Friday, February 7, 2014

Olympic preview: Pairs

Pairs short program: 11th Febraury, h 19.00 (GMT +4)
Pairs free skate: 12th Febraury, h 19.45

The Pairs' event will open the figure skating individual competition next Tuesday. The gold contetion will be between the world champions Volosozhar/Trankov and Savchenko/Szolkowy.
Both of the teams are looking forward to nothing less than a gold medal. On paper, Volosozhar/Trankov should win the competition. The home Olympic title seemed a lock for the Russian team until December, when they started to show some sign of weakness. They have reached incredibly high scores during the fall season (they own all the records) that made them look unbeatlable by anyone else in the circuit. However, they showed to feel the competition pressure when they skated just after Savchenko/Szolkowy in the Grand Prix final, where, taken by the nerves, they finished behind their German competitors, and during the European Championships free skate where they managed to get the gold (even because Savchenko/Szokowy had withrawn) but collected mistake after mistake.
As for Savchenko/Szolkowy, they will have their last chance to get that only medal that has eluded them. Compared to the Russian team, they can count on slightly lower GOEs and components, so that if both couples skate up to their best, Volosozhar/Trankov have an egde on them. The Germans have therefore tried to insert more difficult elements (the thorw triple axel on top of those) in their programs to close the gap with the Russians. The question is weather they will be able to nail a clean performance as well. At Grand Prix final they won with a relatively conservative program, but I am not sure that would be enough for the gold here.
To sum up, Russians and Germans have both a significant chance to be crowned Olympic champions and won't be room for mistakes for anyone. Savchenko/Szolkowy need to try all of their tricks, putting them in an enormous risk considering that they have never landed a clean throw triple axel, whereas Volosozhar/Trankov have already showed that they can nail an "Olympic gold medal perfomance", but they will face the incredible pressure of being the team specifically created for Olympic gold.

As far as the bronze medal is concerned, the couples fighting for it are: Pang/Tong and Duhamel/Radford. Pang/Tong of China, the 2010 Olympic silver medalists are undeniably the favourites for a medal. They might not be the strongest technique wise, but if they nail what they plan to do, their exquisite artistry and amazing throws and twist should put them in a good position for a medal contention.
Duhamel/Radford haven't had the most spectacular season of their life after they won the bronze at Worlds last year, but if they skate as cleanly as they did at the team event's short program, their dary technical content could be a threat for others.

Gold: Volosozhar/Trankov
Silver: Savchenko/Szolkowy
Bronze: Pang/Tong

1 comment:

  1. Men really look great ice skating. It is amazing how they can totally transform when they are on the ice.