Skate Canada Men’s Preview

Patrick Chan is the reigning World Champion and he starts his season off on home soil.  He really pushed the boundaries of the sport last season by showcasing that it’s possible to go for all the technical elements but still have all the artistic elements.  His quads are beautifully done and he put three quads in his program last season.  His programs are brilliantly choreographed by Lori Nichol and the elements are almost invisible as his transitions are so seamless.  He holds three world records for the best short, free skate and total score.  His elements are so good, that he showed last season that he can have falls and still take home the gold.  It will be tough to beat him here. 

Daisuke Takahashi from Japan took home the World title in 2010.  He also has quads in his arsenal and is know for his ability to wow a crowd.  He struggled last season and never quite lived up to his potential due to injury.  He had knee surgery in the off season and this will be his first chance to show that when healthy, he can be a skater that contends for World titles.  

Adam Rippon battled with his triple axel last season and it cost him a spot on the U.S. World team.  He switched coaches in the off season and is now coached by Jason Dungjen and Yuka Sato who’s expressive lyrical style has drawn skaters like Jeremy Abbott and Alissa Czisny to their rink to turn their careers around. His signature jump is his Rippon Lutz, performed with both arms above his head.  He has been working on quad lutzes, and if he can land it here, he’ll be the first athlete to land the jump in an ISU competition.

Ross Miner went home after last season’s Grand Prix determined to improve and showed up at U.S. nationals with a new mindset.  He took home the bronze medal and earned a spot on the Worlds team.  He edged out Jeremy Abbott for that spot by hundredths of a point and there were many that questioned that decision.  He’ll have to show that his result wasn’t a fluke and that he is a force to be reckoned with among the U.S. men.  

Kevin van der Perren is also in the hunt after taking the silver medal last week at Skate America.  He has impressive jumps including solid quads but lacks some of the artistry of the other skaters.  That puts him at a disadvantage if the other skaters who have the whole package skate clean, but he showed that his jumps are always on and he’s able to climb on to the other podium if other skaters make mistakes.

Two young skaters making their debuts here are Junior World Champion Andrei Rogozine and Junior World bronze medalist Alexander Majorov.  

My podium predictions:
Gold: Patrick Chan
Silver: Daisuke Takahashi
Bronze: Adam Rippon

Bios of the competitors:
Kevin van der Perren, BEL: He finished 17th at Worlds and 4th at Europeans.  He won silver at Skate America.  He is the 2007 and 2009 European bronze medalist.  His personal best is 219.36.  He is 29 years old.

Elladj Balde, CAN: This is his Grand Prix debut.  His personal best is 184.89.  He is 20 years old.

Patrick Chan, CAN: He is the reigning World Champion.  He won gold at Skate Canada and silver at Cup of Russia last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where he won gold.  He is the 2009 and 2010 World silver medalist, 2009 Four Continents Champion and 2007 World Junior silver medalist.  His personal best is 280.98.  He is 20 years old.

Andrei Rogozine, CAN: He is the reigning World Junior Champion.  He won gold at JGP France and Japan last season to qualify for the JGPF  where he won bronze.  His personal best is 200.13.  He is 18 years old.

Daisuke Takahashi, JPN: He finished 5th at Worlds and is the reigning Four Continents Champion.  He won gold at NHK Trophy and Skate Canada last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where he finished 4th. He is the 2010 Olympic bronze medalist, 2010 World Champion, 2007 World silver medalist, 2008 Four Continents Champion, 2005 Four Continents bronze medalist and 2002 World Junior Champion.  His personal best is 264.41.  He is 25 years old.

Denis Ten, KAZ: He finished 14th at the World Championships.  He placed 5th at Skate America.  His personal best is 211.43.  He is 18 years old.

Javier Fernandez, ESP: He placed 10th at Worlds and 9th at Europeans.  He finished 5th at Skate Canada and 9th at Cup of Russia last season.  His personal best is 218.26.  He is 20 years old.

Alexander Majorov, SWE: He finished 28th at Worlds ans is the reigning Junior World bronze medalist.  This is his Grand Prix debut.  He finished 5th at JGP Japan and won bronze at JGP Czech Republic last season.  His personal best is 195.71.  He is 20 years old.

Ross Miner, USA: He finished 11th at Worlds.  He placed 9th at NHK Trophy and 7th at Cup of China last season.  His personal best is 217.93.  He is 20 years old.

Adam Rippon, USA: He finished 5th at Four Continents.  He won bronze at Skate Canada and finished 4th at Skate America last season.  He is the 2010 Four Continents Champion and 2008 and 2009 World Junior Champion.  His personal best is 233.04.  He is 21 years old.