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Thread: Was it one of the most predictable Olympics ever in Turin?

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    Was it one of the most predictable Olympics ever in Turin?

    Was Arakawa's win at the Olympics the only minor surprise, or where there any others to you? The way I see it, the pairs, the mens, the dance went exactly how they were expected to go, and the womens was the only one with a slight surprise at all. It was one of the most predictable figure skating Olympics ever, which made it a bit boring.

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    Shizuka's OGM was not a surprise. She successfully beat Cohen's LP earlier in the season, and was a World Champion. There were also several instances in 02, 03 where, IMO, she should've beaten Cohen and may not have had the judges in her corner.
    I will agree that Turin was boring, but Shizuka's win was beautiful and well deserved.
    Now, had Kimmie or Emily won, that would be a surprise, but I fail to understand why so many counted Shiz out!

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    My short answer to your question of whether the results were the most predictable I've ever seen is a simple yes.

    It had been evident for the past several years that nobody was going to touch Plushenko in the men's event (unfortunately) and Navka/Kostomorov were designated the heirs-apparent to the dance title since their first worlds victory. Pairs, likewise, with Shen/Zhao coming back from a very serious injury and thus not in top form pretty much handed the gold to Totmianina and Marinin - they hadn't had any other close competition in a number of seasons.

    Ladies was a bit more of a toss-up, but I wouldn't say Arakawa was a surprise. I thought Slutskaya more likely, but Arakawa was always on my short list of contenders, so to speak. The ladies, though nobody skated particularly brilliantly, was at least the most competitive of the disciplines.

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    It wasn't Sasha who was the Turin favorite, but Irina. I think the reason that Arakawa's win was something of a surprise was because of the comparative records of Slutskaya and Arakawa going in to the competition.

    Shizuka was ninth at Worlds, third in her own national championship, and thrid in both of her two Grand Prix events, failing to make the final.

    Irina was first at Worlds, first at Europeans, and in her two fall Grand Prix events she set all kinds of point-total records in wrapping up victories going away.

    In fact, the talk all fall was, why even bother to hold the competition, Irina has it sewed up. (Or if not, the judges are going to give it to her anyway.)

    Didn't turn out that way. Ice is slippery.

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    I knew Shizuka had surprised people in the past, I just wasn't counting on her to win. I probably thought Bronze, at best.

    I was hoping for more from the skaters, but not all Olympics are showstoppers. Maybe, it's an every-other-four-years, thing. I don't know.

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    I was quite disapointed with Plushy. I mean there was no feeling no real passion. He just skated and jumped. He can do a lot better than what he did. Sure it was enough for a gold, but it was still rather dull.

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    oh no. I was not surprised at all by Arakawa's win (but Hughes was like ). In fact I considered her a co-favorite to Slutskaya (after the short that is). In other words, if Irina tripped up, then Arakawa would likely win. What WAS the surprise to me was Cohen beating Slutskaya. I wasn't expecting that at ALL. I either thought of an IS-SA-SC podium or SA-IS-SC podium.

    So in my mind:

    | Most Favorable IS-SA-SC*
    | IS-SC-SA*
    | 50-50 shot SA-IS-SC
    | SC-IS-SA
    | [ACTUAL OUTCOME] SA-SC-IS
    V Least Favorable SC-SA-IS

    * Consider it a virtual tie generally speaking, with the first one winning by a hair. I explain below.

    From this one might notice that (and note that all this is strictly IMO ) the most favorable outcomes came out to Irina winning and the least favorable outcomes had Irina in 3rd. Shiz and Cohen were toss-ups, but since I thought an Arakawa victory would have been more likely than a Cohen victory I put that one at 50/50.

    Also, I couldn't quite decide which of these (IS-SA-SC or IS-SC-SA) should have been Most Favorable. Consider that a tie. Initially after the short I would have said IS-SC-SA but after watching Cohen fall again and again in the FS warmup the Most Favorable Outcome then switches somewhat to IS-SA-SC.

    Any other ladies creeping into the podium (in my mind) would have been a shocker.

