Wednesday, February 4, 2009

More Predictions for 4CCs (or, Vancouver's "Test Event")

Were you wondering, like I was, if IceNetwork was going to stream 4CCs live this week… or if it was going to be a delayed on-demand thing, like Euros?

I don’t know if it was a last-minute deal or not, but the answer apparently is YES. As of this morning, a streaming video schedule can be found
here … for subscribers only, of course, but I couldn’t find a thing about it until just today, so I thought I’d pass it along in case I’m not the only one.

Which brings me to my other two things-I-don’t-get about 4CCs:

3) What anchors this one?
I’m glad to hear that this year’s championships, happening in Vancouver, is doubling as a sort of “test event” for next Winter’s Olympics. But the Grand Prix events serve a purpose… as does Worlds, of course… even early-season meets such as Nebelhorn Trophy seem to have a raison d’etre more than 4CCs does. Which is not to say that a stand-alone competition like 4CCs is absolutely unnecessary… but look how long it took IceNetwork to even announce a schedule. I can only guess that even the week in, week out fans weren’t e-mailing down their doors with 4CC fever.

As for the ISU’s proclamation of its purpose… I have to refer back to what I said with don’t-get-it #1 on Monday. Sorry, but good intentions aside, it just doesn’t seem to be working the way ISU might have hoped for.

4) Location, location…?
Not to be confused with #2 (Timing, Timing…)—but when is this event going to take place in Africa? Or South America? Or Australia? To date, 4CCs has ping-ponged between the U.S., Canada, South Korea, China, and Japan. Which only re-iterates the Two Continents (and Two Others Can Come if They Want) vibe in my mind. Wouldn’t a trip to warm, sunny (compared to the U.S. right now) Sydney be a welcome change for ALL the skaters involved? Just a thought.

Anyway, coverage is getting underway soon, so I’d better get this posted so I can be wrong about most of them for everyone to see! :-)


Gold—Mao Asada (JPN)
Silver—Yu-Na Kim (S.Korea)
Bronze—Joannie Rochette (CAN)

Last year Asada took this title, Rochette earned silver, and Kim was out with an injury I think (which brings up another point: why make these athletes risk additional illness or injury when many are trying to gear up for the biggest events of the season at this time of year?? But sorry, I digress…). This year, Asada’s got two triple axels in her FS, Kim’s not letting up the pressure on her end of things, and Rochette has had a mostly stellar season save for a couple of recent baubles on the SP. I’m struggling with the bronze prediction in particular, for I could see Suguri grabbing it, as well as Czisny (cross fingers for some more confidence-building this weekend) or Flatt. But I’m giving it to Rochette because she’s proven she can handle the home-ice pressure—she did so at Skate Canada last fall—and if she can bump up her SP performance to what it was earlier in the season, I think she’ll be a fairly easy choice.

For MEN:

Gold—Nobunari Oda (JPN)
Silver—Jeremy Abbott (USA)
Bronze—Patrick Chan (CAN)

At the risk of sounding like I did when I predicted Weir would win Nationals (wow was this the wrong year for that call!), I think Oda might come into this with more than the average chip on his shoulder. He’s in the midst of a comeback already, and we saw how up for the challenge he was when he won NHK. But does anyone else remember what happened when he competed at 4CCs in 2006? He completely “waxeled” his triple axel, crashed into the boards as he fell, missed at least one other jumping pass, and looked so dazed and confused in some parts of his free skate you just wanted someone to go out there, grab his hand, and lead him off the ice before the music ended. He still managed to win, but only because Matt Savoie-- only ½ a point behind him in the SP-- had an FS meltdown of his own, and there was very little in the way of close competition otherwise (a lot of Olympic-bound skaters skipped the event that year I think).

Anyway—the judges seem to be happy to have Oda back, and as with Chan, like to give him the big presentation points. So I pick him over Chan—the latter with the squirrely triple axel of his own, lately—and put JeremEEE in between them right now because he seems kind of unstoppable at the moment (particularly when there are no French skaters between him and the podium). Kozuka or Lysacek could certainly prove to be worthy spoilers, though…

Clip of the Day is the SP from last year’s winner for the men, Daisuke Takahashi… not sure, but I think he earned his highest SP score of the season with this one. Come back healed and ready to hip-hop, Dice-K… we miss you.

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