Monday, February 10, 2014

Sochi Olympic Sojourns III: Pairs Preview & Predictions


There are 20 pairs teams scheduled to take the ice in Sochi for the short program... and 16 of them will make it to the free skate.

The Favorites: Volosohzar/Trankov (RUS), hands down. They’ve only one world title under their belt—2013, less than a year ago—but their momentum has been building for the past three years.

The Top Challengers: Savchenko/Szolkowy (GER) are multiple World Champs, the reigning Olympic Bronze Medalists, and are definitely capable of upsetting the Volo/Trank party if they have an off night. Canadian teams Duhamel/Radford and Moore-Towers/Moscovitch, both of whom helped Canada earn its Team Silver medal, are also medal-worthy at their best. And anyone who forgets veterans and reigning Olympic Silver Medalists Pang/Tong (CHI) in this event is making a big mistake.

The US Teams: Castelli/Shnapir are the 2-time National Champs, but only finished 13th at Worlds last year. Zhang/Bartholomay were surprise silver medalists who have never competed Worlds at all. Neither of these facts bodes particularly well for our chances... but then again, pairs is traditionally our weakest discipline of late. Having said that, the US finished 10th and 13th in Vancouver... and best-case scenario, I’d expect to see something similar happen here.

Extra-cool (and difficult) moves: Look for side-by-side triple lutzes from Duhamel/Radford, a throw triple axel from Savchenko/Szolkowy, and a throw quad salchow from Castelli/Shnapir (or an attempt at one, anyway).

My predictions:
GOLD- Volosohzar/Trankov
SILVER- Savchenko/Szolkowy
BRONZE- Pang/Tong

Remember, the Pairs get started at 10AM Eastern time Tuesday 2/11 on NBC SN (Sports Network), with highlights coming in prime time Tuesday and Wednesday nights!

I will be live-tweeting as much as I can... follow me on Twitter @KLBSt8ofSk8.

I hope to post my thoughts on the past weekend’s Team Event on Tuesday! (And Pairs thoughts some time after that!)

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