Look-Alikes: Anna Pogorilaya

I was watching CBC’s coverage on the Cup of Russia and when they announced the entries for the ladies competition at the Grand Prix Final. When I saw a headshot of Anna Pogorilaya, I immediately thought, “OMG, it’s Regina George!” Or rather, I was referring to a character from Mean girls played by Rachel McAdams.

Anna Pogorilaya

anna pogorilaya 13

Rachel McAdams as Regina George

rachel mcadams

Is butter a carb?

And just because I’m such a fan of this movie…

“One time, she punched me in the face… It was awesome.”

Do you think there’s a resemblance here? Let me know!

~The Rinkside Cafe

Roster for the Grand Prix Final 2013

marine messe

The Cup of Russia has wrapped up and the roster for the Grand Prix Final at the Marine Messe (pictured above) in Fukuoka, Japan is now ready. Here are your contenders for the GP crown this season:

Men

Patrick Chan
Tatsuki Machida
Yuzuru Hanyu
Daisuke Takahashi
Maxim Kovtun
Han Yan

Alternates:

Nobunari Oda
Adam Rippon
Jason Brown

Ladies

Mao Asada
Julia Lipnitskaia
Elena Radionova
Anna Pogorilaya
Adelina Sotnikova
Ashley Wagner

Alternates:

Akiko Suzuki
Carolina Kostner
Gracie Gold

Pairs

Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov
Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy
Qing Pang & Jian Tong
Cheng Peng & Hao Zhang
Meaghan Duhamel & Eric Radford
Kirsten Moore-Towers & Dylan Moscovitch

Alternates:

Wenjing Sui & Cong Han
Stefania Berton & Ondrej Hotarek
Vera Bazarova & Yuri Larionov

Ice Dance

Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir
Meryl Davis & Charlie White
Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje
Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev
Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat
Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte

Alternates:

Elena Ilinykh & Nikita Katsalapov
Maia & Alex Shibutani
Madison Chock & Evan Bates

The Grand Prix Final Events page by the ISU.

I wanted to do the predictions now but I figure I should wait until the week of the competition in case anyone withdraws. It will be two weeks until the GPF but there are still many blog posts to come~! There’s a look-alikes blog post coming up and comments post on the Cup of Russia.

‘Til then!

~The Rinkside Cafe

Predictions: Cup of Russia 2013

Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje have posted a lovely picture of themselves, probably at practice at the CoR and then I realized I haven’t put up my predictions yet. I knew I shouldn’t have been watching all those videos of a random puppet screaming obscenities at one of my favourite youtubers. What am I doing with my life? Anyways, here’s the picture I mentioned and the predictions will follow. Onwards!

Kaitlyn Andrew 13 CoR prac

Photo from this Tweet.

Men

This is going to be a tough call and it will really depend on who will be more consistent: Javier Fernandez or Tatsuki Machida? The funny thing is, Machida has done quite well in the GP series last season as well as this season but he hasn’t made it to the World Championships because he hasn’t done well at Nationals and there’s a stacked field of competitors in the men’s competition in Japan. I’m not quite a fan of his style but he’s proven that he can pull off good skates in the face of some tough competitors. Fernandez, on the other hand, has tons of personality and skill but seems to falter at crucial moments. He didn’t start his season out too well so it’ll be up in the air in terms of how well he’s going to do at the Cup of Russia.

The bronze medal is also going to be a tough call. Maxim Kovtun did win a silver at the Cup of China, albeit in a weak field of men’s competitors. I didn’t like his windmill arms but apparently the judges do and that could get him a bronze here.

Predictions:

Gold: Tatsuki Machida
Silver:
Javier Fernandez
Bronze:
Maxim Kovtun

Ladies

This roster is another tough call for a few reasons:

1. Carolina Kostner‘s rough start to her season resulting in a bronze medal finish at the Cup of China. In addition to that, she lost to two jumping beans, one of them a youngin’ who just started in the senior circuit.

