Mens event the most exciting of the 4 events this year?
Does anyone else think the mens event is by far the most exciting event going into the season? It clearly has the most contenders and the most uncertainty around it.
The womens event will be exciting with Meissner, Asada, and Kim all going head to head as all 3 together for the first time since juniors(although Asada met Kim last year, and Meissner met Asada). However those 3 really seem a cut apart, and they are all similar ages and points in their careers. Cohen if she returns by the end of the year, or Suguri, could be factors I suppose but they will have a huge task to get on the podium at Worlds this year.
The pairs event seems like an all Chinese battle, Shen/Zhou's return almost does serious harm to the hope of possable non-Chinese contenders from Russia, Germany, the U.S, or Canada, cracking the podium this year. That will be interesting to watch in a sense, but the battle between different countries is always something that brings some extra appeal to the competition. Just as in the womens these 3 seem likely to be a cut apart going into next year, now that Pang/Tong, arguably the weakest of the 3 teams have the confidence as World Champions. Petrova/Tikhonov might challenge them a bit, but they are getting quite gold, and were a surprise to even continue into this year. The Germans must rediscover the confidence and momentum they had before the Olympics next year to challenge.
The dance event might be a bit weak this year. Denkova/Stayvinski and Belbin/Agosto probably go into this year as co-favorites. Dubreuil/Lauzon had a great year last year but can they substain that this year, last year was a career year for them, and they are getting older as well, it might be hard to substain. Delobel/Schoenfelder still have failed to crack a World or Olympic podium, and the question now begs if they ever will. Are Domnina/Shabalin really ready to contend this year? Maybe given some retirements, and their inevitable rising being the best Russians, although I dont find them particularly interesting or intoxicating. Moir/Virtue and Mathews/Zazovin venturing into international senior competition will be interesting, and although in no way contenders this year, where they position themselves will be important in the beginning of their journey to 2010 where they would hope to be contenders.
In the mens event Lambiel would head into the year as the odds on favorite one would think, but with his chronic knee problems, and his recent back problems, and triple axel woes(particularly if his competitors who have much more solid triple axels add quads) he is far from a sure thing at this point. Joubert rediscovered his old form at Worlds last year, skating the most error-free short and long programs of any skaters. Lysacek has been consistent and determined in competiton the last couple years. The consistently underachieving Johnny Weir has been less so but claims to be more focused this year. Nobinaru Oda is young with massive potential, and might be ready for a big move this year. Another huge underachiever Daisuke Takahashi now must feel he has to make a Worlds podium soon or be passed by for good by Oda as the guy Japan will pin their highest priority and hopes on in the future. Jeff Buttle managed World and Olympic medals in the last few years with very susceptable jumping consistency, but after a disaesterous Worlds in Canada, major changes might be needed to remain near the top for him. Emmanuel Sandhu continues on, while he probably will yet again fall short of the hyped hopes of Canadians for a World medal, he might make things interesting somewhere in the season, if only at some in the GP circuit. There are some talented juniors who might make a mark somehwere along this year as well.
To me, the most exciting will be dance. I want to see Belbin & Agosto have more "serious", more challenging programs. I want Denkova & Stavijski to totally rock! I'd like Dubreuil & Lauzon to have another great season. I want Matthew & Zavozin to have a season that will establish them as serious contenders on the senior scene. If Drobiazko & Vanagas are to skate competitively (they have withdrawn from Skate America), I want them to show what they can do as well. I want to see if Linichuk can get some improvement for Gregory & Petukhov.
Last edited by Ptichka; 09-14-2006 at 05:03 PM.
I think it will be a toss up between the men & ladies... All of the elite men, with the exception of Oda, have several years of experience and go into this season with strong mindsets of what the year should bring... they also have core fan bases and commentator support which, IMO, generally negates that extremely cool "wow, where did they come from?!?" momentum that we saw with Weir, Evan, Stephan and Eman that last few years... Joubert seems to be the least new. This grouping of five or six men should prove to be interesting... Or it will be a repeat of last year without Plushy.
Now, with the ladies, you will have the benefit of watching a brand new crop who might have a lot of hype but not a lot of testing... including Kimmie. Who can handle the pressure? Who will burn out? Who will shine? The uncertainty will secure the ladies' dominance over the sport, but I shudder to think what the sport will look like in say '09 if none of these young women really make a case for themselves or the sport. Or if the new system continues to churn out programs that are extremely similar.
I totally agree with your assessment of Dance & Pairs... the favorites will continue to dominate and the children will continue to fight it out for fourth through sixth place finishes and hope for a window leading into the '10 games...
Yay! I'm finally starting to get excited about the upcoming season!
Every time I try to pick a discipline, I think of why another will be equally exciting. They all have plenty to which to look forward, although, at this rate of attrition, I'm going to be skating in the Men's event at Skate Canada. (Do they have a bar to hold onto along the side of the rink?)
Without La Kwan around, I can sit back and watch Sr. Ladies Worlds without nerves. While it seems to be a result of the new age trio: Mao, Ya nu and Kimmie, I wouldn't rule out Sasha if she intends to work for it. Joannie, if she gets her act together, will be a force.
Solid quads, which will be the difference in winning Men's will go to Joubert and Lambiel, and depending on Stephane's knee, will determine the winner. The 'ne'er-do-quads': Sandhu, Buttle, Lysencko, Weir, Takehashi, will battle it out for a third spot. Sad, but Li will not even be considered by the judges. He Should!!
Unless, the Russian Fed gets back T&M, It will be a Chinese win for P&T and Z&Z and a possible S&Z. Dube and Davison will make a strong statement but the judges won't buy it. I think Pairs is going the way of Dance in that there is a category of Elitest. The elitest are the only ones considered. Bye bye S&S.
The Elitest in Dance rules out the Kerrs. One must have this silly passion and that comes from Russia. Domina and Shabalan will have that passion this year even if they fall. Who they tack on to the silver and bronze is of no importance.
The above is just a generalization of what I expect at this point in time. I will be looking closely at the GPs and more than likely changing my mind.