2017 Skate America Dance Preview

Half of the spots in the Final have been taken by Papadakis and Cizeron (30 points), Virtue and Moir (30 points) and Chock and Bates (26 points).  Hubbell/Donohue (24), Bobrova/Soloviev (24), and Weaver/Poje (22) round out the current top 6.

Mathematically, six of the teams here can qualify for the Final, however, the qualification scenarios for most of these teams are slim.  The Shibutanis are the most likely to qualify as they need a 1st-4th place finish to make the Final.  Cappellini and Lanotte can guarantee their spot with a gold medal.  If the Shibutanis win gold, and Cappellini and Lanotte win silver, they need 181.03 points to qualify.  If any other team wins gold, Cappellini and Lanotte can also qualify with a silver medal if they score 191.23 points.  Sinitsina/Katsalapov, Gilles/Poirier, Hawayek/Baker, and Zagorski/Guerreiro all need a gold medal to qualify for the Final.

Shibutani and Shibutani won gold at Rostelecom Cup.  They earned Level 4 on everything but their non touching step sequence in the short dance with all positive GOEs worth 8 points.  Their program components were in the low to mid 9s.  Their free dance received Level 4 for their spin, lifts, and twizzles, with Level 3 on both step sequences.  They again earned all positive GOEs worth a whopping 14 points and their program components were in the low to mid 9s.  They have the 4th best short dance, 5th best free dance, and 5th best total scores.

Cappellini and Lanotte won the bronze medal at NHK Trophy.  Their short dance there included Level 4 twizzles, partial step sequence, and lift, with Level 3 on their non touching step sequence and rhumba.  They earned all positive GOEs worth 8 points and had program components in the high 8s to mid 9s.  Their free dance received Level 4 for their lifts, twizzles, spin, and diagonal step sequence with Level 3 on their serpentine step sequence.  They again earned all positive GOEs, netting nearly 13 points, and had program components in the high 8s to mid 9s.  They have the 7th best short dance, 8th best free dance, and 6th best total scores.

Sinitsina and Katsalapov finished 4th at NHK Trophy with personal best scores in all segments of competition.  They earned Level 4 on their twizzles and lift with Level 3 on their non touching step sequence, rhumba, and partial step sequence.  They earned all positive GOEs worth 7 points and had program components in the mid to high 8s.  They received Level 4 on their twizzles, two lifts, and spin in their free dance, with Level 3 on their step sequences and final lift.  They had all positive GOEs worth 10 points and had program components in the mid 8s to low 9s.  They have the 9th best short dance and 10th best total scores.

Gilles and Poirier finished 4th at Rostelecom Cup.  Their short dance earned Level 4 for the twizzles and lift with Level 3 for the partial and non touching step sequences.  They have yet to achieve a Level 3 or higher on their rhumba this season.  They had all positive GOEs and had program components in the 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.

Hawayek and Baker finished 4th at Skate Canada.  They earned Level 4 on their lift and rhumba in the short dance with Level 3 on their non touching and partial step sequences.  They did earn negative GOEs on their twizzles but had program components in the mid to high 7s.  Their free dance received Level 4 for the twizzles, lifts and spin with Level 3 on their two step sequences.  They had all positive GOEs, worth 12 points, and had program components in the high 7s to mid 8s.

Zagorski and Guerreiro placed 4th at Cup of China.  Their short dance received Level 4 for the twizzles, rhumba, and lift, with Level 3 on the partial and non touching step sequences.  They earned all positive GOEs and had program components in the high 7s to low 8s.  Their free dance earned Level 4 for their lifts and twizzles with Level 3 on the spin and step sequences.  They earned all positive GOEs worth 8 points and had program components in the high 7s to low 8s.

Most of these teams are executing the same level of elements.  One way to set themselves apart is to achieve Level 4 on the step sequences in the short dance, especially the non touching section which is worth the most points, and on one or both of the step sequences in the free dance.  The other way is through GOEs and program components.  Because many of these teams have been performing the exact same technical elements so far this season, the difference between medaling and not is going to come down to the quality with which everything is executed.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Shibutani/Shibutani

Silver: Cappellini/Lanotte

Bronze: Sinitsina/Katsalapov

 

Bios of the competitors:

Gilles/Poirier, CAN: They placed 8th at Worlds and 6th at Four Continents.  They finished 4th at Rostelecom Cup.  They are the 2014 Four Continents Silver Medalists. Their personal best is 182.57.  She is 25 and he is 26.

Wang/Liu, CHN: They finished 16th at Worlds and 7th at Four Continents.  They placed 6th at Cup of China.  Their personal best is 158.36.  She is 23 and he is 23.

Tobias/Tkachenko, ISR: They placed 12th at Worlds and 4th at Europeans.  They finished 6th at Skate America and 5th at Trophee de France last season.  Their personal best is 177.80.  She is 26 and he is 30.

Cappellini/Lanotte, ITA: They finished 6th at Worlds and are the reigning European Silver Medalists.  They won bronze at NHK Trophy.  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.

Muramoto/Reed, JPN: They finished 23rd at Worlds and 9th at Four Continents.  They placed 9th at NHK Trophy.  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 NHK Trophy.  Their personal best is 177.15.  She is 22 and he is 26.

Zagorski/Guerreiro, RUS: They placed 4th at Cup of China.  Their personal best is 173.02.  She is 23 and he is 26.

Hawayek/Baker, USA: They finished 4th at Skate Canada.  They are the 2014 World Junior Champions.  Their personal best is 177.36.  She is 21 and he is 24.

Parsons/Parsons, USA: They are the reigning World Junior Champions.  They placed 7th at Rostelecom Cup.  They are the 2016 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 164.83.  She is 20 and he is 22.

Shibutani/Shibutani, USA: They are the reigning World Bronze Medalists and reigning Four Continents Silver Medalists.  They won gold at Rostelecom Cup.  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.

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