Thursday, December 11, 2008

Final Predictions for the Final: Pairs & Ladies

No more abbreviations!

At least, not in this post. Putting D/B at the end of the last one when I meant D/S was bad enough… but with TWO D/S’s among the dance finalists, it’s simply bound to get me in more trouble. So while I make no such promise with nicknames… I shall spell out all the names of all the pairs mentioned. As long as I don’t accidentally call Pang & Tong Tang & Pong (two great staples of ‘70s Americana!), everything should be fine.

Speaking of PAIRS:

Gold—Savchenko/Szolkowy (GER)
Silver—Zhang/Zhang (CHN)
Bronze—Kawaguchi/Smirnov (RUS)

At first glance this seems kind of easy, at least as far as gold and silver go. But while each of those teams won their events handily, I’ve yet to see either team truly on their game. So if Savchenko/Szolkowy skate as they did earlier in the fall while Zhang/Zhang step it up, then look out. It’s possible, but with so many little mistakes all the way around, I’m still going German on this one.

As for bronze, again I’m thinking of Tamara Moskvina’s uncanny way of getting what she wants… and I’m sure upsetting at least one Chinese team is on her wish list. Kawaguchi/Smirnov are one of the few teams at this event that actually seems to keep improving, where Pang/Tong gives the appearance of a team that might be as good as they’ll ever be (which is quite good, of course, but still…).

And last but not least, the LADIES:

Gold—Yu-Na Kim (KOR)
Silver—Mao Asada (JPN)
Bronze—Carolina Kostner (ITA)

Ugh, how could I? When there are no US ladies in this event, how could I predict the lone representative from North America (Joannie Rochette) will miss the podium in what has so far been a stellar year? Well, remember that this is what I predict will happen. What I would like to happen is something else entirely. And when it comes to predictions, I only have to think back to Kostner’s ridiculously (there, I said it) high presentation scores at Cup of Russia to know she has a good chance of sliding into bronze even if she blows her jumps. Rochette might turn in two more fab performances and finish off the podium… or she might buckle under the pressure and finish off the podium for more obvious reasons. Let’s hope for the former; back-to-back-to-back solid skates can only help cement her improvement in judges’ minds—no matter where she places this time.

What about the Kim/Asada decision? What about when Asada takes on a triple axel (or two)? I know, I know—I’ve thought of all that too. But for now at least, Kim continues to peak early. She hasn’t won the past 2 GP Finals by a lottery, after all. Plus the event’s in her homeland, and Kim seems to eat pressure for breakfast (in a nice tasty pancake). I predict she won’t disappoint.

OK, that’s it! Time to go stand by the finish line and crane our necks until we see them all coming…

For the
Clip of the Day I’ve got Yu-Na’s free skate at this event from TWO years ago… for those who are interested on how much she’s improved since then (as well as those who just don't think she's all that).

No comments: