2017 World Championships Dance Preview

In ice dance, all the teams are attempting the same elements, and what the scores come down to are levels, grades of execution and program components.  Teams are seeking to gain Level 4 for all of their elements, including the high value step sequences.  They are looking for all positive GOEs in the 2s and 3s.  And they are trying to achieve the highest program components possible.  No team has earned all Level 4s in either of their programs this season.  With a difference of 1.5 points between a Level 3 and a Level 4 step sequence and two in the short dance and two in the free dance, levels can make a huge difference in who ends up on the podium.

Virtue and Moir came back to competition this season in preparation for competing in next year’s Olympics.  They won two gold medals on the Grand Prix and won gold at the Grand Prix Final.  They are the reigning Four Continents Champions.  They were beat in the free dance at Skate Canada, but since then, they have been on a roll.  The coaching change they have made seems to agree with their style of movement as they have always been a more understated, lyrical team.  They have the top three technical scores in the short dance, program component scores in the short dance, and technical scores in the free dance.  They also have the top two program components scores in the free dance.  Their personal best came at the Grand Prix Final this season where they scored 197.22.  They earned nine 10.00 marks in their free dance at Four Continents.  They have the best short dance, best free dance, and best total scores.

Papadakis and Cizeron seemed untouchable until Virtue and Moir announced their return.  These two teams now train alongside one another.  They are the two time reigning World Champions and three time reigning European Champions.  They won gold at Trophee de France and lost to Virtue and Moir at both NHK Trophy and the Grand Prix Final.  They’ve been missing levels and that has cost them ground in their programs and they’ve been having to come back from behind.  Their personal best is 194.46, set at last year’s World Championships.  They earned five 10.00 marks in their free dance at Europeans.  They have the 2nd best short dance, 3rd best free dance, and 2nd best total scores.

The Shibutanis had their breakout season last year, landing on the World podium for the first time since 2011.  They are the reigning World Silver Medalists and reigning Four Continents Silver Medalists.  They won two gold medals on the Grand Prix and took home gold from the Final.  They have long been known as technical skaters, but were scoring in the 2s on some of their elements early in the season.  They have resolved many of these issues, but still haven’t hit all 4s.  Their free dance is a very subtle, artistic piece and contrasts their hip hop short program.  Their program components have come up significantly this season, as evidenced by their four 10.00 marks in the free dance at Four Continents.  Their personal best came at Four Continents, where they scored 191.85.  They have the 3rd best short dance, 2nd best free dance, and 3rd best total scores.

Cappellini and Lanotte failed to make the Grand Prix Final this year, after placing 4th at Skate Canada.  They turned their season around, winning the silver medal at Europeans.  Their personal best came at that event, where they scored 186.64.  They are capable of hitting top levels on all of their elements, but they haven’t been able to put together all of those elements in the same event.  They are also slightly behind on program components, and did not receive any 10.00s at Europeans.  They have the 7th best short dance, 6th best free dance, and 6th best total scores.

Bobrova and Soloviev are the reigning European Bronze Medalists.  They won a bronze at Skate America and gold at Rostlecom Cup to qualify for the Final where they placed 4th.  Their personal best was at Rostelecom Cup, where they scored 186.68.  At Europeans, they had a costly Level 2 on one of their step sequences and did not receive any 10.00 marks.  They have the 5th best short dance, 5th best free dance, and 5th best total scores.

Chock and Bates are the only team to beat Virtue and Moir this season, finishing ahead of them in the free dance at Skate Canada.  But their season has been uneven.  Their performance at Skate Canada was a personal best, scoring 188.24.  At the Grand Prix Final, they finished 6th and were beaten by Hubbell and Donohue for the first time.  They took home the bronze medal from Four Continents, but were over 6 points behind the Shibutanis.  Their scores at Skate Canada were so high because they received Level 4s on some of their step sequences, the first team to do so this season.  But they haven’t been able to replicate that since.  They did receive four 10.00 marks for their free dance at Four Continents.  They have the 4th best short dance, 4th best free dance, and 4th best total scores.

Weaver and Poje have found themselves slipping in the last few seasons.  They nearly won a World Championship in 2014 and medaled again in 2015.  But they finished 5th last season.  They won a silver and bronze on the Grand Prix, and failed to qualify for the Final this year.  They finished 5th at Four Continents, their worst performance ever at that event (tied with 2008 and 2009). At Four Continents they had some program component marks in the 8s, which will not be good enough to get onto the podium at Worlds.  Their levels are what’s giving them the biggest trouble this season.  They have not yet scored a 4 on either step sequence in their short dance or their twizzles.  They are the only top team not to receive a Level 4 on their twizzles this season, which costs them about 1 point per event.  Their personal best was set at the World Team Trophy in 2015 when they scored 182.93.  They have the 9th best short dance, 9th best free dance, and 9th best total scores.

Gilles and Poirier won two bronze medals on the Grand Prix this season.  They finished 6th at Four Continents last month and 8th at Worlds last season.  Their personal best came from Skate Canada this year, when they scored 182.57.  They have the 7th best free dance and 8th best total scores.

Hubbell and Donohue finished 4th at Four Continents, but they were 5 points from the podium.  They did set a personal best at that event, scoring 180.82.  They won a pair of silver medals on the Grand Prix to qualify for the Final where they finished 5th.  They placed 6th at Worlds last season.  They have the 8th best short dance and 10th best total scores.

Other teams looking to crack the top ten include Stepanova and Bukin and Guignard and Fabbri.

Virtue and Moir, the Shibutanis, Chock and Bates, Papadakis and Cizeron, and Cappellini and Lanotte have all scored above 40 points in the short program for their technical score.  Virtue and Moir hold the top mark of 42.16 with the Shibutanis the next closest at 40.85.

Virtue and Moir, Papadakis and Cizeron, the Shibutanis, and Bobrova and Soloviev have scored above 37 points in program components in the short dance.  The top mark was set by Virtue and Moir at 38.37 with Papadakis and Cizeron having the second highest score of 37.83.

