Sunday, October 16, 2011

2011 Skate America: Ice Dance Preview

The top two spots in this event are all but locked up, but the fight for Bronze will be interesting. I'll be live-blogging it all so visit me Friday night at 11:40 EST for the short dance and Saturday afternoon at 4:30 for the free dance.

Reigning World Champions Meryl Davis & Charlie White (USA) will have no real competition until they meet up with Virtue & Moir at the Grand Prix Final but it is such a joy to see them perform anyway. They'll use this event as a way to test out their programs with the judges and make adjustments for later in the season. I can't wait to watch Meryl channel J Lo in the short dance and then an opera diva in the free. Pechalat & Bourzat (FRA) will leave with the Silver in their pocket and rack up points toward the Grand Prix Final. They are a great team and they have something to prove after falling at the 2011 Worlds and losing a medal. They've also made a coaching change to Camerlengo in Detroit so we'll see how that affects them. I was so impressed by the newly formed team of Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue (USA) at Nebelhorn Trophy where they won a surprise Gold. They have solid technique and Camerlengo is doing wonders for them. They also have amazing chemistry and can do sensual programs that Madison couldn't do with her previous partner. Nelli Zhiganshina & Alexander Gazsi (GER) have had a busy season, having already competed at two Senior B events. They've been steadily improving and could be a top ten team come Worlds, but I don't know that they are ready to take a Grand Prix medal yet. I'm really looking forward to Alexandra Paul & Mitchell Islam (CAN) after falling in love with them at Skate Canada last season. They are known as Virtue & Moir 2.0 but I hope they are finding their own identity. Either way, I appreciate their grace and elegance and hope to see them at Worlds this season. Kharis Ralph & Asher Hill (CAN) medaled at Nebelhorn so they'll have good momentum going in and Isabella Tobias & Deividas Stagniunas (LTU) also had a strong showing at that event. Isabella Cannuscio & Ian Lorello (USA) had two GP assignments last year but this is their lone event this year so they'll want to go for broke and make as strong an impression as possible.

My Podium Predictions:
1) Davis & White (USA)
2) Pechalat & Bourzat (FRA)
3) Hubbell & Donohue (USA)

My USFSA Fantasy Picks:
A) Davis & White (USA)
B) Hubbell & Donohue (USA)
C) Paul/Islam (CAN)

Competitive History:

Isabella Cannuscio & Ian Lorello (USA)-7th 2010 Trophee Eric Bompard, 10th 2010 Cup of China, 6th 2009 JGP Final, 3rd 2009 JGP Istanbul, 3rd 2009 JGP Germany; PB: 116.60 at 2010 Trophee Eric Bompard 

Meryl Davis & Charlie White (USA)-1st 2011 Worlds, 1st 2011 Four Continents, 1st 2011 Grand Prix Final, 1st 2011 Skate America, 1st 2011 NHK Trophy; PB: 185.27 at 2011 Worlds

Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue (USA)-1st 2011 Nebelhorn Trophy, PB: 139.01 

Alexandra Paul & Mitchell Islam (CAN)-4th 2010 Skate Canada, 2nd 2010 World Juniors; PB: 138.16 at 2011 Skate Canada

Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat (FRA)-4th 2011 Worlds, 1st 2011 Europeans, 2nd 2010 Grand Prix Final, 1st 2010 Trophee Eric Bompard, 1st 2011 Cup of China, 1st 2010 Finlandia Trophy, 1st 2010 Nebelhorn Trophy; PB: 167.40 at 2011 Europeans

Kharis Ralph & Asher Hill (CAN)-3rd 2011 Nebelhorn Trophy, 6th 2011 Trophee Eric Bompard, 7th 2011 Cup of China; 121.39 at 2010 Trophee Eric Bompard

Isabella Tobias & Deividas Stagniunas (LTU)-5th 2011 Nebelhorn Trophy, 14th 2011 Worlds, 12th 2011 Europeans, 3rd 2010 NRW Trophy, 11th 2010 Nebelhorn Trophy; PB: 131.01 at 2011 Worlds

Nelli Zhinganshina & Alexander Gazsi (GER)-1st 2011 O Nepela, 2nd 2011 Nebelhorn Trophy, 11th 2011 Worlds, 7th 2011 Europeans, 1st 2011 Bavarian Open, 1st 2010 P Roman, 2nd 2010 NRW Trophy, 3rd 2010 O Nepala, 4th 2010 Nebelhorn Trophy, 6th 2010 Mont Blanc Trophy; PB: 140.95 at 2011 Worlds 

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