The clock’s a tickin’, so here’s a quick rundown of Team Russia and a quicker rundown of the two teams I’ve yet to mention:
MEN: Zhan Bush & Maxim Kovtun, neither of which competed at Worlds (Bush is the Russian Junior Champ and was 5th at Junior Worlds; Kovtun was 3rd at Russian Juniors). The two that DID compete there—Sergei Voronov (now injured with an ankle fracture) and last year’s World Bronze Medalist Artur Gachinski— finished 17th and 18th, respectively. In doing so, Russia can only send one man to next year’s Worlds. (Gee, wonder who they’re likely to go with assuming he’s uninjured…?)
LADIES: Alena Leonova & Adelina Sotnikova… Leonova won silver a few weeks ago, her first-ever world medal. 15 year-old Sotnikova is not yet age-eligible to compete there, but her place as a three-time Russian National Champion should carry a fair amount of weight, wouldn’t you think?
PAIRS: Bazarova/Larionov, who finished 6th at Worlds.
DANCE: Ilinykh/Katsalapov, who finished 5th at Worlds.
MEN: Samuel Contesti & Paolo Bacchini. The older of the two (29 year-old Contesti) had another top 10 Worlds finish; 26 year-old Bacchini ended up 21st at Worlds 2011 (but didn’t compete in Nice).
LADIES: Carolina Kostner & Valentina Marchei. What a team these two were at Worlds! Kostner wins, Marchei gets her highest finish ever (8th), and together they earn Italian ladies a third spot for next year. Bravissimo!
PAIRS: Berton/Hotarek, who finished 11th.
DANCE: Cappellini/Lanotte, who finished 6th.
MEN: Brian Joubert & Florent Amodio. Although neither one of them brought a world medal to home ice, both Joubert and Amodio skated in a don’t-you-DARE-count-me-out kind of way, earning 4th and 5th (respectively) for their efforts. Did anyone else hear that Joubert may not be retiring yet after all?!
LADIES: Mae Berenice Meite & Yretha Silete. The latter was 12th in her Worlds debut this year; the former was 14th in her Worlds debut last year.
PAIRS: Popova/Massot… are the current National Champs, but since they only had the second-highest French pairs finish at Europeans (they were 8th; James/Cipres were 6th), they were chosen for this event while James/Cipres represented at Worlds.
DANCE: Pechalat/Bourzat… well, you probably know their story. Their skate-like-an-Egyptian free dance isn’t my favorite; nonetheless I was delighted to see them finally make the Worlds podium in their ninth (NINTH!) attempt.
OK… think I’ve finally made mention of all WTT competitors… let the event begin!!