2017 NHK Trophy Dance Preview

Bobrova and Soloviev currently stand in first place in the Grand Prix rankings with 24 points.  Two teams have the chance to earn their tickets to the Final with medals here while one team is just starting their season.

Virtue and Moir won a gold medal at Skate Canada with new personal best short dance and total scores, and briefly held the record for total score, before it was broken by their training mates last week.  Their short dance earned Level 4 on everything with all positive GOEs.  In all, they earned 10 points from GOEs and their program components were in the mid to high 9s, with their performance mark averaging a stunning 9.93.  In all, they received eleven 10.00 marks, with at least one from six of the nine judges.  Their free dance received Level 4 for their lifts, twizzles, and spin, with Level 3 on their step sequences.  They earned nearly 17 points from GOES with program components in the mid to high 9s, receiving an average of 9.96 for interpretation of the music.  They earned eighteen 10.00 marks, receiving at least one from seven of the nine judges.  They need a gold or silver medal to guarantee a spot in the Final, while a bronze would give them a solid chance.  They have the best short dance, 2nd best free dance, and 2nd best total scores.

Hubbell and Donohue won bronze at Skate Canada with personal best free dance and total scores.  Their short dance earned Level 4 on their rhumba, partial step sequence, lift, and twizzles, with a Level 3 on their non touching step sequence.  They earned all positive GOEs, totaling 9 points, and their program components were in the high 8s to mid 9s.  Their free dance received Level 4 for their twizzles, lifts, and spin, with Level 3 on both step sequences.  Their GOE scores earned them 15 points and their program components were in the low to mid 9s.  They need a gold medal to give themselves a strong chance of qualifying for the Final.  They have the 6th best short dance, 3rd best free dance, and 4th best total scores.

Cappellini and Lanotte are starting their 12th season on the Grand Prix, and have won 12 medals total.  They missed the podium as recently as last season, finishing 4th at Skate Canada and have only won gold once, at Cup of China in 2015.  They have qualified for the Final four times, and won the bronze medal in 2015.  They started their season with a gold medal at the Minsk-Arena Ice Star competition.  Their short dance there included Level 4 twizzles and a lift with Level 3 on their three step sequences.  They earned all positive GOEs worth 8 point and had program components in the high 8s to low 9s.  Their free dance received Level 4 for their lifts and twizzles with Level 3 on their spin and serpentine step sequence.  They again earned all positive GOEs, netting 13 points, and had program components in the low to mid 9s.  If they can medal here, they’ll have a chance to qualify for the Final with a strong performance at Skate America.  They have the 7th best short dance, 8th best free dance, and 8th best total scores.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Virtue/Moir

Silver: Hubbell/Donohue

Bronze: Cappellini/Lanotte

 

Bios of the competitors:

Virtue/Moir, CAN: They are the reigning World Champions and reigning Four Continents Champions.  They won gold at Skate Canada.  They are the 2010 Olympic Champions; 2014 Olympic Silver Medalists; 2010 and 2012 World Champions; 2008, 2011, and 2013 World Silver Medalists; 2009 World Bronze Medalists; 2008 and 2012 Four Continents Champions; 2009 and 2013 Four Continents Silver Medalists; 2006 and 2007 Four Continents Bronze Medalists; 2006 World Junior Champions; and 2005 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 199.86.  She is 28 and he is 30.

Fournier Beaudry/Sorensen, DEN: They placed 13th at Worlds and 7th at Europeans.  They finished 7th at Skate Canada and 7th at Rostelecom Cup last season.  Their personal best is 160.68.  She is 25 and he is 28.

Lauriault/Le Gac, FRA: They finished 21st at Worlds and 12th at Europeans.  They placed 8th at Rostelecom Cup.  Their personal best is 154.36.  She is 21 and he is 22.

Coomes/Buckland, GBR: They are the 2014 European Bronze Medalists.  Their personal best is 177.13.  She is 28 and he is 28.

Cappellini/Lanotte, ITA: They finished 6th at Worlds and are the reigning European Silver Medalists.  They placed 4th at Skate Canada and won bronze at NHK Trophy last season.  They are the 2014 World Champions, 2014 European Champions, 2015 and 2016 European Silver Medalists, and 2013 European Bronze Medalists.  Their personal best is 186.84.  She is 30 and he is 32.

Komatsubara/Koleto, JPN: This is their Grand Prix debut.  Their personal best is 128.28.  She is 25 and he is 26.

Muramoto/Reed, JPN: They finished 23rd at Worlds and 9th at Four Continents.  They placed 8th at Skate America last season.  Their personal best is 159.30.  She is 24 and he is 28.

Sinitsina/Katsalapov, RUS: They placed 10th at Europeans.  They finished 4th at Cup of China and 5th at NHK Trophy last season.  Their personal best is 172.65.  She is 22 and he is 26.

Nazarova/Nikitin, UKR: They finished 15th at Worlds and 9th at Europeans.  They placed 7th at Trophee de France last season.  Their personal best is 156.21.  She is 20 and he is 23.

Hubbell/Donohue, USA: They placed 9th at Worlds and 4th at Four Continents.  They won bronze at Skate Canada.  They are the 2014 Four Continents Champions.  Their personal best is 189.43.  She is 26 and he is 26.

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