2017 Rostelecom Cup Dance Preview

Three of the ten teams are making their Grand Prix debut at this event, including reigning World Junior Champions the Parsons.  Rachel Parsons is the youngest competitor at this event at only 19, while the oldest female in this event is 28.  The youngest male is 21 and the oldest is 32.  One team has scored over 190 points, while three other teams have scored over 180.

The Shibutanis are going into their 8th season on the Grand Prix and have only finished off the podium once, back at this event in 2012.  They have won gold at their last three events and have qualified for the Final four times, including for the last three years.  Last year was the first time they medaled at the Final, taking home a bronze medal.  They have not competed yet this season, and while their program components and overall performance was strong last season, they never quite got the levels they normally achieved as a highly technical team.  By the end of the season it’s not uncommon to see them routinely receive Level 4s on their step sequences, and that did not happen last year.  They are returning to Coldplay for their free dance (but a different song), and that might help them recreate some of the magic that returned them to the World podium two years ago.

Bobrova and Soloviev are starting their 11th season on the Grand Prix.  They have not missed the podium since 2009 and have qualified for the Final six times, including each of the last two seasons.  However, they have never medaled at the Final.  They kicked off their season with a gold medal at Ondrej Nepela Trophy.  Their short dance earned Level 4 for the rhumba and their lift with Level 3 on the twizzles, non touching step sequence and their partial step sequence.  They had all positive GOEs, but only earned 6 points, and their program components were in the high 8s and low 9s.  Their free dance received Level 4 for the twizzles, lifts, and spin, with Level 3 on the step sequences.  They had all positive GOEs, netting 13 points and had program components in the low to mid 9s.  They have the 5th best short dance, 2nd best free dance, and 3rd best total scores.

Gilles and Poirier will be competing in their 6th Grand Prix season as a team.  They have medaled at every Grand Prix event they have entered the last three seasons, but have only made the Final once, back in 2014.  They won bronze at Autumn Classic International to start their season.  Their short dance earned Level 4 for the twizzles and lift and Level 3 for the partial and non touching step sequences.  They had all positive GOEs, gaining 7 points.  Their program components were in the high 7s to mid 8s.  Their free dance had a Level 4 spin, lifts, and twizzles, with Level 3 on the step sequences.  They had all positive GOEs, totaling 10 points and had program components in the mid 8s.  They have the 9th best short dance, 7th best free dance, and 7th best total scores.

Guignard and Fabbri are entering their 6th Grand Prix season, and while they have never won a medal, they have finished 4th at each of their last four events.  They started their season with a gold medal at Lombardia Trophy.  They earned Level 4 for their twizzles and lift in the short dance with a Level 3 on the rhumba and non touching step sequence.  They had all positive GOEs, totaling 8 points and had program components in the mid 8s.  Their free dance had Level 4 twizzles, spin, and one lift, with Level 3 on their circular steps and one additional lift.  They earned a negative GOE on one of their lifts, but other wise earned 11 points.  Their program components were again in the mid 8s.They have the 7th best short dance, 9th best free dance, and 8th best total scores.

Stepanova and Bukin will compete for the 5th season on the Grand Prix and have three bronze medals on their resume.  They won silver at Finlandia Trophy to start their season.  Their short dance received Level 4 for their twizzles and lift with Level 3 on the partial and non touching step sequences, but they received a shocking Level 1 on their rhumba.  They had all positive GOEs, receiving 7 points.  Their program components were in the mid to high 8s.  Their free dance earned Level 4 for their straight line and rotational lifts, twizzles, and spin, with Level 3 on their curve lift.  They again earned all positive GOEs and had program components in the low to mid 8s.  They have the 6th best short dance and 9th best total scores.

The Parsons are making their Grand Prix debut after winning the World Junior title last season.  They started their first senior season with a silver medal at Ondrej Nepela Trophy.  Their short dance earned Level 4 on the non touching step sequence, lift, and twizzles, with Level 3 on the rhumba and partial step sequence.  They had all positive GOEs, totaling 5 points and program components in the mid to high 7s.  They actually beat Bobrova and Soloviev on the technical score at Nepela, but lost ground on the program components.  Their free dance received Level 4 on their lifts, spin, and twizzles, with Level 3 on one of the step sequences.  They had all positive GOEs and their program components were better, all in the high 7s and low 8s.  They have the 10th best short dance score.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Shibutani/Shibutani

Silver: Bobrova/Soloviev

Bronze: Gilles/Poirier

 

Bios of the competitors:

Gilles/Poirier, CAN: They placed 8th at Worlds and 6th at Four Continents.  They won bronze at Skate Canada and bronze at Trophee de France last season.  They are the 2014 Four Continents Silver Medalists. Their personal best is 182.57.  She is 25 and he is 25.

Kuzmichova/Sinicyn, CZE: They placed 26th at Worlds, 26th at Europeans, and 9th at Junior Worlds.  They finished 4th at JGP France and won silver at JGP Czech Republic last season.  This is their Grand Prix debut.  Their personal best is 142.69.  She is 20 and he is 21.

Lauriault/Le Gac, FRA: They finished 21st at Worlds and 12th at Europeans.  They placed 6th at Trophee de France and 6th at NHK Trophy last season.  Their personal best is 154.36.  She is 20 and he is 22.

Guignard/Fabbri, ITA: They placed 11th at Worlds and 6th at Europeans.  They finished 4th at Skate America and 4th at Rostelecom Cup last season.  Their personal best is 180.30.  She is 28 and he is 29.

Bobrova/Soloviev, RUS: They finished 5th at Worlds and are the reigning European Bronze Medalists.  They won bronze at Skate America and gold at Rostelecom Cup last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they placed 4th.  They are the 2013 World Bronze Medalists, 2013 European Champions, 2011 and 2012 European Silver Medalists, 2016 European Bronze Medalists, and 2007 World Junior Champions.  Their personal best is 186.68.  She is 27 and he is 28.

Popova/Mozgov, RUS: This is their Grand Prix debut.  Their personal best is 161.92.  She is 20 and he is 22.

Stepanova/Bukin, RUS: They placed 10th at Worlds and 5th at Europeans.  They finished 5th at Skate Canada and won bronze at Cup of China last season.  They are the 2015 European Bronze Medalists, 2013 World Junior Champions, and 2012 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 177.41.  She is 22 and he is 24.

Agafonova/Ucar, TUR: They finished 16th at Worlds and 11th at Europeans.  They placed 9th at Skate America and 8th at Rostelecom Cup last season.  Their personal best is 163.00.  She is 26 and he is 32.

Parsons/Parsons, USA: They are the reigning World Junior Champions.  They won gold at JGP Japan and gold at JGP Germany last season to qualify for the Junior Grand Prix Final where they won gold.  This is their Grand Prix debut.  They are the 2016 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 164.83.  She is 19 and he is 22.

Shibutani/Shibutani, USA: They are the reigning World Bronze Medalists and reigning Four Continents Silver Medalists.  They won gold at Skate America and gold at Cup of China last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they won bronze.  They are the 2016 World Silver Medalists, 2011 World Bronze Medalists, 2016 Four Continents Champions, 2011 Four Continents Silver Medalists, 2015 Four Continents Bronze Medalists, and 2009 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 191.85.  She is 23 and he is 26.