Predictions: Cup of Russia 2013

Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje have posted a lovely picture of themselves, probably at practice at the CoR and then I realized I haven’t put up my predictions yet. I knew I shouldn’t have been watching all those videos of a random puppet screaming obscenities at one of my favourite youtubers. What am I doing with my life? Anyways, here’s the picture I mentioned and the predictions will follow. Onwards!

Kaitlyn Andrew 13 CoR prac

Photo from this Tweet.

Men

This is going to be a tough call and it will really depend on who will be more consistent: Javier Fernandez or Tatsuki Machida? The funny thing is, Machida has done quite well in the GP series last season as well as this season but he hasn’t made it to the World Championships because he hasn’t done well at Nationals and there’s a stacked field of competitors in the men’s competition in Japan. I’m not quite a fan of his style but he’s proven that he can pull off good skates in the face of some tough competitors. Fernandez, on the other hand, has tons of personality and skill but seems to falter at crucial moments. He didn’t start his season out too well so it’ll be up in the air in terms of how well he’s going to do at the Cup of Russia.

The bronze medal is also going to be a tough call. Maxim Kovtun did win a silver at the Cup of China, albeit in a weak field of men’s competitors. I didn’t like his windmill arms but apparently the judges do and that could get him a bronze here.

Predictions:

Gold: Tatsuki Machida
Silver:
Javier Fernandez
Bronze:
Maxim Kovtun

Ladies

This roster is another tough call for a few reasons:

1. Carolina Kostner‘s rough start to her season resulting in a bronze medal finish at the Cup of China. In addition to that, she lost to two jumping beans, one of them a youngin’ who just started in the senior circuit.

2. Julia Lipnitskaia fits the description of young jumping bean who just started in the senior circuit.

I’ve been reluctant to put Lipnitskaia at the top of my predictions mostly due to my opinion that she won’t last long at the top of the senior circuit. She’s a tiny wisp of the thing with jumping prowess now but her jumps are pretty low, landed with a shaky edge and with little speed coming out of them. The argument here is that despite my opinion and even if she doesn’t get high PCS, she has the potential to score a high TES that can snag the gold away from Carolina if she falters.

So now, the question for these predictions will be: Will Carolina skate clean? Her jump content will be weaker compared to Lipnitskaia but she’s ten times the performer compared to the youngin’.

As for bronze, Kanako Murakami got off to a rough start at the Cup of China (4th place) but Kanako tends to get better as the season progresses. If she doesn’t skate well, home-ice and Papa Mishin may be able to squeak in a victory for Elizaveta Tuktamysheva. She’s still full of star quality but puberty hasn’t treated her well and she tends to make a lot of costly mistakes in her short program.

Predictions:

Gold: Carolina Kostner (Please, Caro!)
Silver:
Julia Lipnitskaia
Bronze:
Kanako Murakami

Pairs

I’m surprised that Volosozhar & Trankov didn’t get chosen to skate here considering they are the most likely to win Olympic gold for Russia. Oh well, the victory at the Cup of Russia will likely go to their rivals then. I have no doubt that Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy will do well here.

As for the rest of the medals… Kirsten Moore-Towers & Dylan Moscovitch are generally uninspiring performers but technically good enough to snag a medal. Ksenia Stolbova & Fedor Klimov won bronze at Skate America with a large point difference between themselves and Moore-Towers & Moscovitch. That should make my silver and bronze predictions a little easier. Though Vera Bazarova & Yuri Larionov might throw off my bronze predictions. Who knows?

Predictions:

Gold: Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy
Silver:
Kirsten Moore-Towers & Dylan Moscovitch
Bronze:
Vera Bazarova & Yuri Larionov

Ice Dance

No dramatic building of the Team Canton rivalry here but this roster presents an interesting scenario. Katilyn Weaver & Andrew Poje and Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev both won silver medals at their first GP assignment. The difference however, is in the points. Kaitlyn & Andrew have been skating very well lately and have scored 10 points higher than Bobrova & Soloviev. One thing to consider, though, is the boost in points the latter team gets from home-ice advantage. This will definitely be an interesting match-up. What’s more interesting is that if Bobrova & Soloviev don’t win the gold here, we may see Ilinykh & Katsalapov take the top spot at Russian Nationals this year…

As for bronze, Madison Chock & Evan Bates, though skating to irritating or lame music, should be technically proficient enough to take the bronze.

