We (finally) continue the GP assignments/analysis review for next season with a look at the MEN...
Omissions: Johnny Weir, if that’s considered an omission? I honestly don’t remember what he said his comeback plans would be after he dropped out of Rostelecom Cup last year. Also absent from the assignments is Armin Mahbanoozadeh-- except that, as you may have heard by now, he’s calling it a (Mahbanooza) day in terms of his competitive skating career. (Thanks to Truly S. @hotincleveland for that line!!)
In fact, he recently announced on Twitter that he’s headed to
in the fall... so much as we’ll miss him, his future seems quite bright!
Surprises? I start the answer for that some quick trivia... the last time Brian Joubert was NOT among the French assignments at Trophee Eric Bompard was all the way back in 2001! Until this year, that is. No Joubert at TEB. Meanwhile, Nobunari Oda still got two GP assignments—a surprise to me, considering how very deep the Japanese talent pool continues to be... and how many of those talented men are eclipsing him at this stage in his career.
New to Senior GP this season: The list includes
Han Yan (reigning 4CC Bronze Medalist), as well as U.S.
young’ns such as Max Aaron, Jason Brown, and Joshua Farris.
Noteworthy are the comeback attempts promised in this Olympic season. Reigning OGM Evan Lysacek is surely the most talked-about as we wait and see what he brings to Skate
assuming he’s able to show up for Skate America this time. Word from the rink
is that he’s doing solid run-throughs of his programs with a quad toe intact...
And on the other side of the world, reigning OSM (or OPM*, if you prefer) Evgeny Plushenko recently received his doctor’s go-ahead forresuming competition... this after enduring surgery earlier in the year. His last ISU appearance was at 2012 Europeans, when severe back pain forced his withdrawal.
(*OPM= Olympic Platinum Medalist. But you knew that, right?)
Perhaps not quite as noteworthy—but still a bummer for me, at least—was the confirmation via his Facebook page that Adrian Schultheiss will not be returning to the competitive ranks. His peak season was 2009-10, when he earned his highest GP placement (6th at Cup of Russia) as well as represented
at the Olympics (finishing 15th) and Worlds (finishing 9th).
It looked like he was continuing onward with Sochi
in sight, but injuries have forced him out of contention for the last couple of
years. I believe he’s now in the U.S.
working as a coach, but I’ll miss his innovative style and music interpretation.
And I’ll always remember how he got the “home crowd” fired up at the 2008
Gothenburg (Goteborg) Worlds... the final Worlds covered by ABC/ESPN (sigh).
Omissions: a Japanese dance team for NHK. The Reeds,
longtime go-to dance team, have one assignment—Skate America—but
that’s it so far, as the NHK slot is TBA. Hmmm. I also couldn’t help but notice
zero assignments for the US’s
Lynn & Logan K/G-S (though there is currently a TBA for the US
at SKAM)... probably not what they want to see in what could be their final
Olympic season together.
Surprises: It’s not evidenced on the assignment roster—not yet, anyway—but the possible return of Marina Anissina/Gwendal Peizerat surely counts as a surprise, oui? The 2002 OGMs of ice dance are now 37 and 41, and haven’t competed since
Lake City. Could they possibly get ready/qualify for Sochi??
All I know is that there IS a French TBA spot open at Trophee Eric Bompard, and
both Carron/Jones and Pechalat/Bourzat already have two assignments apiece. I
would presume that slot to go to Papadakis/Cizeron (new to the senior GP, see
below)... but now... who knows?
New faces: include Kolbe/Caruso for
Heekin-Canedy/Dun for the Ukraine...
and the aforementioned Papadakis/Cizeron of France, who finally get “bumped up”
after four years on the junior international circuit (and silver Junior GP & Worlds medals last year).
Noteworthy: Although I haven’t seen anything official about it yet, I just spotting the following from Torvill & Dean’s Twitter Feed (presumably written by Dean):
“I have been choreographing with Piper Gilles, but Paul (Poirier) her partner is recovering from a broken ankle. So I've been partner. Very sore.”
Hard to tell how serious Poirier’s injury is, based on just that, but at least they don’t have to be ready to roll at the start of the GP season... they’ve been assigned NHK and Rostelecom Cup (the 4th and 6th events this year).
On a completely separate note—I apologize again for the delay in posts. This time I blame Annie... as in Annie, the musical we’re putting on this summer for Wayne Township Community Theater. I’m involved, my daughter is involved, my son too (working stage crew), and we’re in Tech Week at this point! So not as much writing/posting time, as you’ve seen. But we open this weekend and run only one weekend beyond that, so I’m looking to step up the pace as soon as I can. Next post is going to revisit that Elephant Bites post I made several weeks back, and discuss the article I included—there’s still time to chip in your thoughts before we get started!