Predictions: Worlds 2016

Gracie Gold 2016

I hope everyone had a lovely Easter long weekend! Once my precious days off were over, I realized that Worlds was starting very soon and I had to get my act together and do a Worlds predictions post. My last few predictions have been off the mark but hey, it happens and it won’t deter me from making more. So here goes!

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State of the Union: 2015/16 Season

shibsibs sci15 fd

I usually write my State of the Union posts in January so that it coincides with the actual American SOTU address but things kept coming around and I find myself writing this now. Which in hindsight, isn’t actually that bad because some monumental things have happened at National-level competitions, which change the tone of the figure skating world going into the World Championships.

This season, I’ll change it up a little. This post used to be a long rambling of all the bits and pieces and I figure I’d try a new format and focus on four main themes, one for each discipline.

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Debrief: Trophée Eric Bompard 2015

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Shocked. Heartbroken. Devastated. Words cannot describe my sadness over the events of last Friday in Paris, and as many have noted, the violence that is going on all around the world. I don’t know if there’s much I can say to help or improve the situation at all but I’ll share a quote from the late Jack Layton, a famous Canadian politician and just an all-around decent guy.

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.

In the wake of the tragedy, I’ll spare a bit of space here to say, don’t just pray for Paris, think. Use your head to light the dark corners of ignorance and sweep away the webs of misunderstanding that divide us. Use your heart to feel the pain of all those affected – Parisians, Lebanese, refugees – and remember that at the end of the day, we’re all just people trying to find happiness in the life that we’re dealt.

Moving onto the debrief on TEB, I guess I should start with the news that, as far as I know and from news articles, it seems that the ISU is still in the midst of making a decision on how to treat the results of TEB in terms of whether or not skaters qualify for the Grand Prix Final. Day 2 of TEB was cancelled in the wake of the attacks as France began a three day period of mourning. There were quite a few surprises in the short program and if the results of the SP become the final rankings then my predictions were completely and utterly wrong. Nonetheless, whatever they decide, let’s take a look at what went on last weekend. More

Predictions: Trophée Eric Bompard 2015

papadakis cizeron 14 coc fd

The competition looks pretty stacked for TEB 2015 so let’s get to it! My predictions last week were way off their mark and I have a feeling with so many wildcards about, it will be the same here. So onwards! More

Mother Russia Gets Her Pairs Gold Back

The individual pairs competition was a grand victory for Russia as she reclaimed the gold after Xue Shen & Hongbo Zhao abruptly stopped the 50 years of Russian pairs domination in Vancouver. The picture below says it all as we go through the stories of those on the podium.

2014 Pairs Olympic Podium

Volosozhar & Trankov win Olympic Gold

To skating fans who have followed this team in the last Olympic cycle, none of us were really surprised that Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov won the pairs gold and perhaps, starting another era of Russian pairs domination. V & T had a 5 point lead after the short program and even as their main rivals, Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy took the ice in the LP, it was hard to imagine that there was anything they could do to get the gold. V & T have been mostly solid technically all season and the choreography of their programs is well… palatable compared to anything else they’ve skated to in the past. (For the love of god, they skated to Evanescence a few years ago.) They were a little stiff in the LP but all in all, it was a well deserved gold medal.

Stolbova & Klimov – Spoilers for Silver

I think the most sensational story of the pairs event goes to Ksenia Stolbova & Fedor Klimov. For the past Olympic cycle, this team has only occupied the lower rungs of the Grand Prix podium if not at all and they have also yet to compete at the World Championships. Before the Olympics, I vaguely remembered this team as one that has often let me down when I peg them for the bronze medal position in Grand Prix events. Somehow, this team has magically blossomed overnight and has demonstrated that they have the technical skills and consistency to be at the top. Even though the figure skating events haven’t finished yet, I would say that their silver medal is probably one of the most unexpected of the sport this season. Kudos, guys.

