Predictions: Skate America 2016

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Yes, I know, competition has started. And I haven’t written about Worlds at all. At school, they never teach you that adulting is hard. So many demands for my time so I will keep this short. I should try to correct my rambling writing style anyways.

Men

  • Shoma Uno will be hungry to redeem himself at Worlds. He was crying at the kiss and cry (it was so heartbreaking). I think we all knew that he could’ve been the World bronze medalist.
  • Strange. I thought Boyang Jin was supposed to have gone to Frank Carroll for coaching but I don’t see that on his ISU bio. Wonder what happened. Either way, I hope he’s worked on his skating skills during the off season.
  • Dear Skating Gods – I’m not asking for much. I’ll take boring programs over the secondhand embarrassment I felt watching Maxim Kovtun’s programs from last year.
  • I also hope that Jorik Hendrickx doesn’t put the entire speaking track of a movie in his music this year. Actually, maybe for entertainment value, he should. I had a good laugh over it though my seat neighbours in Boston probably thought I was being creepy.
  • Home ice advantage should favour Jason Brown. Unless he bombs and Adam Rippon does well. Who knows, who needs skating skills and fully rotated jumps when home ice advantage can win you a silver medal? (I’ll admit that I’ve leveled that barb unfairly at the men – both Brown and Rippon have good skating skills.)

Gold: Shoma Uno
Silver:
Boyang Jin
Bronze:
Jason Brown

Ladies

  • I feel as if I will have to lower my expectations for Mao as she tries to find her step again, as Carolina did after two disastrous Olympic cycles. Ganbare, Mao-san!
  • You should probably be able to discern my feelings on Ashley Wagner’s World silver medal. Regardless of how I feel, the home ice advantage comment should apply here too.
  • Someone give Gracie Gold programs she actually likes. Firebird was frankly worse live and she looked miserable skating to it. The field is pretty thin here so I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried to give 2 medals to the American ladies here.
  • I admit I wached Mai Mihara’s SP for the competition. She lacks musicality, which is to be expected of someone so young but she skates with so much speed and she lands her jumps really smoothly. I’m impressed.

Gold: Ashley Wagner
Silver:
Mai Mihara
Bronze:
Gracie Gold

Pairs

  • Huh. I feel like I should just pick out 3 teams whose names seem familiar and make that my prediction. The field is really, really thin at Skate America this year.

Gold: Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov
Silver:
Julianne Seguin & Charlie Bilodeau
Bronze:
Vanessa James & Morgan Cipres

Ice Dance

  • The ice dance competition should look like USA vs. Russia with two sets of teams for each country.
  • The Shibutanis should be able to win this with the home ice advantage. I hope they continue in the same vein as last year – as in they have programs really suit them.
  • I would like to see what progress Hubbell & Donohue have made, though I feel as if I have a fondness for this team because of Marie-France Dubreuil & Patrice Lauzon (who I hope will be the new rulers of ice dance – I am ready for the end of the reign of Queen Marina).
  • I really hope that Ruslan Zhiganshin has really stepped up his game this season. It would be a pity for Elena Ilinykh’s talent to go to waste. She alone is better than Bobrova & Soloviev but unfortunately, ice dance doesn’t work that way.

Gold: Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani
Silver:
Elena Ilinykh & Ruslan Zhiganshin
Bronze:
Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue

What are your predictions for Skate America 2016? Let me know in the comments!

~The Rinkside Cafe

Debrief: NHK Trophy 2015

yuzuru 15 nhk lp

What a great ending to the seeded events in the Grand Prix Series. The final is shaping up to be fantastic. I apologize for the lateness of this post so let’s not tarry. More

Predictions: NHK Trophy 2015

mao 2015 lp

Another competition is upon us! The NHK Trophy is the last of the GP series before the Grand Prix Final and I am super excited!

