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: 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

Cup of Russia: Predictions

I’m running on very little sleep and I have very little free time so I apologize if this week’s predictions are a bit rushed.

Men

Patrick Chan (overinflated) Score will be present at the Cup of Russia and his only real competition at this point would be Jeremy Abbott, which makes me afraid. Very afraid. Jeremy can either do very very well or bomb his little ass off. Tomas Verner is still too weak this season (but should be able to make the podium) to make a run for the gold. I only wish I could put my faith in my darling Czech and hope that he will win me gold and prevent stupid Chan from winning.

Ladies

Miki Ando should probably win against a relatively weak field. Ksenia Makarova and Akiko Suzuki will probably be embroiled in a battle for silver unless Miki goes batshit crazy like in her pre-2009 years.

Pairs

I though Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov were off the GP because of injury but if they are competing, then they should probably win. They’re not fabulous but they’re a head and shoulders above Narumi Takahashi & Melvin Tran and Amanda Evora & Mark Ladwig. Being Russian also helps Kavaguti/Smirnov.

Ice Dance

After all their costuming problems in their last GP assignment, Faiella & Scali will probably get their costumes in order and take the title. The costume mishaps were really costly and at this point, I think it’s still a bit unclear as to who the top European team will be. We’ll have to wait until the GPF to find out. The two young Russian teams (Ilynkh & Katsalapov and Bobrova & Sloviev) will probably do very well and probably round out the podium with a fight for the silver.

The Cafe’s Picks:

Men: Jeremy Abbott (for the love of God and all that is holy)
Ladies: Miki Ando
Pairs: Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnoff (and if they aren’t competing, Takahashi & Tran)
Ice Dance: Federica Faiella & Massimo Scali

Miscellaneous

Also, just an amusing observation, PJ Kwong wrote an article entitled, “What to make of Skate America.” I wanted to demand an article entitled, “What to make of Skate Canada: how Patrick Chan won against a field that was better and cleaner than he was after falling 3 times in the short and being sloppy in the free” in the comments but the nationalistic crazies that roam the CBC website will probably be after my blood. If I had the money, I would buy them all a copy of Benedict Anderson’s “Imagined Communities” but I don’t wipe my ass with a hundred dollar bills so I will just blog about it sometime in the future. Even if I don’t, re-reading Anderson would not be a detriment in any way anyways.

Enjoy~!

~The Rinkside Cafe

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 – Men and Pairs

Due to lack of time, I have only the time to watch the top 3 of each discipline as well as a few favourites. I apologize for this. My life will be hectic for the next few weeks but I will do my best to deliver the snark and figure skating news.

Men

The adorable little non-flamboyant little Japanese skater, Takahiko Kozuka took the lead with a good skate. His soul SP didn’t quite suit him… actually I don’ t think anyone knows what kind of program will bring this talented kid out of his shell at the moment but he does have skating skills and with maturity, maybe we’ll see some wonderful heart-on-sleeve a la Michelle Kwan programs from him. I am a huge fan of Singin’ in the Rain and was super happy when my cute Czech boyfriend boy decided to skate to it. The program was decent at best, Tomas Verner stepped out of his 3A but compared to the stuff he did at the Olympics and Worlds, it was a pretty decent skate. He’ll never beat Kurt Browning for his skate to the same song but we can’t all be Kurt Browning. Darn. I’m not a fan of Brian Joubert‘s skating, although I am his fan for being P-overinflated head-Chiddy’s nemesis. However, Joubert surprised me with his flamenco/Latin SP – for once, I wasn’t totally bored to tears after the first few minutes! He had personality! And some musicality! *gasp* He landed a gorgeous quad toe-triple toe, stepped out of a triple axel and landed a gorgeous triple lutz. I cringed a bit at his arm-waving, which was a bit too Lysacek-esque for my taste so I hope he tones it down in future competitions.

At the moment, Kozuka has a small lead over Joubert while Verner has a tenuous hold on third place. I sincerely hope that we won’t see a hot mess from my darling Tomas because he is talented… just a crazy headcase though.

Men’s results here.

