2017 NHK Trophy Pairs Results

Short Program

PL. Name Nation TSS TES PCS SS TR PE CO IN Deduction StN.
1 Wenjing SUI
Cong HAN
 CHN 79.43 41.74 37.69 9.32 9.32 9.46 9.54 9.46 0.00 #7
2 Ksenia STOLBOVA
Fedor KLIMOV
 RUS 75.05 38.02 37.03 9.25 9.00 9.25 9.32 9.46 0.00 #8
3 Kristina ASTAKHOVA
Alexei ROGONOV
 RUS 70.47 38.32 32.15 7.93 7.93 8.11 8.11 8.11 0.00 #5
4 Alexa SCIMECA KNIERIM
Chris KNIERIM
 USA 65.86 35.20 30.66 7.64 7.36 7.71 7.79 7.82 0.00 #3
5 Julianne SEGUIN
Charlie BILODEAU
 CAN 63.98 31.95 32.03 8.00 7.93 7.86 8.18 8.07 0.00 #6
6 Miriam ZIEGLER
Severin KIEFER
 AUT 62.61 33.27 29.34 7.32 7.11 7.39 7.43 7.43 0.00 #4
7 Sumire SUTO
Francis BOUDREAU-AUDET
 JPN 51.69 26.17 25.52 6.50 6.21 6.32 6.50 6.36 0.00 #2
8 Miu SUZAKI
Ryuichi KIHARA
 JPN 44.83 22.90 22.93 5.93 5.39 5.71 5.89 5.75 1.00 #1

Free Skate

PL. Name Nation TSS TES PCS SS TR PE CO IN Deduction StN.
1 Wenjing SUI
Cong HAN
 CHN 155.10 78.54 76.56 9.43 9.46 9.68 9.64 9.64 0.00 #8
2 Ksenia STOLBOVA
Fedor KLIMOV
 RUS 147.69 72.56 75.13 9.39 9.25 9.36 9.39 9.57 0.00 #7
3 Kristina ASTAKHOVA
Alexei ROGONOV
 RUS 133.17 67.24 65.93 8.18 8.14 8.25 8.39 8.25 0.00 #6
4 Julianne SEGUIN
Charlie BILODEAU
 CAN 130.39 66.26 64.13 7.86 7.86 8.18 8.04 8.14 0.00 #3
5 Alexa SCIMECA KNIERIM
Chris KNIERIM
 USA 126.65 61.91 64.74 8.00 7.93 8.07 8.25 8.21 0.00 #5
6 Miriam ZIEGLER
Severin KIEFER
 AUT 108.52 53.54 56.98 7.36 7.00 6.89 7.25 7.11 2.00 #4
7 Sumire SUTO
Francis BOUDREAU-AUDET
 JPN 104.83 54.04 50.79 6.50 6.21 6.32 6.46 6.25 0.00 #2
8 Miu SUZAKI
Ryuichi KIHARA
 JPN 95.15 47.86 47.29 6.14 5.64 5.89 5.93 5.96 0.00 #1

Total

PL Name Nation SP FS Points
1. Wenjing SUI
Cong HAN
 CHN 1 1 234.53
2. Ksenia STOLBOVA
Fedor KLIMOV
 RUS 2 2 222.74
3. Kristina ASTAKHOVA
Alexei ROGONOV
 RUS 3 3 203.64
4. Julianne SEGUIN
Charlie BILODEAU
 CAN 5 4 194.37
5. Alexa SCIMECA KNIERIM
Chris KNIERIM
 USA 4 5 192.51
6. Miriam ZIEGLER
Severin KIEFER
 AUT 6 6 171.13
7. Sumire SUTO
Francis BOUDREAU-AUDET
 JPN 7 7 156.52
8. Miu SUZAKI
Ryuichi KIHARA
 JPN 8 8 139.98

2017 NHK Trophy Pairs Preview

Sui and Han won gold last week at Cup of China with a new personal best free skate score.  Their short program included a solo triple toe and a throw triple flip with Level 4 on everything but their death spiral.  Their throw triple flip was awarded all +3 GOE, receiving 7.60 points overall.  They had all positive GOEs, racking up 10 points, and had program components in the mid 9s.  They even earned five 10.00 marks coming from three different judges.  Their free skate started with a quad twist and also included a triple toe + double toe + double toe combination and a triple salchow.  Their throws were a triple flip and triple salchow, both which received very high GOEs.  They earned Level 4 on their lifts, and while they did earn a negative GOE on their side by side triple salchows, overall the program was so good, they earned 14 points.  Their program components were in the mid 9s and they received one 10.00 mark.  Despite setting up a sizeable gap between the other competitors and setting a new personal best, they still have some improvement they can make in their free skate, especially in regards to their levels.  They need a gold or silver medal to qualify for the Final, while a bronze would give them a solid chance.  They have the best short program, best free skate, and best total scores.

Stolbova and Klimov won silver at Rostelecom Cup.  At that event, they executed a throw triple flip and a solo triple toe (fall) in the short program.  They earned the most Level 4s of the season with their death spiral, pairs spin, lift, and step sequence.  Their program components were in the high 8s to low 9s, also their highest of the season.  Their free skate featured throw triple flip and throw triple salchow (fall) along with side by side triple salchows and side by side triple toes (fall and missed combo–intended to be triple toe + double toe + double toe).  They earned Level 4 on their lifts, death spiral, and spins and despite the falls, had program components in the high 8s to mid 9s.  They need a gold medal to qualify for the Final, while a silver would keep them in contention.  They have the 6th best short program, 7th best free skate, and 7th best total scores.

