Saturday, October 15, 2011

2011 Skate America: Men's Preview

Can you believe it? The 2011-2012 Figure Skating season is finally upon us! Some very exciting things have been happening on the Junior Grand Prix and at some ISU Senior B events, but nothing compares to the Senior Grand Prix. And starting it off with Skate America seems like old times again. The men take the ice Friday at 10pm (EST) for their short program and 2:35pm on Saturday for their free. I'll be live-blogging all 8 events this weekend so be sure to check back for all my thoughts and feelings! Welcome back and let's have a great season!

I have every reason to believe that reigning World Silver Medalist Takahiko Kozuka will take this title. Taka won 2 Grand Prix Golds and a Bronze at the Final last season as well. He has solid technique and a quiet artistry that always puts up a great score. Without Evan Lysacek, he has no real competition unless he makes major mistakes. I see a three-way battle for Bronze between Michal Brezina (CZE), Florent Amodio (FRA), and Richard Dornbush (USA), who placed 4th, 7th, and 9th respectively at the 2011 Worlds. Brezina & Amodio have more experience, but both are very inconsistent. Dornbush lacks the polish of Kozuka, but he is quickly improving and has been working on Quads. Do not count out last year's Skate America Bronze Medalist Armin Mahbahnoozadeh (USA), who is known for clean, consistent skating that often wins the day when others make mistakes. Rounding out the field we have Daisuke Murakami (JPN), Kevin Van Der Perren (BEL), and Samuel Contesti (ITA) who finished 1st, 2nd, and 3rd respectively at this season's O Nepela Memorial Trophy and Denis Ten (KAZ) who finished 9th earlier this month at Nebelhorn Trophy. Douglas Razzanno (USA) was a last minute addition after the withdrawal of Evan Lysacek. He brought home a silver at the Finlandia Trophy this season and could make a splash if he throws down his best programs. None of the five are likely to factor into the medals, but they have the potential to build their International reputation with a good showing here.

Podium Predictions:
1) Takahiko Kozuka (JPN)
2) Richard Dornbush (USA)
3) Florent Amodio (FRA)

My USFSA Fantasy Picks:
A) Takahiko Kozuka (JPN)
B) Richard Dornbush (USA)
C) Armin Mahbanoozadeh (USA)

Competitive History:

Florent Amodio (FRA)-7th 2011 Worlds, 1st 2011 Europeans, 6th 2010 Grand Prix Final, 2nd 2010 Trophee Eric Bompard 3rd place 2010 NHK Trophy; PB: 229.68 at 2011 Worlds

Michal Brezina (CZE)-2nd 2011 Nebelhorn Trophy, 4th 2011 Worlds, 8th 2011 Europeans, 1st 2011 Bavarian Open, 2nd 2010 Golden Spin of Zagreb, 7th 201 Nebelhorn Trophy; PB: 236.06 at 2010 Worlds 

Samuel Contesti (ITA)-3rd 2011 O Nepela, 18th 2011 Worlds, 6th 2011 Europeans, 1st 2011 Mont Blanc Trophy, 4th 2010 NRW Trophy, 4th 2010 Cup of Russia, 4th 2010 Cup of China, 3rd 2010 Finlandia Trophy; PB: 226.97 at 2009 Worlds

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

Takahiko Kozuka (JPN)-2nd 2011 Worlds, 4th 2011 Four Continents, 3rd 2010 Grand Prix Final, 1st 2010 Trophee Eric Bompard, 1st 2010 Cup of China; PB: 258.41 at 2011 Worlds

Armin Mahbanoozadeh (USA)-7th 2011 Four Continents, 3rd 2010 Skate America, 4th Nebelhorn Trophy; 211.17 at 2010 Skate America

Daisuke Murakami (JPN)-1st 2011 O Nepela, 2nd 2011 Triglav Trophy, 3rd 2011 Winter Universiade, 5th 2010 Skate America, 5th 2010 Finlandia Trophy; PB: 213.37 at 2010 Skate America

Douglas Razzanno (USA)-2nd at 2011 Finlandia Trophy, 2nd at 2010 Ice Challenge, 8th at 2009 Ice Challenge, 4th at 2007 Junior Grand Prix Final; PB: 174.71 at 2007 JGPF

Denis Ten (KAZ)-9th 2011 Nebelhorn Trophy, 14th at 2011 Worlds, 1st at 2011 Winter Asian Games, 11th at 2010 Skate America, 12th at 2010 NHK Trophy; PB: 211.43 at 2009 Worlds

Kevin Van Der Perren (BEL)-2nd 2011 O Nepela, 17th at 2011 Worlds, 4th at 2011 Europeans, 6th at 2010 Skate America, 8th at 2010 NHK Trophy, 5th at 2010 Nebelhorn Trophy; PB: 219.36 at 2009 Europeans

No comments:

Post a Comment