Much like the ladies, there are two front runners for the gold medal- Canadians Duhamel/Radford and the Chinese team of Sui/Han. The reigning World Champs have been struggling a bit this season and we haven’t seen Sui/Han since Cup of China, so this matchup comes with a lot of question marks. Outside of the top two, it seems like there are several skaters who could end up in each spot, so we have plenty of interesting storylines to watch!
Duhamel/Radford ---GP Season Best 216.67 (GPF)--- After being undefeated last season, Duhamel/Radford have seemed out of it this year, with shaky elements and uneven skates. Consistency led to their success last year, but they haven’t found that yet this year. Their season best is the highest of all of the competitors by a slim margin. According to their planned content, they are attempting one quad, the throw quad salchow in their free skate. This competition is important for them to gather some confidence and momentum before Worlds. The European pairs field is so strong that they will need strong skates here to carry them into Boston on a high note.
Sui/Han---GP Season Best 215.62 (COC)--- Coming back from an injury, this is the first time we’ll see Sui/Han since November. Surprisingly, they are planning not one- but two- quads in their free skate. We saw them successfully complete the 4Tw at Skate America and Cup of China, but this will be the first time we’ll see their quad throw salchow attempt. It’s an ambitious program for coming back from an injury, but it is exactly what they need to do to go into Worlds with a strong case for the podium. They could really make a statement here with clean performances.
Yu/Jin--- GP Season Best 197.75 (COC)--- This Chinese pair has had a strong season thus far, earning two medals on the Grand Prix and making it to the Final. They struggled with falls in their free skate at the Grand Prix Final, but they have put up some very competitive scores this year, compared to the rest of the field below. They are not planning any quad attempts for this event, which I think is a good choice; they will be in better stead with a solid event here.
Scimeca/Knierim- GP Season Best 191.97 (SA)--- Scimeca and Knierim will be looking to put some disappointing skates behind them here before Worlds. We haven’t seen them skate solidly since Skate America, but they are capable of it. They plan a quad twist in the free skate, which has given them troubles recently, but can be a beautiful element for them. More important than their placement with international teams here will be their placement against American teammates Kayne/Oshea, as they fight to stay the U.S.’s number one pair team internationally.
Kayne/OShea- GP Season Best 181.23 (RC)--- Tarah and Danny are coming in on the high of winning their first national title. Propelled by a new short program, their personal best score could really see a jump here. They have been a very consistent team, and that can pay off especially when others make mistakes. I expect them to be skating well here, and for me it is mostly a question of what the judges will do with them in comparison to an international field.
Canadians Ilyushechkina/Moscovitch (GP Best 180.63) look to continue their strong performances from Canadian Nationals before Worlds, and newer American team Castelli/Tran (GP Best 173.40) look to take advantage of their last international competitive skate of the year, with a good performance and really nothing to lose.
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