In other news, CBC has reported that the ISU will use the standings from the SP as the final standings to calculate who gets into the GPF. This means that my predictions have completely gone into the garbage for TEB but in all honesty, I’m just glad that the skaters are safe. My continued thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by all of the terrible acts of terrorism around the world.

And now, back to our regular programming of predictions for this year’s NHK Trophy. More

Predictions: Skate Canada International 2015

Italy Figure Skating Worlds

I had forgotten about how fast-paced these GP competitions are in terms of the blogging schedule. I have just recovered from Skate America and now we’re on to Skate Canada! Some of the competitions here will feature some great and exciting match-ups, making predictions hard but I’ll do my best! More

Predictions: European Championships 2013

Wahhhhhh!!! Euros start tomorrow. Or wait, it’s already tomorrow in Europe. AHHHH! Ok, here are some predictions.

plushenko blows a kiss

Plushenko beckons you to read on… More

The State of the Union – Pre-Euros, 4CC and Worlds

Ahhh! Euros are here already? Ok. Start!

In my head (and I’m sure I’m not the only one) the figure skating season (or more precisely, the ISU-sanctioned competitions) is divided into two. First you have all the Grand Prix events culminating in the Grand Prix Final and then we have the major international competitions: the European Championships, Four Continents and Worlds. (The Olympics are sort of an anomaly while the World Team Trophy is a cheesefest for the ISU to earn a little more money and by the looks of the last competition, a way to right a few erroneous results at Worlds, though the title isn’t as prestigious.) I divide the season like this because the two halves sort of run with slightly different rules or at least the placements get shaken up a bit.

The changes in placements don’t quite affect the top echelon of A-list skaters or the B-list and below but it does shake things up with the lower end of the A-list. This is partly because of the way the competitors are stacked up at each half. The Grand Prix events have few A-list skaters and so it’s pretty obvious most of the time who are podium contenders are. Some skaters don’t start out well early in the season and don’t make it into the final but are a force to be reckoned with in the second half. This is especially true if the skater is from a country with a strong figure skating union and has the union’s political support. In the second half, political support has a bit of a stronger effect on the placements. The ultimate cream of the crop  of the top GP contenders will likely get higher scores and/or placements while those who are slightly below may find themselves lacking even more points from their PCS. Sometimes, political support can change the placements between two contenders from the same country.

In any case, to make everything short, it’s a slightly different ball game when it comes to Euros, 4CC, Worlds and to some extent, the Olympics. This year, the World Championships take on another level of significance because the placements this season will determine the number of spots each country gets for the Olympics. So without further ado, here are a few comments on the state of figure skating just before Euros are about to start.

Carolina Kostner 2013 SP

Carolina beckons you in. 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…

More

Skate America Highlights and Comments – Day 3

Again, this will have to be quick and a bit random because I have so much on my plate right now.


So the ladies LP. There were some clean and decent skates involved but the choreography and the execution in some of them left a lot to be desired.

Ashley Wagner skated a clean LP. That’s good but it would’ve been better if this program had more in it. Is it just me or are there entire sections where there’s barely any content? And how is it that the choreographer takes some of the best bits of the Bacchanale in Samson and Dalila and NOT take advantage of it? The posing in this case I didn’t mind because they were some of the best moments of the program but seriously, how do you not take advantage of that fast and furious end with the crescendo with a super fast scratch spin? And I may sound mean but that’s because the Bacchanale in Samson et Dalila is one of my favourite pieces of classical music. Ever.

Christina Gao also skated cleanly but the entire program reeked of awkward teenager. Girl, you have lovely long limbs. Pretend you are trying to extend them for miles and miles. Also, one movement should flow into the next. The choppiness of some of your movements ruins the effect and flow of the less staccato parts of Libertango.

First of all, who the hell gave Adelina Sotnikova “your call is valuable to us, please stay on the line and the next available customer service representative will be pleased to help you” music punctuated by Christina Aguilera singing? I’m really not sure what’s worse, the please hold music or the schizophrenic no-lyrics version of “Burlesque” or the random, non-sensical combination of the two in a program. I think I’d need a few shots of vodka in order for this program to make any sort of sense for me.