For the free dance, Virtue and Moir, the Shibutanis, Papadakis and Cizeron, Chock and Bates, and Gilles and Poirier have scored above 56 points on the technical side.  Virtue and Moir again have the highest mark of 59.25 with the Shibutanis setting the second highest mark of 58.43.

In program components, Virtue and Moir, Papadakis and Cizeron, the Shibutanis, Bobrova and Soloviev, and Cappellini and Lanotte have all scored above 56 points in program components.  Virtue and Moir have the highest score of 58.14 with Papadakis and Cizeron setting the next highest mark of 57.61.

Virtue and Moir have a significant lead in all aspects of competition and that is without hitting the top levels on their step sequences.  Papadakis and Cizeron have the second highest artistic marks while the Shibutanis have the second highest technical marks.  What this podium is going to come down to is who can hit the Level 4s and how close will the gap on the artistic side be between the French and the Americans.

 

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Virtue/Moir

Silver: Papadakis/Cizeron

Bronze: Shibutani/Shibutani

2016 Cup of China Dance Results

Short Dance

 Pl. Name Nation TSS
=
TES
+
PCS
+
SS TR PE CO IN Ded.
StN.
1 Kaitlyn WEAVER / Andrew POJE CAN 73.78 37.27 36.51 9.04 8.93 9.29 9.14 9.25 0.00 #9
2 Maia SHIBUTANI / Alex SHIBUTANI USA 73.23 36.87 36.36 8.96 8.93 9.25 9.14 9.18 0.00 #1
3 Alexandra STEPANOVA / Ivan BUKIN RUS 72.09 37.64 34.45 8.39 8.39 8.79 8.68 8.82 0.00 #4
4 Victoria SINITSINA / Nikita KATSALAPOV RUS 70.24 36.00 34.24 8.57 8.36 8.64 8.61 8.61 0.00 #10
5 Natalia KALISZEK / Maksym SPODYRIEV POL 60.13 32.19 27.94 6.89 6.89 7.04 7.11 7.00 0.00 #3
6 Shiyue WANG / Xinyu LIU CHN 58.57 30.23 28.34 7.07 6.89 7.21 7.14 7.11 0.00 #8
7 Anastasia CANNUSCIO / Colin MCMANUS USA 53.43 26.49 26.94 6.79 6.64 6.86 6.71 6.68 0.00 #2
8 Linshu SONG / Zhuoming SUN CHN 53.20 27.25 25.95 6.54 6.25 6.61 6.54 6.50 0.00 #7
9 Hong CHEN / Yan ZHAO CHN 51.54 25.62 25.92 6.50 6.29 6.57 6.54 6.50 0.00 #6
WD Alexandra PAUL / Mitchell ISLAM CAN #5

Free Dance

Pl. Name Nation TSS
=
TES
+
PCS
+
SS TR PE CO IN Ded.
StN.
1 Maia SHIBUTANI / Alex SHIBUTANI USA 111.90 55.59 56.31 9.39 9.21 9.50 9.39 9.43 0.00 #8
2 Kaitlyn WEAVER / Andrew POJE CAN 107.76 53.38 55.38 9.18 9.00 9.36 9.25 9.36 1.00 #7
3 Alexandra STEPANOVA / Ivan BUKIN RUS 105.32 53.39 52.93 8.64 8.64 8.89 9.00 8.93 1.00 #9
4 Victoria SINITSINA / Nikita KATSALAPOV RUS 101.70 50.87 50.83 8.36 8.21 8.54 8.57 8.68 0.00 #6
5 Shiyue WANG / Xinyu LIU CHN 91.23 46.76 44.47 7.39 7.21 7.57 7.50 7.39 0.00 #4
6 Natalia KALISZEK / Maksym SPODYRIEV POL 90.65 46.46 44.19 7.14 7.21 7.50 7.43 7.54 0.00 #5
7 Anastasia CANNUSCIO / Colin MCMANUS USA 87.74 44.51 43.23 7.14 6.96 7.36 7.32 7.25 0.00 #3
8 Linshu SONG / Zhuoming SUN CHN 77.70 39.41 38.29 6.29 6.18 6.54 6.46 6.43 0.00 #2
9 Hong CHEN / Yan ZHAO CHN 65.78 33.37 35.41 5.93 5.68 5.89 6.07 5.93 3.00 #1

Total

FPl. Name Nation Points SD FD
1 Maia SHIBUTANI / Alex SHIBUTANI
USA
185.13 2 1
2 Kaitlyn WEAVER / Andrew POJE
CAN
181.54 1 2
3 Alexandra STEPANOVA / Ivan BUKIN
RUS
177.41 3 3
4 Victoria SINITSINA / Nikita KATSALAPOV
RUS
171.94 4 4
5 Natalia KALISZEK / Maksym SPODYRIEV
POL
150.78 5 6
6 Shiyue WANG / Xinyu LIU
CHN
149.80 6 5
7 Anastasia CANNUSCIO / Colin MCMANUS
USA
141.17 7 7
8 Linshu SONG / Zhuoming SUN
CHN
130.90 8 8
9 Hong CHEN / Yan ZHAO
CHN
117.32 9 9
WD Alexandra PAUL / Mitchell ISLAM
CAN

2016 Cup of China Dance Preview

Bobrova and Soloviev are the only team thus far to qualify for the Grand Prix Final.  Two teams sit on 26 points and will have to await the outcomes of this event and NHK Trophy to find out if they qualify.

The Shibutanis won a gold medal at Skate America.  Their short dance was a perfect blend of hip hop music with the blues.  Their free dance received Level 4s on everything except for their step sequence, which received Level 3s.  They received +2 or +3 GOEs on all their elements from all the judges, netting 15 points.  Their GOEs were also all in the 9 point range, though in the low 9s.  They need a gold, silver or bronze medal to qualify for the Final.  They have the 5th best short dance, 2nd best free dance and 5th best total scores.

Weaver and Poje won bronze at Rostelecom Cup.  Their free dance received Level 4s on all the elements, except for the steps which earned Level 3.  They earned 13 points from GOE and had program component in the low 8s and 9s.  They need a gold medal to qualify for the Final.  They have the 8th best short dance, 8th best free dance and 8th best total scores.

