We all know who the big names and medal contenders are for the Olympics next February in Vancouver. But there are some dark horses lurking out there that I think we should keep an eye on who might surprise us. That surprise may come in the form of an unexpectedly high placement at the Olympics…it might come with an Olympic Medal attached!
Amongst the pairs, I don’t think we should forget about the Canadian duo of Duhamel and Buntin. This team is powerful, exciting, dynamic…they’re all those words Skate Canada wants its athletes using to describe themselves! I don’t think anyone has them pegged for a podium finish but I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens. I think we should continue to keep an eye on the Ukrainian team of Volosozhar and Morozov. At times, they have a quiet consistency that serves them well. Finally, whichever one of the young Russian teams makes it to the Olympics should be watched as well.
Among the ladies, watch out for Kiira Korpi who I think one of these days is going to shock us all. The fight for the Olympic Team in Japan is fierce, but should Akiko Suzuki make the team I think she would also have to be considered a dark horse? The young Russian, Alena Leonova, who loves an audience and has more energy than she knows what to do with it could really make a splash too (set herself up nicely for Sochi in the process!). Of course, it’s like a complete mystery who will be on the U.S. Olympic Team, some U.S. skaters may be considered dark horses while others may be considered favorites…
Dance is a little less ‘dark horsey’ because it’s quite clear who the contenders are. I would caution, however, everyone to keep an eye on Kerr and Kerr of Great Britain, Faiella and Scali as well as Cappellini and Lanotte both of Italy and Crone and Poirier of Canada. Also, watch out for Chock and Zuerlein of the U.S. The U.S. Dance fight for the podium will be fierce this season too!
Do we consider Evgeny Plushenko and Stephane Lambiel dark horses or favorites…I’m not sure? Definite dark horses include Denis Ten of Kazakhstan (if you didn’t see his World’s Free…well…you should!). He’s musical; one of those skaters that just knows how to hit every note in his music and pulls in great component scores. He’s been fiddling with the quad and if he can hit it with a solid program, watch out. Yannick Ponsero of France is an unusual skater, unique (like most French skaters) style, and also proved last season that he could possibly contend with the ‘big boys.’ The breakout story of last season, Samuel Contesti of Italy, could be a force if he can reduplicate what he did last season. I’m still waiting for Sergei Voronov of Russia to put it all together; when he does he’ll be dangerous. Another Frenchmen, also unique, Florent Amodio has an outside shot at making the French Olympic Team and could be interesting to watch. A few guys from Canada (only one of which will most likely make the Olympic Team) could surprise. Kevin Reynolds with his quad jumps, Vaughn Chipeur with that huge Triple Axel, and Jeremy Ten with his incredible speed could all surprise us as well.
Who do you think we should keep an eye on?