Astakhova and Rogonov won a bronze medal at Rostelecom Cup with personal best free skate and total scores.  Their short program included a side by side triple salchow and throw triple flip.  While they had earned Level 4s on all of their elements at both Nepela Trophy and Finlandia Trophy, they only earned Level 4 on their lift, death spiral, and pairs spin in Russia.   In every short program this season, they have earned all positive GOEs, except for one slightly negative GOE at Finlandia.  They earned their best program components in Russia, in the mid 7s.  In the free skate, they hit their triple toe + double toe + double toe combination for the first time this season along with their side by side triple salchows.  They also hit a throw triple flip and throw triple loop.  They earned Level 4 on their lifts and spins, whereas they had received Level 4 on their twists and death spiral at their earlier events.  Their program components were in the high 7s to low 8s.  They need a gold medal to give themselves a solid chance of qualifying for the Final.  They have the 9th best free skate and 8th best total scores.

Seguin and Bilodeau finished 5th at Rostelecom Cup, and likely won’t be able to qualify for the Final, however they could still compete for a medal here.  They hit their side by side triple salchows in the short program along with their throw triple lutz.  They earned Level 4 on their lift, death spiral, and pairs spin but only a Level 2 on their step sequence, which had previously earned Level 4 at the Autumn Classic International.  They had all positive GOEs and their program components were their best of the season, in the mid to high 7s.  They missed their triple toe + double toe combo in the free skate but hit their side by side triple salchows.  They landed their throw triple lutz and throw triple loop.  They earned Level 4 on only one lift and their side by side spins, and only earned a Level 1 on their pair spin.  Their program components were in the mid to high 7s.

Scimeca and Knierim had to sit out most of last season as she battled a life threatening illness that required several surgeries.  They still managed a top 10 finish at Worlds with a new personal best short program score.  If they can medal here, they’ll have a chance to qualify for the Final in a few weeks at Skate America.  This will be their fifth Grand Prix season and they have medaled twice, qualifying them for the Grand Prix Final once.  They kicked off their season with a silver medal at the US International Figure Skating Classic. Their short program included doubled salchows and a throw triple flip.  They earned Level 4 on their lift and death spiral and only a Level 1 on their pairs spin.  Their program components were in the low to mid 7s.  Their free skate did not include their signature quad twist.  They singled their side by side salchows and completed a double toe + double toe sequence.  They did land a throw triple salchow and throw triple flip.  They earned Level 4 on their lifts, death spiral, and pairs spin.  Their program components were in the high 7s to low 8s.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Sui/Han

Silver: Stolbova/Klimov

Bronze: Astakhova/Rogonov

 

Bios of the competitors:

Ziegler/Kiefer, AUT: They finished 18th at Worlds and 9th at Europeans.  They placed 6th at Rostelecom Cup.  Their personal best is 180.60.  She is 23 and he is 27.

Seguin/Bilodeau, CAN: They placed 11th at Worlds.  They finished 5th at Rostelecom Cup.  They are the 2015 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 208.30.  She is 21 and he is 24.

Sui/Han, CHN: They are the reigning World Champions and reigning Four Continents Champions.  They won gold at  Cup of China.  They are the 2015 and 2016 World Silver Medalists; 2012, 2014, and 2016 Four Continents Champions; and 2010, 2011, and 2012 World Junior Champions.  Their personal best is 232.06.  She is 22 and he is 25.

Suto/Boudreau-Audet, JPN: They finished 17th at Worlds and 10th at Four Continents.  They placed 8th at Rostelecom Cup.  Their personal best is 164.96.  She is 19 and he is 24.

Suzaki/Kihara, JPN: They placed 13th at Four Continents.  This is their Grand Prix debut.  Their personal best is 130.85.  She is 17 and he is 25.

Astakhova/Rogonov, RUS: They won bronze at Rostelecom Cup.  Their personal best is 199.11.  She is 20 and he is 29.

Stolbova/Klimov, RUS: They finished 5th at Worlds and 4th at Europeans.  They won silver at Rostelecom Cup.  They are the 2014 Olympic Silver Medalists; 2014 World Silver Medalists; 2014 and 2015 European Silver Medalists; 2012 European Bronze Medalists; 2011 World Junior Silver Medalists; and 2010 World Junior Bronze Medalists.  Their personal best is 229.44.  She is 25 and he is 27.

Scimeca Knierim/Knierim, USA: They placed 10th at Worlds and 6th at Four Continents.  They are the 2016 Four Continents Silver Medalists and 2014 Four Continents Bronze Medalists.  Their personal best is 207.96.  She is 26 and he is 30.

 

2017 Rostelecom Cup Pairs Results

Short Program

 Pl. Name Nation TSS
=
TES
+
PCS
+
SS TR PE CO IN Ded.
StN.
1 Evgenia TARASOVA / Vladimir MOROZOV RUS 76.88 39.94 36.94 9.29 9.07 9.39 9.25 9.18 0.00 #8
2 Ksenia STOLBOVA / Fedor KLIMOV RUS 71.39 36.36 36.03 9.14 8.89 8.82 9.07 9.11 1.00 #7
3 Valentina MARCHEI / Ondrej HOTAREK ITA 68.48 36.13 32.35 7.96 7.79 8.29 8.11 8.29 0.00 #5
4 Kristina ASTAKHOVA / Alexei ROGONOV RUS 67.14 36.54 30.60 7.61 7.54 7.68 7.71 7.71 0.00 #4
5 Julianne SEGUIN / Charlie BILODEAU CAN 67.06 35.99 31.07 7.82 7.57 7.86 7.82 7.75 0.00 #6
6 Miriam ZIEGLER / Severin KIEFER AUT 59.35 30.93 28.42 7.14 6.86 7.18 7.18 7.18 0.00 #3
7 Marissa CASTELLI / Mervin TRAN USA 54.37 27.07 28.30 7.14 6.89 7.04 7.14 7.18 1.00 #2
8 Sumire SUTO / Francis BOUDREAU-AUDET JPN 48.93 24.12 24.81 6.32 6.11 6.11 6.29 6.18 0.00 #1

