Fantasy Programs for Pyeongchang 2018

The Olympic season is the time when you want to show off your strengths and skate programs that suit your style. Of course, we all have different ideas of what that is but it’s always interest to fantasize about programs for a bunch of different competitors, which I’ll be doing today. Let me know if you agree with any of my picks!

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Predictions: Worlds 2017

Nathan Chen

Yes, I know, it’s been a while. Hello, darling Readers! Apologies for not putting up predictions for Euros of 4CC but things are busy on my end since the year began. It will be unlikely that I will post comprehensive predictions for the World Team Trophy (my guess right now is Russia, Japan and Canada though that may change after Worlds) since I’ll be on vacation right before it starts but we’ll see. For now, let’s content ourselves with our predictions for this year’s (very important) World Championships, which will decide how many skaters each country gets to send to the Olympics.

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Predictions: Skate Canada International 2016

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Tessa & Scott from Skate Canada International 2009.

I am so unbelievably excited for this weekend. I hesitated for the longest time to buy tickets but when I saw that Yuzuru and Tessa & Scott were on the roster, I was sold. Unlike Skate America last week, the roster here seems to be more focused on creating a pretty decent field with a seeded event. (Though right now, I’m good with the U.S. winning all the medals. Seriously, darling southern neighbours, you guys are already great. K? Hugs.) Now, onwards to predictions!

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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

Highlights from the 2014 World Championships

The 2014 World Championships had some really lovely performances. A lot of the time, the Olympics tire the competitors out and many top contenders don’t even participate. As a result, you get a few “he/she came out of nowhere” World Champions (Remember Kimmie Meissner? Neither do I.) and some tired performances. Not so this year. From the judging and the performances, I might have to say that I think I enjoyed the World Championships a lot more than the Olympics this time. In any case, here are a few of what I thought were the highlights.

For the last two seasons, it’s been really hard for me to take Tatsuki Machida very seriously because of his wacky Firebird program. His arm flapping definitely gave me more than a chuckle or two and despite his good results, I couldn’t quite appreciate his skating. He was consistent most of the time but he was not as compelling to watch as his other teammates, especially when bird-imitations were part of the vehicle to show off his skating prowess. This program and performance, however, changed my opinion of him. I don’t think Machida has skated this compellingly all season and somehow everything clicked in this performance. I was finally noticing some of the edgework and transitions in this program and he was channeling Daisuke Takahashi in this performance. Gorgeous program and wonderful skate – this is what it’s all about.

In terms of program content or choreography, there’s nothing extremely noteworthy about this performance but I don’t think Tomas Verner has done this well for ages. He bombed the LP but hey, forget about that and remember this highlight, Tomas.

That popped jump might have cost him a World title but I admit that Javier was very swoon-worthy in this program.

Ethereal. Perfection. And a World Record score. Enough said.

What a great comeback for Mao. I was tearing up by the time she got to her step sequence at the end. She didn’t get the Olympic gold but 3-time World Champion isn’t too shabby.

Ethereal as always and the PCS were just right. Both Mao and Carolina skated clean and despite the fact that she wasn’t the hometown favourite, Carolina had the highest PCS for this segment of the competition. Sochi judges, take note!

I was never a huge fan of this team but I like how this program builds to a climax ending with that lift that starts out on Dylan’s knee at the end.

I’m not particularly fond of this program but I felt that I needed to mention Savchenko & Szolkowy in this post. They ended their wonderful career on a high note and they will be missed so much. Aliona Savchenko will still be around but who knows if she’ll find a partner as good as Robin.

With Savchenko & Szolkowy gone, these two are my new favourite pairs team. They need to learn how to be more consistent and maybe ramp up their technical content but they remind me so much of Shen & Zhao. Every time I watch this program, I feel as if it was too short.

I wasn’t a fan of this dance at the beginning of the season but it’s really grown on me. This was just a splendid performance to cap off a very creative and wonderful career for Nathalie and Fabian.

I wasn’t a fan of the music choice at the beginning of this season – I thought it was slow and boring – but this program has become my favourite ice dance FD this year. Within the first minute of this performance, I was having chills. I am so happy that these two didn’t get completely screwed over by the judges as they have been all season. They’re good enough to contend for bronze but we all knew that the ISU didn’t want a North American podium sweep. And they wanted a Russian for the bronze position if they couldn’t get gold. (I thought Nathalie & Fabian deserved the Olympic bronze but what can you do?)

This was ADORABLE.

Oh Tomas, always the entertainer.

I think there’s a theme here. I seem to enjoy these quirky, funny exhibitions quite a bit.

