Predictions: 2018 Olympic Games

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It has come to this moment. The Olympics are upon us and I have no clue how I’m going to survive with the time difference, work, and all my other commitments. However I do it, I will give you my predictions nonetheless. Onward!

Men

Ice is indeed slippery and I actually have no clue how I will make up the predictions for the men’s event. Even as I type this, my mind is whirling with the possibilities and I will likely make a random guess at the end. There are a lot of contenders and possibilities in the men’s field and at this point, it’s anyone’s game. Nathan Chen leads the quad squad and whether he keeps his momentum from the GPF is yet to be seen. Should he falter, there are many who can take the helm of Olympic Champion including Javier Fernandez, who will not get penalized as harshly should he violate the zayak rule this time. The two time World Champion doesn’t have all the quads but the judges have shown that they are willing to reward him for his skating skills and well-executed programs.

Not to be underestimated is Shoma Uno, despite not showing the pizzaz we’ve seen in previous seasons. In the past, we’ve seen Uno use his near wins as fuel for the future but somehow, with Olympic pressure mounting, I don’t quite see the same determination this season. Nonetheless, he is still a force to be reckoned with. Also in the mix is Boyang Jin and Mikhail Kolyada. Neither of them really have superb skating skills like Fernandez but they do have quads and spotty consistency, which may work for an interesting podium.

Defending Olympic Champion, Yuzuru Hanyu, is coming back from injury and the fact that he’s not doing the team event doesn’t bode well. I wish him all the best but the cautious side of me will likely not put him on the podium. I sincerely hope he proves me wrong.

Predictions:

Gold: Nathan Chen
Silver:
Javier Fernandez
Bronze:
Shoma Uno

Ladies

The battle for gold will be likely between Alina Zagitova and Evgenia Medvedeva. Zagitova has only been consistent at Euros this season but assuming the Olympic curses are in full force, I’ll put her in as the surprise win at Pyeongchang. Medvedeva looked solid coming out of injury after Euros and frankly, the fate of the gold medal is in her hands. If she skates clean, she should be able to top her teammate. I’m just not sure if she’s recovered enough to clinch the gold

As for bronze, there are a number of ladies who are strong contenders. Canada’s hopes rest on Kaetlyn Osmond, who seems to be unraveling under all the pressure (there was some buzz that she was the best hope to beating Medvedeva last season) and to a lesser extent, Gabrielle Daleman, who has an outside chance should a large number of women falter as they did at Worlds last year. Carolina Kostner has been looking strong and better than ever and her bronze at Euros is a sign that the judges are willing to put her over Maria Sotskova, who has risen above the rest of the strong Russian ladies field to take the last spot on the Olympic team. Some dark horses include the very consistent and surprise National Champion, Bradie Tennell, and the two Japanese ladies, Kaori Sakamoto and Satoko Miyahara. This will be a difficult podium to determine.

Predictions

Gold: Alina Zagitova
Silver:
Evgenia Medvedeva
Bronze:
Carolina Kostner

Pairs

The battle for gold will be exciting and it will likely come down to two very worthy teams: Aliona Savchenko & Bruno Massot and Wenjing Sui & Cong Han. I would be pleased as punch if either of these two teams win though in the event that they skate perfectly, I suspect that Savchenko & Massot’s innovative LP will have the edge over Sui & Han’s Turandot. Overall, the team who skates clean will likely capture the gold.

Other podium contenders include Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov skating to a very confusing LP, and Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford, who have some of the most difficult elements in the pairs competition. Duhamel & Radford may have what it takes to win but they have been struggling with consistency this season, and the judges aren’t always generous with the PCS.

Predictions:

Gold: Aliona Savchenko & Bruno Massot
Silver:
Wenjing Sui & Cong Han
Bronze:
Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov

Ice Dance

I was pretty sure of Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron’s victory when they got world record scores on non-home ice at the Cup of China and their GPF win also seals my suspicion that the judges will place them over their main rivals, Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir in Pyeongchang. Virtue & Moir have learned from their former Olympic experience and made some very effective changes to building a crescendo for the end of their program but I’m not sure if it’s enough at this point. Nonetheless, there should be a lot of pride in being Canadian flag-bearers and a legendary team in skill and longevity in the sport.

There is one very small ray of hope for V/M fans – I do find it interesting that Skate Canada was pushing *extremely* hard for Tessa & Scott during Nationals. Given that the recent competitions in France have been… on the frugal side *cough* plastic stars instead of medals *cough*, an economic argument could be made to keep the Canadian fans happy, as they have steadfastly bought a chunk of the seats to competitions held in Canada. Still, this is pure speculation on the political side of the sport, and of all the predictions on this post, I’m most confident about the ice dance results.

As for bronze, it will likely be a toss-up between the two American ice dance teams – Maia & Alex Shibutani, and Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue. The latter won Nationals after a critical mistake by the Shibsibs in the FD and it looks like the judges won’t be forgiving to the Shibutanis if they do the same in Pyeongchang. It will be an exciting match for bronze as Hubbell & Donohue have really started to show the confidence and skill that has always been within their potential.

Predictions:

Gold: Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron
Silver:
Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir
Bronze:
Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani

Team Event

Let’s face it: nothing has really changed from Sochi and there are still really only 3 countries that have a shot at the podium in the team event. Other countries, like France and China have yet to develop a well-rounded team where there are adept competitors in each discipline. The Olympic Athletes from Russia have the most solid team and will likely win gold again, though the race for silver might be a little tighter this time, depending on the results of the single skaters from Canada. If Patrick Chan and the Canadian ladies can muster two good performances, they can probably maintain a good lead over the Americans. If not, the silver will slip out of their fingers.

Predictions:

Gold: Olympic Athletes from Russia
Silver:
Canada
Bronze:
U.S.A

What are your predictions for each podium? Do you think I missed anyone? Let me know in the comments. For live tweets during the Olympic events, follow my Twitter @rinksidecafe!

~Rinkside Cafe

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