Free Skate

Pl. Name Nation TSS
=
TES
+
PCS
+
SS TR PE CO IN Ded.
StN.
1 Evgenia TARASOVA / Vladimir MOROZOV RUS 147.37 73.79 74.58 9.36 9.11 9.46 9.29 9.39 1.00 #8
2 Ksenia STOLBOVA / Fedor KLIMOV RUS 133.04 62.23 72.81 9.11 9.07 8.79 9.29 9.25 2.00 #7
3 Kristina ASTAKHOVA / Alexei ROGONOV RUS 131.97 67.46 64.51 8.00 7.89 8.11 8.14 8.18 0.00 #6
4 Valentina MARCHEI / Ondrej HOTAREK ITA 125.15 62.70 64.45 7.93 7.86 8.14 8.14 8.21 2.00 #5
5 Julianne SEGUIN / Charlie BILODEAU CAN 119.10 57.69 61.41 7.71 7.50 7.64 7.82 7.71 0.00 #4
6 Marissa CASTELLI / Mervin TRAN USA 116.16 57.54 58.62 7.36 7.14 7.29 7.46 7.39 0.00 #2
7 Miriam ZIEGLER / Severin KIEFER AUT 115.71 57.49 58.22 7.32 7.11 7.32 7.32 7.32 0.00 #3
8 Sumire SUTO / Francis BOUDREAU-AUDET JPN 87.87 39.14 48.73 6.25 6.00 6.00 6.14 6.07 0.00 #1

Total

FPl. Name Nation Points SP FS
1 Evgenia TARASOVA / Vladimir MOROZOV
RUS
224.25 1 1
2 Ksenia STOLBOVA / Fedor KLIMOV
RUS
204.43 2 2
3 Kristina ASTAKHOVA / Alexei ROGONOV
RUS
199.11 4 3
4 Valentina MARCHEI / Ondrej HOTAREK
ITA
193.63 3 4
5 Julianne SEGUIN / Charlie BILODEAU
CAN
186.16 5 5
6 Miriam ZIEGLER / Severin KIEFER
AUT
175.06 6 7
7 Marissa CASTELLI / Mervin TRAN
USA
170.53 7 6
8 Sumire SUTO / Francis BOUDREAU-AUDET
JPN
136.80 8 8

2017 Rostelecom Cup Pairs Preview

This is an experienced field, with no teams making their Grand Prix debuts at this event.  The youngest lady in the field is 19 and the oldest is 31.  The youngest man is 23 and the oldest is 33.  Four of the eight teams have crossed the 200 point mark in their careers.

Tarasova and Morozov have a big advantage at this event as they are the only team with a quad in their arsenal: the quad twist.  Their twist earned a Level 3, 2.40 points over a Level 3 triple twist and 2 points over a Level 4 triple twist.  They are also the only team at this event that has earned program components in the 9s this season.  The Russians have a very real chance of sweeping this event, but the other two teams are going to have to step up their game.  Stolbova and Klimov were the surprise silver medalists in Sochi, but have struggled since then.  They took some time off of competing to work on a quad, which is still not in their repertoire and they haven’t been able to find their way onto a major event podium since 2015.  Astakhova and Rogonov set personal best scores in their first Challenger event of the season, however, they still have not scored over 200 points.

Seguin and Bilodeau and Marchei and Hotarek could break up the Russian sweep but neither had the best start to their season, finishing well below their personal best.

Tarasova and Morozov are going into their 4th Grand Prix season.  They have medaled at every event except for the 2015 Trophee Eric Bompard, but they have never won a gold medal.  They qualified for the Grand Prix Final for the first time last season, winning gold.  They started their season with a gold medal at Nebelhorn Trophy.  Their short program includes side by side triple toes and a throw triple loop.  They earned Level 4 for their twist, death spiral, pair spin, and step sequence.  They had all positive GOEs, earning 10 points and had program components in the low to mid 9s.  Their only major error was a one point deduction for a time violation.  Their free skate included a Level 3 quad twist that earned positive GOEs, earning 8.74 points.  Their solo jumps were a triple salchow and a double toe + single toe (will likely be triple + double) and they had a throw triple salchow and throw triple loop.  They earned Level 4 on all their lifts, side by side spins, and their pairs spin.  They only earned a slight negative GOE on their combination jump, and earned 10 points.  Their program components were gain in the low to mid 9s and they again lost a point for a time violation.  They have the best short program, best free skate, and best total scores.

