OH MY GOD. The 2016-17 Grand Prix is finally here! I am excited not only for the series to start, but also because I will be at the event, all three days of competition and Thursday's practices. Make sure you follow me on Twitter for tons of photos, video and updates from Hoffmann Estates! Life has been crazy, prepping for this trip and working the day job, so this predictions post will be short and sweet. Hopefully I can post a more in depth review after the event, but a ton of my updates will be on my Twitter account.
MEN: Looking at this field, I am expecting to see quads galore, and much of the conversation around the men's event this week will be on those quads. Shoma Uno and Boyang Jin have several quads in their repertoire and will be looking to land *many* of them over the course of the week. On the other end of the spectrum, you'll have Americans Adam Rippon and Jason Brown both hoping to land one. The battle of these two top American men will be a great storyline to follow in Chicago.
I expect Shoma Uno to impress here, both with his quads as well as his presentation and get his first senior Grand Prix victory, followed by Boyang Jin. Jin has the quads but still making artistic improvements. The American men will be battling for bronze, and this is gonna be a close one if both are clean. For now, I'll give the edge to Jason Brown for bronze.
PAIRS: With the injury-related withdrawal of World medallists Sui/Han, the pairs field at Skate America is incredibly wide open, with many teams having a great opportunity to make a mark here. My bet for a winner is the Canadian team of Seguin/Bilodeau. Forced out of Worlds with an injury last season, this team still looks as confident and consistent as it did when it made a splash at last year's Grand Prix Final. Russians Tarasova/Morosov get my pick for silver but I wouldn't be surprised if James/Cipres sneak in there. The French team had a fantastic debut at a challenger event recently, but I still wonder about their consistency, which is what keeps them in bronze medal position in my mind.
Though I'm not sure they're in the medal picture, I'll be following the American pairs here at the event. U.S. Champions Kayne and O'Shea will look to rebound from their Finalndia debut, while Castelli/Tran will look to show the consistency that has eluded the promising team in the past. Fans will also be welcoming back Denney/Frazier, competing again this season after injury.
I'll be back in a bit with ladies and dance!
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Reviews, predictions and opinions in the magical, sparkly and dramatic field of figure skating.