Skate America Men’s Preview

Yuzuru Hanyu is the reigning World Bronze Medalist and even scored above teammate Daisuke Takahashi in the free skate at Worlds.  He won one medal on the Grand Prix last season and qualified for the Grand Prix Final.  He backed up his success with a gold medal finish at Finlandia Trophy where he scored just 3 points less than he did at Worlds.  He has quads, skating skills and passionate performances that could lift him to the podium again.

Jeremy Abbott won two medals on the Grand Prix last season but was not able to put together the season he wanted with an 8th place finish at Worlds.  He has two new programs this season, including a short choreographed by Benji Schwimmer and a free skate he choreographed with coach Yuka Sato.  His programs were choreographed by the same team last year and were well received.  If he can skate cleanly and include a quad, he has all the pieces to win a gold medal in his first appearance at Skate America.

Tatsuki Machida and Takahiko Kozuka will likely be fighting for the last spot on the podium.  Kozuka is the 2011 World Silver Medalist and while he won two medals on the Grand Prix last season, he finished a disappointing 11th at Worlds.  Machida placed 7th at his lone Grand Prix event last season but recently won gold at Ondrej Nepela Trophy with a score 10 points higher than his personal best.

Also in the mix are Armin Mahbanoozadeh who won the bronze medal at 2010 Skate America and Michal Brezina who won gold at Skate America last season.

My podium predictions:
Gold: Yuzuru Hanyu
Silver: Jeremy Abbott
Bronze: Takahiko Kozuka

Bios of the competitors:
Michal Brezina, CZE: He placed 6th at Worlds and 8th at Europeans.  He won gold at Skate America, bronze at Trophee Eric Bompard and finished 4th at Rostelecom Cup to qualify for the Grand Prix Final last season where he finished 6th.  He is the 2009 World Junior Silver Medalist.  His personal best is 236.06.  He is 22 years old.

Tomas Verner, CZE: He placed 16th at Worlds and 5th at Europeans.  He is the 2008 European Champion, 2007 European Silver Medalist and 2011 European Bronze Medalist.  His personal best is 232.67.  He is 26 years old.

Yuzuru Hanyu, JPN: He is the reigning World Bronze Medalist.  He placed 4th at Cup of China and won gold at Rostelecom Cup to qualify for the Grand Prix Final last season where he finished 4th.  He is the 2011 Four Continents Silver Medalist and 2010 World Junior Champion.  His personal best is 251.06.  He is 17 years old.

Takahiko Kozuka, JPN: He finished 11th at Worlds. He won bronze at Skate America and silver at NHK Trophy.  He is the 2011 World Silver Medalist, 2009 Four Continents Bronze Medalist and 2006 World Junior Champion.  His personal best is 258.41.  He is 23 years old.

Tatsuki Machida, JPN: He finished 7th at Four Continents.  He placed 7th at NHK Trophy.  He is the 2010 Four Continents Silver Medalist.  His personal best is 217.48.  He is 22 years old.

Konstantin Menshov, RUS: He finished 6th at NHK Trophy and 8th at Cup of Russia last season.  His personal best is 202.62.  He is 29 years old.

Alexander Majorov, SWE: He finished 26th at Worlds and 11th at Europeans.  He placed 9th at Skate Canada and 6th at Trophee Eric Bompard last season.  He is the 2011 World Junior Bronze Medalist.  His personal best is 195.71.  He is 21 years old.

Jeremy Abbott, USA: He finished 8th at Worlds.  He won gold at Cup of China and bronze at Rostelecom Cup last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where he finished 5th.  He is the 2007 and 2011 Four Continents Bronze Medalist.  His personal best is 238.82.  He is 27 years old.

Armin Mahbanoozadeh: He placed 10th at Skate America and 8th at NHK Trophy last season.  His personal best is 211.17.  He is 21 years old.

Douglas Razzano: He placed 7th at Skate America last season.  His personal best is 174.71.  He is 23 years old.