Skate America 2012: Predictions

THE GRAND PRIX SERIES HAS BEGUN! HURRAH!

Meryl and Charlie beckons you to read on…

Men

This is definitely going to be an interesting competition. I think if all goes well for him, Yuzuru Hanyu could be the frontrunner at Skate America. My doubts stem mostly from his skate at the Finlandia Trophy – he did a pretty decent SP but seeing his languorous step sequences followed by him flopping on the ice after the end of his LP was not reassuring. He managed to skate the program decently but he definitely needs to condition himself so his asthma isn’t affecting him as badly. Nonetheless, I think Yuzuru’s popularity (the most popular post on the Rinkside Cafe is, after all, about him), flair for performance and ability will give him the edge over his teammate, Takahiko Kozuka, who, despite being a great skater, had a rough season last year.

Other skaters to keep an eye out for: the ever spastic Jeremy Abbott. I’m not even sure what to expect of this guy any more. On one hand, he has these beautifully flowy programs that are intricate and enchanting to watch. On the other hand, you never know whether you’ll get a picture perfect performance or a total spazzcase of a skate. Surprise me, Jeremy. I’d prefer to be surprised pleasantly but I suppose I have no choice in the matter. If he does skate clean, the USFSA will get a chance to do some home cooking in the men’s competition. As for other skaters to look out for, I’d like to see how the Czechs will play out. Tomas Verner, I feel lacks the content needed to succeed in the new judging system despite his earlier successes. Verner to me is a bit more of a 6.0 era skater along with Brian Joubert. Though with his current consistency, I don’t think he’d succeed in the 6.0 era either. I really do adore Tomas’ personality but at the moment, he’s a bit of a dying star and I am sad. Michal Brezina has also had an up and down career. Whether he or Tomas is the bigger spaz has yet to be established. Either way, whoever has cleaner skates between the two will probably come out on top. Whether they medal actually has more to do with the other competitors than them in this case.

Predictions:

Gold: Yuzuru Hanyu
Silver: Jeremy Abbott
Bronze: Takahiko Kozuka

Ladies

The ladies roster is also a bit interesting in that there are no clear front runners. However, with her newfound consistency and home cooking, I wouldn’t be surprised if Ashley Wagner took the gold. The USFSA will be very, very happy though people are suspecting that they’re getting ready to put their money on Gracie Gold very soon. I wouldn’t be surprised since Wagner can come off as sort of sullen and snobby while Gracie Gold has that cutesy aura going on which sells well with the American public. Personalities aside, Gracie has the potential to be competitive internationally with her strong jump content.

In any case, Ashley will have to watch her back because one of the Russian baby divas is in the house. Namely, Adelina Sotnikova. Adelina starts out the season slow but her skills should be enough to keep the rest of the ladies field minus Ashley Wagner at bay. Now, if only she’d ditch her ugly costumes. I have no faith in Alena Leonova despite the fact that she is the World silver medalist (sigh) but compared to the rest of the roster for Skate America, she’s a head above most of them, which would probably allow her to medal barring major freaky incidents.

Predictions

Gold: Ashley Wagner
Silver: Adelina Sotnikova
Bronze: Alena Leonova

It’s a podium of A’s!

Pairs

I admit, I hate doing predictions for pairs because the field is pathetic and when the GP series comes along, the competition is so thin that you kind of want to cry when you have to decide whether no-name team #5 or 6 gets the bronze. Luckily, I’m spared from this here partly because of my suspicion that there will be some home cooking and the fact that we have two decent teams in this competition. Barring major disaster, the gold should go to Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov. Yes, I do realize that Qing Pang & Jian Tong are in the competition and they are Olympic silver medalists but the Chinese team has been losing their pizzaz and polish lately and Sochi 2014 is next season, meaning the Russians will want that gold medal in pairs back. V&T will probably be set up this season for the gold in Sochi so I would not be surprised if they do really well. The sad part is, they’ll do it with that terribly angsty LP of theirs.

The rest of the field is pretty weak so I’d say that the bronze should go to Caydee Denney & John Coughlin. They are capable of skating decent programs but like all American pairs teams right now, they lack consistency. Nonetheless, they are a head above the rest of the teams (except for the two mentioned above) and being American doesn’t hurt them in this competition.

Predictions:

Gold: Tatiana Volsozhar & Maxim Trankov
Silver: Qing Pang & Jian Tong
Bronze: Caydee Denney & John Coughlin

Ice Dance

Meryl Davis & Charlie White should win the gold. Unless they fall. About five times. No less than that. This is Meryl & Charlie’s competition to win. Losing is not an option. It may also be impossible at this point because Tessa & Scott aren’t in this competition. They should be followed by Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje which have been improving steadily to be Tessa & Scott’s successors once they retire. Seeing their progress at the Ondrej Nepela competition, I was very impressed with Kaitlyn & Andrew’s speed. They may need to work on the polka pattern a little bit more but they’ve grown leaps and bounds. That and they deserved the bronze medal at Worlds last year. They’re up there in the top. All they need to do is be patient for now. Hopefully they’ll get their turn after Sochi.

Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Sloviev should win the bronze despite Katia’s terrible posture and the awkwardness that emanates from these two. I’m not sure if I should be scared or excited for their FD because I’m pretty sure something batshit crazy will go down. Either choreography or costume-wise.

Predictions:

Gold: Meryl Davis & Charlie White
Silver: Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje
Bronze: Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Sloviev

What are your predictions for Skate America 2012?

~The Rinkside Cafe

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