Roster for the GPF 2012

Men

Wow, Team Japan is going in strong here.

Yuzuru Hanyu
Daisuke Takahashi
Takahiko Kozuka
Tatsuki Machida

And the non-Japanese…

Patrick Chan
Javier Fernandez

Alternates: Jeremy Abbott, Florent Amodio, Takahito Mura

Ladies

Akiko Suzuki
Mao Asada
Julia Lipnitskaia (out due to injury)
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva
Ashley Wagner
Kiira Korpi

*Christina Gao (taking Lipnitskaia’s place)

Alternates: Mirai Nagasu, Kanako Murakami

Pairs

*sob* No Aliona & Robin

And note that Mother Russia wants her gold back in pairs.

Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov
Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov
Vera Bazarova & Yuri Larionov

The only somewhat plausible threat to a Russian sweep of the medals?

Qing Pang & Jian Tong

Though I’m sure PJ Kwong will have to talk about how fabulous these guys will be and how they could be a threat for silver or bronze:

Meaghan Duhamel & Eric Radford
Kirsten Moore-Towers & Dylan Moscovitch

Alternates: Caydee Denney & John Coughlin, Stefania Berton & Ondrej Hotarek, Ksenia Stolbova & Fedor Klimov

Ice Dance

The epic battle continues between

Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir
Meryl Davis & Charlie White

Mother Russia will make an attack for the bronze with

Elena Ilinykh & Nikita Katsalapov (and their craptastic Ghost program)
Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Sloviev

Though the rest of Europe will try to take bronze from the Russians through

Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat
Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte

Alternates: Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje, Ekaterina Riazanova & Ilia Tkachenko, Maia & Alex Shibutani

Not too bad a roster for the GPF this year. What do you think?

~The Rinkside Cafe

Highlights and a few comments on the NHK Trophy 2012

Highlight: Yuzuru Hanyu beating his own world record in the short program. At the tender age of 17. Wow.

I adore this program. My favourite part? The footwork into the 3A. So difficult but he makes it look smooth as butter.

I think his gold here at NHK has set him up quite well for Sochi. He’s proven that he’s a tough competitor who can beat Daisuke and be the #1 Japanese man. Aka the one the JFSA will politick for next year. He just needs to keep up his consistency and work on his long program but this kid is on the right track to a bright future. If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ll notice that he’s the only skater I’ve pegged so far as the future of figure skating. I’ve been reluctant to do the same for some other bright talents (ie. the baby Russian divas, Adelina Sotnikova and Elizaveta Tuktamysheva) because none of them have talent that stood out like Yuzuru’s. I’m so excited for this young man’s future.

Highlight: Despite the change in coaches, Yuzuru still has his Winnie the Pooh tissue box. And Brian Orser carries it around. (This picture was from the Finlandia Trophy but Orser did carry Pooh bear around at the NHK Trophy.)

Also, anyone else noticed that Brian was more chummy with Yuzuru than Javier? Poor Javi, such talent but he has no powerful figure skating union to back him up.

Highlight: Akiko Suzuki skating a fabulous long program. So focused, so lovely. She gets better with age.

However, despite winning the long program, she totally got tanked by her PCS which made her lose the gold. I’m sorry, Mao, but I don’t think popping or doubling jumps and shaky landings constitute as good skating skills. Or at least skating skills rated as 8/10. That abnormally high bit of PCS on Mao’s score in the LP was what gave her the gold medal. Frankly, I’m very disappointed in you, judges. And the JFSA.

Highlight: Richard Dornbush. I’ve been told about this youngin’ though I haven’t had much time to follow up and watch his skating. But now that I have, I admit, despite the mistakes, he has great potential. I love the lines he makes with his arms and the smoothness in his skating. I hope this guy improves.

Highlight: Zijun Li has utterly boring programs and her PCS are a bit high seeing that she skates like a junior but this girl was refreshing to watch. She’s a natural jumping bean! She reminds me of a young Mao, though her aura is definitely a lot different. I’d love to see her with a different choreographer. She wasn’t that far behind Mirai Nagasu for bronze so I’d say that she has a little time to show everyone what’s she’s got and I’m excited.

What were your favourite moments of the NHK Trophy?

~The Rinkside Cafe

NHK Trophy 2012: Predictions

The GP series is coming to a close and the NHK Trophy is here, and it will be the last competition before the final. The roster for this competition is looking really good (or at least better than TEB) and I’m super excited.

Akiko Suzuki beckons you in with her lovely costume…. More

Trophee Eric Bompard 2012: Predictions

So today, I came across the concept of a regression analysis, which is super interesting because it is essentially what Nate Silver did on fivethirtyeight to correctly predict the electoral college outcomes for 50 out of 50 states and the District of Columbia in the most recent U.S. presidential election. My curiosity has led me to ponder whether I should somehow try to create a regression model to predict figure skating results though I’ll definitely need a lot of guidance and help and maybe more information on it in general. Personally, it might be less biased and a lot easier on me if a mathstatsmagician wizard like Nate Silver could come along and create a model because I hold firm on the adage that ice is slippery and that a regression model would probably fail to capture the insane world of figure skating where the location, the proximity of the Olympics, whether or not you’re sleeping with Nikolai Morozov, all sorts of ridiculous things come into play.

In any case, I’ll do my predictions the same old way as I did before but I may try to see if I can come up with a regression model if I manage to have any free time. For TEB, I would actually love to have statistics do all the work for me because the roster is not only kind of boring but the playing field is quite level, which means I’ll have to piddle around with a whole bunch of B-list skaters to figure out the lower rungs of the podium.