Stepanova and Bukin finished 5th at Skate Canada.  Their levels were a bit low, receiving Level 2 on both of their step sequences in the free dance and Level 3 on their twizzles.  Their GOEs were all positive and earned them 11 points.  All of their program components were in the mid 8 range.  They need a gold medal to give themselves even a shot at the Final.  They have the 9th best short dance, 10th best free dance and 10th best total scores.

Sinitsina and Katsalapov will be competing in their first event of the season here.  If they win a medal, they’ll have a chance to qualify for the Final next week in Japan.

The best short dance score of the season so far is 78.26 with the top 10 scoring above 68 points.  The best free dance score is 115.24 with the top 10 scoring above 103.  The best total score is 193.50 with the top 10 scoring above 172.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Shibutani/Shibutani

Silver: Weaver/Poje

Bronze: Sinitsina/Katsalapov

 

Bios of the competitors:

 

Paul/Islam, CAN: They placed 8th at Skate Canada.  They are the 2010 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 152.59.  She is 25 and he is 26.

Weaver/Poje, CAN: They placed 5th at Worlds and are the reigning Four Continents Bronze Medalists.  They won bronze at Rostelecom Cup.  They are the 2014 World Silver Medalists, 2015 World Bronze Medalists, 2010 and 2015 Four Continents Champions, 2012 Four Continents Bronze Medalists, and 2007 World Junior Bronze Medalists.  Their personal best is 182.93.  She is 27 and he is 29.

Chen/Zhao, CHN: This is their Grand Prix debut.  She is 22 and he is 24.

Song/Sun, CHN:

Wang/Liu, CHN: They placed 22nd at Worlds and 9th at Four Continents.  They placed 9th at Skate Canada.  Their personal best is 144.16.  She is 22 and he is 22.

Kaliszek/Spodyriev, POL: They placed 16th at Worlds and 11th at Europeans.  This is their Grand Prix debut.  Their personal best is 150.60.  She is 20 and he is 22.

Sinitsina/Katsalapov, RUS: They placed 9th at Worlds and 4th at Europeans.  They won silver at Skate America and bronze at Rostelecom Cup last season.  Their personal best is 172.65.  She is 21 and he is 25.

Stepanova/Bukin, RUS: They placed 11th at Worlds and 5th at Europeans.  They placed 5th at Skate Canada.  They are the 2015 European Bronze Medalists, 2013 World Junior Champions and 2012 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 172.83.  She is 21 and he is 23.

Cannuscio/McManus, USA: They placed 5th at Skate America and 6th at NHK Trophy last season.  Their personal best is 143.67.  She is 24 and he is 26.

Shibutani/Shibutani, USA: They are the reigning World Silver Medalists and reigning Four Continents Champions.  They won gold at Skate America.  They are the 2011 World Bronze Medalists, 2011 Four Continents Silver Medalists, 2015 Four Continents Bronze Medalists and 2009 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 188.43.  She is 22 and he is 25.

2016 Skate Canada Dance Preview

Virtue and Moir decided to come back to competition this season and have a new coaching staff behind them.  They won gold at the Autumn Classic International to start their season.  They received Level 4 on all of their elements except for the spin in their free dance.  They received a time deduction and an extended lift deduction.  They have the best short dance, 2nd best free dance and best total scores.

Chock and Bates faced a disappointing season last year, being surpassed at US Nationals and Worlds by the Shibutanis.  They won silver at Nebelhorn Trophy and silver at Ondrej Nepela Memorial to kick of their season.  They received Level 4 on everything except their step sequences in the free dance at the Nebelhorn Trophy.  They had all positive GOEs and program components in the 8s and 9s.  They have the 3rd best short dance, 4th best free dance and 4th best total scores.

Cappellini and Lanotte won gold at Nebelhorn Trophy to kick off their season.  They also received Level 4s on everything except for their steps in the free dance.  They only had one program component in the 8s with the rest in the 9s.  They have the 4th best short dance, 3rd best free dance and 3rd best total scores.

Gilles and Poirier started their season with a bronze at Nebelhorn Trophy.  They had the same levels as Chock and Bates and Cappellini and Lanotte but their program components were in the 8s with one in the 9 range.  They have the 6th best short dance, 7th best free dance and 6th best total scores.

Stepanova and Bukin won gold at Finlandia Trophy.  They received a Level 2 on one of their step sequences in the free dance.  They have the 7th best short dance, 8th best free dance and 8th best total scores.

The top short dance score of the season is 77.72 with the top 10 scoring above 66 points.  The top free dance score is 112.71 with the top 10 all scoring above 98.  The best total score is 189.20 with the top 10 scoring above 165.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Virtue/Moir

Silver: Chock/Bates

Bronze: Cappellini/Lanotte

 

Bios of the competitors:

Gilles/Poirier, CAN: They finished 8th at Worlds and placed 5th at Four Continents .  They won bronze at Skate America and silver at Trophee Eric Bompard last season.  They are the 2014 Four Continents Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 176.84.  She is 24 and he is 24.

Paul/Islam, CAN: They placed 6th at Skate Canada last season.  They are the 2010 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 152.59.  She is 25 and he is 26.

Virtue/Moir, CAN: They are the 2010 Olympic Champions; 2014 Olympic Silver Medalists; 2010 and 2012 World Champions; 2008, 2011, and 2013 World Silver Medalists; 2009 World Bronze Medalists; 2008 and 2012 Four Continents Champions; 2009 and 2013 Four Continents Silver Medalists; 2006 and 2007 Four Continents Bronze Medalists; 2006 World Junior Champions; and 2005 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 190.99.  She is 27 and he is 29.

Wang/Liu, CHN: They placed 22nd at Worlds and 9th at Four Continents.  They placed 8th at Skate America and 6th at Cup of China last season.  Their personal best is 142.31.  She is 22 and he is 22.

Fournier Beaudry/Sorensen, DEN: They placed 13th at Worlds and 9th at Europeans.  They placed 7th at Skate Canada and 5th at Trophee Eric Bompard last season.  Their personal best is 156.23.  She is 24 and he is 27.

