Predictions: 2014 World Figure Skating Championships

So, welcome to the predictions for the 2014 World Championships. For anyone who follows skating closely, you know that this event will be somewhat… less exciting to put it lightly because so many skaters opt out of the competition after an exhausting Olympic season.

Men

As expected, many of the top contenders have opted out of the World Championships this year, leaving the door wide open for reigning Olympic Champion, Yuzuru Hanyu, to strike gold on home ice. Yuzuru will be looking to improve on the Olympic performance of his LP, which was flawed but nevertheless was enough to win him the gold. Another competitor to look out for is Javier Fernandez who was skilled enough to win the Olympic medal but was kept off because he violated the zayak rule. Hopefully, he will have learned his lesson and will come out strong here.

Other contenders to look out for: Tatsuki Machida who’s had a strong season so far and also has home ice advantage. Maxim Kovtun, the windmill guy who beat Plushenko at Russian Nationals but didn’t go to the Olympics, therefore he’ll be more rested than the others and Han Yan, a young and talented newcomer. Jeremy Abbott may somehow prove that he can survive under pressure while Takahiko Kozuka, who is also well-rested may show us why he was once the World silver medalist.

Predictions:

Gold – Yuzuru Hanyu
Silver – Javier Fernandez
Bronze – Maxim Kovtun

Ladies

There has been quite a big buzz over the fact that Sotnikova isn’t going to Worlds and that the South Korean Olympic committee has filed an official complaint over the judging of the ladies competition. The big story then, is one of redemption by Mao Asada, who did not get the result we expected her to in Sochi. I hope that we’ll see her strong and that we can see her finish her career with a smile. Going against her is the young Russian phenom, Julia Lipnitskaia, who hopefully, has had less disturbing media attention since the Olympics and the Olympic bronze medalist Carolina Kostner. I have no doubt again that the judges will lowball Carolina’s PCS even if she’s the best performer with the best choreography this season.

A few other contenders to look out for: the rising star, Gracie Gold, who may actually be the Next American Ice Princess, Akiko Suzuki, who will undoubtedly be lowballed in PCS as always and Anna Pogorilaya, a Russian youngin who did well earlier in the season and will be well-rested for not going to Sochi.

Predictions:

Gold – Mao Asada
Silver – Julia Lipnitskaia
Bronze – Carolina Kostner

Pairs

The pairs competition will be a race for gold between Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy and Ksenia Stolbova & Fedor Klimov. The latter pair surprised us all but pitching in 3 solid performances in Sochi. S&S, I think, still has what it takes to win it but they’ll have to skate clean. As for the bronze medal, there are a few teams that have the technique, choreography and steadiness of mind and character that can take them to the podium and I think those teams are: Cheng Peng & Hao Zhang, Stefania Berton & Ondrej Hotarek, Meaghan Duhamel & Eric Radford and Kirsten Moore-Towers & Dylan Moscovitch. The bronze is going to be a tough call. As will be the gold. So here goes…

Predictions:

Gold – Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy
Silver – Ksenia Stolbova & Fedor Klimov
Bronze – Meaghan Duhamel & Eric Radford

I expect these predictions to be completely and totally wrong.

Ice Dance

The ice dance competition will be less exciting without the Davis & White and Virtue & Moir rivalry but this competition may end up  being the most revealing of them all. With them two dominating team gone, this competition may give us an idea of how the ice dance field will look like next season and for the next Olympic cycle.

Although I think that Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat should’ve won the bronze at Sochi (I knew they wouldn’t because they’re not Russian), they may see themselves on the podium, just not at the top. That spot will probably belong to Elena Ilinykh & Nikita Katsalapov who will likely be the top Russian team for the next cycle. Whether they can maintain this top position is a completely different question – not all the competitions are held in Russia, you know. We may see two Russia teams on the podium if Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev are well received in Saitama. However, we still need to keep an eye out for Igor Shpilband’s top team: Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte who have been skating strong all season. Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje will no longer be in the shadow of Virtue & Moir but they will likely be lowballed as they have been all season. However, I wanted to make this comment because Maria de Buenos Aires is a lovely FD and I want you to watch it.