On to ice dance…

Meryl and Charlie’s FD this year to Notre Dame de Paris is supposed to be about love and connection. I suppose there’s more that here than in any other program I’ve seen them do but I can’t quite love this program as I loved their 2008/9 OD and FD. Or their Bollywood program. Or their SD this year. I think Meryl and Charlie need a little more time to find that connection to be able to skate as if they’re the only ones there in their own little world. I’m happy they’re trying to address their weaknesses and branch out, which is something I’ve always wanted to see from their Canadian rivals.

Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Sloviev are skating a lot smoother than before and Katia seems to have discovered how to use her limbs properly. As for this program, they beat Weave/Poje because they were able to skate it better than they did but I feel as if this program is too “French” for me. I’m not quite sure what’s going on between Dmitri’s roboticness at the beginning and then Katia flopping about at the end. That lift at the end where he’s holding onto her neck? That was not beautiful but just plain scary. I thought ice dance was supposed to look pretty no matter when you take a photo of the skaters. That, my dears, is not pretty at all. Just plain terrifying and creepy. Also, it is just me or does it feel as if Katia might be a little too tall for her partner?

Kaitlyn and Andrew didn’t skate as well as they wanted to and so some of their elements were downgraded which is how they fell in the standings and lost the silver. The good news is, they’ve found a pretty decent vehicle to carry them through this season. I didn’t think they would be able to follow up with something as good as “Je Suis Malade” but I admit this FD is creative, artistic and quite pleasant to watch. I look forward to seeing it again.

Anyways, I’m off! What did you think of the ladies’ and ice dance competitions?

~The Rinkside Cafe

Skate America 2012: Predictions

THE GRAND PRIX SERIES HAS BEGUN! HURRAH!

Meryl and Charlie beckons you to read on… More

The Universe Seems to Hate Pechalat/Bourzat

Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat seem to have no luck. Even though they state that they’d like to be World Champions in Nice, France at this year’s Worlds (fat chance), it seemed likely that the French ice dance pair were poised to take the bronze after recovering from a shocking result from Worlds last year which left them off the podium and upstaged by a young duo that had just begun their senior career. Their Egyptian FD can be perceived as Orientalist (though it’s somewhat mind-bogglingly entertaining) but all in all, these two have the technical skills to medal at Worlds.

Now, all of that is uncertain. According to this article, Nathalie has fractured her nose during practice and will be undergoing surgery Thursday morning. Their participation at Worlds is uncertain and even if they do participate, it is less certain (though it was never absolutely certain) that they will be a shoo-in for the bronze if they avoid any major mistakes.

People who could fill in the void created by the French pair (either through their withdrawal or shaky performances) would be two Russian teams eager to make a name for themselves for Sochi (and winners of the silver and bronze at Euros this year) – Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Sloviev and Elena Ilinykh & Nikita Katsalapov. I think these two teams have the highest chance of getting bronze after Nathalie & Fabian seeing that I don’t think the ISU would allow 3 North American teams on the podium.

When I’m talking about North American teams taking up the podium, I’m talking about the team with the best FD this season: Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje. Morozombie (whose blog I absolutely adore) thinks that these two will eventually be thrown off a cliff in favour of Gilles & Poirier but Kaitlyn and Andrew have improved leaps and bounds and they’ve been able to connect with the audience in a way that Paul Poirier and his partners cannot. I really hope that the Skate Gods will prove me wrong and allow Kaitlyn and Andrew to win. They’re a lovely couple who have the misfortune of being in Tessa and Scott’s shadow until the Olympic Gold medalists retire.

Anyways, time will tell. All I’m writing are opinions and conjectures.

March 26th to April 1st 2012. Worlds. Be there. Or at least online.

~The Rinkside Cafe

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