It's a new year and we've entered into Championship season. Canadian Nationals are in progress and U.S. Nationals get underway next week.
Of course, this year I'm not able to make it out to San Jose for Nationals and my skating icon is getting inducted into the Hall of Fame...of course! I'd totally Queen out as soon as she appeared so maybe it's better this way. But, I'm totally excited for her, I know she'll be glowing, and I'll scream with glee from home whilst watching Ice Network.
So about the competition, I think U.S. Nationals are either going to be shockingly stellar or a complete dud. All I know is that U.S. Figure Skating needs to do something to increase the international mojo...it's been a bit lacking recently.
Of course our flagship competitors will be Meryl and Charlie in Ice Dance...nobody here can beat them, even if they are having a bad day. Seriously...nobody. They could just stand on the ice, Charlie could flip his hair, and that would be enough. Maia and Alex will likely pull in for second with consistent, safe performances. The real interesting bit is for the bronze which I think is up for grabs a bit. Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue? Emily Samuelson/Todd Gilles? Madison Chock/Evan Bates? That might get interesting.
Pairs...yikes. This is one place where its kind of a roll of the dice. I guess I'd say Denney and Coughlin are the ones to beat (each representing one half of the winning team the past two seasons) but they've not been super great. Neither have Evora and Ladwig who are likely the biggest threat to them. But honestly no American Pairs team has been great so I think it will likely come down to who falls the least. After typing that I really it's kind of sad.
The ladies...I just feel like this will be a hot mess. I pray I'm wrong. And I've been kind of blah about really supporting a U.S. lady since Kimmie Meissner disappeared (where did she go?) but I'm fulling full support behind Ashley Wagner! I really want her to gout out there and kick ass. I think of all the U.S. ladies her programs are far superior, especially her Black Swan Free, and that is just how I feel. If Alissa is still on her bum ankle, Rachael is skating like she did in the Grand Prix, and Mirai continues to be a head case...the path should be clear for her.
As for the men, I feel as if this is Jeremy Abbott's to lose. It was made abundantly clear this season that the U.S. men, outside of Jeremy, have some major catching up to do as compared to the rest of the world. The only one in the competition I feel could make a run at Jeremy is Ross Miner. As much as I love Ricky Dornbush, he's had trouble finding the consistency he had last season. Brandon Mroz is like a one-trick pony with his usually unsuccessful quad lutz. Adam Rippon seems unfocused. To be honest, outside of Jeremy, the one I'm really keeping my eye on is Jason Brown. He might be the ultimate spoiler. Gosh, Johnny should have come back sooner (think he'll really comeback?)...he'd have a real shot at this title?
Anyways, I'll be watching and tweeting from home. In two and half weeks I will be making the trip to Colorado Springs for the Four Continents Cup. It will be my first skating competition where I can use my new toy...an iPad 2! I'll recap Canadian Nationals on Monday and will be giving concurrent updates on Europeans during Nationals. Lots on the horizon!