Astakhova and Rogonov are entering their 4th year on the Grand Prix and have won two bronze medals in their career.  They started their season with a silver medal at Ondrej Nepela Trophy where they set new personal best scores in the short program and overall and they placed 5th at Finlandia Trophy.  Their short program included a side by side triple salchow and a throw triple lutz.  They earned Level 4 on all of their elements with all positive GOEs, earning them 5 points.  Their program components ranged from 7.10 to 7.50.  Their free skate includes side by side triple toe + double toe + double toe (under-rotated) and a triple salchow with a throw triple lutz and throw triple loop.  They earned Level 4 on their twist, lifts, pair spin, and death spiral.  Their program components were in the mid 7s.  At Finlandia Trophy, they again earned Level 4 on all of their elements and had positive GOEs on everything except for a slight negative GOE on the throw triple lutz.  Their program components were slightly lower with their transitions mark at 6.92.  Their free skate lost some ground when their combination jump was doubled and under-rotated and their solo salchow was also doubled.  They earned Level 4 on their twist, two lifts, and spins with program components in the high 6s to mid 7s.  They have the 8th best short program score and 8th best total score.

Seguin and Bilodeau are starting their 3rd season on the Grand Prix.  They have won three medals and qualified for the Final each of the last two seasons.  They won a bronze medal at the Autumn Classic International earlier this season.  They only received credit for side by side double salchows in their short program but they had a nice throw triple lutz.  They earned Level 4 for their lift and step sequence.  They earned 5 points from GOE and had program components in the mid 7s.  Their free skate included a triple toe + double toe and a triple salchow for their solo jumps and a throw triple lutz and a throw triple loop.  They earned Level 4 on two of their lifts and their side by side spins.  They only received a negative GOE on the combination jump and had program components in the mid to high 7s.  They have the 6th best free skate and 10th best total scores.

Stolbova and Klimov are entering their 7th Grand Prix season, but their first since 2015.  They have won five medals, and qualified for the Final twice, medaling both times.  They won a bronze medal at Finlandia Trophy earlier this season.  Their short program includes a solo triple toe and a throw triple lutz.  They earned Level 4 for their pair spin, lift, and step sequence.  They earned positive GOEs on everything except for their twist and had program components in the mid to high 8s.  Their free skate left a lot of points n the table as they received no credit for one lift or their pairs spin.  They received a education for an interruption as well as two falls.  The program started nicely with a throw triple lutz and side by side triple toe + double toe + double toes and a triple salchow.  They also managed a solid throw triple salchow at the very end of the program.  They earned Level 4 on their side by side spins and despite the errors, still managed to have program components in the mid 7s to high 8s.  They have the 6th best short program score.

Marchei and Hotarek are one of the oldest teams competing, but will only be in their third season on the Grand Prix as a team.  They have never won a medal, but came close last season at this event, placing 4th.  They started their season with a bronze medal at Lombardia Trophy.  Their short program included a side by side double salchow (intended triple) and a throw triple lutz.  They earned Level 4 for their lift and step sequence and had program components in the low to high 7s.  Their free skate again had issues with the side by side jumps as the toe was doubled and the triple salchow had a fall, under-rotation and missed combo, leaving a lot of points on the table.  Their triple loop and triple lutz throws were clean and the earned Level 4 on their side by side spin and two of their lifts.  Their program components were in the mid to high 7s.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Tarasova/Morozov

Silver: Stolbova/Klimov

Bronze: Seguin/Bilodeau

 

Bios of the competitors:

Ziegler/Kiefer, AUT: They finished 18th at Worlds and 9th at Europeans.  They placed 6th at Trophee de Paris and 6th at NHK Trophy last season.  Their personal best is 180.60.  She is 23 and he is 27.

Seguin/Bilodeau, CAN: They placed 11th at Worlds.  They won gold at Skate Canada and finished 5th at Rostelecom Cup last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they finished 5th.  They are the 2015 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 208.30.  She is 20 and he is 24.

Marchei/Hotarek, ITA: They finished 9th at Worlds and 6th at Europeans.  They placed 8th at Skate America and 4th at Rostelecom Cup last season.  Their personal best is 203.92.  She is 31 and he is 33.

Suto/Boudreau-Audet, JPN: They finished 17th at Worlds and 10th at Four Continents.  They placed 7th at NHK Trophy last season.  Their personal best is 164.96.  She is 19 and he is 23.

Astakhova/Rogonov, RUS: They placed 5th at Skate America and won bronze at Rostelecom Cup last season.  Their personal best is 191.12.  She is 20 and he is 29.

Stolbova/Klimov, RUS: They finished 5th at Worlds and 4th at Europeans.  They are the 2014 Olympic Silver Medalists; 2014 World Silver Medalists; 2014 and 2015 European Silver Medalists; 2012 European Bronze Medalists; 2011 World Junior Silver Medalists; and 2010 World Junior Bronze Medalists.  Their personal best is 229.44.  She is 25 and he is 27.

Tarasova/Morozov, RUS: They are the reigning World Bronze Medalists and reigning European Champions.  They won bronze at Skate America and silver at Trophee de France last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they won gold.  They are the 2015 and 2016 European Bronze Medalists and 2014 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 227.58.  She is 22 and he is 24.

Castelli/Tran, USA: They placed 7th at Skate America and 5th at Trophee de France last season.  Their personal best is 176.38.  She is 27 and he is 27.