A fierce Liza beckons you in… More

And this, my friends, is what the future European Champions are skating to this season…

There’s a backlog of figure skating that I need to watch hence my lack of posts between competitions but I did want to keep an eye out for the Russians this season since Sochi 2014 is just around the corner and Elena Ilinykh has just raised the fortunes of her team by dating a certain Russian gino. Admittedly their FD from last year was completely unmemorable. I just remember bad music cuts and that’s pretty much it.

As for this year…

So they’re skating to the soundtrack of “Ghost.” I haven’t seen the film but after the dialogue in the program, I have a hard time taking it seriously.

“Hey you! Yeah, I’m talkin’ to you there, Sam??? (I have no clue what the heck those last two words were…)”

“Help him! Help me! He’s shot!” *insert dramatic 90s screaming woman voice here*

I’m looking at the film’s wikipedia entry and I have a hard time believing this is in any way a good film. I also can’t quite take this hot mess program very seriously either and have serious doubts that Nikolai Morozov choreographed this completely sober. It’s almost as if he’s seeing how batshit crazy his programs can go until the judges go, “Hey, Russian gino, you’re affiliated with Mother Russia and all but you need to lay off the vodka if you want your current girlfriend to medal.”

I’m not sure how strongly Mother Russia will be laying down the politicking but with the Elena-Morozov relationship and Sochi not too far up ahead, Nathalie and Fabian may need to step aside for these youngin’s… I just hope that the judges rein this in and doesn’t let I/K win important competitions or medals (aka the GPF, Euros and Worlds) with this… crazy piece of apeshit mess.

And for I/K fans, I’m really not trying to be mean to Elena and Nikita but you know they can do so much better than this.

What are your thoughts on the “Ghost” program?

~The Rinkside Cafe

P.S. To my darling friend and reader Ay-sa, we should somehow magically meet up despite our busy schedules and watch this movie. With a bottle of vodka and some cranberry juice. I don’t particularly want to watch this corny film but I long to hear your snarky comments.

Cup of Russia 2012: Predictions

This week will be busy again so I’m writing these predictions quickly.

Men

Even though Patrick Chan got defeated by Javier Fernandez at Skate Canada (shock!), I still think he has enough skating cred with the judges to muster a win here. Some interesting contenders for the rest of the podium would be the Japanese men, Nobunari Oda and Takahiko Kozuka. This competition could be really important for them since it could help the JFSA decide who the #3 Japanese man is. Oh yes, and Johnny Weir will be back and we get to see how he stacks up against some tough international competition here.

Predictions:

Gold: Patrick Chan
Silver: Takahiko Kozuka
Bronze: Nobunari Oda

Ladies

The ladies competition could potentially be the contest of the young’ins. Adelina Sotnikova will have home ice advantage. In Russia. A year before the Olympics. In Russia. Alena Leonova had a really bad showing at her last grand prix but who knows what will happen. In Russia. That aside, Kiira Korpi is the only lady with a mature grace and may be able to medal here though she will face competition from some young ladies such as Kanako Murakami, who gave notice to not completely discounted when she won the bronze at Skate Canada. Gracie Gold is also on the roster but after her performance at Skate America, I’m not sure what to make of her anymore.

Predictions:

Gold: Adelina Sotnikova
Silver: Kanako Murakami
Bronze: Kiira Korpi

Pairs

The two Russian teams have it to take the first two spots on the podium though the gold will undoubtedly go to Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov. If Vera Bazarova manages to get her tiny, tiny frame off the ice and land her jumps, she and Yuri Larionov can take the silver. If this is the case, the bronze should go to Caydee Denney & John Coughlin.

Predictions:

Gold: Tatiana Volsosozhar & Maxim Trankov
Silver: Vera Bazarova & Yuri Larionov
Bronze: Caydee Denney & John Coughlin

Ice Dance

Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir will be back with their sexy Carmen which should propel them into gold. What will be interesting to see is the margin between them and Elena Ilinykh & Nikita Katsalapov. Rumour has it that Elena’s with Morozov now and we all know what happens when a girl dates Morozov… The Shibutanis will probably fall victim to politicking on the eve of the Sochi Olympics but it’ll be fun to see their polka since I think their bright and happy feel/style should make for a good interpretation in the SD. Their “Memoirs of a Geisha” FD on the other hand, I’m not so thrilled.

Predictions

Gold: Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir
Silver: Elena Ilinykh & Nikita Katsalapov
Bronze: Maia & Alex Shibutani

What are your predictions for the Cup of Russia?

~The Rinkside Cafe

To my American readers: Please vote!

I’m going to take a little time out of my hectic schedule to send this message out to my American readers. Yes, I may not be able to vote and I’m sure most of my fellow Canadians probably don’t really care or know what’s going on but I have been following this election and I will say that I do care. No, I’m not going to make a case for a candidate and argue with you about my political views. I’m sure some of you who follow my Twitter will already know who I’m supporting despite my inability to vote but that isn’t the important thing.

The important thing is that this is your time to participate in a process where your voice counts. Sure, there are tons of problems with the electoral college and first past the post voting system but being aware of these problems and playing a role in the political life of your country is how you can provoke change. So, darling readers, I do hope that you have or will vote!

 

Team USA, can you lead the charge and be good role models for your fans?

~The Rinkside Cafe

P.S. If you’re an elections nerd like me and would like to explore the flaws of the first past the post and electoral college system, this guy on youtube explains everything really clearly in these fun videos!

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