Sunday, March 25, 2012

2012 World Figure Skating Championships: Ice Dance Preview

It's still exciting to think about how far Ice Dance has come in 10 years, from an afterthought to the main event. This will be a throw down of epic proportions after the top two teams in the World have gone back and forth in their two meetings this season. The dancers skate their Short Dance at 1:40 pm EST on Wednesday March 28th and their Free Dance at 2:00 pm on Thursday March 29th.

Podium Predictions
1) Virtue & Moir (CAN)
2) Davis & White (USA)
3) Weaver & Poje (CAN)

The Top Contenders

Virtue & Moir (CAN) look poised to return to the top of the podium in Nice after their victory over Davis & White at Four Continents. Both teams are phenomenal of course, but I simply prefer the Canadians' programs this season. I love the theatrics and the fact that this program truly tells a story.

Davis & White (USA) beat their Canadian rivals at the Grand Prix Final, but fell off a little bit and lost to them in the technical mark at Four Continents. The good thing about losing in the technical mark is that they know what they need to improve upon going into Nice and it's all about getting those levels up. This is a gap they can easily bridge and I wouldn't be surprised if the difference between the two teams game down to a point or less.

The battle for Bronze will be brutal and about three or four teams will be involved. Weaver & Poje (CAN) have what I believe to be the most raw, passionate, beautiful Free Skate of the season and I think that will win out. They have waited their turn for years and they are finally among the top in the World. I hope they take the Bronze, even if it's only by the slimmest of margins.

Pecahalat & Bourzat (FRA) have had the worst luck lately. They took a freak fall last year at Worlds and finished off the podium after they seemed to be a lock for Bronze. Then Fabian got sick at Skater America and they had to withdraw from Skate Canada. Now, Nathalie breaks her nose and they lose valuable training time after being a favorite again to win Bronze. I think they still could do it, but their programs just aren't World medalist caliber this season in my opinion and Weaver and Poje's are.

Shibutani & Shibutani (USA) are also in this mix and they could finish anywhere from third-sixth, even if they are near perfect as they were last year when they took home the bronze. There have been complaints that their short dance lacks Latin flavor, which they've attempted to resolve by working with a ballroom expert. They also have heard feedback that their Free Dance is too similar to last season's, which I'd tend to agree with. They are remarkable consistent, arguably the most of all the teams in the Bronze medal race, so if the others make mistakes, they could repeat as medalists.

Bobrova & Soloviev (RUS) started out with a bang, winning Gold at Cup of China, but fell off a little later in the season, finishing only sixth at the Grand Prix Final. They did win Silver at Europeans, which is nothing to scoff at, but they haven't faced a North American team in quite a while. They're programs are very high drama and passionate, white I appreciate as an actress, but I'm afraid they are a little too 2002 compared to the North American teams' programs. They are the top European team after the French, and it will take an upset for them to fall out of the top six.

In The Hunt

Ilinykh & Katsalopov (RUS) are actually one of my favorite teams. Their beauty is striking in an understated way and I, though I may be in the minority, happen to really love their programs this season. They are erratic competitors and have consistency issues. If they can go mistake free in both phases of the competition, they could finish in the top five, as they've always had the potential to do.

Cappellini & Lanotte (ITA) had a great Grand Prix, winning two Bronze medals, and barely missed the final. They came in fourth at Europeans behind a pair of Russians, but if they can skate the way they did at their Grand Prix events and come up with a little bit of luck along the way, they could crack the top six. They showed great improvements this season and they are clearly a team on the move. Look for big things from them heading toward the Olympics.

Zhiganshina & Gazsi (GER) have been making improvements all season from changing their musical arrangements to better adhere to the rules and making tiny adjustments along the way. They are a very passionate, emotional team, but perhaps a coaching change is in order to help them up their technical elements to get to the next level of the sport.

Riazanova & Tkachenko (RUS) seemed so promising last season, but they've fallen off a little bit this year. They picked up a fifth and fourth place finish on the Grand Prix, and a fifth at Europeans. They are the number three team in Russia right now, and with some impressive Juniors coming up, they need to improve fast and make a statement if they want to be on the 2014 Sochi team.

Hubbell & Donohue (USA) are the surprise US Bronze medalists. They clicked magically in their first season skating together. Their chemistry is great, and they'll keep improving technically as they progress together. Their main goal here in Nice should be to avoid the falls they had at Four Continents. Davis/White & the Shibutanis will take care of holding onto three spots for Team USA, so these guys just need to concentrate on skating clean.

The Rest Of The Field

Obrien & Merriman (AUS)
Silna & Kurakin (AUT)
Zlobina & Sitnikov (AZE)
Valadzenkava & Vakunov (BLR)
Chistiakova & Lichev (BUL)
Ralph & Hill (CAN)
Huang & Zheng (CHN)
Kubova & Kiselev (CZE)
Shtork & Rand (EST)
Lindholm & Kanervo (FIN)
Carron & Jones (FRA)
Coomes & Buckland (GBR)
Nagy & Fejes (HUN)
Bugrov & Rogov (ISR)
Alessandrini & Vaturi (ITA)
Reed & Reed (JPN)
Mansour & Zhunussov (KAZ)
Pecherkina & Jakushin (LTU)
Tobias & Stagniunas (LTU)
Bruhns & Van Natten (MEX)
Zvorigina & Bernadowski (POL)
Testa & Csolley (SVK)
Hurtado & Diaz (ESP)
Elsener & Roost (SUI)
Agafonova & Ucar (TUR)
Heekin-Canedy & Dun (UKR)
Nagornyuk & Kovalenko (UZB)


  1. I totally agree with the podium choices. I so badly want Weaver and Poje to get the recognition they deserve and they have been amazing all season.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. It's still interesting to think about how far Ice Flow has come in 10 decades, from an postscript to the top level. This will be a toss down of legendary ratios after the top two groups in the Community have gone returning and forth in their two events this period.

    Iice skates figure
    Outdoor quad skates