A Disappointing End for Savchenko & Szolkowy

Things weren’t looking good for Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy after the SP when they were trailed V&T by 5 points after the SP. S&S brought back and shortened their acclaimed Pink Panther long program but unfortunately, even as a fan of theirs, I have to admit that there were too many pauses in the middle of the program and the choreography didn’t bring out the fun characters as much. According to the commentators at CBC, S&S’ motto was “Gold or nothing,” and I really wish that they had thought about it a little more when they went into their long program. Robin missed a jump and after a perfect and strong skates from both Russian teams, mistakes were extremely costly. S&S could have either executed a throw triple axel or an easier throw triple salchow for their last element and went with the former in hopes of gaining huge points. Unfortunately, Aliona fell on the attempt and the team got a bronze medal. I can’t help but think that they could’ve maybe squeaked by with a silver if they had done a clean salchow but what has happened has happened. What makes me sad is that these two are going down in history as a team with 2 Olympic bronzes despite having 4 World titles. These two are better than that but they couldn’t prove it in Sochi.

What did you think of the pairs event at the Olympics? Let me know in the comments!

~The Rinkside Cafe

GPF 2013: Figure Skating Politics

Aliona and Robin GPF 2013 LP

When I was watching the Grand Prix Final, this article from Figure Skating Lessons kept popping up on my mind as the competitions played themselves out. More precisely, point no. 1 really hit home as some really surprising results came  in. Like Haymitch’s sponsor gifts from the widely popular Hunger Games series, scores and placements in figure skating can send a message to skaters and there were a few messages that were pretty clear at this competition.

Before I elaborate, I’ll just underscore the importance of the GPF as a competition. Many of the world’s finest skaters have competed at the final and it will likely be the biggest international showdown before the Olympics. This competition gives a rough idea of what the standings may look like in Sochi and there isn’t going to be a competition where a lot of the big names meet until then. A lot of A-list skaters tend to skip the European Championships or Four Continents in order to be at their peak and ready for the Olympics.

In any case, here were some “messages” I feel like were being expounded by the judges at the GPF.

1. Bad skates cannot be rewarded.

Patrick Chan. Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov. Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev. The former two skater/teams were supposed to be a lock on gold while the last team was supposed to be a lock on bronze. I made my predictions for the GPF with full confidence that their PCS would be able to buoy their scores in case anything went wrong but that wasn’t the case.

 

Chan two-footed his 3A really awkwardly and doubled his lutz in the short.

Tatiana fell in two jumping passes in the LP.

Soloviev fell in the FD.

Normally, I wouldn’t be surprised if any of these transgressions were forgiven, especially for Chan and V/T, and their grasp for the gold medal maintained by their PCS. (I mean, we still remember Chan being booed at the 2012 World Championships in Nice for a reason.) However, that forgiveness from the PCS didn’t happen and those with locks on certain medals ended up a tad lower than I expected. Wow. I seriously didn’t think that would happen.

But then again, this is the Olympic year and it’s nearly been 12 years since the Salt Lake City figure skating scandal. Despite being a decade-old scandal, the empty or emptier arenas and the end of the golden age of figure skating keeps the scandal fresh in the minds of fans. This is an interesting message to send to skaters and fans alike that bad skating will be duly noted in the scores but whether or not PCS inflation for specific skaters will happen at the Olympics is another matter. We’ll just have to wait and see.

2. Meryl Davis & Charlie White will likely get the ice dance crown in Sochi.

Tessa & Scott and Meryl & Charlie faced off against each other for the first time this season at the GPF and wow, am I impressed. Both teams delivered two great performances and this is what I’ve been looking for from all skaters this season.  Bravo!

In any case, I think we know who the judges prefer this season and overall, I’m not surprised. Meryl & Charlie won both the SD and FD by very small increments. In the SD, V/M scored higher on the TES but only trailed their rivals by 0.7 overall. In the FD, a level 3 diagonal step sequence proved to be costly for V/M and with a slightly lower PCS, D/W won that portion of the competition as well. In the past few seasons, Tessa & Scott have been having trouble beating their rivals and training mates but I think V/M have finally gotten on track and are giving their rivals a run for their money.