Predictions:

Gold: Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje
Silver:
Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev
Bronze:
Madison Chock & Evan Bates

What are your predictions for the Cup of Russia? Let me know!

~The Rinkside Cafe

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Predictions: Trophée Eric Bompard 2013

The GP series is gearing up for the Final! This week, we have the Trophée Eric Bompard! Onwards with the predictions!

tessa and scott 13 teb prac

Tessa and Scott are looking as if they’re having so much fun during practice. Gorgeous colour and dress too.

Men

With Patrick Chan on the roster, I have no doubt that he will win gold here. Let’s move on to something more pleasant and interesting to talk about, shall we? Yuzuru Hanyu will have to show that he has what it takes to go to the Olympics as the JFSA seems to put some importance on the results of the GP series. Yuzuru was lucky that Oda still hasn’t passed Counting 101 because if Oda hadn’t violated the zayak rule in his LP (I’m still bitter over that), Yuzu would’ve seen a bronze medal around his neck. In this competition, he might have to look out for young rising star, Han Yan but I think that Yan’s ability to express the choreography and music still needs to develop a little. That’s not to say that Yan won’t snatch the silver away if Yuzuru doesn’t skate well. I wish them both well but there can be one silver medalist…

Predictions:

Gold: Patrick Chan
Silver:
Yuzuru Hanyu
Bronze:
Han Yan

Ladies

I’m quite tempted to name this ladies event as “The Weekend of Mediocrity” because in all honesty, there aren’t that many ladies to scream and shout about on this roster. Most of the young Russian ladies here can jump but none of them really radiate Star Power like Elena Radionova. This seriously has to be the most uninspiring roster I’ve ever seen so far in this GP season. In any case, despite the slew of poorly choreographed jumping beans from Russia with appearances from even less uninspiring B-list skaters, I’d say that the winner of this competition will likely be Ashley Wagner. She may not have won her last GP event like Anna Pogorilaya but Pogorilaya wasn’t competing against a Mao Asada on a comeback (rather, she was competing against Carolina Kostner who wasn’t at all on her A-game). Ashley also scored considerably higher at Skate America compared to Pogorilaya. Furthermore, Pogorilaya will likely face some competition from her fellow teammate, Adelina Sotnikova. Despite being a more seasoned competitor, Sotnikova lost to Pogorilaya by 4 points at the Cup of China. These two will likely fight for silver and bronze.

I can ponder about the scores these two get and rant about how meh I find them but I’ll save my energy for other more pleasant activities. Thinking about this roster makes me cranky.

Predictions:

Gold: Ashley Wagner
Silver:
Anna Pogorilaya
Bronze:
Adelina Sotnikova

Pairs

The ladies roster was so terrible that for once, pairs isn’t the most painful prediction to make. That’s highly unusual.

In any case, the victory here will likely go to Qing Pang & Jian Tong. If they do win at TEB, they will not only assert the strong possibility of them winning a medal at the Olympics. This win is important and Pang & Tong need a strong, decisive victory if they want to lessen the possibility of last year’s Worlds bronze medalists, Meaghan Duhamel & Eric Radford, to claim the bronze at the Olympics. A decisive victory for the Chinese team might also propel them to a chance at winning something more than bronze, though the gold is probably out of the question. Either way, a victory for either P/T or D/R sends a strong message that they are near the top of the pairs field.

As for the bronze medal at the TEB. Um… Vera Bazarova & Yuri Larionov seem like a reasonable choice. They do quite well in the GP series and have good technical skills. Let’s hope that Bazarova’s jumps get off the ice.

