Predictions: NHK Trophy 2016

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The exhaustion is real, people. I have spent the entire day talking about how tired I am and I will do so again if I don’t keel over and sleep. Keeping it real simple like I did with TEB  – names on the podium. I’ll hopefully have time to spell out my thoughts a bit more before the GPF. The roster here is fairly strong and hopefully that’ll make the predictions a little more straightforward. Though you never know. Ice is slippery, after all. Now, predictions!

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Predictions: Skate America 2016

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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

Predictions: Skate America 2015

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The Grand Prix Series is upon us and it’s time for predictions! It’s been a long summer and I’m a little rusty so let’s hope that I can make some predictions that aren’t completely embarrassing. I have yet to get completely caught up with the test skates and whatnot so many of these may end up being a shot in the dark. More

Predictions: Four Continents 2015

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See? I said I would put this up on time! The Four Continents Championships are upon us and it’s time to make some predictions! Like the European Championships, there will be a few interesting match-ups amidst the relatively weak roster including, the return of Pang & Tong!

As for my Euros recap post, I’m working on it so please bear with me. More

Skate America 2014 – Highlight and Commentary

Last weekend was Skate America, the first senior Grand Prix event and somehow an event that made me regret the spectacular Olympics that was Vancouver 2010.

Why do I mention Vancouver 2010 now, do you ask? Well, Vancouver was an exceptional Olympics, figure skating curses were broken and a whole lot of talent competed. Some triumphed while others were left hungry and hungry enough to stay for another 4 years. However, once that next cycle was over, all of those talented, hungry skaters left, leaving a huge void that clearly showed last weekend.

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I’ll tell it to you straight: I was bored during 98% of Skate America. So be warned, I’m not going to have a lot of nice things to say here. More

Predictions: 2014 Skate America

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The skating season is upon us already! Time for predictions! This season is definitely going to be a huge surprise as a bunch of veterans have left and the newbies have come to play in hopes of being the next big thing in figure skating. Establishing a role as the new figure skating world leaders seems to be the theme at this year’s Skate America and the predictions for the bottom of the podium will definitely be difficult. With that, let’s begin!

Men

Tatsuki Machida and Dennis Ten look to be the stronger competitors at this competition so far. Machida has shown himself in the past season to be a serious contender for the top 5 in men’s skating and his consistency is helping him in that goal. Since last season, Machida has skated with a fire that allowed him to place 5th at the Olympics (and he was a serious contender for bronze) and 2nd at Worlds. If he skates well, he can take away the gold here. Ten, on the other hand has been known to be inconsistent, especially at the beginning of the season.

Home ice advantage goes to Jason Brown after a strong debut in the senior ranks with a LP that went viral last season. I am of the unpopular camp who didn’t find anything particularly remarkable about the Riverdance LP but he’s poised to be America’s next male skating sweetheart and we all know how popularity affects one’s skating career around here.

Predictions:

Gold: Tatsuki Machida
Silver:
Jason BrownBronze: Dennis Ten

Ladies

Gold is the name of the game here and with a perfect last name, media darling status and with a nation that is obsessed with finding America’s Next Top Ice Princess, Gracie Gold should be looking to secure herself as the top American lady. With home ice advantage and a relatively weak competition, she should be able to take gold, if maybe purely by PCS. One lady who could knock her off the top spot is Elena Radionova, a talented young Russian lady with star quality and acting ability like no other. Elena’s jumps looked a little shaky and low in the Russian test skates and I seriously hope that puberty has not affected her skating ability.

As for the bronze medal, I would keep my eye out for the two other American ladies, Samantha Cesario and Mirai Nagasu. I’ve never found anything remarkable about Cesario, though other bloggers would beg to differ, but she has produced some pretty decent mid-rank results in past GP events. With a weak field, she could boost her rankings up a few places. Nagasu, on the other hand, has worked pretty hard in the past few years to stubbornly show that she is not irrelevant and there have been times where she has proven us just that. The pick for bronze will be a tough one and I may result to either just pure gut feelings or a coin toss.

Predictions:

Gold: Gracie Gold
Silver:
Elena Radionova
Bronze: Samantha Cesario

Pairs

The pairs competition will be a battle between a relatively new couple and an old one. Veterans Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov who had faded into the background in pairs skating in general will likely have a showdown with Cheng Peng & Hao Zhang for the gold. The latter team have been together for only two seasons but in those 2 short years, they went from barely being able to touch each other to one of the most dazzling pairs teams on ice. If a year can allow them to improve leaps and bounds, I wonder what another year will do for this new team.

As for the bronze, Haven Denney & Brandon Frazier and Alexa Scimeca & Chris Knierim are teams I haven’t really heard of but their results in international competitions look rather similar. I might just leave the bronze prediction up to a coin toss here. Any thoughts to sway me towards one of two teams or another team altogether?

Predictions:

Gold: Cheng Peng & Hao Zhang
Silver:
Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov
Bronze: Alexa Scimeca & Chris Knierim

Ice Dance

Madison Chock & Evan Bates will be looking to fill the void left by Davis & White as the top American ice dance team. The Shibutanis haven’t quite gotten the support from Marina Zueva since their debut in the senior ranks and I would not be surprised if this continued. Still, the Shib sibs should be good enough to get the silver while the bronze is again, a mystery to me. I believe Alexandra Stepanova & Ivan Bukin were Junior GPF champions so I’ll put them in for bronze though honestly, it could go any way at the moment.

Predictions:

Gold: Madison Chock & Evan Bates
Silver:
Maia & Alex Shibutani
Bronze: Alexandra Stepanova & Ivan Bukin

Well, I have no clue if any of these predictions are going to be any good. What are your thoughts and predictions? Let me know in the comments!

~The Rinkside Cafe