Torn/Partanen, FIN: They placed 18th at Worlds and 15th at Europeans.  Their personal best is 142.90.  She is 22 and he is 25.

Cappellini/Lanotte, ITA: They finished 4th at Worlds and are the reigning European Silver Medalists.  They won gold at Cup of China and silver at Rostelecom Cup last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they won bronze.  They are the 2014 World Champions, 2014 European Champions, 2015 European Silver Medalists, and 2013 European Bronze Medalists.  Their personal best is 182.72.  She is 29 and he is 31.

Stepanova/Bukin, RUS: They placed 11th at Worlds and 5th at Europeans.  They won bronze at Trophee Eric Bompard and placed 4th at NHK Trophy last season.  They are the 2015 European Bronze Medalists, 2013 World Junior Champions and 2012 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 172.83.  She is 21 and he is 23.

Chock/Bates, USA: They are the reigning World Bronze Medalists and Four Continents Silver Medalists.  They won gold at Skate America and silver at Cup of China last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they won silver.  They are the 2015 World Silver Medalists, 2015 Four Continents Silver Medalists and 2013 Four Continents Bronze Medalists.  Their personal best is 185.77.  She is 24 and he is 27.

Hawayek/Baker, USA: They placed 4th at Skate Canada last season.  They are the 2014 World Junior Champions.  Their personal best is 160.50.  She is 19 and he is 23.

 

 

 

2016 Finlandia Trophy Dance Results

Short Dance

Pl. Name Nation TSS
=
TES
+
PCS
+
SS TR PE CO IN Deduction
StN.
1 Alexandra STEPANOVA / Ivan BUKIN RUS 69.63 35.78 33.85 8.46 8.21 8.54 8.42 8.67 0.00 #10
2 Madison HUBBELL / Zachary DONOHUE USA 65.31 32.08 33.23 8.33 8.13 8.42 8.29 8.38 0.00 #4
3 Tiffany ZAHORSKI / Jonathan GUERREIRO RUS 62.27 32.20 30.07 7.50 7.21 7.63 7.58 7.67 0.00 #2
4 Natalia KALISZEK / Maksym SPODYRIEV POL 60.62 32.42 28.20 7.00 6.79 7.08 7.21 7.17 0.00 #6
5 Laurence FOURNIER BEAUDRY / Nikolaj SORENSEN DEN 58.76 28.63 30.13 7.50 7.29 7.54 7.63 7.71 0.00 #9
6 Olivia SMART / Adria DIAZ ESP 55.89 27.12 28.77 7.04 6.92 7.29 7.29 7.42 0.00 #8
7 Cecilia TÖRN / Jussiville PARTANEN FIN 46.66 23.38 25.28 6.29 6.21 6.17 6.50 6.42 2.00 #3
8 Taylor TRAN / Saulius AMBRULEVICIUS LTU 45.27 22.96 22.31 5.63 5.38 5.67 5.67 5.54 0.00 #5
9 Emi HIRAI / Marien DE LA ASUNCION JPN 44.07 22.94 22.13 5.67 5.38 5.54 5.58 5.50 1.00 #7
10 Olesia KARMI / Max LINDHOLM FIN 42.80 21.37 21.43 5.29 5.25 5.46 5.54 5.25 0.00 #1

Free Dance

Pl. Name Nation TSS
=
TES
+
PCS
+
SS TR PE CO IN Deduction
StN.
1 Alexandra STEPANOVA / Ivan BUKIN RUS 103.20 51.04 52.16 8.58 8.42 8.75 8.83 8.88 0.00 #10
2 Madison HUBBELL / Zachary DONOHUE USA 100.45 49.40 51.05 8.46 8.29 8.50 8.58 8.71 0.00 #9
3 Laurence FOURNIER BEAUDRY / Nikolaj SORENSEN DEN 90.93 45.78 46.15 7.54 7.42 7.75 7.79 7.96 1.00 #6
4 Tiffany ZAHORSKI / Jonathan GUERREIRO RUS 90.73 43.92 46.81 7.71 7.50 7.92 7.88 8.00 0.00 #8
5 Natalia KALISZEK / Maksym SPODYRIEV POL 86.84 42.49 44.35 7.21 7.21 7.54 7.54 7.46 0.00 #7
6 Olivia SMART / Adria DIAZ ESP 86.23 42.38 43.85 7.17 6.92 7.42 7.50 7.54 0.00 #5
7 Cecilia TÖRN / Jussiville PARTANEN FIN 80.27 41.11 39.16 6.50 6.17 6.63 6.54 6.79 0.00 #4
8 Taylor TRAN / Saulius AMBRULEVICIUS LTU 72.36 38.35 34.01 5.79 5.42 5.83 5.63 5.67 0.00 #3
9 Olesia KARMI / Max LINDHOLM FIN 58.22 30.12 30.10 4.92 4.96 4.96 5.25 5.00 2.00 #1
10 Emi HIRAI / Marien DE LA ASUNCION JPN 57.96 28.36 30.60 5.04 5.00 5.00 5.29 5.17 1.00 #2

Total

FPl. Name Nation Points SD FD
1 Alexandra STEPANOVA / Ivan BUKIN RUS 172.83 1 1
2 Madison HUBBELL / Zachary DONOHUE USA 165.76 2 2
3 Tiffany ZAHORSKI / Jonathan GUERREIRO RUS 153.00 3 4
4 Laurence FOURNIER BEAUDRY / Nikolaj SORENSEN DEN 149.69 5 3
5 Natalia KALISZEK / Maksym SPODYRIEV POL 147.46 4 5
6 Olivia SMART / Adria DIAZ ESP 142.12 6 6
7 Cecilia TÖRN / Jussiville PARTANEN FIN 126.93 7 7
8 Taylor TRAN / Saulius AMBRULEVICIUS LTU 117.63 8 8
9 Emi HIRAI / Marien DE LA ASUNCION JPN 102.03 9 10
10 Olesia KARMI / Max LINDHOLM FIN 101.02 10 9

2016 World Championships Dance Preview

This promises to be one of the most competitive events at this World Championships, with the top three scores of the season within one point of each other.  The top short dance scores are only fractions of a point apart.  It is going to be the small details that are going to set these teams apart and determine who ends up on top of the podium, but it could truly be anyone’s game.

