Thursday, February 18, 2010

Vancouver: Who Will Dance To the Top?

Here comes my disclaimer...

I admittedly don’t have enough knowledge about the details of ice dancing to make the most educated guesses. Still, as I see it, there are no less than FIVE potential contenders for the podium:

Virtue/Moir of Canada, who finished 3rd at Worlds…

Pros- Home crowd favorites, good compulsory dancers

Cons- Home crowd pressure; no Olympic experience to draw from, and their free dance (to Mahler’s 5th Symphony) has received some criticism as not having “danceable” music… though it’s been well-scored all season anyway.

Belbin/Agosto, of the U.S., who won silver last Olympics and were 2nd last Worlds…

Pros- Olympic experience, reputation

Cons- Free dance (to “Ave Maria”/”Amen”) has been scored below expectations, then re-worked, then they still lost to Davis and White at Nationals. Percerption may be that they’ve already peaked as competitors.

Delobel/Schoenfelder, of France., who were world champs in 2008…

Pros—Multiple Olympic experiences to draw from, considered to be good compulsory dancers, may be extra anticipation building over their absence

Cons—Due to her shoulder injury (followed by pregnancy), they have not competed in over a year. What to expect here? Who knows?

Davis/White, of the U.S., recent Grand Prix Final champs who missed bronze last year by mere hundredths of a point…

Pros—From the recent Nationals victory to the “Bollywood” OD You Tube sensation, these two are white-hot right now…and unless they slip up in a big way, a complete snub by the judges on the Olympic stage might be a VERY bad move.

Cons—Considered weaker in compulsory dances, no Olympic experience

Domnina/Shabalin, of Russia, who are the reigning World Champions…

Pros—Strong compulsories, Olympic experience

Cons—Shabalin’s bad knees are always a wild card… also a wild card is just what their OD will look like after all the hullabaloo of late. Will it work for them, against them, or ultimately be much ado about nothing?

So, as with the men’s event, I’m going to run two sets of predictions. How I’d LIKE to see the podium by event’s end… and I admit some national bias here, but it’s also because I know more about what these performances look like (neither the Russians nor the French were on the GP circuit in the fall):


As for how I suspect the podium WILL look…
Silver— Virtue/Moir
Bronze— Davis/White

Why? Because in my heart of hearts, a) I don’t believe The Powers That Be will allow a North American sweep (and CERTAINLY not an NA victory), and b) I wonder if V/M’s compulsories will make the difference between them and D/W getting the upper hand. Hmmm… looks like I’ve got V/M for silver either way, huh.

I still hope I'm wrong about some of these choices. Odds are good that I don't know what I'm talking about-- remember that! And yes, if you were reading my predictions back at Nationals time, you're right... my theory about how the judges feel regarding the two top US teams has been completely rewritten... that theory now reads Davis & White have proven themselves; they are the present, not the future. Reward them appropriately. (Unless they screw up.)

I should also mention that everyone should be sure to watch Kerr/Kerr (from the U.K) either way—they steal the show anywhere they’re at; unfortunately, their overall skating skills are apparently just a tad below everyone else’s so they are unlikely to crack the Top 5 unless there is another demolition derby awaiting the Original Dance (as there was in Torino, of course). You never know...

I’ll be working hard to get Men’s Free Skate analysis & notes up tonight after the big event..!!

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