Tuesday, November 1, 2011

2011 Cup of China: Ice Dance Preview

The short dance will be the kick off event this weekend at Cup of China, at 3:30 a.m. EST on Friday November 4th. The free dance is at 2:30 a.m. EST on Saturday November 5th. Two of these teams were top 6 at 2011 Worlds, but the rest are more Intermediate-level teams, new teams, or teams rising from the Junior ranks.
Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani (USA) are the favorites to win this event, their first major competition after winning Bronze at Worlds. I've seen their new programs and love them, though many argue their new free skate is too similar to that of last season. They certainly have an identity now and their coaches, Zoueva & Shpilband know how to show off what they do well. This is their first major event as the favorites so we'll see how they handle the pressure...my guess is they pass with flying colors. Their win is not as cut and dry though as that of those of their training mates Davis/White & Virtue/Moir, as Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev (RUS) are in the mix as well. They had a solid 2010 GP winning a Gold, a Silver, and placing 4th at the Final. However, they struggled with programs that didn't suit them and only placed 6th at Worlds. They do not have the technical proficiency of the Shibutanis, but they could potential beat them in the components mark if they can find their identity as a couple and put out programs that show of their stronger suits. Reigning Junior World Bronze medalists Charlotte Lichtman & Dean Copely (USA) have the change to play spoiler for a medal. They were competitive all last season and have always had a very "senior look" so the transition shouldn't be too difficult. If they avoid major mistakes I can see them on the podium. Pernelle Carron & Lloyd Jones (FRA) have finished 12th at the past two World Championships and it seems they need to make a major change if they want to jump up in the rankings, but they're a nice enough team and pleasant to watch. China isn't known for ice dancing, but Xintong Huang & Xun Zheng (CHN) had a respectable 2010-2011 season and may start to make a name for themselves. Emily Samuelson & Todd Gilles (USA) are a new team and this will be the first we see of them. Look for long lines and an elegant, lyrical style, even if all the technical elements aren't there quite yet.

My Podium Predictions:
1) Shibutani/Shibutani (USA)
2) Bobrova/Soloviev (RUS)
3) Lichtman/Copely (USA)

Competitive History:

Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev (RUS)-6th 2011 Worlds, 2nd 2011 Europeans, 4th 2010 Grand Prix Final, 1st 2010 Rostelecom Cup, 2nd 2010 Cup of China; PB: 161.14 at 2011 Europeans

Pernelle Carron & Lloyd Jones (FRA)-12th 2011 Worlds, 9th 2011 Europeans, 4th 2010 Trophee Eric Bompard, 1st 2010 NRW Trophy, 5th 2010 Skate Canada, 1st 2010 Coup de Nice, 1st 2010 Mont Blanc Trophy; PB: 140.86 at 2011 Worlds

Penny Coomes & Nicholas Buckland (GBR)-16th 2011 Worlds, 14th 2011 Europeans, 8th 2010 Skate America, 8th 2010 NHK Trophy, 3rd 2010 Coup de Nice, 4th 2010 O Nepala; PB: 126.29 at 2011 Worlds 

Xintong Huang & Xun Zheng (CHN)-17th 2011 Worlds, 6th 2011 Four Continents, 1st 2011 Asian Winter Games, 5th 2010 Trophee Eric Bompard, 5th 2010 Cup of China; 130.29 at 2011 Four Continents

Charlotte Lichtman & Dean Copely (USA)-3rd 2011 World Juniors, 5th 2010 JGP Final, 3rd 20110 JGP Germany, 1st 2010 JGP Austria; PB: 133.36 at 2011 World Juniors

Emily Samuelson & Todd Gilles (USA)-International debut

Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani (USA)-2nd 2011 Finlandia Trophy, 3rd 2011 Worlds, 2nd 2011 Four Continents, 3rd 2010 Skate America, 3rd 2010 NHK Trophy, 5th 2010 Nebelhorn Trophy; PB: 163.79 at 2011 Worlds

Xiaoyang Yu & Chen Wang (CHN)-7th 2011 Four Continents, 3rd 2011 Asian Winter Games, 8th 2010 Cup of China, 10th 2010 NHK Trophy; PB: 125.75 at 2011 Four Continents

1 comment:

  1. I am a big Shibutani fan and I am finding them enjoyable both on and off the ice, was hoping my bias was not misplaced. Felt Like I would have to recuse myself, but I cannot improve on Barbie's analysis and have no disagreements.