Skate Canada Dance Preview

Weaver and Poje stepped up to the plate in their first competition as head of the Canadian contingent and won their first World medal.  They came within tenths of a point of taking home a World title and set personal best free dance and total scores.  They started their season with a gold medal finish at Nebelhorn Trophy although they did not win the free dance there.  They’ve won a medal at their last 7 Grand Prix events but have yet to win a gold medal on the circuit.

Monko and Khaliavin have not lived up to their full potential at the senior level after dealing with illness and then having to fend off younger up and coming teams.  Their personal best score was set back on the Junior Grand Prix circuit in 2010.  They have a gold medal at Ice Star this season.

Hubbell and Donohue just missed out on the US Olympic team last year.  They went on to win gold at Four Continents but had to sit out of Worlds due to Madison having surgery to repair the hip injury that had plagued her all season.  Her injury is a difficult one to rehab and it can be a lengthy process.  They haven’t competed yet this season and this will be their first opportunity to show if they’re back to full strength.

Zhiganshina and Gazsi always have whimsically inventive programs and push the boundaries of the sport.  They are consistently in or bumping up against the top 10 but have yet to break into the top ranks.  They have a bronze medal from Nebelhorn Trophy and a silver medal from Finlandia Trophy this season.

Paradis and Ouelette had a wonderful free dance performance at Skate America and pulled from 8th place to 7th.  They did not look comfortable with the Spanish style of the short dance and with back to back events won’t have much time to make adjustments.  While they might not be able to contend for a medal here, their free dance is one to watch.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Weaver/Poje

Silver: Monko/Khaliavin

Bronze: Hubbell/Donohue

 

Bios of the competitors:

Gilles/Poirier, CAN: They finished 8th at Worlds and are the reigning Four Continents Silver Medalists.  They finished 5th at NHK Trophy and 6th at Rostelecom Cup last season.  Their personal best is 157.83.  She is 22 and he is 22.

Paradis/Ouellette, CAN: They placed 4th at Skate America.  Their personal best is 137.30.  She is 22 and he is 22.

Weaver/Poje, CAN: They finished 7th at the Olympics and are the reigning World Silver Medalists.  They won silver at Skate Canada and Rostelecom Cup to qualify for the Grand Prix Final last season where they finished 5th.  They are the 2010 Four Continents Champions, 2012 Four Continents Bronze Medalists, and 2007 World Junior Bronze Medalists.  Their personal best is 175.41.  She is 25 and he is 27.

Zhiganshina/Gazsi, GER: They finished 11th at the Olympics, 11th at Worlds and 7th at Europeans.  They placed 6th at Skate Canada and 4th at Trophee Eric Bompard last season.  Their personal best is 154.27.  She is 27 and he is 30.

Monko/Khaliavin, RUS: They finished 6th at Trophee Eric Bompard and 5th at Rostelecom Cup last season.  They are the 2011 World Junior Champions and 2010 World Junior Bronze Medalists.  Their personal best is 155.04.  She is 22 and he is 23.

Hurtado/Diaz, ESP: They placed 13th at the Olympics, 16th at Worlds and 10th at Europeans.  Their personal best is 146.97.  She is 21 and he is 24.

Aldridge/Eaton, USA: They finished 17th at Worlds and are the reigning Four Continents Bronze Medalists.  They finished 5th at Cup of China last season.  They are the 2012 and 2013 World Junior Bronze Medalists.  Their personal best is 144.95.  She is 20 and he is 22.

Hubbell/Donohue, USA: They are the reigning Four Continents Champions.  They finished 4th at Skate America and won bronze at Skate Canada last season.  Their personal best is 158.25.  She is 23 and he is 23.