Papadakis and Cizeron were sidelined most of the season with a concussion but were able to make it back in time for Europeans.  They won that event with the best scores of the season, proving they are fit and ready to defend their World title, even with less mileage on their programs.  While there was nothing glaringly wrong with their short dance (all but one Level 4 element, all positive GOEs, strong program components) they are just in the top 5 in terms of scores because of how close everyone is ranked.  Their free dance is their biggest strength and they received Level 4 on both step sequences at Europeans and even a 10.00 on their performance.  They have the 5th best short dance, best free dance and best total scores.

Cappellini and Lanotte have had a hard time living up to the World title they won in 2014.  They failed to make the podium at Worlds at all last season and they won bronze at the Grand Prix Final (an event that Papadakis and Cizeron did not attend).  They did win the silver at Europeans, but were over 4 points behind Papadakis and Cizeron.  They had about a 1.5 point lead after the short program after setting higher TES and PCS, but they received Level 3 on both step sequences in their free dance along with one lift and even had some program components in the 8s.  They have the 3rd best short dance, 6th best free dance and 4th best total scores.

Weaver and Poje looked to be regaining the form that had made them the favorites for the World title last season, winning every event they entered through the first half of the season.  However, they ran into trouble at Four Continents, where they dropped to a disappointing third place.  Their short dance was fairly solid at that event, but they received Level 3 on one pattern of the Ravensberger Waltz and their partial step sequence.  Their free dance was full of technical errors with two Level 2 elements, but they did have the highest program components in the event.  They have have the 2nd best short dance, 2nd best free dance and 2nd best total scores.

Chock and Bates have had troubles with their programs this season, scrapping a few and making major changes to others along the way.  They now seem comfortable with the content, but they aren’t getting the results they were hoping for and they are being passed up both at home and abroad.  While their programs are well executed, they aren’t necessarily memorable.  They have had Level issues all season, and this problem continued at Four Continents.  Their short dance had Level 2 twizzles and they received Level 3 on both sections of the Waltz.  Their free dance was mostly better with only Level 3 on the step sequences and program components mostly in the low 9s.  They have the 4th best short dance, 5th best free dance and 5th best total scores.

The Shibutanis have had a resurgence this season after winning a Worlds medal way back in 2011.  They won their first US title and their first Four Continents title, leapfrogging several teams who defeated them earlier in the season.  Their Coppelia short dance is charming and everything from the costuming to the music and the choreography work together to tell the story.  But by far what sets them apart is their free dance.  They’ve been receiving standing ovations all season and are really connecting with the audience.  They received all Level 4s on the short dance at Four Continents, but their program components were lower, even receiving some scores in the 7s.  They received Level 4s on all but one step sequence in the free dance and even received +3 GOE from all but one judge on their twizzles.  The program components were lower again than the top competitors, but were stronger than the short dance.  They have the best short dance, 3rd best free dance, and 3rd best total scores.

Sinitsina and Katsalapov finished just off the podium in 4th at Europeans, but with Bobrova and Solovjev unable to compete, they are the top ranked Russian team at this event.  They won two medals on the Grand Prix but didn’t score quite well enough to qualify for the Final.  Their short dance received two Level 3s at Europeans, and they also received lower GOEs and program components.   Their free dance was stronger, but they received Level 4 on both their step sequences.  They have 9th best short dance, 8th best free dance and 8th best total scores.

Hubbell and Donohue have really come into their own this season and their new coaches seem to have found a style that suits them perfectly.  Their programs are expertly choreographed and the elements flow seamlessly into the program.  Their short program to Hallelujah is one of the more gorgeous programs being competed this season.  They have the 7th best short dance, 10th best free dance and 9th best total scores.

Guignard and Fabbri looked to be joining the top ranks after two solid back to back performances in the Challenger Series late this fall.  However, they dropped a place at Europeans and finished 10 points lower than their personal best.  They have the 10th best short dance, 9th best free dance and 10th best total scores.

Other teams looking to be in the top 10 include Stepanova and Bukin, Coomes and Buckland and Gilles and Poirier.

Not competing in this event but holding top ten scores are two Russian teams: Ilinykh and Zhiganshin (6th) and Bobrova and Soloviev (7th).

The key to this event is going to be levels.  The Shibutanis received all Level 4s on their short dance, earning them a base value of 29.70.  Earning a Level 3 on the Waltz drops your base value by .6 while a Level 3 on the partial step sequence costs you 1.5 points base value.  Chock and Bates dropped two levels on the twizzle, costing them 2 full points.  In an event where the top teams may be within a point of each other, losing 1.5 points can be deadly.  In the free dance, Papadakis and Cizeron earned almost all Level 4s, earning them 43.00 points in base value.  Dropping a level on a lift will cost you .5 points base value, while losing a level on a step sequence will cost you 1.5 points.  However, the levels are the easiest piece of the puzzle to fix.  While you can’t control how strict a controller is going to be at calling the levels and watching the edges, the teams know exactly how to achieve each level and will be working in practice every day to make sure they can maximize their point values.

The troubling thing for the Shibutanis is going to be the program components.  While they have the technical edge over all the teams (except for perhaps Papadakis and Cizeron), their program components are significantly lower (and I find them to be under marked).  While there are clear guidelines for program components, most of these come down to a gut judgement for the judges and are not as easy for teams to address.  Here’s how the top 5 teams fared in the short dance and the free dance at Four Continents and Europeans.

