I want the Shibs for the 2nd spot and Lynn/Logan for the 3rd spot.
Chock/Bates can go work on their connection and return as the American Champions next year.
Hubbel/Donohue need more sex on ice. But please use contraception until 2018.
RE: Maia's SD dress, I think she only has the two versions, the one from 2011 and the one she's wearing this season. It doesn't both me that much, I think she looks great in the dress and it doesn't distract from what they're doing. I bet though that we'll see a different outfit at some point, if not sooner, then by Nationals. She seems to like to have different SD dresses. I don't think they ever stuck with one dress for the whole season.
It is a great time to be an Ice Dance fan! Can't wait to see this all unfold in person!
I really like the Shibs for the second spot. I really enjoy their skating and appreciate their quiet blades and the technical aspect of their skating. With that being said they still need to develop artistically. It will be interesting to see what they bring out next year if D/W and V/M retire and they have Marinas full attention.
I think Chock and Bates have grown a lot as a team. They have gotten better technically and artistically.
I think it's too soon to count C/B out. They did very well last season, and I expect to see them make changes and to drill these dances hard. That said, I don't like them. I was never a Samuelson/Bates fan (mainly due to the packaging) but that team was far superior to Chock/Bates today. Madison is no Emily - she has improved, yes, but Emily was a gorgeous skater. Samuelson/Bates could have really challenged Davis/White might have progressed even more (I am not blind to the fact that my favorite team, Davis/White, still has areas to improve). Anyway, I fully expect them to work hard to improve.
I'm lukewarm on the Shibs. They do have wonderful basic skating, and they are quite musical. But again, their packaging...there could be so much more for them to explore choreographically and musically. Zoueva seems to have no idea of what to do with them, but sibling teams can be creative (re: Duchesnays). However, I do wonder if it might be better for them to try new partnerships. Either that, or a new coaching team. I do think they are more in line for that second Olympic spot at this point.
I'm really, really pulling for Hubbell/Donohue to take the third spot. I don't know how hopeful I am that it actually will, but I truly see them as the future for US ice dance. Even in their short partnership they've shown they aren't afraid to try different genres, and they show progress every time they compete. They need to really polish their dances, add to the difficulty, and eliminate silly little errors.
Nationals will be a bloodbath!
I don't think the Michael Jackson FD is that bad. Unpolished, yes, but you would expect that from the first run at it. With a couple more outings with it, I think it will be something great. Maia needs to show the more fierce side of herself and I think that FD can help her get there. I'm a bit unsure about the Ben section, but I look forward to seeing it again at NHK and see any changes and developments.
I think one thing to keep in mind that at 19 and 22, Maia and Alex are quite young relative to their technical peers. They always had the technical/basic skating to stay in the top 10 in the World (even though their struggles), but finding programs that make them stand out has been much more challenging. It's a different challenge than a team like Weaver/Poje who always had great programs, but really had to work to get the technical skills up to be a competitive team. They've skated together since 2006-2007 season, but it wasn't until the 2010-2011 season when they started being a top 10 team.
I heard this interesting story on NPR on the science of why kids who get less candy on halloween are happier than those who got more: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/201...r-on-halloween
I thought of the Shibutanis (and to an extent Weaver/Poje) when I heard this story. The Shibutanis, in essence, got the "candy bar" first at Worlds and then have been handed bubble gum since then. So as fans we see that they're getting bubble gum and assume they will eventually get nothing (i.e. missing the Olympic team).What makes trick-or-treaters happy is candy. And more candy is better, right?
Well, it turns out that might not actually be the case. A few years ago researchers did a study on Halloween night where some trick-or-treaters were given a candy bar, and others were given the candy bar and a piece of bubble gum.
Now, in any rational universe, you would imagine that the kids who got the candy bar and the bubble gum would be happier than the kids who got just the candy bar. George Wolford, a psychologist at Dartmouth College, and his fellow researchers, Amy Doe and Alexander Rupert, found something quite different.
"Those children that got both the full-sized candy bar and the bubble gum second, rated how delighted they were to get these treats lower than those people that got the candy bar only," Wolford says.
So if we have a great experience that starts to go downhill, we rate the overall experience as being less good. Whereas if something starts out terribly and then starts to get better toward the end, we rate the overall experience a little bit better. Wolford actually has a theory to explain this.
"If you're in a painful experience and it's getting better, then there's a sense in which things are improving," he says. "So what you're judging is the trajectory. With positive goods, if I'm going from a nice treat to a lesser treat, the trajectory is going the wrong way."
So if you get the lesser treat first and the nicer treat second, you're likely to be very happy; but if you get the nice treat first and the lesser one second, you're likely to be more dissatisfied with the overall experience.
Weaver/Poje, on the other hand, have received bubble gum first (i.e. missing out the Olympic Team in 2010) but started getting better candy and now we expect that they will get the "candy bar" at the Olympics.
But on a more serious, non-candy note, I think the Shibutanis are a stage where they're figuring out what works,what doesn't and we'll likely see the fruit of that if not this season, down the road.
We will get a clearer indication the first season AFTER the Sochi season is over, and a new pecking order starts to take place in a new quadrennial. But my crysal ball right now is that the Shibutanis career peaked with that World bronze in 2011, and the highest they will ever make it in the World again is maybe 5th or 6th (and I am not even sure they will get that high again, that is more the max I see, rather than the likelihood future high point).
I dont think they will try new partners though. They like skating together and I think they are in it more for the enjoyment than anything else, and they have already achieved great things that many teams never will. The only way they would think about it is if they went atleast 2 years straight not making the World team.
This could be for the Shibutanis what the Tango FD was for Meryl and Charlie. If so, then I'll be happy to see their progress. I definitely don't see them as out of the running for the Olympic spot, I just think I'd enjoy them more with a different coaching/choreography tangent at the helm.
Actually it's funny you brought up the Meryl and Charlie's tango FD, because I was thinking that to regarding this FD. You can tell that both of them are REALLY eager to show what they got (Alex in particular, which is why he fell in the first place ).
I'd be interested to see a Tanith Belbin-choreographed program for them. I really the programs she did for Hannah Miller last season. Tanith has this fierce yet crisp style with the programs she's done and I think that would work well with Maia and Alex given their positive attributes -- good extension, solid lines, etc.
It is quite the fight. Last year it looked clear no. 2 was chock and bates and now I have no idea. In a way the Shibutanis look good to get at least the third spot at this point. They seem like such nice people but deep down they must be distressed that they as former world bronze medallists are now in a dog fight to hold on to the top three spots in their own country.
I, too, am a little surprised at Chock & Bates’ skating thus far. They seem under-trained, which is strange for an Olympic season. The only explanation is that last year Igor had to start from scratch after the split with Zoueva. Chock & Bates were his top team at that point. Since then his stable has grown by leaps and bounds and includes many international skaters. Also C&B’s choice of music for the FD, Les Miserables, is unappealing with what I consider to be irritating vocals. However, the season has only just begun and we will just have to wait and see if C&B will be able to improve enough technically to make the US OWG Team against tough competition.