1. If Davis and White win, that would make 11 of the 12 medalists from the Vancouver games World champion holders (all the men and pairs already; D/S and V/M; Kim and Asada). A quick glance at Wikipedia tells me that would put Vancouver at the top of the heap in that regard.
  2. For all its predictability, pairs is actually quite intriguing to me. We all agree: top four teams are V/T, S/S, P/T and K/S in any order. B/L secure in fifth. Melange of teams next in line including Y/C, Mt/M, D/R, E/L, B/T, T/T, H/W – any order, some more likely than others. But what order? You can easily rationalize any trio on the podium (though most of us have S/S winning). And how secure is B/L in 5th anyway? Could a remarkable skate from a team of the next pack unseat them? If not, how close are they to the top four? Are they world podium contenders for the future, with or without retirements/absences? How about anyone else
  3. The one thing that strikes me about pairs is that it has arguably been the slowest to adjust to COP. We still have pairs kicking around that have some senior/junior experience with 6.0, and that’s nearly unheard of in ladies or dance (less so in men). In dance, we saw instant results from the COP babies and the shift towards North American ice dance (as exemplified by the S/Z school in particular). Even with the newer COP teams, I wonder how long it’ll take to see improvement in this discipline.
  4. It’s quite remarkable how thoroughly that shift is being demonstrated this season. In 2006, we saw two North American Ice dance teams in the top five, the first time since 1987. In 2007, we saw a record setting five North American teams in the top ten (D/L, B/A, V/M, D/W and G/P). That number settled to three the next three seasons, but it was clear that North American dance would make itself a force like never before. And this season? With the retirements, that 2007 record could be broken with six teams in the top ten (five of the top nine season bests, as filtered through to world competitors, are N. American, + V/M who aren’t on the list). The thing is I’m not sure we’re gonna see that stay this way this quad, but it’s exciting to watch nonetheless.
  5. Okay, so many competing narratives in ladies. You have the mysterious question mark that is the reigning Olympic Gold medalist. You have the comeback ladies in Carolina Kostner and Alissa Czisny. You have the explosive newcomer that is Murakami, and WC stalwarts in Asada and Ando. You’ve got Kiira Korpi and even Rachel Flatt maturing as skaters. Last year saw such a terrific climax to the ladies event: perfection, history, and grace that there’s a “where do we go from here?” aspect to this season that I find somewhat appealing.....
  6. ... especially in contrast to the men. People seem so ready (if not eager) to crown Patrick Chan as champion. We forget that ice-is-slippery, the Skate Gods petulant and this season is long. We have our suspicions about who’s helped and who’s hindered by this delay (though it seems insensitive to acknowledge them). And again, those competing narratives.
    1. At Euros, it was definitely about old vs new. The newcomers stealing the short program from the veterans, with the veterans responding right back with the top two LPs & two of three podium spots. The early part of this quad was always gonna be about the emergence of new talent, but it’s rather remarkable to see it so clearly delineated: Amodio and Joubert; Brezina and Verner; Gachinsky and Plushenko’s shadow. We saw it at the US Nationals with that giant cluster of skaters (and indeed, we got both ends of the spectrum with Bradley and Dornbush/Miner).
    2. Watching the Japanese skaters is almost like getting a snapshot of an entire athletic career in one group. Part of me wonders what might have been had Takahashi been able to avoid injury in the 08/09. He’s already an all-time list skater for me personally but can you imagine how awesome it would’ve been if he had done what he’s done in the past (ie 4CC 2008) in Vancouver? This season feels a little harder for him – no one loves his two programs like they do his Eye/La Strada duo last season, he lost is National championship, and we know that he’ll have to have surgery after this season. For Oda, it’s always the story of what might have been? What could have happened if he was allowed to skate in the 07/08 season? What might have happened if he was able to maintain the momentum of his TEB LP throughout last season? What if he could count? He’s arguably one of the most talented skaters to never podium at Worlds/Olympics. He’s only a year younger than Takahashi, but less success (along with eternally boyish looks) make him seem much younger. How long does he skate for? And then we have Kozuka and Hanyu: Hanyu making good on his promise from last year’s WC with a strong 4CC skate and demonstrably willing to learn and improve; Kozuka for finally (finally) breaking through to the big leagues score-wise. These two seem to be the ones we’ll have for sure this quad.
    3. And wither the American men? It’s been talked about endlessly since the most surprising nationals I can recall. Next season (I know, getting ahead of myself) will be super interesting.
  7. I’m a big fan of narrative. I like complete sets of medals. I like story book endings in life (even if in books they are false). At the beginning of this season, I was rooting for Takahashi to defend his WC at home (especially since I don’t see him continuing to France etc). I wanted Virtue/Moir to win the GPF and defend their title as well, come second to Davis/White next year (in France), win in London, and have the momentum for Sochi to match Platov’s belief that they could join him/Grishuk as two-time OGM. I wanted Dube/Davison to recapture what made their 07/08 season so successful and use that for a successful run to Sochi (not necessarily for Gold, but for something more). Virtually all those narratives have been upended – some from the good (I genuinely didn’t anticipate Chan’s jumping improvement this season at all), most from the bad (injuries, splits...)