Search This Blog

Loading...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

World Championships: Dance Preview

Davis and White had a great run of 10 straight victories and made history by becoming the first U.S. team to claim Ice Dance gold at Worlds last season.  They are also only the second team to win three consecutive Grand Prix Finals.  This impressive streak came to a halt last month at Four Continents when they had to settle for the silver medal.  They didn't get the levels on their elements they were used to receiving and while that should be an easy fix, they've been cast into the role of the underdog.  With their soaring Die Fledermaus free dance and the fire in their bellies to come from behind, they have a good shot at defending their title.  They have the best short dance, best free dance and best total score of the season.

Virtue and Moir defeated Davis and White for the first time since 2010 at Four Continents.  While their programs this season suit them well, I don't think their Funny Face free dance is as dynamic and enjoyable as Davis and White's.  They've also been acting all season like they deserve to win and have been vocally disappointed when they didn't.  This could give them a disadvantage if they walk into Worlds acting like the title is already theirs.  They are a beautiful artistic team with all the technical goods.  It's going to be a real nailbiter to see who comes out on top.  They have the 2nd best short dance, 2nd best free dance and 2nd best total score of the season.

Pechalat and Bourzat have been in the hunt for their first World medal for over a year.  A fall in their free dance cost them last season and they had to withdraw from one of their Grand Prix assignments due to illness.  Just last week, Pechalat broke her nose in practice and their participation was uncertain until today and she will have to compete with a mask over her face.  While I'm not a fan of their programs this season, I think the setbacks they've faced combined with competing in front of the home crowd will give them the boost they need to claim the bronze medal.  They have the 3rd best short dance, 3rd best free dance and 3rd best total score of the season.

Weaver and Poje are having a stellar season, claiming three silver medals on the Grand Prix and qualifying for the Grand Prix Final.  They claimed the bronze medal at Four Continents making them a favorite for a medal here.  They train alongside Pechalat and Bourzat and have been able to develop the friendly rivalry seen among the Canton teams.  Their Je Suis Malade free dance is one of my favorite programs of the season and is always brilliantly executed.  They're gunning for a medal and will be giving Pechalat and Bourzat a run for their money.  They have the 4th best short dance, 4th best free dance and 4th best total score of the season.

Bobrova and Soloviev took home their second consecutive European silver medal in January.  They started off the season with a bang winning gold at Cup of China but have not been able to match that performance since.  Their free dance is very dark and has been sloppy for most of the season with a distracting costume.  If they have the skate of their lives, they could challenge for a medal but they'll likely fall just short.  They have the 5th best short dance, 5th best free dance and 5th best total score of the season.

The Shibutanis took home their first Grand Prix gold medal and qualified for the Final this season but weren't happy with their performances and went back to the drawing board on their short dance working with ballroom expert Corky Ballas.  They put out great performances at U.S. nationals but struggled at Four Continents where Alex was so sick they weren't sure they were going to compete.  Healthy and with more mileage on their programs, they'll be looking to defend their World bronze medal and their free dance can certainly get the crowd behind them.  They have the 6th best short dance, 6th best free dance and 6th best total score of the season.

Cappellini and Lanotte took home bronze from their two Grand Prix events and just missed the podium at Europeans.  They've showed great improvement this season, but are still just outside the medal contenders.  They have the 7th best short dance, 8th best free dance and 7th best total score of the season.

Ilinykh and Katsalapov were very unhappy with their 7th place finish in their Worlds debut and changed coaches to improve their technique.  While Morozov's choreography doesn't seem to suit them since they spend most of their free dance posing instead of showing off their exquisite lines and ballet like physique.  They did claim one medal on the Grand Prix and take home the bronze from Europeans and could challenge for a medal if they show clean programs here.  They have the 8th best short dance, 7th best free dance and 8th best total score of the season.

Also in the hunt are Riazanova and Tkachenko who have the 9th best scores of the season, Coomes and Buckland who have the 10th best scores of the season, Skate America Bronze Medalists Tobias and Stagniunas and  Cup of China Bronze Medalists Carron and Jones.

My podium predictions:
Gold: Davis/White
Silver: Virtue/Moir
Bronze: Pechalat/Bourzat

Bios of the competitors:
O'Brien/Merriman, AUS: They placed 12th in the preliminary round at Worlds last season.  They finished 9th at Four Continents.  Their personal best is 105.91.  She is 22 and he is 23.

