Thursday, November 5, 2015

Cup of China 2015 Preview/Predictions

It’s time for the super-early morning (in the States, anyway) party known as Cup of China!!

If you’re following in real time (I will NOT be, for the most part), here’s the IceNetwork schedule... 

And here is where you can find the time it’ll make an NBC appearance...

And HERE (below) is where I’m taking my stabs at podium predictions!

CONTENDERS: Elladj Balde, Jin Boyang, Yan Han, Sergei Voronov, Javier Fernandez, Richard Dornbush, Misha Ge
GOLD: Fernandez (ESP)
DARK HORSE: Yan (CHN), Dornbush (USA)

You’re looking at Fernandez for gold and saying Well sure, reigning World Champ, no real competition here, so... duh. To that I say: Look out for Jin Boyang, an 18 year-old 2-time Chinese Champion making his GP debut here—and oh, by the way, he eats quads and quad combos for breakfast. Lots of them. As many as can fit into his 5’1 ½” frame. He won’t have the components of Fernandez, and whether he can keep it together at this event remains to be seen. But if he does, and if Fernandez stumbles a time or two... LOOK. OUT.
As for Balde in the bronze slot, you’re thinking Um, you DO know he’s never done better than 6th at a GP event, right? Yep, he’s probably one of the biggest gambles I’ve made this season... but did YOU know he just won Nebelhorn Trophy? Over Skate America champ Max Aaron, no less? So maybe not such a gamble. Let’s see what he can do here.

USA Alert: Ricky Dornbush won bronze here last year so there’s a podium possibility for him... Grant Hochstein, who was also at Nebelhorn (finishing 7th ), is making only his second GP appearance in six seasons! Whew!

CONTENDERS: Li Zijun, Mao Asada, Rika Hongo, Anna Pogorilaya, Elena Radionova, Karen Chen, Courtney Hicks
GOLD: Asada (JPN)
SILVER: Radionova (RUS)
DARK HORSE: Li (CHN), Pogorilaya (RUS)

Asada’s back. Anything else is a big ol’ stupid upset. I’m not sure there’s more to discuss here, so I’ll just point you to the...

USA Alert: We’ve got three here (though, alas, no reps in Pairs). Reigning U.S. Bronze Medalist Karen Chen will try to improve on her 5th place SkAM finish... Courtney Hicks makes her GP season debut (and might attempt a triple axel? But don’t quote me on that), and Hannah Miller hits the GP circuit for the very first time with this CoC appearance.

CONTENDERS: Iliushechkina/Moscovitch, Sui/Han, Yu/Jin, Astakhova/Rogonov, Kavaguti/Smirnov
GOLD: Sui/Han (CHN)
SILVER: Kavaguti/Smirnov (RUS)
DARK HORSE: Astakhova/Rogonov (RUS)

I adored Sui/Han at SkAM, and fully expect them to nail it again here. As for Kavaguti/Smirnov, did you know this is their 10th GP season?? So I certainly hope their efforts here are medal-worthy. We’ll see if they can hold off Yu/Jin, who won silver here last year.

CONTENDERS: Cappellini/Lanotte, Ilinykh/Zhiganshin, Chock/Bates, Hawayek/Baker
GOLD: Chock/Bates (USA)
SILVER: Cappellini/Lanotte (ITA)
BRONZE: Ilinykh/Zhiganshin (RUS)          
DARK HORSE: Hawayek/Baker (USA)

It’ll be interesting to see what Cap/Lan look like this season as they free dance to a Fellini Medley... and Ili/Zhig make their GP debut here too, with the Frida soundtrack. (I’ll be more interested in their “Somebody to Love/We Will Rock You” short dance, but that’s just me.) Chock/Bates for the relatively easy win, though.

I’ll be following the men’s and pairs events in real time for Cup of China (#CoC15); as always, look for me/ask me a question on Twitter @KLBSt8ofSk8 ! 

No comments: