We’re approaching the eye of the storm.
The annual six-week whirlwind takes a brief break this week as the last ones standing in each discipline gear up for the GP Final. But before I review all things NHK-related, I thought it was time make some quick observations in studying the “finalists” over the past 3 years. Let’s see…
MEN in 2006: Joubert, Takahashi, Oda, Preaubert, Weir, Lysacek (the latter two withdrew)
In 2007: Lambiel, Takahashi, Lysacek, Weir, Chan, VanDerPerren
In 2008: Chan, Kozuka, Weir, Joubert, Abbot, Verner
Worth noting: Only 3 from ’06 repeated the task in ’07… and only 2 have repeated this season.
Only one in all three finals: Weir
Probably would’ve been in all 3 if not for injury/illness: Joubert & Takahashi
And one more thing: if your favorite isn’t in this year’s final, take heart… Jeffrey Buttle didn’t make last year’s final either, and it didn’t stop him from taking the world title a few months later.
LADIES in 2006: Kim, Asada, Meier, Suguri, Ando, Sebestyen
In 2007: Kim, Asada, Kostner, Zhang, Nakano, Meissner
In 2008: Kim, Rochette, Asada, Kostner, Nakano, Ando
Worth noting: the only real consistency here is with Kim and Asada, though Kostner, Ando and Nakano are all fighting the good fight to keep up.
Surprise of the year: each season seems to bring one distinctly unexpected ladies finalist. In ’06, it was Meier. In ’07, Zhang. In ’08, it’s Rochette… and what’s nice about that is the fact that she’s not an up-and-comer like the other two were. She’s a comparative veteran who made some firm changes in the past year (on the mental side, if not the physical as well) and has been reaping the rewards ever since.
PAIRS in 2006: Xue/Hongbo, Savchenko/Szolkowy, Zhang/Zhang, Inoue/Baldwin, Marcoux/Buntin, Petrova/Tikhonov
In 2007: Savchenko/Szolkowy, Zhang/Zhang, Pang/Tong, Dube/Davison, Kawaguchi/Smirnov, McLaughlin/Brubaker (withdrew)
In 2008: Savchenko/Szolkowy, Zhang/Zhang, Kawaguchi/Smirnov, Pang/Tong, Volosozhar/Morozov, Mukhortova/Trankov
Worth noting: Savchenko/Szolkowy and Zhang/Zhang are the only pairs that have been in all three finals.
Nipping at their heels: Kawaguchi/Smirnov continue to move up the ladder, despite any complications that might be on the horizon regarding Kawaguchi’s ability to represent Russia in an Olympic event.
Already done all the nipping they’ll do?: Pang/Tong have been the bridesmaids to Zhang/Zhang for years; at this point it seems unlikely they’ll overtake them, much less defeat Sav/Szol.
DANCE in 2006: Denkova/Staviski, Dubreil/Lauzon, Domnina/Shabalin, Delobel/Schoenfelder, Khokhlova/Novitski, Gregory/Petukhov
In 2007: Domnina/Shabalin, Belbin/Agosto, Delobel/Schoenfelder, Khokhlova/Novitski, Pechalat/Bourzat
In 2008: Delobel/Schoenfelder, Domnina/Shabalin, Faiella/Scali, Khokhlova/Novitski, Davis/White, Belbin/Agosto
Worth noting: Only three to show up in all 3 finals are Domnina/Shabalin, Delobel/Schoelfelder, and somewhat surprisingly, Khoklova/Novitski.
Nipping at their heels: Davis/White and Faiella/Scali.
Already done all the nipping they’ll do?: On paper, one might determine that couple to be Belgosto… but seeing how they surely have only one goal in mind for Vancouver (having already won Olympic silver), I hope they prove the “paper” wrong.
For the Clip of the Day I went back to last year’s GP Final and found the Khoklova/Novitski FD…not really my cup of tea, but with so much consistency they’re obviously doing something right.