Weaver/Poje: 37.06

Cappellini/Lanotte: 36.28

Shibutani/Shibutani: 35.66

Chock/Bates: 35.48

Papadakis/Cizeron: 35.47

 

Papadakis/Cizeron: 55.73

Weaver/Poje: 55.54

Cappellini/Lanotte: 55.42

Chock/Bates: 55.10

Shibutani/Shibutani: 54.84

 

Weaver and Poje earned the highest total of 92.60 just from program components.  The Shibutanis are the lowest of the top five teams with 90.50 points.  Weaver and Poje won the bronze medal behind the Shibutanis at Four Continents but that was due to levels.  If they can bring a few of their levels up, they had a nearly 2 point advantage in program components.  However, I think that performing Fix You in front of a home crowd (a crowd that gave them a standing ovation before their program even ended at US Nationals), may be enough to boost their weaker program components in the free dance.  However, with more mileage on the more technical difficult short dance, I think Papadakis and Cizeron will also see their weaker program components increase and with their technical skills and program component lead in the free dance they are going to be tough to beat.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Papadakis/Cizeron

Silver: Shibutani/Shibutani

Bronze: Chock/Bates

 

Bios of the competitors:

Garabdedian/Proulx-Senecal, ARM: They finished 18th at Europeans.  Their personal best is 127.92.  She is 18 and he is 24.

Silna/Kurakin, AUT: They finished 21st at Worlds last season.  They placed 17th at Europeans.  Their personal best is 129.87.  She is 27 and he is 28.

Kavaliova/Bieliaiev, BLR: They finished 28th at Worlds last season.  They placed 16th at Europeans.  They finished 7th at Rostelecom Cup.  Their personal best is 148.08.  She is 21 and he is 23.

Gilles/Poirier, CAN: They finished 6th at Worlds last season.  They placed 5th at Four Continents .  They won bronze at Skate America and silver at Trophee Eric Bompard.  They are the 2014 Four Continents Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 165.22.  She is 24 and he is 24.

Paradis/Ouellette, CAN: They finished 6th at Four Continents.  They placed 8th at Skate Canada.  Their personal best is 146.94.  She is 23 and he is 24.

Weaver/Poje, CAN: They are the reigning World Bronze Medalists and Four Continents Bronze Medalists.  They won gold at Skate Canada and gold at Rostelecom Cup to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they won gold.  They are the 2014 World Silver Medalists, 2010 and 2015 Four Continents Champions, 2012 Four Continents Bronze Medalists, and 2007 World Junior Bronze Medalists.  Their personal best is 182.93.  She is 26 and he is 29.

Wang/Liu, CHN: They placed 19th at Worlds last season.  They finished 9th at Four Continents.  They placed 8th at Skate America and 6th at Cup of China.  Their personal best is 142.31.  She is 21 and he is 21.

Mansour/Ceska, CZE: They placed 13th at Europeans.  Their personal best is 141.36.  She is 21 and he is 23.

Fournier Beaudry/Sorensen, DEN: They placed 11th at Worlds last season.  They finished 9th at Europeans.  They placed 7th at Skate Canada and 5th at Trophee Eric Bompard.  Their personal best is 156.23.  She is 23 and he is 27.

Torn/Partanen, FIN: They placed 25th at Worlds last season.  They finished 15th at Europeans.  Their personal best is 142.90.  She is 22 and he is 24.

Papadakis/Cizeron, FRA: They are the reigning World and European Champions.  They are the 2015 European Champions and 2013 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 184.28.  She is 20 and he is 21.

Lorenz/Polizakis, GER: They finished 14th at Europeans.  Their personal best is 137.99.  She is 20 and he is 20.

Coomes/Buckland, GBR: They finished 6th at Europeans.  They placed 4th at Trophee Eric Bompard and 5th at Rostelecom Cup.  They are the 2014 European Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 162.75.  She is 26 and he is 26.

Tobias/Tkachenko, ISR: They finished 10th at Europeans.  Their personal best is 160.98.  She is 24 and he is 29.

Cappellini/Lanotte, ITA: They finished 4th at Worlds last season and are the reigning European Silver Medalists.  They won gold at Cup of China and silver at Rostelecom Cup to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they won bronze.  They are the 2014 World Champions, 2014 European Champions, 2015 European Silver Medalists, and 2013 European Bronze Medalists.  Their personal best is 178.01.  She is 29 and he is 30.

Guignard/Fabbri, ITA: They placed 12th at Worlds last season.  They finished 7th at Europeans.  They finished 4th at Skate Canada and 4th at Rostelecom Cup.  Their personal best is 172.28.  She is 26 and he is 28.

Muramoto/Reed, JPN: They placed 7th at Four Continents.  They finished 7th at NHK Trophy.  Their personal best is 145.83.  She is 23 and he is 26.

Khromova/Zhunussov, KAZ: They finished 14th at Four Continents.  Their personal best is 114.20.  She is 18 and he is 24.

Jakushina/Nevskiy, LAT: They finished 29th at Worlds last season.  They placed 22nd at Europeans.  Their personal best is 120.86.  She is 18 and he is 23.

Kaliszek/Spodirev, POL: They finished 24th at Worlds last season.  They placed 11th at Europeans.  Their personal best is 150.60.  She is 19 and he is 22.

Kim/Minov, KOR: They finished 26th at Worlds last season.  They placed 11th at Four Continents.  They placed 6th at Rostelecom Cup.  Their personal best is 137.28.  She is 18 and he is 23.

Sinitsina/Katsalapov, RUS: They finished 4th at Europeans.  They won silver at Skate America and bronze at Rostelecom Cup.  Their personal best is 172.65.  She is 20 and he is 24.

Stepanova/Bukin, RUS: They placed 9th at Worlds last season.  They finished 5th at Europeans.  They won bronze at Trophee Eric Bompard and placed 4th at NHK Trophy.  They are the 2015 European Bronze Medalists, 2013 World Junior Champions and 2012 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 165.55.  She is 20 and he is 22.

Testa/Csolley, SVK: They finished 15th at Worlds last season.  They placed 8th at Europeans.  They placed 4th at Cup of China.  Their personal best is 158.05.  She is 22 and he is 25.

Robledo/Fenero, ESP: They finished 19th at Europeans.  Their personal best is 122.81.  She is 21 and he is 23.

Agafonova/Ucar, TUR: They placed 16th at Worlds last season.  They placed 12th at Europeans.  They finished 7th at Trophee Eric Bompard.  Their personal best is 151.74.  She is 25 and he is 31.

Nazarova/Nikitin, UKR: They finished 17th at Worlds last season.  They placed 7th at Skate America.  They are the 2015 World Junior Bronze Medalists.  Their personal best is 148.48.  She is 19 and he is 21.

