I suppose this sort of thing was inevitable

Given how big figure skating in Japan is these days, and there have already been animes & mangas telling stories about fictional skaters, sooner or later they’d take interest in the real ones.

"The comic book about me and my life will be published soon! It's getting very funny!"

“The comic book about me and my life will be published soon! It’s getting very funny!”

Hearing that there’s going to be a manga about Plushy makes me wonder what other skaters could use a manga of their lives. Indeed, I wonder if there have even been some done already word hasn’t reached the west about.  The Japanese skaters, obviously, would all be good subjects(Shizuka Arakawa especially; she’d look beautiful drawn manga style). Johnny Weir might be a good one, although the true bishonen from his era was always Jeffrey Buttle(or maybe Stephane Lambiel, who is also big in the country).  The Japanese being prejudiced against both the Koreans in general and Yu-Na in particular I suppose that would be too much to hope for, which is a pity.  Maybe Julia Lipnitskaia, but they might want to wait a few years; most of her story hasn’t happened yet, probably.  The Japanese seem to still generally be less interested in the couples disciplines where they still lack skaters, but Team Canton would make for great drama, and Marlie would look great.

I was never more prescient

11 out of 12 medalists right, and 8 out of 12 placements right, nailed two of the podiums.  Seriously, I am quite smug about this, even though I decided one of the ones I got right by literally flipping a coin.  Conclusions besides that:

Ice dance is going to be a free for all for at least a few months next season.  Maybe then Ilinykh & Katsalapov or Sinitsina & Katsalapov or some other team will establish dominance, but this result, combined with the possible impending split, is positive anarchy.  Not that I’m complaining.  I now seriously hope for Weaver & Pojé to win Worlds(or at least some big competition or other) before they are through.

Not sure if anyone should’ve actually won the bronze in her place, but Carolina was overscored here.  Sorry, but she was.  She just should not have broken 200.  Meanwhile, Lipnitskaia may be looking like the next big lady, but wait until she’s a little older to form any conclusions.  Gracie & Ashley both showed themselves still capable of great things next quadrennium(the one in the short and the other in the free) and her fellow Russians may be even more of a threat.

All together a competition of hope rather than success for the US, between no medals but lots of berths for next year.  In ice dance, it looks like it may fall to Chock & Bates to break through to the top, but they’ve still got work to do there.  Never really though Max Aaron was the man to break through anyway; we’ll have to wait to see what Joshua Farris can do and if Jason Brown can top his assets off with the quad.

And while I was typing all this, Lynn Rutherford just tweeted that Steuer has confirmed Savchenko is teaming up with Bruno Massot!!  I think I must now end this post to sit about in shock for a few minutes.  I’m not sure I ever *really* believed this idea about her going on without Szolkowy, and that is one random partner.  How far can she really get with him, and what country are they going to represent(can she really get French citizenship by 2018?)?  Are they really going to last through this next season that they’re going to have to sit out….

So who’s left for Worlds?

And now Florent Amodio has had it for the year, apparently without replacement, a very, very sad but very, very understandable decision, especially since if he went and failed to preserve the two spots, he’d have hell to pay which he doesn’t really need right now(France has probably lost them now, but nobody will blame Besseghier, hopefully).  Trying to handicap the fields still standing:

Men: This looks to be between Hanyu and Fernandez on paper, but they’re both capable of giving it away.  Even if they both make the podium, bronze is even wider open.  It could easily go to Kozuka, Machida, Yan, Kovtun, or even Abbott or Reynolds, but lately none of those except Machida has been at all consistent.  On paper I’d go with Hanyu, Fernandez, Machida, but really, I have no idea.  My crazy hope is that Jeremy wins bronze, of course, especially since I’m fairly certain Max can at least top ten.

Ladies: I’ve got the feeling Mao’s going to deliver at her final competition.  Also, Lipnitskaia’s going to be determined to get on the podium in this one, and if she skates clean, the only person likely to beat her in this field is Mao.  Bronze is more open, but after her Olympics, I’ll go with Carolina for Asada, Lipnitskaia, Kostner.  Though I wouldn’t be surprised if Gold sneaked past the last either.

Pairs: And on paper Savchenko & Szolkowy should win their epilogue, and I think they will too; they had to really blow it for Stolbova & Klimov to pass them in Sochi.  But the latter will get a lot of boosting from the judges with V & T not competing, which against this field they might not even need anyway.  For the bronze, I have flipped the coin between the two Canadian teams, and have predicted Duhamel & Radford to repeat(maybe they could even beat S & K in the short?  That would be nice for that program), for Savchenko & Szolkowy, Stolbova & Klimov, Duhamel & Radford.

Ice Dance: This is probably I & K’s to lose, but I’ve got the feeling they might actually lose it; P & B are breathing down their necks, and are they really ready to handle the pressure of the first Worlds where they expected to win, when they’ve never even been the favorites for the podium before?  In fact, looking at the rest of the field, I think they could slip down to bronze or even off the podium completely.  But after everyone’s performance at the Olympics, I’m going to go with my heart and say that while I & K hold on to the bronze(perhaps narrowly over Cappellini & Lanotte, and much to the anger of their fans) they are beaten to the silver by Weaver & Pojé, who can also benefit by finally being the top Canadians and possibly the judges feeling guilty, so a podium of Pechalat & Bourzat, Weaver & Pojé, Ilinykh & Katsalapov.

