Predictions: 2018 Olympic Games

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It has come to this moment. The Olympics are upon us and I have no clue how I’m going to survive with the time difference, work, and all my other commitments. However I do it, I will give you my predictions nonetheless. Onward!

Men

Ice is indeed slippery and I actually have no clue how I will make up the predictions for the men’s event. Even as I type this, my mind is whirling with the possibilities and I will likely make a random guess at the end. There are a lot of contenders and possibilities in the men’s field and at this point, it’s anyone’s game. Nathan Chen leads the quad squad and whether he keeps his momentum from the GPF is yet to be seen. Should he falter, there are many who can take the helm of Olympic Champion including Javier Fernandez, who will not get penalized as harshly should he violate the zayak rule this time. The two time World Champion doesn’t have all the quads but the judges have shown that they are willing to reward him for his skating skills and well-executed programs.

Not to be underestimated is Shoma Uno, despite not showing the pizzaz we’ve seen in previous seasons. In the past, we’ve seen Uno use his near wins as fuel for the future but somehow, with Olympic pressure mounting, I don’t quite see the same determination this season. Nonetheless, he is still a force to be reckoned with. Also in the mix is Boyang Jin and Mikhail Kolyada. Neither of them really have superb skating skills like Fernandez but they do have quads and spotty consistency, which may work for an interesting podium.

Defending Olympic Champion, Yuzuru Hanyu, is coming back from injury and the fact that he’s not doing the team event doesn’t bode well. I wish him all the best but the cautious side of me will likely not put him on the podium. I sincerely hope he proves me wrong.

Predictions:

Gold: Nathan Chen
Silver:
Javier Fernandez
Bronze:
Shoma Uno

Ladies

The battle for gold will be likely between Alina Zagitova and Evgenia Medvedeva. Zagitova has only been consistent at Euros this season but assuming the Olympic curses are in full force, I’ll put her in as the surprise win at Pyeongchang. Medvedeva looked solid coming out of injury after Euros and frankly, the fate of the gold medal is in her hands. If she skates clean, she should be able to top her teammate. I’m just not sure if she’s recovered enough to clinch the gold

As for bronze, there are a number of ladies who are strong contenders. Canada’s hopes rest on Kaetlyn Osmond, who seems to be unraveling under all the pressure (there was some buzz that she was the best hope to beating Medvedeva last season) and to a lesser extent, Gabrielle Daleman, who has an outside chance should a large number of women falter as they did at Worlds last year. Carolina Kostner has been looking strong and better than ever and her bronze at Euros is a sign that the judges are willing to put her over Maria Sotskova, who has risen above the rest of the strong Russian ladies field to take the last spot on the Olympic team. Some dark horses include the very consistent and surprise National Champion, Bradie Tennell, and the two Japanese ladies, Kaori Sakamoto and Satoko Miyahara. This will be a difficult podium to determine.

Predictions

Gold: Alina Zagitova
Silver:
Evgenia Medvedeva
Bronze:
Carolina Kostner

Pairs

The battle for gold will be exciting and it will likely come down to two very worthy teams: Aliona Savchenko & Bruno Massot and Wenjing Sui & Cong Han. I would be pleased as punch if either of these two teams win though in the event that they skate perfectly, I suspect that Savchenko & Massot’s innovative LP will have the edge over Sui & Han’s Turandot. Overall, the team who skates clean will likely capture the gold.

Other podium contenders include Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov skating to a very confusing LP, and Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford, who have some of the most difficult elements in the pairs competition. Duhamel & Radford may have what it takes to win but they have been struggling with consistency this season, and the judges aren’t always generous with the PCS.

Predictions:

Gold: Aliona Savchenko & Bruno Massot
Silver:
Wenjing Sui & Cong Han
Bronze:
Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov

Ice Dance

I was pretty sure of Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron’s victory when they got world record scores on non-home ice at the Cup of China and their GPF win also seals my suspicion that the judges will place them over their main rivals, Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir in Pyeongchang. Virtue & Moir have learned from their former Olympic experience and made some very effective changes to building a crescendo for the end of their program but I’m not sure if it’s enough at this point. Nonetheless, there should be a lot of pride in being Canadian flag-bearers and a legendary team in skill and longevity in the sport.

There is one very small ray of hope for V/M fans – I do find it interesting that Skate Canada was pushing *extremely* hard for Tessa & Scott during Nationals. Given that the recent competitions in France have been… on the frugal side *cough* plastic stars instead of medals *cough*, an economic argument could be made to keep the Canadian fans happy, as they have steadfastly bought a chunk of the seats to competitions held in Canada. Still, this is pure speculation on the political side of the sport, and of all the predictions on this post, I’m most confident about the ice dance results.

As for bronze, it will likely be a toss-up between the two American ice dance teams – Maia & Alex Shibutani, and Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue. The latter won Nationals after a critical mistake by the Shibsibs in the FD and it looks like the judges won’t be forgiving to the Shibutanis if they do the same in Pyeongchang. It will be an exciting match for bronze as Hubbell & Donohue have really started to show the confidence and skill that has always been within their potential.

Predictions:

Gold: Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron
Silver:
Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir
Bronze:
Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani

Team Event

Let’s face it: nothing has really changed from Sochi and there are still really only 3 countries that have a shot at the podium in the team event. Other countries, like France and China have yet to develop a well-rounded team where there are adept competitors in each discipline. The Olympic Athletes from Russia have the most solid team and will likely win gold again, though the race for silver might be a little tighter this time, depending on the results of the single skaters from Canada. If Patrick Chan and the Canadian ladies can muster two good performances, they can probably maintain a good lead over the Americans. If not, the silver will slip out of their fingers.

