Finally, a field with a bit less unpredictability! The ice dance competition at this week’s 2012 Skate Canada will feature the reigning World champions competing at home. But after the top two, there are two groups of three who will likely be fairly neck-and-neck with each other. Getting the proper levels, as has become a standard differentiator in ice dance, will likely predict one teams success over the next.
After previewing the men, the ladies, and the pairs, we take a look at the ice dance teams before competition starts tomorrow at Skate Canada.
GOLD Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir CAN – Should we already hand them the gold? I’d say so. Much like Davis/White last week at Skate America, Virtue/Moir are more or less assured of the title, unless something drastic happens. Of course, something drastic did happen in their preparation for Finlandia, as the team had to withdraw from that competition due to a strained muscle for Moir. If it all goes as planned, Skate Canada will be more about prepping for their next showdown with Davis/White than anything else.
SILVER Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte ITA – Silver at Finlandia, Cappellini/Lanotte skated a great free dance to almost make it to the top of the podium. After a career-high sixth at Worlds last season, this could be the time for the Italians to make another big push to the top.
BRONZE Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue USA – Not bad for a first season together – bronze at Nationals, then tenth at Worlds. Hubbell/Donohue started their season finishing behind the Italians at Finlandia. They have a great shot at getting onto the Grand Prix podium for the first time for either partner.
4. Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier CAN – Interestingly enough, Donohue’s former partner is none other than Gilles, who will be making her Grand Prix debut with Poirier and for Canada. Canada’s been abuzz with anticipation for this team, and it’ll be their first time on the truly big stage. They had a satisfying start to their season already, taking gold at U.S. Classic last month.
5. Ekaterina Riazanova/Ilia Tkachenko RUS – The Russian bronze medalists had some success last season, though you wouldn’t have known it with their Grand Prix finishes. Their ninth place at Worlds was a bit of a surprise to some, though they more than deserved that placement with their programs that week.
6. Julia Zlobina/Alexei Sitnikov AZE – Silver medalists at Nebelhorn last month, Zlobina/Sitnikov will be making their Grand Prix debut this week against a much stronger field than they faced at Nebelhorn.
7. Pernelle Carron/Lloyd Jones FRA – They were probably as shocked as anyone else that they completely missed qualifying for the free dance at Worlds last season, considering they medaled on the Grand Prix for the first time in their career just a few months before that. It’ll certainly be interesting to see how they rebound from that effort.
8. Kharis Ralph/Asher Hill CAN – A seventh at Nebelhorn was probably not the start they had hoped for to the season, considering they were 13th at Worlds last season. Can they find their way up the leaderboard at home?
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