Predictions: Grand Prix Final 2019

Alena Kostornaia 2019

I know I’m a little late but I haven’t looked at the results yet, so let’s go so I can do just that!

Men

The main story in the men’s event at the Final will be an epic showdown between Yuzuru Hanyu and Nathan Chen. With Hanyu healthier than he was at Worlds last year, this will be a good gauge to see how they stack up going into Worlds. I honestly don’t know what to expect – both of them are superb competitors and time will tell here.

As for bronze, my pick will likely be Alexander Samarin, who did quite well in France and won on home ice, which suggests a good degree of consistency so far this season. His previous competition results suggest that he generally ranks above his teammate, Dmitri Aliev, as well as Kevin Aymoz, who has had a bit of a breakthrough season.

Predictions

Gold: Yuzuru Hanyu
Silver: Nathan Chen
Bronze: Alexander Samarin

Ladies

The potential for a Russian sweep of the ladies podium is high at the GPF this year, with team Eteri’s new batch of young skaters doing 3As and quads. The race for gold will likely be a tight one between Alexandra Trusova and Alena Kostornaia.

Personally, I find Trusova’s PCs to be a little ridiculously overscored, especially if you watch her after Rika Kihira, or even Marin Honda, who despite having a rough time in the senior competition, has excellent skating skills, and buttery transitions. As I’ve maintained since the beginning, I honestly don’t understand why PCS is scored on a range when they’re marking very different and disparate categories and why they tend to correlate with your TES. Either way, the judges have been rewarding this current batch of jumping beans quite generously on the PCS front regardless of their actual ability to perform artistically, and have coherent, articulate programs, and with a 3A recently flagged as part of her arsenal, Trusova will be force to be reckoned with at the Final.

That’s not to say that her main challenger, Alena Kostornaia, has no change of snatching gold away. Kostornaia has been a refreshing newcomer to the mix, with good flow and musicality, and solid skating skills in comparison to a lot of the skaters coming out of the Tutberidze camp. Her scores have come close to Trusova’s over the season, thanks to the 3A but should Trusova land all her quads and her own 3A, it may be a little difficult for Kostornaia to catch up.

Anna Shcherbakova is another competitor not to be missed since she has a lovely 4Lz and is somewhat in the middle between Kostornaia and Trusova in terms of skating skills, performance, etc. With clean programs, I would not be surprised if she can also have a good shot at gold should her Russian teammates falter.

Rika Kihira will likely try to be a spoiler for a medal here. Kihira has slowly been building her consistency throughout the season and had intended to jump a 4S at NHK. Whether we’ll see that jump at the Final, we’ll have to see but personally, if she feels comfortable with the jump, I’d say she should go for it to increase her comfort with it in competition.

Predictions

Gold: Alexandra Trusova
Silver: Alena Kostornaia
Bronze: Anna Scherbakova

Pairs

While we’ve always known that Wenjing Sui & Cong Han are a great team, I think we’re finally seeing them settle into that with a full season (fingers crossed) – well, half a season now, ahead of them. Sui & Han will be looking to produce two consistent and hopefully clean skates, and this competition is theirs to lose.

For silver and bronze, I think I’d peg the two young Russian teams of Anastasia Mishina & Aleksandr Galliamov, and Daria Pavliuchenko & Denis Khodykin, who have been putting in consistent performances throughout the GP series, though will need some time and work to improve their performance quality, which is expected of young teams.

Predictions

Gold: Wenjing Sui & Cong Han
Silver: Anastasia Mishina & Aleksandr Galliamov
Bronze: Daria Pavliuchenko & Denis Khodykin

Ice Dance 

The results in ice dance this season has been generally predictable and stable throughout competitions. Overall, I have no doubt that Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron will dominate the entire competition, potentially with record breaking scores if they skate clean.

Generally below them with a healthy margin will be Victoria Sinitsina & Nikita Katsalapov. I’m a little surprised by the rise of this team. They have good ice coverage and some interesting elements in their programs but overall, I find their style to be overly ornate to the point of distraction. At times, their choreography is busy to the point where they get a little sloppy and I honestly want to see them power forward on the ice with cleaner movements and smoother edges. Anyways, my opinion isn’t important because it seems like the judges are clearly putting them above the rest of the pack but below the current World Champions.

The most interesting bit of the dance competition will likely be the race for bronze. Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue have been generally been the ones in that position but the judges seem to have given them some clear signals this season that their hold on this spot is tenuous, especially with the silver at Skate Canada. Admittedly, the winners of that particular leg of the GP, Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier, were on home ice, the fact that the judges were willing (and I believe, justified) in give them to the gold is a good signal for 1) H&D to revise their programs and 2) that Gilles & Poirier are in a good position to gun for the top dance spot in Canada at Nationals this year, potentially a top 5 finish at Worlds, and for this week, a chance for bronze.