Silna/Kurakin, AUT: They finished 12th in the preliminary round at Europeans.  She is 23 and he is 24.

Zlobina/Sitnikov, AZE: They finished 10th at Europeans.  Their personal best is 133.04.  She is 22 and he is 25.

Valadzenkava/Vakunov, BLR: They finished 17th in the preliminary round at Worlds last season.  They placed 16th in the preliminary round at Europeans.  She is 19 and he is 21.

Chistiakova/Lichev, BUL: They finished 19th in the preliminary round at Europeans.  She is 20 and he is 21.

Ralph/Hill, CAN (Direct Entry): They placed 5th at Skate America.  Their personal best is 131.29.  She is 19 and he is 20.

Virtue/Moir, CAN (Direct Entry): They are the reigning World Silver Medalists and Four Continents Champions.  They won gold at Skate Canada and Trophee Eric Bompard to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they won silver.  They are the 2010 Olympic Champions, 2010 World Champions, 2008 World Silver Medalists, 2009 World Bronze Medalists, 2008 Four Continents Champions, 2009 Four Continents Silver Medalists, 2006 and 2007 Four Continents Bronze Medalists, 2006 World Junior Champions and 2005 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 183.34.  She is 22 and he is 24.

Weaver/Poje, CAN (Direct Entry): They finished 5th at Worlds last season.  They are the reigning Four Continents Bronze Medalists.  They won silver at Skate Canada, NHK Trophy and Rostelecom Cup to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they finished 4th.  They are the 2010 Four Continents Champions and 2007 World Junior Bronze Medalists.  Their personal best is 166.07.  She is 22 and he is 25.

Huang/Zheng, CHN: They placed 17th at Worlds last season.  They placed 5th at Cup of China and 6th at Trophee Eric Bompard.  Their personal best is 130.29.  She is 25 and he is 24.

Kubova/Kiselev, CZE: They finished 18th at Europeans.  Their personal best is 113.51.  She is 18 and he is 22.

Shtork/Rand, EST: They finished 14th at Europeans and 11th at Junior Worlds.  They placed 7th at JGP Romania and won silver at JGP Estonia.  Their personal best is 126.51.  She is 18 and he is 19.

Lindholm/Kanervo, FIN: They finished 13th in the preliminary round at Europeans.  She is 22 and he is 24.

Carron/Jones, FRA (Direct Entry): They placed 12th at Worlds last season.  They finished 7th at Europeans.  They won bronze at Cup of China and placed 6th at Rostelecom Cup.  Their personal best is 142.27.  She is 25 and he is 23.

Pechalat/Bourzat, FRA (Direct Entry): They placed 4th at Worlds last season.  They are the reigning European Champions.  They won silver at Skate America and Trophee Eric Bompard to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they won bronze.  They are the 2011 European Champions.  Their personal best is 169.69.  She is 28 and he is 31.

Zhiganshina/Gazsi, GER (Direct Entry): They finished 11th at Worlds last season.  They placed 8th at Europeans.  They placed 4th at Skate America and NHK Trophy.  Their personal best is 140.95.  She is 24 and he is 27.

Coomes/Buckland, GBR: They finished 16th at Worlds last season.  They placed 6th at Europeans.  They placed 4th at Cup of China.  Their personal best is 145.31.  She is 22 and he is 22.

Nagy/Fejes, HUN: They finished 13th in the preliminary round at Worlds last season.  They placed 17th at Europeans.  Their personal best is 114.40.  She is 25 and he is 24.

Bugrov/Rogov, ISR: They finished 17th in the preliminary round at Europeans and 13th in the preliminary round at Junior Worlds.  They placed 15th at JGP Latvia and 9th at JGP Romania.  Their personal best is 98.87.  She is 16 and he is 20.

Alessandrini/Vaturi, ITA: They placed 5th at NHK Trophy.  Their personal best is 133.29.  She is 21 and he is 23.

Cappellini/Lanotte, ITA (Direct Entry): They finished 8th at Worlds last season.  They placed 4th at Europeans.  They won bronze at Skate Canada and Trophee Eric Bompard.  Their personal best is 154.87.  She is 25 and he is 26.

