Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Shanghai Shake-up: Worlds 2015 Ladies and Men Predictions

Here’s what I’m thinking for the singles’ podiums at Worlds this week...

GOLD: Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS)     
SILVER: Elena Radionova (RUS)
BRONZE: Ashley Wagner (USA)

DARK HORSE: Polina Edmunds (USA)

Call them Liza and Lena, call them Tukta and Radio, or even call them The One With the Drapey Dress and The One With the Bench-Pressable Dress... just don’t call them anything less than the favorites for leading a 1-2 Worlds finish this year. They may be teenagers, but they have OWNED this season. As usual, I’m picking Tukta for the title ahead of Radio because she’s the more mature & complete skater of the two, though it might be a toss-up depending on whether Tukta is helped—or harmed—by a triple axel attempt.

As for Wagner... I’m going to go ahead and put her in third. She’s certainly going for it, so it seems the least I can do! And to be honest, I wanted to put both Edmunds and Gracie Gold as the dark horses, but for such a big event I thought I should go with just one of them. I picked Edmunds based on her 4CC breakthrough, but if Gold shines brightest, I won’t be surprised.

Who could be the most interesting to watch here? I’m keeping my eyes peeled for Li Zijun—the sole lady representing China in this Shanghai Worlds—and 26 year-old Kiira Korpi, who has not competed at Worlds since 2011 (where she came in 9th, her highest placement to date).

GOLD: Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN)           
SILVER: Denis Ten (KAZ)
BRONZE: Javier Fernandez (ESP)

DARK HORSE: Sergei Voronov (RUS)

As certain as I feel about the ladies, well, take that and put it in a blender when it comes to the men. Gold could go to any one of these guys I’ve put as a podium pick... or maybe even someone I haven’t listed here. It all depends:
A) Can Fernandez rise above a fairly sloppy season when it matters most?
B) Is D.Ten capable of another performance this year like the one he gave at 4CC?
C) Is Hanyu HEALTHY and TRAINED enough to deliver the goods (again)?

I guess I came up with this prediction by saying that even if all the above answers are YES... I’d have the same guess.

And I’ve got Voronov as the DH because he’s having the Best Year Ever, so why not?

U.S. guys: they all have Worlds breakout potential, but I’m worried. Know what I mean? For the sake of positivity, though, I’ll take a stab at it in a way that keeps our 3 spots...

Some American man will finish 5th. Another will finish 8th. The other will end up 17th. There. That's as far as I'll go!

Most interesting to watch?? How about Song Nan, who hasn’t competed all season (even 4CC) and must be here for the home country hospitality... yep, I’ll go with that.

Again, if you’re on Twitter, look for me... live-tweeting as much as I can (@KLBSt8ofSk8)! 

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