Podium Picks – Rostelecom Cup 2012

Men
Analysis: This weekend marks the return of the legendary Johnny Weir. Away from the ice for two years, Weir returns to a different landscape.  He’ll face four of the top 10 skaters in the Men’s division.  Canadian Patrick Chan, still stinging from his loss to Spain’s Javier Fernandez at Skate Canada will look to bounce back. Also competing are Czech Republic’s Michal Brezina, Japan’s Takahiko Kozuka and Russia’s Artur Gachinski.
Smooth’s Pick –
1. Takahiko Kozuka (JPN)
2. Artur Gachinski (RUS)
3. Nobunari Oda (JPN)
Ladies
Analysis: This is a wide open competition, with any skater eligible to win this weekend. The Americans and the Russians have three skaters each this weekend. Team USAhas three youngsters, Gracie Gold, Agnes Zawadski and Caroline Zhang looking for more international experience while Team Russiawill match with Polina Korobeynikova, Adelina Sotnikova and World #3 ranked Alena Leonova, who is looking to bounce back from a poor showing at Skate America last month. Look for strong skating from Finland’s Kiira Korpi, Japan’s Kanako Murakami and Italy’s Valentina Marchei.                                                                        
Smooth’s Pick –
1. Adelina Sotnikova (RUS)
2. Kanako Murakami (JPN)
3. Kiira Korpi (FIN)
Pairs
Analysis: This really is a competition for the Russian team of Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov to lose. They’ve been strong in each of their skating appearances (1st place at Nebehlorn & Skate America). The only question will be, “who will take the other two slots?” Canadians Paige Lawrence & Rudi Swiegers and American Caydee Denny & John Coughlin may pose a threat to making the podium, but the two other up and coming Russian pairs teams, Anastasia Martiusheva & Alexei Rogonov and Vera Bazarova & Yuri Larionov, may make headways this weekend. Don’t be surprised at a clean sweep.  
Smooth’s Pick –
1. Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov (RUS)
2. Anastasia Martiusheva & Alexei Rogonov (RUS)
3. Vera Bazarova & Yuri Larionov (RUS)
Ice Dancing
Analysis: This is a three way race between Canadians Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir, Russians Elena Ilinykh & Nikita Katsalapov and Americans Maia & Alex Shibutani.  Virtue & Moir got off to a great start this season at Skate Canada last month. Ilinykh & Katsalapov captured Gold at Crystal Skate and the Shibutanis will be making their debut this season.  Other teams to watch for are Russians Ksenia Monko & Kirill Khaliavin and Victoria Sinitsina & Ruslan Zhiganshin.    
Smooth’s Pick –
1. Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir (CAN)
2. Elena Ilinykh & Nikita Katsalapov (RUS)
3. Maia & Alex Shibutani (USA)
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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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