2. Julia Lipnitskaia fits the description of young jumping bean who just started in the senior circuit.

I’ve been reluctant to put Lipnitskaia at the top of my predictions mostly due to my opinion that she won’t last long at the top of the senior circuit. She’s a tiny wisp of the thing with jumping prowess now but her jumps are pretty low, landed with a shaky edge and with little speed coming out of them. The argument here is that despite my opinion and even if she doesn’t get high PCS, she has the potential to score a high TES that can snag the gold away from Carolina if she falters.

So now, the question for these predictions will be: Will Carolina skate clean? Her jump content will be weaker compared to Lipnitskaia but she’s ten times the performer compared to the youngin’.

As for bronze, Kanako Murakami got off to a rough start at the Cup of China (4th place) but Kanako tends to get better as the season progresses. If she doesn’t skate well, home-ice and Papa Mishin may be able to squeak in a victory for Elizaveta Tuktamysheva. She’s still full of star quality but puberty hasn’t treated her well and she tends to make a lot of costly mistakes in her short program.

Predictions:

Gold: Carolina Kostner (Please, Caro!)
Silver:
Julia Lipnitskaia
Bronze:
Kanako Murakami

Pairs

I’m surprised that Volosozhar & Trankov didn’t get chosen to skate here considering they are the most likely to win Olympic gold for Russia. Oh well, the victory at the Cup of Russia will likely go to their rivals then. I have no doubt that Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy will do well here.

As for the rest of the medals… Kirsten Moore-Towers & Dylan Moscovitch are generally uninspiring performers but technically good enough to snag a medal. Ksenia Stolbova & Fedor Klimov won bronze at Skate America with a large point difference between themselves and Moore-Towers & Moscovitch. That should make my silver and bronze predictions a little easier. Though Vera Bazarova & Yuri Larionov might throw off my bronze predictions. Who knows?

Predictions:

Gold: Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy
Silver:
Kirsten Moore-Towers & Dylan Moscovitch
Bronze:
Vera Bazarova & Yuri Larionov

Ice Dance

No dramatic building of the Team Canton rivalry here but this roster presents an interesting scenario. Katilyn Weaver & Andrew Poje and Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev both won silver medals at their first GP assignment. The difference however, is in the points. Kaitlyn & Andrew have been skating very well lately and have scored 10 points higher than Bobrova & Soloviev. One thing to consider, though, is the boost in points the latter team gets from home-ice advantage. This will definitely be an interesting match-up. What’s more interesting is that if Bobrova & Soloviev don’t win the gold here, we may see Ilinykh & Katsalapov take the top spot at Russian Nationals this year…

As for bronze, Madison Chock & Evan Bates, though skating to irritating or lame music, should be technically proficient enough to take the bronze.

Predictions:

Gold: Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje
Silver:
Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev
Bronze:
Madison Chock & Evan Bates

What are your predictions for the Cup of Russia? Let me know!

~The Rinkside Cafe

Comments on the Trophée Eric Bompard 2013

This is a little late since I’ve been working on a few personal projects lately but here it is! My comments on TEB 2013~!

Elena Nikita 13 TEB FD

I love this lift by the way. So dramatic and fits well with the program.

General Comments on the Men’s Field

My predictions were pretty much spot on except for my bronze medal predictions. There isn’t much to say in terms of the individual competitors so I’ll boil it down to 3 points:

1. Patrick Chan looks unbeatable right now. His scores are off the charts. Lately, Kurt Browning has been questioning the PCS of Meryl & Charlie and say, Cappellini & Lanotte so I’ll do the same. There are some things that Chan should’ve been marked higher like skating skills and transitions than Yuzuru in the SP (gosh, Chan, those running edges off his jumps… even I have to admit they’re gorgeous) but in terms of choreography and interpretation, I’m not sure why Yuzuru is marked a lot lower. Just sayin’.

