Podium Picks – 2013 World Championships

The world comes to London…Ontariothat is!  The city modeled after the original London, Englandis the setting for final event in the skating season.  It’s an amazing city that I was fortunate to visit a few years ago.  The John Labatt Centre is home to the OHL London Knights and is a world class facility, capable of hosting an event.  I’m looking forward to some great skating this week.  Here are my picks!
Men
Analysis – Canada’s Patrick Chan is still in the driver’s seat, despite an inconsistent skating season, finishing 2nd at Skate Canada and 3rd at the Grand Prix Final.  He has his work cut out for him with a challenging list of contenders.  Spain’s Javier Fernandez figures to contend for the medal podium.  His performance this season was quite promising, as he beat Chan at Skate Canada this season.  But he stumbled in Grand Prix Competition finishing 4thtwice, but recovered to take Europeans.  Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu is the other main contender in this competition.  His dominating performance at NHK Trophy and Finlandia Trophy gave the judges something to look at this week. 
Who To Watch – American Max Aaron knocked off defending champ Jeremy Abbott at Nationals in January and figures to be the future of US skating. But with the impressive line up, Aaron may struggle.  Don’t count out Japan’s Daisuke Takahashi, who has struggled this season. 
Smooth’s Pick – 
1. Patrick Chan (CAN)
2. Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN)
3. Javier Fernandez (ESP)
Ladies
Analysis – The world has been waiting for the return of 2010 Olympic champion Yu-na Kim. She’s been away from competition for nearly two years, returning in a non-Grand Prix event in late 2012. Kim faces an uncertain future and will be hard pressed to be on her best performance in London, Ontario.  Her biggest threat will be Japan’s Mao Asada, who has dominated all season long, winning all three Grand Prix competitions entered. Defending world champion Carolina Kostner of Italy participated in only a few non-GP events this season, but has performed well, winning her 5th European championship this season.    
Who To Watch – Look out for Canadian Kaetlyn Osmond, who surprised many with her Gold finish at Skate Canada this season.  Other skaters that will contend are Russia’s Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, Japan’s Akiko Suzuki and American Ashley Wagner.
Smooth’s Pick – 
1. Mao Asada (JPN)
2. CarolinaKostner (ITA)
3. Yu-Na Kim (KOR)
Pairs
Analysis – Russia’s Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov have begun to dominate pairs this season after struggling to defeat Germany’s Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy at Europeans.  Their win was the first step to gaining the edge towards Sochi next year and this week’s competition will be a continuation of a duel between the two teams.  China’s Qing Pang & Jian Tong may affect both teams if they skate impressively this week.  Another team that figure to contend is Canadians Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford, who are also starting to come on their own after 2nd place finishes at Skate Canada and Trophee Bombard.
Who To Watch – Americans Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir are coming on strong this season and will be a team to keep your eyes on in the future.  Russia’s Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov may contend, despite a 5thplace showing at Europeans.
Smooth’s Pick – 
1. Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov (RUS)
2. Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy (GER)
3. Qing Pang & Jian Tong (CHN)
Ice Dance
Analysis – In one of the most highly anticipated competitions this weekend, Americans Meryl Davis & Charlie White will be up against a sea of red and white maple leafs.  The number #1 ice dance team in the world has dominated Canadians Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir this season. But it might be the home ice advantage that may be difference maker.  Both teams will bring out their best.  There will be a huge fight for the third spot on the podium between France’s Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat, Russia’s Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev and Italy’s Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte.
Who To Watch – Japan’s Cathy & Chris Reed have struggled with injuries and inconsistencies, but will still contend in the top 10 teams.  Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje return from injury to participate this weekend and will be an interesting watch.  Americans Madison Chock & Evan Bates look to finish strong after finishing 2nd at Nationals this season.
Smooth’s Pick –
1. Meryl Davis & Charlie White (USA)
2. Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir (CAN)
3. Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat (FRA)
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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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