2016 Rostelecom Cup Pairs Results

Short Program

 Pl. Name Nation TSS
=
TES
+
PCS
+
SS TR PE CO IN Ded.
StN.
1 Natalia ZABIIAKO / Alexander ENBERT RUS 69.76 38.29 31.47 7.96 7.61 8.07 7.86 7.82 0.00 #8
2 Aliona SAVCHENKO / Bruno MASSOT GER 69.51 36.73 34.78 8.71 8.61 8.61 8.79 8.75 2.00 #2
3 Valentina MARCHEI / Ondrej HOTAREK ITA 66.82 36.80 30.02 7.43 7.21 7.68 7.57 7.64 0.00 #6
4 Kristina ASTAKHOVA / Alexei ROGONOV RUS 65.51 35.00 30.51 7.64 7.36 7.71 7.71 7.71 0.00 #7
5 Julianne SEGUIN / Charlie BILODEAU CAN 61.72 33.43 30.29 7.57 7.29 7.57 7.71 7.71 2.00 #3
6 Alisa EFIMOVA / Alexander KOROVIN RUS 61.27 34.15 27.12 6.82 6.57 6.93 6.79 6.79 0.00 #5
7 Camille RUEST / Andrew WOLFE CAN 60.09 32.58 27.51 6.96 6.57 7.00 6.96 6.89 0.00 #4
8 Goda BUTKUTE / Nikita ERMOLAEV LTU 47.39 24.65 22.74 5.79 5.43 5.64 5.82 5.75 0.00 #1

Free Skate

 Pl. Name Nation TSS
=
TES
+
PCS
+
SS TR PE CO IN Ded.
StN.
1 Aliona SAVCHENKO / Bruno MASSOT GER 138.38 68.46 70.92 8.96 8.75 8.68 9.00 8.93 1.00 #7
2 Natalia ZABIIAKO / Alexander ENBERT RUS 128.01 63.93 65.08 8.25 7.96 8.11 8.21 8.14 1.00 #8
3 Kristina ASTAKHOVA / Alexei ROGONOV RUS 123.23 60.95 62.28 7.71 7.50 7.86 7.96 7.89 0.00 #6
4 Julianne SEGUIN / Charlie BILODEAU CAN 121.65 61.57 61.08 7.64 7.50 7.61 7.64 7.79 1.00 #4
5 Valentina MARCHEI / Ondrej HOTAREK ITA 120.79 62.26 60.53 7.54 7.43 7.50 7.68 7.68 2.00 #5
6 Camille RUEST / Andrew WOLFE CAN 107.10 53.93 54.17 6.79 6.57 6.79 6.96 6.75 1.00 #2
7 Alisa EFIMOVA / Alexander KOROVIN RUS 103.80 51.85 53.95 7.04 6.57 6.61 6.82 6.68 2.00 #3
8 Goda BUTKUTE / Nikita ERMOLAEV LTU 89.69 44.75 45.94 5.79 5.57 5.79 5.93 5.64 1.00 #1

Total

Pl. Name Nation Points SP FS
1 Aliona SAVCHENKO / Bruno MASSOT
GER
207.89 2 1
2 Natalia ZABIIAKO / Alexander ENBERT
RUS
197.77 1 2
3 Kristina ASTAKHOVA / Alexei ROGONOV
RUS
188.74 4 3
4 Valentina MARCHEI / Ondrej HOTAREK
ITA
187.61 3 5
5 Julianne SEGUIN / Charlie BILODEAU
CAN
183.37 5 4
6 Camille RUEST / Andrew WOLFE
CAN
167.19 7 6
7 Alisa EFIMOVA / Alexander KOROVIN
RUS
165.07 6 7
8 Goda BUTKUTE / Nikita ERMOLAEV
LTU
137.08 8 8

2016 Rostelecom Cup Pairs Preview

Savchenko and Massot had a superb first international season as a team.  They were not able to compete on the Grand Prix but took home medals from both the European Championships and the World Championships.  They are capable of doing quads and scored well over 200 points last season.  They started their season with a gold medal at the Nebelhorn Trophy.  They have the 3rd best short program, 5th best free skate and 3rd best total scores.

Seguin and Bilodeau made a big splash last year in their first senior season, qualifying for the Grand Prix Final.  Injuries kept them from being able to compete in the Championship events at the end of the year.  They seem to be picking up right where they left off, winning a gold medal at Skate America.  They have the 4th best short program, 2nd best free skate and 2nd best total scores.

Zabiiako and Enbert finished 5th at this event last season.  They started their season with a bronze medal at Ondrej Nepela Trophy.  They nearly crossed the 200 point threshold at Mordovian Ornament last season, but were not able to best those scores at any of their later competitions.  They have the 10th best short program score.

Marchei and Hotarek use the strength of their singles skating to their advantage in their side by side elements in their programs.  They finished 8th at Skate America a few weeks ago.  Their score there was lower than any of their major events last season, so they are definitely capable of performing better.  They have the 10th best free skate score.

Astakhova and Rogonov finished 5th at Skate America.  While they did not set any new personal best scores, they did score higher than at any of their major events last season.

The best short program score of the season is 78.39 with the top 10 all scoring above 67 points.  The best free skate score is 139.91 with the top 10 scoring above 120.  The best total score is 218.30 with the top 10 above 185.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Savchenko/Massot

Silver: Seguin/Bilodeau

Bronze: Zabiiako/Enbert

 

Bios of the competitors:

Ruest/Wolfe, CAN: This is their Grand Prix debut.  Their personal best is 159.28.  She is 22 and he is 21.

Seguin/Bilodeau, CAN: They won gold at Skate America.  They are the 2015 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 208.30.  She is 19 and he is 23.

Savchenko/Massot, GER: They are the reigning World Bronze Medalists and European Silver Medalists.  This is their Grand Prix debut.  Their personal best is 216.17.  She is 32 and he is 27.

Marchei/Hotarek, ITA: They placed 14th at Worlds and 5th at Europeans.  They placed 8th at Skate America.  Their personal best is 182.61.  She is 30 and he is 32.

Butkute/Ermolaev, LTU: They finished 17th at Worlds and 11th at Europeans.  This is their Grand Prix debut.  Their personal best is 149.84.  She is 17 and he is 25.

