Four Continents Championships: Dance Preview

Davis and White have not lost an event all season.  They have steadily been improving their levels in their short dance and achieved all Level 4s at nationals and their free dance is one of the most difficult in the sport but is brilliantly executed.  Their biggest rivals are their training mates Virtue and Moir who have not competed all season due to her surgery.  Davis and White should take an easy victory here and set them up with the momentum to win their first World title.  They have the best short dance, free dance and total scores for the season.

Virtue and Moir are the reigning Olympic and World Champions.  They are absolutely gorgeous to watch on the ice.  I think they’ll put out solid programs here, but many teams have struggled to pick up top levels in the new short dance and it has taken them a few events to work out the kinks.  Virtue and Moir elected to skip their nationals because they felt they weren’t prepared enough to compete so this will be their first competition.  I expect they’ll have a few little problems but this is a warmup event for them to get their programs in order for Worlds.

Crone and Poirier’s scores have been all over the board this season.  They had high marks at their first Grand Prix event but couldn’t seem to match that performance the rest of the season.  Their Grand Prix Final score was almost 15 points below their seasons best largely due to their short dance.  I don’t think their performance quality matches the mood of the music and I don’t think its particularly well choreographed, and they were docked heavily at the GPF.  They won the national title but only by one point over Weaver and Poje.  As one of two teams here who medaled at the GPF they have an edge, but they can’t afford to make any mistakes.  They have the 5th best short dance, 6th best free dance and 5th best total score of the season.

The Shibutanis have been ascending like a rocket this season.  They are the first team to win two medals in their first season on the senior Grand Prix and their scores have been steadily improving throughout the season.  They made the race for gold at nationals a tighter race than anyone expected, and even beat Davis and White on the technical element scores.  Their short dance scores are lower than some of the other teams here but they made mistakes in this segment in both their Grand Prixs, and when skated clean they can really rack up the points.  I think their talent is good enough to put them on the podium here but younger teams seem to receive lower program components than older teams which could make the difference here.  They have the 8th best free dance and 9th best total score of the season.

Weaver and Poje and Chock and Zuerlein round out the American and Canadian contingents.  Both teams did well on the Grand Prix circuit this season.  Weaver and Poje’s short dance is absolutely stunning and I think they’ve been underscored on this segment this season.  The Golden Waltz looks like it was choreographed to their music and it is easy to lose yourself in their program.  Their free dance to Moulin Rouge has never really come together and clicked with the judges.  I think they’ll have a hard time holding on to their title and finishing on the podium.  They have the 8th best short dance and 10th best total score of the season.

Chock and Zuerlein seem to have the opposite problem in that their short program is nice but doesn’t seem to really wow the judges or the audience.  Their free skate to Cabaret is really well done and suits their personalities perfectly, but they made errors on the Grand Prix and didn’t receive the full marks.  Their levels are not as high and their programs are not as clean as some of their training mates but they are very entertaining to watch and should give Weaver and Poje a run for their money for 5th place.  They have the 9th best short dance of the season.

My podium predictions:
Gold: Davis/White
Silver: Virtue/Moir
Bronze: Crone/Poirier

My USFSA Fantasy Team:
A) Davis/White
B) Shibutani/Shibutani
C) Huang/Zheng

The teams:
Borounov/Borounov, AUS:  They finished 12th at Four Continents last season.

O’Brien/Merriman, AUS: They finished 10th at Four Continents and 25th at Worlds last season.

Crone/Poirier, CAN: They finished 14th at the Olympics and 7th at the World Championships.  They won bronze at the Grand Prix Final after winning gold at Skate Canada and silver at Skate America.

Virtue/Moir, CAN: Virtue and Moir are the reigning Olympic and World Champions.  They sat out the Grand Prix season due to injury.  They are the 2006 World Junior Champions.  They are the 2006 and 2007 Four Continents Bronze medalists, 2009 silver medalists, and 2008 champions.  They are the 2009 World Bronze medalists and 2008 silver medalists.

Weaver/Poje, CAN: Weaver and Poje are the reigning Four Continents champions.  They are the 2007 World Junior Bronze Medalists.  They finished 5th at the Grand Prix Final after winning silver at NHK Trophy and finishing 4th at Skate America. 

Guan/Wang, CHN: They placed 9th at Four Continents last season.  They finished 9th at Cup of China.

Huang/Zheng, CHN: They placed 19th at the Olympics and 4th at Four Continents last season.  They placed 5th at Cup of China and Trophee Eric Bompard.

Yu/Wang, CHN: They placed 18th at the World Championships and 8th at Four Continents last season.  They placed 9th at the NHK Trophy and 8th at Cup of China.

Bruhns/Westenberger, MEX: This is their first season together.

Chock/Zuerlein, USA: Chock and Zuerlein finished 5th at Four Continents last season..  They are the 2009 World Junior Champions.  They won bronze at Skate Canada and Trophee Eric Bompard. 

Davis/White, USA: They won silver at Olympics and Worlds.  They are the 2009 Four Continents champions and 2008 silver medalists.  They are the 2006 World Junior bronze medalists.  They won gold at NHK Trophy and Skate America to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they won gold.

Shibutani/Shibutani, USA: They finished 4th at World Juniors last season.  They are the 2009 World Junior Silver Medalists.  They won bronze at the NHK Trophy and Skate America.