Cup of China Initial Thoughts

I have yet to watch any of the short programs from yesterday, but based on the scores here are a few initial thoughts.

Men: Kozuka is a little bit of a surprise in first place, but this is a close contest.  Verner and Mroz seem to have redeemed themselves and are sitting third an fourth, both with shots at medals.  Miner also had a big turnaround from his short program at his last Grand Prix, and sits just three points from the podium in 6th place.  Less than 6 points separate 3rd-8th place and whoever goes clean tomorrow will have a real shot at medaling.  Samuel Contesti did not have a good short program.  He didn’t have any falls, so I’ll have to watch the program to see where his mistakes came in.  Kozuka received the highest element score while Joubert received the highest program components.

For my podium predictions, I’m fairly on track with Kozuka and Joubert, although I had them in reverse order.  My fantasy picks are currently placed 2, 7 and 11.

Complete results here:

Ladies: I’m pleasantly surprised to see Nagasu in first place after being injured during the off-season and missing training time.  Suzuki is showing that she is here to stay with a second place finish and Ando is currently in third place.  Geng is a surprise in 4th place, especially considering China’s weakness in every discipline but pairs.  I predict the top three finishers will win the medals after the free skate but the order will likely shuffle.  Nagasu received the highest element marks and Ando received the highest program components.

For my podium predictions, all of the skaters I picked are in the top three but are in a different order.  My fantasy picks are currently ranked 3, 7 and 6.

Complete results here:

Pairs: This is much closer than I expected with 1.04 points separating Pang and Tong from the young team of Sui and Han.  At just 15 and 18, Sui/Han could be a dominant team on the world circuit for the next decade or more.  Yankowskas and Coughlin skated clean for a season’s best short program score and were good enough for third place.  The Russians are still in the mix after a fall and Evora and Ladwig could still medal if they skate clean in the free and one of the other teams errs.  Sui and Han had the highest element scores while Pang and Tong had the highest program components. 

For my podium predictions, I’m currently spot on with gold and Sui/Han and the Russians are both in podium position.  My fantasy picks are currently ranked 4, 3 and 7.

Complete results here:

Dance: The biggest surprise here is the Chinese placing better than the American teams.  The Hubbells received three deductions in their short dance, which is almost unheard of in ice dance.  The Russians had a strong showing here and will likely win their first Grand Prix medal while the French outperformed the Italians and gave themselves a 7 point lead.  Barring any major hiccups in their free skate, they should easily win the Gold here.  Pechelat/Bourzat received the highest element and program component scores.

For my podium predictions, all three of my teams are in the top three with the top two spots flipped.  My fantasy picks are currently ranked 2, 3 and 6.

Complete results here: 

A live blog of the Pairs Short Program is available at