Monday, October 31, 2011

2011 Cup of China: Men's Preview

Can you believe we're approaching the 3rd Grand Prix event of the season already? If you live in the US, we'll be watching Cup of China in the wee hours of the morning but I'll be awake and live blogging every moment! The men will skate their short program at 6:45 a.m. EST on Friday November 4th and their free skate at 6:15 a.m. on Saturday November 5th. This Men's event is interesting because there are no front runners, but rather a mixed bag of young rising stars and more experienced skaters trying to revive their careers.
Jeremy Abbott (USA) is one of the skaters looking to revive his career this season after landing off the podium at US Nationals and failing to make the World team. He is a delicate skater in terms of the mental game and last year he struggled with his skate boots which threw off his preparation. He's solid with his boots this year and aims to add the Quad back into his programs, which he'll need in order to be competitive. Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) seems to be the next heir to the throne of Japanese Men's figure skating. He had a very strong start to his season, winning the Nebelhorn trophy even with some pretty major mistakes. He'll have to clean up his programs to medal here though. Nobunari Oda (JPN) is another skater looking to come back to top form this season after screwing himself out of a World medal last season. He has consistent Quads but he often loses major points for performing too many combinations in his free skate. He must learn to stick to his programs or he'll find himself off the podium again. Artur Gachinski (RUS) is the reigning World bronze medalist. He's aiming to prove his win wasn't a fluke. He does have a good Quad, but he lacks artistry. He looks like a mini-Plushenko, but I hope he'll work toward finding his own identity as a skater.  Richard Dornbush (USA) had a rough debut this season at Skate America. He placed 4th but he made many errors and he'll have to keep those to a minimum as this field is much stronger. He's such a crowd pleaser, but I don't know if that will translate to the Chinese crowd. Kevin Reynolds (CAN) could play spoiler with his strong Quads, but he usually fails to put together two strong programs in the same competition. Brian Joubert's (FRA) was scheduled to compete but has withdrawn as of 11/1 due to back problems.

My Podium Picks:
1) Jeremy Abbott (USA)
2) Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN)
3) Nobunari Oda (JPN)

Competitive History:

Jeremy Abbott (USA)-3rd at 2011 Four Continents, 3rd at 2010 Rostelecom Cup, 2nd at 2010 NHK Trophy, 4th at 2009 Grand Prix Final; PB: 237.72 at 2009 GPF

Richard Dornbush (USA)-4th at 2011 Skate America, 9th 2011 Worlds, 1st 2010 Junior Grand Prix Final, 1st 2010 JGP Germany, 4th 2010 JGP Austria; PB: 222.42 at 2011 Worlds

Artur Gachinski (RUS)-3rd at 2011 Worlds, 5th at 2011 Europeans, 6th at 2010 Rostelecom Cup, 7th at 2010 Skate Canada, 1st 2010 Coup de Nice, 1st 2010 Finlandia Trophy; 241.86 at 2011 Worlds

Jinlin Guan (CHN)-6th 2011 Four Continents, 4th 2011 Winter Universiade, 8th 2010 Cup of China; PB:201.98 at 2011 Four Continents

Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN)-1st 2011 Nebelhorn Trophy, 2nd 2011 Four Continents, 7th 2010 Rostelecom Cup, 4th 2010 NHK Trophy; 228.01 at 2011 Four Continents

Nobunari Oda (JPN)-6th 2011 Worlds, 1st 2011 Winter Universiade, 2nd 2010 Grand Prix Final, 2nd 2010 Skate America, 2nd 2010 Skate Canada; 244.56 at 2006 NHK Trophy

Kevin Reynolds (CAN)-7th at 2011 Skate America, 20th 2011 Worlds, 11th 2011 Europeans, 4th 2010 Trophee Eric Bompard, 4th 2010 Skate Canada; PB: 218.62 at 2010 Skate Canada

Nan Song (CHN)-22nd 2011 Worlds, 9th 2011 Four Continents, 3rd 2011 Asian Winter Games, 6th 2010 Trophee Eric Bompard, 10th 2010 Skate America; PB: 209.68 at 2010 Four Continents

Jialiang Wu (CHN)-8th 2011 Four Continents, 5th 2011 Asian Winter Games, 10th 2010 Cup of China, 7th 2010 NHK Trophy; PB: 203.60 at 2010 Four Continents


  1. No matter what, Abbott will provide an impressive preformance. I spend a lot of time studying Japanese Figure skaters. Good analysis of Honyu and Oda. Honyu has been working on cleaning up his program. I believe he will be cleaner this time and suspect that it will be very close between the two. Abbot must skate clean(er) to prevail. Quads must be well executed. Predict Oda will struggle with consistency and possibly be off of podium. Think Kevin Reynolds will be on podium...Dornbush errors as you say will not be received well. Well thought out analysis...Thank You.

  2. I don't agree with your prediction regarding Abbott. He has not been consitent in years. And unless his SP has improved A LOT since its debut this summer, it will be low scored by the judges. (A lot of hunched over skating with small swinging hand movements with distracting use of suspenders....not Sing Sing Sing more like Zzz Zzz Zzz)