2. Yuzuru’s scores in the SP were close to Chan’s (Chan – 98.52, Yuzuru – 95.37) and Yuzu won the silver overall. In terms of the ranking for GP events, which factor into the JFSA’s decision to send skaters to the Olympics we have…

Yuzuru – 2 silversOda – 1 silver, 1 bronze (would’ve been silver if he could count his jumps)
Daisuke – 1 gold, 4th place
Takahiko – bronze, 6th place

Yuzuru hasn’t won gold at the GP so far only because he’s been competing against Chan at every GP assignment, who’s pretty much a lock on gold. In terms of him going to the Olympics, I’d say he’s in a good place but we might have to wait for the Grand Prix Final or even Nationals to get a sense of which 3 men will be going since Tatsuki Machida has yet to compete at the Cup of Russia and like Daisuke he’s also won a gold medal at Skate America. For now, I think that Takahiko might be out of the running for the Olympics.

Predictions on who will go to the Olympics for Japan: Yuzuru Hanyu, Daisuke Takahashi, Nobunari Oda

3. Florent Amodio has officially become a non-entity in the upper ranks. In past seasons, he’s been able to take a few medals during the GP series but this season doesn’t seem to be looking good for him. If I were CBC, I’d be nice and say that he finished 7th at TEB but the harsher reality is that he finished second last overall and last in the LP. The sad thing is that we know he can do better than that but sadly, it doesn’t seem as if he’s been on top of his game this Olympic season. Until he proves me wrong, I’ll have to leave him out of my podium predictions.

The GP series confirms two ladies as THE lady for their respective countries

We all know that it’s important to be at the top of your field nationally. When you’re in that position, you get much more support politicking-wise and up goes the PCS. For a little while, the ladies field for Russia and the U.S. have been in disarray since there hasn’t been a lady that has led consistently throughout the years. In Russia, there were a lot of talented young ladies but no one was sure which ones would survive puberty. In the U.S., there were a lot of talented ladies who were terribly inconsistent.

This season, however, we have seen that Adelina Sotnikova has survived puberty unlike her rival, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, and that Ashley Wagner has continued her consistent skating from last year. Now that these two have emerged at the top of their country, the question remains, can they make a grab for the podium at Sochi?

Duhamel & Radford officially lose their lock on Olympic bronze

pang tong 13 teb lp

The funny thing about pairs skating for the last two seasons is that the field has been quite shallow. We all know that two teams are above the rest in terms of their technical ability and those two are Savchenko & Szolkowy and Volosozhar & Trankov. The bronze in the past few seasons have gone to a team that can’t quite touch the top two teams but are a head above the rest of the field. At last season’s World Championships, that team was Meaghan Duhamel & Eric Radford and as a result, I was pretty sure that this team was good enough to keep their hold on bronze. Now that Qing Pang & Jian Tong are back, it seems as if D&R will have to fight a little harder to get that bronze. Pang & Tong are seasoned veterans and great at portraying emotion and stories on ice. They are older, which can be a detriment in a sport that’s really hard on the body and dominated by teenagers but maybe like Shen & Zhao, they’ll prove to us that they get better with age. The showdown for bronze at Sochi should be exciting now

Tessa & Scott: One step forward, one step back

For Tessa & Scott, this season is going to be a constant battle against Meryl & Charlie. They can win the gold medal at any event but the real question will always be if their performance will be able to match up against their rivals. For TEB, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that their scores in the SD are very close to Meryl & Charlie’s season’s best. In fact, my favourite comment on their SD came from the ice-dance.com Twitter:

ice-dance com tweet 13 teb sd

I think they put the twizzles in another place in the program and as a result, everything flows a lot better. I think it was the first time I really enjoyed their SDs and didn’t feel that it needed a little extra pizzaz.

Wasn’t that lovely?

The bad news is, they seemed to have done something wrong with their lifts in the FD which resulted in a TES score that was lower than Ilinykh & Katsalapov’s. They’ll definitely need to keep on working but it would be a great comfort to fans if they beat Meryl & Charlie at least once before the Olympics. It would also keep the rivalry more exciting going in…

Dance of the Night: Elena Ilinykh & Nikita Katsalapov

Ok, I’ll admit it: I enjoyed their Swan Lake FD. When they performed it at the beginning of the season, the program didn’t have as much mileage and the huge pause at the beginning looked awkward. (It also doesn’t help that I hate pauses in programs.) This performance from I & K, however, was dramatic and exciting and the best they’ve skated in their senior career. What was impressive was they they managed to top Pechalat & Bourzat, home ice favourites and a contender for Olympic bronze. This might be a sign that the winds are changing and there may be a new #1 Russian ice dance team soon…

Anyways, that’s it for now. I’ll be a little busy with a few personal projects for the next week or two so the “Skating 101” posts that a friend had been suggesting might take a little while to churn out. In any case, what are your thoughts on TEB this year? Let me know in the comments!

