World Champions 2015: The Pairs

sui han 15 wc lpAs you may have noticed, I am straying from my usual order of men, ladies, pairs and ice dance. I’ve actually written half of my post on the ladies even on Word on another computer and had intended to e-mail myself the file so I could finish writing but somehow, I keep forgetting to do so, therefore causing all of these delays. In any case, we’ll have to make do without my comments on the ladies event for now and focus on the pairs competition!

As predicted, Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford won the World title with a 7-point lead over the silver medalists. Duhamel & Radford pulled off an impeccable short program, skating with complete control and unison. This would normally be an impressive feat considering how clean or perfect programs at the top echelons have become somewhat of a rarity under the IJS but I was so bored. Unfortunately, I still find myself not a fan of this team’s music choices or choreography. The video of their SP that I watched had some talkative Russian commentators and frankly, the commentary could’ve been the music for all I know. Duhamel & Radford have upped their technical scores this season but I think that the major area they need to improve on is their connection and interpretation of the music. For the most part, they look like they’re skating and the music just happened to be on.

The same comments could apply to their LP, although that skate, though in general, decent enough to keep the top spot, was a bit of a fight. The team was clearly out of sync for part of their side-by-side spins and the landing of their throw 4S was tenuous. All in all, the common comment that I have for all the World Champions this season is that despite this win, they all need to be in “chase” mode next season. In this case, D&R may have had the technical edge this season but a few interesting notes on the scores tell me that they will need to continue to improve themselves in order to keep their top spot.

The highest PCS of the competition, actually went to veteran team, Qing Pang & Jian Tong for both programs. It was clear that these two did not have the more difficult technical elements of D&R or even the younger Chinese teams but in this competition, they were the epitome of grace and beauty in pairs skating. Their programs were intricate and their connection with each other and the music was evident. Frankly, it didn’t even matter that they didn’t win the gold, or even the silver but I think it was wonderful that they managed to pull out two gorgeous performances on a home crowd and win a medal at Worlds at their age. ‘

Also noteworthy was the surprise silver medal from Wenjing Sui & Han Cong. This team has really improved leaps and bounds since last season and with their technical arsenal, they may prove to be a challenger for the top spot at Worlds in the future. Sui & Han actually got the highest TES in the LP and had the 2nd highest TES in the SP. All in all, I would say that the 7-point difference between themselves and D&R is not insurmountable. All it really takes for them to beat the current World Champions is a comparable PCS – and the points in this category may come a little easier next season with that silver medal at their necks. At the same time, we know that Sui & Han have done quad twists and salchows in the past and this may be enough technical arsenal to at least stand a chance against D&R. I’m looking forward to seeing how this little drama plays out next season.

The final Chinese pairs team in the competition, Cheng Peng & Hao Zhang, finished a respectable 4th. I think I definitely have a soft spot for this team after seeing them grow so much since they first partnered up as that young awkward girl and man who were too awkward to look each other in the eye or hold hands after the program was done. I think this team may have done well in the seasons before Sochi in the last Olympic cycle but unfortunately, this team neither has the reputation or the technical arsenal to really make their mark on the World podium. At the moment, I wonder if this team has worked on any sort of difficult elements to up their game since they will need it to stay relevant to major competitions. At the same time though, I can’t help but feel that even if they aren’t the best of the field, they’re really becoming wonderful performers that are a lot of fun to watch.

Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov started the competition with a strong SP to Meditation. Personally, I don’t feel as if this program quite suits them but it’s a lot better than the horrific program where Yuko rips her costume midway through to reveal a heart. Despite this team’s inconsistency this season, I feel as if they might have found a certain je ne sais quoi this season. Many of the programs they have skated to, including Clair de Lune 2.0 exhibition (and we all know how much I dislike most exhibition programs) have been exquisite. I just wish they could be more consistent because every mistake in their LP broke my heart. I sincerely hope that they reuse their Manfred Symphony program next season.

What did you think of the pairs event at Worlds this year? Let me know in the comments! I love hearing from you!

~The Rinkside Cafe

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Hbelle
    Apr 12, 2015 @ 07:22:15

    I completely agree about D&R needing work on the performance element of their skating. I do not find them to be a well matched couple in general, no chemistry!! Appreciate the tricks though 🙂


  2. Quyen Thuy Tran
    Apr 15, 2015 @ 05:17:55

    I love Sui/Han, they have shown the world the men does not need to be over 6 feet to be a good men in pair.


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