Thursday, June 24, 2010

Previewing the Second Half of the GP Matchups for Fall 2010

Time to return to that 2010 Grand Prix-view I started a few days back… now, where was I?


For Dance: though it already looks like an easy win for Davis/White, they still may face some interesting competition both from veterans (Zaretskys) and relatively newer blood such as Crone/Poirier and Cappellini/Lanotte. In pairs: at this point looks like a cakewalk to gold for Savchenko/Szolkowy, and to silver for Denney/Barrett (especially now that McBru have dissolved, and the US now has TWO TBAs in this discipline). For the men: Now this could be interesting… Daisuke Takahashi, Nobunari Oda, and Adam Rippon are all scheduled to attend. And as for the ladies: With Lepisto and Kostner at the same US-based event, it looks like a European dream team… Rachael Flatt is back; this was kind of her breakout event last year when she outskated Yu-Na in the FS… but there are several dark horses for a medal here, including Kwak Min-Jung (heir to Yu-Na’s Korean throne) and surprise top-10 worlds finisher Viktoria Helgesson (from Sweden).


In Dance… Faiella/Scali could get their first GP gold here if they don’t get it in China. Kerrs are toughest competition (this is assuming both attend)… Bobrova/Soloviev of Russia appear to be the other contenders here. For Pairs: the easy pick would be Home Faves Kavaguti/Smirnov, but I see potential spoilers in Dube/Davison (if they attend, and are skating in better form than last season) and, maybe, Berton/Hotarek—the new Italian team coached by John Zimmerman that showed some great potential at Worlds in Torino. With The Men: Plushenko’s showing up? Really? Ha! That’s the biggest BIWISI (Believe It When I See It) yet. I’d rather focus for now on the more likely prospects: Patrick Chan, Jeremy Abbott, and dark horses ranging from the late bloomer (Contesti) to the fallen hero (Tomas Verner)… even France’s Preaubert and Spain’s Fernandez could be a factor here. Over with The Ladies: Russia could have a better chance of medaling on home ice here, namely in the form of Alena Leonova and Ksenia Makarova, who are both scheduled to show up. However, with names in attendance like Miki Ando, Akiko Suzuki, and who was it… oh yeah, Kim freakin’ Yu-Na—the Far East contingent promises to be as strong as ever. With any luck, USA’s Ashley Wagner could squeak into the mix as well.


In Dance, Virtue/Moir are scheduled to skate their second GP event here, with France’s Home Faves Pechalat/Bourzat being their closest competition. USA’s Samuelson/Bates could have a shot at bronze, as could Russia’s Rubleva/Shefer. The Pairs could be “locally” interesting as this event is scheduled to feature the debut of France’s Vanessa James with her new partner Maximin Coia… but as for someone who might actually make the podium, eyes will be on Savchenko/Szolkowy, Zhang/Zhang, and possibly the young Russian couple of Bazarova/Larionov. (No U.S. teams have been selected to compete at this event.) For The Men: Another interesting field that, for now at least, includes our own Johnny Weir, Czech Republic’s Michel Brezina, Japan’s Takahiko Kozuka, Russia’s Sergei Voronov, and Brian Joubert (though he’s finished off the podium at this event ever since winning it in 2006). Throw North Americans Brandon Mroz and Kevin Reynolds—both with the capacity to land at least one quad per program—and it has the makings of a very interesting ball game. We’ll have to see if it holds. And for The Ladies: From Leader-After-SP-at Worlds Mirai Nagasu to Leader-After-FS-at-Worlds Mao Asada… from the well-the-judges-love-her-at least efforts of Kiira Korpi to the “well, the judges used to love her” work of Fumie Suguri… from the up-and-comer Sarah Hecken (of Germany) to the up-and-please-make-a-comeback girl Alissa Czisny… there simply shouldn’t be a dull moment.

For the
Clip of the Day – in honor of Keauna McLaughlin & Rockne Brubaker, I found their “Play That Funky Music” exhibition skate from about 2 years ago at Blades for the Cure… happier times. May McLaughlin find what she’s looking for outside of this sport… and may Brubaker find a new partner pronto. He’s too strong a skater to be left in the lurch for long.

1 comment:

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