However, the lower PCS for V/M should be a point of concern if they want to win the Olympics. Now that they’re back at where they need to be technically, I fear that politics have come into play. This season, Canada has the ability to win two gold medals in figure skating in the men’s and ice dance competition. The only difference is that Canada has already won the ice dance Olympic gold in Vancouver but they’ve never managed the men’s gold even with brilliant stars like Kurt Browning and Jeffrey Buttle. It will be difficult to back two gold medal contenders at the Olympics and I think Chan is the household name that Skate Canada wants to sell this season, which may not bode well with V/M. The PCS score allows judges to diversify the figure skating podium along nationality, lowballing skaters who may not be ranked #1 in their country or lowballing certain skaters in one discipline to allow another to triumph in another discipline.

I think I’ve reached a zen state about politicking and I know that it will always be a part of this sport which I love dearly. Judging art will always be affected by the political or social climate of the time and is therefore, subjective – I find Bach a little dull at times but I love the elegance and “shiny” quality of Mozart but for one of my best friends, she shares the opposite opinion. Right now, I’m really tired of the negativity and hate from both sides of the V/M and D/W fanbase. What I see here is the triumph of ice dance where two teams have been pushed to create and skate in ways that are far superior to what we’ve seen before. Personally, I don’t really care what medals they win, they both deserve gold for what they’ve done to the sport and they both triumph if they’ve delivered a beautiful program.

What were your thoughts on the politics of the GPF? Let me know in the comments!

Also, thank you all so much for the support I’ve been given during the GPF. Your comments and views motivate me to write and I’m so happy that you enjoy my random ramblings!

~The Rinkside Cafe

Predictions: Grand Prix Final 2013

mao asada 13 japan open lp2

*insert expletives here*

I didn’t realize that the GPF started… TODAY until people on facebook pointed it out. Luckily, I’m not covering the junior competition so I have 4 hours before the senior competition starts off with the men’s short program. Stop panicking, stop panicking, stop panicking. OK. Predictions, let’s go!

Men

Thank goodness I didn’t make these predictions when I made the roster post two weeks ago since Daisuke Takahashi has pulled out of the competition due to injury. This doesn’t look good for his Olympic bid… Feel better soon, Daisuke!

Patrick Chan broke his own records at TEB this year, and at this point, I’d be very surprised if ANY skater can beat him. I won’t dwell on it since you readers will know I’m not a huge fan of his style but you’ve heard it from me, I think he’s going to win a lot of things this year. Like the Olympics, probably.

With some hometown advantage, I think Yuzuru Hanyu has the potential to medal at the GPF. Without Daisuke on the roster, Yuzu is likely to be the fan favourite in Fukuoka this week and if he skates both programs clean, he has a good shot at silver. Nipping at his heels will be teammate, Nobunari Oda, who is looking to do well at this competition. In fact, the pressure is on for the Japanese men who seek a spot on the Olympic team. A medal at the GPF will definitely bolster their chances if they do well at Nationals later on in the season. Oda has done decently well and has shown that he’s on his game this season. If he can count, of course.

Some of you may be wondering why I’m not really thinking of Tatsuki Machida as a threat to the GP podium since he did win both of his GP events. The explanation is simple: the roster in both his GP assignments (Skate America and the Cup of Russia) were weak save for maybe one strong competitor who has faltered somewhat through the season so far (i.e. Takahashi, Fernandez). Machida is better than most of the B-list skaters and some A-list skaters on a bad day, but I’m not sure if he can compete with A-list skaters who have not faltered or haven’t skated too badly this season.

