Plushenko severely crippled his chances at the gold with a program that was unoptimized for COP. His new programs have been much more COP friendly. Assuming he is in good health, he would go in with solid tech and the most stable nerves on Olympic ice out of all the skaters.
^ It's hard to say to what extent the home ice advantage was at play in the Salt Lake City laadies' event. Irina's misfortune was that there were two judges, Germany and Italy, who low-balled her throughout, baancing the straight first-place ordinals by Russia and Belarus.
Evgeni's scoring potential has diminished a lot and skating on home ice can only help so much.
2 years ago I predicted Hanyu to be the next OGM based on the strength of his Romeo and Juliet program. The fresh appeal and natural tendency to not holding anything back, full on attack approach, the 3A out of no where . The 3A3A exhibitions With his asthma problems, his manga boy looks, his sendai stories with child hood coach, his Pooh mascot, his career read like a total page turner full of uncertainty to see whether his incredible talent can fulfill every skater's dream.
However since last year I have my doubts... not because he is not capable, but I think he compromised his artistry too much with 2 unoriginal program choices at an Olympic season and showed little improvement (or even attempt to improve, he even seems to have gone backwards), more 'packaged' and playing safe rather than 'own' his program like when he first started. Hanyu appear to think too much and try much too hard. The sport has a history to not favour those who tries too desperately hard, and out of all the skaters, I suspect Hanyu may want it the most, and if he does, it is a lot of pressure to handle for someone this young (mind you he is made of tough stuff). However, if I have to pick anyone on the podium, I am desperately hoping it'd be Daisuke.
I actually think Patrick is not the biggest threat due his own problems these past 2 seasons, Hanyu should watch out for Javier (who seems to enjoy an upward momentum) and it is Plushenko in Russia!! PCS Heaven for Plushy, Russia crowds will make sure he get the biggest standing ovation of the night. (For Chan - if there's a figure skating hell on earth, which country do you think it might be? ) I'd love Hanyu to be on the same podium as Plushy... what a dream come true that would be for Hanyu.
Can Yuzuru Hanyu close the gap on Patrick Chan?
I don´t think he can, although Hanyu may have come closer as Chan has not bothered to get himself a proper jumping coach. Somehow I have a feeling, that in this Olympic season Chan´s scores will show his mistakes more clearly.
If Hanyu will be consistent he is already being rewarded against Daisuke
so he definitely can challenge Chan even with his "buttloads side" of PCS
After Nebelhorn, I'm wondering whether Patrick Chan can close his gap with Nobunari Oda
^ ? I suppose that's true, but I don't see any hateful posts on this thread, just speculation as to whether Hanyu and other skaters can catch Patrick this season.