Friday, November 4, 2016

State of the Cup of Russia: 2016 Rostelecom Cup Predictions (Ladies/Pairs)

Here’s what I’ve got in mind for the LADIES and PAIRS at Rostelecom…


GOLD: Anna Pogorilaya (RUS)
SILVER: Elena Radionova (RUS)
BRONZE: Yuka Matsuda (JPN)

DARK HORSE: Julia Lipnitskaya (RUS)

Had I known I’d be putting Pogo’s name at the top of this list a year ago, one hand would’ve grabbed the other as if to say Whaaat aaare youuu doiiing??? But this is not the same young woman we saw a year ago. This Pogo wins World Bronze Medals and doesn’t fling herself down onto the ice every other jump. This Pogo is skating more maturely, and carrying more confidence, and I had trouble recognizing at Japan Open earlier in the season… really!

Unless she IS the same one, and I’m gravely mistaken. Then the gold goes to Radionova. (Who I haven’t seen/heard about AT ALL lately, so I’ve no idea what to expect.)

I did see Lipnitskaya compete earlier in the season (she won silver at the Ondrej Nepela Memorial), but then she scratched from SkAM due to “a recurring injury”… which is why I’m making her the Dark Horse here rather than my pick from bronze. Instead, I’m predicting Matsuda, the 18 year-old from Japan, as an outside choice for stopping a Russian podium sweep.

The lone U.S. representation in Ladies is Courtney Hicks; I expect to see her finish around 5th or 6th.

GOLD:  Savchenko/Massot (GER)
SILVER: Seguin/Bilodeau (CAN)
BRONZE: Astakhova/Rogonov (RUS)

DARK HORSE: Marchei/Hotarek (ITA)

Gold? Easy. Silver? Easy. Anything else for this field of eight… three teams of which I’ve never even heard… is almost a coin toss. But I’ll put in the bronze slot the Russian team that finished 5th at SkAM, and give Marchei/Hotarek the DH role—even though they were a surprising 8th of 8 at that same SkAM event. In any case, Sav/Mass’s throw/twist moves are sure to be the highlight of the event, with Seg/Bilo’s adorability coming in a admirable second. (NOTE: there are no U.S. pairs teams at Rosteleom.)

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