Predictions:

Gold: Patrick Chan
Silver:
Yuzuru Hanyu
Bronze:
Nobunari Oda

Ladies

The ladies competition is surprising this season: two veterans and four youngins’, all from Russia. The young teenagers may have wispy figures that enable them to jump like frogs, but the veterans may have the advantage for their jump ability as well as their ability to articulate music. I expect veteran and crowd favourite, Mao Asada, to win the competition. Her jump content may not be as difficult as some of the younger ladies but Mao has developed a great sense for the music that we don’t really see in competitors at the beginning of their careers.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Ashley Wagner did well too. Like Mao, her PCS will be the thing that will put her above the younger Russian ladies.

As for the four Russian ladies, all of them are talented in their own right but there’s a little bit of a conundrum here: the ladies who have won GP assignments did so, again, with weak rosters and skaters who were not on-game while competitors like Elena Radionova have won lesser medals but only to veterans who were on top of their game. Out of the four ladies, Elena Radionova, Julia Lipnitskaia, Anna Pogorilaya and Adelina Sotnikova, I may keep my eye on the former two. Sotnikova to me, seems like the weakest link in the foursome with Pogorilaya a little ways behind her.

Predictions:

Gold: Mao Asada
Silver:
Ashley Wagner
Bronze:
Julia Lipnitskaia

Pairs

Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov will likely win this event and probably the Olympics. Here, I’ve said it. Mother Russia wants her gold back and V/T have been skating flawlessly this season. They’re strong and ready to take back the pairs glory for Russia. Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy will try their best to take that away but they haven’t skated with the same amount of consistency as their rivals. As for the bronze, I think that Qing Pang & Jian Tong have shown that they’re back in the game and a head above the rest of the skaters on the roster.

Predictions:

Gold: Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov
Silver:
Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy
Bronze:
Qing Pang & Jian Tong

Ice Dance

The REAL ice dance competition is here: Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir and Meryl Davis & Charlie White will finally face off for the first time this season. I love both teams and I love this rivalry of Yagudin/Plushenko proportions. (I only wish that fans of either team would stop being hostile towards the rival skaters.) In any case, I think at this point in the season, the competition will go to Meryl & Charlie. Their scores have been higher all season and their programs have run into less issues – all in all, they’ve been more consistent. But then again, figure skating fans know very well that ice is slippery and the skate gods could prove me wrong.

As for the bronze medal (I seriously love how the gold and silver are always accounted for when V/M and D/W are both in the same competition), I have a feeling that Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev will take it here and the Olympics for Mother Russia cannot bear the shame of not getting at least a medal in this event. Getting the GPF bronze sets B/S on a course towards Olympic bronze and with home ice advantage, we all know that these two will do well in Sochi.

Predictions:

Gold: Meryl Davis & Charlie White
Silver:
Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir
Bronze:
Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev

What are your predictions for the GPF? Let me know in the comments!

~The Rinkside Cafe

Predictions: NHK Trophy 2013

I’m still sorting out my thoughts on the Cup of China this year so there may be a combination CoC and NHK thoughts post in the future but for now, a predictions post is due.

daisuke 13 sa

Let’s hope these predictions will go a little better this time…

Men

There are three Japanese men skating at NHK this week and somehow, I can only see one man skating well. Usually, I’d name Daisuke Takahashi to that charge but Daisuke hasn’t been skating to the standard I expect from him lately. Instead, I’ll pin my hopes for two solid skates on Nobunari Oda, who’s done well this season and would’ve won silver at Skate Canada if he hadn’t violated the zayak rule within the first minute of his long program. (Yes, I’m still miffed about that.)

However, another person to watch would be Javier Fernandez who took the bronze at Worlds this year. I expect him and Oda to be duking it out for gold. It’ll be a tough call as to who will win.

Adam Rippon may be another skater to watch since he’s seems to have matured and done rather well at Skate America. I’m not sure if he’s still at that stage where the audience has no clue which Adam will show up (the angel or the headcase) but I guess this is a test. If he skates well here, I may have to peg him as a serious competitor in all my predictions this season.

