Road to Sochi 2014: Pre-Season Olympic Predictions

The 2012/2013 season is officially over with the close of the World Team Trophy. When the new season starts in October, the world will be watching. And people might actually care about figure skating in anticipation for the Sochi Olympics. So judges, you might actually need to give Chan marks he deserves next season. In any case, I thought it would be fun to do a state of the union/pre-season predictions post and see how totally slippery the ice is and how my predictions will be.

So barring major injury or meltdown, I think the Olympic champions next year will be…

Men

patrick chan 2013 worlds

Patrick Chan may get unusually high marks but the unfortunate fact is that when he skates clean, he does deserve those high scores. Whether he makes you feel anything other than patriotism (if you’re Canadian) is another matter. With Javier still establishing himself, Yuzuru still struggling with his LP and with Daisuke struggling in general, there aren’t very many people who can come between Chan and the gold at Sochi right now. Chan’s GP scores will show whether the judges are bringing him back down to the ground during the Olympic season or if they’ll continue with Chanflation. We’ll be keeping an eye out for that.

Ladies

Carolina Yuna

A few factors come into play in this prediction. If Yuna Kim decides to actually participate this season (and I really think she should compete the entire season this time), her decisive victory at Worlds this year proves that she’s still easily a head above the pack. If Yuna doesn’t manage to skate two clean programs or if she doesn’t compete, Carolina Kostner seems to be next in line for the crown. Mao is not at her best these days and despite the JFSA’s insistence to put her above the rest, Akiko Suzuki has shown that she is capable of outskating Mao. Sadly, I’ll just have to cling onto the tiny impossible glimmer of hope that Akiko could win a medal of any colour. As for Mao, I’ve got a feeling she’ll have to feel the bitter bile of disappointment again.

Pairs

Volosozhar Trankov 2013

I think without a doubt, Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov will come out on top. They have the skills (although not necessarily the best choreography) and the right nationality. Mother Russia will get her pairs gold medal back. Or there will be blood.

Ice Dance

meryl davis charlie white 2013

Meryl Davis & Charlie White are still embroiled in a bitter rivalry with Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir, however this season, they’ve proven that they have the upper edge. While Tessa and Scott have been having issues with speed and power, Meryl and Charlie have soared ahead. Knowing Tessa and Scott, they will work hard in the off season to get back up to par and beat their rivals but for now, Davis & White are slightly ahead in the race for the gold in Sochi.

Who do you think will be the Olympic champions next year?

~The Rinkside Cafe

Patrick Chan and his arsenal…

John Kerr tweeted this video of Patrick Chan doing a 4T-3T-3Lp. If he can do that, a 3A and the rest of his program without imploding or falling is another question.

Enjoy!

~The Rinkside Cafe

Look-Alikes: Gabrielle Daleman

While watching the World Team Trophy, I noticed that Gabrielle Daleman reminded me a lot of Julie Powers from the Scott Pilgrim movie. After a little google work, it turns out that the actress who plays bitchy (and hilarious) Julie is named Aubrey Plaza. She also occasionally appears on collegehumor videos.

What do you think?

Gabrielle Daleman:

Gabrielle Daleman

Aubrey Plaza:

NBC and Universal's 2009 TCA Press Tour All-Star Party - Arrivals

And just because I’m a Scott Pilgrim fan (the comics are better though) and I love how the story is set in Toronto…

 

Enjoy~!

~The Rinkside Cafe

Picks from 2012/2013

At the end of last season, icenetwork released a series of picks and I decided to follow suit with a post. I like the format so much that I think I’ll repeat it again. So, without further ado, my picks for the 2012/2013 season.

Best program:

It’s a tie this year between Akiko Suzuki’s LP to “O” choreographed by Pasquerale Carmelengo and Kanako Murakami’s SP to “Prayer for Taylor” choreographed by Marina Zueva. Both of them were interesting and more than just the cookie-cutter Morozombie programs you see with the CoP system. I love the final step sequence in Akiko’s program and the unusual sequence of elements in Kanako’s SP.

 

Best Performance:

Yuzuru Hanyu at the NHK Trophy, skating his SP – honestly one of the most mesmerizing performances of the season. A great program and a great performer. I’m kind of sad that he’s not the record holder for the highest score for the SP but he’ll get that score again one day. He has the potential to do it.

 

Best Rivalry:

Just like last year, this one goes to: Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir vs. Meryl Davis & Charlie White

dance podium 13 worlds

This year, the odds were tipped towards Meryl & Charlie who have skated brilliantly throughout the season. There are a few crazy fans out there who will bash against either team but I love both teams and how they push each other to be the best. *This* is what a skating rivalry should be about. Or skating in general. This element to the rivalry really brings back memories of the epicness of Plushenko vs. Yagudin. I think the level of epicness in this rivalry is pretty similar to that of the two Russian men. The Yags/Plushy rivalry was slightly more entertaining since the two men actually hated each other and would say it out loud on camera. LOL.

Biggest Upset:

Denis Ten at Worlds, especially in the LP where he won that portion of the competition. I don’t think anyone thought he had it in him to beat a whole slew of people for the silver medal. I also think that in a lot of people’s hearts, Denis won the gold at Worlds this year.

 

Favourite Breakthrough Performance:

Zijun Li at Worlds and 4CC. This girl can’t seem to skate a clean short but she’s just a little jumping bean in the long program! I’m keeping an eye out for this girl and her freshfaced look next season and I hope to see her improve more and more.

 

Best Comeback Story:

Yuna Kim. Duh. It’s pretty epic how she comes back to Worlds without competing at any major international competition and wins calmly and effortlessly. I just wish her programs were a little more compelling.

