Sunday, 24 April 2011

Preview - World Championships

So this week marks the start of the 2011 World Figure Skating Championships, now held in Moscow instead of Nagano after the devastating events in Japan. So who are the contenders to watch?


Reigning Champion: Daisuke Takahashi
Forerunner for Gold: Patrick Chan
Potential Challengers: Amodio, Kozuka, Takahashi, Joubert, Brezina

Patrick Chan is definitely the main contender for this event - his performance at Canadian Nationals included a quad toeloop in his short and TWO quad toes in his long, and he's going to want to match that in Moscow. However, I suspect his competition will come from the 2014 kids, Florent Amodio and Michel Brezina, who have a history of consistency in competition that Chan does not. Brian Joubert, Takahiko Kozuka and reigning gold medalist Daisuke Takahashi will also be trying to take the gold. The mens event is undoubtedly one of the most exciting of the whole competition as it is notoriously hard to predict, especially with such a deep field.


Reigning Champion: Qing Pang and Jian Tong
Forerunners for Gold: Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy
Potential Challengers: Pang/Tong, Volosozhar/Trankov, Basarova/Larionov

The pairs event seems to be a two-horse race between Pang and Tong and Savchenko and Szolkowy. The Germans won at the recent Grand Prix Final by over 20 points; however, their lack of jumping consistency may be their downfall. The Russian team will also be the main challengers hoping to take a home gold - both Basarova/Larinov and Kavaguti/Smirnov have a good chance, but all eyes will be on Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov. It'll be interesting to see if their gamble in partner-swapping paid off - their sizable win at their only competition so far, the Mont Blanc Trophy, seems to suggest so!


Reigning Champion: Mao Asada
Forerunner for Gold: Yu-na Kim (?)
Potential Challengers: Asada, Csizny, Kostner, Ando, Flatt, Murakami

This ladies event marks Yu-na Kim's return to competition after her gold medal win in Vancouver, but how will she fare after a whole season out and a messy split from coach Brian Orser? Mao Asada has had a very mixed season but she's been known to pull a winning performance out when it's been least expected, so she might take a surprise gold. Also hoping for a medal will be Alissa Csizny, riding high on her Grand Prix Final win, and her teammate Rachael Flatt, as well as Japan's Miki Ando and Kanako Murakami.

Ice Dance

Reigning Champion: Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir
Forerunner for Gold: Virtue/Moir
Potential Challengers: Davis/White, Pechalat/Bourzat

This is also a event which marks a return to competition; it is Virtue and Moir's first full competition of the season, as they were forced to withdraw from both Grand Prix assignments, Canadian Nationals and the long program of Four Continents due to Virtue's injury struggles. It'll be interesting to see if Davis and White have managed to leapfrog over their training mates due to their extra practice time - after all, they've always been a very close second! Pechalat and Bourzat will also be fighting for a medal, fresh after their huge win at Europeans.

So that's my predictions/round-up - who are your picks? Also I've posted the dates and times of each event below - enjoy! I'll also be blogging about each event and live-tweeting.

World Championships (Moscow Times)
Monday, April 25
14:00 Qualification round: Men

Tuesday, April 26
12:00 Qualification round: Ice dancing
15:30 Qualification round: Ladies

Wednesday, April 27
13:00 Men's short program
18:30 Pairs short program

Thursday, April 28
13:30 Men's free skating
18:30 Pairs free skating

Friday, April 29
13:30 Ladies short program
18:30 Short dance

Saturday, April 30
13:30 Ladies' free skating
18:30 Free dance

Sunday, May 1
14:00 Exhibition