Rostelecom Cup Pairs Preview

Volosozhar and Trankov started off their season with a win at Skate America.  Their programs seemed a little slow and lackluster but they admitted that they were struggling with the time change.  That shouldn’t be a problem at this event since they’ll be competing at home.  If their scores don’t improve, there might be a bigger problem with injuries or their programs this season.  They need a medal of any color to qualify for the Final.

Bazarova and Larionov withdrew from Nebelhorn earlier this season due to injuries.  They have an elegant style on the ice and a classic Russian look in their lifts and lines but jumps are not their strong suit.  If they’re healthy and they can land their jumps they should easily make the podium here.

Denney and Coughlin claimed their first Grand Prix medal, a bronze at Skate America.  Their technical elements are some of the best in the World but they have been working to bring up their PCS scores.  They showed improvement already this season but will have to continue the upward climb in order to compete with the best.  They need a gold medal to qualify for the Final and a silver medal to stay in the hunt.

Lawrence and Swiegers had a good start to their season with a medal at the U.S. Figure Skating classic and finishing just off the podium in 4th place at Skate Canada.  They have a nice style on the ice but lack some of the technical fire to compete with the big teams.  If one of the other teams falters, they’ll be ready to step in and climb onto the podium.

My podium predictions:
Gold: Volosozhar/Trankov
Silver: Denney/Coughlin
Bronze: Bazarova/Larionov

Bios of the competitors:
Lawrence/Swiegers, CAN: They finished 7th at Four Continents.  They placed 4th at Skate Canada.  They are the 2011 Four Continents Bronze Medalists.  Their personal best is 171.73.  She is 22 and he is 25.

Della Monica/Guarise, ITA: They placed 15th at Worlds.  Their personal best is 137.31.  She is 23 and he is 24.

Bazarova/Larionov, RUS: They finished 6th at Worlds and are the reigning European Silver Medalists.  They placed 5th at Skate America and won silver at Trophee Eric Bompard last season.  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.

Martiusheva/Rogonov, RUS: They are the 2009 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 151.10.  She is 17 and he is 24.

Volosozhar/Trankov, RUS: They are the reigning World Silver Medalists and European Champions.  They won gold at Skate America.  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.

Denney/Coughlin, USA: They placed 8th at Worlds and are the reigning Four Continents Silver Medalists.  They won bronze at Skate America.  Their personal best is 185.42.  She is 19 and he is 26.

Vise/Baldwin, USA: They placed 6th at Skate Canada.  Their personal best is 155.42.  She is 26 and he is 34.