The time has come and the Olympics are upon us. All of the training and hard work has come to this and I hope to see the best of the best doing their best in Sochi. In any case, here are my predictions for the individual event at the Olympics.
Despite his loss to Yuzuru Hanyu at the Grand Prix Final, I still think that Patrick Chan is the favourite for gold. I’m not sure if I can let go of my cynicism and say that Chan won’t be overmarked but the pressure is on for him to skate clean. Yuzuru has shown that his program content alone is enough to beat Chan if he skates clean so in that respect, the battle for Olympic gold may boil down to these two competitors.
As for other competitors to keep an eye on, I’d say that Javier Fernandez has made a good recovery with his gold at the European Championships. The Spaniard has struggled in the Grand Prix series but seems to have regained his stride. Evgeni Plushenko is going to be a wildcard as well. Firstly, we don’t know if he’ll actually compete in the individual event. (Many figure skating devotees have noted that he may get a sudden “injury” after the team event which will allow another one of his compatriots to compete.) Daisuke Takahashi will remain a sentimental favourite and hopeful for a medal but with Daisuke’s up and down season and possibly the JFSA’s support for Yuzuru, we may see him off the podium.
Gold: Patrick Chan
Silver: Yuzuru Hanyu
Bronze: Javier Fernandez
Yuna Kim is back and with last year’s decisive win and her huge scores at Nebelhorn, I’m not even sure if her injury will hold her back in her quest for a second Olympic gold medal. As for Mao Asada, I hope that she will be happy with whatever medal she gets. I’m not sure if she can beat Kim this time but I hope she recovers from the results of Japanese Nationals and show us what she’s been like all season: slowly improving in hopes of reaching perfection.
Of course, there will be other interesting competitors thrown into the mix here as we’re going to have a very interesting ladies competition. Adelina Sotnikova and Julia Lipnitskaia have both shown that they are at the top of their game and the field this season and both have a shot at a medal. Ashley Wagner has also had a good season so far, although with her defeat at the hands of Gracie Gold at U.S. Nationals, time will tell which U.S. lady has the support of the USFSA (I’d put my money on Gold) to get the politicking needed to get a medal.
Gold: Yuna Kim
Silver: Mao Asada
Bronze: Julia Lipnitskaia
Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov did not face off against their rivals, Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy at the European Championships (S&S withdrew due to illness) so we’re left with watching the ultimate re-match at the Olympics. (S&S beat V&T at the GPF.) However, having home-ice advantage definitely helps V&T and I would not be surprised if I see a gold medal hanging around their neck. I’m sure Mother Russia was furious for not having the pairs gold in Vancouver and I doubt she’ll relinquish it again on home ice. Qing Pang & Jian Tong have shown that they can’t quite beat the top two teams this season but are still a head above the rest so I think they have a good shot at Olympic bronze. Meaghan Duhamel & Eric Radford may try to get bronze but P&T have consistently ranked above them in competitions and therefore, D&R may only have a chance if the Chinese fail to deliver.
Gold: Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov
Silver: Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy
Bronze: Qing Pang & Jian Tong
The ice dance competition will feature the on-going rivalry between Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir and Meryl Davis & Charlie White. I expect these two teams to show us the best they’ve ever got and at this point, I wish both teams could win the gold. D&W seem to have the edge over V&M this season as seen with their victory at the Grand Prix Final.
What might be more interesting is the battle for bronze. So far this season, no team has shown themselves to be the clear contenders for the “other gold medal.” (Because if your name isn’t Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir, Meryl Davis or Charlie White, don’t even dream about the gold or even silver medal right now.) For bronze, I think the race will boil down to 3 European teams: Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev, Russia’s #1 ice dance team, Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat and Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte. B&S have home ice advantage but the other teams are extremely technically proficient as they train under Igor Shpilband, who used to coach the top two teams.
Gold: Meryl Davis & Charlie White
Silver: Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir
Bronze: Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev
Since the skaters for the team event are tba, I can’t make any solid predictions other than I have a feeling that Russia, Canada and Japan will do well. And maybe Italy.
What are your predictions for this year’s Winter Olympics? Let me know in the comments!
~The Rinkside Cafe
Fun fact: I did a pre-season Olympic predictions post. Seems as if most of my opinions remain unchanged.