 

Best Moment:

Akiko Suzuki at the World Team Trophy – I wish there was a clip for this but right before she skated, Team Japan chanted her name and you could just see a look of surprise and a sudden glow of confidence light up her face. It was so sweet. She went on to do this:

Girl, at 28,¬† you’re skating better than ever. She’s the female Plushenko – dauntless, awesome and timeless. Please keep skating.

 

Favourite Outfits:

I don’t care very much for their skating but I love the fun, quirky colours and patterns on Cathy & Chris Reed’s costume for their Beatles Medley FD. Super cute. Also, I feel as if someone needs to make a macro or meme using Chris’ face in this picture.

Chris Cathy Reed 2013 Worlds FD

This season has been quite eventful. What are your picks for the season? Post them in the comments below or send me a link to your list!

~The Rinkside Cafe

The Highlight of the World Team Trophy 2013: Day 1

So it was a funny situation yesterday. In the evening, I was working on something when suddenly, I just couldn’t concentrate. Something was off and whenever I tried to go back to my task, I just couldn’t do it. I looked at the time on the corner of my computer screen and saw the time. “Maybe it’s time I just call it a night,” I thought. But then I saw the date and thought, “Hey! The WTT starts tomorrow!” But then, I realized, it was already tomorrow in Japan! My figure skating senses were tingling and they did so just enough to catch the last half of the short dances! So, I pretty much watched the entire competition and a few things became clear.

Adelina Sotnikova 13 WTT SP

Adelina beckons you in… More

Predictions: 2013 World Team Trophy

2013 world team trophy

It’s time for the last event of the figure skating season – the World Team Trophy! Unfortunately, the roster seems a little watered down for a few teams but onwards with the predictions! Here is the roster in a nice table courtesy of wikipedia.

2013 WTT roster

Overall, the competition is a little watered down with the absence of the top ice-dance teams and a few of the top Japanese skaters. The roster for this event could be a lot more exciting and I’m actually surprised that Team China (and not Italy) is on this list.

Team Canada

Team Canada has a semi-decent roster. Some clear frontrunners within their respective disciplines here are Patrick Chan, Duhamel & Radford and Katelyn Osmond. In order for this to have a strong finish, Kevin Reynolds will have to pull out performances as seen in 4CC. Weaver & Poje should finish a respectable 4th just because of the intense competition of A-/B-list skaters here. Still, I’d love to see another performance of their revamped FD.

Team China

For once, Team China’s strength will not be in the pairs competition but in singles – namely Han Yan and Zijun Li. This is a good chance for these youngin’s to develop their presence at international competitions since there’s really no chance in hell this team is going to win. Or rank anything but last for that matter.

Team France

Other than the men and Pechalat & Bourzat, France’s roster is a little weak. Even weaker if Joubert manages to violate the zayak rule again. I may also cry if I have to watch Florent pause for the 10th time in his LP again.

Team Japan

Team Japan is at a bit of a disadvantage here with no pairs team – and the loss of Takahashi & Tran is quite a heavy one too. Since the Reeds are a weak ice dance team in general, Team Japan will have to win purely on the results of their single skaters. Mao seems to be guaranteed a victory here if she skates well but Akiko and Daisuke haven’t been as consistent as they should be lately and Mura’s a relatively new face to the elite senior ranks. Team’s Japan’s hold on gold is tenuous this year compared to last year’s. Let’s see what happens…

Team Russia

Other than the men, Team Russia has a pretty decent roster of competitors. I’ve got a good feeling that they’ll win both the dance and pairs event. If both young diva ladies can hold it together and produce good results, Team Russia might be able to pull off a win at this competition. For their sake, they’ll have to pray that the men can produce some half decent results as well.

Team USA

The U.S. has a decent roster – they could medal but this roster is throwing a lot of monkey wrenches and obstacles so prepare for really wrong predictions. Both ladies will probably do well enough and the men – well… let’s hope they’ll be consistent. Bates & Chock should have a top 3 finish here and if the rest of the team manages to perform as well as they have in the past, they can win the gold. Unfortunately, ice is slippery and you never know what will happen. One thing to look out for in this competition: after Gracie Gold’s decent result from Worlds, the USFSA might try to catapult her to the Olympic podium if she has what it takes to medal here. The U.S. has 3 spots for the ladies at the Olympics and we all know that the USFSA is obsessed with getting a new ladies champion considering their history. I’m not sure if Gold has what it takes *now* to get to the elite level that Yuna, Carolina and Mao are in but she’ll be an interesting contender to watch for the next season.

All in all, these will be difficult predictions just because each team is weak in certain areas and no team has a completely solid roster. Many of the results will fall on the shoulders of skaters who haven’t been consistent all season and it’s going to be hard to decide whether or not they’ll implode for the purpose of these predictions. So the lesson is… be prepared for predictions that can be very, very wrong.

Predictions

1. Team Russia
2. Team Canada
3. Team Japan
4. Team USA
5. Team France
6. Team China

Ok. Team Russia and Team France changed their ice dance roster which throws things off completely. Predictions re-do.

1. Team Canada

2. Team U.S.A
3. Team Japan
4. Team Russia
5. Team France
6. Team China

Look-Alikes: Ekaterina Riazanova

She may not have the same hair colour, but after watching her compete at Worlds, I had thought that Ekaterina Riazanova did have some sort of resemblance to Amanda Seyfried.

Ekaterina Riazanova

Ekaterina Riazanova

Amanda Seyfried

The Times BFI London Film Festival: Chloe - Press Conference

And just because I love Mean Girls…

Thoughts?

~The Rinkside Cafe