Wednesday, March 20, 2013

World Team Trophy 2013 entries

Tokyo, 11th-14th April 2013

Gabrielle Daleman, Kaetlyn Osmond
Patrick Chan, Kevin Reynolds

Gracie Gold, Ashley Wagner
Max Aaron, Jeremy Abbott

Mao Asada, Akiko Suzuki
Daisuke Takahashi, Takahito Mura
no pair will attend the competition

Adelina Sotnikova, Elizaveta Tuktamisheva
Konstantin Menshov, Maxim Kovtun

Lenaelle Gilleron-Gorry, Mae Berenice Meite
Brian Joubert, Ponsart

Zijun Lin, Kexin Zhang
Nan Song (withdrew due to injury), Han Yan

Friday, March 15, 2013

Volosozhar Trankov mesmerize at pre-Olympic Worlds, Canada gets its first medal in Ontario

Volosozhar/Trankov had a perfect and brilliant free skate that owed them their first world title. They nailed everything from start to finish and a fall by Maxim after a throw jump didn't affect their performance at all. 149.87
It looked like Savchenko/Szolkowy were about to give up a provisional lead to Duhamel/Radford as Aliona doubled all they side by side jumps and Robin fell on one but after nailing a super throw triple flip at the beginning of the program, they nailed for the first time in their career a throw triple axel just few seconds before the finish. 132.09

Duhamel/Radford received the whole support of the crowd during their free skate. They alternated greatly executed elements with struggles but at the end it was a clean performance. They started off with a great triple twist and triple lutz side by side. They held on their last lift and the throws weren't as long as they usually are but clean. 130.95
Moore-Towers/Moscovitch delivered a stunning performance nailing all of their elements with great quality. Kirsten just slightly two footed a throw triple salchow, but anything else was perfect. The highlights of their program were a gorgeous triple toe-triple toe sequence and a throw triple loop at the end of the program right on the music phrase. The home crowd was, again, leaping of joy after they have finished. 130.25
An amazing artistry is what has always described Pang/Tong's skating and they gave a superb performance with a great choreography full of elegant details. They weren't that clean technically as they did a single axel-double axel sequence and a step out to the throw triple salchow, but they were appreciated for their components and got 130.69.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Worlds 2013 random pratice reports

I am trying here to collect some practice reports from twitter, FSU and other sources. I can't test the truth of these news.

Akiko Suzuki had a great session with a clean sp runthrough
Murakami fell on 3t of a 3t-3t of her short program
Osmond had jumping issues with random falls
Carolina Kostner didn't do much jumps, just singles even in the runthrough
Ashley Wagner is in London but her luggage is missing with her skates
Gracie Gold had a great session UPDATE she did 3lz-3t and 3f with arms up, then 3lo and 2a-3t
Valentina Marchei landed a good 2a-3t
Yuna Kim had few stumbles today, but looked strong overall
video of yesterday's runthrough by Yuna 

Chan apparently had a great clean short program. UPDATE and an almost perfect free skate except for the second quad
Daisuke Takahashi fell on quad toe but did others as well as triple axels UPDATE he is still struggling with the quad but other triples look fine
Fernandez struggled with his jumps
Joubert looked solid
UPDATE Yuzuru Hanyu fell on 4t did just 2s. Other triples were good
Max Aaron had troubles with jumps, while Ross Miner had a good fs

Solid showing by both Savchenko/Szolkowy and Volosozhar/Trankov
Vera Bazarova missed some side by side jumps
Sui/Han were struggling with jumps

Pechalat/Bourzat were fine (Fabian fell on a twizzle though)
Anna Cappellini collided with another couple during practice. She left the ice for some time and then came back skating for a while. (photo ). According to Tatjana Flade, Luca Lanotte says she's ok
UPDATE Weaver Poje's sd runtrough

Sunday, March 10, 2013

World Championships 2013: Dance preview


The one between Virtue/Moir and Davis/White is probably the greatest rivalry in figure skating history and everytime a competition is behind the corner, picking one of the two teams is quite impossible.
Meryl and Charlie will attend worlds as the unbeated couple of the season, as they took the gold at both grand prix final and four continents over their team mates. The reason why they have been such tough competitors this seaso is that they are alway very consistant from a technical perspective and as they are  artistically judged the same as Virtue/Moir at the end it all comes down to elements' levels.

Tessa and Scott have been struggling with their free dance. Although it could be considered one of the most innovative Carmen in figure skating's history this program hasn't been performed to its fullest potential by the Canadian couple. Their passionate and dramatic interpretation alone won't lift them to the top of the podium, but I am sure that they will give 200 % of themselves in front of the home crowd and if they hit all their levels, a third world title is theirs.


