and they’ve been doing well all season. Sadly, for these two Frenchmen, they’re kind of in a “Joannie Rochette” position – meaning that they’re not quite as good as the top competitors but they’re a head above the rest of the pack. Sadly though, I don’t see this team going too far as the Russians will probably take back the European crown in preparation for Sochi.

Speaking of Russians, keep an eye out for the two young Russian teams: Bobrova & Sloviev and Ilinykh & Katsalapov. With many of the top teams retiring, these youngins are moving up the ranks quickly. Although I expect a lower placement for I/K, I would not be surprised if last year’s junior world champions move up quickly – there’s been quite a lot of hype about them and they may be the Russian ice dance team to watch for Sochi.

As for other teams to look out for – the Shibutanis. Their Four Continents silver medal was undoubtedly unexpected because they beat out two senior teams (Crone & Poirier and Weaver & Poje) that have been in the senior circuit a lot longer than they have. The Shibutani siblings have such a beautiful and lyrical quality with them and their programs this year are a joy to watch. They need to work on their speed and polish but I expect that it’ll come with some time. They still have a long career ahead of them if they choose to continue with their skating.

Since I mentioned Crone & Poirier  above, I guess I’ll put in a word for them. C/P (and W/P) probably won’t occupy the lower spaces on the podium until Tessa and Scott retire but their placements this season suggest that Canada will get three spots next year at Worlds. Unless some freak accident happens, that is. I wouldn’t be surprised if the U.S.A. and Russia got 3 spots either, actually. We’ll just have to see. In any case, I don’t care very much for C/P, I much prefer Weaver and Poje’s style which is a lot more polished and fun to watch. Watching C/P reminds me of watching awkward gawky teenagers. Not fun. Let’s hope Weaver/Poje work on their speed, power and edges a lot more.

Podium predictions:

Gold: Meryl Davis & Charlie White
Silver: Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir (I’ll be cheering for them and hoping they’ll win gold though…)
Bronze: Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat

Opinions? Come share!

~The Rinkside Cafe

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