Predictions:

Gold: Qing Pang & Jian Tong
Silver:
Meaghan Duhamel & Eric Radford
Bronze:
Vera Bazarova & Yuri Larionov

Ice Dance

There are precisely 3 teams worth watching in this competition and those three teams will very likely take the medals. Reigning Olympic Champions, Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir will likely take the gold. Hopefully they’ve improved since Skate Canada and won’t suffer so much in their Technical Elements Score. In terms of technical ability, Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat have shown to be good technically in the past and will likely improve under coach Igor Shpilband, V/M’s former coach.

The only problem is that P/B often skate to programs whose concepts are too quirky or “avant-garde” (if you want to want to be obnoxious) to be relatable and they don’t quite have the star power like Virtue/Moir or even Cappellini/Lanotte to sell their performances. I’m also surprised that no one called them out for caricaturizing Egyptian culture with that mummy/Pharoah program a few years back. In any case, I have no doubts that gold and silver will belong to the two teams above.

As for bronze, the likely winners are Elena Ilinykh & Nikita Katsalapov, better than the rest of the field but nowhere near the above two teams.

Predictions:

Gold: Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir
Silver:
Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat
Bronze:
Elena Ilinykh & Nikita Katsalapov

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

~The Rinkside Cafe

Grand Prix Final 2012: Predictions

It’s the GPF! Aka the competition that’s really worth watching in the GP series. This year’s roster will provide ample drama on the ice and Kurt Browning has taken some time on this blog post to talk a little about each competitor. I agree with him on the most part and I’ll include a few highlights here:

On Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir’s FD:”The long program of Carmen on paper did not ring as such a good idea, but I love being wrong about something that turns out so right.”

On Takahiko Kozuka:”He is still my pick as best ‘skater’. Patrick has amazing feet and builds speed with ease, almost magical actually, but for blade magic it’s still Taka for me.”
So for those Chan-stans, even Kurt Browning thinks that there are others who surpass Chan in skating skills.

“My pick for a winner is….the audience. Get used to it, I’m not picking winners.”Only someone as congenial and magical as Kurt Browning can do this. That and he’s the most reasonable CBC commentator.

“A big part of me wishes that I still competed[…]” As someone who started watching figure skating when you were still competing, I wish you could still compete too.

In any case, onto the predictions!

Yuzuru Hanyu and Winnie the Pooh

Yuzuru and his Winnie the Pooh tissue box beckons you to read on… More

Cup of Russia 2012: Predictions

This week will be busy again so I’m writing these predictions quickly.

Men

Even though Patrick Chan got defeated by Javier Fernandez at Skate Canada (shock!), I still think he has enough skating cred with the judges to muster a win here. Some interesting contenders for the rest of the podium would be the Japanese men, Nobunari Oda and Takahiko Kozuka. This competition could be really important for them since it could help the JFSA decide who the #3 Japanese man is. Oh yes, and Johnny Weir will be back and we get to see how he stacks up against some tough international competition here.

Predictions:

Gold: Patrick Chan
Silver: Takahiko Kozuka
Bronze: Nobunari Oda

Ladies

The ladies competition could potentially be the contest of the young’ins. Adelina Sotnikova will have home ice advantage. In Russia. A year before the Olympics. In Russia. Alena Leonova had a really bad showing at her last grand prix but who knows what will happen. In Russia. That aside, Kiira Korpi is the only lady with a mature grace and may be able to medal here though she will face competition from some young ladies such as Kanako Murakami, who gave notice to not completely discounted when she won the bronze at Skate Canada. Gracie Gold is also on the roster but after her performance at Skate America, I’m not sure what to make of her anymore.

Predictions:

Gold: Adelina Sotnikova
Silver: Kanako Murakami
Bronze: Kiira Korpi

Pairs

The two Russian teams have it to take the first two spots on the podium though the gold will undoubtedly go to Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov. If Vera Bazarova manages to get her tiny, tiny frame off the ice and land her jumps, she and Yuri Larionov can take the silver. If this is the case, the bronze should go to Caydee Denney & John Coughlin.