Reed/Reed, JPN (Direct Entry): They finished 13th at Worlds last season.  They placed 7th at NHK Trophy.  Their personal best is 133.33.  She is 24 and he is 22.

Mansour/Zhunussov, KAZ: They finished 11th at Four Continents.  They placed 14th at JGP Italy and 15th at JGP Estonia.  Their personal best is 81.69.  She is 17 and he is 20.

Pecherkina/Jakushin, LAT: They finished 18th in the preliminary round at Europeans and 13th at Junior Worlds.  They placed 8th at JGP Latvia and 7th at JGP Poland.  Their personal best is 113.24.  She is 19 and he is 21.

Tobias/Stagniunas, LTU (Direct Entry): They finished 14th at Worlds last season.  They placed 9th at Europeans.  They won bronze at Skate America and placed 5th at Rostelecom Cup.  Their personal best is 139.53.  She is 20 and he is 26.

Bruhns/Van Natten, MEX: They finished 10th at Four Continents.  Their personal best is 91.57.  She is 21 and he is 24.

Zvorigina/Bernadowski, POL: They placed 15th in the preliminary round at Europeans.  She is 21 and he is 22.

Bobrova/Soloviev: RUS (Direct Entry): They placed 6th at Worlds last season and are the reigning European Silver Medalists.  They won gold at Cup of China and bronze at Rostelecom Cup to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they finished 6th.  They are the 2011 European Silver Medalists and  2007 World Junior Champions.  Their personal best is 163.52.  She is 22 and he is 22.

Ilinykh/Katsalapov, RUS: They finished 7th at Worlds last season and are the reigning European Bronze Medalists.  They won bronze at NHK Trophy and finished 4th at Trophee Eric Bompard.  They are the 2010 World Junior Champions.  Their personal best is 154.50.  She is 17 and he is 20.

Riazanova/Tkachenko, RUS (Direct Entry): They finished 5th at Europeans.  They placed 5th at Skate Canada and 4th at Rostelecom Cup.  Their personal best is 152.22.  She is 20 and he is 25.

Testa/Csolley, SVK: She is 18 and he is 21.

Hurtado/Diaz, ESP: They finished 23rd at Worlds last season.  They placed 16th at Europeans.  They placed 8th at Trophee Eric Bompard.  Their personal best is 120.41.  She is 19 and he is 21.

Elsener/Roost, SUI: They finished 25th at Worlds last season.  They placed 10th in the preliminary round at Europeans.  Their personal best is 111.86.  She is 20 and he is 22.

Agafonova/Ucar, TUR: They finished 14th in the preliminary round at Europeans.  She is 21 and he is 27.

Frolenkova/Kasalo, UKR (Direct Entry): They finished 13th at Europeans.  Their personal best is 120.86.  She is 22 and he is 22.

Heekin-Canedy/Dun, UKR (Direct Entry): They finished 15th at Europeans.  Their personal best is 119.95.  She is 20 and he is 22.

Davis/White, USA (Direct Entry): They are the reigning World Champions and Four Continents Silver Medalists.  They won gold at Skate America and Rostelecom Cup to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they won gold.  They are the 2010 Olympic Silver Medalists, 2010 World Silver Medalists, 2009 and 2011 Four Continents Champions, 2008 Four Continents Silver Medalists, and 2006 World Junior Bronze Medalists.  Their personal best is 188.55.  She is 25 and he is 24.

Hubbell/Donohue, USA (Direct Entry): They finished 5th at Four Continents.  They placed 6th at Skate America.  Their personal best is 131.04.  She is 21 and he is 21.

Shibutani/Shibutani, USA (Direct Entry): They are the reigning World Bronze Medalists.  They placed 4th at Four Continents.  They won silver at Cup of China and gold at NHK Trophy to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they placed 5th.  They are the 2011 Four Continents Silver Medalists and 2009 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 163.79.  She is 17 and he is 20.

Nagornyuk/Kovalenko, UZB: They finished 8th at Four Continents and 12th at Junior Worlds.  They placed 8th at JGP Romania and 6th at JGP Estonia.  Their personal best is 114.98.  She is 16 and he is 20.

No comments:

Post a Comment