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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

2013 Euros Preview: Skating, the Universe and Everything

Over here at the secret SFT-headquarters, the week had started off pretty quietly. After the fleeting image that was last weekend's Canadian Nationals had vanished, our attention slowly shifted to more pressing matters. As we were sitting at our round table of skating-awesome, it suddenly dawned upon at least
one of us that a preview for the Europeans would somehow be in order. Putting our heads together, it became obvious that our enthusiasm oscillated between, "I actually don't like previews.", "I don't feel particularly inspired.", and "Huh?".

After looking at last years posts, and seeing that my last contribution is already three weeks in the past, I decided to make a comeback for Europeans. Granted, it will not be easy to muster my sesquipedalian powers after such a sustained hiatus but if I want to put down strong posts by the Olympic season,
I have to lay the foundations now.So join me for a series of  last minute event previews.

Thanks to our good friends, the minimum TES scores, there are no preliminary rounds at this year's Euros and we can go right in medias res.

The Dance Event:

After Péchalat & Bourzat (this blog's perennial Dance favourites) sadly have withdrawn from the event, there are a number of teams who have a chance to grab the title. In this case, a number refers to the top two Russian teams and Cappellini & Lanotte. 

Regardless of the final outcome, the podium will in all likelihood be composed of those teams in some order. Anything else would be a huge surprise. To our prediction benefit, these teams have already met at the Grand Prix Final, earlier this season with C&L beating the others soundly, by dance standards, anyway. If they stay clean and show all they are capable of technically, they should have a very good shot a the gold medal as they are a joy to watch, are ticking all the boxes and she is a vision on the ice. At Skate Canada we saw their lively Carmen FD directly juxtaposed with V/M's supposedly avantgarde dark vamp approach. Take your pick. :)

Bobrova & Soloviev had a rough GPF but are a force to be reckoned with. They narrowly beat C&L at Finnlandia Trophy by virtue of higher programme components, but that was early in the season, where both teams didn't have that much all of their elements ready. If they deliver their elements and achieve their levels they could well beat C&L as they will likely receive slightly higher PCS.Their FD to a modernised "Once upon a time in the West"  and a bit of Tosca/Edvin Marton violin is interesting albeit not totally coherent and convincing.

Ilinykh & Katsalapov are probably the least likely candidate for the gold, considering their technical deficiencies and the questionable programme material they have to work with this season. Still, they do have lots of chemistry, energy and an endearing dynamic style that may balance out other weaknesses, their PCS will still be on par with the others if not even higher, at least in the short programme. If they totally deliver technically and are flawless they could, however unlikely it seems, pull an upset in case the other teams make mistakes.

Predicted result:
SD: B/S, C/L, I/K
FD: C/L, B/S, I/K with C/L taking the title. (I don't believe in jinxing, neither should you! :D)

Apart from the fight for the medals, other things to watch are:

The Winners of the Halloween on Ice Special Merit Award Ziganshina & Gaszi from Germany with their very quirky free dance homage to all things Zombie. In earlier seasons they managed to get high levels consistently on all their elements. As of late, they seem to struggle a bit in that department.

Surely, there are more interesting things going on in Dance but I really haven't bothered to watch a lot of Dance this season, so I wouldn't know anything about it. But watch the Short Dance if you have the time. The Yankee Polka pattern generally provides for very decent entertainment if you're in the right mood.

Meet me for the Pairs Event in a few hours. Same place, same channel...
And yes, the answer to the question: "At what age will Plushenko retire?" may very well be 42.

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