Predictions: Skate America 2018

Nathan Chen

Skating season is upon us and between being on and off sick, the cold weather and my packed calendar, I’m not sure if I’m ready. Either way, onwards we go, there is no turning back! Skate America predictions, let’s go!

Men

The American men have a chance to make their mark on the podium to start off the GP circuit. All eyes will be on reigning World Champion, Nathan Chen, to assert his place as a top contender in the sport. Nathan does have a history of nerves, and his last showing at the Japan Open was shaky. Even before he began his program, it looked like he was not prepared. Time has passed since then and I think he will want to give it all that he’s got for the home crowd. Vincent Zhou is another contender who could take the podium but he has struggled with consistency in the past. Otherwise, Zhou has really great skating skills when he isn’t completely focused on his quads. The rule changes this season might help him in that regard.

Other potential podium contenders: Sergei Voronov, a skater whose past programs continue to elude my memory, though he has enough consistency to stay relevant to GP medals, and Matteo Rizzo, who had an amazing run during the Olympics earlier this year. He may not have all the quads but he’s fun to watch and showed that he can deliver under pressure.

To be honest, my faith in Chen and Zhou are a little shaky right now so my gut is telling me to not put Chen at the top. I may still do so once I ponder a bit and finish this post.

Predictions

Gold: Nathan Chen
Silver: Sergei Voronov
Bronze: Matteo Rizzo

Ladies

Before I start my predictions, I have to say that I really enjoyed listening to the commentator fluff on Starr Andrews’ ambition and desire to represent. You go girl! Either way, the one to beat at Skate America is likely to be Bradie Tennell, who recently beat Evgenia Medvedeva at SCI. With home ice advantage, the competition is hers to lose.

Challenging her will be basically all the Japanese ladies, Satoko Miyahara, Kaori Sakamoto, and Marin Honda, with the first two especially. Nonetheless, the Japanese ladies field is deep this year, and with Rika Kihira doing triple axels, Miyahara will want to prove that she delivers on the international circuit to have a good shot at Nationals this year. I’m also looking forward to seeing how Sakamoto and Honda have improved since last season. Kaori was such a joy to watch during the Olympics, giving off Midori Ito happy vibes, and while I’ve always been a fan of Marin’s buttery smooth skating, I think it’s safe to say that I was one of many who was very disappointed at the results of her debut senior season last year.

Dark horse alert: Loena Hendrickx – there was some potential from her Olympic performances and she placed above Marin at Nebelhorn earlier in the season, getting a bronze at that competition.

Predictions

Gold: Bradie Tennell
Silver: Satoko Miyahara
Bronze: Kaori Sakamoto

Pairs

I have been reading good things about Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov‘s programs on Twitter and I am so pleased. I think everyone was incredibly confused by their Candyman LP last year, and quite frankly, these two deserved something better. If the reports are true, then this team can probably win handily.

Alexa Scimeca Knierim & Chris Knierim will also be on the hunt for a medal, possibly gold, especially after switching coaches last season. American pairs teams have been traditionally weak in recent years but I think these two want to change that. Interestingly enough, the young Russian team of Alisa Efimova & Alexander Korovin beat the Knierims at Nebelhorn earlier this season though by a small margin. Home ice advantage works against their favour but should the Knierims falter, they could potentially snag a silver here.

Predictions

Gold: Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov
Silver: Alexa Scimeca Knierim & Chris Knierim
Bronze: Alisa Efimova & Alexander Korovin

Ice Dance

Without the Shibutanis, the road forward should be easy for Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue this season. They will be looking to solidify their place as the top U.S. team, and fend off challenges from new training mates, Madison Chock & Evan Bates later on in the season. Skate America should be a breeze for them and is theirs to lose seeing that the roster is pretty weak.

Potential podium finishers: Charlene Guignard & Marco Fabbri are veterans in the sport and with whispers that Cappellini & Lanotte maybe retiring (currently unconfirmed), they should look toward a podium finish to show that they can fill the shoes that will be left behind. I have interestingly enough, enjoy the lines and flair of Tiffany Zahorski & Jonathan Guerreiro. Traditionally, the Russian pair have finished behind the Italians but it will be interesting to see if they can challenge for silver.

Predictions

Gold: Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue
Silver: Charlene Guignard & Marco Fabri
Bronze: Tiffany Zahorski & Jonathan Guerreiro

What are your predictions for Skate America?

Is anyone ready for the skating season!?!?

~The Rinkside Cafe

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