I've studied all the Grand Prix events, their entries, and in my humble opinion the event to get to next season is...Skate America! If I recall, Skate America was the 'it' event last season too.
But my opinion is based on a bit of premonition, and a bit of math. I'll explain. The premonition part came in when I played the part of obsessed skating fan and predicted the medalists in each event for all four disciplines. I made some tough calls and I'm sure I'll be wrong plenty of the time (right State of the Skate?) but predictions none-the-less.
The math part came in when for each discipline at each event I gave a number. 1 went to the most exciting match-up amongst my predicted medalists while 6 went to the least exciting match-up. I then took the four scores for each event (pairs, ladies, men, and dance) and added them. The lowest score (which was Skate America) was the most exciting because it had the highest excitement score. That make sense? While Skate America I think is the probably the best Grand Prix event, I thought it only the most exciting in one discipline, ice dance. I judged Rostelecom Cup the best men's match up, Eric Bompard the top ladies event, and Cup of China the best pairs competition. More on all these match-ups later this year.
But who is at Skate America that makes it such an exciting event overall? In Ice Dance, Belbin and Agosto get another shot at Delobel and Schoenfelder who narrowly defeated them at the event last season. Russian's Khoklova and Novitski are in the mix and I'm interested to see where Junior World Champs Chock and Zuerlein will squeeze into the mix. World Champ Evan Lysacek headlines the mens field which includes dueling Coloradan's Brandon Mroz and Ryan Bradley as well as the Czech Republic's Tomas Verner. Some of the more 'original' male skaters will be here as well including Sweden's Adrian Schultheiss, Canada's Shawn Sawyer, and France's Florent Amodio. In pairs, the U.S. is keeping its complete lineup a secret but we do know McLaughlin and Brubaker will be there. So to will Shen and Zhao after sitting out two seasons. Their teammates Zhang and Zhang will help keep it interesting as will Ukranian's Volosozhar and Morozov. Finally, the ladies event will have heavy hitter Kim Yu-Na pitted against Sasha Cohen. Flatt, Suguri, and Gedevanishvili will also be in tow. Don't forget the mystery American as yet to be revealed...
Now I find myself faced with a dilemma, a friend has decided to schedule her wedding the same weekend as Skate America (who would do such a thing!). I asked her to push it back a week and she gave me the evil eye...guess that's a no. I need the help of my blog readers...to Skate America in Lake Placid...or to the wedding in Lake Forest???