These are a little late but I figure better late than never! Still catching up on this weekend’s performances so stay tuned for the comments post for the NHK Trophy!
Biggest Surprise: Cheng Peng & Hao Zhang
I am so sad right now that China only has 2 slots for pairs at the Olympics. I have a feeling the 2 teams will be Pang & Tong and Sui & Han, great teams but this team just takes my breath away. You probably don’t remember them last year and if you did, you’d remember them as the weird Chinese team with 13 years between the ages of both partners. Watching them last year was painful: they looked like they didn’t want to touch each other and every minute of their program was awkward, awkward, awkward. I’m so impressed with how much they’ve matured: their grace and beauty casts a spell on you. Stylistically, they remind me of Shen & Zhao and that’s definitely not a bad thing. They’re not perfect: they need to work on their jumps and the unison in their spins but that takes time. I look forward to their future.
What happened, Caro?
Unexpectedly, instead of winning the Cup of China, Carolina only placed in 3rd. What happened? Well, in terms of her performance, musicality and interpretation, she was heads and shoulders above the competition but her programs weren’t as technically difficult and she made a lot of sloppy mistakes which allowed Anna Pogorilaya (solid jumps but very robotic in expression) and Adelina Sotnikova (so-so choreography) to place in front of her. A pity, but I hope she’ll do better at her next competition. I also hope that she changes her dress for her long program, it doesn’t look very flattering on her.
My Men’s Predictions were a total clusterf***
They turned out that way somewhat for a good reason: Han Yan and Takahiko Kozuka were better than expected. I’m especially surprised at Han Yan, who seems like a star on the rise. He has such great charisma (more so in his SP than LP) and a beautiful style.
As for the silver medalist, Maxim Kovtun, all I can wonder is how Mother Russia manages to bring out some exciting new ladies skaters (Radionova, Pogorilaya, etc;) with all very different styles and personalities but when it comes to the men, they all seem to skate in the Lysacek/Plushenko erratic arm-waving (but huge jumps) to mediocre choreography way? I’ll leave that for someone else to answer.
The GPF or Euros may tell us who the Olympic bronze medalists will be
The ice dance competition was interesting since Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat were pretty much in a virtual tie with Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev after the SD. In the end, P/B won with a two-point margin. Looking at the big picture, I think that the GPF or Euros will be very telling since the top European ice-dance team (which will likely be either one of the teams mentioned above or Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte) at either of these competitions will likely win bronze at the Olympics. Even though some of these teams have achieved higher TES than Meryl & Charlie and Tessa & Scott, I think the top 2 teams are still in a place that no other team right now has reached.
Anyways, what are your thoughts on the Cup of China this year?
~The Rinkside Cafe