Astakhova/Rogonov, RUS: They placed 7th at Europeans.  They finished 5th at Skate America.  Their personal best is 185.00.  She is 19 and he is 28.

Efimova/Korovin, RUS: This is their Grand Prix debut.  She is 17 and he is 22.

Zabiiako/Enbert, RUS: They finished 5th at Rostelecom Cup last season.  Their personal best is 196.22.  She is 22 and he is 27.

 

 

 

Russian Nationals Pairs Results

Short Program

Pl. Name Nation TSS
=
TES
+
PCS
+
SS TR PE CH IN Deduction
StN.
1 Tatiana Volosozhar / Maxim Trankov M / S 83.65 44.70 38.95 9.79 9.57 9.75 9.79 9.79 0.00 #10
2 Yuko Kawaguchi / Alexander Smirnov C / T 77.26 40.00 37.26 9.32 9.07 9.36 9.39 9.43 0.00 #12
3 Yevgeny Tarasov / Vladimir Morozov MOS 77.21 41.23 35.98 9.04 8.79 9.11 9.04 9.00 0.00 #eleven
4 Christine ASTAHOVA / Alex Rogonov MOS 71.89 38.37 33.52 8.32 8.11 8.46 8.50 8.50 0.00 # 7
5 Natalia bully / Alexander Enbert Op 70.60 37.10 33.50 8.43 8.14 8.43 8.43 8.46 0.00 #8
6 Faith Bazarov / MP Andrew CM 67.30 36.41 30.89 7.75 7.54 7.79 7.82 7.71 0.00 #1
7 Sofia Biryukova / Andrew FILONOV Op 62.60 34.53 28.07 7.07 6.79 7.11 7.11 7.00 0.00 # 2
8 Anastasia Gubanov / Alex zope Rx 56.55 31.54 25.01 6.32 6.11 6.29 6.29 6.25 0.00 # 6
9 Alexander Shevchenko / Ivan BEACH MOS 55.36 29.96 25.40 6.50 6.21 6.36 6.39 6.29 0.00 #5
10 Anastasia Poluyanova / Stepan KOROTKOV Rx 54.45 29.95 24.50 6.21 5.93 6.21 6.14 6.14 0.00 #4
eleven Alice EFIMOVA / Alexander Korovin MOS 54.34 27.00 27.34 7.00 6.79 6.68 6.89 6.82 0.00 #9
12 Tatyana Kuznetsova / Semen Stepanov Rx 50.40 25.90 24.50 6.39 6.00 6.18 6.14 5.93 0.00 # 3

Free Skate

Pl. Name Nation TSS
=
TES
+
PCS
+
SS TR PE CH IN Deduction
StN.
1 Tatiana Volosozhar / Maxim Trankov M / S 145.31 69.17 77.14 9.75 9.54 9.54 9.75 9.64 100 #9
2 Yuko Kawaguchi / Alexander Smirnov C / T 140.38 67.27 74.11 9.32 9.11 9.14 9.39 9.36 100 #10
3 Yevgeny Tarasov / Vladimir Morozov MOS 140.31 66.71 73.60 9.21 9.00 9.25 9.29 9.25 0.00 #eleven
4 Christine ASTAHOVA / Alex Rogonov MOS 134.50 64.26 70.24 8.68 8.54 8.79 8.96 8.93 0.00 #12
5 Natalia bully / Alexander Enbert Op 134.43 66.77 67.66 8.50 8.29 8.50 8.50 8.50 0.00 # 6
6 Faith Bazarov / MP Andrew CM 126.54 63.27 63.27 8.04 7.68 7.93 7.96 7.93 0.00 #5
7 Sofia Biryukova / Andrew FILONOV Op 110.97 54.29 57.68 7.36 7.04 7.11 7.25 7.29 100 #8
8 Anastasia Gubanov / Alex zope Rx 109.73 57.54 52.19 6.57 6.36 6.61 6.61 6.46 0.00 # 7
9 Alice EFIMOVA / Alexander Korovin MOS 106.96 52.62 54.34 7.00 6.61 6.64 6.96 6.75 0.00 #4
10 Anastasia Poluyanova / Stepan KOROTKOV Rx 101.31 52.87 49.44 6.18 6.04 6.25 6.25 6.18 100 # 3
eleven Alexander Shevchenko / Ivan BEACH MOS 99.15 48.69 50.46 6.46 6.07 6.18 6.46 6.36 0.00 # 2
12 Tatyana Kuznetsova / Semen Stepanov Rx 98.05 51.76 46.29 6.00 5.68 5.75 5.79 5.71 0.00 #1

Total

FPl. Name Nation Points KP PP
1 Tatiana Volosozhar / Maxim Trankov M / S 228.96 1 1
2 Yuko Kavaguti / Alexander Smirnov C / T 217.64 2 2
3 Yevgeny Tarasova / Vladimir Morozov MOS 217.52 3 3
4 Christine ASTAKHOVA / Alex Rogonov MOS 206.39 4 4
5 Natalia Zabijako / Alexander Enbert Op 205.03 5 5
6 Faith Bazarova /  Andrew Deputat CM 193.84 6 6
7 Sofia Biryukova / Andrew FILONOV Op 173.57 7 7
8 Anastasia Gubanova / Alex Sintsov Rx 166.28 8 8
9 Alice EFIMOVA / Alexander Korovin MOS 161.30 eleven 9
10 Anastasia Polianova / Stepan KOROTKOV Rx 155.76 10 10
eleven Alexander Shevchenko / Ivan BICH MOS 154.51 9 eleven
12 Tatyana Kuznetsova / Semen Stepanov Rx 148.45 12 12

Cup of China Pairs Preview

Kavaguti and Smirnov had a great comeback season last year after having to sit out the Olympic season.  They won their first European title since 2010 and had their best Worlds finish since 2011.  They have medaled in all 15 Grand Prix events they have entered and qualified for the Final in all six seasons they were eligible.  They started their season with a gold medal at Mordovian Ornament, setting new personal bests in the short program and total scores.  They have the best short program, 2nd best free skate and 2nd best total scores this season.

