Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Trophee Eric Bompard Men's Preview

Patrick Chan showed at Skate Canada that he can still win even with mistakes.  With two falls in his free skate, he still scored enough points to pull up from 3rd to 1st overall and take the gold medal.  His skating skills, transitions and performance quality is so solid and his technical content including a quad and a quad-triple combination put him above the rest of the field.  While Takahashi passed him for the top score of the season last week, I believe Chan will make up the difference this week.  He needs a gold, silver or bronze medal to guarantee a spot in the Final.

Michal Brezina also has a gold medal this season with a conservative but clean short program at Skate America.  His coaches urged him to play it safe and took the quad out of both of his programs and he expressed frustration after his performance that he wasn't allowed to skate the way he had been training.  While his score was enough for gold there, it likely won't be enough here.  He is competing in back to back events as well so it will be interesting to see how he chooses to mentally prepare for these events.  He needs a gold, silver or bronze medal to guarantee a spot in the Final.

Nobunari Oda has a silver medal this season with a second place finish in the free skate at Cup of China to pull him up from a disappointing short program.  His biggest problem comes when he misses an element in his program and starts rearranging jumps to make up points.  There is a limit to how many jumps can be competed in combination and jumps over that limit do not count which has cost him valuable points in the past.  He has great spring in his jumps and bendy knees which helps him stick the landings when they're not perfect in the air.  He needs a gold medal to guarantee a spot in the Final and a silver or bronze medal to stay in contention.

Nan Song impressed with a bronze medal finish at Cup of China.  He put up two clean and technically difficult programs (and won the free skate) to earn his first medal and set one of the top scores of the season.  He went into the event as an underdog, but he'll now have to live up to the pressure of being a top contender.  If he can keep his cool and put up two clean programs again he has a shot at a second medal and his first trip to the Final.  He needs a gold or silver medal to keep him in contention for the Final.

Adam Rippon finished 4th at Skate Canada in a tough field, but his score was good enough that he would have medaled at several other events.  His triple axel still seems to be troubling him, and he'll need this jump in both of his programs if he wants to win a medal here.  He is also working on a quad lutz and is committed to adding it to his free skate.  This jump has only been landed by one other skater, U.S. teammate Brandon Mroz.  He needs a gold medal to have a shot at the Final.

Kevin Reynolds finished 7th at Cup of China but has one of the most technically ambitious free skates of the season including two different quads and a triple + triple + triple combination.  He hit some of the elements but had problems on the others in China.  He is also the only skater to complete two quad jumps in a short program.  If he can hit all of his elements he can put up a monster score, but he hasn't been able to put together two clean programs yet.

My podium predictions:
Gold: Patrick Chan
Silver: Nobunari Oda
Bronze: Nan Song

Bios of the competitors:
Patrick Chan, CAN: He is the reigning World Champion.  He won gold at Skate Canada.  He qualified for the Grand Prix Final last season and won gold.  He is the 2009 and 2010 World silver medalist, 2009 Four Continents Champion and 2007 World Junior silver medalist.  His personal best is 280.98.  He is 20 years old.

Kevin Reynolds, CAN: He finished 20th at Worlds and 11th at Four Continents.  He placed 7th at Cup of China.  He is the 2010 Four Continents bronze medalist.  His personal best is 218.65.  He is 21 years old.

Nan Song, CHN: He finished 22nd at Worlds and 9th at Four Continents.  He won bronze at Cup of China.  He is the 2010 World Junior silver medalist.  His personal best is 226.75.  He is 21 years old.

Michal Brezina, CZE: He placed 4th at Worlds and 8th at Europeans.  He won gold at Skate America.  He is the 2009 World Junior Silver Medalist.  His personal best is 236.06.  He is 21 years old.

Florent Amodio, FRA: He placed 7th at Worlds and is the reigning European Champion.  He finished 9th at Skate America.  He qualified for the Grand Prix Final last season and finished 6th.  His personal best is 229.68.  He is 21 years old.

Chaffik Besseghier, FRA: He finished 5th at Trophee Eric Bompard last season.  His personal best is 185.69.  He is 22 years old.

Romain Ponsart, FRA: He placed 17th at Junior Worlds.  He finished 5th at JGP France and Germany last season.  His personal best is 164.74.  He is 19 years old.

Nobunari Oda, JPN: He finished 6th at Worlds.  He won silver at Cup of China.  He qualified for the Grand Prix Final last season and won silver.  He is the 2006 Four Continents Champion and 2005 Junior World Champion.  His personal best is 244.56.  He is 24 years old.

Alexander Majorov, SWE: He finished 28th at Worlds ans is the reigning Junior World bronze medalist.  He placed 9th at Skate Canada.  His personal best is 177.84.  He is 20 years old.

Adam Rippon, USA: He finished 5th at Four Continents.  He placed 4th at Skate Canada.  He is the 2010 Four Continents Champion and 2008 and 2009 World Junior Champion.  His personal best is 233.04.  He is 21 years old.

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