Europeans: Mens Preview

Florent Amodio and Tomas Verner are the only two competitors from the Grand Prix Final at Europeans.  Both have short program, free skate and total scores in the top 10 for the season thus far.  Both have tons of personality on the ice.  I adore Verner’s short program to Singing in the Rain and while I’m not crazy about his free skate I prefer it to the mess that is Amodio’s free skate.  Verner has had higher scores all season than Amodio and beat him at the Grand Prix Final, so I give Verner the edge here.  Verner has been talking about putting the quads back in his program and if he can land them consistently, this could give him an even bigger edge.

Brian Joubert is the only returning medalist from last season.  He had a disastrous Grand Prix season and is looking to redeem himself here.  He beat out Amodio at nationals but has yet to do so in international competition this season.  His short program score does fall in the top 10 for the season so if he can go clean in both programs he could reclaim his European title.  After he withdrew from Trophee Eric Bompard where Amodio won silver, many began to write him off as the top skater in France.  He’ll be looking to quiet the naysayers with a good placement here.

Javier Fernandez is the only other European man to appear on the list of top 10 scores and he does so with his free skate.  He finished 8th at last year’s Europeans and is looking to move up.  He has been struggling with injury and recently lost his national title, but if he’s healthy and can put together a short program to match his free skate he could be in medal contention.

Kevin van der Perren is also in the mix with huge, fairly consistent junps but he generally has low program components. Michal Breznia sat out the Grand Prix season due to injury.  He finished 4th last season, but it seems his injury is still plaguing him as he struggled to keep up with Verner’s scores at Czech nationals.  Samuel Contesti finished 5th beyond Breznia last year and has had an up and down Grand Prix but improved in his last outing.  Alban Preaubert and Peter Liebers had respectable Grand Prixs and should finish in the top 10 here.  Artur Gachinski is the reigning World Junior Bronze medalist.  He had decent Grand Prix results while setting personal best scores and is right in the medal hunt and is definitely an up and coming skater to watch out for.

My podium predictions:
Gold: Verner
Silver: Joubert
Bronze: Amodio

My USFSA Fantasy Team:
A) Verner
B) Gachinski
C) Lucine

The skaters:

Viktor Pfeifer, AUT (D):  He placed 21st at the Olympics, 20th at Worlds and 17th at Europeans.  He received personal best scores in the free skate at the Olympics and in the short program and total score at Europeans. He finished 12th at Skate America.

Mikhail Karaliuk, BLR: He finished 35th at the World Junior Championships.

Jorick Hendrickx, BEL: He finished 15th at the World Junior Championships and 20th at Europeans.  He finished 7th and 6th at his two JGP assignments this season.

Kevin van der Perren, BEL (D): He placed 17th at the Olympics, 8th at Worlds and 11th at Europeans.  He is the two-time European bronze medalist (2007, 2009).  He finished 8th at Cup of China and 6th at Skate America.  He is married to Jenna McCorkell who competes for Great Britain.

Damjan Ostojic, BIH: He finished 33rd at the World Championships and 28th at Europeans.

Georgi Kenchadze, BUL: He finished 40th at Worlds and 36th at Europeans.

Michal Brezina, CZE (D): He finished 10th at the Olympics, 4th at Worlds with personal best scores across the board, and 4th at Europeans.  He is the 2009 World Junior Silver Medalist.  He sat out the Grand Prix season due to injury.

Tomas Verner, CZE (D): Verner placed 10th at Europeans and finished 19th at the Olympics.  He was the silver medalist at Europeans in 2007 and won the title in 2008.  Verner won bronze at Cup of China and gold at Rostelecom Cup with a personal best free skate to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where he placed 5th.

Justus Strid, DEN: He is the 4 time national champion.

Viktor Romanenkov, EST: He finished 36th at the World Championships, 29th at Europeans, and 26th at the World Junior Championships.  He finished 8th and 11th at his two JGP assignments this season.

Valtter Virtanen, FIN: He is the reigning national silver medalist.

Florent Amodio, FRA (D): Amodio finished 12th at the Olympics with a personal best short program and 15th at Worlds.  He won bronze at NHK Trophy with personal best free skate and total scores and silver at Trophee Eric Bompard with personal best scores across the board to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where he placed 6th.

Brian Joubert, FRA (D): Joubert won bronze at Europeans, placed 16th at the Olympics and won a bronze medal at Worlds.  He is the 2004, 2007 and 2009 European champion and has medaled at Europeans every year since 2004.  He has won one gold medal at Worlds, two silvers and two bronzes.  He finished at 4th at Cup of China and withdrew from Trophee Eric Bompard.

Alban Preaubert, FRA (D): Preaubert finished 7th at Europeans with a personal best short program score.  He finished 6th at Skate Canada and 5th at Cup of Russia.

Peter Liebers, GER (D): Liebers finished 25th at last seasons World Championships.  He finished 9th at Cup of China and 7th at Trophee Eric Bompard.

Denis Wieczorek, GER: He finished 5th and 15th at his two JGP assignments this season.

David Richardson, GBR: He is the reigning national champion.

Tigran Vardanjan, HUN: He finished 41st at the World Championships.

Maxim Shipov, ISR: He finished 43rd at Worlds and 25th at Europeans with a personal best short program.

Paolo Bacchini, ITA (D): He finished 20th at the Olympics with a personal best short program and 16th at Europeans with a personal best free skate and total score.  He placed 12th at Skate Canada.

Samuel Contesti, ITA (D): Contesti placed 7th at Worlds with personal best scores in the Short and Free programs.  He also placed 18th at the Olympics and 5th at Europeans.  He won a silver at Europeans in 2009.  He finished 6th at Cup of China and 4th at Cup of Russia.

Saulius Ambrulevicius, LTU: He finished 38th at the World Championships with a personal best short program, 34th at Europeans and 32nd at World Juniors.  He finished 13th and 16th at his two JGP assignments this season.

Kim Lucine, MON:  He finished 11th at the 2008 World Junior Championships.

Boyito Mulder, NED: He finished 32nd at Europeans and 45th at the World Junior Championships.

Maciej Cieplucha, POL: He finished 35th at Worlds and 21st at Europeans.

Zoltan Kelemen, ROU: Kelemen finished 29th at the Olympics, 32nd at Worlds and 19th at Europeans with personal best scores across the board.  He finished 9th at Trophee Eric Bompard with personal best free skates and total scores.

Artur Gachinski, RUS (D): Gachinski is the reigning World Junior Bronze Medalist.  He finished 7th at Skate Canada with personal best scores across the board and 6th at Cup of Russia with a personal best short program.

Konstantin Menshov, RUS (D): Menshov finished 10th at Cup of China with personal best scores across the board.

Jakub Strobl, SVK: He finished 31st at the World Junior Championships.

Javier Fernandez, ESP (D): Fernandez finished 14th at the Olympics, 12th at Worlds with personal best short and total scores, and 8th at Europeans.  He finished 5th at Skate Canada with a personal best free skate score and 9th at Cup of Russia.

Javier Raya, ESP: He finished 12th at Junior Worlds with personal best short program and total scores.

Kristoffer Bertsson, SWE (D): He finished 15th at Europeans with a personal best short program.  He finished 11th at Skate Canada.

Adrian Schultheiss, SWE (D): He placed 15th at the Olympics and 9th at the World Championships with all personal best scores.  He finished 12th at Europeans.  He finished 6th and 7th at his two Grand Prix assignments last season.  He finished 10th at the NHK Trophy and 7th at Skate America.

Laurent Alvarez, SUI (D): He is the reigning national silver medalist.

Moris Pfeifhofer, SUI: He finished 12th at the 2008 Junior Worlds.

Stephane Walker, SUI: He finished 30th at the World Junior Championships.

Ali Demirboga, TUR: He finished 45th at Worlds with a personal best short program.

Anton Kovalevski, UKR (D): Kovalevski finished 24th at the Olympics, 16th at Worlds with a personal best short program score, and 13th at Europeans with personal best free skate and total scores.  He finished 12th at Rostelecom Cup and 8th at Trophee Eric Bompard.