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  1. #1
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    Which U.S. skaters will make it to Sochi? + US Olympic hopefuls slideshow

    From a post in the U.S. Olympic team members photo shoot thread in GSD:

    Quote Originally Posted by dardar1126 View Post
    Twitter:

    "U.S. Figure Skating ‏@USFigureSkating 2m
    via @USOlympic Some awesome pictures of Team USA hopefuls, including many figure skaters: http://www.teamusa.org/Road-to-Sochi...on-Russia.aspx …"
    Nice portraits, but only Jeremy 1; Christina 7; The Shibs 20; and Ashley 25 are included in the slideshow, along with that old stalwart: Lysacek 14.

    Does this mean only Lysacek and Jeremy have the best shot of going to Sochi re the U.S. men? Probably not. Maybe it's just that they are the ones with name recognition. But if that's the standard, then where were Meryl and Charlie, Gracie too for that matter?

    Oh too bad so sad there are only two spots for the U.S. men. At this juncture, I'm thinking Max has a good shot if his new programs are good and if he skates great on GP circuit and at Nats. If Rippon is able to unveil a reliable quad along with his very much improved 3-axel, he will definitely be a contender with upset potential. Both Ross and Richard, along with Joshua and Jason will probably have to wait till 2018, although each of them will surely be fighting for podium medal positions at Nats. Of course, Alex J, Armin, Doug, and Keegan should also be making some noise. Is Johnny rethinking putting his body through the unforgiving fight that will likely have diminishing returns?

    If Jeremy brings it, he should be a lock ... he simply has all the goods so I hope neither his body nor his mind will fail him on this final journey. Lysacek has a mean stare, but does he still have what it takes?


    Ladies are sure to be Ashley and Gracie, with Christina and Alissa fighting it out for third. Agnes could definitely upset. I'd love to see Mirai challenge with great skates. It would also be a victory for Caroline to see her come back from the 2013 USFS dumping to place high.

    For dance: Meryl and Charlie; The Shibs; Chock/Bates. Hubbell/ Donahue will surely challenge.

    Pairs will be a battle, but I don't count out Denney/ Coughlin coming out on top. The second spot will likely go to any of Alexa/ Chris; Marissa/ Simon; Lindsay/ Rockne; Zhang/ Bartholomay as top contenders. Donlan/ Speroff have to be at their absolute best to even be in the top five; Denney/ Frazier will also be strong contenders but should likely set their sights more on 2018, when the U.S. may even have enough talent and luck to send 3 pairs teams. Imagine that!


    USFS promotional video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3I0uSzkBkw

    Who can pick out all the skaters in this quick-cutting video?

    Rippon starts it off and he later has a spectacular Rippon-lutz moment ... he's in there at least 3 times.

    Is that Ashley Cain in the blond close-up red-gloved moment? I think I saw Alexa/ Chris for a split second doing a split triple twist.
    Last edited by aftershocks; 06-01-2013 at 11:19 PM.

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    Men- Aaron for sure. 2nd spot pretty open. I think Abbott takes it if he skates well at Nationals regardless what the others do (including outdated Lysacek if he returns), and might even reclaim his U.S title if he skates well. However if he doesnt than I think one of Miner, Dornbush, or Farris has a good shot. I dont see Evan returning or being in top form if he does, and I dont see Rippon as a factor.

    Pairs- I see Denney & Coughlin and Alexa & Chris mist likely. Marissa & Simon or Zhang & Batholomay will have to skate lights out Nationals to prevent it.

    Dance- Davis & White and the Shibutanis are locks. The 3rd spot is pretty open but I think Hubbel & Donahue will get it.

    Ladies- Wagner and Gold are locks. The 3rd spot is open amongst Nagasu, Hicks, Gao, Zawadzki, and maybe a couple others, but I think Gao or Zawadzki will get it.

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    ^^ Well JJ, there's a good chance it will be Max and Jeremy if they both bring it and also do well enough on the GP. I would not count out Mr. Adam Rippon though. AdaRipp's mindset seems very positive and upbeat. If nothing else, he will battle and look good doing it, IMHO.

    All the skaters will definitely need to pace themselves though and not burn out early on. It's almost like just use the GP for practice and then bring it with guns blazing for Nats in order to make the Olympic team.

    I'm with you re Lysacek is old news. I will also be surprised if Johnny competes. I'd rather hear Johnny in the booth at Nats and Olympics.


    You're probably right re the pairs, yet I think Denney/ Frazier and Davis/ Brubaker have the potential to shake things up too. Most definitely, IMHO, Denney/ Frazier and Alexa/Chris (S/K) have the talent and potential to be future U.S. pairs standard bearers, with perhaps Davis/Brubaker coming to the fore as well if their partnership weathers the storm and reaches the heights. Zhang/ Bartholomay and Marissa/Simon will need to step it up a notch in difficulty and presentation, although they both improved a lot last season.


