Predictions: Skate America 2018

Nathan Chen

Skating season is upon us and between being on and off sick, the cold weather and my packed calendar, I’m not sure if I’m ready. Either way, onwards we go, there is no turning back! Skate America predictions, let’s go!

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Predictions: Skate America 2016

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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

Debrief: Skate America 2015

sui and han sa 2015

The figure skating season started last week at Skate America. The competition had many surprises and overall, I thought it was a great start to the season! Let’s start with some highlights.
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Predictions: Skate America 2015

alexa scimeca chris knierim cor

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: 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

Skate America 2012: Predictions

THE GRAND PRIX SERIES HAS BEGUN! HURRAH!

Meryl and Charlie beckons you to read on… More

The Senior Grand Prix Series is almost here!!!

Who’s excited??? Here are the dates for each of the events:

Skate America
Ontario, U.S.A
October 21st to October 23rd
Entries

Skate Canada
Mississauga, Canada
October 28th to October 30th
Entries

Cup of China
Shanghai, China
November 4th to November 6th
Entries

NHK Trophy
Sapporo, Japan
November 11th to November 13th
Entries

TEB
Paris, France
November 18th to November 20th
Entries

Rostelecom Cup
Moscow, Russia
November 25th to November 27th
Entries

Grand Prix Final
Quebec City, Canada
December 8th to December 11th
Entries – tba!

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

Skate America: The Spoiler for Bronze

As expected, Daisuke Takahashi won Skate America. His LP wasn’t perfect but it was enough to beat Nobunari Oda who seems to need to services of the Count from Sesame Street. One of my friends has long expressed a wish to give him a calculator. Oda did an extra combination that was not counted towards his score. His overall score was 1 point below Daisuke’s.

Daisuke has now guaranteed himself a spot in the finals while Oda should probably have a spot as well with two silver medals and 26 out of 30 possible points. (If he doesn’t, I will have more the reason to hate P-stupid-Chan because Oda should’ve won Skate Canada.)

Although many of us expected Adam Rippon to do well and get the bronze, he was a bit of a hot mess in the long and was 7th for that segment.

The person who stole the bronze was his teammate, Armin Mahbanoozadeh, who has perhaps the most amusing last name in history. Just say it really fast out loud. I assure you it’s fun. I must say, I don’t really know what I should think of this guy. Although this is neither here or there, I have to say that he’s pretty cute although his face, limbs and technique horrifyingly remind me of Evan Lysacek sometimes.

Like Lysacek, he has thin ankles and long arms and legs. Unlike Lysacek, he takes advantage of them some of the time and forms lovely sweeping lines that go on forever. Like Lysacek, he seems to have the unfortunate penchant for windmill arms. Unlike Lysacek, it’s not the only thing his upper body does and he does not grope his hair or body as Lysacek does. Unlike Lysacek, he does have a few interesting tricks in his bag like that spread eagle into a triple lutz (I wish his spread eagles had a little more flow and that he would hold the edges for just a little longer) and that interesting bent leg spin. Speaking of spins, he, unlike Lysacek has more variety with his spins. He is not limited to a camel, sit spin, pancake or shotgun combination spin. Also unlike Lysacek, he has a degree of musicality that allows him to skate to non-dramatic music. So in the end, I’m not sure what to make of this guy. I sort of want to bring him to a coach that will work on his edges and Shae Lynn Bourne for intricate and gorgeous choreography that would take advantage of his lines and get rid of all his random Lysacek-esque epileptic arm waving. Thoughts?

Podium:

Gold: Daisuke Takahashi (guaranteed a spot in the final)
Silver: Nobunari Oda
Bronze: Armin Mahbanoozadeh

Freeskate results here.

~The Rinkside Cafe

Skate America: Kana-chan is my hero

The ladies free skate has just ended and the adorable Kanako Murakami has won the gold, even though Rachael Flatt won the free skate. She snatches gold from Rachael by 2 points. Carolina Kostner didn’t totally freak out but she fell on a triple loop and singled an axel and doubled another loop. Not having a flip or lutz definitely hurt her scores as well. In any case, the 2010 junior World champion has made a splash in the senior ranks, that’s for sure! Yay for Kana-chan!

Podium:

Gold: Kanako Murakami (!)
Silver: Rachael Flatt
Bronze: Carolina Kostner

Full results here.

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