Four Continents Dance Preview

Davis and White have not lost a competition since Worlds in 2010.  They have defeated Virtue and Moir twice in the past year but not when both teams were healthy and skated clean.  Despite the winning streak, there are still many that doubt their place as the top team in ice dance.  They have not made many changes to their programs and have been able to refine their elements and continually improve their performances and their scores.  Their free dance is one of their best and perfectly suits both of their styles.  They perform it with ease despite the tremendous difficulty in the program.  They have the best short program, free skate and total score of the season.

Virtue and Moir also have a very suitable free skate that fits their style.  After a fall in their short dance at the Grand Prix Final cost them a shot at the title, they went back to the drawing board and revamped both of their programs.  Their nationals score was lower than their Grand Prix Final score, showing that their programs were still green.  They’ll have to step it up if they want to beat Davis and White here and set themselves up to reclaim their World title.  They have the 2nd best short program, free skate and total score of the season.

Weaver and Poje have really come into their own this season, winning three silver medals on the Grand Prix and qualifying for the Grand Prix Final.  Their free skate is especially moving filled with nice choreography, great lines and wonderfully performed.  They leave everything out on the ice in their performances and are aiming for a Worlds medal this season.  They have the 4th best short program, free skate and total score of the season.

The Shibutanis are the defending silver medalists at this event and the reigning World Bronze Medalists.  They won their first Grand Prix gold medal and qualified for their first Grand Prix Final.  However, they weren’t satisfied with their Short Dance this season and went back to the drawing board, changing their music and choreography and working with ballroom dancer Corky Ballas to improve their technique.  They debuted the program at U.S. Nationals and this will be their first chance to get an impression from the international judges. They have the 6th best short program, free skate and total score of the season.

Hubbell/Donohue and Paul/Islam round out the North American contingent.  Hubbell and Donohue have been together for less than a year but are already showing impressive chemistry and unison.  Paul and Islam had a great Grand Prix debut in 2010 and were hailed as the next Virtue and Moir but have struggled with injuries since.

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

Bios of the competitors:
O’Brien/Merriman, AUS: They finished 9th at Four Continents last season.  They placed 12th in the preliminary round at Worlds.  Their personal best is 104.69.  She is 22 and he is 23.

Paul/Islam, CAN: They placed 8th at Skate America.  They are the 2010 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 138.16.  She is 20 and he is 22.

Virtue/Moir, CAN: 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.  They are the 2010 Olympic Champions, 2010 World Champions, 2008 World Silver Medalists, 2009 World Bronze Medalists, 2008 Four Continents Champions, 2009 Four Continents Silver Medalists, 2006 and 2007 Four Continents Bronze Medalists, 2006 World Junior Champions and 2005 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 183.34.  She is 22 and he is 24.

Weaver/Poje, CAN: They placed 4th at Four Continents last season.  They finished 5th at Worlds.  They won silver at Skate Canada, NHK Trophy and Rostelecom Cup to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they finished 4th.  They are the 2010 Four Continents Champions and 2007 World Junior Bronze Medalists.  Their personal best is 166.07.  She is 22 and he is 24.

Huang/Zheng, CHN: They finished 6th at Four Continents last season.  They placed 17th at Worlds.  They placed 5th at Cup of China and 6th at Trophee Eric Bompard.  Their personal best is 130.29.  She is 25 and he is 24.

Yu/Wang, CHN: They placed 7th at Four Continents last season.  They finished 6th at Cup of China.  Their personal best is 125.75.  She is 25 and he is 25.

Mansour/Zhunussov, KAZ: They placed 14th at JGP Italy and 15th at JGP Estonia.  Their personal best is 81.69.  She is 17 and he is 20.

Bruhns/Van Natten, MEX:

Davis/White, USA: They are the reigning Four Continents Champions.  They are the reigning World Champions.  They won gold at Skate America and Rostelecom Cup to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they won gold.  They are the 2010 Olympic Silver Medalists, 2010 World Silver Medalists, 2009 Four Continents Champions, 2008 Four Continents Silver Medalists, and 2006 World Junior Bronze Medalists.  Their personal best is 188.55.  She is 25 and he is 26.

Hubbell/Donohue, USA: They placed 6th at Skate America.  Their personal best is 131.04.  She is 19 and he is 20.

Shibutani/Shibutani, USA: They are the reigning Four Continents Silver Medalists.  They are the reigning World Bronze Medalists.  They won silver at Cup of China and gold at NHK Trophy to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they placed 5th.  They are the 2009 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 163.79.  She is 17 and he is 20.

Nagornyuk/Kovalenko, UZB: They placed 8th at JGP Romania and 6th at JGP Estonia.  Their personal best is 114.98.  She is 16 and he is 20.

Comments

  1. It’s best pair so far.