The US figure skating federation is sending its best athletes to Skate America, the event that will open the senior ISU season.
In the dance event, Davis and White are the absolute favourites for the gold because their best rivals, Virtue and Moir, the only team who have beaten them since 2010, will not face them in the grand prix circuit. Meryl and Charlie had recently said in an iterview that they have found a new quality to their skating this season and they have grown in interpretation and in getting "on-ice chemistry".
Weaver and Poje, the Canadian silver medalists, will also attend the competition. They made their season debut at Nepela Memorial a week ago, where they won with two interesting programs. This year the Canadian couple is aiming to finish on the home world podium (worlds will be in London, Ontario) as last year they got the fourth place in Nice.
As for men, Jeremy Abbott will not have an easy job against Yuzuru Hanyu and Takahiko Kozuka of Japan. Both Japanese skaters debuted last week and had a brilliant result. Yuzuru Hanyu won Finlandia Trophy amazingly landing two quads (he used to do one) in his free skate and Takahiko Kozuka ranked second at Japan Open behind Daisuke Takahashi.
Jeremy has not the jumping consistency of the Japanese men, but he has on his side a beautiful sensibility and skates with much maturity and soul. If he lands what he is supposed to, he has very good possibilities of being on the first spot of the podium.
Ashley Wagner has improved in the last ten months more than any other female skater. After winning the US Championships, she collected success after success. For me, she is the absolute favourite at Skate Americaeven if against the world silver medalist Alena Leonova and the Russian promise Adelina Sotnikova.
Ashley won the ladies event at Japan Open against Leonova last week and Sotnikova has not been very solid on jumping in the past year. The ladies event is usually the most unpredictable, but Wagner has the entire package and will surely show some wonderful performances.
The pairs' competition is the weakest for US, as champions Denney/Coughlin will face twice world silver medalists Volosozhar/Trankov, who have a stunning free skate and won Nebelhorn Trophy two weeks ago, and Chinese couple Pang/Tong, who did not shine in the past year but won worlds in 2010 and skate with a magic connection. Having said that, Denney/Coughlin have all what it takes to finish on the podium at Skate America.
Gold: Yuzuru Hanyu
Silver: Jeremy Abbott
Bronze: Takahiko Kozuka
Gold: Ashley Wagner
Silver: Alena Leonova
Bronze: Adelina Sotnikova