Smooth’s Olympic Podium Picks – Pairs

maxresdefault

Analysis – 22 teams made the final cut for Pyeongchang. Three of the 14 countries represented have an outside chance at a sweep of the podium, though highly unlikely because of the intense competition. One team not on the list is Ksenia Stolbova & Fedor Klimov of Russia, who were banned from the Olympics due to doping allegations. The Olympic Athletes from Russia still has a strong contingent of skaters ready to win.

Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir MorozovAt the top of the list is Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov (shown right), who are currently #1 on the ISU’s pairs chart. They captured the European championships in January and followed it up with a win in the short program of the team event at Pyeongchang.  They’ve only had one blemish on their record this season, and that was a 5th place finish at the Grand Prix Final in Nagoya, where they stumbled during their free skate.

Aljona Savchenko & Bruno Massot.jpgClose behind is Germany’s Aljona Savchenko & Bruno Massot (shown left), who were outstanding this season, winning the Grand Prix Final and placing 2nd at Europeans. Germany came up short in the Team event, but Savchenko & Massot were able to finish 3rd in the short program.

Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford.jpgCanadians Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford (shown right) may have lost a step since finishing a disappointing 7th at last year’s Worlds, but they were able to pull together a series of victories at Skate Canada and at nationals. They look to better their 7th place finish at Sochi in 2014. China is still a powerhouse in pairs, as their teams nearly swept the podium at Cup of China. Weijing Sui & Cong Han lead the charge with wins at Beijing and the NHK Trophy along with a 2nd place showing at the Grand Prix Final.

Teams to watch – There are multiple teams from the OAR, Canada and China capable of making the podium this week. Natalia Zabiiako & Alexander Enbert made the podium at Europeans and gave a strong performance in the pairs Team event. Xiaoyu Yu & Hao Zhang have two 2nd place finishes at Skate America and Cup of China this season and placed 4th at Worlds in 2017. Julianne Seguin & Charlie Bilodeau have positioned themselves as the heir apparent to Duhamel & Radford for Canada. They have a Grand Prix win at Skate America in 2016 and were also Junior Grand Prix Final winners in 2015.

Alexa-Chris-Knierim-Moulin-Rouge-Routine-2018-OlympicsNow let’s talk about other countries, vying for the podium. The Americans have the husband-wife team of Alexa and Chris Knierim, who literally saved the US from dropping out of medal contention with their outstanding performance in the Team event. Italy’s Valentina Marchei & Ondrej Hotarek are currently 8th in the world, but a strong performance this week in Pyeongchang could give them an appearance on the podium. France’s Vanessa James & Morgan Cipres had a break thru season with two podium appearances in Grand Prix action and just missing the podium at Europeans. And speaking of break thru, North Korea’s Tae Ok Ryom & Ju Sik Kim made just that with the country’s first medal at the Four Continents Championships last month.

Smooth’s Pick: This is a toss-up competition and it could go either way, but I give the edge to the Germans over the OAR based on their experience.

Gold – Aljona Savchenko & Bruno Massot (GER)
Silver – Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov (OAR)
Bronze – Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford (CAN)

PAIRS.png

Advertisements

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, International Skating Union, Olympics, Skating, Winter Olympics and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s