Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Grand Prix Final: Pairs Preview

Savchenko & Szolkowy struggled in their first 2 events of the season, but only because they're trying really difficult elements. They are one of those teams that I expect to win every time they take the ice, and this event is no exception. This is certain to be an exciting event as it is the first head-to-head match up between the Germans and Volosozhar & Trankov. Each team picked up two Gold medals, but neither team has peaked yet so it will be exciting to see them grow throughout the rest of the season. Kavaguti & Smirnov also picked up two Gold medals this season and can seize Gold here if the other teams make mistakes.

So we have the medal favorites, and then a second wave of teams that are pretty good in their own right. Zhang & Zhang are back after a year off and they've been competent, but not inspired. Takahashi & Tran are so young and they have the elegance and beauty to be a top team if they could improve the consistency in their technical elements. Skating against this field will help them take their careers to a new level. Duhamel & Radford are a feel good team  because you know they are workhorses and it's great to see that work pay off. They are a joy to watch and I love their programs, though they don't have the polish of the top flight.

Placement Predictions:
1) Savchenko & Szolkowy (GER) Season's Highest GP Score 208.69
2) Volosozhar & Trankov (RUS) Season's Highest GP Score 201.38
3) Kavaguti & Smirnov (RUS) Season's Highest GP Score 197.84
4) Zhang & Zhang (CHN) Season's Highest GP Score 178.66
5) Duhamel & Radford (CAN) Season's Highest GP Score 176.62
6) Takahashi & Tran (JPN) Season's Highest GP Score 172.09

Competitive History: 

Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford (CAN)-3rd at 2011 Trophee Eric Bompard, 3rd at 2011 Skate Canada, 7th 2011 Worlds, 2nd 2011 Four Continents, 5th 2010 Skate Canada, 3rd 2010 Nebelhorn Trophy; PB: 181.79 at 2011 Four Continents (Skate Canada, Trophee Eric Bompard)

Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov (JPN)-2nd at 2011 Rostelecom Cup, 1st at 2011 NHK Trophy, 1st at 2011 Cup of China, 4th 2011 Worlds, 2nd 2011 Europeans, 1st 2010 Rostelecom Cup, 3rd 2010 Worlds, 4th 2010 Winter Olympics; PB: 213.15 at 2010 Europeans (Cup of China, NHK Trophy, Rostelecom Cup)

Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy (GER)-1st at 2011 Rostelecom Cup, 3rd at 2011 NHK Trophy, 1st at 2011 Skate America, 1st 2011 Worlds, 1st 2011 Europeans, 1st 2010 Grand Prix Final, 1st 2010 Trophee Eric Bompard, 1st 2010 Skate America, 2nd 2010 Worlds, 3rd 2010 Winter Olympics; PB: 217.85 at 2011 Worlds (Skate America, NHK Trophy, Rostelecom Cup)

Narumi Takahashi & Mervin Tran (JPN)-2nd at 2011 NHK Trophy, 4th at 2011 Skate America, 9th 2011 Worlds, 7th 2011 Four Continents, 1st 2010 JGP Final, 2nd 2010 Cup of Russia, 3rd 2010 NHK Trophy, 2nd 2010 JGP Germany, 2nd 2010 JGP England; PB: 172.09 at 2011 NHK Trophy (Skate Canada, NHK Trophy)

Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov (RUS)-1st at 2011 Trophee Eric Bompard, 1st at 2011 Skate Canada, 1st 2011 O Nepela, 1st 2011 Nebelhorn Trophy, 2nd 2011 Worlds, 1st 2011 Mont Blanc Trophy; PB: 210.73 at 2011 Worlds (Skate Canada, Trophee Eric Bompard)

Dan Zhang & Hao Zhang (CHN)-2nd at 2011 Cup of China, 2nd at 2011 Skate America, 5th 2010 Worlds, 5th 2010 Winter Olympics, 6th 2009 Grand Prix Final; PB: 197.82 at 2008 Worlds (Skate America, Cup of China)

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