Previously on World Figure Skating Championships, Ice Dance division…
A Canadian team took the world (and Olympics) by storm, only to find itself hindered by injury the following season. During its hiatus, an American runner-up team won everything in sight, presumably hungry as ever to shake off silver and become the first U.S. gold medalists EVER in ice dance. And a French team (off the Olympic podium altogether) assembled arguably the most engaging free dance of the year, claiming a couple titles to call their own… and wondering if they could, perhaps, pull the upset come springtime.
Who will win??? Here’s my take:
I haven’t seen any more of Virtue/Moir’s programs this year than you probably have (meaning that which they completed at Four Continents). But, like Kim Yu-Na over in the Ladies event, they have two huge advantages on their side: 1) The promised potential of excellence, and 2) the deep anticipation to see such potential (even moreso with Worlds being delayed). No, they don’t have much mileage on either program—and if 4CC’s counts, the “mileage” isn’t particularly solid. But they’ve proven they can rise to the occasion before, and I think they’ll do it again.
In all honesty, I hate saying that because I would LOVE to see Davis/White take this thing. My relatively untrained eye thinks they are just as deserving, and I’m a little concerned that if they don’t win this year or next, they’ll never get it done (especially with the likes of the Shib Sibs closing in on their success). But their tango FD, while 16 shades of difficult that are incredibly well-executed, seems a little too introspective to put D/W on top. Have they been able to shake something new into it since we last saw them skate it in February? I certainly don’t mind watching to find out.
As for Pechalat/Bourzat, I don’t think they’ll defeat the top North American teams. But all things being equal, I think they’re a lock for their first-ever world bronze—especially with the Kerrs (sigh) and 2010 Bronze Medalists Faiella/Scali out of the running. Their biggest competition now looks to be Bobrova/Soloviev (RUS), and possibly Crone/Poirer (CAN)—but if C/P are still retaining their short dance to “Fallin’” (from earlier in the season), forget it.
And I didn’t forget about the rest of the North Americans! I think Canada’s Weaver/Poje and USA’s Shibutanis should make it into the top 10 pretty easily, and USA’s Chock/Zuerlein has a shot at it as well—though some of those placements will likely ride on whether or not Hoffmann/Zavosin compete (Hoffmann was hospitalized recently while training in Russia). Does anyone know if they’ve withdrawn or not?
Ladies’ predictions tomorrow! By the way, qualification rounds started today in Moscow; check www.isu.org if you’re interested in the results.