Predictions:

Gold: Nobunari Oda
Silver:
Javier Fernandez
Bronze:
Daisuke Takahashi

Ladies

I cannot tell you how happy I was to see Mao Asada skating well again. This season, Mao just looks longer, leaner and skating with a maturity and strength that I’ve never seen before. Yes, her programs have not been perfect but her win at Skate America might give her some good momentum for the Olympics this season. As for this competition, I think she can grab the gold if she skates well. She’ll have tough competition from her fellow countryman, Akiko Suzuki, who won silver at Skate Canada.

I think that the podium will be rounded off by Gracie Gold, who’s shown that she’s something of an entity in the Grand Prix circuit but will need to skate more consistently and give us more if she’s to become the top U.S. lady.

Predictions:

Gold: Mao Asada
Silver:
Akiko Suzuki
Bronze:
Gracie Gold

Pairs

There is no doubt in my mind that the winners of this event will be Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the gold was theirs every time their name pops up. Looking at the competitors, I’m sure they could fall once or twice and still win.

Two Chinese teams showed that they still had it this season and I expect them to round out the podium as well. I’m talking about Wenjing Sui & Cong Han and Cheng Peng & Hao Zhang. The former won silver at Skate Canada while the latter won bronze, to my utmost surprise last week at the Cup of China. Stylistically, there’s an elegance reminiscent of Shen & Zhao that I see in Peng & Zhang but I think Sui & Han might have the advantage this season at least for their big tricks. We’ll see how these these two teams do. I’m so sad that China only has two slots for pairs at the Olympics and one of these teams will likely not go.

Predictions:

Gold: Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov
Silver:
Wenjing Sui & Cong Han
Bronze:
Cheng Peng & Hao Zhang

Ice Dance

I’m pretty sure that the number 1 and 2 slot will be filled in quite handily by Meryl Davis & Charlie White and Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte, respectively. It’s the bronze that might be a bit of a tough call. The fight for bronze will likely be a showdown between Maia & Alex Shibutani and Elena Ilinykh & Nikita Katsalapov. We have yet to see I/K’s programs but I can’t quite seem to connect with the Shibsibs’ MJ/whatever free dance. It’s a strange choice for the Olympics since it’s not at all anything that we’ve seen from them and the concept of it is unclear to me. I think for that I’ll give the edge to I/K. Who will hopefully give us something better than that terribly tacky Ghost FD from last year.

Predictions:

Gold: Meryl Davis & Charlie White
Silver:
Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte
Bronze:
Elena Ilinykh & Nikita Katsalapov

What are your predictions for the NHK Trophy? Let me know in the comments!

~The Rinkside Cafe

Highlights from Skate America 2013: Day 1 and 2

I wasn’t able to find a livestream for Day 1 of Skate America which made me really sad and an appointment with my awesome friends lead me away from the livestream for the ladies and pairs SP today. I’m catching up with the competition events as I’m writing this post while also waiting anxiously for the men’s LP event. In any case, here are what I think to be the highlights of Skate America 2013, Day 1 and the first half of Day 2.

Mao 13 SA SP

Day 1 Highlights

I thought the men’s SP competition was just ughhh. Either the programs were unmemorable or memorable in the worst ways (Jason Brown looked as if he was having a seizure on ice) and it was just not the best night of skating. The only silver lining I’ll admit to is this quad lutz from Adam Rippon. I found the rest of the program rather paltry.

I’m starting to warm up to this SD even though I’m, in general, not a fan of Marina’s SDs. I think this program will get better as the season goes on – I expect Meryl and Charlie to be faster and skating with more flow and I hope that their toe-pick moments in the Finnstep can be a little sharper. Good start to the season overall.

Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte had an adorable SD. I’m not completely sold on the program but it’s one of those programs that’s fun to watch. What’s notable is that these two had a higher TES than Meryl and Charlie because of their step sequence (D/W got a level 3 vs. C/L who got a level 4). I’d like to see a little more speed in the Finnstep sequence but in general, I like the look of their Finnstep best out of any competitors this season so far. When I first saw the Finnstep, I really liked the crisp, clean feel of the pattern and the toe-pick season and I think these two have captured it well.

I feel as if I’ve seen this program many times before from the Shibutani siblings but I’ve included this program on the list purely because I love that midline step sequence in their program. Otherwise, I’m slightly disappointed that their movements weren’t as clean and polished because this type of program is right up their alley.

Day 2 Highlights (Part I)

Mao Asada leads the ladies after the SP and right now, I am so happy that my predictions are slightly off. THIS is the Mao I’ve been looking for for the past 4 seasons. I think I still prefer her 2006 Nocturne program but I am so happy to see her skating a lot better than she did in the past couple of seasons. I think she’s finally grown into her body, found decent vehicles/programs to carry her through at the Olympics and her bravery will always be there, ever constant, always unwavering. THIS is the Mao I wanted to see for the Olympic season and I’m glad that she’s starting out the season pretty well!

Ashley Wagner had a good skate and that’s all I can really say. Figure skating is definitely subjective in its scoring and for me, I acknowledge that Wagner skates solidly but I’m just not taken with her style. She just doesn’t have that sparkle quality that I find in Midori Ito or Michelle Kwan or even Mao and Yuna. I think it’s because I find her a little clunky and that she tries a little to hard for my taste. Again, this is just a subjective thing so feel free to disagree.

My little favourite baby Russian, Elena Radionova had the second highest TES of the night! This is a great start to her senior career! There were moments where I wish she would finish her movements but overall, this is a good beginning to what I hope will be a long and successful career.

Pairs skating has become extremely depressing now that Shen & Zhao aren’t making a comeback, Takahashi & Tran are gone and the likely winners of the Olympic gold will win with a tacky-tastic program set to the music of Jesus Christ Superstar. In any case, there was only one silver lining in the pairs competition at Skate America.

The choreography is nothing to gush about but I do have to say that this program was skating impeccably by Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov. (And I love the Masquerade Waltz.) I’m sure that once the Olympics come along, the masses who haven’t paid attention to figure skating during the non-Olympic season and have no clue what makes a good program (or great skating) will lap it up, which works to their advantage. The program’s not bad but after seeing so many programs of horror (*cough* Evanescence *cough*), anything that’s not hideously tacky is a good program for them.

I’d post the programs that came in second and third in the pairs SP but none of these programs were really highlights. Kirsten Moore-Towers & Dylan Moscovitch skated a sad program and I mean sad as in droopy plant – it was lifeless and not interesting even though the music was quite charming. As for Ksenia Stolbova & Fedor Klimov – the music was unexpectedly boring for a flamenco piece and was performed in such a slightly boring way. Two solidly skated programs, both oh so dry to watch. As for Stefania Berton & Ondrej Hotarek… I’m so disappointed that they ended up skating to elevator music which was supposedly the soundtrack to “The Mask.” Ughhhh…

What did you think were the highlights of Skate America so far?

 

Predictions: Skate America 2013

I am heartbroken right now. I was supposed to go to Skate America or Skate Canada but things fell through and alas, I will be stuck watching this at home. Sigh. Well, here are my predictions, whether or not I’m in Detroit.

shibsibs

Men

As predicted in this post of mine written last month, I said, ” [Evan] Lysacek is assigned to Skate America and the roster is often compiled to give the home favourites an easy win so I’m guessing he may get on the podium at the very least at Skate America just to prove he still “has it” OR he’ll conveniently get an injury and not compete at all.” It seems that the latter has come true, according to this article. Lysacek has a hip injury that will conveniently take him out of competition until some B-list events like the NRW Trophy that Yuna Kim competed in last year. I kind of like the snarky reference to the sponsor issue in the Chicago Tribune article and honestly, I call bullshit to some degree about sponsors not factoring into his decision. Skating is an expensive sport and sponsors are important. I suppose I should cut him some slack since most people would say that money is not an issue to look less… mercenary (using a word from Pride and Prejudice). Evan Lysacek aside…

