Yeah, sure, some other tennis-related things happened too, but most of them made me look like an idiot, so let’s talk about the Grand Prix instead.
First and foremost, I LOVE HAVING 12 SINGLES SKATERS AT EACH EVENT AGAIN! Seriously, all the skaters who got in because of it! From guys who have suffered hard times that would have kept them away, such as Stephen Carriere, to skaters who wouldn’t have gotten high-ranked enough in the first place, like Eliska Brezinova, especially to the skaters who might have continue to languish on the Junior Grand Prix circuit because there wasn’t room for them on the senior circuit(a large part of the reason it happened, I suspect). Now all we need is for the couples rosters to expand back. Seriously, can we at least have 10 ice dance teams at each event again?
One sees the USFSA is further favoring Gracie Gold; the Skate America field is pretty obviously set up for her to win(though they are relying on Liza T to not recover, at least in time for that event). But Ashley Wagner might have lucked out in Canada; there’s noone there she’s not likely to beat if she’s on(unless Osmond is *really* on), and the best thing she could do for herself is to win that, especially since beating Lipnitskaia and Radionova in France might not be so easy. Other setups include Adelina and Stolbova & Klimov in Russia, and Hanyu in Japan. Though Russia is being the smarter one here; Adelina and S&K will get huge boosts, the former especially in the face of many seeing her Olympic win as illegitimate, from winning, while it’s not like Hanyu even needs an easy field, really. Also arguably Weaver & Pojé in Canada(and I hope it works!)
But Russia’s ice dance field, on the other hand, it looks like they’ve set up the field for a possible home battle royale, pitting their reigning Olympic bronze medalists with their new partners against each other immediately. One suspects if either team trounces the other the federation will do their politicking accordingly. Indeed, Canada looks like the only ice dance field where there’ll be a big pre-event favorite for gold; for all the other events there at least will be a definite challenger.
Speaking of Russia, also especially happy that Bazarova & Deputat got two events after watching this; they really are beautiful.