Chock/Bates, USA: They are the reigning World Silver Medalists and Four Continents Silver Medalists.  They won gold at Skate America and silver at Cup of China to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they won silver.  They are the 2015 Four Continents Silver Medalists and 2013 Four Continents Bronze Medalists.  Their personal best is 181.34.  She is 23 and he is 27.

Hubbell/Donohue, USA: They finished 10th at Worlds last season.  They placed 4th at Four Continents.  They won gold at Trophee Eric Bompard and bronze at NHK Trophy to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they finished 6th.  They are the 2014 Four Continents Champions.  Their personal best is 172.29.  She is 25 and he is 25.

Shibutani/Shibutani, USA: They placed 5th at Worlds last season and are the reigning Four Continents Champions.  They won silver at Skate Canada and gold at NHK Trophy to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they finished 4th.  They are the 2011 World Bronze Medalists, 2011 Four Continents Silver Medalists, 2015 Four Continents Bronze Medalists and 2009 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 181.62.  She is 21 and he is 24.

 

Russian Nationals Senior Dance Results

Short Dance

Pl. Name Nation TSS
=
TES
+
PCS
+
SS TR PE CC IT Deduction
StN.
1 Victoria Sinitsin / Nikita Katsalapov MOS 73.96 36.70 37.26 9.25 9.11 9.32 9.50 9.39 0.00 # 3
2 Ekaterina Bobrova / Dmitry Solovyov MOS 70.21 33.97 36.24 9.00 8.86 9.04 9.29 9.11 0.00 # 2
3 Alexander Stepanov / Ivan Bukin MOS 68.56 33.45 35.11 8.71 8.54 8.89 8.86 8.89 0.00 #8
4 Elena Ilinykh / Ruslan Zhiganshin MOS 66.75 32.67 35.08 8.64 8.54 8.71 9.04 8.93 100 #5
5 Tiffany ZAHORSKI / Jonathan Ghurair MOS 61.30 29.13 32.17 7.96 7.89 7.86 8.25 8.25 0.00 # 6
6 Anna Janowski / Sergey BRAINS MOS 57.92 28.83 29.09 7.32 7.11 7.32 7.39 7.21 0.00 #1
7 Lyudmila Sosnitsky / AP GOLOVISHNIKOV MOS 53.55 27.09 26.46 6.61 6.39 6.64 6.82 6.61 0.00 #4
8 Anastasia SAFRONOV / Ilya ZIMIN SPB 43.68 21.31 22.37 5.57 5.43 5.57 5.71 5.68 0.00 #10
9 Margarita SHESTAKOVA / Savely Gloom CYRUS 36.57 18.34 18.23 4.43 4.36 4.61 4.75 4.64 0.00 #9
10 Angelica Kanivets / Alexei Chizhov ESA 35.46 16.63 18.83 4.79 4.61 4.68 4.79 4.68 0.00 # 7

Free Dance

Pl. Name Nation TSS
=
TES
+
PCS
+
SS TR PE CC IT Deduction
StN.
1 Ekaterina Bobrova / Dmitry Solovyov MOS 106.77 51.76 55.01 9.14 8.93 9.18 9.29 9.29 0.00 # 6
2 Elena Ilina / Ruslan Zhiganshina MOS 102.97 50.55 52.42 8.68 8.57 8.75 8.89 8.79 0.00 #8
3 Victoria Sinitsin / Nikita Katsalapov MOS 101.87 46.43 55.44 9.25 9.07 9.21 9.36 9.32 0.00 #9
4 Alexander Stepanov / Ivan Bukin MOS 101.70 49.30 53.40 8.75 8.75 9.04 9.00 8.96 100 #10
5 Tiffany ZAGORSKY / Jonathan Ghurair MOS 98.30 49.30 49.00 8.11 7.89 8.25 8.29 8.29 0.00 # 7
6 Anna Janowski / Sergey BRAINS MOS 81.94 38.24 43.70 7.29 7.11 7.29 7.43 7.29 0.00 # 2
7 Lyudmila Sosnitsky / AP GOLOVISHNIKOV MOS 76.86 38.16 39.70 6.61 6.43 6.61 6.75 6.68 100 #4
8 Anastasia SAFRONOV / Ilya ZIMIN SPB 64.56 32.86 32.70 5.43 5.21 5.46 5.54 5.61 100 #5
9 Angelica Kanivets / Alexei Chizhov ESA 58.29 30.62 27.67 4.61 4.46 4.64 4.71 4.64 0.00 # 3
10 Margarita SHESTAKOVA / Savely Gloom CYRUS 55.10 28.09 27.01 4.61 4.29 4.54 4.61 4.46 0.00 #1

Total

FPl. Name Nation Points KT PT
1 Ekaterina Bobrova / Dmitry Soloviev MOS 176.98 2 1
2 Victoria Sinitsina / Nikita Katsalapov MOS 175.83 1 3
3 Alexander Stepanova / Ivan Bukin MOS 170.26 3 4
4 Elena Ilinykh / Ruslan Zhiganshin MOS 169.72 4 2
5 Tiffany ZAHORSKI / Jonathan Guerriero MOS 159.60 5 5
6 Anna Janowski / Sergey BRAINS MOS 139.86 6 6
7 Lyudmila Sosnitskaia / AP GOLOVISHNIKOV MOS 130.41 7 7
8 Anastasia SAFRONOVA / Ilya ZIMIN SPB 108.24 8 8
9 Angelica Kanivets / Alexei Chizhov ESA 93.75 10 9
10 Margarita SHESTAKOVA / Savely Ugriumov CYRUS 91.67 9 10