Predictions:

Gold: Tatiana Volsosozhar & Maxim Trankov
Silver: Vera Bazarova & Yuri Larionov
Bronze: Caydee Denney & John Coughlin

Ice Dance

Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir will be back with their sexy Carmen which should propel them into gold. What will be interesting to see is the margin between them and Elena Ilinykh & Nikita Katsalapov. Rumour has it that Elena’s with Morozov now and we all know what happens when a girl dates Morozov… The Shibutanis will probably fall victim to politicking on the eve of the Sochi Olympics but it’ll be fun to see their polka since I think their bright and happy feel/style should make for a good interpretation in the SD. Their “Memoirs of a Geisha” FD on the other hand, I’m not so thrilled.

Predictions

Gold: Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir
Silver: Elena Ilinykh & Nikita Katsalapov
Bronze: Maia & Alex Shibutani

What are your predictions for the Cup of Russia?

~The Rinkside Cafe

Worlds 2012 – Pairs SP

For me, both events were last night. I somehow missed most of pairs but my internet couldn’t handle the livestream so I missed watching the last 4 pairs to skate even though I was just in time to see half a death spiral from Sui and Han before my internet bailed on me. As for dance, the event went so late at night (or really early morning, really) that I couldn’t watch it in case I showed up to work half asleep. Luckily, I do have a day off tomorrow so hopefully, I can watch the ladies SP and dance FD live.

So… let’s start with the pairs post.

First of all, let me say this about the current pairs results: W.T.F. Takahashi & Tran are in 3rd while Volosozhar & Trankov are in 8th? A possible 3 spots for pairs for Japan next year even though they don’t have enough pairs teams to fill those spaces up? Mother Russia’s best hope for a medal right now is Bazarova & Larionov? Whaaa???

Let’s go through the top 5 performances as well as a few performances from important contenders.

In the lead is Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy with 68.63.

It wasn’t their best skate. Aliona two-footed the landing on the throw 3A (but at least they actually landed it this time) and Robin stepped out of the SBS 3T and their triple twist was a hair lower than I would expect from them but overall, it was better than the Russian splatfest that we’ll be looking at later. Only a point separates them from Pang & Tong, who are in second though S&S tend to be better long program skaters while the Chinese pairs have been known to come out short in the LP. Furthermore, S&S tend to get really shit choreography for their SP. I can’t decide whether or I like the pose-y step sequence here where they have good interesting movements with awkward bent leg poses that are just plain fugly. I’m not sure whether the good defeats the bad in this section of the program. Overall, this program is quite forgettable though it is an improvement over their kitschy country folk SP from last season. Ugh. I can’t remember a SP from them that I’ve ever liked from them. Nonetheless, I’m very excited to see their Pina program again.

Currently in second: Qing Pang & Jian Tong with 67.10

These two are trying to win another World championship despite not participating in the Grand Prix series this season. This is their first international competition and these two are off to a good start. Rank-wise. In terms of this short program, all I have to say is, “Bloody hell, that was boring.” According to this article, their choreographer is Lori Nichol, who seems to need a vacation or something. Anything to get her creative juices flowing again because I haven’t been impressed with anything she’s done for a while. While Pang & Tong have lovely flow and connection with each other, the choreography doesn’t make use of the music and in the end, the whole this is just pretty but with no substance. It’s like looking at a pretty dress in a store and you try it on, only to find out that it washes you out. In this case, the choreography for this program would wash even Gordeeva & Grinkov out so I doubt there’s anything Pang & Tong could do with it to make it any better.

The team in 3rd right now is a complete and total – but delightful – surprise. Narumi Takahashi & Mervin Tran – 65.37.

I’m very happy for these two seeing that they have the best SP hands down this season. For once, a pairs program is actually palatable. Happy sigh. What I’m most impressed with is that these two are really starting to look like a senior team while their itsy bitsy Chinese rivals are still struggling to look polished despite their big tricks. This program has the loveliest transitions and they looked smooth as butter in this performance. It’s a pity that Narumi two-footed the throw triple salchow but I suppose this minor mistake is preferable to a splatfest. Now, the two questions are: what would Japan do if they had 3 spots for pairs next season and is Mervin going to give up Canadian citizenship?

