Thursday, October 23, 2014

SKATE AMERICA 2014: Pairs Preview

Pairs is going to be an interesting discipline this cycle because the top two teams aren't competing at the moment. This will give those mid-level teams a chance to move up the ranks and will give the junior teams a fair shake.

Podium Predictions:
Gold: Kavaguti & Smirnov (RUS)
Silver: Peng & Zhang (CHN)
Bronze: Scimeca & Knierem (USA)

Kavaguti & Smirnov (RUS) have had a career plagued by a series of unfortunate events. They missed last season due to an injury and with it, their home Olympics. I'm pretty surprised they are still competing, but it should be a good year for them to grab another world medal with the depleted field. Lady Moskvina is still going strong and they won Nebelhorn this season, so they should be the favorites here.

Peng & Zhang (CHN) are not personally my cup of tea, but they have the big tricks. I am hoping that they spent the summer working on their components to create a better look on the ice. They shouldn't have much competition for the silver or even the gold here.

Scimeca & Knierem (USA) seem like the top US hope in pairs these days. They've struggled greatly with injury, but they had a breakout season in 2012-2013 and made the world team. They have beautiful lines and a great connection on the ice. If they can stay healthy, I expect them to really grow over the next Olympic cycle. This will be a great opportunity to win a Grand Prix medal.

The Rest of the Field
Ziegler & Kiefer (AUT)-12th at 2014 Europeans, 17th at 2014 Olympics, 22nd at 2014 Worlds, 5th at 2014 Coup de Nice
Grenier & Deschamps (CAN)-5th at 2014 Nebelhorn, 5th at 2014 Autumn Classic
Prolss & Blommaert (GER)-7th at 2013 Junior Worlds, 2nd at 2014 Ice Challenge
Aaron & Settlage (USA)-5th at 2014 World Juniors, 3rd at 2014 US International Trophy, 6th at 2014 Nebelhorn Trophy, 6th at 2014 Nebelhorn
Denney & Frazier (USA)-1st at 2014 Lombardia Trophy, 2nd at 2014 Autumn Classic

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