NHK Trophy Dance Results

Short Dance

Pl. Name Nation TSS
=
TES
+
PCS
+
SS TR PE CC IT Ded.
StN.
1 Maia SHIBUTANI / Alex SHIBUTANI USA 68.08 33.94 34.14 8.39 8.32 8.71 8.68 8.57 0.00 #8
2 Madison HUBBELL / Zachary DONOHUE USA 66.57 33.62 32.95 8.21 8.04 8.36 8.36 8.21 0.00 #7
3 Ekaterina BOBROVA / Dmitri SOLOVIEV RUS 66.19 33.00 33.19 8.21 8.04 8.39 8.46 8.39 0.00 #4
4 Alexandra STEPANOVA / Ivan BUKIN RUS 61.96 31.37 30.59 7.64 7.54 7.75 7.68 7.64 0.00 #5
5 Penny COOMES / Nicholas BUCKLAND GBR 61.00 30.49 30.51 7.64 7.50 7.64 7.75 7.61 0.00 #6
6 Anastasia CANNUSCIO / Colin MCMANUS USA 55.21 28.32 26.89 6.82 6.46 6.75 6.86 6.71 0.00 #3
7 Kana MURAMOTO / Chris REED JPN 53.44 26.90 26.54 6.54 6.39 6.82 6.79 6.64 0.00 #1
8 Emi HIRAI / Marien DE LA ASUNCION JPN 43.61 20.33 23.28 5.79 5.68 5.96 6.04 5.64 0.00 #2

Free Dance

Pl. Name Nation TSS
=
TES
+
PCS
+
SS TR PE CC IT Ded.
StN.
1 Maia SHIBUTANI / Alex SHIBUTANI USA 106.35 53.34 54.01 8.82 8.79 9.18 9.11 9.11 1.00 #8
2 Ekaterina BOBROVA / Dmitri SOLOVIEV RUS 103.14 51.62 51.52 8.50 8.29 8.71 8.68 8.75 0.00 #6
3 Madison HUBBELL / Zachary DONOHUE USA 100.92 50.83 51.09 8.43 8.21 8.68 8.57 8.68 1.00 #7
4 Alexandra STEPANOVA / Ivan BUKIN RUS 98.68 50.33 48.35 7.93 7.89 8.14 8.14 8.18 0.00 #5
5 Penny COOMES / Nicholas BUCKLAND GBR 94.88 48.49 46.39 7.68 7.50 7.75 7.79 7.93 0.00 #4
6 Anastasia CANNUSCIO / Colin MCMANUS USA 83.20 41.55 42.65 7.04 6.96 7.07 7.29 7.18 1.00 #3
7 Kana MURAMOTO / Chris REED JPN 81.53 41.74 40.79 6.61 6.64 6.64 7.14 6.96 1.00 #2
8 Emi HIRAI / Marien DE LA ASUNCION JPN 71.98 37.75 34.23 5.75 5.61 5.89 5.82 5.46 0.00 #1

Total

FPl. Name Nation Points SD FD
1 Maia SHIBUTANI / Alex SHIBUTANI
USA
174.43 1 1
2 Ekaterina BOBROVA / Dmitri SOLOVIEV
RUS
169.33 3 2
3 Madison HUBBELL / Zachary DONOHUE
USA
167.49 2 3
4 Alexandra STEPANOVA / Ivan BUKIN
RUS
160.64 4 4
5 Penny COOMES / Nicholas BUCKLAND
GBR
155.88 5 5
6 Anastasia CANNUSCIO / Colin MCMANUS
USA
138.41 6 6
7 Kana MURAMOTO / Chris REED
JPN
134.97 7 7
8 Emi HIRAI / Marien DE LA ASUNCION
JPN
115.59 8 8

NHK Trophy Dance Preview

The standings going into this event are (bolded skaters have qualified):

  1. Weaver/Poje (30)
  2. Chock/Bates (28)
  3. Cappellini/Lanotte (28)
  4. Sinitsina/Katsalapov (24)
  5. Gilles/Poirier (24) *
  6. Ilinykh/Katsalapov (18)

*Gilles and Poirier competed at Trophee Eric Bompard and can qualify with a 7th place finish in the Final standings.

Hubbell and Donohue won the short dance at Trophee Eric Bompard.  They have the 7th best short dance score.  They need a gold, silver or bronze medal to guarantee a spot in the Final.  They have one of the best chances of making the Final of any skater or team here, as they can finish as low as 7th in the standings and still qualify.

The Shibutanis won silver at Skate Canada.  They have the 5th best short dance, 6th best free dance and 5th best total scores.  They need a gold or silver medal to guarantee a spot in the Final.

Bobrova and Soloviev won bronze at Skate Canada.  They have the 8th best short dance, 8th best free dance and 7th best total scores.  They need a gold medal to guarantee a spot in the Final.

Stepanova and Bukin finished 3rd in the short dance at Trophee Eric Bompard.  They need a gold medal to guarantee a spot in the Final.  They can still qualify for the Final with a 7th place finish in the Final standings.

Coomes and Buckland finished 4th in the short program at Trophee Eric Bompard.  They need a gold medal to give themselves a chance at qualifying for the Final.  They can still qualify with a 7th place finish in the Final standings.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Shibutani/Shibutani

Silver: Hubbell/Donohue

Bronze: Bobrova/Soloviev

Trophee Eric Bompard Short Dance Results

 Pl. Name Nation TSS
=
TES
+
PCS
+
SS TR PE CC IT Ded.
StN.
1 Madison HUBBELL / Zachary DONOHUE USA 64.45 32.62 31.83 7.96 7.82 8.04 8.00 7.96 0.00 #6
2 Piper GILLES / Paul POIRIER CAN 63.94 31.91 32.03 7.93 7.86 8.07 8.14 8.04 0.00 #7
3 Alexandra STEPANOVA / Ivan BUKIN RUS 60.64 30.50 30.14 7.57 7.36 7.68 7.64 7.43 0.00 #2
4 Penny COOMES / Nicholas BUCKLAND GBR 58.34 27.66 30.68 7.75 7.54 7.71 7.71 7.64 0.00 #5
5 Laurence FOURNIER BEAUDRY / Nikolaj SORENSEN DEN 54.72 27.67 27.05 6.89 6.54 6.79 6.89 6.71 0.00 #3
6 Anna YANOVSKAYA / Sergey MOZGOV RUS 52.88 25.65 27.23 6.82 6.68 6.82 6.93 6.79 0.00 #4
7 Alisa AGAFONOVA / Alper UCAR TUR 47.64 21.92 25.72 6.61 6.29 6.54 6.46 6.25 0.00 #1