NHK Trophy Dance Preview

Virtue/Moir, Pechalat/Bourzat, Bobrova/Soloviev and Cappellini/Lanotte have all earned their spots in the Final in Sochi.  Weaver/Poje and Riazanova/Tkachenko sit on the bubble awaiting the outcome of this event.

Davis and White haven’t competed since the first event of the season but they’ve worked with SYTYCD alum Alex Wong to fine tune their programs.  They currently hold all the top scores for the season and will want to improve to stay ahead of Virtue and Moir.  They can guarantee a spot in the Final with a bronze medal or better while a 4th or 5th place finish can also qualify them depending on how others do at this event.

Ilinykh and Katsalapov put up a good score at Rostelecom Cup to claim the silver medal.  They can claim their spot in the Final with a silver medal or better while a bronze medal could put them in as well.

The Shibutanis struggled at Cup of Russia with negative reviews regarding their short dance and an injury forcing them to stop their free dance part way through and restart.  They haven’t had much time between events but if they’re fully recovered they could challenge Ilinykh and Katsalapov.  They need a gold or silver medal and some help to qualify for the Final.  It is likely to be very difficult, however as even if they won gold they would need Ilinykh and Katsalapov to finish bronze or worse.  If the Shibutanis win silver, they would need Ilinykh and Katsalapov to finish 4th or worse and with a lower total score.

My podium predictions:
Gold: Davis/White
Silver: Ilinykh/Katsalapov
Bronze: Shibutani/Shibutani

Bios of the competitors:
Orford/Williams, CAN: They placed 6th at Junior Worlds.  They finished 8th at Rostelecom Cup.  Their personal best is 134.61.  She is 20 and he is 19.

Huang/Zheng, CHN: They placed 12th at Worlds.  They placed 7th at Cup of China.  Their personal best is 130.27.  She is 25 and he is 25.

Yu/Wang, CHN: They placed 7th at Four Continents.  They finished 8th at Cup of China.  Their personal best is 115.59.  She is 26 and he is 26.

Coomes/Buckland, GBR: They placed 14th at Worlds and 6th at Europeans.  They placed 7th at Rostelecom Cup.  Their personal best is 145.31.  She is 23 and he is 23.

Reed/Reed, JPN: They placed 24th at Worlds.  They finished 7th at NHK Trophy last season.  Their personal best is 133.33.  She is 25 and he is 23.

Ilinykh/Katsalapov, RUS: They finished 5th at Worlds and are the reigning European Bronze Medalists.  They won silver at Rostelecom Cup.  They are the 2010 World Junior Champions.  Their personal best is 161.00.  She is 18 and he is 21.

Davis/White, USA: They are the reigning World Silver Medalists and Four Continents Silver Medalists.  They won gold at Skate America.  They qualified for the Grand Prix Final last season and won gold.  They are the 2010 Olympic Silver Medalists, 2011 World Champions, 2010 World Silver Medalists, 2009 and 2011 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 24.

Shibutani/Shibutani, USA: They placed 8th at Worlds and 4th at Four Continents.  They finished 4th at Rostelecom Cup.  They qualified for the Grand Prix Final last season and finished 5th.  They are the 2011 World Bronze Medalists, 2011 Four Continents Bronze Medalists and 2009 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 163.79.  She is 18 and he is 21.