~The Rinkside Cafe

Predictions: Trophée Eric Bompard 2013

The GP series is gearing up for the Final! This week, we have the Trophée Eric Bompard! Onwards with the predictions!

tessa and scott 13 teb prac

Tessa and Scott are looking as if they’re having so much fun during practice. Gorgeous colour and dress too.

Men

With Patrick Chan on the roster, I have no doubt that he will win gold here. Let’s move on to something more pleasant and interesting to talk about, shall we? Yuzuru Hanyu will have to show that he has what it takes to go to the Olympics as the JFSA seems to put some importance on the results of the GP series. Yuzuru was lucky that Oda still hasn’t passed Counting 101 because if Oda hadn’t violated the zayak rule in his LP (I’m still bitter over that), Yuzu would’ve seen a bronze medal around his neck. In this competition, he might have to look out for young rising star, Han Yan but I think that Yan’s ability to express the choreography and music still needs to develop a little. That’s not to say that Yan won’t snatch the silver away if Yuzuru doesn’t skate well. I wish them both well but there can be one silver medalist…

Predictions:

Gold: Patrick Chan
Silver:
Yuzuru Hanyu
Bronze:
Han Yan

Ladies

I’m quite tempted to name this ladies event as “The Weekend of Mediocrity” because in all honesty, there aren’t that many ladies to scream and shout about on this roster. Most of the young Russian ladies here can jump but none of them really radiate Star Power like Elena Radionova. This seriously has to be the most uninspiring roster I’ve ever seen so far in this GP season. In any case, despite the slew of poorly choreographed jumping beans from Russia with appearances from even less uninspiring B-list skaters, I’d say that the winner of this competition will likely be Ashley Wagner. She may not have won her last GP event like Anna Pogorilaya but Pogorilaya wasn’t competing against a Mao Asada on a comeback (rather, she was competing against Carolina Kostner who wasn’t at all on her A-game). Ashley also scored considerably higher at Skate America compared to Pogorilaya. Furthermore, Pogorilaya will likely face some competition from her fellow teammate, Adelina Sotnikova. Despite being a more seasoned competitor, Sotnikova lost to Pogorilaya by 4 points at the Cup of China. These two will likely fight for silver and bronze.

I can ponder about the scores these two get and rant about how meh I find them but I’ll save my energy for other more pleasant activities. Thinking about this roster makes me cranky.

Predictions:

Gold: Ashley Wagner
Silver:
Anna Pogorilaya
Bronze:
Adelina Sotnikova

Pairs

The ladies roster was so terrible that for once, pairs isn’t the most painful prediction to make. That’s highly unusual.

In any case, the victory here will likely go to Qing Pang & Jian Tong. If they do win at TEB, they will not only assert the strong possibility of them winning a medal at the Olympics. This win is important and Pang & Tong need a strong, decisive victory if they want to lessen the possibility of last year’s Worlds bronze medalists, Meaghan Duhamel & Eric Radford, to claim the bronze at the Olympics. A decisive victory for the Chinese team might also propel them to a chance at winning something more than bronze, though the gold is probably out of the question. Either way, a victory for either P/T or D/R sends a strong message that they are near the top of the pairs field.

As for the bronze medal at the TEB. Um… Vera Bazarova & Yuri Larionov seem like a reasonable choice. They do quite well in the GP series and have good technical skills. Let’s hope that Bazarova’s jumps get off the ice.

