Predictions: Grand Prix Final 2018

rika kihira 2018

This is truly one of the strangest GPFs – there’s no Evgenia, Yuzu or Papadakis/Cizeron. All in all, it has been an interesting post-Olympic season. Hopefully all goes well to Evgenia, who’s trying to re-learn all that she’s ever known, Yuzu for a speedy recovery, and well, I think Papadakis/Cizeron need no encouragement or help considering their performance at the Internationaux de France was quite dominant (though the marks needed a little more growing room for the rest of the season). Either way, the predictions will be quite tough this time around since this GPF will help determine how the dust will settle over the course of this new Olympic cycle.

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Predictions: Internationaux de France 2018

Ok, my current internet configuration hates me (for some reason my portable wifi stick hates being in my AirBnB) and I’m currently on vacation, taking a break from work, life, and all the frills that go with it. Again, predictions this week will be names on a page so I can rest up before I head back home in a few days. I’m writing this on my tablet so formatting will be a bit weird. Autocorrect also has a tendency to change proper names a lot (I once got Joanne Rochester on my phone when attempting to type Joannie Rochette…) so fingers crossed this post actually gets published!

Men

Gold: Nathan Chen
Silver: Boyang Jin
Bronze: Alexander Samarin

Ladies

Gold: Rika Kihira
Silver: Evgenia Medvedeva
Bronze: Bradie Tennell

Pairs

Gold: Vanessa James & Morgan Cipres
Silver: Aleksandra Boikova & Dmitrii Kozlovskii
Bronze: Tae Ok Ryom & Ju Sik Kim

Ice Dance

Gold: Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron
Silver: Victoria Sinitsina & Nikita Katsalapov
Bronze: Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier

I wonder what Papadakis & Cizeron’s programs will be like this season… Can’t wait to find out!

~Rinkside Cafe

 

 

 

 

 

Predictions: NHK Trophy 2018

 

rika kihira

Like last week, this week’s predictions will be names on a page. I feel like work, life and everything in between has dialed it up to 11 lately and I am in a serious need for a break. As a result, I have decided to extend my non-CoR coverage this year so I can properly get some rest during my trip next week.

Side-note: I loved Hiroshima when I last visited. It was a city with a lot of heart. I am so envious of the people who get to go to the competition live this year.

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Predictions: Grand Prix of Helsinki 2018

yuzuru 18 worlds lp

Work has gone from 0 to 100 in a very short span of time, I’m slightly sleep deprived, trying to keep up with my social calendar, while planning my vacation for next week. (I’ll be in Japan during the week of NHK! Is figure skating popular in Okinawa too? A tropical paradise doesn’t seem like a place where figure skating would be super popular…) You can say that life is a crazy whirlwind for me right now. Names on page predictions this week for the Grand Prix of Helsinki. Onwards!

Men

Gold: Yuzuru Hanyu
Silver: Mikhail Kolyada (can win gold here – Hanyu doesn’t really start out strong on his first GP)
Bronze: Boyang Jin

Potential spoiler for a medal: Jun Hwa Cha

Ladies

Gold: Alina Zagitova (it pains me to say this considering how her programs are so… blah)
Silver: Kaori Sakamoto
Bronze: Yuna Shiraiwa

Pairs

Gold: Natalia Zabiiako & Alexander Enbert
Silver: Nicole Della Monica & Matteo Guarise
Bronze: Tae Ok Ryom & Ju Sik Kim (Is it weird that I’m kind of hoping that the North Korean cheerleading squad will show up?)

Ice Dance

Gold: Alexandra Stepanova & Ivan Bukin
Silver: Charlene Guignard & Marco Fabbri
Bronze: Lorraine McNamara & Quinn Carpenter

Confession: Sara Hurtado & Kirill Khaliavin’s FD to Pink Floyd and Harry Styles’ Sign of the Times is a guilty pleasure kind of program for me. I don’t like the music cuts but the campy drama? I live for it.

What are your predictions? And any Japanese readers have any recommendations for things to do/try in Okinawa?

~The Rinkside Cafe

Predictions: Skate Canada International 2018

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Somehow I forget every year how gruelling the GP series can be. Skate Canada is upon us and it’s time for predictions! Skate America last week was full of surprises (some of them in the best way possible) but that’s what makes predictions so much fun!

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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!

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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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