    The Olympics always tend to have a way of producing an outcome either at or closest to the Least Favorable Outcome. We know how it went down in 2002 and 1998. With other competitions (like Nationals) you get the Most Favorable outcome or something in the More favorable range. For Worlds it can be a toss-up. 2005 I think came out to be in the middle-upper range (I was expecting Cohen to place lower though) and 2006 was totally off the map. I didn't have Kimmie anywhere on the podium other than 3rd

    SO I would almost always go for what I think is the 50/50 shot; due to the unpredictability factor I wouldn't necessarily pick the most likely outcome unless it's US Nationals (which ALWAYS turns out to be the most favorable outcome). The GP series is always a toss-up, however so I basically refrain from predicting anything there.
    Last edited by R.D.; 10-23-2006 at 10:26 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by c_e_ahlen View Post
    I was quite disapointed with Plushy. I mean there was no feeling no real passion. He just skated and jumped. He can do a lot better than what he did. Sure it was enough for a gold, but it was still rather dull.
    You know what I think would perk Plushy up in general? Losing a couple of times in a row. There was a time when he actually WAS, IMHO, a step or two above everyone else, and once CoP rolled around, this was reflected in his scores, which were inflated from here to the moon. Given that, it's easy to see how he's not especially motivated to try especially hard anymore. I think a loss or two would jolt him back into kicking it up a notch or two.

    Now to answer the ACTUAL QUESTION POSED HERE (I don't know what set me off on the Plushy thing): I have to agree that there was not a huge percentage of surprises. Shizuka's gold, yes. And I certainly did not expect Zhang/Zhang on the Pairs podium (are we talking about just the golds here, or the whole podium?) Buttle, IMO, was a bit of a surprise.

    It would have been interesting to see how the silver and bronze medals in Dance would have played out, tho, had it not been for Crashfest '06 in the OD; there may have been some potential surprises there. Funny, tho, how everything more or less ended up evening out the way it was predicted........:sheesh:

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    There were 3 out of 4 obvious wins. Not bad, within only Irina out the gold.

    Joe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    Irina was first at Worlds, first at Europeans, and in her two fall Grand Prix events she set all kinds of point-total records in wrapping up victories going away.
    Yes, early in the season it felt like Irina was a sure winner, but her loss to a junior skater in GPF was reputationwise not good at all. In my opinion for the Olympics she was not such a sure winner, only a possibility. And as possibilities were Arakawa and Cohen also. As we remember these three ladies were very close after the Olympic short programme. Unfortunately Sasha was nervous in the freeskate. Shizuka was very strong and by her skate she caused that Irina had to skate well to be able to win. That put a lot pressure on Irina, and we saw the result of that...
    Last edited by Jaana; 10-23-2006 at 10:32 PM.

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    Overall, yes, it was very predictable. Of the ladies, the only surprise on the podium was Shizuka. Not that I didn't think she COULD do it, but I didn't know if she would. World Champion one year, ninth place the next (or something like that), made it hard to predict what shape she would be in both mentaly and physically for Torino. Irina, from day one of the 2005/2006 season looked like the closest thing to a sure bet for a medal. Sasha, everyone had to know that no matter what, the judges would manage to get her on the podium whether she deserved it or not. And I thought not but thats just me. Still, I knew she'd be placed in the top three somehow.

    For the men, no surprises for me. Technically, Plushy was clearly the leader, as he was expected to be, and he knows how to work the new system. I expectd him and Stephane to duke it out for top honors.

    Pairs, the chinese and the russians, no surprise there. Dance was even less unpredictable. Tatiana and Roman for gold, who woulda thought? Really. And B&A, not that I thought they were top three, but I knew they would be on the podium. The Ukrainians were the only semi-surprise because while I considered them contenders, I also knew that the Israeli's, the Bulgarians, and the French would also challenge for a medal. The only total surprise in dance was al the falls!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    There were 3 out of 4 obvious wins. Not bad, within only Irina out the gold.
    Yes, this too. That's why I like the Ladies so much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonnyCoop View Post
    Now to answer the ACTUAL QUESTION POSED HERE (I don't know what set me off on the Plushy thing): I have to agree that there was not a huge percentage of surprises. Shizuka's gold, yes. And I certainly did not expect Zhang/Zhang on the Pairs podium (are we talking about just the golds here, or the whole podium?) Buttle, IMO, was a bit of a surprise.

    I am just curious what did you find surprising about Zhang/Zhang medaling, or Buttle winning the bronze? Zhang/Zhang had not lost to anybody except for the much favored Totmianina/Marinin all season. They were the only team, other then Totmianina/Marinin to win both their GP events. They beat Savchenko/Szowkoly twice, Pang/Tong twice(I believe they beat them at Nationals that year), Petrova/Tikhonov once, so 5-0 combined vs those 3 teams. Shen/Zhou were coming off a major injury. I would have been extremely surprised if they were not on the podium in Turin personally. Plus the judges seemed to love them and give them very inflated PCS scores to go along with their expected strong TES scores.

