Remember the days when no one seemed to shift from the top spot in ice dance for at least four years?
Be it nationally (Lang/Tchernyshev, Blumberg/Seibert, Punsalan/Swallow… well, if you don’t count 1995, I mean…)
Or internationally (Torvill/Dean, B & B, Grischuk/Platov…)?
Ah, so old school. Nowadays they try to make it more competition and less coronation… or so they say. No phoning it in. No resting on laurels.
Having said all that, what will come of this year’s big dance-off? Or should I say, dance-offs??
In this corner we have B & A, Belbin/Agosto, 5-time Nationals champs looking for #6… in THAT corner we have D/W, Davis & White, reigning National champs looking to defend their title and defeat Belgosto for the first time EVER on this stage.
And… over in a separate corner… we have Navarro/Bommentre, 2-time national bronze medalists… and in THAT corner we have Samuelson/Bates, the youngest pair of the four mentioned, who happened to leapfrog N/B last year and claim national silver.
Here’s where I put my annual disclaimer: I’m no expert on ice dance. Yes, I’ve trained in dance, but it was all off-ice. The sum of what I know I can put into 3 bullet points:
+ Like jazz or classical music, I’m uneducated in this stuff… but I know what I like.
+ And I think, overall, I’ve liked previous seasons of dances better for both B/A and D/W.
+ Oh, and in interviewing a coach once, I was informed that Belbin skates with “coarse edges”. Do with that what you will.
As far as predicting this thing goes…
I’m going out on a huge limb here, but don’t hate me for it: suppose you’re a judge. You’re very fond of BOTH top teams, but when it comes time to make a choice about who’s to come out on top, you think about Vancouver.
Where the top of the dance podium is likely to be VERY crowded…
Where Belgosto could most definitely find a place. Maybe no better than silver again, but a place just the same.
But where D/W could NOT find a place… perhaps they were sent a message last year with the close shave at Worlds, and that message was Not you two… not yet.
Then you, as a judge, think If Belgosto is our best medal chance, we’d better send them a message too. That message being you’re not ready yet… you’ve got a few more weeks… clean it up. Even if it’s not necessarily true. Light a fire under them. Whatever cliché you want… but you give the National title to D/W.
And now that I’ve laid out that scenario, you know it will never unfold that way!
As for bronze, I’m not really wild about either of the contenders I mentioned… but Navarro/Bommentre will surely be retiring after this. And I prefer their choice of music (as I recall, it’s the U2/Mary J. Blige duet of “One”); we need more Bono in ice dancing anyway, don’t we? So there you go.
Again, please remember: I’m not an expert in ice dance. And heaven knows, judging in ice dancing is entirely about expertise…
LADIES PREDICTIONS TOMORROW… !!