So where were we? Oh yes, predictions…
Gold- Meryl Davis & Charlie White
Silver- Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani
Bronze- Madison Chock & Greg Zuerlein
For now, D/W (aka reigning Olympic Silver Medalists) are in a class by themselves when it comes to Nationals. That could surely change in a year or two, but not yet. So the much bigger question pertains to #2 and #3, particularly with Samuelson/Bates still out of the picture. USFS sent a number of different dance teams to senior GP events this past fall, but the ones that made the biggest splash are the names you see above. Silver and bronze could be reversed, but I went with the Shib Sibs for silver because their programs deliver more classic dancing that I’m guessing judges might favor in a close race.
Gold- Jeremy Abbott
Silver- Adam Rippon
Bronze- Ryan Bradley
Even with Evan Lysacek and Johnny Weir out of the competitive picture this year, the men’s event should still prove to be a thrill ride. Abbott and Rippon’s combined performances at last year’s Worlds are why we can send 3 guys to this year’s Worlds, so I don’t think I’m pushing my luck (or theirs, for that matter) when I say I see them as 1-2 this weekend. Of course if either of them falter, there are at least 3 others ready to jump into action. If it’s Ryan Bradley, it’ll be on the strength of his quad toe and whatever impish delivery he gives to his programs this year (does anyone know if he’s recycling last year’s music?). If it’s Brandon Mroz, it’ll likely be due to his quad toe(s) and improved artistry with his “On the Waterfront” free skate. And if it’s Armin Mahbanoozadeh, it’ll be because he hits his triple axels better than Rippon. (More speculation than usual on that last one.)
DARK HORSES: Mroz and Mahbanoozadeh.
WATCH FOR: Richard Dornbush. He’s only 19, but he just won the Junior Grand Prix Final a month ago with this Clip-of-the-Day-FS to music from Sherlock Holmes… he finished 11th at last year’s Nationals. Repeating what he did at the JGPF could move him up significantly this time around.