Gold: Daisuke Takahashi
Why? Because his two programs, together, are by far the best offering a male skater has given us this year. Because he’s talented enough to merit two world titles. Because I suspect that next season, with the fast rising Hanyu and Kozuka, he might not have another chance
What next? At this point, I’m just gonna enjoy the journey. Whatever he delivers, it’ll likely be fascinating.
Silver: Patrick Chan
Why? Because, despite “Aranjuez” being the best long program of the season, “Take Five” doesn’t excite me all that much. Because, in the Sochi-scheme of things, this is the least important title for him to take. But mainly to see what would happen to the Chan-will-win-everything meme.
What next? Two new programs, neither choreographed by Lori Nichol. A short program to Led Zeppelin’s “Moby Dick” choreographed by Ingo Steuer and an LP to the Hero soundtrack, choreographed by David Wilson/Tom Dickson/or Kenji Miyamoto. Or “Vlatava.”
Bronze: Brian Joubert
Why? Because it would be a nice semi-retirement present. Because how can you root against a hometown favourite, especially one as iconic as Joubert. Because, rather like Shawn Sawyer last season, I think he’s doing this for himself and his own goals, and I believe that’s admirable.
What next: Cup of China gold. Becoming the first singles skater to win all six GP events + the GPF (Shen/Zhao have done so as well – they also have won the now defunct Bofrost event). Then TEB and actual retirement.
Fourth: Takahiko Kozuka
Why? To quote Mark Twain: “Rumours of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.” Because in the rush to anoint Hanyu the greatest thing since sliced bread and the general veneration of Takahashi, he’s been left behind somewhat. Because he’s taken roads less traveled/rewarded. Because I suspect a well skated Nausicaa would be a thing of beauty.
What Next: Get the quad down permanently. I’d be interested in seeing him skate to something by Clint Mansell (The Fountain soundtrack?) or Alexander Desplat (a whole whack of great scores).
Fifth: Javier Fernandez
Why? Because I want a new European number one, and he’s charming enough. Because it’s always great when a small nation punches above its weight class. Because people should be rewarded for leaving Morosov.
What next? Growth. A more tonally consistent long program,
Sixth: Adam Rippon
Why: Because I think it would be hilarious to see him beat Abbott. Because the last minute of his SP is a choreographic gem. Because he’s pushing himself technically. Because Miner et al are closing in fast and a top six/final group result would remind the world what he’s capable of.
What next? Something dark and creepy. Like Alberto Iglacious’ score to The Skin I Lived In or Bad Education
Seventh: Tomas Verner
Why: Why not? Brezina’s not exciting me right now.
What next? Retirement with his two top-five world finishes and Euro title
Eighth: Jeremy Abbott
Why: Because, for all the hype, the long program doesn’t move me. Because, on the other hand, his short program is second to Takahashi’s this season and continues his streak of amazing short programs
What next? Hopefully a less trite and less pretentious long.
Ninth: Nan Song
Why: Top ten gives China two spots next year. With Han Yan on the rise, he’ll need it. Because he’s actually quite good and a clean Song would deserve this on his own merits. Because the more countries the merrier.
What next? More refinement. Hopefully a greater recognition of his performance qualities.
Tenth: Kevin van der Perren
Why: Top ten gives Belgium two spots next year. Because he’s really cute when he’s happy (I half expected him to dislocate his shoulder after the EC 2011 SP). Because he’s made some improvements this year.
What next? Two spots means he probably won’t retire, so continue making improvements, I guess.