After making a big splash in their senior debut in 2010, Sui and Han finally lived up to all their potential, winning the silver medal at Worlds.  They are capable of landing throw quads and quad twists.  They started their season with a gold medal at Skate America and can qualify for the Final with a medal here.  They have the 4th best short program, 4th best free skate and 4th best total scores.

Yu and Jin made their senior debuts last year, winning two medals on the Grand Prix and qualifying for the Final.  With limited spots on the Chinese team to Worlds and with Pang and Tong returning to compete at Worlds, Yu and Jin were sent back to Junior Worlds to defend their title.

Wang and Wang finished 5th at Skate America, despite winning medals at both of their Grand Prix events last season.  However, their Skate America score was comparable to their medal winning performance at Cup of China last season.

Astakhova and Rogonov finished 7th at Skate America.  They had much better results at Ondrej Nepela Trophy, where they set the 9th best free skate and 10th best total scores of the season.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Sui/Han

Silver: Kavaguti/Smirnov

Bronze: Yu/Jin

 

Bios of the competitors:

Grenier/Deschamps, CAN: They placed 7th at Skate Canada.  Their personal best is 157.06.  She is 23 and he is 23.

Iliushechkina/Moscovitch, CAN: They placed 13th at Worlds and 6th at Four Continents.  This is their Grand Prix debut.  Their personal best is 173.50.  She is 24 and he is 31.

Sui/Han, CHN: They are the reigning World Silver Medalists and placed 4th at Four Continents.  They won gold at Skate America.  They are the 2012 and 2014 Four Continents Champions and 2010-2012 World Junior Champions.  Their personal best is 214.12.  She is 20 and he is 23.

Wang/Wang, CHN: They placed 5th at Skate America.  Their personal best is 181.97.  She is 17 and he is 27.

Yu/Jin, CHN: They are the reigning World Junior Champions.  They won silver at Cup of China and bronze at NHK Trophy to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they placed 5th.  They are the 2014 World Junior Champions and 2012 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 187.79.  She is 19 and he is 21.

Vartmann/Blommaert, GER: This is their Grand Prix debut.  Their personal best is 166.50.  She is 26 and he is 23.

Astakhova/Rogonov, RUS: They finished 10th at Worlds.  They finished 7th at Skate America.  Their personal best is 185.00.  She is 18 and he is 27.

Kavaguti/Smirnov, RUS: They placed 5th at Worlds and are the reigning European Champions.  They won gold at Skate America and silver at NHK Trophy last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they placed 6th.  They are the 2009 and 2010 World Bronze Medalists; 2010 European Champions; 2009 and 2011 European Silver Medalists; and 2008 European Bronze Medalists.  Their personal best is 214.05.  She is 33 and he is 31.

Skate America Pairs Preview

Three teams are making their Grand Prix debuts here, including the reigning Junior Worlds Silver Medalists.

Sui and Han finally claimed their first World medal last year, in their fourth trip to the event.  They have quads in their arsenal and sailed past the 200 point mark in their performance at Worlds.  They have never won a Grand Prix gold medal, but have won silver five times.  They’ve qualified for the Grand Prix Final twice, including last season.

Stolbova and Klimov were surprise finishers on the Olympic podium but they kept the momentum rolling with two gold medals on the Grand Prix last year before winning silver in the Final.  They went on to win silver at Europeans and then made the unprecedented move to skip the rest of the season and work on adding quads and bringing up their technical score in an attempt to win a World title.  They started their season with a win at Ondrej Nepela Trophy, but their score was well below the marks they set last season.

Astakhova and Rogonov benefited from Stolbova and Klimov’s withdrawal from Worlds and were assigned to their first ISU Championship event.  They have only competed in one Grand Prix event in their career, but they won a medal.  They won the silver medal at Ondrej Nepela Trophy, only five points behind their Russian teammates.

Scimeca and Knierim added a quad twist last season to bring up their technical firepower.  It worked, and their 7th place showing was the best for a US pair team since 2011.  They have yet to win a Grand Prix medal, but came close last season.  They started their season with a win at Nebelhorn Trophy on the strength of their free skate performance.

Wang and Wang are in the mix after winning two medals on the Grand Prix last season. Seguin and Bilodeau are the reigning Junior Worlds Silver Medalists, but they finished 5th at Nebelhorn Trophy.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Sui/Han

Silver: Stolbova/Klimov

Bronze: Scimeca/Knierim

 

Bios of the competitors:

Seguin/Bilodeau, CAN: They placed 8th at Worlds and are the reigning Junior Worlds Silver Medalists.  This is their Grand Prix debut.  They won gold at JGP Czech Republic and gold at JGP Germany to qualify for the Junior Grand Prix Final where they won gold.  Their personal best is 178.03.  She is 18 and he is 22.