Not a new exhibition but I love it all the same. It never fails to bring a smile to my face

Another highlight I wanted to add was the crowd. It was just such a refreshing change from Sochi where people were silent for everyone except for the Russians. It was also adorable that they respected Yuzuru’s wish for silence in the Kiss and Cry because Javier was on the ice and needed to concentrate. I know that Dave Lease says that the Sochi crowd wasn’t as rude as some other competitions but I don’t think that’s an excuse for their cold reception for non-Russians. It was a nice change having a crowd with so much joy and enthusiasm in all the skaters and the fact that they cheered for skaters from all different countries. Thank you for showing us what wonderful skating fans are like.

Anyways, I think I’ve bombarded you guys with enough videos for now. What were your favourite performances at Worlds this year? Tell me in the comments!

~The Rinkside Cafe

Predictions: 2014 World Figure Skating Championships

So, welcome to the predictions for the 2014 World Championships. For anyone who follows skating closely, you know that this event will be somewhat… less exciting to put it lightly because so many skaters opt out of the competition after an exhausting Olympic season.

Men

As expected, many of the top contenders have opted out of the World Championships this year, leaving the door wide open for reigning Olympic Champion, Yuzuru Hanyu, to strike gold on home ice. Yuzuru will be looking to improve on the Olympic performance of his LP, which was flawed but nevertheless was enough to win him the gold. Another competitor to look out for is Javier Fernandez who was skilled enough to win the Olympic medal but was kept off because he violated the zayak rule. Hopefully, he will have learned his lesson and will come out strong here.

Other contenders to look out for: Tatsuki Machida who’s had a strong season so far and also has home ice advantage. Maxim Kovtun, the windmill guy who beat Plushenko at Russian Nationals but didn’t go to the Olympics, therefore he’ll be more rested than the others and Han Yan, a young and talented newcomer. Jeremy Abbott may somehow prove that he can survive under pressure while Takahiko Kozuka, who is also well-rested may show us why he was once the World silver medalist.

Predictions:

Gold – Yuzuru Hanyu
Silver – Javier Fernandez
Bronze – Maxim Kovtun

Ladies

There has been quite a big buzz over the fact that Sotnikova isn’t going to Worlds and that the South Korean Olympic committee has filed an official complaint over the judging of the ladies competition. The big story then, is one of redemption by Mao Asada, who did not get the result we expected her to in Sochi. I hope that we’ll see her strong and that we can see her finish her career with a smile. Going against her is the young Russian phenom, Julia Lipnitskaia, who hopefully, has had less disturbing media attention since the Olympics and the Olympic bronze medalist Carolina Kostner. I have no doubt again that the judges will lowball Carolina’s PCS even if she’s the best performer with the best choreography this season.

A few other contenders to look out for: the rising star, Gracie Gold, who may actually be the Next American Ice Princess, Akiko Suzuki, who will undoubtedly be lowballed in PCS as always and Anna Pogorilaya, a Russian youngin who did well earlier in the season and will be well-rested for not going to Sochi.

Predictions:

Gold – Mao Asada
Silver – Julia Lipnitskaia
Bronze – Carolina Kostner

Pairs

The pairs competition will be a race for gold between Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy and Ksenia Stolbova & Fedor Klimov. The latter pair surprised us all but pitching in 3 solid performances in Sochi. S&S, I think, still has what it takes to win it but they’ll have to skate clean. As for the bronze medal, there are a few teams that have the technique, choreography and steadiness of mind and character that can take them to the podium and I think those teams are: Cheng Peng & Hao Zhang, Stefania Berton & Ondrej Hotarek, Meaghan Duhamel & Eric Radford and Kirsten Moore-Towers & Dylan Moscovitch. The bronze is going to be a tough call. As will be the gold. So here goes…

Predictions:

Gold – Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy
Silver – Ksenia Stolbova & Fedor Klimov
Bronze – Meaghan Duhamel & Eric Radford

I expect these predictions to be completely and totally wrong.

Ice Dance

The ice dance competition will be less exciting without the Davis & White and Virtue & Moir rivalry but this competition may end up  being the most revealing of them all. With them two dominating team gone, this competition may give us an idea of how the ice dance field will look like next season and for the next Olympic cycle.

Although I think that Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat should’ve won the bronze at Sochi (I knew they wouldn’t because they’re not Russian), they may see themselves on the podium, just not at the top. That spot will probably belong to Elena Ilinykh & Nikita Katsalapov who will likely be the top Russian team for the next cycle. Whether they can maintain this top position is a completely different question – not all the competitions are held in Russia, you know. We may see two Russia teams on the podium if Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev are well received in Saitama. However, we still need to keep an eye out for Igor Shpilband’s top team: Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte who have been skating strong all season. Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje will no longer be in the shadow of Virtue & Moir but they will likely be lowballed as they have been all season. However, I wanted to make this comment because Maria de Buenos Aires is a lovely FD and I want you to watch it.

