All right folks, it's time to break down Skate America...Axels, Loops, and Spins style!
Today, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I'll take each of the disciplines and break down the competition. I arrive in Everett Thursday and the competition kicks off Friday. Understand...this is your place for Skate America updates! I'll be there...front and center!
Let's start today with the Ice Dance competition and it is game on. Skate America will feature one of the best head-to-head match ups of the season with Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto taking on the reigning World Champions from France, Delobel and Schoenfelder.
Both of these teams are evenly matched and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top. At the World Championships in Goteborg, the French team easily defeated the Americans (who actually finished fourth) but if you recall, Tanith and Ben had that nasty slip which put them out of the medals. If they can skate clean, they should be able to go toe-to-toe with the French team. We also have to factor into the equation Tanith and Ben's coaching change and the effect it will have on their performance. It will be fascinating.
And then the battle for bronze...My guess is that the Kerr's have this locked up. The British brother/sister team has been on the move, recently won the Finlandia Trophy, and things just seem to be going their way. But they will have to contend with the reigning Junior World Champions from the U.S., Samuelson and Bates, who conversely won the recent Nebelhorn Trophy. If Samuelson and Bates can get past Kerr and Kerr for the Bronze, that will be a big accomplishment for them.
Other teams will be waiting in the wings and could capitalize if the top teams make mistakes. Especially keep an eye on Fraser and Lukanin of Azerbaijan and Carron and Jost of France.
My medal call:
GOLD - Delobel and Schoenfelder
SILVER - Belbin and Agosto
BRONZE - Kerr and Kerr
Be sure to share your thoughts in comments below.