Thursday, October 24, 2013

Skate Canada Dance Preview

Virtue and Moir are virtually assured of another Skate Canada title here but their real goal is to defend their Olympic title.  They started off the season with a win at Finlandia Trophy however their score was nearly 20 points lower than they scored at Worlds last year.  Considering how strong Davis and White have been at their first two events this season, they'll need to show significant improvement to hold pace.  After their Carmen diversion last year, they've returned to the elegant style that took them to the top of their sport.

Weaver and Poje suffered an unfortunate training accident last year but were able to recover in time to make it to the World Championships.  They finished 5th with a good performance but still not at their 100% best and are ready to make a run at the podium.

Riazanova and Tkachenko tend to fly under the radar as the third place Russian team but they do have a very nice style on the ice and strong results to back it up.  They have a classic style and nice lines but have yet to put out a memorable program that separates them from the pack.

Hubbell and Donohue started their season with a 4th place finish at Skate America last week setting personal bests in all segments of the competition.  They're determined to find a place on the Olympic team and were only two points behind the Shibutanis at Skate America.  They've shown improvement from Nebelhorn to Skate America and since the competition was in their backyard, they've had time to train and make adjustments before this event.

World Junior Champions Stepanova and Bukin are making their Grand Prix debut at this event after sweeping the junior circuit last season.  They have two Junior World medals and will be looking to challenge Riazanova and Tkachenko.

My podium predictions:
Gold: Virtue/Moir
Silver: Weaver/Poje
Bronze: Hubbell/Donohue

Bios of the competitors:
Paul/Islam, CAN: They are the 2010 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 141.99.  She is 22 and he is 23.

Virtue/Moir, CAN: They are the reigning World Silver Medalists and and Four Continents Silver Medalists.   They won gold at Skate Canada and gold at Rostelecom Cup last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they won silver.  They are the 2010 Olympic Gold Medalists, 2010 and 2012 World Champions, 2008 and 2011 World Silver Medalists, 2009 World Bronze Medalists, 2008 and 2012 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 185.04.  She is 24 and he is 26.

Weaver/Poje, CAN: They finished 5th at Worlds.  They won bronze at Skate America and Cup of China last season.  They are the 2010 Four Continents Champions, 2012 Four Continents Bronze Medalists, and 2007 World Junior Bronze Medalists.  Their personal best is 166.55.  She is 24 and he is 26.  

Zhiganshina/Gazsi, GER: They finished 10th at Worlds and 6th at Europeans.  They placed 5th at Skate America and 5th at Rostelecom Cup last season.  Their personal best is 154.27.  She is 26 and he is 29.

Guignard/Fabbri: ITA: They placed 17th at Worlds and 9th at Europeans.  They finished 5th at Cup of China last season.  Their personal best is 142.48.  She is 24 and he is 25.

Riazanova/Tkachenko, RUS: They finished 11th at Worlds and 4th at Europeans.  They won bronze at Skate Canada and bronze at Trophee Eric Bompard last season.  Their personal best is 157.77.  She is 22 and he is 27.

Stepanova/Bukin, RUS: They are the reigning World Junior Champions.  This is their Grand Prix debut.  They won gold at JGP Istanbul and gold at JGP Germany last season to qualify for the JGP Final where they won gold.  They are the 2012 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 150.17.  She is 18 and he is 20.

Hubbell/Donohue, USA: They placed 4th at Skate America.  Their personal best is 152.98.  She is 22 and he is 22.

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