Skate Canada Pairs Preview

After the great pairs upheaval in the off season Duhamel and Radford are one of the only teams at the top of the rankings to survive.  They have won a World Bronze medal each of the last two seasons and have upped their game in the off-season.  They already have some of the most ambitious elements planned with difficult side by side jumps and have added a quad throw to their arsenal.  They set a personal best free skate score already this season at the Skate Canada Autumn Classic and have set themselves up for their 7th consecutive Grand Prix medal.  Despite their success on the Grand Prix circuit, they have never taken home a gold medal.

Sui and Han have had a lot of success in both the junior and senior levels but have struggled with injuries that have kept them from competing a full season and reaching their full potential.  They have been known for their big elements as well as quad throws and quad twists.  They won two medals on the Grand Prix last season but failed to qualify for the Final.

Tarasova and Morozov are competing in their first Grand Prix event after winning a silver medal at the World Junior Championships last season.  They started their season with a silver medal at the Nebelhorn Trophy where they set personal best scores in all segments of the competition.  They have several champions on their team with Robin Szolkowy as their coach and Maxim Trankov as their choreographer.

James and Cipres missed the first part of the season last year due to injury but set personal best scores at Europeans and the Olympics.  They have some difficult elements in their programs including side by side triple + triple combinations.  They started their season with a 4th place finish at Nebelhorn Trophy.

Aaron and Settlage had an excellent showing at their first Grand Prix event last week.  Their King and I free skate is especially charming and they skated both programs cleanly and set personal bests in all segments of the competition.

Moore-Towers and Marinaro are making their international debut.  She is a former Grand Prix Final competitor and finished 4th at Worlds the past two seasons.  He is a former World Junior medalist.

My podium predictions:

Gold: Duhamel/Radford

Silver: Sui/Han

Bronze: Tarasova/Morozov


Bios of the competitors:

Duhamel/Radford, CAN: They finished 7th at the Olympics and are the reigning World Bronze Medalists.  They won bronze at Skate Canada and silver Trophee Eric Bompard last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they placed 5th.  They are the 2013 World Bronze Medalists, 2013 Four Continents Champions and 2011 Four Continents Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 210.84.  She is 28 and he is 29.

Jones/Reagan, CAN: This is their Grand Prix debut.  Their personal best is 134.84.  She is 18 and he is 24.

Moore-Towers/Marinaro, CAN: This is their Grand Prix debut.  She is 22 and he is 22.

Sui/Han, CHN: They placed 6th at Worlds and are the reigning Four Continents Champions.  They won silver at Skate Canada and bronze at Trophee Eric Bompard last season.  They are the 2012 Four Continents Champions and 2010-2012 World Junior Champions.  Their personal best is 212.40.  She is 19 and he is 22.

James/Cipres, FRA: They placed 10th at the Olympics, 10th at Worlds and 5th at Europeans.  They finished 5th at Trophee Eric Bompard last season.  Their personal best is 185.48.  She is 27 and he is 23.

Vartmann/Van Cleave, GER: They finished 9th at Europeans.  They placed 7th at Skate Canada last season.  Their personal best is 162.81.  She is 25 and he is 27.

Tarasova/Morozov, RUS: They are the reigning World Junior Silver Medalists.  They won silver at JGP Latvia and won bronze at JGP Estonia last season to qualify for the Junior Grand Prix Final where they finished 4th.  Their personal best is 178.98.  She is 19 and he is 21.

Aaron/Settlage, USA: They finished 5th at Junior Worlds.  They placed 5th at Skate America.  Their personal best is 160.04.  She is 20 and he is 22.