Smooth’s Podium Picks – European Championships 2015

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The third big regional championship this month is in Stockholm, where 150 skaters from over 20 different countries will vie for individual and team titles. It’s the first time since 1947 that an international competition in Figure Skating is being held in Sweden. That year, the city hosted the World Championships, its first after World War II. That year, the winner of the women’s competition that year was Barbara Ann Scott, who would go on to win Olympic gold the next year at St. Moritz.

Here’s our selections.

Javier+Fernandez+ISU+Grand+Prix+Figure+Skating+y9YKq_hJm6WlMen

Analysis – Spain’s Javier Hernandez has a chance to win his third straight European championship. His Grand Prix performance has been a bit of a disappointment, having expected to dominate this season (2nd at Skate Canada, 1st at Rostelecom Cup and 2nd in the Grand Prix final). His main competition will be from Russia’s Sergei Voronov, who had a personal best at Rostelecom Cup (90.33 Short Program, finishing 2nd) and a 3rd place finish in the GP final. Another Russian, Maxim Kovtum also poses as a threat to win the top podium having won two GP events this season (Cup of China and Trophee Bompard). Michal Brezina of the Czech Republic will try to improve on his bronze medal performance from last year’s Europeans and France’s Florent Amodio will also contend.

Skaters to Watch – Sweden’s Alexander Majorov will “wow” the home crowd. His best finish in the European Championships was 6th in 2013. He was also 14th at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Four time German champion Peter Liebers is also a skater to keep your eye on, as he looks to improve for next year’s Grand Prix.

Smooth’s Picks
1. Javier Hernandez (ESP)
2. Maxim Kovtum (RUS)
3. Sergei Voronov (RUS)

Elizaveta+Tuktamysheva+Skate+America+Day+Two+IBDzwv2cgISlLadies

Analysis – There will be a new European champion, as last year’s ladies champ, Julia Lipnitskaia had a horrible performance at Russian nationals, finishing 9th. Her teammate, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva had an incredible comeback season, winning this year’s Grand Prix final and finishing 2nd at Russian nationals. But the skater who may take this competition may be Elena Radionova. The 15-year-old Russian won Skate America, Trophee Bompard and a Russian championship, as well as a 2nd place finish at the Grand Prix final. Add Anna Pogorilaya, who took won Skate Canada and you might be looking at a Russian sweep of the podium. Two skaters who might prevent that from happening are two-time bronze medalist Elene Gedevanishvill of Georgia and Maé-Bérénice Méité, who’s best finish at Europeans was 5th in 2014.

Skaters to Watch – Sweden will be represented by two sisters, Joshi and Viktoria Helgesson. Joshi’s best European’s was in 2013, finishing 8th while Viktoria’s best finish was 5th in 2012 and 2013. Coming back from injury is Finland’s Kiira Korpi, who had a two-year break but won her national championship to qualify.

Smooth’s Picks
1. Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS)
2. Elena Radionova (RUS)
3. Anna Pogorilaya (RUS)

2012_World_Junior_FS_Gabriella_Papadakis_Guillaume_CizeronPairs

Analysis – Last year’s champions Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov of Russia bowed out due to injury. That leaves their counterparts, Ksenia Stolbova & Fedor Klimov as the favorites to win. The team won their 2nd national championship and have two Grand Prix wins this season. They’ll try to win the elusive European championship against their teammates, Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov, who haven’t won since 2010. They had a strong Grand Prix season (1st at Skate America, 2nd at NHK Trophy) after sitting out last year due to injury. Russia’s Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov will skate in their first Europeans and have proven to be a viable team, having finished 2nd at nationals and two podiums in the Grand Prix circuit. The team with the best chance of preventing a Russian sweep is Vanessa James & Morgan Cipres of France. The three-time national champions haven’t been able to crack the podium celling at Europeans, finishing 6th (2012), 4th (2013) and 5th (2014).

Skaters to Watch – Germany’s national champions Mari Vartmann & Aaron Van Cleave have had trouble in Europeans and seemed to be taking steps back, finishing 5th in 2012, 8th in 2013 and 9th in 2014. Italy’s Valentina Marchei gives up singles and has paired with former singles skater, Ondrej Hotarek. The result was an Italian championship and a chance to make this year’s Europeans a stepping stone for greatness.

Smooth’s Picks
1. Ksenia Stolbova & Fedor Klimov (RUS)
2. Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov (RUS)
3. Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov (RUS)

2012_WFSC_04d_542_Anna_Cappellini_Luca_LanotteIce Dance

Analysis – In probably the most competitive division, a number interesting events happened. Last year’s champions Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte struggled after a disappointing 3rd place performance at Cup of China. They withdrew from GP events and concentrated on improving their program, resulting in another national championship. Their withdrawal turned into an advantage for Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron of France who had their best season, winning Cup of China & Trophee Bompard and finished 3rd in the GP final. Elena Ilinykh & Ruslan Zhiganshin turned their new partnership into paydirt, with a 2nd place finish at Rostelecom Cup and a Russian championship. Penny Coomes & Nicholas Buckland gives Great Britain its best chance at regaining an elusive championship, the first since Torvill & Dean back in the late 1980’s. They won their 3rd straight national championship.

Skaters to Watch – Germany’s Nelli Zhiganshina & Alexander Gazsi could make the podium selection interesting with a strong performance this weekend as they won their 5th national championship this year. Also, keep an eye out on Spain’s Sara Hurtado & Adria Diaz, who have dominated in national competition and finished 4th at Trophee Bompard in their best Grand Prix competition.

Smooth’s Picks
1. Elena Ilinykh & Ruslan Zhiganshin (RUS)
2. Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte (ITA)
3. for Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron (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.
This entry was posted in European Championships, Figure Skating, Figures skating, Ice Skating, Skating and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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