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Do we know if Pleshenko is going to Europeans - that may sort out a few things

Don't anticipate any American's going to 4 Continents as US Nationals is being held over about 10 days to mirror the Olympic schedule (I think)

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Do we know if Pleshenko is going to Europeans - that may sort out a few things

Don't anticipate any American's going to 4 Continents as US Nationals is being held over about 10 days to mirror the Olympic schedule (I think)

The Russian Federation named Plushenko to their Europeans team, and he is on the official ISU entry list for that competition. Whether he actually shows up and skates is open to question right now.

Due to the scheduling issues, I would imagine whoever is named to the US Olympic Team will NOT be named to the 4CC Team--the loss of training time and travel issues between North America and Korea really make it unwise for a skater to do both.

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As for Lambiel, word has it that technically he just can't keep up any more on the jumps, so likely will not be a podium candidate unless the other men have a splatfest or some very odd judging takes place. Either or both of those things are possible.

SPLATFEST! I love it.

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- a Canadian and American male competing for gold on the men's side and a Canadian women taking on the undisputed queen on the women's.

Nah. That Kim Yu Na and Japanese women will have 1-2 locked up. Joanie Rochette doesn't ahve what it takes to overtake the Asians nor even say Rachel Flatt if she's hot on the night of the free skate.

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Nah. That Kim Yu Na and Japanese women will have 1-2 locked up. Joanie Rochette doesn't ahve what it takes to overtake the Asians nor even say Rachel Flatt if she's hot on the night of the free skate.

I would go that far, the Japanese women take risks and more often than not it doesn't pay off. And lets not forget it was Rochette that won silver in 2009. If she skates like she did at the World's last year she will be a medalist. Mao Asada looks to be coming back, so the colour might not be silver but right now based on body of work, its Rochette, Asada and Kim that are the medalist.

Oh and in international competition this year only Miki Ando and Kim Yu Na have posted a higher score than Rochettes seasonal best.

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I would go that far, the Japanese women take risks and more often than not it doesn't pay off. And lets not forget it was Rochette that won silver in 2009. If she skates like she did at the World's last year she will be a medalist. Mao Asada looks to be coming back, so the colour might not be silver but right now based on body of work, its Rochette, Asada and Kim that are the medalist.

Oh and in international competition this year only Miki Ando and Kim Yu Na have posted a higher score than Rochettes seasonal best.

asada didn't even register during the grand prix period. japan's female skaters will be asada, ando and akiko suzuki. asada if she is unable to nail her axel its doesn't go well for her since she also flutzes a lot.
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Mao Asada has a very high-risk strategy with a technical score that depends on nailing those triple axels, a notoriously fickle jump with little margin for error. If those fail her, she's in trouble. Mao can't flutz anymore because she dropped the lutz attempt completely this season after being dinged for flutzing, also she no longer does the salchow. She doesn't have a reliable triple-triple she can pull off to counteract Yuna's. She had decent skates at Japanese nationals and mentally appears in somewhat better shape, but nobody's forgotten the lackluster to disastrous performances at her other big international competitions this year. IMHO, she does not have a lock even on a podium spot much less a gold. She is a capable contender though. She'll be skating a 4CC so we'll see...

Joannie, much as I like her, is just not having a good season and nobody really knows why. I saw her skate live at CoC in Nov and she looks completely off her mental game, making errors she's too good to be making. I don't think it's a physical issue--she's in great shape and I've heard of no injuries. But at Skate Canada (where she got some gifted Canadian PCS bonus points) and GP Final, she's just not skating like the current World Silver Medalist. Again, I wouldn't say she's a lock on a podium spot, but also a capable contender. I really don't see Joannie taking the gold though, not without skating the performances of her life, and having some glaring mistakes from the other top contenders.

This gold is Yuna Kim's to lose--her destiny is basically under her control. In order for anyone to overtake her, she's going to have to falter and others will have to outskate her. If she skates perfectly, she will not be beaten by any of this year's crop of contenders.

