As we approach the World Figure Skating Championships, the one competitor I have serious questions about is this guy...Brian Joubert.
What in the world happened at the Olympics? It was like a terrible fall from grace that nobody wanted to see. I'll be the first to admit Joubert is not my 'cup of tea' but he does make a competition more exciting and was shocking to see him way down there (with Abbott too!) in 16th at the Olympics.
He blamed it on his personal life away from the rink, saying he was distracted and not himself.
He's seemed distracted and not himself all season. When he lost the French Masters waaaaaaaayyyyyy back at the beginning of the season to upstart Florent Amodio I smelled trouble. Poor showing at Eric Bompard Trophy, an untimely foot injury, a bad beat at Europeans from Plushenko and Lambiel, and then the Olympic fubar, has put his season, to this point, in the FAIL column. I don't think he can (or would want to) hang his season on NHK Trophy alone.
The French Federation was so worried they made him pass a test skate before they added him to the World Team.
I'm an optimist, I think he'll be in better shape at the World Championships. He's one of a dwindling list of competitors that can challenge Plushenko (if he can realistically be challenged at all) for the title. This will be the second time he will be in a position to bounce back after Olympic disappointment (he won the Silver at Worlds in 2006 after a poor showing in Torino)...can he do it again?
UPDATE: Perhaps Joubert is a Gold Medal Favorite afterall...Plushenko has withdrawn from Worlds.