Predictions:

Gold: Olympic Athletes from Russia
Silver:
Canada
Bronze:
U.S.A

What are your predictions for each podium? Do you think I missed anyone? Let me know in the comments. For live tweets during the Olympic events, follow my Twitter @rinksidecafe!

~Rinkside Cafe

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Beijing to Host 2022 Winter Olympics

I’m not sure if you remember but late last year, I wrote a post about the clip on John Oliver talking about how no one wanted to host the 2022 Olympics. Except Beijing, China and Almaty, Kazakhstan. I even put up a poll to see which city you wanted to see the Olympics at! If you’re wondering about the results…

poll 2022

Alas, for those who voted for Kazakhstan, it was announced today that the 2022 Olympics will be held in Beijing – the first capital city in the world to hold both Summer and Winter Olympics. Somehow I’m not surprised and I’m not sure how to feel about it. I think I’ll wait and see what’s in store.

What do you think of the IOC’s decision to put the Olympics in Beijing? I’d love to hear your opinions in the comments!

~The Rinkside Cafe

Olympic Ladies Event – A Few New Problems Come to Light

One of biggest problems with the Olympics is that videos get removed from youtube faster than you can say, “Olympics” because of copyright issues. However, the IOC seems to have established their own youtube channel and have uploaded the Olympic performances. After re-watching Sotnikova’s programs, I continue to stand by my opinion that her PCS were inflated.

Firstly, here is a link to an overview of the PCS and its criteria. When we think of the scores, let’s keep in mind the definitions of each number when we say that the PCS is marked from 0 to 10:

9-10 – Outstanding
8 – Very good
7 – Good
6 – Above average
5- Average
4 – Fair
3 – Weak
2 – Poor
1 – Very poor
<1 – Extremely poor

Adelina received scores mostly in the 8s in her SP and 9s in her LP. Yes, the scores themselves are subjective but each PCS has its own criteria to limit how we define “average.” The following are the criteria of the PCS and my take on it. More

Sochi 2014: Worst Judging I’ve Ever Seen – Ladies Event

You know, I can accept that Russia won the team event. As someone who prefers Tessa and Scott, I can also accept and celebrate Meryl & Charlie’s win at the Olympics. Adelina Sotnikova’s Olympic gold, however, is the one accolade I refuse to accept and this ridiculousness in judging is an insult to anyone who holds the title of “Olympic Champion.” I am so disgusted with this result that I refuse to cover or watch any more competitions in Russia until this bullshit judging has stopped because if this is how things are going to be judged in Russia, then may no figure skating competition be ever held there ever again. So, if you’re wondering why I haven’t made predictions for the Cup of Russia for the next few seasons, here’s why.

sotnikova and judge

I think all commentators were shocked when Sotnikova won. Kurt Browning said that she was not a complete skater, as did Dick Button. Katarina Witt, former Olympic Champion, has also told the media that she thought Yuna Kim should’ve won and she is joined by a whole host of knowledgeable people in the figure skating world.To also put this whole debacle into perspective, consider this: Sotnikova’s season’s best score before the Olympics was 20 points below her Olympic score. Of course, somehow we have the media trying to rationalize what happened by saying that Adelina had a higher Technical Elements Scores (TES) and while that is true, we have to consider that the TES is only half of the story. In fact, what didn’t make sense in Sotnikova’s scores were her Program Components Scores (PCS). So for those who are still scratching their heads at the result, here are my two cents as well as a general recap of the ladies event in Sochi. More

The Best Two Ice Dance Teams to Have Ever Graced the Ice

vm dw 2014 owg

For once, my Olympic predictions were not so far off but that is the nature of this discipline. In ice dance, it is the subtleties that matter and sometimes mistakes are imperceptible to the average viewer. Here is a recap of sorts of the ice dance event at the Olympics and my two cents. Hopefully this post will help balance things out amid the news reports and angry rants by sportscasters who fully admit to knowing nothing about the sport. More

Olympic Ads: Mao Asada Airplane!

Are you excited for the ladies short program tomorrow?

Anyways, I was wandering the intertubes when I found this! JAL unveiled an airplane with Mao on it sometime before Christmas. In the video, I think Mao said that this was a nice Christmas present. I don’t think she owns the plane but I think she was honoured (and surprised) that her face was on a gigantic airplane. (I believe it’s the 777 model.)

There’s a pop singer there too, Tatsuya Ishii. I have a few of his songs on my iPod. He sounds way better than in this video. So as a treat…

Enjoy~!

Have you seen any ads featuring figure skaters in your country? If so, link me in the comments or via Twitter (@LanternBell).

~The Rinkside Cafe

The Future is Here! All Hail Yuzuru Hanyu – Olympic Champion!

Yuzuru Hanyu 2014 OWG LP

The men’s competition in Sochi was packed full of surprises for better and worse. The result is still a little bit of a shock but somewhere deep down, I think I was expecting it. Or maybe, a lot of us just managed to see what a talent this guy was back at the beginning of the Olympic cycle and he certainly proved us right. Thanks, Yuzuru!

Also, the men’s figure skating Olympic curse seems to be in full effect after taking a small break in Vancouver. (For those of you who don’t know, the “curse” is that the man who was World Champion from the previous year/season will not win Olympic gold. All the figure skating “curses” were broken in Vancouver but so far, they seems to be in full effect.) Anyway, let’s start this brief recap of the men’s figure skating competition with one of the biggest game changers… More

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