But instead I’m in mourning. Was it only a year that Joshua Farris and Jason Brown were going to be the next great two and the next great rivalry? Like Evan and Johnny, except better, and more dignified. Now we’ve lost a skater who could’ve accomplished so much. You just hope this isn’t going to damage Joshua’s health permanently. Jason’s farewell to him on twitter yesterday was both heartwarming and heartbreaking.
Also missing from the Grand Prix lineup is Adelina Sotnikova, which might just be the writing on the wall for her too. Russian media may insist she’s not retiring, but how much can she miss and keep even a prayer of making it back to the Olympics? She’s not Evgeni Plushenko, and the ladies field ain’t one that will let her in. Even if Evgenia Medvedeva does have a sophomore slump, someone else will just rise to take her place(and I find it telling that both her events are ones where the host doesn’t have a gold medal contender). Meanwhile, Russia’s choice of ladies for their own home event is intriguing indeed: two of them being unpredictable, and the third being Elena Radionova, who will win only if the other two falter. They’re clearly hope for a sweep there, which will be in the hands of the girls themselves, but may or may not happen(although if Polina disrupts it I am going to laugh…) Elsewhere, the U.S. is clearly hoping Mao and Julia L falter in their season debuts, so Gracie and Ashley can battle each other and still be in good position to make the Finale. Making no predictions there. Although I think Ashley could win her second event if she rotates enough, and even Gracie could win hers if she’s perfect.
The Canadian federation is clearly favoring Virtue & Moir, giving them a home-ice advantage, and poor Weaver & Pojé continue to get the thin end of things, having to first battle Chock & Bates and Bobrova & Soloviev on the latter’s home ice, then going up against two more powerful teams in China. But then, the series as a whole sets up for a neat climax in the final event, bringing Virtue & Moir and Papadakis & Cizeron to each other in Japan, on neutral ice, with arguably the strongest field of the series. Although Papadakis & Cizeron are probably the only team right now with a certain win, that being on their own home ice; there’s enough flux among the top teams these days you feel like there’s at least an upset candidate at all of the other five.
With Volosozhar & Trankov out again, it’ll be interesting to see which versions of Ksenia Stolbova & Fedor Klimov show up, and them versus Duhamel & Radford could be another series climax in Japan, or they could blow it. They’ll be favorites in Russia, but Savchenko & Massot could beat them. Those two could also easily win France. The other three events all have definite favorites, but China will be interesting to see the swapped pairs go head to head. Also it’ll be interesting to see Kavaguti & Smirnov, if they make it, but the most recent updates leave me nervous about that.
In theory the big men’s showdown will be between Chan and Hanyu in Canada. In practice, it being the men’s event at Skate Canada, which isn’t as cursed as it used to be but could always become so again, who knows? Hanyu will probably win Japan and Javier Fernandez will probably win both of his events, but the other three are less certain(but I hope Jason kills it).