First, wading into the slightly shallower waters... here are some of the shorter articles to surface during/after Worlds last weekend:
This one from Yahoo! Sports is relatively mild; the headline “Unconvincing Chan Completes World Hat Trick” is about as rough as it gets...
This from ESPN focuses on the Davis/White and Virtue/Moir rivalry and is actually quite nice to read (it seems to be written in an effort for laypeople to get interested in ice dance)...
And these two—one from Reuters, the other from The Chronicle Herald—are among those capturing a “Defiant Chan” trying to defend the successful defense of his World title, if you follow me—all against a backdrop of critiques and tweets from frustrated journalists and past champions alike. Here’s the thing: I don’t AT ALL envy the position Patrick Chan is in... he’s clearly a marvelous athlete having to explain himself through no fault of his own (with regards to the judging at least). But two things keep me from sympathizing much in this most recent situation.
* His defense that they (the journalists/analysts) should come try this... it’s hard!!! in the Chronicle Herald article comes across as nothing but a giant glass of WHINE. It’s the equivalent of a petulant American Idol wannabe saying “I’d like to see how well Simon Cowell would do up here” once they’re off the stage and stomping out the door. C’mon, Pat. Blame the IJS if you feel the need to point the finger anywhere, but you've been dealing with the media for a while now. If you can't figure out a way to improve your jumping consistency, at least figure out a way to handle your press conferences better.
* His reference to his short program as “beautiful” (at the post-event interview right after last week’s competition) and his gold medal win as “deserved, and I’d love to explain why” (in the Reuters article)... maybe I’m more hypersensitive to certain word choices than most, but—how about “well done” rather than “beautiful”? How about “I skated more to my potential with the short”? How about calling your win “fortunate” instead? It all just serves to remind that a little humility goes a long, long way. Especially in a sport where at least a little subjectivity comes into play.
Enough with the articles! Now it’s time to face the music with my original predictions for each discipline... (scroll down to posts from about 10 days ago to see 'em)
Pairs Predictions: I did my best guesswork here; got the top 5 spot-on with 90% of the top 10 teams on my list (though not necessarily in right order). My only miss involved the
teams—I called Castelli/Shnapir to make the top 10 and it was Scimeca/Knierim
that got it done. (Does this mean I “know” the rest of the world’s top pair
teams better than my own country’s? It figures!)
Men’s Predictions: I got gold and bronze spot-on (Chan and Javier Fernandez), with 80% of the top 10 teams on my own list. Misses included Americans (again); I didn’t think Max Aaron would make top 10, and I thought Ross Miner would do much better than he actually did. How unfortunate that Worlds was probably his weakest outing of the whole year. My other miss was an egregious one—not only did I fail to guess Denis Ten among the medalists (didn’t everyone??), but I failed to put him anywhere in the top 10! But it’s so lovely to be wrong like that.
Dance Predictions: Thanks to my being wrong about the hometown heroes Virtue & Moir, I only hit three of these spot-on: Bobrova/Soloviev for bronze, Weaver/Poje for 5th, and the Shib Sibs for 8th (though my guess that they’d get back “above” Chock/Bates was erroneous). I had 90% of the top 10 teams on my own list—the miss was Nelli Zhiganshina and Alexander Gazsi of Germany (with their “zombie dance”), as I thought Riazanova/Tkachenko would finish higher.
Ladies Predictions: My worst one! Only prediction I got spot-on was Ashley Wagner for 5th... I got the podium right, but in the wrong order (it was Kim/Kostner/Asada, not Asada/Kim/Kostner). As for the top 10, I got 8-for-10 accurately with my misses including Zijun Li of
and Adelina Sotnikova of Russia...
interestingly enough, the two I predicted that DIDN’T make it in were the
silver and bronze medalists from last year (Alena Leonova and Akiko Suzuki),
both of whom finished 10 spots down from their respective high points last
year. It was an up and down season for Suzuki; a downright dismal one for Leonova... so it'll be interesting to see how they rebound with Sochi approaching (or if Suzuki, who turns 28 next week, will even stick around one more year).