In fourth – Vera Bazarova & Yuri Larionov with 65.02

If you had told me yesterday that these two were going to be the top Russians after the short program, I would’ve laughed in your face and told you to lay off the vodka. Weirdly enough, this is the reality right now. They are within striking distance of Narumi and Mervin in a fight for bronze though I know that Mother Russia bullshit judging will somehow come through and Volosozhar & Trankov will somehow muster at the VERY LEAST a top 5 finish.

In any case, onto the program. This program seriously has to be the least dramatic interpretation of Tosca ever. Sure, I didn’t get a chance to see it live this season at the Canadian Opera Company but we all know that Tosca is an angsty, dramatic opera. The music didn’t quite help since it sounded like an elevator-fied version of Tosca and both skaters did very little to express anything really. At least there was that amazing triple twist. And luckily Vera has good lines despite being beanpole thin. I find that a lot of girls who are built similarly (ie, Qing Pang and Carolina Kostner) have terrible lines, especially with their feet since it almost seems as if their ankles and feet operate as one unit. It looks stiff and the lines break off despite the fact that they usually have long limbs and it’s horrendously ugly when you get into the jump landing position. In any case, I guess these positives made up for Yuri’s stepout of his 3T and the really random collapse in the end (which did not incur any deductions since I suppose the program had already ended).

Fifth place belongs to Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford with a score of 63.69, who have been having a pretty good season.

I was actually quite pleased with this performance and despite the wipeout by Eric on the SBS 3Ts, I felt that the program was pretty good overall because of the commitment that both had put into the performance. They skated the program with attack (and you can’t properly pull off a flamenco routine without attack) but good flow despite the staccato nature of the music. Despite the fall, I would have put them above Bazarova & Larionov.

Special mentions:

Former junior World champions, Wenjing Sui & Cong Han are in 6th place currently, a strange place to be seeing that they’ve had a record of consistently beating Takahashi & Tran. Despite their mistakes (a fall from Sui on their SBS 3T) and the ongoing need for polish and skating skills, I was very happy with one aspect of their performance: Sui seems to have turned up the maturity level and was a natural flirt in the program. I hope she brings that to their flamenco LP.

It never helped that Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov were skating to a cheap version of an Evanescence song (which doesn’t help at all) and seriously, you’re reigning World silver medalists? Since when did you f&%$ up a death spiral of all things? That kind of f%$& up is reserved for amateurs with no core strength. It also doesn’t help that this program was rather painful to watch. I could feel my blood curdling during the step sequence as if I was listening to someone rubbing two pieces of styrofoam together. Ugh. 60.48 – 8th place.

The Russian splatfest continues! I had pegged these two for bronze since they were on the comeback but Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov have found themselves in… 11th place with 59.59. They started out quite well and despite Yuko’s confusing costume, I thought that this program suited them pretty well. It’s edgy and Yuko’s anything but soft and cuddly really so Tamara Moskovina was quite clever in using their lack of classical lines to their advantage. Everything was going well until the lift when somehow, Smirnov collapsed when he was about to set Yuko down which resulted in both of them falling and a -2 penalty. Is it bad that I derive a little bit of entertainment from the aura Yuko was exuding at the end of the program? She didn’t even want to hold onto Sasha’s hand and Tamara Moskovina didn’t look too happy either. I think Sasha better brace himself. Let’s hope their “Claire de Lune” LP will be better since I really do love the choreography.

Overall, this has been a surprising competition. Volosozhar & Trankov can still muster a medal if 1) they skate clean in the long and 2) if teams ranked second to seventh screw up (which is likely because very few of these teams are very adept at skating clean LPs and/or 3) Mother Russia pulls some bullshit judging. If the third point doesn’t come through, I can’t see them taking anything more than a bronze though I admit I do like the podium as it stands now. So, it’s all down to the LP. Maybe it’ll be just as random as the SP.

For all the scores and detailed breakdown for the pairs SP, click here.

What did you think of the pair’s SP?

~The Rinkside Cafe

The dance blog will be coming soon. I’ll try to finish it before the last two groups come out for the FD tonight.