    In ice dance, it would be lovely to see Madison H and Zack make the team with Davis/ White and The Shibs. Chock/ Bates are a good team, but I prefer the others.


    I agree with you re the ladies, but I think Christina's stock is greater for the third spot than the others if she has a bitchin' season and stays strong and confident. You forgot to mention beautiful Alissa. She deserves to be mentioned.

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    There is no such thing as a sure thing when making the Olympic team. Grace could have a meltdown as she's done before or Ashley might have a bad night and not make the team. Not sure how the Shibutanis are a shoo-in to make the team and Chock/Bates aren't since C/B beat the Shibs at both Nationals and Worlds and being with Igor they will continue to improve while the Shibs keep falling.

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    I have a feeling even if Gold or Wagner bomb Nationals they will be held up in the top 3 by inflated PCS and GOE if need be. Maybe if one of them falls in the short then lands only 3 clean triples in the long and Nagasu, Zawadzki, and Gao all land 7 they would be in a pickle how to save them. However I could also see this being the first year the USFSA sends a skater (or more than 1) to the Olympics who didnt finish in an Olympic team placing at Nationals. After all they changed their rule a few years back about only the National Champion being required to be sent. It wont be too long before they find an appropriate situation to use that new rule. Some thought they would use it in 2009 to save Weir, and they didnt, but they were reportedly close to doing so, and the USFSA hates Weir.

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    Awww, hate is such a strong word. AFAIK, they've kissed and made up, even if it was just a little peck with their eyes on mutual benefits.

    Right Jammers, there are no sure things, for sure. I guess that's what makes speculatin' fun.


    Hey, no one has thoughts on the slide show or the promotional video? This place is practically dead in the off-season except for ridiculous polls and finding new ways to bash skaters, eh?

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    No they hate Weir.

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    ^^ Then some of them just kissed him while holding their noses, and the ones who still bear grudges against him refused to pucker-up and happily celebrated when his come back season didn't go well.

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    I wonder if U.S judges would even allow Weir a chance at the team in an Olympic event he shows up at Nationals with quads and skates lights out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post

    Dance- Davis & White and the Shibutanis are locks. The 3rd spot is pretty open but I think Hubbel & Donahue will get it.
    .
    Chock and Bates?!!!

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    Men - Aaron and Abbott, I'm guessing. I think Abbott will manage to pull himself together to get the 2nd spot since it'll mean so much to him. If not, it's probably going to be Miner. Farris and Brown aren't ready yet IMO, Lysacek and Weir won't be in good shape (if either shows up), and Dornbush is too inconsistent. I don't think Rippon is even going to be a factor, really.

    Ladies - Definitely Wagner and Gold. I'm guessing Zawadzki for the third spot, but maybe Nagasu (if she gets back to her "old" self) or Gao. It doesn't seem like Hicks has been around on the senior level long enough to make it to the Olympics, but she's a possibility too.

    Pairs - Denney/Coughlin and Scimeca/Knierim, I'm guessing. The dark horses are Davis and Brubaker, of course, since I have no idea what they will do.

    Dance - Definitely Davis/White and Chock/Bates. Probably the Shibutanis and if not them, then Hubbell/Donahue. Unfortunately, I think K/G-S will miss out again.

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    men- Aaron, Abbott, Ferris or Lysacek
    ladies- Wagner, Gold, Mirai

    the other two disciplines are obvious

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    Ladies - Gold, Wagner, and 3rd spot is likely to go to Gao or Zawadzki, with Nagasu, Czisny as primary spoilers and Wang, Miller, Edmunds as real dark horses that could maybe spoil the party with great showings at Nationals.

    Men - Aaron most likely, then Abbott, Dornbush, or Farris will most likely accompany him. Primary spoilers would be Miner and Rippon (and Lysacek if he shows up in decent shape/at all - which I don't think is very likely at this point), with Brown, Johnson, and Mahbanoozadeh as dark horses that could maybe pull a big upset.

    Dance - Davis/White, Chock/Bates, Shibs. I would be very surprised if these 3 teams did not all make it, though maybe Hubbel/Donohue could knock out Chock/Bates or the Shibs for the final spot, but I don't think so. Aldridge/Eaton could be a dark horse team, but being 1st year seniors I think they are a real longshot at this point.

    Pairs - Denney/Coughlin and Scimeca/Kneirim most probably. Zhang/Bartholomay, Castelli/Shnapir, Denney/Frazier would be primary spoilers, with Davis/Brubaker having an outside shot if they click as a pair really quickly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aftershocks View Post
    Hey, no one has thoughts on the slide show or the promotional video?
    Well, it's always been obvious that the USFSA has favourites they like to promote. Just look at their "Men's Free Skate Highlights" from US Nationals. They may as well have renamed it "Highlights of Abbott, Rippon, Miner and Campbell, with a Dash of Aaron". Shouldn't have bothered calling it "Men's Free Skate"; Aaron wasn't even the main figure in the video and he was the National Champion!