Sui/Han, CHN: They placed 2nd at Worlds and placed 4th at Four Continents.  They won silver at Skate Canada and silver at Trophee Eric Bompard last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they won bronze.  They are the 2012 and 2014 Four Continents Champions and 2010-2012 World Junior Champions.  Their personal best is 214.12.  She is 20 and he is 23.

Wang/Wang, CHN: They won bronze at Cup of China and bronze at Trophee Eric Bompard last season.  Their personal best is 181.97.  She is 17 and he is 27.

Astakhova/Rogonov, RUS: They finished 10th at Worlds.  They won bronze at Rostelecom Cup last season.  Their personal best is 185.00.  She is 18 and he is 27.

Stolbova/Klimov, RUS: They are the reigning European Silver Medalists.  They won gold at Rostelecom Cup and gold at Trophee Eric Bompard last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they won silver.  They are the 2014 Olympic Silver Medalists, 2014 World Silver Medalists and 2014 European Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 218.68.  She is 23 and he is 25.

Kayne/O’Shea, USA: They finished 8th at Four Continents.  This is their Grand Prix debut.  They are the 2014 Four Continents Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 181.45.  She is 22 and he is 24.

Pfund/Santillan, USA: This is their Grand Prix debut.  She is 17 and he is 23.

Scimeca/Knierim, USA: They placed 7th at Worlds and 5th at Europeans.  They finished 4th at Skate America and 4th at Trophee Eric Bompard.  They are the 2014 Four Continents Bronze Medalists.  Their personal best is 192.09.  She is 24 and he is 27.

World Championships Pairs Preview

In a surprise turn, Olympic silver medalists Stolbova and Klimov decided to end their season after the European Championships and focus on upping their technical ante for next season.  They plan to work on adding quads to their repertoire to be able to compete for the top spots.  While they are working on adding their quad, several other teams will be showcasing their quads at Worlds.

Duhamel and Radford have won every event they have entered this season, including the Grand Prix Final and Four Continents Championships.  They’ve added the throw quad salchow into their programs this season and their highest score so far this season is 220, 11 points higher than any other team has set this season.  They should be able to easily claim their first World title and even have room to make some mistakes.

Kavaguti and Smirnov have had a comeback season this year after missing the Olympic season due to injury.  They have also added a throw quad salchow into their programs this season but haven’t been able to keep pace with Duhamel and Radford.  They had a solid start to their fall, but struggled at the Grand Prix Final where they placed 6th.  They rebounded at Europeans to finish 1st.  They’ve won two bronze medals at the World Championships with their last medal coming in 2010.

When Peng and Zhang teamed up together, many thought that they were going to pair up through 2014 and then he would retire.  He is 30 years old and has competed in three Olympics, including winning a silver medal in 2006.  After deciding to return to competition, they are having one of their strongest seasons ever as a team.  They won their first Grand Prix gold medal and took home the silver at Four Continents.  They have a quad twist in their arsenal.

Sui and Han have had good senior results but have never quite lived up to the potential that many expected they would have after winning three World Junior titles.  They even missed out on competing at the Olympics.  They qualified for their first Grand Prix Final since 2010 this year and won the bronze medal.  They barely missed out on the podium at Four Continents, finishing behind both of their Chinese teammates.  They are capable of throw quad salchows and quad twists.

After deciding to retire after the Olympics, Pang and Tong have come out of retirement.  They competed at Four Continents where they won the bronze medal and nearly hit the 200 point mark.  It is unclear what their plans are in terms of competing in the future, but they have a shot at adding another World medal to their arsenal.

This might be the best shot the US has had in years of qualifying three teams for next years Worlds.  The magic number is 13, so realistically they’re looking in the range of placing 6th and 7th or 5th and 8th.  Scimeca and Knierim have made this a possibility with their new firepower of a quad twist which they introduced at US Nationals.  They also have innovative lifts and solid jumps.  She’s a firecracker of a performer and really carries the team.  They finished 5th at Four Continents behind Duhamel and Radford and all three Chinese teams so 6th place is definitely within their grasp if they only let one Russian team get ahead of them.

Denney and Frazier started out the season exceptionally strong with a silver medal at Skate America, the best finish for a US pair in quite some time.  They failed to medal at their second event, and finished back in 7th place at Four Continents.  However, they are capable of so much more.  Their free skate is one of the best pairs programs I’ve seen and the score of the Lion King really fills the arena and crescendos at just the right moment at the end of the program and it has brought me to tears once and given me goosebumps another time.  If they execute all of their elements cleanly, they have the capability of putting up a big score.

The two other Russian teams of Astakhova and Rogonov and Tarasova and Morozov have had good seasons but are a bit under the radar.  Tarasova and Morozov recently completed the Russian sweep at Europeans so they have a bit more international credibility.  They will both be looking to make a lasting impression as Stolbova and Klimov will definitely be back next season and Volosozhar and Trankov have talked about making a return.  They’ll need to help Kavaguti and Smirnov secure three spots for next season and try and stay close enough that they can earn their place next season.

Seguin and Bilodeau are having a stellar season and are making their senior international debut at this event.  They won both of their Junior Grand Prix assignments and the Junior Grand Prix Final.  They were the favorite to take the Junior Worlds title, but with the return of Pang and Tong, Grand Prix Final competitors Yu and Jin were sent back to Junior Worlds.  They had to settle for silver by just 2 points.  They competed as seniors for the first time at Canadian nationals where they placed 3rd.  They age out of juniors after this season, so this will be their first taste of senior competition before they officially move up this fall.

My podium predictions:

Gold: Duhamel/Radford

Silver: Kavaguti/Smirnov

Bronze: Pang/Tong