Madison Chock & Evan Bates will also make an attempt for bronze, or at the very least, a chance to outscore Hubbell & Donohue to put themselves in a good place to take the top dance spot at American Nationals this season. Of all the three teams, I’m not really sure who will take the bronze but for now, I think I’ll play it safe and maybe I’ll be surprised by the result.

Predictions

Gold: Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron
Silver: Victoria Sinitsina & Nikita Katsalapov
Bronze: Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue

How are my predictions so far?

~The Rinkside Cafe

Predictions: Cup of China 2019

I literally have 20 minutes before I need to head out. Names on page, let’s go.

Men

Gold: Keiji Tanaka
Silver: Matteo Rizzo
Bronze: Boyang Jin

Dark horse: Junhwa Cha

They are *really* trying to get Jin a medal here, aren’t they?

Ladies

Gold: Anna Shcherbakova
Silver: Elizaveta Tuktamysheva
Bronze: Young You

They are not going to mark Satoko Miyahara properly here. Or Marin Honda’s PCS for that matter.

Pairs

Gold: Wenjing Sui & Cong Han
Silver: Cheng Peng & Yang Jin
Bronze: Alisa Efimova & Alexander Korovin

Bronze was a wild guess.

Ice Dance

Gold: Victoria Sinitsina & Nikita Katsalapov
Silver: Madison Chock & Evan Bates
Bronze: Laurence Fournier Beaudry & Nikolaj Sorensen

Has a chance at bronze: Kaitlin Hawayek & Jean-Luc Baker

~The Rinkside Cafe

Predictions: Worlds 2019

yuzuru hanyu 2018 helsinki

It’s time for World Championships and also time for predictions! There’s no time to waste, let’s go!
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Mid-Season Favourites

Marin Honda 17 COC SP
The mid-season mark has passed and I’m fully aware I’m late but hey, better late than never, right? Either way, I do love Olympic programs since they generally showcase the best that a skater can offer. Most of the time. I’ll try not to include any repeat programs this year since it seems to be the vogue these days *cough*Moulin Rouge for almost 3 seasons *cough* so here goes!
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Predictions: NHK Trophy 2017

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I would not be surprised if the competition has started already by the time I’m writing this. It has been a busy week and I need to go to bed, and soon. Redux version of predictions now. Names on page, and here we go.

 
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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: 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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Predictions: Four Continents 2016

IMG_1594

The Four Continents competition is upon us! The competition will be held in Taipei, Taiwan this year and if you’re going, be sure to check out some awesome local food and here’s a survival guide for a happy journey around Ilha Formosa! As for the skating – here are my predictions! (I sincerely hope I redeem myself a little bit after those disastrous predictions for the GPF…)

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Mid-Season Favourites for 2015/2016

It’s a little late but I thought, why not? It’s time to make my mid-season picks for my favourite programs! As always, I will select my favourite short and long program from each discipline.

Men

There are moments in the step sequence where it looks like the blades are controlling Adian and not the other way around, which is something I’d like to see him improve on but there’s something very nostalgic about this program. It’s very Yagudin-esque somehow. At the very least, Pitkeev and his programs this season are a good reminder that not all Russian men skate like windmills having convulsions on ice.

Do I really need to say anything about this program and this skate?

Ladies

The choreography to this program is quite lovely and it suits Zijun Li very well. It shows off her delicate, airy quality – packaging at its best.

I love the step sequences in this program and for once, the vocals aren’t terrible. Whoever sings this was a pretty good Cio-Cio san. From start to finish, this program puts you under the spell and oddly enough, there aren’t noticeable slow parts that leave you bored in the middle. In general, a well-balanced program.

Pairs

For me, Seguin and Bilodeau are a fun team to watch but they lack polish – they don’t always finish their movements, lack extension and don’t point their toes (grrr). This Cirque de Soleil program, however, manages to cover up these flaws with this whimsical, fun theme that really suits their energy and style. A prime example of great packaging for a team.

I love the music of Samson and Delilah and I love this program. There’s drama but not too much of the cheesy variety and the little choreographic touches like when Sui slides under Han’s legs – gorgeous. Another program showing packaging at its best. These two have grown up to be mature, sophisticated performers and this program is the perfect vehicle for them to show that to the world.

Ice Dance

I often get really frustrated when skaters have programs set to Hallelujah. More often than not, they’re exhibition programs that are meandering, empty and filled occasionally with big tricks to get applause from the audience. This is definitely not one of those programs. The Ravensburger Waltz is fitted really well into the programs and they all blend into a gorgeous, flowing work of art. That final lift almost doesn’t look like a lift since it flows so well, which makes it even more breathtaking because it’s so unexpected.

I don’t know what it is about this program – maybe because it’s just the right program to soothe my soul during this time of my life. “Fix You” is a bit of a sad song but then it becomes so uplifting and the dance is the same. It starts out on a more sombre tone only to build towards an optimistic ending.

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