Ahhh...the City of Lights. Paris is where we find ourselves this week for the Trophée Eric Bompard Cachemire, or, Grand Prix Paris if you like! Very good field of competitors indeed.
The reigning World Champions, Delobel and Schoenfelder, who will be competing at home look to take their second title. A bit of a tussle may ensue for the silver between the veteran Italian team of Faiella and Scali and the British team of Kerr and Kerr. These three teams, barring disaster, will comprise the podium.
The ladies field will give us our first look this season at reigning World Champ Mao Asada. Mao looks to be perhaps the only competitor that can stand between Yu-Na and a world title. If Mao isn't on top of her game, Joannie Rochette could capitalize after a dazzling win at Skate Canada. Speaking of Skate Canada, two American ladies look to erase the bad memories of that event. Both Caroline Zhang and Bebe Liang are competing in Paris. Emily Hughes looks to put last seasons hip injury behind her and get a fresh start (is it me, or have there been a lot of events with three American women in them?). I always enjoy watching Georgia's Elene Gedevanishvili as well...what a little powerhouse!
The pairs field is quite reminiscent of Skate America, half of the field from that event is competing in Paris. The Germans Savchenko and Szolkowy look to win again while Russians Mukhortova and Trankov look to improve their free skate to stay competitive with the Germans. Canadians Duhamel and Buntin will be trying to move themselves onto the podium after finishing 4th in Everett. Look again for Americans Vise and Trent to attempt the throw quad salchow, this event where they became the first team to land it in competition last season.
The men's event is chock full of competitors. Sadly, this was to be Lambiel's second Grand Prix Event which would have made the field more exciting...poor alas. Takahiko Kozuka and Patrick Chan have each won a Grand Prix event and look to hit the podium here and solidify a spot at the Grand Prix Final. Chan is the defending Champion of this event. Ryan Bradley, surprise silver medalist at Skate Canada looks to repeat the same success here and make it to the final for the first time in his career. But France puts forward a strong team of it's own. Alban Preaubert, while unpredictable, has been known to skate well and sneak onto podiums. Also, Brian Joubert makes his Grand Prix debut. He has a shaky history with this event, having won it only once, but looks to be dominant. Let's hope he's resolved his blade issues. Because of a plan I put forward in a previous post, let's also hope Brandon Mroz of the U.S. has an amazing skate as well! Okay U.S. men...it's time to activate OPERATION PLUMMEL THE GRAND PRIX FINAL PODIUM! It all begins (and perhaps ends) in Paris!
My Medal Call:
GOLD - Savchenko and Szolkowy
SILVER - Mukhortova and Trankov
BRONZE - Duhamel and Buntin
GOLD - Joubert
SILVER - Chan
BRONZE - Kozuka
Understand that none of these predictions make OPERATION PLUMMEL THE PODIUM a success...so really I'm rooting against myself here!
GOLD - Delobel and Schoenfelder
SILVER - Faiella and Scali
BRONZE - Kerr and Kerr
GOLD - Mao Asada
SILVER - Caroline Zhang (I'm an optimist!)
BRONZE - Joannie Rochette (And a pessimist!)