Friday, January 21, 2011

Swiss Chocolate Anyone?

When in Chocolate! I've heard it's perhaps why Swiss skaters tend to spin well on the ice.

Perhaps not...

Anywho, the European Championships kick off next week in Bern. They'll run simultaneously with the U.S. Championships (how will I keep my head together!) and will determine Europe's "Cream-of-the-Crop."

Who's in the running? For the ladies I'll throw out 6 names but I have a sneaky suspicion there will be some surprises amongst the ladies. You've got Kiira Korpi, Elene Gedevanishvili, Carolina Kostner, Alena Leonova, Ksenia Makarova, and Sarah Meier. To be blunt, not an extremely impressive field but Europe's best nonetheless. Even with only three triples I think it will be hard for Kostner to not win this. Past her it's a crap-shoot. I'm still trying to figure out how Ksenia Makarova is in the event given a 5th place finish at Russian Nationals...more on that in another post. Meier has been injured since forever, Leonova's programs are a hot mess, Korpi is very inconsistent, and Elene Gedevanishvili likes to double jumps. Forgive me, I'm not expecting fireworks...I'd love for them to prove me wrong.

I'll give you 5 ice dance teams to watch. Pechalat and Bourzat, Kerr and Kerr, Faiella and Scali, Bobrova and Soloviev, and Hoffman and Zavozin. Pechalat and Bourzat have really set themselves apart as the best Europe has to offer this season however I feel that both Kerr and Kerr as well as Faiella and Scali can really push them if they really go for it. The other two teams raised their cred by back-dooring into the Grand Prix Final but I think they'd be happy with a top four or five finish. It's been 11 years since there wasn't a Russian on the ice dance podium at Europeans...some food for thought.

Could see some real fireworks amongst the men! I'll mention 8 guys. Kevin van der Perren, Michal Brezina, Tomas Verner, Florent Amodio, Brian Joubert, Samuel Contesti, Javier Fernandez, and Artur Gachinski (both Schultheiss and Preaubert get honorable mentions). Given what we've seen this season...I'd put the good money on Verner. I love that Brezina is back in the mix now that Verner has stole back some the lime light...who could of predicted such a Czeck rivalry?!?! Good rivalry between Joubert and Amodio shaping up as well. The others...well they need to bring it hard to compete. Can't wait!

In Pairs you basically have the Germans vs the Russians. I wouldn't be surprised if the top five were the teams from these countries. Reigning Champs Kavaguti and Smirnov are back to defend with Bazarova and Larionov and Gerboldt and Enbert in tow. Savchenko and Szolkowy (who are looking good this season) want their title back. Hausch and Wende, also from Germany looked darn good at TEB and might factor in as well. I say the Germans win this by a mile. What I am most bummed about is not being able to see the Russian National Champs compete here. The new team of Volosozhar and Trankov aren't here...wamp wamp (for the love of Nationality changes!).

I'm still craving Swiss Chocolate.

Next Post: Where is Saransk?

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