Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Grand Prix Crunch in Paris

As this season's final event, Trophy Eric Bompard will decide who is in for Beijing, and who is out. The last Grand Prix event is always interesting because I imagine skaters on the ice trying to make the final are perhaps as nervous as those watching at home hoping they've done enough to qualify.

Beginning with Ice Dance, three teams have sealed the deal as far as the Grand Prix Final goes: Americans Davis and White, Canadians Crone and Poirier, and Russians Bobrova and Soloviev. Competing in Paris with a shot at making the Grand Prix Final is Pechalat and Bourzat of France. Having won Cup of China they look to be in really good shape to make the final and are the CLEAR FAVORITES at this event. I think if they just stand on the ice and look good they win. Then it becomes a bit of a scramble. The dance field in France is the weakest thus far on the Grand Prix so it's somewhat unpredictable. American's Chock and Zuerlein are in the running for the Grand Prix Final after their bronze medal effort in Canada. Three more teams, with a win, could make the final in Paris: Riazanova and Tkachenko of Russia, Carron and Jones of France, and Huang and Zheng of China (a bit remarkable that we are still talking about a Chinese Dance team being in the running for the GPF...it's been one of those seasons!)...however it is a bit unlikely that any of these teams would win. Who is at home biting their finger-nails? With the best shot of any is Canadians Weaver and Poje who are on the better end of a tie-breaking situation and barring some very unusual results will likely qualify. Praying for miracles are Hungarians Hoffmann and Zavozin and Americans Shibutani and Shibutani.

The ladies competition has been so odd this season, I haven't known what to really make of it. Given that, 5 of the 6 spots for the Grand Prix Final have already been decided: Italy's Carolina Kostner, Miki Ando, Kanako Murakami, and Akiko Suzuki all of Japan, and American Rachael Flatt have all qualified. That means one spot is still open. Who can get after it? American Alissa Czisny has the best chance having won Gold at Canada. Should Alissa have big problems, and certain placements happen, three ladies are still in the running including Canada's Cynthia Phaneuf, American Mirai Nagasu, and Finland's Kiira Korpi. Needing a miracle to make the final is Japan's Haruka Imai. Even more interesting, mathematically Mao Asada of Japan and Mae Bernice Meite of France still have a shot...but they need more than a miracle...they need divine intervention. Not only would they have to win....but they also would need Nagasu, Korpi, Phanuef, and Czisny to finish TEB with little to no points (depending on the competitor). Not gonna happen. No real nail-biting at home...even though Ashley Wagner is on the bubble, she is unlikely to make the final...it would take one of those miracle scenarios.

In Pairs, four teams have sealed the deal for the final already. China's Pang and Tong, Canadians Moore-Towers and Moscovitch, Russians Iliushechkina and Maisuradze, and China's Sui and Han (the latter two teams on the good end of a tie-breaker). Only two teams competing in Paris have a shot at making the final. Germans Savcehnko and Szolkowy who won Skate America and Russia's Bazarova and Larionov who took silver in Japan. Those two teams should have no problem going 1-2 and nabbing the last two spots at the final. But...should disaster strike, mathematically Takahashi and Tran of Japan and Americans Yankowskas and Coughlin are still viable...it's a stretch though. Takahashi and Tran have a better shot if Bazarova and Larionov have troubles.

Finally the men...what a season so far! Four guys have secured spots in Beijing: Daisuke Takhashi of Japan, Patrick Chan of Canada, Tomas Verner of the Czech Republic, and Nobunari Oda of Japan. A whopping five men competing in Paris have a shot at making the final yet. With the best opportunity is Takahiko Kozuka of Japan. American Brandon Mroz has the next best shot after finishing right behind Takahiko in China. Trickier but still with a decent chance is Florent Amodio. And even more tricky but still possible is Brian Joubert and Kevin Reynolds. The REAL nail-biting is being done by Jeremy Abbott who is on the serious bubble! He still has a shot at the Grand Prix Final depending on how the guys finish in Paris...it'll be close. Poor Adam Rippon...after his hiccup at Skate America he has hardly any shot at all for the Grand Prix Final. This will be the crunchiest of all the numbers in Paris!

Fantasy picks...take a look below. I'm determined to move up the standings after the Dance event in Russia killed me! Am I crazy to go with Asada?


Anonymous said...

Supposedly, Asada's jumps have really improved in practice so maybe you're not crazy to have picked her.

Don't Chock/Zuerlein just need a silver to make the final? They should be able to.

Jeremy needs Kozuka to win to make the final so I hope he wins. And I hope Mroz gets bronze with a lower score than Jeremy's so we have an American man medal and Jeremy still makes the final.

Anonymous said...

I've heard that Sui/Han's coach stated that they will be doing JGPF (for reasons honestly beyond me, they've won everything on the junior circuit already), so Takahashi/Tran are most likely in