The European teams, after decades of dominance in the discipline, have been fighting with North Americans for medals in the last year, but now the gap is slightly redemensioned. 

Bobrova/Soloviev are having their best season ever winning their first European titles after two silver medals. Their switch to Zhulin was the smartest move that this couple could have done after a disappointing result at last year's worlds (they finished seventh) as he gave a new fresh style to them. In somebody's opinion, the Russian champions would be the favourites for the bronze medal, but their compatriots Ilinykh/Katsalapov are just behind.

I really can't recall hating a figure skating program as much as Ilinykh/Katsalapov's free dance to "Ghost". There is nothing particularly interesting about the choreography and the music cut is just embarassing in my opinion. However, Elene and Nikita are the most talented dancers coming from Europe in a long time and that is why I think they will do great things in London. They have amazing skating skills and a deep edge control, and considering that they always improve as the season goes on, I think they will be ready for a medal contention at Worlds.

Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje started off the season struggling with their programs and, after missing the grand prix final, they have reworked the free dance, but they skipped Nationals and Four Continents because Kaitlyn broke her left ankle and couldn't practice for a month. They have fully recovered now and aim to do well at home worlds, but I am afraid their stop will influence their performances as well.

Something similar happened to Pechalat/Bourzat, defending bronze medalists, as Fabian caused an injury that left them out of European Championships. Their free dance is a very demanding one and they could be not in top form as the other teams.

Gold: Virtue/Moir (CAN)
Silver: Davis/White (USA)
Bronze: Ilinykh/Katsalapov (RUS)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

World Championships 2013: Ladies preview


The ladies event at Worlds is one of the most exciting of the last years. There is not an established leadership among the ladies, so that everything can really happen.
It was back in 2008 when the all current favourites for a podium finish medaled at a World Championship and for many this is going to happen this year too.

Mao Asada won her first world title at that event, which she repeated at 2010 Worlds, but since then she has never finished on the podium again. She has had a couple of troubled seasons where she tried to rework her jumping technique and only from this year she has been quite consistant. Her skating at Four Continents proved that she can definetly be a contender in London and maybe get a third world title. She will have very risky program, the short with an opening triple axel and possibly a triple flip-triple loop which she tried at Four Continents' free skate and the long program planned to be filled with eight triples. There is no doubt that with this kind of content she would surpass everyone else, anyway it will be very difficult for her to nail all of her jumps. In such a stiff competition, she will need to do a clean short program for winning.

Figure skating has been missing Yuna Kim in this two years and now that she is back to the world stage, world's eyes and expectations will be on her. She is an amazing skater and a solid performer, and I think there is no doubt she will be on the podium, but it will take her some nerves for competing internationally after such a long time.

The defending champion Carolina Kostner debuted later in the season too, but even if she hasn't competed against a world wide field she has had few opportunities for testing her programs. In the last years she adopted the "go clean" strategy and it has worked very well for her. She is going for a simpler short program than her rivals, as she plans a triple toe-triple toe and a triple loop so that, even with the enormous potential her well skated performance could bring her (that short earned 72 points at Challenge cup and 64 at European Championships with a fall on the combo), I doubt she will rank first after the first segment of the competition. Her free skate is much riskier as she attempts a triple lutz and a triple flip-triple toe. If she skates clean she will be challenging for gold.


Akiko Suzuki and Alena Leonova, defending medalists from last year, shouldn't be counted out in this event. Akiko Suzuki is having a great skating moment now and her programs are just delightful. She had some off competitions in late December, early January but she looked strong and confident at Four Continents.

Alena Leonova has struggled a lot in finding her place among all the newbies finally age elegible. She didn't compete at European Championships, but she had a nice showing at Russian Cup where she earned a world spot.


And finally, here they are. Adelina Sotnikova and Elizaveta Tuktamisheva are definetely senior now and they won't spoil any occasion for doing well. They are both very strong in their own way, Adelina with great skating skills and a natural joy for skating, Liza with monstrous jumps and a fighting charactere. I would expect Elizaveta rank the best of the two, but Adelina showed a unknown consistency at European Championships so that it will all come down to who skates cleaner.

Gracie Gold is the US response to the Russian babies. She has everything she needs to become a star, but she needs to grow up and experience competitions. And that is the main reason why the American expectations will be for Ashley Wagner. 

In November Ashley looked the girl who would have been the next world champion as she was terrificly consistant and mature. Anyway, her skating performances at Grand Prix Final and Nationals (and the progress of others) redimensioned the feeling on her. She is planning to do a triple flip-triple toe in the short program, which she hasn't tried all season and that could equally lift her to the podium or bury her (as it somehow happened last year). She has a great fierce and personality that will help her with the fight for a medal finish.


