Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Carrying That Delicate Cup of China: Dance/Ladies Picks

On this Election Day in the U.S., I’m happy to say I did the “vote early” thing last week, and therefore can sit here and make Cup of China predictions rather than wait in line for one or two hours!

So I’ll get right to it, and start with DANCE:

Gold—Belbin/Agosto (US)
Silver—Domnina/Shabalin (RUS)
Bronze—Khokhlova/Novitski (RUS)

Get right to it, indeed—this is one of the two most interesting showdowns of the event (the other being the battle of the top two Chinese pairs, which I’ll address tomorrow). And this is surprisingly tough, as I wasn’t all that wild about Belgosto (Yes, I’m trying out new nicknames) and their new routines… but I’ve not much of a Dombalin fan either. Plus, word on the street is that the Russians are not particularly happy in their current training situation (which happens to be not only in the U.S., but side-by-side with Belgosto… as you might know already). Who can blame them? In which case, either their frustrations will show rather clearly, or they’ll pour everything they have into their competitions-- figuring, why suffer without reward? I’m still siding with Belgosto… simple reason being that they’ve already debuted their routines, and are likely refining them further so they don’t have to settle for silver again as they did 2 weeks ago. Dombalin hasn’t had that opportunity yet. Not to fear; if I’m right, they will surely shine at Cup of Russia later this month.

As for the LADIES:

Gold—Yu-Na Kim (S. Korea)
Silver—Miki Ando (JPN)
Bronze—Sarah Meier (SUI)

Now that we’ve seen what both Kim and Ando have to offer this season, the choice here isn’t as tough. Even if Kim falters on a jump or two, I think she’ll have the component scores to top Ando at this point. And as long as Ando’s jumps are in good shape, she’ll likely stay ahead of Meier (who I was liking very much by the end of last season). The U.S. contributions to this event include Katrina Hacker, making her Senior GP debut... and current national bronze medalist Ashley Wagner-- who has an outside chance at a medal, as does Finland’s Laura Lepisto.

Men and Pairs coming soon… to tide you over till then, enjoy a sneak peek at Meier’s new SP as the
Clip of the Day … it’s Samba-riffic. Let’s hope for a better triple loop in China, though.

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