I am a bit sad that we are already at the end of the GP series! While it can be a struggle to keep up with all of the news from six weeks straight of competitions, it’s so nice to not have to wait a month or more for new performances to talk about. As we are at the end of the series, my previews this week will include GPF qualification information for the skaters as well.
Who’s In: Sui/Han (28 points), Kavaguti/Smirnov (28 points) and Stolbova/Klimov (24 points) are locks for the Final.
Who’s Got A Shot Competing This Week: Duhamel/Radford (15 points), James/Cipres (13 points), Yu/Jin (13 points), Scimeca/Knierim (13 points)
Who’s Waiting in the Wings: Julianne Seguin/Charlie Bilodeau (22 points)
NHK Competition Analysis: Duhamel/Radford come in as the heavy favorites and surely want to get to the Final as the only undefeated team. They come in with the highest season score by far (216.16) and I am interested to see if we get two quad attempts from them in the free skate. The battle for the rest of the podium looks to be more interesting than picking the top spot here.
China’s Yu/JIn come to NHK after a personal best score at Cup of China (197.75) and can make the Final with a second place here. It would be fantastic for the career of Scimeca/Knierim if they could make it to the GPF for the first time- they posted close to their personal best at Skate America (191.97) and need a podium finish to get to the Final. They were great in the short at that event, but struggled in the free. They’ll have to improve on that here. James/Cipres were the surprise second place finishers at Trophee Bompbard after the free skates were cancelled, and could also make the Final if they land on the podium. Unfortunately for them, the short program score is the third tiebreaker and theirs is lower than the other two teams vying for the Final, which puts them most on the bubble.
My Podium Predictions: GOLD-Duhamel/Radford SILVER-Yu/Jin BRONZE-Scimeca/Knierim
FOURTH- James/Cipres FIFTH- Iliushechkina/Moscovoitch SIXTH- Bazarova/Deputat
That Would Make the Final Of:
Stolbova/Klimov (24) (1)
Yu/JIn (24) (2) (higher SP combined score)
Scimeca/Knierim (24) (2)
*James/Cipres would also have 24 points and their highest finish would a 2nd as well, but they would have a lower SP combined score than the teams above.
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