Pairs

My little Chinese pairs babies (Sui Wenjing and Han Cong) did well! Hurrah! When I saw the cowboy costumes, I started remembering the crazy cowboy ODs I had to sit through last year and shuddered but their SP was cute and fun! If it weren’t for the freak stumble that caused both of them to fall, they might’ve won the SP with that gorgeous throw triple twist (So clean! So high!) and throw triple flip. These two have what it takes to be at the top and I’m so proud of them. They trail Pang and Tong by 1 point at the moment. Pang and Tong had a strange mishap with their opening triple toes – Pang did one rotation and Tong stepped out. Caitlin Yankowskas (wearing a dress similar to Tessa Virtue’s 2006/7 OD dress) and John Coughlin delivered a passionate tango that put them in 3rd. The little Russians who won Skate Canada last week, Iliushechkina and Maisuradze finished 4th. I’m still trying to figure out what they got a deduction for what I thought was a pretty good performance.

At the moment, I see a race for gold and unless Pang and Tong have a batshit crazy LP, they should beat my baby Chinese pair, who I hope will win a medal. (Preferably gold or silver.) There could be a fight for bronze seeing that I have little faith in North American pairs skaters but who knows.

Results here.

Ice dance and ladies comments coming soon. I need some sleep right now.

~The Rinkside Cafe

Cup of China Predictions

Yay! A competition where there aren’t very many Canadian competitors so I don’t think about Chan and the highway robbery that ensued last week. In any case, I’m actually quite excited for the competition this weekend! Tomas Verner beckons you to read…

Men

Brian Joubert seems to be the frontrunner for this competition if his positive attitude and supposedly improved skating skills actually exist. As Chan’s old nemesis, I hope he does well. Takahiko Kozuka may be nipping at his heels if Joubert implodes. I’m looking forward to seeing how he’s improved. The kid has wonderful skating skills, he just needs to project his presence a little more during his programs. My darling crush, Tomas Verner has changed coaches, got a sports psychologist and has a new outlook for this year. Tomas has the talent and I hope that he can recover from his horrible Olympic season.

Ladies

The ladies competition will be way more exciting than last week. For one, there are a few exciting entries. If Miki Ando has truly recovered from her inconsistency as she did last season, she should be able to take the competition handily. Akiko Suzuki will be back and although I don’t think she will ever get on the Worlds podium, her story (recovery from anorexia) makes her super endearing and I hope that she will do well during the Grand Prix series like last year. Mini Yuna (aka Min-Jeong Kwak) will be there with her decent jumps and Yuna-esque lack of toe pointing but Mirai Nagasu might keep her off the podium. Mirai has established herself as a contender for Sochi through her 4th place finish at the Olympics and a 1st place SP at Worlds last year. Hopefully Frank Carroll can drill her so that she no longer underrotates her jumps and therefore, beat the incredibly… boring Rachel Flatt.

Pairs

Pang and Tong should sweep the competition again but this time, there are actually a few other interesting competitors. The race for silver may be the most exciting part of the pairs competition. The baby Russians aka Iliushechkina and Maisuradze will be appearing after their victory at Skate Canada last week. They will be facing tough competition by the names of Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, last year’s junior world champions (I&M were 4th) who did a successful throw quad salchow at their junior grand prix assignment in Germany. I love these two, I’ve adopted them as my little Chinese babies. I’m so excited to see how Sui and Han do in the senior ranks and I hope for a meteoric rise for these two. They’re so wonderfully adorable! *pinches their cheeks*

Ice Dance

The ice dance will be a European race for gold. The Italians, Federica Faiella and Massimo Scali will be fending off the now #1 French team, Natalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat. The Italians may have a slight edge over Pechalat/Bourzat in terms of skating skills as well a bronze Worlds medal, hence the prediction. The bronze may be a free for all, so I hope that a lovely young team will impress me somehow but at the moment, I’m feeling a bit pessimistic.

Predictions:

Men: Brian Joubert
Ladies: Miki Ando
Pairs: Pang & Tong
Ice Dance: Faiella & Scali

I hope that this weekend will be a lot more delightful than that hot mess last weekend.

~The Rinkside Cafe

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