Rostelecom Cup Dance Preview

Virtue and Moir showed some cracks in their programs when they lost levels and finished the short dance in second place at Skate Canada.  Their Carmen free dance seems to be hit or miss with some people loving it and others hating it.  It will be interesting to see how it is received outside of Canada and if they are able to clean up the technical mistakes in their short program.  They’ll need any medal to qualify for the Grand Prix Final.

Ilinykh and Katsalapov started off their season last week at Crystal Skate where they put up a huge score.  Senior B’s tend to be overscored plus they’ll have the disadvantage of competing in back to back events but if they can repeat their results they could give Virtue and Moir a run for their money.  Their skating skills and lines are to die for but their choreography last season did not show them off to their full advantage.  At Worlds they showed they earned their spot as the top Russian dance team but with the resurgence of Bobrova and Soloviev, they’ll need a good result to hold on to their spot.

The Shibutanis are coming back from an up and down season which saw them win their first Grand Prix gold medal and qualify for their first Grand Prix Final but fell to 8th at Worlds.  They are known for their personalities on the ice, speed, twizzles and skating skills.  They are showing a different side to their skating this year with a grown up Memoirs of a Geisha free skate.  They traded places all season with the Russians and it will be a close fight between the two for the silver medal.

Two siblings are competing at this event representing two different countries.  Nelli Zhiganshina competes on behalf of Germany and her younger brother Ruslan Zhiganshin competes for Russia.

My podium predictions:
Gold: Virtue/Moir
Silver: Shibutani/Shibutani
Bronze: Ilinykh/Katsalapov

Bios of the competitors:
Orford/Williams, CAN: They placed 6th at Junior Worlds.  They won gold at JGP Australia and finished 6th at JGP Austria last season.  Their personal best is 134.61.  She is 20 and he is 19.

Virtue/Moir, CAN: They are the reigning World and Four Continents Champions.  They won gold at Skate Canada.  They qualified for the Grand Prix Final last season and won silver.  They are the 2010 Olympic Gold Medalists, 2010 World Champions, 2008 and 2011 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 183.84.  She is 23 and he is 25.

Zhiganshina/Gazsi, GER: They finished 11th at Worlds and 8th at Europeans.  They placed 5th at Skate America.  Their personal best is 141.36.  She is 25 and he is 28.

Coomes/Buckland, GBR: They placed 14th at Worlds and 6th at Europeans.  They placed 8th at Skate America and 4th at Cup of China last season.  Their personal best is 145.31.  She is 23 and he is 23.

Ilinykh/Katsalapov, RUS: They finished 5th at Worlds and are the reigning European Bronze Medalists.  They won bronze at NHK Trophy last season and finished 4th at Trophee Eric Bompard.  They are the 2010 World Junior Champions.  Their personal best is 161.00.  She is 18 and he is 21.

Monko/Khaliavin, RUS: They are the 2011 World Junior Champions and 2010 World Junior Bronze Medalists.  Their personal best is 155.04.  She is 20 and he is 21.

Sinitsina/Zhiganshin, RUS: They are the reigning Junior World Champions.  They placed 6th at Cup of China.  Their personal best is 153.81.  She is 17 and he is 20.

Shibutani/Shibutani, USA: They placed 8th at Worlds and 4th at Four Continents.  They won silver at Cup of China and gold at NHK Trophy last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they 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.