Predictions: Cup of China 2017

sui and han sa 2015

I have a feeling the competition is starting soon so here are my predictions really quickly. The Cup of China is always an interesting competition since there’s always that attempt to build the roster to maximize medals for the home team… except there really isn’t much to work with at the moment outside of pairs for China at times. Either way, onwards and upwards!
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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. More

Predictions: Cup of China 2014

Zijin Li 12 lp

The Grand Prix season is well underway and with the huge time different and personal commitments this weekend, I’m afraid livestreaming will not be possible. I will, however, do my best to catch up to all the competitions as fast as I can so that I can give you a recap/highlight post early next week. However, let’s not get too ahead of ourselves and make the predictions first. More

Cup of China 2012: Predictions

I’m so sorry for the delay on predictions. I’ve been so swamped this week with work and life and everything. I realize that with the time difference half the competition is done already but I’ll look at the roster without looking at the results and come up with predictions.

Mao beckons you in…

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The Senior Grand Prix Series is almost here!!!

Who’s excited??? Here are the dates for each of the events:

Skate America
Ontario, U.S.A
October 21st to October 23rd
Entries

Skate Canada
Mississauga, Canada
October 28th to October 30th
Entries

Cup of China
Shanghai, China
November 4th to November 6th
Entries

NHK Trophy
Sapporo, Japan
November 11th to November 13th
Entries

TEB
Paris, France
November 18th to November 20th
Entries

Rostelecom Cup
Moscow, Russia
November 25th to November 27th
Entries

Grand Prix Final
Quebec City, Canada
December 8th to December 11th
Entries – tba!

Cup of China – Pairs and Men

I’ll have to keep this brief because I’m supposed to be doing a whole bunch of other things right now.

Pairs

My darling baby Chinese pair won silver! They suffered from a couple of falls on their jumps but from the replay, I’m pretty sure they did a clean throw quad salchow – it was less than an inch away from being two footed but I think they did it – and a gorgeous throw triple flip. They had the highest TES score of the competition.  A good start for last year’s junior World champions. While Sui and Han got the highest TES scores, Pang and Tong got the highest PCS despite a fall from Pang on the opening double axel and she didn’t do the second 2A. They remain lyrical and lovely to watch but they’ll need clean programs if they want to reclaim the World title. This is just a guess but Savchenko and Szolkowy are hungry after their Olympic and World upset. I think that they’ll want that World title back and I’ve heard that they want to go to Sochi. Yankowskas and Coughlin delivered a lovely performance to Ave Maria although I felt that the bronze should’ve gone to the baby Russians (Iliushchekina and Maisuradze) who have endeared themselves to me by snatching the gold at Skate Canada which saved me from complete defeat from my predictions. Their LP showed some improvement from last week and I’m glad.

So, now that Pang and Tong have secured another victory, they are assured a spot in the Grand Prix Final in Beijing. The baby Russians will likely get a spot but we’ll have to wait until the other competitions to confirm that.

Podium:

Gold: Pang & Tong (GPF bound)
Silver:
Sui & Han
Bronze:
Yankowskas & Coughlin

Men

One of my friends likes to point out that P-overinflated score Chan’s scores were pretty much equal to that of Takahiko Kozuka’s a few years ago. And then the Olympics were in Canada and PChiddy started getting ridiculously high scores for shitty skates and Takahiko, being the #3 Japanese man, had to settle with lower scores. However, let it be known that unlike Chan and his Skate Canada gold, Takahiko deserved to win gold this week. The thing about Takahiko is that unlike Daisuke, he’s not flamboyant and unlike Oda, he had trouble with his quads so he would often screw up in his LP. However, this kid has lovely edges and this LP just flowed seamlessly from one element to another. It was gorgeous. Congratulations Takahiko! I will make sure that I won’t write you off again as I did this time.

As for the others… Brandon Mroz surprised everyone by winning the silver, beating Tomas Verner and kicking Brian Joubert off the podium. The kid has lovely jumps – he is so straight and fast in the air – but his other elements are so s l o w… He is also guilty of random superfluous arm movements despite his lovely lines.

As for Tomas and Brian… all I can say is that their LPs confused me. Tomas skated relatively well in his standards to a Michael Jackson medley but I think I was highly confused at the ticking that was supposed to be his music for about a quarter of his program. I also don’t quite know how a shiny blue shirt and glove is supposed to represent MJ. Can a MJ fan enlighten me? I hope that perhaps Tomas can rework his routine to put a little more pizazz to it. Getting rid of the random ticking might be nice too. The program looks as if he’s taken the sparkle quality and vocals from his MJ EX and used it as his LP.

