Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Post-Omaha: Nationals 2013: Pairs & Ice Dance Overview

Now that Omaha's been cleared of all blades and sequins, it's time to let the analysis fly! 

Top 5 Pairs: Castelli/Shnapir, Scimeca/Knierim, Zhang/Bartholomay, Davis/Ladwig, Denney/Frazier

The “debate” (if there really is one): Is it fair that Denney/Coughlin will go to Worlds if they are physically ready to do so by that time? 

Yes, I’d say so; it’s hardly an unprecedented move. Pairs seems the least likely of all the disciplines to get 3 spots for Sochi, but the U.S. still needs to put its best skate forward. Silver medalists Scimeca/Knierim had a pretty good GP debut this season (and will get some great new experience at Four Continents)... but Denney/Coughlin need to see if they can build on their Grand Prix momentum, and improve on last year’s 8th place at Worlds.

As an aside—did you hear that new U.S. champs Castelli/Shnapir are planning to attempt a throw quad salchow at Worlds? They’ve made several attempts at throw triple axels in the past few years, so it’ll be fun to see if they pull it off.

Top 5 in Dance: Davis/White, Chock/Bates, Shibutanis, Hubbell/Donohue, K/L-S

The debate (if it counts): Does the Chock/Bates leapfrog from 5th to 2nd shock (or “chock”) anyone inside or out of the ice dance community? I’m fond of them, and anticipated a bump upwards for them—but that’s more like a BOMP, isn’t it?

If you read here with any regularity, you know that I’m not particularly schooled in ice dance. But here’s what I DO know:

a) a one-year leap in the standings like that is very rare.

b) The Shib Sibs had two extended lifts (one in the SD, one in the FD) that apparently made the slight difference between silver and bronze...

and c) on the other hand, Hubbell/Donohue skated very well but simply couldn’t reach the same levels of difficulty (a.k.a. “4s”) as the podium-finishers.

So here’s my dumb-girl theory: Bates’ previous success with Emily Samuelson—as well as Chock’s previous success with Greg Zuerlein—had already put each of them in that upper echelon of ice dance quality. It just took them a couple of years to re-discover it together.

OR, everyone just loves that cool floaty spin they do at the end of their Zhivago FD because it’s awesome.

Next up—some thoughts on the men’s and ladies results.
(Please post your own thoughts in the meantime!)


sara.raju said...

I think more of the shock for me is the "fall" of the Shib Sibs than the rise of Chock/Bates. I mean they were world bronze medalists in their debut! But then all of a sudden, they really fell out of favor, and I don't think there's really been that big a difference in their skating between when they won that medal and now. Wherefore, skating gods!?

Anonymous said...

political pull from igor too for chock and bates ^^

Anonymous said...

Two things: I think we have to remember that even though the Shibutanis were bronze medalist at Worlds in 2011, they won that bronze medal in part because Péchalat / Bourzat fell in the free dance, otherwise P/B would have been bronze medalist pushing Shibutanis to 4th. I am not suggesting their skating was not great, it was...but they also had some luck on their side.

Also agree that Igor had some pull, if not directly at least in terms of reputation.

Anonymous said...

I think USFS was set to push C/B this year. They wanted to position them internationally before the Olympic season, and they wanted to hold on to Igor Shpilband's political power. I don't think they were scheduled for the silver, but the Shibutanis' mistakes resulted in that. What I wonder is who they're going to leave out to dry next year, the Shibutanis or Hubbell and Donohue.