Grand Prix Final Pairs Preview

Volosozhar and Trankov had a slow start to their season despite winning gold at both of their events. They had a better showing at home at Rostelecom Cup breaking the 200 point mark.  With Savchenko and Szolkowy not competing here, this should be their event to lose.  They have the best short program, free skate and total scores of the season.

Bazarova and Larionov have always struggled with their side by side jumps but the rest of their elements are often strong enough to keep them in the running.  They won their first Grand Prix gold medal at NHK Trophy and also took the silver medal behind Volosozhar/Trankov at Rostelecom Cup.  They have the 5th best short program, 3rd best free skate and 3rd best total scores of the season.

Duhamel and Radford have had a strong start to their season winning silver at both of their Grand Prix assignments.  Skate Canada historically has inflated scores and they had the advantage of competing at home, but their scores held up at Trophee Eric Bompard.  They have the 7th best short program, 4th best free skate and 4th best total scores of the season.

Pang and Tong have had injury issues this season but persevered to claim a silver and gold on the Grand Prix.  Their knee injuries can cause them problems with their jumps.  They’ll need them if they want to land on top of the podium, but a medal is within their reach here.  They have the 3rd best short program, 5th best free skate and 5th best total scores of the season.

Kavaguti and Smirnov have been slowly improving throughout the season and won a silver and gold medal on the Grand Prix.  This will be their first real test against a deeper field and especially against two other Russian teams to see where they stack up this season.  They have the 4th best short program, 6th best free skate and 6th best total scores of the season.

Moore-Towers and Moscovitch took advantage of a weak NHK field to claim the silver medal and a spot in the Grand Prix Final.  They set personal best scores at NHK but still are near the bottom of the pack.  They have a ways to go to catch Duhamel and Radford but they’ve proven themselves to be one of the top Canadian pairs teams this season.  They have the 6th best short program, 9th best free skate and 7th best total scores of the season.

My podium predictions:Gold: Volosozhar/Trankov
Silver: Bazarova/Larionov
Bronze: Duhamel/Radford

Bios of the competitors:
Duhamel/Radford, CAN:  They placed 5th at Worlds and 4th at Four Continents.  They won silver at Skate Canada and Trophee Eric Bompard to qualify for the Grand Prix Final.  They qualified for the Grand Prix Final last season and finished 5th.  Their personal best is 190.49.  She is 26 and he is 27.

Moore-Towers/Moscovitch, CAN: They placed 4th at Cup of China and won silver at NHK Trophy to qualify for the Grand Prix Final.  Their personal best is 180.63.  She is 20 and he is 28.

Pang/Tong, CHN: They finished 4th at Worlds.  They won silver at Skate America and gold at Cup of China to qualify for the Grand Prix Final.  They are the 2010 Olympic Silver Medalists; 2006 and 2010 World Champions; 2007 World Silver Medalists; 2004 and 2011 World Bronze Medalists; 2002, 2004, 2008, 2009 and 2011 Four Continents Champions; and 2003, 2005 and 2007 Four Continents Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 213.31.  She is 32 and he is 33.

Bazarova/Larionov, RUS: They finished 6th at Worlds and are the reigning European Silver Medalists.  They won silver at Rostelecom Cup and gold at NHK Trophy to qualify for the Grand Prix Final.  They are the 2011 European Bronze Medalists and 2007 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 193.79.  She is 19 and he is 26.

Kavaguti/Smirnov, RUS: They finished 7th at Worlds last season.  They won silver at Cup of China and gold at Trophee Eric Bompard to qualify for the Grand Prix Final.  They qualified for the Grand Prix Final last season and won bronze.  They are the 2009 and 2010 World Bronze Medalists, 2010 European Champions, 2009 and 2011 European Silver Medalists and 2008 European Bronze Medalists.  Their personal best is 213.15.  She is 30 and he is 28.

Volosozhar/Trankov, RUS: They are the reigning World Silver Medalists and European Champions.  They won gold at Skate America and Rostelecom Cup to qualify for the Grand Prix Final.  They qualified for for the Grand Prix Final last season and won silver.  They are the 2011 World Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 212.08.  She is 26 and he is 29.