This year the American ladies are not really podium contenders again, unless they skate to their maximum capabilities and others make mistakes. Possible, but not probable. I'm looking for a "Best Possible Result" as both ladies being in the Top 10. Which wouldn't be too shabby. And I think the only US ladies capable of doing this are Flatt and Wagner, mainly on the basis of reasonably solid and consistent technical skills (esp FS), the fact that they are trending upward with both skating quality and intl judges impressions, and especially that they are competitive fighters and seem to be able to channel their nerves and avoid meltdowns. Nagasu and outside chance for same reason but intl judges have been very hard on her PCS scores lately. Czisny lovely but a headcase. Sasha I expect to be a no-show at US Nationals and at any rate, her jumps aren't there any more.

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Just pointing out, on the women's side its been since 1988 that the favourite has won the gold medal. Kerrigan for obvious reasons, Kwan twice, Slutskaya twice and Cohen have all failed to win as favourites.

I think that the medals will come down to Kim, Asada, Ando and Rochette. It depends on who skates clean, and both Asada and Ando take ridiculous risks and both could be on the podium or neither. It all depends.

Plus with Rochette, there is a couple extra bonus points because of the home crowd. That is a given.

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If Savchenko and Solkowy don't compete that surely seems to leave a clear path to the top of the podium for my beloved Shen and Zhao. However, it would have been so much more exciting to see a Chinese/German battle for the Gold. Without S&S, my bet is on Pang and Tong for Silver.

Imo, jiejie's take on the Ladies situation is spot-on. Just let's not forget about Alena Leonova of Russia. If she can recover her confidence after that disastrous Free Skate at the Grand Prix Final, I'd include her in the mix (particularly if any of the top contender falter). Also, the international judges seem to love Alena.

When talking Men, I'd keep Oda up there as a contender as well. His Charlie Chaplin Free Skate is endearing and those soft, low-in-the knee landings are things of beauty. IIRC, his only mistake at Japanese Nationals was a fall on his quad and other than that he performed really well.

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Leonova? She's ascendant, but she's not a contender just yet. Only way she'll hit the top 5 is if the ladies' free becomes (again) a bowling alley. The pins left standing (clean skates) get the podium. Like in 2006, 2002, and 1998.

;)

But I'll let you all know how it turns out: I've got tickets! :D

Just let's not forget about Alena Leonova of Russia. If she can recover her confidence after that disastrous Free Skate at the Grand Prix Final, I'd include her in the mix (particularly if any of the top contender falter). Also, the international judges seem to love Alena.
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Did u guys see the "World Rankings" in Dance per the ISU page?

1. Davis and White

2. Domina & Shabalin

3. Virtue and Moir

4. Belgin & Agosto??

Comments? Thoughts? How can the North American teams shut out the Russkies?

I say hell will freeze over before we see a North American sweep in Ice Dance (or even two American teams on the podium!)

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No Russian/Soviet pair on the podium would be even bigger: there's been 2 or more every OWG except Salt Lake 2002. But 1/2 the French pair were Russian then too.

My prediction is:

Gold: Canada Virtue and Moir

Silver: US Davis & White

Bronze: Russia Domina & Shabalin

Davis and White squeaked out a win at the Grand Prix final--but there's no compulsory dance there. Belbin & Agosto are off their game; the French can't possible challenge a few months after she's given birth.

I say hell will freeze over before we see a North American sweep in Ice Dance (or even two American teams on the podium!)
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Did u guys see the "World Rankings" in Dance per the ISU page?

1. Davis and White

2. Domina & Shabalin

3. Virtue and Moir

4. Belgin & Agosto??

Comments? Thoughts? How can the North American teams shut out the Russkies?

