Rostelecom Cup Pairs Preview

Denney and Frazier had a solid outing at Skate America to take home their first Grand Prix medal, a silver.  Their free skate to The Lion King is inspiring and when skated cleanly can bring the crowd to their feet.  They have been quietly improving season after season and with the addition of Ingo Steuer to their coaching team and the breakup of several top US pairs this season, they have their eyes on a national title.  They need a gold or silver medal to guarantee a trip to the Final.

Tarasova and Morozov took home a silver medal from Skate Canada.  They came close to their personal best mark set earlier this season.  They need a gold or silver medal to guarantee a spot in the Final.

Stolbova and Klimov are starting off their season at this event.  They won silver medals at all the major ISU competitions last year including their surprise Olympic silver.  They were impressively consistent and clean at the end of the season and left their mark as one of the top teams.  They are the top ranked team returning to the Grand Prix this year and will have the chance to qualify for the Final with a medal finish here and at Trophee Eric Bompard.

Astakhova and Rogonov are making their Grand Prix debut here after winning the Volvo Open with a competitive score.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Stolbova/Klimov

Silver: Denney/Frazier

Bronze: Tarasova/Morozov

 

Bios of the competitors:

Prolss/Blommaert, GER: They finished 7th at Skate America.  Their personal best is 158.38.  She is 15 and he is 22.

Takahashi/Kihara, JPN: They finished 18th at the Olympics and 17th at Worlds.  They placed 8th at NHK Trophy and 8th at Rostelecom Cup last season.  Their personal best is 141.41.  She is 22 and he is 22.

Astakhova/Rogonov, RUS: This is their Grand Prix debut.  She is 17 and he is 26.

Stolbova/Klimov, RUS: They are the reigning Olympic Silver Medalists, World Silver Medalists and European Silver Medalists.  They won bronze at Skate America and finished 4th at Rostelecom Cup.  Their personal best is 218.68.  She is 22 and he is 24.

Tarasova/Morozov, RUS: They are the reigning World Junior Silver Medalists.  They won bronze at Skate Canada.  Their personal best is 178.98.  She is 19 and he is 22.

Calalang/Sidhu, USA: They placed 7th at Cup of China.  Their personal best is 156.46.  She is 19 and he is 23.

Denney/Frazier, USA: They finished 4th at Four Continents.  They won silver at Skate America.  They are the 2013 World Junior Champions.  Their personal best is 183.84.  She is 19 and he is 21.

Leng/Shnapir, USA: This is their Grand Prix debut.  She is 20 and he is 27.