Brian Joubert – I was surprised there was no hip thrusts or crotch grabs but I guess their absence was suitable for a program to Beethoven’s ninth. Joubert stated that he wasn’t used to this program and he certainly dis look like a fish out of water. I’m glad he’s trying to reinvent himself and skate to programs that would prove that he’s not all jumps and actually has some skating skills but somehow it was just weird watching him skate to the 9th symphony. Maybe that’s why he wasn’t on the podium.

Podium:

Gold: Takahiko Kozuka
Silver: Brandon Mroz
Bronze: Tomas Verner

~The Rinkside Cafe

Cup of China – Ladies and Ice Dance

My internal clock is completely messed up. Hopefully I’ll be able to wake up in a few hours to watch the last flight of the men’s LP live… The FD has just ended but I didn’t watch that live. Since I’m talking about ice-dance at the moment, I think I’ll start with that…

Ice Dance

I had predicted a Faiella/Scali win due to their win at Worlds last season even though I do prefer Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat. I admit, I lacked faith in them so first, I apologize for my lack of faith and I will say that I’m very proud of them. They won both portions of the competition, according to the scores. Their SD isn’t completely spectacular but I like the fact that their music is from one source only (Dr. Zhivago) so there’s some sort of continuity in the music. The biggest surprise was Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Sloviev‘s silver medal. I remember seeing them live last year. They were impressive but they still had a bit of a “junior-ish” quality to them. I’m not a big fan of their SD at the moment. The music is weird, their twizzles were messy and poorly executed and everything feels really frantic but they have improved in terms of speed. I remember them crawling on the ice during their random sailor OD last year. Watching that was not fun. Faiella’s creepy eyes and crazy costume definitely did not give me a good first impression of their SD and it seemed to get worse from there. There was some issue with the costume so they stopped during the waltz sequence and the ending just looked like a hot mess in terms of choreography. I would’ve marked them lower than the Russians in the SD but I guess things turned out in the end.

Gold: Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat
Silver: Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Sloviev
Bronze: Federica Faiella & Massimo Scali

Ladies

The long program is happening right now as I’m typing this and I’m debating whether I should pull an all-nighter and watch starting with the final flight or get at least an hour or so of sleep. I’m not really interested in anyone but the top three anyways. In any case… Mirai Nagasu took the short program with a slight lead over Akiko Suzuki. Mirai began with a lovely triple lutz-double toe. Her triple flip was a bit shaky on the landing and her double axel was fine. I love how she extends her limbs as if she’s really tall although I feel as if she doesn’t quite finish her movements and so she doesn’t seem to have a certain “polished” quality when she moves. I think the “polish” will come later in the season when she’s used to competing with the program.

Akiko Suzuki seems to have matured a bit in terms of performance. I love how she put her heart and soul into the acting bit of her programs. Her jumps are rather lovely with fast rotations in the air, although she stepped out of her lutz in her SP. Akiko has decent, jumps and footwork but I’d like to see her work on her lines. Her elbows and knees are a bit angular and breaks the line, which is a bit awkward when she wants to express the more lyrical bits of the music (like the violin part in the last part of her SP).

Save for the random bits of cheerleader-like posing during her step sequence and the long pauses, I actually thought that Miki Ando‘s SP wasn’t half bad. She made that triple lutz-triple loop combination look so easy after struggling with it for so many seasons and other than a wonky landing on her double axel, it was a pretty decent skate. Her presentation skills have definitely improved since her 2007 Worlds win and her layback spin isn’t so damaging to the eyes anymore. The judges seem to have marked her down on transitions, but she beat Mirai and Akiko in all of the other categories. In truth, I’m a bit torn with Miki Ando. After watching her on a game show, I’ve discovered that she has a wonderful spunky personality and I commend her for skating after being lambasted by the media by her disastrous performance at the 2006 Olympics. She has such power in her jumps but she’s also a bit of a “clunky” skater with programs that aren’t as pretty as she is. Sigh. She needs a new choreographer. And get she needs to get away from the Russian Gino aka Nikolai Morozov.

In any case, I give up on sleeping. I’ll rest for 15 minutes and hopefully I’ll be awake in time to watch these three ladies skate.

~The Rinkside Cafe

Edit: Just finished watching the top 3 of the final flight of the ladies LP. Mirai Nagasu has just finished skating and she will probably lose the top spot after a fall and a popped jump. She didn’t look very confident from the beginning. The look on her face reminded me of Sasha Cohen before her LP. Akiko Suzuki unravelled in the second half of her LP but started out well. Miki Ando delivered a good skate but her choreography leaves much to be desired.

Mirai’s LP score came down hard, she’s now off the podium. Ouch.

Podium:

Gold: Miki Ando
Silver: Akiko Suzuki
Bronze: Alena Leonova

Full LP results here.

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