Knowledgeable skating fans don't put much stock in the ISU's World Rankings...as the methodology they have for ranking is suspect at best. Not to mention doesn't capture all the effects of real-time efforts. I mean, Carolina Kostner still sitting in the #2's ladies position? :lol:

IMHO, the actual top 3 dance teams in the world right now are indeed the 3 North American teams. These cheeses off the Europeans to no end. Rumor has it that the French team (Del/Shoes) is apparently looking surprisingly good for her just having a baby, but we won't know more until they do their bit at Europeans. If they are back to form, they'll likely be in the running for a podium spot and that includes gold. The Russians Dom/Shabs are currently a disaster and unworthy of a top 10 finish much less a podium placement. Shabalin's knee is so bad that they can't train properly and he can't skate up to his former potential. They look ragged and way undertrained. Check out their recent Russian Nationals programs on youtube to see what I mean. I don't think this can be whipped into medal shape by Vancouver. They should have taken their gifted World Champs gold last season as their "lovely parting gift," and retired.

However, never underestimate the power of the Russian Federation, particularly when it comes to ice dance judging. I'm predicting we have another scandal in the making for the upcoming Olympics, so no, I don't think the NA teams will be allowed to shut out the Russkies.

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There's only one problem with Dubé and Davison: Dubé. Lack.Of.Focus.

I am still holding out hope that Chan, Rochette, Virtue and Moir and Dube and Davidson will come up 4 for 4.
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I have to say that I think Davis & White and Belbin & Agosto are the best teams out there

BUT.....

I LOVE Virtue & Moir's Free Dance I think it's by far the most beautiful choreography and I think that with the home crowd cheering them on they could well win.

I still think it's more likely than not that there will be 2 American teams on the podium...

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We will see, there is the French and Russians to contend with. Its only a couple days to the European Championships to see where the French are at and if they do well/win they will become the favourites for ice dance.

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Of the 4 leading Dance men, I think Scott Moir is the most graceful but at the same time he does not show the maturity that Ben Agosto or Shabalin exhibit. As jiejie says, it'll probably all depend on Shabalin's knee.

How's this?

Gold: Belbin-Agosto

Silver: tie: Virtue-Moir and Davis-White (they're really about even)

Bronze: the Russkies...

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I don't think Jessica Dube lacks focus, she has simply had to overcome several injuries. That team has been plagued with injuries since the start of their partnership.

I think Belbin and Agosto have a good chance of winning if they don't skate sloppy. They tend to skate that way when they are seen as the favorites, like falling all over the place in the CD.

As for the world rankings, they mean nothing and those scores take into account 'B' competition scores as well as the major events, so a skater can go to the 'B' events, like Nebelhorn Trophy, etc., win and climb up the ISU rankings. That explains why Verner in the mens and Kostner in the ladies are placed so high because they skate in the ISU sanctioned summer competitions and fall competitions outside of the Grand Prix.

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I think that the 3 top North American teams are pretty evenly matched though, all excel in different aspects of Ice Dance. IMO, Scott Moir has the most outstanding partnering skills amongst the male dancers. This season, Virtue and Moir's FD is understated and elegant and it translates much better in person than on TV. When I watch them, I truly see a couple who are dancing.

My contention is firm that ISU politics will not allow a podium consisting of either 3 North American couples or 2 American couples. I believe that is what kept Davis and White off the World's podium in LA (though it sure came close!)

Seems like Ice Dance judging is still controlled in large part by politics (to a greater degree than the other disciplines). So many top couples can achieve the highest technical levels in their programs that the final placements tend to boil down to the Component Scores. And we know how the components can be manipulated. This is just my own private conspiracy theory and time will soon tell.

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My contention is firm that ISU politics will not allow a podium consisting of either 3 North American couples or 2 American couples. I believe that is what kept Davis and White off the World's podium in LA (though it sure came close!)

Well, the ISU, like the IOC, should be careful. It happened the last time 8 years ago. A brouhaha occured and a deserving North American couple (Sale & Pelletier) were upgraded to a gold.

These Games are happening on North American soil and it CAN happen again. The bloc of non-North American judges will be GREATLY scrutinized for their infinistesmal points. Unless they are going to be stupid again and ignore the lessons of history. If the 3 North American couples are the best this February, then so be it. Then can give the consolation prizes in Torino for the Europeans.

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