European Men’s Preview

After sitting out the entirety of last season, Plushenko is back and ready to start his push toward the Olympics in Sochi in 2014.  He sat out the beginning of this season recovering from knee injuries and made his season debut at Russian nationals where he took home the title, defeating reigning World Bronze Medalist Artur Gachinski.  He is well known for his jumping abilities, including his quads, but he focuses on the jumps often at the expense of transitions and choreography.

Javier Fernandez has had a stellar season, winning the first ever Grand Prix medal for Spain and qualifying for the Grand Prix Final where he won bronze.  He has successfully landed 9 quads on the Grand Prix this season and has shown he can combine artistry with the technical content.  His problems have come in the free skate where he makes small errors on some of the jumps in the middle of his program.  He truly fights for everything and never gives up on his programs but he does give points away.

Brian Joubert is also making his season debut after sitting out the Grand Prix season due to injury.  He’s returned to his Matrix free skate in hope’s of claiming another European title.  In his first competition of the season, he defeated reigning European Champion Florent Amodio to claim the French national title.  He is also well known for his quads, but missing a quad can effect his mental game and cause a collapse in the rest of the program.

Artur Gachinski surprised many when he took home the bronze medal from last season’s World Championships.  He also is armed with a quad jump but has wildly inconsistent results and hasn’t lived up to his title this season, finishing well off the podium in his Grand Prix assignments.

Michal Brezina started off the season with a gold medal finish at his first Grand Prix event, but while his score improved throughout the season, his results continued to slip.  He keeps talking about putting the quad in his programs but hasn’t been able to deliver.  He’ll need to step it up if he wants to claim his first European medal.

Samuel Contesti improved throughout the Grand Prix season, going from 8th to 4th.  He has the ability to be an amazingly entertaining skater when he is clean, but the life can really go out of his programs if he starts making errors on his jumps.

Kevin van der Perren is another skater known for big jumps, including the quad, but also for inconsistency.  He has stated that Europeans will be his final competition before he retires and if he sticks to that he could go in to this event with nothing to lose and no reason to hold anything back.

My podium predictions:
Gold: Evgeni Plushenko
Silver: Javier Fernandez
Bronze: Brian Joubert

Bios of the competitors:
Slavik Hayrapetyan, ARM: He finished 21st in the preliminary round at Junior Worlds.  He placed 18th at JGP Latvia and 14th at JGP Romania.  His personal best is 128.97.  He is 15 years old.

Viktor Pfeifer, AUT (Direct Entry): He finished 26th at Worlds and 18th at Europeans.  His personal best is 178.41.  He is 24 years old.
Vitali Luchanok, BLR: He finished 22nd in the preliminary round at Worlds and 23rd at Junior Worlds.  His personal best is 138.27.  He is 19 years old.  
Jorik Hendrickx, BEL (Direct Entry): He finished 19th at Worlds, 16th at Europeans and 13th at Junior Worlds.  His personal best is 188.24.  He is 19 years old.

Kevin van der Perren, BEL (Direct Entry): He finished 17th at Worlds and 4th at Europeans.  He won silver at Skate America and finished 8th at Skate Canada.  He is the 2007 and 2009 European bronze medalist.  His personal best is 219.36.  He is 29 years old.

Manol Atanassov, BUL: He finished 19th in the preliminary round at World Juniors.  He is 20 years old.  

Michal Brezina, CZE (Direct Entry): He placed 4th at Worlds and 8th at Europeans.  He won gold at Skate America, bronze at Trophee Eric Bompard and finished 4th at Rostelecom Cup to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where he finished 6th.  He is the 2009 World Junior Silver Medalist.  His personal best is 236.06.  He is 21 years old.

Pavel Kaska, CZE: His personal best is 172.90.  He is 23 years old.

Tomas Verner, CZE (Direct Entry): He placed 12th at Worlds and is the reigning European Bronze Medalist.  He is the 2008 European Champion and 2007 European Silver Medalist.  His personal best is 232.67.  He is 25 years old.

Justus Strid, DEN: He finished 14th in the preliminary round at Worlds and 28th at Europeans.  His personal best is 91.30.  He is 24 years old.

