Monday, January 17, 2011

The Deep Dive

Things have been moving and shaking on my end of the block. Focusing intensely on work to make sure I could make it to Nationals has kept me away from the blogging but I am back with a vengeance this week.

Lots to look forward, lots to look back at, this week is the Figure Skating Deep Dive where I rededicate myself to Figure Skating! What's ahead? A look back at Japanese and Russian Nationals, and a look forward to U.S. Nationals. I also take a look at the action scheduled in Bern at the European Championships and in Victoria at the Canadian National Championships.

Victoria, B.C. is where I'll begin my plunge this week where the Canadian National Championships are underway. Two big stories have topped the headlines...first Chan deciding to add a second quad to his free skate to compete technically with Kevin Reynolds (but his components are so far and away better he doesn't need it at all) and the withdrawal of Virtue and Moir from the event.

"Our training has been going really well, and we both were hoping to be in Victoria to defend our Canadian title. It’s a really important competition for us," Scott told reporters. "However, Tessa and I sat down with our coaches Igor Shpilband and Marina Zoueva late last week and together the four of us made the difficult decision not to compete in Victoria. We have been making huge progress every single day in training, so we are confident that we can really build our programs over the next four weeks and feel well prepared for the ISU Four Continents figure skating championships." Their withdrawal sets up a head-to-head battle between Crone and Poirier and Weaver and Poje. Crone and Poirier took the Bronze at the Grand Prix Final but weaver and Poje have been making improvements all season...should be close.

Joannie Rochette will also be absent from the competitors list as she has chosen to not compete this year. Cynthia Phaneuf comes in with the best credentials looking to win another National Title. She'll have Amelie Lacoste and Myriane Samson to contend with. In Pairs, Moore-Towers and Moscovitch will attempt to highlight a banner season.

Finally, for the men, its been all about the quad. Former quad hater turned quad skater Patrick Chan has upped the ante by adding a second quad to his free skate. "Hopefully, landing them will create a great buzz in the building," Chan said during a conference call from Colorado Springs. Looking to create more buzz will be the hometown hero Kevin Reynolds who made history last fall landing two quads in his short at Skate Canada...three more in his free skate. But Kevin has a long way to go artistically to compete with Chan. The only skate close to Chan artistically is Shawn Sawyer. Armed with an amazingly choreographed free skate to "Alice in Wonderland," Shawn continues to struggle with consistency. If he can get his jumps in order he could contend with the best.

The Senior hit the ice this Friday in Victoria. Details here.

Tomorrow: A look back at Japanese Nationals.

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