Takahiko Kozuka looked in good shape at the Japan Open this year, after a disappointing season last year, as he handily beat fellow countryman, Daisuke Takahashi, who will also be competing at Skate America. I’m not sure if Daisuke’s expressivity will be able to trump Takahiko’s clean(er) program and solid skating skills. Daisuke’s jumps and spins looked terrible at the Japan Open and he’s also the type of competitor who’s a little weak at the beginning of the season. In any case, I just hope that Daisuke can at least get on the podium but his level of skating leaves the door quite open for other skaters.

A wildcard that can surprise a whole lot of people here is Denis Ten who was a surprise spoiler for silver at the World Championships last year. The only problem with Denis is that he is completely unpredictable. His sudden rise at Worlds was completely unexpected because he’s a known headcase but let’s hope that things go well for him. Good skating is always appreciated. UPDATE: Denis Ten will not be competing due to illness. More info in this article.

Max Aaron also has a chance to take a medal on home ice. After all, he did win U.S. Nationals last year and his results at other competitions haven’t been terribly atrocious. As well, home ice does tend to favour their own people.

This will be a difficult prediction to make…

Predictions:

Gold: Takahiko Kozuka
Silver:
Max Aaron
Bronze:
Daisuke Takahashi (please don’t let me down, Daisuke)

Ladies

The contest for gold I think will come down to two ladies here at Skate America: Mao Asada and Ashley Wagner. Mao’s looking more solid than she’s been in the last two seasons and she seems to have grown into longer and leaner body. However, with a home ice advantage and a solid skate at the Japan Open a while back, I think the gold will go to Wagner. Whether she can stay near the top for the rest of the season is altogether another debate.

As for the bronze medal, I’m hoping that the little phenom, Elena Radionova, will dazzle us all. Elizaveta Tuktamysheva might be able to squeak a win but she’s grown inconsistent of late. I’m sure there will be fans arguing on behalf of Caroline Zhang, who has improved in the last few seasons and Samantha Cesario, who seems to have quite a few fans but I’ve never quite understood the hype about this girl.

Predictions:

Gold: Ashley Wagner
Silver:
Mao Asada
Bronze: 
Elena Radionova

Pairs

Without a doubt, Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov will win this competition. They are a head and shoulders above the rest. As for the harder predictions to make, the silver and bronze – well, let’s just say I’m really unenthusiastic about making these predictions because the pairs field is once again, really lame. I’d say the silver will go to Kirsten Moore-Towers & Dylan Moscovitch. They’re not a bad pair but they’ve been tumbling down the ranks in international competitions because *The* new Canadian pairs team, Duhamel & Radford. As for bronze, I’m hoping for a victory for Stefania Berton & Ondrej Hotarek since I like their classic pairs style of skating but they’ll face competition with Caydee Denney & John Coughlin on home ice and of course, another Russian team, Ksenia Stolbova & Fedor Klimov.

Predictions:

Gold: Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov
Silver:
Kirsten Moore-Towers & Dylan Moscovitch
Bronze: 
Caydee Denney & John Coughlin

Ice Dance

Without looking at the roster, I know already that the winners here will be Meryl Davis & Charlie White. I just hope that they’ve improved since their last competition. At Skate America, Meryl & Charlie just need to concentrate on improving themselves, the rest of the competition don’t really matter. Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte will likely place second after finishing strongly in 4th at Worlds last season. This means that they’ll likely beat siblings, Maia & Alex Shibutani. Who knows, I’m hoping for surprises here.

Predictions:

Gold: Meryl Davis & Charlie White
Silver:
Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte
Bronze: 
Alex & Maia Shibutani

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