2017 Skate America Pairs Preview

Half of the spots in the Final have already been taken with Sui and Han (30 points), Tarasova and Morozov (30 points) and Stolbova and Klimov (26 points) having already punched their tickets.  James and Cipres sit in 4th place with 24 points, while Astakhova/Rogonov (22 points) and Della Monica/Guarise (20 points) round out the current top 6.

Five of these eight teams have a mathematical chance of qualifying for the Grand Prix Final, but some of these paths are more realistic than others.  Half of these teams also competed against each other at Skate Canada, so this event will be telling in terms of if the standings are shaken up or if teams are solidifying their places.

Duhamel and Radford won gold at Skate Canada.  They need a 1st-4th place finish to guarantee their spot in the Final.  Their short program includes side by side triple lutzes (doubled at Skate Canada) and a triple lutz throw.  At the Autumn Classic International, hey earned positive GOEs on the solo lutzes, earning 7.26 points overall, while they only earned 1.46 points at Skate Canada.  They earned Level 4 on their death spiral, lift, spin, and step sequence.  Their program components were in the high 8s and low 9s.  They had a stellar free skate with a solo triple lutz and a triple salchow + double toe + double toe.  They also landed a throw quad salchow with positive GOEs worth 9.34 points and a throw triple lutz.  They earned Level 4 on their spins, death spiral, and one lift.  Most impressively, they earned all positive GOEs worth 10 points and had program components in the high 8s to low 9s.  They have the 4th best short program, 2nd best free skate, and 4th best total scores.

Savchenko and Massot won the silver medal at Skate Canada.  They need a gold or silver medal to guarantee their spot in the Final.  A bronze medal will also put them ahead of James and Cipres and give them a solid chance of qualifying for the Final if they score above 213.04 points, a hair less than they scored in Canada.  Their short program includes solo triple salchows and a throw triple axel which was fully rotated.  They earned Level 4 on everything and had positive GOEs on everything except for the throw triple axel.  Their program components were in the low to mid 9s.  They have yet to land their side by side jumps in their free skate cleanly.  They have a triple toe + triple toe sequence planned but fell on it at Nebelhorn Trophy and missed the combo in Canada.  The triple salchow was doubled in Germany and singled in Canada.  They have yet to hit the trow triple axel cleanly in their free skate, doubling it at Nebelhorn and changing it to a double at Skate Canada.  They earned Level 4 on their twist, lifts, pairs spin, and death spiral.  Their program components were in the high 8s to mid 9s.  They have the 3rd best short program, 6th best free skate, and 5th best total scores.

Yu and Zhang won a silver medal at Cup of China.  They need a gold or silver medal to qualify for the Final.  They can give themselves a good shot at qualifying for the Final with a bronze medal if they score above 223.16 points, which would be nearly 20 points better than they scored this season.  Their short program includes a solo triple toe and a throw triple loop.  They earned Level 4 on all of their elements, and only earned a slight negative GOE on their side by side jump.  Their program components were in the low to mid 8s.  Their free skate jumps include side by side triple salchows and a triple toe combo that was missed.  They also have a throw triple loop and throw triple salchow.  They earned Level 4 on their pairs spin and all three lifts with program components in the mid 8s.  They have the 7th best short program, 7th best free skate, and 7th best total scores.

Moore-Towers and Marinaro won the bronze medal at Cup of China with a personal best free skate score.  They have the 9th best free skate score.  They need a gold medal to qualify for the Final.  With a silver medal and a score of at least 234.18 (they have never scored over 200) they can give themselves a solid chance of qualifying for the Final.  They have a throw triple loop and solo triple toes in their short program.  They earned Level 4 on the death spiral and pairs spin and had program components in the mid to high 7s. Their free skate includes a solo double axel + single loop + triple salchow combo and triple toes.  They also have a throw triple loop and throw triple salchow.  They earned Level 4 on two of their lifts and the side by side spin.  Their program components were in the low to mid 8s.

Zabiiako and Enbert finished 4th at Skate Canada.  They need a gold medal to qualify for the Final.  At Lombardia Trophy, they received Level 4 for their lift, death spiral, step sequence, and pairs spin and landed a side by side triple toe and a throw triple loop.  They received all positive GOEs and had program components in the mid to high 7s.  Their free skate has a planned triple toe + double toe + double loop combo and a triple salchow, but they have only landed each jump cleanly once in three events, and missed both at Skate Canada.  Their throw jumps are a triple lutz and triple loop.  They earned Level 4 for their twist, side by side spin, and lifts.  Their program components were in the mid to high 7s.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Savchenko/Massot

Silver: Duhamel/Radford

Bronze: Yu/Zhang

 

Bios of the competitors:

Duhamel/Radford, CAN: They placed 7th at Worlds and are the reigning Four Continents Silver Medalists. They won gold at Skate Canada.  They are the 2015 and 2016 World Champions; 2013 and 2014 World Bronze Medalists; 2013 and 2015 Four Continents Champions; and 2011 Four Continents Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 231.99.  She is 31 and he is 32.

Moore-Towers, Marinaro, CAN: They placed 7th at Worlds.  They won bronze at Cup of China.  Their personal best is 199.65.  She is 25 and he is 25.

Yu/Zhang, CHN: They finished 4th at Worlds and 4th at Four Continents.  They won silver at Cup of China.  Their personal best is 211.51.  She is 21 and he is 33.

Savchenko/Massot, GER: They are the reigning World Silver Medalists and reigning European Silver Medalists.  They won silver at Skate Canada.  They are the 2016 World Bronze Medalists and 2016 European Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 230.30.  She is 33 and he is 28.

Zabiiako/Enbert, RUS: They finished 12th at Worlds and 5th at Europeans.  They placed 4th at Skate Canada.  Their personal best is 200.75.  She is 23 and he is 28.

Denney/Frazier, USA: They placed 20th at Worlds and 8th at Four Continents.  They finished 7th at Skate Canada.  They are the 2013 World Junior Champions.  Their personal best is 192.65.  She is 22 and he is 25.

Scimeca Knierim/Knierim, USA: They placed 10th at Worlds and 6th at Four Continents.  They finished 5th at NHK Trophy.  They are the 2016 Four Continents Silver Medalists and 2014 Four Continents Bronze Medalists.  Their personal best is 207.96.  She is 26 and he is 30.

Stellato/Bartholomay, USA: This is their Grand Prix debut.  Their personal best is 165.36.  She is 34 and he is 28.

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