Olympic Podium Picks – World Team Skating

sochi_2014_mountains

After 4 years of preparations, Russia welcomes the world to the XXII Olympic Winter Games.  The highly anticipated games have been vastly controversial for Russia’s stand on human rights, in particular, its stance on laws banning public displays of homosexuality.  As of result, many of the world’s leaders have decided to either stay away from the opening ceremonies or send representatives who are openly gay as a message against Russia’s new laws.  In any event, many athletes are in Sochi and will concentrate on winning Gold.

Interior_of_the_Iceberg_Skating_Palace1

The interior of the Iceberg Skating Palace, where the figure skating competition will take place in Sochi, Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

This Olympic year premieres a new event, the World Team Skating competition.  The International Skating Union petitioned the IOC to add the event after the success of World Team Gymnastics in year’s past.  The event gives the skating world a chance to win a second medal for their country.

10 teams qualified for Sochi based on the results of the ISU World Championships 2013 and the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series 2013/14.  USA has won the ISU World Team Trophy in 2009 and 2013, while Japan came first in 2012.  However, the format of the ISU World Team trophy is slightly different. In Sochi, only one competitor or couple per discipline will compete.

* Did Not Qualify for Olympics

** Alternate Entry

Rank

Team

2012–2013

2013–14

Total

1

Canada

3826

2227

6053

2

Russia

2911

2548

5459

3

United States

3142

2132

5274

4

Japan

2009

2053

4062

5

Italy

2475

1232

3707

6

France

2218

1408

3626

7

China

2062

1547

3609

8

Germany

2143

1453

3596

9

*South Korea

1424

528

1952

10

*Spain

1283

324

1607

11

*Kazakhstan

1080

517

1597

12

Ukraine

991

537

1528

13

*Czech Republic

679

645

1324

14

Great Britain

776

485

1261

15

**Australia

650

284

934

16

*Sweden

505

426

931

17

*Uzbekistan

572

191

763

18

*Belarus

451

284

735

19

**Estonia

671

0

671

20

*Finland

357

241

598

At the Team Trophy, two men and two ladies per country participated in addition to one pairs and one dance couple. Teams are allowed to switch up to two entries between the Short Program and Free Skating, provided they have more than one entry in that discipline.  The top five teams following the Short Programs will advance to the Free Skating.

As of today, here are the participants in the Men’s and Pairs competitions for this Thursday;

Country Men’s Pairs
Canada Patrick Chan Meagan Duamel & Eric Radford
China Han Yan Cheng Peng & Hao Zhang
France Florent Amodio Vanessa James & Morgan Cipres
Great Britain Matthew Parr Stacey Kemp & David King
Germany Peter Liebers Maylin Wende & Daniel Wende
Italy Paul Bonifacio Parkinson Stefania Berton & Ondrej Hotarek
Japan Yuzuru Hanyu Narumi Takahashi & Ryuichi Kihara
Russia Evgeny Pluschenko Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov
Ukraine Yakov Godorozha Julia Lavrentieva &Yuri Rudyk
United States Jeremy Abbott Marissa Castelli & Simon Shnapir

Analysis:  Canada and Russia are currently the top two in World Team competition.   Canada has the top three skaters in the world with Chan, Duamel & Radford.  Kaetlyn Osmond and Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir are anticipated to be the other skaters to represent Canada.

Julia Lipnitskaia

Russia’s Julia Lipnitskaia has some big shoes to fill in competing in the World Team competition.

For Russia, the return of former Olympic Gold medalist Pluschenko gives them an edge in the team competition, with current #1 pairs team Volosozhar & Trankov figuring to win their competition.  Ice Dancers Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev will finish in the top three.  That leaves the pressure squarely on young Julia Lipnitskaia to win her discipline, a tough task for the 15 year old who dazzled at Europeans last month.  But there’s no better way to win than on your own home soil.

The United States has a strong team with Ashley Wagner and Meryl Davis & Charlie White and a tough and agile Jeremy Abbott, but their weakness may be with pairs skaters Marissa Castelli & Simon Shnapir and will, at best, contend for Silver or Bronze.   Japan could be the wild card entry, with a strong singles skaters in Hanyu & Mao Asada, but struggling with team skaters in Takahashi & Kihara in pairs and Cathy & Chris Reed in Ice Dance.

Teams to watch: China’s Han Yan has developed to the point where they may make the top five teams.  France’s also has a strong pairs in James & Morgan Cipres and Ice Dancers, Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat and singles skaters in Florent Amodio and Mae Berenice Meite.

Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat

Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France will try to help win Gold.

Italy also may make a stand for the podium with Stefania Berton & Ondrej Hotarek in pairs, Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte in Ice Dance and Valentina Marchei in singles; but will need a strong performance from Paul Bonifacio Parkinson in the men’s division. In the end, this is shaping up to be figure skating’s version of the ’72 Summit Series.  Look for both countries to fight it out.

Smooth’s Picks:

Gold – Canada
Silver – Russia
Bronze – USA

More Olympic picks later this week!

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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.
This entry was posted in Figure Skating, Figures skating, Ice Skating, Olympics, Russia, Skating, Sochi, Winter Olympics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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