So, Skate Canada is over and the Cup of China is here! I didn’t notice until I really started writing these predictions but while Skate Canada had an impressive roster, CoC will prove to be an interesting competition because there’s either a promising up and coming competitor in each competition that can shakes things up a bit.
So the big question for the men’s competition is will Nobunari Oda give us a beginning of the season jumped-packed program and win gold or will his PCS keep him away from gold? Right now, the Japanese Federation has to begin their decision process on who to back in the World team: the perennial bridesmaid Nobunari Oda, who’s really not that expressive but can do all these gorgeous jumps OR up-and-coming Yuzuru Hanyu, who could very well be the next Daisuke – as well loved and as good of an artist. For now, I think that the JFSA might play it safe and bet on Oda but Oda tends to lose steam near the end of the season. As for Yuzuru, he’s just showing a lot of promise. Artur Gachinski and Jeremy Abbott may be able to shake things up but none of them have been consistent competitors in the last few years. Artur may be Mother Russia’s next hope for an Olympic men’s medal. He did have an impressive finish at the Japan Open but I’ve got a feeling that no one was really trying all that hard in that competition. That and I can’t quite see past the gawky teenager who could end up in a boy band targeted towards pre-teen girls if he decides to quit figure skating.
Gold: Nobunari Oda
Silver: Artur Gachinski
Bronze: Yuzuru Hanyu (prove me wrong, Yuzuru and get something better!)
This ladies competition also marks the senior debut of Adelina Sotnikova, Liza Tuktamysheva’s rival and the second Russian diva who can be a big hit in Sochi. Many prefer her style over Liza’s (though I feel that she doesn’t have Liza’s charisma) but that’s not the point at this competition. Unlike Liza, Adelina has tougher competition: namely veteran Carolina Kostner and the charming Kanako Murakami. However, if she can do what she did last year, she should be packing her programs with a lot of technical content. At this point I’m really not sure how this competition will come out at all.
Gold: Adelina Sotnikova
Silver: Carolina Kostner
Bronze: Kanako Murakami
Of all of these competitions, the only victory I can safely and confidently declare is the Zhangs’ in the pairs competition. They may not have won Skate America but they far outstrip their competition here. Sui and Han should find themselves with silver with hometown advantage and tons of technical content, though I don’t think they’ll gain that much polish with only a week after Skate Canada. Pity though, ’cause I really want to see these two polished up. The bronze will be a battle between Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov and Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch. Kavaguti and Smirnov are clearly being shunted away in the Russian pairs scene and at this point, I’m not even sure if they have enough firepower to beat the top Canadian team, even if M-T/M are a bit bland.
Gold: The Zhangs
Silver: Wenjing Sui & Cong Han
Bronze: Yuki Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov
The field is a little open in ice dance with the only big names being Maia and Alex Shibutani, who may win this competition after being perennially outshined by their training mates and Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Sloviev, Mother Russia’s current #1 dance team. Maia and Alex are a lot more entertaining to watch and are technically proficient (and B/S have bad taste in music and/or costumes) so I’ll put them in the top spot for these predictions. As for bronze, who knows who will win. Maybe the new team of Emily Samuelson and Todd Gilles. At the moment, I really don’t see any clear contenders for top spot.
Gold: Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani
Silver: Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Sloviev
Bronze: Um… Emily Samuelson & Todd Gilles?
So does anyone else have predictions? Predictions they’re actually confident will happen because I’m totally unsure of all of these predictions.
~The Rinkside Cafe