    As for Buttle, I felt the bronze was pretty open personaly, as I saw Plushenko the sure winner, and Lambiel the probable silver winner. I am curious why Buttle was a bit of a surprise to get it in the end, like I said I believed going on alot of guys had a shot at the bronze, but he was as likely if not the best chance of any of them I thought. He had not lost to anybody other then Plushenko or Lambiel in 2 seasons, except for Sandhu twice at Skate Canada events, but obviously Sandhu was no strong medal chance. Buttle had won his last 2 meetings with Weir, his last meeting with Lysacek, his last 2 meetings with Joubert, his last 2 meetings with Oda, his last 3 meetings with Takahashi. He had been 2nd at the GP final the last 2 years, with Plushenk out of 1, Lambiel the other. He had been 2nd at the previous years Worlds, with Plushenko out. Plus the judges also like him and give him very good PCS scores.
    Last edited by slutskayafan21; 10-24-2006 at 12:57 AM.

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    I would have thought Arakawa was a contender for bronze at best, and only because there were reports that she had strong practices all week. Not because she was incapable of skating better than everyone in the field, but because she's never had the judges on her side, and by the time the Ladies competition started, there was enormous pressure from the Japanese Olympic Committee for a medal for Japan. [soapbox] Cohen, with a tentative program, stole 3 of Arakawa's ordinals in the 2004 Worlds LP, and Kwan, with not much better than Cohen, stole those three and another. Kwan almost won that LP, and it wasn't even a contest. There had never a love fest for Arakawa until Turin. [/soapbox]

    I saw Arakawa get little respect from the GP judges last season, and while she was superior to Cohen in flow, speed, and edges in her 2005 TEB LP -- I saw it live -- there was something tentative about her skating, and she never really looked comfortable with either Tarasova program. Morozov programs seems to loosen her up. She had very tough GP assignments all year, and the love was reserved for Asada. In an interview after CoC, Slutskaya compared Arakawa's control to Asada's freedom and enthusiasm, and not in a way that was complimentary towards Arakawa. She seemed very impressed with Asada, until Asada beat her at GPF.

    I was surprised that Buttle won bronze, particularly after the SP, mainly because he skated with more power and conviction than he had all year. I expected Weir to be on the podium, and given his injuries just weeks before the Olympics, I wouldn't have counted on Lambiel to win silver.

    I think that dance was predictable, but mostly not in a good way. I think Navka/Kostomarov were worth champions, but that Delobel/Schoenfelder wuzrobbed. People complain about Winkler/Lohse's "lifetime achievement" bronze in Dortmund, at Grushina/Goncharov's expense, but I think that G/G's bronze at Turin was less worthy, and if her costume wasn't a violation that deserved a deduction, I don't know what would deserve one.

    The pairs competition was over when Zhao ruptured his Achilles tendon the summer before the Olympics. Under 6.0 there might have been a chance for Z/Z to beat T/M if they had landed the throw quad and then the rest of their elements. Under CoP, it was far less likely, unless T/M had several flaws. I thought Totmianina/Marinin outclassed the rest of the field, but that there was a chance for Shen/Zhao to beat Zhang/Zhang on the PCS. It's ironic that Shen/Zhao lost a silver medal because Shen had two flawed 3T's, probably from worrying about him instead of her own skating, while he landed his.

    One thing about a predictable Olympics: it meant that the skaters with all of the pressure on their shoulders came through.

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    I agree Arakawa has had to fight to gain respect from judges throughout her career. Alot of that is her situation in Japan, after her initial breakthrough 98 season there seemed to be politics at work against her.


    I still dont know why several people would be surprised at Buttle winning the bronze. I dont think he was a huge favorite for the bronze and many people could have won the bronze, but he was atleast as good a shot at anyone else. Nothing anybody else had done in the past year made them a better chance, even with his jump inconsistency. An "on" Joubert medals because of his quads, but how many times since 2004 Worlds had that been the case. I am not surprised at all Weir did not medal, of all the bronze medal contenders he was probably the longest shot of all. He had been losing points all year by not following the jump guidelines properly, big points, and had not done a truly clean long program in a long time. At U.S Nationals he had his best long of the year and Lysacek with 2 major errors still beat him easily in the long program.
    Last edited by slutskayafan21; 10-24-2006 at 03:08 AM.

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