Trophee Eric Bompard 2011: Predictions

My life is still filled with forms to fill out and stuff to write and a;iehf;adkfsakdfja;sdkfasdjkfla. Again, I can’t promise posts on all the competitions but I’ll do my best and I’ll make sure to do a predictions post every week. Normally, I would do predictions on who would make it into the final but with this 3 competition rule, everything gets thrown out of whack because I have no clue who’s in 3 competitions and I don’t have the time to check. I might just do the list blind and come up with a list of 6 skaters/teams for each discipline.  For now, here are my predictions for TEB 2011.

Men

Patrick Chan will undoubted win this competition, even if he does fall on his ass a few times. As much as I love figure skating, I don’t know if I can watch this discipline and have faith in the new judging system. As for silver, Nobunari Oda can very well take it… if he’s finally learned all the lessons from counting 101 that is. If not, then Michal Brezina seems to be on the rise and he could snatch silver from under his nose. If Oda can count, then I think he has the ability to steal bronze from heavyhitters like former European and World champion, Brian Joubert and current European champion, Florent Amodio. Brian Joubert has been a bit washed out in the past two seasons while Florent’s new LP is just WTF. The kid needs to leave Morozov, the Russian Gino is not doing him any favours.

Edit: Joubert has pulled out of TEB. (Source) That won’t affect my predictions though.

Predictions:

Gold: Patrick Chan
Silver: Nobunari Oda
Bronze: Michal Brezina

Ladies

TEB is going to interesting here. We’re going to have a rematch of Carolina Kostner vs. Alissa Czisny and then we’re going to throw Skate Canada winner, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva into the mix. Her arch-rival, Adelina Sotnikova couldn’t win against the likes of Carolina and headcase, Mirai Nagasu and I’ve got a feeling that with tougher competition, Liza will not be able to so easily clinch the gold. As much as I admire Czisny’s elegance, I find her performances and personality very forgettable. Czisny’s programs have better choreography but it’s just more exciting to watch Carolina. Both ladies have gained a great amount of consistency so this will be another tough call. Czisny won last time but can Carolina beat her this time?

Predictions:

Gold: Carolina Kostner
Silver: Alissa Czisny
Bronze: Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (though I’d love it if she beat Czisny)

Pairs

Barring major disaster – actually – even if they fell a couple of times, Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov should have this competition in the bag. There are no real threats for gold other than them even though their SP this yes is just not pretty. Really, Tanya and Max, we’re no longer wannabe emo teens. Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov may have enough to muster silver while bronze is a bit of a toss of between two headcase North American teams: Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford and Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig. I’ll just go flip a coin and decide who to put in that 3rd position.

Predictions:

Gold: Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov
Silver: Vera Bazarova & Yuri Larionov
Bronze: Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford

Ice Dance

The ice dance lineup isn’t that bad, there are quite a few interesting competitors. The gold should easily go to Olympic Champions, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. I really hope they’ve improved since Skate Canada (I’m sure they have) and more importantly, I hope they’ve made some changes to their programs. They’re really going to have to step it up if they want to be competitive with Meryl and Charlie. Davis and White’s FD this year showcases their athleticism and if Tessa and Scott don’t change their pause-ful Funny Face FD, they might find themselves in 2nd place this year. Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat should have the support of the home crowd and possibly the silver medal but bronze will be an interesting matchup with the emerging young Italians – Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte and the rising young Russians – Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov. We may see how much Mother Russia is actually pushing for these two…

Predictions:

Gold: Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir
Silver: Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat
Bronze: Elena Ilinykh & Nikita Katsalapov

Skate America 2011: Pairs and Dance

The pairs competition at Skate America was a 3-tiered event: the first tier belonged to Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szalkowy and Zhang Dan & Zhang Hao who were contending for the gold. Then there was Kirsten-Moore-Towers & Dylan Moscovitch and Caydee Denney & John Coughlin fighting for the last spot on the podium. And then there was the rest, who don’t really register on my radar. And for an event like pairs, where there haven’t been very many inspirational teams, those who do register on that radar are very few in number, so it’s not a total insult. =P

In any case, let’s start with the SP… More

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