Predictions:

Gold – Elena Illinykh & Nikita Katsalapov
Silver – Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte
Bronze – Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat

I’m somewhat unused to this roster and so I’m guessing that these predictions will be laughably wrong. What are your predictions? Share them with me in the comments!

~The Rinkside Cafe

 

 

Predictions: Skate Canada 2013

Skate Canada is upon us! Onwards with the predictions! I apologize for any typos, by the way. My house is really cold and my fingers aren’t cooperating with me at the moment.

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Men

Patrick Chan is competing. In Canada. If you still don’t get it, I’ll put it in an equation for you:

Chan + skating in Chanada = instant gold. Sigh.

As for silver and bronze, expect a tough battle between the young prince, Yuzuru Hanyu, and his older teammate, Nobunari Oda. This is going to be a tough call.

Predictions:

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

Ladies

The ladies competition is another tough call. Little youngin’, Julia Lipnitskaia recently beat veteran, Akiko Suzuki, at the Finlandia Trophy. However, Akiko starts out the season a little rough and improves throughout the GP series. (After the GP series, she gets undermarked in the PCS and drops in the rankings at competitions…) As for Lipnitskaia, I really do wonder about her skating career. She may be winning the medals now but puberty is acoming and her jumps are frightfully low and she doesn’t come out of them with a lot of speed or flow. That’s a very bad sign for things to come when the ice and gravity is less forgiving once puberty sets in.

Katelyn Osmond has home ice advantage (and I swear I see her Olympics feature ad more often than any other skater on CBC for some reason) and she’s the defending champion but according to PJ Kwong’s CBC article, she’s been struggling with injuries lately. That and I attribute her win last year more to the mistakes of her competitors than her own skating. Gracie Gold may be the one to snatch a medal away from Katelyn if the latter’s skating is abysmal enough. Though it will be a tough call with the home ice advantage that Katelyn has…

Predictions:

Gold: Akiko Suzuki (please, Akiko, don’t let me down!)
Silver:
Julia Lipnitskaia
Bronze:
Gracie Gold

Pairs

I hate doing pairs predictions. Or pairs competitions in general. They’re just not as exciting or beautiful as they used to be.

In any case, Meaghan Duhamel & Eric Radford are in a position not unlike Joannie Rochette 4 seasons ago: they’ll never touch the top two teams – S&S and V&T – just as Joannie couldn’t really touch Mao or Yuna but they’re better than the rest of the field, which is why their improvement in the rankings and skating ability is so exciting: they’re poised to take Olympic bronze. At Skate Canada though, they’ll probably take the gold. As for the rest of the medals, lets just say that these predictions won’t be pretty.

Stefania Berton & Ondrej Hotarek let me down at Skate America by not getting bronze but I know they have it in them to get on the podium at GP events. I’m not a fan of their programs but they are lovely to watch. There was also a time where I absolutely adored Wenjing Sui & Cong Han but after missing a season, I’m not sure where they stand amongst their competitors, especially after a 12th place finish at Worlds. Another team to keep an eye out for: Paige Lawrence & Rudi Swiegers. I was quite impressed with Paige’s drive and competitiveness in the CBC documentary, “Ice, Sweat and Tears,” but I hope that it will translate into the team’s skating. Home-ice advantage will also give their scores a boost which might help them in their quest to medal. In all honesty, I’m not confident about these predictions beyond the gold.

Predictions:

Gold: Meaghan Duhamel & Eric Radford
Silver:
Stefania Berton & Ondrej Hotarek
Bronze:
Wenjing Sui & Cong Han

Ice Dance

Just like their rivals, Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir will take the gold quite handily unless they withdraw. *hopes that that doesn’t happen* Their teammates, Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje, seems to have overcome their injury from last season and are skating strong as they have in the past few seasons. I expect them to get the silver. The bronze medal seems to be the tough call since there aren’t that many standout teams in this competition. If I were to hazard a guess at the bronze medal team, I’d say that it could go to Ekaterina Riazanova & Ilia Tkachenko, who medaled at two GP events last season (both bronze), which makes them a head above the rest of the list after the two Canadian teams.