36 Hours Later

There is finally an embeddable video. Ladies & gents, all the competitors for the Games beginning this week. Password is “sochi” Enjoy.

sochi WMV V9 from Isobel Moody on Vimeo.

To conclude on Europeans

And look back on my predictions for the men’s event: well, I was somewhat right.  It seems the Spanish men made up best they good Saturday for all the other woes of the team this year, and Sergei Voronov stayed where he was too, which was the real surprise there, but otherwise a good deal of movement, and not only a silver but a bronze medalist noone saw coming.  But hey, after what he’s been through, and considering it might prove his final competition, you have to be happy for Konstantin Menshov, walking out with a medal a year after he was rudely deprived of his chance to compete here.

As for the situation for Russian men in general and the Olympics, I’m starting to think they should just send Voronov.  I really think they should’ve sent him to Worlds last year anyway; he was the silver medalist at Russian Nationals, after all.  No, he doesn’t have much besides the jumps, but he’s reliable on those, and that’s more than anyone else is offering unless you can get an ironclad guarantee Plushenko won’t break his back or something.  But it probably won’t happen.   More interested, in fact, in what the French will do at this point.  If Amodio was less in favor with the federation, I think they just might have decided to give up their second Olympic berth after all he’s done this season.  As it is, one wonders if they’ll get over whatever snit they have with Joubert long enough to put him in the team competition, where he’ll likely do better for them than Amodio would.

At least the Russians might just be fielding the favorites for the bronze in the ladies as well as the ice dance; hell, if Julia L skates like that in Sochi, she might even get higher.  Plus they now have two pairs that could take bronze.  But on the other hand, it was not a smart idea for Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov to lose the free skate, especially to a pair that’s still just breaking out.  It raises the question of just how hard is might be for Savchenko & Szolkowy to beat them after all.  Also just how consistent they really are.

Europeans so far

First off, wow, Coomes & Buckland!  Beating out both the lesser Russian teams for the bronze.  Though speaking of them, you have to feel for Riazanova & Tkachenko, with it now confirmed they will suffer the same fate as Ekaterina Rubleva & Ivan Shefer last quaddrenium, spending the entire time as the Russian number threes only to lose their status just in time to miss the Olympics.

But with I&K performing less than their best, I’d say this doesn’t really increase Cappellini & Lanotte’s chances at that bronze in Sochi much; they didn’t win by enough for that.  But hey, the European title itself is worth having, so glad they got that, at least.  Same assessment of the ladies’ result too, perhaps; Kostner didn’t skate her best.  On the other hand, she very often doesn’t; perhaps the main different between this year and the past if that there are skaters in Europe capable of beating her when she does make mistakes.  And the way Lipnitskaia’s been going this season, I think she is looking like the skater most likely to take the bronze.  Poor Leonova, though; finally recovered, but it’s too late; there’s no room on Olympic team for her.

And meanwhile Kovtun being behind Voronov is something Plushenko may yet take advantage of, but while I would be extremely happy if Tomas followed up the good short with a good free, I expect some changes in the men in the next round.  Even Javier Fernandez might or might not hold onto the big lead, if only because Spanish skating seems to continually disappoint this season.  LaFuente continues to struggle, and though at least Hurtado & Diaz made the top ten(do Robledo & Funero have the tech minimums to go to Europeans next year?), they had their issues too.

To Sum Up the Disciplines After the GPF

Men: Really more volatile than we thought, especially considering what happened in the free program: Chan was very close to clean, Hanyu fell on his quad, and the latter still won the segment, when the common wisdom held Chan could only lose if he made mistakes and the other guys didn’t.  It seems very far from impossible that either Fernandez or Takahashi could easily have done the same.

Ladies: On the other hand, I’m starting to wonder again if anyone here could’ve beaten Yu-Na had she skated well.  Even Mao keeps getting that triple axel called underrotated, even when we all think she’s pulled it off.  Lipitskaia at this rate might be the favorite for a medal, but her score has still dipped from Canada.  Also, Ashley’s landing the 3-3 isn’t getting her any higher in the rankings.; a singles medal for the US doesn’t seem too likely.

Pairs: And Volosozhar & Trankov are not unbeatable.  But they weren’t too far behind Savchenko & Szolkowy when the Germans skated clean and they didn’t, and the way they trounced them in the short program is some indication should both pairs skate clean, the Russians will win.  Add that they’re far more consistent than the Germans, and V & T are still firm favorites in Sochi.

Dance: And that Davis & White won both segments here when Virtue & Moir were much more pulled together than they’ve been and even looked like they might have won the short makes their gold even more likely still than it’s already been.  And bronze is between the Russian and French, unless both really blow it.