Cup of China Dance Preview

Cappellini and Lanotte are the reigning World Champions, however there was only .06 points separating first from third at that event.  It was a big step forward for them to assert their place in the next Olympic cycle, but with Weaver and Poje competing well early this season and the emergence of Chock and Bates, Cappellini and Lanotte will need a strong showing to maintain their place in the rankings.  They always have charming, entertaining programs and really capture the audience but I don’t feel they always get the recognition they deserve and sometimes they have slight technical errors that effect their levels.  They haven’t competed at all this season yet, so this will be the first opportunity for them to get feedback on their programs.

The Shibutanis took home a silver medal from Skate America and will be looking for another medal to send them back to their first Final since 2012.  Their programs this season are very solid and entertaining.  Their short dance is very intense and serious and is paired with a light waltz inspired free dance that is reminiscent of Davis and White.  They had an uncharacteristic mistake on their twizzles in the short dance and lost a lot of levels in both programs.  With a technical coach like Marina Zoueva, you can be sure they’ll have drilled those points in the weeks between events and will be looking for a payoff here.  They want to claim the top spot in the US but fell way behind Chock and Bates at Skate America so they’ll need to score big here.

Papadakis and Cizeron are in their second senior season and are looking to fill a major void at home with the retirement of Pechalat/Bourzat.  They took home the gold medal from the Skate Canada Autumn Classic and set personal best scores in the free dance and total score.  Their total score was 9 points higher than the mark they set at Worlds last season and they will be looking for their first Grand Prix medal here.

The big wild card at this event is Ilinykh/Zhiganshin.  After winning an Olympic medal, Ilinykh and Katsalapov split and teamed up with former partners Sinitsina/Zhiganshin.  Ilinykh and Zhiganshin have not competed yet this season so it’s hard to know what to expect.  It usually takes time for a new team to gel together and achieve a comfort level on the ice, however these two have impressive pedigrees.  Between them they have an Olympic medal, three European medals, and two World Junior titles.


My podium predictions:

Gold: Cappellini/Lanotte

Silver: Shibutani/Shibutani

Bronze: Papadakis/Cizeron


Bios of the competitors:

Paul/Islam, CAN: They finished 18th at the Olympics and 10th at Worlds.  They placed 5th at Skate Canada last season.  They are the 2010 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 148.76.  She is 23 and he is 24.

Wang/Liu, CHN: They placed 9th at Four Continents.  This is their Grand Prix debut.  Their personal best is 115.66.  She is 20 and he is 20.

Zhang/Wu, CHN: They placed 8th at Four Continents.  They finished 7th at Cup of China last season.  Their personal best is 116.34.  She is 21 and he is 22.

Zhao/Zheng, CHN: This is their Grand Prix debut.  She is 19 and he is 27.

Papadakis/Cizeron, FRA: They placed 13th at Worlds and 15th at Europeans.  They finished 5th at Trophee Eric Bompard and 7th at Rostelecom Cup last season.  They are the 2013 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 150.20.  She is 19 and he is 19.

Cappellini/Lanotte, ITA: Theyare the reigning World and European Champions.  They won silver at Skate America and NHK Trophy last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they finished 6th.  They are the 2013 European Bronze Medalists.  Their personal best is 175.43.  She is 27 and he is 29.

Ilinykh/Zhiganshin, RUS: This is their Grand Prix debut.  She is 20 and he is 22.

Shibutani/Shibutani, USA: hey placed 9th at the Olympics and 6th at Worlds.  They won silver at Skate America.  They are the 2011 World Bronze Medalists, 2011 Four Continents Silver Medalists and 2009 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 163.79.  She is 20 and he is 23.