Monday, September 22, 2008

Which Pro Men Might Be in For "Thin"?

OK, one more post about the new pro competition with a name, Kurt Browning, and not much else, and then we cross our fingers and see if we ever hear about it again…

Who’s in on this thing? I’ll try some semi-educated guesses, based on who might be skating professionally these days vs. who is putting more of their energy towards coaching, schooling, serving the ISU in a more technical manner, or all of the above.

I’m also ruling out Boitano, as I think they’ve got the “veteran” factor covered with Browning’s involvement and he’s probably got his hands full with his annual Skating Spectacular anyway.

Who does that leave? Here’s who I came up with for the remaining 5 slots:

YAGUDIN—because he’s got a shiny new titanium hip joint and nowhere to show it off of late. (He spoke at one point of returning to the amateur ranks, but has since ruled that out.)

WEISS—because I can’t imagine him passing up something like this, and all the guys who’ve recently skated for Stars on Ice clearly stand a better chance of having their professional “A” game ready to go (hereafter referred to as the SOI Factor).

KULIK—because, despite the fact his OGM is already 10 years old, he himself is still relatively young (31 to Weiss’ 32, for instance). Also has the SOI Factor in his corner.

ELDREDGE—because he still seems to be in his professional prime… because of the SOI Factor… and, frankly, because I suspect a U.S.-based competition is eager to seek out high profile U.S. pro competitors, of which there just don’t seem to be that many these days. (Given the current climate of pro competition, who can blame skaters for diversifying? But I digress…)

As for that 5th opening, I’ve got a lot of names with question marks. Stojko crossed my mind, but I guess he retired completely 2 years ago. Galindo occurs to me, as he still skated professionally as recently as last year, but I’m not sure he’d be up for a competition. Honda (as in Takeshi) seems a possibility, if only because, at 27, he’s still quite young—I’ve no idea if he’s even skating professionally.

To me, that leaves Steven Cousins, another SOI vet who seems unlikely to pass up a pro competition… and John Zimmerman, who of course is known as a pairs skater but recently made his singles’ debut at Weiss’ annual foundation benefit. Keeping the U.S. factor in mind (not to mention that of curiosity), I’ll go out on a limb and guess the invitation will go to ZIMMERMAN, with Cousins as a backup option.

Those are my guesses and I’m sticking to ‘em… but if I prove to be dead wrong on most of these, keep in mind that I only got 4 of my 16 guesses right with the Emmy Awards last night :-)

Here’s Yagudin’s OGM free skate from 2002 as the
Clip of the Day .


Aaron said...

Oh...I think Takeshi Honda! I saw him on Youtube just this past spring he did a pro-am in Japan and he skated his free that he used in 2005-2006 and he landed 6 triples! Also, Japan has the biggest skating market in the globe right now so it could be nice to tap into that!

Kelli Lawrence said...

I'd love to see Honda more often... I tend to think of him as the Paul Wylie of Japan (except he never got his Olympic breakthrough as Paul did).

Plus I don't think he gets the credit that he should-- at least, not yet-- for paving the way for Japan's success in this sport.

Maybe SOI could be in his future?