Predictions:

Gold: Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir
Silver:
Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje
Bronze:
Ekaterina Riazanova & Ilia Tkachenko

What are your predictions for Skate Canada 2013? Let me know in the comments!

~The Rinkside Cafe

Trophee Eric Bompard 2012: Predictions

So today, I came across the concept of a regression analysis, which is super interesting because it is essentially what Nate Silver did on fivethirtyeight to correctly predict the electoral college outcomes for 50 out of 50 states and the District of Columbia in the most recent U.S. presidential election. My curiosity has led me to ponder whether I should somehow try to create a regression model to predict figure skating results though I’ll definitely need a lot of guidance and help and maybe more information on it in general. Personally, it might be less biased and a lot easier on me if a mathstatsmagician wizard like Nate Silver could come along and create a model because I hold firm on the adage that ice is slippery and that a regression model would probably fail to capture the insane world of figure skating where the location, the proximity of the Olympics, whether or not you’re sleeping with Nikolai Morozov, all sorts of ridiculous things come into play.

In any case, I’ll do my predictions the same old way as I did before but I may try to see if I can come up with a regression model if I manage to have any free time. For TEB, I would actually love to have statistics do all the work for me because the roster is not only kind of boring but the playing field is quite level, which means I’ll have to piddle around with a whole bunch of B-list skaters to figure out the lower rungs of the podium.

A fierce Liza beckons you in… More

Skate Canada International 2012: Predictions

Ok. I totally should be doing something else right now but I suppose I do need to do these predictions before the competition starts tomorrow as well. I also have a few comments on Tessa and Scott’s Carmen FD but those will have to wait until the weekend.

Prediction time! A picture of Tessa and Scott in practice beckons you in…

More

Cup of Russia 2011: Pairs Long Program

Again, I don’t have a lot of time on my hands right now so I can only blog here and there. I watched the last 5 teams for the pairs competition but I’ll only blog about the top 3 because the rest of them were terrible and a pain to watch. I want those 15 minutes of my life back. I’ll post videos when they’re up but for now, you’ll just have to settle for my rambling. In any case…

Bronze – Stefania Berton & Ondrej Hotarek

I just put a random team in the bronze position for my predictions because I really had no clue who these C-list teams were. The Russian team I put in bronze did come in fifth place but this team really took me by surprise. And in a pleasant way. Berton and Hotarek have yet to get all the technical elements to compete with the top teams in the world but there’s a real connection between the two of them and they’re quite lovely to watch. Stefania has lovely lines and they have a flow that some teams would die for. I’m very happy for their bronze and I hope they improve in time.

Silver – Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov

Something has changed with these two. Or should I say, Yuko seems to have improved by leaps and bounds. Her knees are a lot softer now and she looks less like a possessed psychopathic ball-jointed voodoo doll. I’m really glad they kept this program and that they’ve improved it because I really wanted to download it onto my computer for offline viewing but I couldn’t find a version I liked because of how it was skated. I was always too creeped out by Yuko’s floppy dead voodoo doll look throughout the program, especially in the ending pose. I dunno if they can beat Tanya and Max (my instinct says no) but I’m glad that they’re doing this program justice because it’s a lovely piece of work. I was rather impressed by the team’s new found flow and softness. I don’t know what Tamara Moskovina did, but I have nothing but respect for her right now.

Gold – Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy

Pina is a very interesting program. Aliona and Robin mentioned that it was one program that you either love or hate and I think I’m leaning towards the former. It’s creative and although it’s a bit of a work in progress, I’m having a lot of fun watching it. It’s quirky, interesting and unexpected and I think that’s what really pulls me towards it. Aliona and Robin didn’t skate this perfectly (Aliona stepped out of her 2A and put her hand down) but I have faith in these two and I know that this program will be uber awesome at future competitions. I’m very happy that they’ve redeemed themselves from that bronze medal at NHK. Good work, guys!

LP results here.

Overall standings here.

What did you think of the pairs competition at CoR?

~The Rinkside Cafe