Viktor Romanenkov, EST: He finished 18th at the World Junior Championships.  He placed 9th at JGP Latvia and 6th at JGP Estonia.  His personal best is 162.19.  He is 18 years old.  
Ari-Pekka Nurmenkari, FIN: His personal best is 170.88.  He is 28 years old.

Florent Amodio, FRA (Direct Entry): He placed 7th at Worlds and is the reigning European Champion.  He finished 9th at Skate America and 5th at Trophee Eric Bompard.  His personal best is 229.68.  He is 21 years old.

Chafik Besseghier, FRA (Direct Entry): He placed 9th at Trophee Eric Bompard.  His personal best is 185.69.  He is 22 years old.

Brian Joubert, FRA (Direct Entry): He finished 8th at Worlds and is the reigning European Silver Medalist.  He is the 2007 World Champion, 2006 and 2008 World Silver Medalist, 2009 and 2010 World Bronze Medalist; 2004, 2007 and 2009 European Champion; 2003, 2005 and 2011 European Silver Medalist; and 2002, 2006, 2008 and 2010 European Bronze Medalist.  His personal best is 241.74.  He is 26 years old.

Paul Fentz, GER: He finished 7th at JGP Romania.  His personal best is 151.40.  He is 19 years old.

Peter Liebers, GER (Direct Entry): He placed 15th at Worlds and 11th at Europeans.  His personal best is 205.59.  He is 23 years old.

Jason Thompson, GBR: He is 22 years old.

Marko Marton, HUN: His personal best is 84.99.  He is 23 years old.

Alexei Bychenko, ISR: His personal best is 129.24.  He is 23 years old.

Paolo Bacchini, ITA (Direct Entry): He finished 21st at Worlds and 12th at Europeans.  His personal best is 183.13.  He is 26 years old.

Samuel Contesti, ITA (Direct Entry): He finished 18th at Worlds and 6th at Europeans.  He placed 8th at Skate America and 4th at NHK Trophy.  He is the 2009 European Silver Medalist.  His personal best is 226.97.  He is 28 years old.

Kim Lucine, MON (Direct Entry): He finished 23rd at Worlds and 17th at Europeans.  His personal best is 171.93.  He is 23 years old. 

Maciej Cieplucha, POL: He finished 25th at Europeans.  His personal best is 139.41.  He is 23 years old. 

Zoltan Kelement, ROU: He finished 21st at Europeans.  His personal best is 161.70.  He is 25 years old.

Artur Gachinski, RUS (Direct Entry): He is the reigning World Bronze Medalist and finished 5th at Europeans.  He placed 5th at Cup of China and Rostelecom Cup.  He is the 2010 World Junior Bronze Medalist.  His personal best is 241.86.  He is 18 years old. 

Evgeni Plushenko, RUS: He is the 2006 Olympic Champion; 2002 and 2010 Olympic Silver Medalist; 2001, 2003 and 2004 World Champion; 1999 World Silver Medalist; 1998 World Bronze Medalist; 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2010 European Champion; 1998, 1999 and 2004 European Silver Medalist; and 1997 World Junior Champion.  His personal best is 258.33.  He is 29 years old.

Sergei Voronov, RUS (Direct Entry): He placed 7th at Rostelecom Cup.  He is the 2006 World Junior Silver Medalist and 2007 World Junior Bronze Medalist.  His personal best is 220.39.  He is 24 years old.

Javier Fernandez, ESP (Direct Entry): He finished 10th at Worlds and 9th at Europeans.  He won silver at Skate Canada and Rostelecom Cup to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where he won bronze.  His personal best is 250.33.  He is 20 years old.

Alexander Majorov, SWE (Direct Entry): He finished 28th at Worlds and is the reigning World Junior Bronze Medalist.  He placed 9th at Skate Canada and 6th at Trophee Eric Bompard.  His personal best is 195.71.  He is 20 years old.

Laurent Alvarez, SUI: He finished 22nd at Europeans.  His personal best is 159.45.  He is 21 years old.

Ali Demirboga, TUR: He placed 27th at Europeans.  His personal best is 95.22.  He is 21 years old.

Stanislav Pertsov, UKR (Direct Entry): He finished 15th at World Juniors.  He placed 10th at JGP Latvia and 8th at JGP Austria.  His personal best is 161.92.  He is 19 years old.

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    LOVE JAVI TO WIN THIS ALL OUT…..VAMOS!!!!!!!!!