Podium Picks – Cup of China

We were correct on two of our four top picks last weekend.  The big surprise was the skating of Liza Tuktamysheva of Russiaand eventual Ladies champion Kaetlyn Osmond.  There’s no question Kaetlyn will be one to watch at this years Canadian Nationals.  This week’s Grand Prix event travels to Shanghai, where a number of skaters will be making their season debuts.  Current Ladies World Champion Carolina Kostner pulled out of the event, as well as Japan’s Narumi Takahashi & Mervin Tran due to surgery.   In fact, Japan had threatened to pull their remaining skaters over security issues relating to an ongoing territorial dispute between the two countries.  As of today, Japan’s skaters are still competing.
Men
Analysis – The competition will be fierce, Daisuke Takahashi is the reigning World Silver medalist and 2010 Olympic Bronze medalist. He’ll be skating for the first time this year and is trying to better his ranking, currently at 3rd.  He’ll be a heavy favorite against Brian Joubert of France, who hasn’t skated in Grand Prix competition last year, but skated to a 4th place finish at Worlds.  Also looking to place is American Adam Rippon, who is skating with a new coach this season.  Despite three Chinese skaters in the mix, each is looking for valuable experience that are currently lacking.
Smooth’s Pick: 
1. Daisuke Takahashi (JPN)
2. Brian Joubert (FRA)
3. Adam Rippon (USA)
Ladies
Analysis – Cup of Chinamarks the return of Finland’s Kiira Korpi, who had to withdraw from last year’s Worlds due to injury.  Despite the condition, Korpi will be a skater to watch this weekend.  Another is Japan’s Mao Asada, who had a rough 2011, finishing 6th at Worlds.  She’ll also look to bounce back this weekend.  American Mirai Nagasu figures to contend for a spot on the podium, as she continues to gather Grand Prix experience.  Other skaters to look out for are Sweden’s Joshi Helgesson, sister of Viktoria  and Canada’s Amelie Lacoste who looks to bounce back from a poor showing at last weekend’s Skate Canada.   
Smooth’s Pick: 
1. Mao Asada (JPN)
2. Kiira Korpi (FIN)
3. Mirai Nagasu (USA)
Pairs
Analysis – Only six pairs teams are competing this weekend with three of them from China, two of which figures to contend. China’s Qing Pang & Jian Tong skated strong at Skate America two weeks ago finishing 2nd. They should be the favorites against their fellow team members, Wenting Wang & Yan Zhang, who just missed the podium at last year’s Worlds finishing fourth. Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov of Russiareturn to the ice and will look to give both Chinese teams a run. Canadians Kirsten Moore-Towers & Dylan Moscovitch will also contend along with Russians Ksenia Stolbova & Fedor Klimov.
Smooth’s Pick: 
1. Qing Pang & Jian Tong (CHN)
2. Wenting Wang & Yan Zhang (CHN)
3. Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov (RUS)
Ice Dance
Analysis – This should be very, very competitive with three of the top five ice dance teams competing. Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat of France are the slight favorites in this division, being ranked 2ndin the world. However, Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje made a big impression two weeks ago at Skate America, placing 2nd in the short and finishing 3rd overall. The second place finishers, Russia’s Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev will give both teams a hard time to place.  Other teams to look for are Americans Madison Chock & Evan Bates, who finished 1st at the 2012 Nebelhorn Trophy and Russians Victoria Sinitsina & Ruslan Zhiganshin, who are skating in their first senior Grand Prix event.   
Smooth’s Pick: 
1. Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat (FRA)
2. Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje (CAN)
3. Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev (RUS)
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About smoothjazzandmore

I'm a TV producer and an Internet radio broadcaster. I also write for my blogs (An Op-Ed Blog and a Football Blog) here at WordPress.
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