Predictions: Cup of China 2015

xiaoyu yu yang jin 14 coc lp

Wow! I had seriously forgotten how fast-paced the GP series is! With the time difference, I hope that this post makes it in time before the competition starts. Either way, this was written before the competition starts so onward we go with predictions! May they be just as good as they were last week. Though now I think I’ve jinxed myself.


Although he usually has a rough start to his season, Javier Fernandez‘s new found World Champion status should keep him abreast of his competitors, especially considering that the field is quite weak at the Cup of China this week. Fernandez’s main rival here will likely be Sergei Voronov though I hope the judges maintain my sanity by keeping his PCS down. Voronov’s skating isn’t memorable and when it is, it’s usually because he reminds me of a windmill and I usually try to erase those memories right after I watch the program.

In any case, home ice advantage was a pretty big theme at this year’s Skate America and Skate Canada but I think a victory will be very difficult to pull off for home ice favourite, Han Yan. Even though Han has tons of potential and can land jumps so smooth like butter, he has a tendency to buckle under the pressure. I can envision the judges being kind to him at the Cup of China but there’s only so much that they can bump up his PCS. I’m not sure if there are any other contenders out there who I can confidently place in this bronze slot but apparently junior World bronze medalist Boyang Jin can do a quad lutz!?!?!? That’s something I’d like to see…


Gold: Javier Fernandez
Silver: Sergei Voronov
Bronze: Han Yan


The ladies competition will feature the return of Mao Asada and she will be facing some stiff competition here in the form of the young Russian ladies. Mao skated quite well at the Japan Open and I hope she uses her performance there to boost her confidence. No matter the result, all I really want is for Mao to lay down two solid skates so she can build from it. Personally, I don’t think that any of the competitors here can compare to Mao’s skating skills but who knows how much everyone else has grown since last season.

To get to the top of the podium, Mao will have to beat Elena Radionova and Anna Pogorilaya who will solidly stand in her way. I would put Radionova ahead of Pogorilaya mostly since the former does have a World medal. Yet, at the same time, her LP makes me want to slam my head repeatedly against a wall. She can do so much better than a corny program to Titanic. With dialogue. Excuse me while I sit in a corner and cry just a bit. She is so much better than that. I have yet to watch Pogorilaya skate this season but it looks as if she’s done well in pre-season events. I’m not really sure how to rank these ladies in my predictions so I expect this list to be super wrong.

Also to consider, Karen Chen, who is a joy to watch but doesn’t quite have the experience as the other competitors mentioned here. Technically, I’m not sure if she can compare to Radionova and Pogorilaya at their best but all we need is one of the Russian ladies to falter and she may have a shot at a medal.


Gold: Mao Asada
Silver: Elena Radionova
Bronze: Anna Pogorilaya


This weekend, I think Wenjing Sui & Cong Han should focus on building momentum and just enjoying themselves in front of a home crowd. (Depending on their main rivals’ performance, they may be able to try for the throw quad salchow if not landing it won’t cost them the medal.) The two won a surprise gold medal over Olympic silver medalists, Ksenia Stolbova & Fedor Klimov at Skate America this year and with home ice advantage, I hope they can muster two good skates here. So far, Sui & Han have shown that they have continued the progress they have demonstrated last season and their Samson and Delilah LP is gorgeous. The choreography and elements are beautifully timed to the rise and fall of the music and the details and transitions are great combination of challenging and beautiful to watch.

Challenging Sui & Han for gold will be Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov. This team made me so happy last year with their epic LP and broke my heart when they couldn’t skate it to perfection. From their profile on the ISU website, it looks like they are bringing their LP to the Manfred Symphony back and I couldn’t be more thrilled! That program DESERVES a clean skate and the thought of having both this program and Sui & Han’s Samson and Delilah LP in the same competition makes me super excited. I hope that that Kavaguti & Smirnov find the consistency they need to muster a good skate here and win the silver, partly because I love their LP and partly because I like being right in my predictions. (Though I’ll be okay with incorrect predictions if the results are way more palatable than I anticipated.) Still, this team has thrown off my predictions more times than I can remember at this point.

To round out the podium, I would probably say that it would be a toss-up between Xiaoyu Yu & Yang Jin and Lubov Iliushechkina & Dylan Moscovitch. The former are also skating on home ice. I recall that this team had a lovely style last year and I was impressed with them. The latter on the other hand is a team composed of two skaters who were pretty good in their former partnerships but need time to really gel. I’m not sure how they have progressed since last season but I hope that it will be an exciting pairs competition here.


Gold: Wenjing Sui & Cong Han
Silver: Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov
Bronze: Xiaoyu Yu & Yang Jin

Ice Dance

Prepare your fidget toys, Madison Chock & Evan Bates are competing at the Cup of China. I have seriously tried to stand behind this team – I was actually quite fond of Emily Samuelson & Evan Bates – but like many of you have expressed, this team is quite bland and leaves you kind of bored when you watch them. Their SD is at least decent compared to some of their campy programs of the past but this team lacks an “it” factor that would make them somewhat compelling to watch. Of course, Chock has the ability to sell the program but I think this team has issues connecting with the audience. Either way, they should be technically proficient enough to win here.

Their biggest competitors will likely be Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte and Elena Ilinykh & Ruslan Zhiganshin. Cappellini & Lanotte had a rough season last year – they completely lost momentum after their 1st GP event as World Champions and they were never able to gain it back, losing their European Champion and World Champion titles to a relatively rookie team. For Elena Ilinykh & Ruslan Zhiganshin on the other hand, they had a solid start to their partnership last season. They did not immediately grace the podiums but considering they made it to the GPF last year as a new pair, I’d say they started well. I’m not sure if this team can maintain their dominance over Sinitsina & Katsalapov this season but I’m curious to see how they’ve progressed.

For Cappellini & Lanotte, what matters is whether or not they rank above Ilinykh & Zhiganshin. If they do not, it would indicate that they will not likely see the European Champion title back in their hands. Personally, I think that Marina Zueva is investing in Sinitsina & Katsalapov this season and being the #2 team to a coach is not advantageous considering Marina’s history with her #2 teams.


Gold: Madison Chock & Evan Bates
Silver: Elena Ilinykh & Ruslan Zhiganshin
Bronze: Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte

I’m actually not that confident in my predictions for this week. There are so many unknowns even though the dust is starting to settle on who the top teams are. What are your predictions for the CoC? Let me know in the comments! I’ve really enjoyed reading all the ones coming in this season!

~The Rinkside Cafe

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Sue Hiraki
    Nov 06, 2015 @ 20:51:11

    Boyang Jin was the siliver medalist of the JWC 2015. The gold went to Shoma, and Bronze to Sota.


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