Friday, January 18, 2013

European Championships Preview - Men's, Pairs, and Dance

Since I don't follow Men's, Pairs, or Dance that much (I probably follow Dance the most), I'm doing a quick preview of all three disciplines.
For Men's especially, I don't really know the skaters very well, i.e. their consistency, mental game, etc.

Anyways, here we go:

Men's:

The top players here are most likely going to be the same from last years Euros. The dominating forces in Men's are Russia, France, and the Czech Republic. Spain also has Javier Fernandez, who caused a major upset at Skate Canada this season by rightfully defeating Patrick Chan. Fernandez was the only European skater at the GPF, placing 4th, although winning the FS. He has an excellent chance of nabbing bronze, but he'll need to be completely clean.

Michal Brezina and Tomas Verner of the Czech Republic were 4th and 5th, respectively, last year at Euros, and should do about the same.

Florent Amodio and Brian Joubert of France were 3rd and 8th, respectively, last season. Both are always a force, and can be relied on for a top 10 finish. If Florent Amodio is low after the short program, don't assume he's finished. Amodio was 7th after the SP and Trophee Eric Bompard this season, and came roaring back to win the FS and the bronze medal.

All three Russians, Evgeni Plushenko, Sergei Voronov, and Maxim Kovtun, all have excellent shots at medals. Don't be surprised if Plushenko and his flailing arms while skating to the next jump win over skaters who understand the concept of artistry. Maxim Kovtun is the reigning JGPF champion, and was somewhat controversially picked over Konstantin Menshov, with Morozov dramatically claiming that Menshov's life has been ruined. Kovtun will be at his first senior ISU Championship, and needs to not let the pressure get to him.


Pairs:

It appears that only 15 pairs will be competing here, which makes things a bit interesting.

The main players for medals here are going to be Savchenko/Szolkowy of Germany, Bazarova/Larionov, Kavaguti/Smirnov, and Volosozhar/Trankov of Russia. All three Russian teams were at the GPF, with V/T winning, and B/L placing 2nd. Now, 3 of the 6 teams who qualified were not European (Pang/Tong, Duhamel/Radford, and Moore-Towers/Moscovitch). S/S withdrew from their 2nd GP event, which meant that they could not qualify. Stefania Berton/Ondrej Hotarek of Italy were 2nd alternates to the GPF, and were 4th at last years Euros (S/S were also out due to injury). They have an excellent chance at the top 5, and maybe even the bronze if one of the Russian teams has some problems.

Other teams like Popova/Massot and James/Cipres, both of France, should easily be in the top 10, give this absurdly weak field.

Dance:

This was supposed to be an easy win for P├ęchalat/Bourzat, the 2-time reigning European Champions and reigning World/GPF bronze medalists. They are easily the best team in Europe, but had to withdraw due to a groin injury to Bourzat.
That means that like the Ladies' competition, this will also be an Italy/Russia competition.
I'd say that the favorites are Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte of Italy. They were 2nd at both of their GP competitions, and placed 4th at the GPF, behind the absolute 3 best teams in the world. They'll be chased by all three Russian teams, Bobrova/Soloviev, Ilinykh/Katsalapov, and Riazanova/Tkachenko. The first two Russian teams were both at the GPF, and placed 5th and 6th, respectively. Riazanova/Tkachenko were the 2nd alternates to the GPF, but the 1st alternates were not European. They can get on the podium if one of the other three teams makes a mistake, but will most likely place 4th.
Other teams to look for in the top 10 are Tobias/Stagniunas of Lithuania and Zhiganshina/Gazsi of Germany. I know nothing about all the other random teams competing here.

The 2013 European Figure Skating Championships being Monday, January 21st, and go until Sunday, January 27th.

Yes, it is the same week as the US Championships, so it should be a fun week of skating. I'm psyched.

- IllusionSpin

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