Kaetlyn Osmond is the fresh new face that skate Canada was looking for. She astonished anyone this year by winning Nebelhorn Trophy (ahead of Sotnikova), Skate Canada international and Canadian Nationals. The home crowd will surely support this amazing and joyful skater aiming to regain two spots for the 2014 Olympics.

Gold: Yuna Kim (KOR)
Silver: Mao Asada (JPN)
Bronze: Carolina Kostner (ITA)

my preview video

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

World Championships 2013: Men preview

The greatest thing about today's men figure skating is that there are no real frontrunners, but just a multitude of exeptional skaters.
Patrick Chan entered 2012 Worlds unbeated all season and even if he wasn't perfect, he managed to win the title (deservingly so in my opinion), but now things have changed. Patrick has won just one international competition this season, and even there he didn't seem as technically refined as the previous years. Despite the beauty of his skating, he hasn't nailed his programs yet.
A reason that explains why he looks weaker than he used to be is that the whole level has grown very much, and that is also thanks to him.
Above all, the Japanese men who were with him on the podium in Nice came back this season stronger than ever.
If Yuzuru Hanyu was a unexpected world bronze medalist this year, he gave the public a even bigger surprise when during the grand prixs he settled himself as the top contender. He is not a very consistant skater, but his short program is so strategically built that he can afford some mistakes in the free and yet have a great score. He is even more successfull than his compatriot Daisuke Takahashi at the moment as he beated him three times out of four they competed together.
Daisuke Takahashi has had a rollercoster season so far. He won Grand Prix final and had a gorgeous free skate performance at Japanese nationals but later in the season,he came in seventh at Four Continents. His outcome at worlds will be hardly predictable but it will surely be a favourite for a medal.


Javier Fernandez made his country's history by being the first Spanish men to medal at European Championships. His golden performance in Zagreb was absolutely stunning, filled with three quads and gorgeous artistry. He owns the best free skate score of the season (almost ten points higher than Hanyu and Takahashi) and if he overcomes pressure as he did at Euros, gold is likely in his hands.


Even if the medal contention will likely be between the four men mentioned before, these two can't be forget. Max Aaron won US Championships this year beyond any expectations and qualified for the first time for worlds this year. He placed well at Four Continents too, where his quads took him to fourth place. He is very good technically, but he still needs to improve his presentation of his programs.
Kevin Reynolds win at Four Continents was a real shock. When he rotates his quads, his score get very high and that's what happened at Osaka.

Gold: Javier Fernandez (ESP)
Silver: Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN)
Bronze: Patrick Chan (CAN)

my video preview

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

World Championships 2013: Pairs preview


The pre-Olympic World Championships is such a delicate competition not just for being the national qualification for Olympic games, but also is it will determine the whole season going into the biggest event.
With Olympics being in Sochi, a lot of expectations will be for Volosozhar/Trankov aiming for a gold medal. The Russian couple has never won a world title, instead of their direct rivals Savchenko/Szolkowy who have won four in their career so far, but this year it could be theirs. They have been very inconsistant during the fall season but worked hard and won their consecutive European title over the Germans, beating them for the first time in an entire event. If they can win in Canada, they will set themselves as favourites for an Olympic gold.
The Olympic title is aimed by Savchenko/Szolkowy in the same way as the Russians as it is the only achievement they are missing. The former world champions have a supreme skating quality and a slightly more difficult technical content than Volosozhar/Trankov's and that's why, with both teams skating at their fullest potential, Savchenko/Szolkowy should come in first.


Talking about technical content, Duhamel/Radford probably have the most difficult programs ever skated by a pair (with maybe the exception of Sui/Han, attending worlds after a season troubled by injury, landing quad twist and quad throws). The Canadian team won at Four Continents displaying all their technical abilities including a side by side triple lutz. These two have a real shot for a bronze medal and could make the home crowd proud of them.

They will find challenge from former world champions Pang/Tong of China, who struggled a lot in previous competitions but who always mesmerize with their astonishing lyrical style, and from Bazarova/Larionov, out of European Championships due to injury. The second Russian team won the bronze at Grand Prix final and they have been proving great consistency this season.

Gold: Savchenko/Szolkowy (GER)
Silver: Volosozhar/Trankov (RUS)
Bronze: Duhamel/Radford (CAN)

Season best scores: short program
                               free skate
Video preview

Sunday, March 3, 2013

World Championships: schedule

London, Ontario. Canada 10th-17th March 2013
(GMT -5)

Event Local time (GMT -5) GMT 0
Wednesday 13th March

Pairs short program

Men short program
Thursday 14th March

Ladies short program

Short dance
Friday 15th March

Pairs free skate

Men free skate
Saturday 16th March

Free dance

Ladies free skate
Sunday 17th March

Competition Gala