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UNIVERSAL SPORTS THIS WEEKEND (Not including repeats):
Sat. Jan. 16 12:30a-2:30a (Mens & Pairs Short)
NBC This Weekend:
Sat. Jan. 16 4:30-6 LIVE (Pairs Long)
Sun. Jan. 17 4:30-6 LIVE (Mens Long)
Here’s what I know: 15 guys from last year’s Seniors have returned… 5 guys were in Juniors last year (and have moved up), though 2009's Junior Champion (Ross Miner) has already withdrawn with a sprained ankle…Jeremy Abbott is the defending champion… we can send three men to the Olympics, as we did in 2006. Last time the U.S. won an Olympic men’s medal: 2002… last time the U.S. won a World men’s medal: 2009.
Bonus trivia I just discovered: Jeremy Abbott and Evan Lysacek are only one DAY apart in age… Lysacek born 6/4/85; Abbott born 6/5/85.
Here’s what I don’t know: What became of Eliot Halverson? I see that he’s not here because he finished 5th at Sectionals, but don’t know details beyond that.
Here’s how I see it:
GOLD: Evan Lysacek
SILVER: Jeremy Abbott
BRONZE: Ryan Bradley
Lysacek (now age 24) isn’t my favorite, to be blunt, if only because I don’t care for his style of skating the way I do others. But he’s the reigning world champion for a reason, and so far he seems to be handling the responsibility of that title with conviction and pleasure. Who IS my favorite, as far as those that seem most likely to go to Vancouver? That would be JeremEEE, (also age 24) who I shall continue to say with the extra EEEs even though he hasn’t been quite as “on fire” this season as he was last. Then again, he’s more obsessed with the don’t-peak-too-early adage than most (probably with good reason), so a successful defense of his title isn’t out of the question. As for Bradley (age 26), well, I’ve got a little confession to make. When I wrote this post earlier in the day I had Bradley at “dark horse” status. But then I decided my predictions were too, well, predictable. If Bradley’s set to stuff his program with quads, I’ll take that risky ride with him… as only a skating blogger can.
DARK HORSES: Johnny Weir (age 25)? Dark horse? Well…I think he’s learned from last year and will put up a decent enough fight… but as I’ve said before, I don’t think his skating has grown over the past couple of years the way Abbott’s and Lysacek’s has. Consistency has returned somewhat, and that’s a very important thing, but in looking at this Clip of the Day from his win in St. Louis in ’06… I guess I think he was better then than he is now. Can’t necessarily say that for my top three.. (By the way, Abbott didn’t even get out of Senior Sectionals in ’06!) Adam Rippon has progressed very nicely this year, but at age 20 he’s got more work to do, and more time in which to do it. Brandon Mroz (age 19), he of last year’s surprise silver medal at this event, hasn’t had a great year so far. He could still be a spoiler this year, especially if he hits his quad, but I have my doubts. Stephen Carriere (age 20) has been even less impressive than Mroz this season. I don’t rule him out for a future return to the podium, but I don’t think this will be his year. Parker Pennington (now age 25) is a veteran and a sentimental favorite to perhaps turn in his best finish ever… to date, his best was 6th place, all the way back in 2003… but I don’t see him challenging much beyond that.
So those are my thoughts… what are yours?