Predictions:

Gold: Qing Pang & Jian Tong
Silver:
Meaghan Duhamel & Eric Radford
Bronze:
Vera Bazarova & Yuri Larionov

Ice Dance

There are precisely 3 teams worth watching in this competition and those three teams will very likely take the medals. Reigning Olympic Champions, Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir will likely take the gold. Hopefully they’ve improved since Skate Canada and won’t suffer so much in their Technical Elements Score. In terms of technical ability, Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat have shown to be good technically in the past and will likely improve under coach Igor Shpilband, V/M’s former coach.

The only problem is that P/B often skate to programs whose concepts are too quirky or “avant-garde” (if you want to want to be obnoxious) to be relatable and they don’t quite have the star power like Virtue/Moir or even Cappellini/Lanotte to sell their performances. I’m also surprised that no one called them out for caricaturizing Egyptian culture with that mummy/Pharoah program a few years back. In any case, I have no doubts that gold and silver will belong to the two teams above.

As for bronze, the likely winners are Elena Ilinykh & Nikita Katsalapov, better than the rest of the field but nowhere near the above two teams.

Predictions:

Gold: Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir
Silver:
Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat
Bronze:
Elena Ilinykh & Nikita Katsalapov

What are your predictions for TEB? Let me know in the comments!

~The Rinkside Cafe

Look-Alikes: Elizaveta Tuktamysheva once more!

I did a Look-Alikes post on Liza in the past but I was watching a youtube video when one of those ads popped up, this time advertising a fragrance for Calvin Klein. The model for it is Rooney Mara and at one point, she sports a hairstyle with straight bangs and looks out of a car window:

rooney mara

I couldn’t help but feel that Elizaveta had a similar bone structure in her face even though their face shapes are different.

ElizavetaThoughts?

~The Rinkside Cafe

 

Comments on the NHK Trophy 2013

I managed to catch the competition on CBC this week for the NHK Trophy and now that the coverage has ended, let the commentary  begin!

Daisuke still has IT

I admit, I didn’t really enjoy Daisuke too much last season. His programs were forgettable and there lacked a spark in his skating that draws you to his performances. With a disappointing 4th place at Skate Canada, I thought we were going to see more uninspiring Daisuke but I’m so glad he proved me wrong. I’m still not a huge fan of his LP but his SP was mesmerizing, just as all Daisuke programs should be.

The program was smooth, his jumps were solid and his performance and expression were beautiful as always. I hope we see more of this Daisuke this season.

Look out for Adam Rippon

I know that most people are looking at Jeremy Abbott right now for unexpectedly winning the bronze at the NHK Trophy but I think the one we should really be keeping an eye out for is Adam Rippon. While Jeremy did win a bronze here, he did finish 6th at Skate Canada when he could’ve finished a few places higher. Despite a 4th place finish, what Adam Rippon has shown is that he has become increasingly consistent by finishing in the top half (and winning a silver at Skate America) in both his GP assignments. Abbott, on the other hand, has shown more of the same old: when he’s good, he’s very good and when he’s bad, he’s very bad.

Super Javi falters

PJ Kwong pegged Javier Fernandez for gold while I pegged him for silver. Either way, both of us expected him to finish on the podium at NHK. For a bit, my prediction seemed to ring true until he tripped up and made a lot of mistakes in his long program which led him to a 5th place finish. Javier was a strong contender for the men’s field going into the Olympic season but now that the Olympic season has started, I wonder if he has the momentum to get on the podium with this relatively poor result for him at NHK. Time will tell, I suppose.

Mao is going up

mao 13 nhk lp

Mao has been having a few rough seasons since the Vancouver Olympics but it looks as if she’s back on track for this season. She might need to up her technical ability in order to beat Yuna but every performance has been a steady improvement for her as the GP series has gone on. I’m very impressed with the expression, grace and maturity she’s shown this season and I look forward to seeing her skate again in the Grand Prix Final. Her two golds have guaranteed a spot there.

Honourable Mention: Akiko Suzuki

Akiko finished lower than expected with a bronze medal at the NHK Trophy but in my eyes, she’s still an amazing skater. I hated her Phantom of the Opera LP at the beginning of this season, partly because I generally don’t like skaters using this overdramatic, overused piece of music (with some exceptions… like this* and this) and partly because I couldn’t quite look past the mistakes and see the choreography and skating. This time however, Akiko managed to sell her program a lot better despite the mistakes and I’ve grown to like it better. I’m so sad she’s going to retire at the end of this season. I mean, look at this, she just gets better at expressing the music with her skating every year, mistakes or no mistakes…

*Note: Even though I do like Davis/White’s Olympic FD, I’d still wish they skated with similar choreography to some other uber dramatic music.

We’re going to miss you, girl.

Rising Star: Elena Radionova

I’m very miffed at myself for not factoring her in my predictions even though she is one of my favourite skaters this season. If my brain had been working, her name would’ve registered and I would’ve probably put her in for bronze rather than Gracie Gold. Well, the deed is done and my predictions would’ve been wrong anyways since she’s won the silver! She’s probably earned a spot in the GPF and I can’t wait to see her there. So much potential and star quality in spades.

She could’ve finished off her movements a little more in this performance but this might be the best she’s skated this program this season.

The way Olympic spots are awarded to each country is total bullsh**

I really hate the way slots are allotted to each country for each Worlds and the Olympics. Please refer to the table on this wikipedia page for more information. What I hate about the way they give spots to each competitor is that they do it by country. If you haven’t read the wikipedia page, the basics of it is that each country has a certain amount of spots at the Olympics according to how well the country’s competitors rank in the World championships in the season prior to the Olympics. This may seem fine at first glance but the problem comes when certain countries have tons of talented skaters but not enough spots. These skaters may be much better than most of the field but they won’t be able to qualify for the Olympics because some of their fellow countrymen are better than they are.

Case 1: Japanese single skaters – In the men’s competition at Japanese nationals this season, Daisuke Takahashi, Yuzuru Hanyu, Takahito Kozuka, Nobunari Oda and Tatsuki Machida are going to duke it out to take 1 of 3 spots at the Olympics. Three out of five of these men have won medals at the World Championships while all of them have had many medals and victories in the GP series. I would honestly rather allow Japan two extra spots and watch two more amazing performances at the Olympics than give two spots to skaters whose careers have been much less illustrious and will likely give out two (at best) mediocre performances.

Case 2 (and why it’s pertinent to the NHK Trophy): China only has 2 spots at the Olympics and this week, Peng & Zhang have skated well while their teammates, Sui & Han have suffered in their scores and rankings since Sui was sick while she was competing. Either way, both teams have shown themselves to be worthy of future medals but only one will make it to the Olympics. What makes me angry is that the teams who have ranked under them consistently this season (*cough* pointing at Swiegers/Lawrence and pretty much all the American pairs teams) might or will likely get a spot because the competition isn’t as stiff in their respective countries. Sigh.

So, let’s be clear on a few things:

1. It is so frustrating to see really talented competitors not make it to the Olympics just because they happen to be in a nation where they might not be at the top but they are on the A-list of competitors anyways.

2. Yes, I know I can be a bitchy figure skating snob. Deal with it.

Shibsibs recover, Ilinykh & Katsalapov still #2 in Russia

maia alex 13 nhk fd

Yes, yes, Meryl & Charlie won (FD here). That’s no surprise anymore. The Shibutanis, however, seem to have recovered and got back on the podium! I was surprised because I thought that Ilinykh & Katsalapov were going to take the bronze but the Shibutani siblings seem to have improved and have captured the bronze.

A bronze for I/K may have been a signal that times were changing and that they were challenging Bobrova & Soloviev, the top Russian team. By being in that top spot nationally, they have a shot a fighting for Olympic bronze but it seems as if I/K need a lot more work, especially since there are so many “empty” spots in their program… usually full of posing.

I’m happy that the Shibutani siblings did well this competition but their FD still confuses me. That slow musical part in the middle of their FD makes it a little incoherent and I’m confused as to what the concept of the FD is.

As for the SDs in ice dance, I have yet to find one I’m totally in love with but I think that’s the nature of the beast. At least, for me.

The Trophee Eric Bompard is next week! (Sorry for the lack of accents.) Are you excited? Let me know why in comments or share your thoughts on the NHK Trophy!

~The Rinkside Cafe

 

Previous Older Entries