2017 Rostelecom Cup Pairs Preview

This is an experienced field, with no teams making their Grand Prix debuts at this event.  The youngest lady in the field is 19 and the oldest is 31.  The youngest man is 23 and the oldest is 33.  Four of the eight teams have crossed the 200 point mark in their careers.

Tarasova and Morozov have a big advantage at this event as they are the only team with a quad in their arsenal: the quad twist.  Their twist earned a Level 3, 2.40 points over a Level 3 triple twist and 2 points over a Level 4 triple twist.  They are also the only team at this event that has earned program components in the 9s this season.  The Russians have a very real chance of sweeping this event, but the other two teams are going to have to step up their game.  Stolbova and Klimov were the surprise silver medalists in Sochi, but have struggled since then.  They took some time off of competing to work on a quad, which is still not in their repertoire and they haven’t been able to find their way onto a major event podium since 2015.  Astakhova and Rogonov set personal best scores in their first Challenger event of the season, however, they still have not scored over 200 points.

Seguin and Bilodeau and Marchei and Hotarek could break up the Russian sweep but neither had the best start to their season, finishing well below their personal best.

Tarasova and Morozov are going into their 4th Grand Prix season.  They have medaled at every event except for the 2015 Trophee Eric Bompard, but they have never won a gold medal.  They qualified for the Grand Prix Final for the first time last season, winning gold.  They started their season with a gold medal at Nebelhorn Trophy.  Their short program includes side by side triple toes and a throw triple loop.  They earned Level 4 for their twist, death spiral, pair spin, and step sequence.  They had all positive GOEs, earning 10 points and had program components in the low to mid 9s.  Their only major error was a one point deduction for a time violation.  Their free skate included a Level 3 quad twist that earned positive GOEs, earning 8.74 points.  Their solo jumps were a triple salchow and a double toe + single toe (will likely be triple + double) and they had a throw triple salchow and throw triple loop.  They earned Level 4 on all their lifts, side by side spins, and their pairs spin.  They only earned a slight negative GOE on their combination jump, and earned 10 points.  Their program components were gain in the low to mid 9s and they again lost a point for a time violation.  They have the best short program, best free skate, and best total scores.

Astakhova and Rogonov are entering their 4th year on the Grand Prix and have won two bronze medals in their career.  They started their season with a silver medal at Ondrej Nepela Trophy where they set new personal best scores in the short program and overall and they placed 5th at Finlandia Trophy.  Their short program included a side by side triple salchow and a throw triple lutz.  They earned Level 4 on all of their elements with all positive GOEs, earning them 5 points.  Their program components ranged from 7.10 to 7.50.  Their free skate includes side by side triple toe + double toe + double toe (under-rotated) and a triple salchow with a throw triple lutz and throw triple loop.  They earned Level 4 on their twist, lifts, pair spin, and death spiral.  Their program components were in the mid 7s.  At Finlandia Trophy, they again earned Level 4 on all of their elements and had positive GOEs on everything except for a slight negative GOE on the throw triple lutz.  Their program components were slightly lower with their transitions mark at 6.92.  Their free skate lost some ground when their combination jump was doubled and under-rotated and their solo salchow was also doubled.  They earned Level 4 on their twist, two lifts, and spins with program components in the high 6s to mid 7s.  They have the 8th best short program score and 8th best total score.

Seguin and Bilodeau are starting their 3rd season on the Grand Prix.  They have won three medals and qualified for the Final each of the last two seasons.  They won a bronze medal at the Autumn Classic International earlier this season.  They only received credit for side by side double salchows in their short program but they had a nice throw triple lutz.  They earned Level 4 for their lift and step sequence.  They earned 5 points from GOE and had program components in the mid 7s.  Their free skate included a triple toe + double toe and a triple salchow for their solo jumps and a throw triple lutz and a throw triple loop.  They earned Level 4 on two of their lifts and their side by side spins.  They only received a negative GOE on the combination jump and had program components in the mid to high 7s.  They have the 6th best free skate and 10th best total scores.

Stolbova and Klimov are entering their 7th Grand Prix season, but their first since 2015.  They have won five medals, and qualified for the Final twice, medaling both times.  They won a bronze medal at Finlandia Trophy earlier this season.  Their short program includes a solo triple toe and a throw triple lutz.  They earned Level 4 for their pair spin, lift, and step sequence.  They earned positive GOEs on everything except for their twist and had program components in the mid to high 8s.  Their free skate left a lot of points n the table as they received no credit for one lift or their pairs spin.  They received a education for an interruption as well as two falls.  The program started nicely with a throw triple lutz and side by side triple toe + double toe + double toes and a triple salchow.  They also managed a solid throw triple salchow at the very end of the program.  They earned Level 4 on their side by side spins and despite the errors, still managed to have program components in the mid 7s to high 8s.  They have the 6th best short program score.

Marchei and Hotarek are one of the oldest teams competing, but will only be in their third season on the Grand Prix as a team.  They have never won a medal, but came close last season at this event, placing 4th.  They started their season with a bronze medal at Lombardia Trophy.  Their short program included a side by side double salchow (intended triple) and a throw triple lutz.  They earned Level 4 for their lift and step sequence and had program components in the low to high 7s.  Their free skate again had issues with the side by side jumps as the toe was doubled and the triple salchow had a fall, under-rotation and missed combo, leaving a lot of points on the table.  Their triple loop and triple lutz throws were clean and the earned Level 4 on their side by side spin and two of their lifts.  Their program components were in the mid to high 7s.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Tarasova/Morozov

Silver: Stolbova/Klimov

Bronze: Seguin/Bilodeau

 

Bios of the competitors:

Ziegler/Kiefer, AUT: They finished 18th at Worlds and 9th at Europeans.  They placed 6th at Trophee de Paris and 6th at NHK Trophy last season.  Their personal best is 180.60.  She is 23 and he is 27.

Seguin/Bilodeau, CAN: They placed 11th at Worlds.  They won gold at Skate Canada and finished 5th at Rostelecom Cup last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they finished 5th.  They are the 2015 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 208.30.  She is 20 and he is 24.

Marchei/Hotarek, ITA: They finished 9th at Worlds and 6th at Europeans.  They placed 8th at Skate America and 4th at Rostelecom Cup last season.  Their personal best is 203.92.  She is 31 and he is 33.

Suto/Boudreau-Audet, JPN: They finished 17th at Worlds and 10th at Four Continents.  They placed 7th at NHK Trophy last season.  Their personal best is 164.96.  She is 19 and he is 23.

Astakhova/Rogonov, RUS: They placed 5th at Skate America and won bronze at Rostelecom Cup last season.  Their personal best is 191.12.  She is 20 and he is 29.

Stolbova/Klimov, RUS: They finished 5th at Worlds and 4th at Europeans.  They are the 2014 Olympic Silver Medalists; 2014 World Silver Medalists; 2014 and 2015 European Silver Medalists; 2012 European Bronze Medalists; 2011 World Junior Silver Medalists; and 2010 World Junior Bronze Medalists.  Their personal best is 229.44.  She is 25 and he is 27.

Tarasova/Morozov, RUS: They are the reigning World Bronze Medalists and reigning European Champions.  They won bronze at Skate America and silver at Trophee de France last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they won gold.  They are the 2015 and 2016 European Bronze Medalists and 2014 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 227.58.  She is 22 and he is 24.

Castelli/Tran, USA: They placed 7th at Skate America and 5th at Trophee de France last season.  Their personal best is 176.38.  She is 27 and he is 27.