Predictions:

Gold – Elena Illinykh & Nikita Katsalapov
Silver – Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte
Bronze – Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat

I’m somewhat unused to this roster and so I’m guessing that these predictions will be laughably wrong. What are your predictions? Share them with me in the comments!

~The Rinkside Cafe

 

 

Predictions: Cup of Russia 2013

Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje have posted a lovely picture of themselves, probably at practice at the CoR and then I realized I haven’t put up my predictions yet. I knew I shouldn’t have been watching all those videos of a random puppet screaming obscenities at one of my favourite youtubers. What am I doing with my life? Anyways, here’s the picture I mentioned and the predictions will follow. Onwards!

Kaitlyn Andrew 13 CoR prac

Photo from this Tweet.

Men

This is going to be a tough call and it will really depend on who will be more consistent: Javier Fernandez or Tatsuki Machida? The funny thing is, Machida has done quite well in the GP series last season as well as this season but he hasn’t made it to the World Championships because he hasn’t done well at Nationals and there’s a stacked field of competitors in the men’s competition in Japan. I’m not quite a fan of his style but he’s proven that he can pull off good skates in the face of some tough competitors. Fernandez, on the other hand, has tons of personality and skill but seems to falter at crucial moments. He didn’t start his season out too well so it’ll be up in the air in terms of how well he’s going to do at the Cup of Russia.

The bronze medal is also going to be a tough call. Maxim Kovtun did win a silver at the Cup of China, albeit in a weak field of men’s competitors. I didn’t like his windmill arms but apparently the judges do and that could get him a bronze here.

Predictions:

Gold: Tatsuki Machida
Silver:
Javier Fernandez
Bronze:
Maxim Kovtun

Ladies

This roster is another tough call for a few reasons:

1. Carolina Kostner‘s rough start to her season resulting in a bronze medal finish at the Cup of China. In addition to that, she lost to two jumping beans, one of them a youngin’ who just started in the senior circuit.

2. Julia Lipnitskaia fits the description of young jumping bean who just started in the senior circuit.

I’ve been reluctant to put Lipnitskaia at the top of my predictions mostly due to my opinion that she won’t last long at the top of the senior circuit. She’s a tiny wisp of the thing with jumping prowess now but her jumps are pretty low, landed with a shaky edge and with little speed coming out of them. The argument here is that despite my opinion and even if she doesn’t get high PCS, she has the potential to score a high TES that can snag the gold away from Carolina if she falters.

So now, the question for these predictions will be: Will Carolina skate clean? Her jump content will be weaker compared to Lipnitskaia but she’s ten times the performer compared to the youngin’.

As for bronze, Kanako Murakami got off to a rough start at the Cup of China (4th place) but Kanako tends to get better as the season progresses. If she doesn’t skate well, home-ice and Papa Mishin may be able to squeak in a victory for Elizaveta Tuktamysheva. She’s still full of star quality but puberty hasn’t treated her well and she tends to make a lot of costly mistakes in her short program.

Predictions:

Gold: Carolina Kostner (Please, Caro!)
Silver:
Julia Lipnitskaia
Bronze:
Kanako Murakami

Pairs

I’m surprised that Volosozhar & Trankov didn’t get chosen to skate here considering they are the most likely to win Olympic gold for Russia. Oh well, the victory at the Cup of Russia will likely go to their rivals then. I have no doubt that Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy will do well here.

As for the rest of the medals… Kirsten Moore-Towers & Dylan Moscovitch are generally uninspiring performers but technically good enough to snag a medal. Ksenia Stolbova & Fedor Klimov won bronze at Skate America with a large point difference between themselves and Moore-Towers & Moscovitch. That should make my silver and bronze predictions a little easier. Though Vera Bazarova & Yuri Larionov might throw off my bronze predictions. Who knows?

Predictions:

Gold: Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy
Silver:
Kirsten Moore-Towers & Dylan Moscovitch
Bronze:
Vera Bazarova & Yuri Larionov

Ice Dance

No dramatic building of the Team Canton rivalry here but this roster presents an interesting scenario. Katilyn Weaver & Andrew Poje and Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev both won silver medals at their first GP assignment. The difference however, is in the points. Kaitlyn & Andrew have been skating very well lately and have scored 10 points higher than Bobrova & Soloviev. One thing to consider, though, is the boost in points the latter team gets from home-ice advantage. This will definitely be an interesting match-up. What’s more interesting is that if Bobrova & Soloviev don’t win the gold here, we may see Ilinykh & Katsalapov take the top spot at Russian Nationals this year…

As for bronze, Madison Chock & Evan Bates, though skating to irritating or lame music, should be technically proficient enough to take the bronze.

Predictions:

Gold: Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje
Silver:
Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev
Bronze:
Madison Chock & Evan Bates

What are your predictions for the Cup of Russia? Let me know!

~The Rinkside Cafe

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