Europeans Pairs Preview

Savchenko and Szolkowy enter this event as the reigning European and World Champions.  They just took home the Grand Prix Final title and the only mistake on their perfect record was a bronze medal finish at NHK Trophy where they botched a lift in their free skate which cost them the title.  They have been working on adding the throw triple axel to their short program but recently have been opting for a clean skate instead of the difficult element.  Their programs are flawlessly put together this season and really stand out against the field.

On their heels will be Volosozhar and Trankov who won the silver medal at Worlds in their first major competition together.  They won gold at both their Grand Prix events to qualify for the Grand Prix Final.  They almost withdrew due to a groin injury but decided to compete and overtook the Germans in the short program and ended up taking 2nd overall by just tenths of a point.  Fully healthy, they should put up quite a fight for the gold medal.  Their programs show off very different sides of their skating from their Evanescence short program to their ballet inspired free skate.

Bazarova and Larionov started off slow with a 5th place finish at Skate America but rebounded to the silver medal at Trophee Eric Bompard.  They have all the potential to be one of the top teams in the World with lines to die for but they have trouble landing their jumps.  If they can stand up on their individual elements they have the capability to repeat as the bronze medalists.

Berton and Hotarek have the makings of a great team with nice expression on the ice, good lines and nice side by side elements.  They don’t have some of the technical difficulty of the top teams, including only having a double twist.  They won their fist Grand Prix medal this season and will be looking to move up from their 5th place finish last season at Europeans.

Hausch and Wende won their first Grand Prix medal last season but didn’t have the same results this season, finishing 8th at Skate America.  They finished 6th at Europeans last season.


My podium predictions:
Gold: Volosozhar/Trankov
Silver: Savchenko/Szolkowy
Bronze: Bazarova/Larionov

Bios of the competitors:

Martini/Kiefer, AUT: They finished 21st at Worlds, 15th at Europeans and 16th at Junior Worlds.  They placed 16th at JGP Austria.  Their personal best is 100.87.  She is 18 and he is 21.

Bakirova/Kamianchuk, BLR: They finished 19th at Worlds and 10th at Europeans.  Their personal best is 120.72.  She is 19 and he is 24.

Paliakova/Fomichev, BLR: They finished 18th at Junior Worlds.  They placed 8th at JGP Poland and 9th at JGP Estonia.  Their personal best is 109.01.  She is 19 and he is 20.

Makarova/Kenchadze, BUL: She is 17 and he is 25.

Herbrikova/Halmaert, CZE: She is 19 and he is 21.

James/Cipres, FRA: They placed 8th at Trophee Eric Bompard.  Their personal best is 133.31.  She is 14 and he is 19.

Popova/Massot, FRA: She is 18 and he is 22.

Hausch/Wende, GER: They finished 12th at Worlds and 6th at Europeans.  They placed 8th at Skate America.  Their personal best is 157.42.  She is 23 and he is 27.

Savchenko/Szolkowy, GER: They are the reigning World and European Champions.  They won gold at Skate America, bronze at NHK Trophy and gold at Rostelecom Cup to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they won gold.  They are the 2010 Olympic Bronze Medalists; 2008 and 2009 World Champions; 2010 World Silver Medalists; 2007 World Bronze Medalists; 2007, 2008 and 2009 European Champions and 2006 and 2010 European Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 217.85.  She is 28 and he is 32.

Vartmann/Van Cleave, GER: She is 23 and he is 24.

Hoolin/Hunt, GBR: She is 19 and he is 21.

Kemp/King, GBR: They finished 17th at Worlds and 8th at Europeans.  Their personal best is 139.94.  She is 23 and he is 27.

Montalbano/Krasnopolski, ISR: They finished 20th at Worlds.  She is 23 and he is 23.

Berton/Hotarek, ITA: They finished 10th at Worlds and 5th at Europeans.  They placed 4th at NHK Trophy and won bronze at Rostelecom Cup.  Their personal best is 168.02.  She is 21 and he is 28.

Gillespie/Dematte, ITA: They placed 12th at Europeans and 10th at Junior Worlds.  Their personal best is 116.44.  She is 18 and he is 21.

Bazarova/Larionov, RUS: They finished 5th at Worlds and are the reigning European Bronze Medalists.  They placed 5th at Skate America and won silver at Trophee Eric Bompard.  They are the 2007 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 188.24.  She is 18 and he is 25.

Stolbova/Klimov, RUS: They are the reigning World Junior Silver Medalists.  They placed 7th at Trophee Eric Bompard and 5th at Rostelecom Cup.  They are the the 2010 World Junior Bronze Medalists.  Their personal best is 159.79.  She is 19 and he is 21.

Volosozhar/Trankov, RUS: They are the reigning World Silver Medalists.  They won gold at Skate Canada and Trophee Eric Bompard to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they won silver.  Their personal best is 212.08.  She is 25 and he is 28.

Morand/Leeman, SUI: They finished 12th at Junior Worlds.  They placed 13th at JGP Austria.  Their personal best is 113.30.  She is 18 and he is 20.