    Likewise, they also released a video before the season started that was supposed to "showcase the Senior men" for the season. They included everyone including Lysacek, and even Jason Brown and Nathan Chen....and there was not a glimpse to be had of Joshua Farris.

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    Ladies - My gut tells me Wagner, Gold and Czisny. Wagner and Gold will probably drive each other upward in the coming season and both should secure spots barring injury. I just have a feeling that Czisny will make this season count. She will draw upon the harsh ups and downs of her skating career to do well enough to get on the team as #3. I'm willing to believe that the only thing contributing to Czisny's disastrous performances in 2012 was her torn hip Labrum. I think she can easily return to 2011 form IF she is indeed well. I also want to believe that Mirai's LP at '13 Nationals was due to the flu because she was serious and training hard this past season, which would make her also a threat for #3 spot if she avoids illness, but maybe the judges at Nationals will on the balance give a clean Czisny the opportunity over a clean Nagasu. Who knows. Then, there's the #5 threat, Gao who is committing to this season full-time and understands she needs a 3f-3t. In summation, I think it's Wagner and Gold, probably Czisny, but not surprised if it's either Nagasu or Gao. Zawadzki is out barring a major overhaul. I think there is an additional chance of whoever is either #4 or even #5 getting to go to Post-Sochi Worlds due to one of them opting out.

    Men - Aaron and Dornbush. Aaron has proven himself and is upping the ante next season. International judges like Dornbush and I think (hope) he shakes all the bad luck; flu at Nationals, injury, crooked blades and skate well to get on the team. I just don't think Abbott will do it. So many missed opportunities and I just see him falling short again. His Skating Lesson interview with JK did nothing to tell me he is attacking the upcoming season from a different angle. I think despite the press, Lysacek is a non-issue. Finally, there's hope for Miner but he ended the last season on a sour note, whereas Dornbush ended his season well.

    Pairs - Probably D/C and S/K, but believe it or not, I find US pairs fascinating because I think we're entering a state of flux. D/C are wildly consistent and indeed the top scorers, but S/K are rapidly improving and already have a top 10 finish at Worlds (like D/C) after being together only one year, and were even invited to perform at the post-Worlds gala (?). If S/K keep it up, they could surpass D/C. I think a wild card is D/B. It will depend on how rapidly they gel, how quickly they develop an international reputation by the time Nationals rolls around. FTR, I think that there is enough potential (what little I saw from exhibition clips) there to scare D/C and S/K. I think C/S should be proud of their improvements, but they will have to improve even more just to keep up with those 3 teams (if it's obvious those 3 teams are realizing their potential), and I believe that they have higher hurdles to overcome such as the height differential. So, I see it as S/K and D/C, outside shot by D/B and C/S to make the team, but should make the podium and a trip to 4CC's / even a post-Sochi Worlds where either US #1 or #2 opt out. I would rank Z/B and D/F as fighting for #5 if all the aforementioned teams are healthy. Both teams need to skate on a bigger, grander level overall to effectively move up past those in front of them. IMO, Z/B would be first in line to return to the podium if anyone slips up. But either team could easily get to 4CC's. D/F especially have potential, but they are newbies and need more experience. I honestly don't really see D/S or anyone else having a legitimate shot in an Olympic season.

    Ice Dance - D/W, C/B and H/D. D/W is a no brainer for the team. Following our World Champs, I think it will be C/B who are indeed improving, but I see them getting some extra love from the USFSA and benefitting from Shpilband politicking. I feel the fight for #3 will be an intense one between S/S and H/D. This might be the season where S/S falls off the team due to their slow decline in the standings. But, it's also up to H/D to improve. Right now, it's 50-50 in my book. The #4 finisher might get a trip to post-Sochi Worlds to split the difference. K/GS are doing what they can to improve, and I like them, but I see them not making an Olympic or even World team (unless D/W and someone else foregoes post-Sochi Worlds). They are probably 4CC's material.
    Last edited by olympic; 06-02-2013 at 04:13 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chanunderrated View Post
    I wonder if U.S judges would even allow Weir a chance at the team in an Olympic event he shows up at Nationals with quads and skates lights out.
    I wonder if US Skating would give Rachael Flatt a chance to go the the Olympics if she turned up at nationals and skated her absolute best and won nationals!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skater91 View Post
    I wonder if US Skating would give Rachael Flatt a chance to go the the Olympics if she turned up at nationals and skated her absolute best and won nationals!
    Maybe if all the other skaters didn't bother to show up.

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    I don't see either Abbott or Czisny making the Olympic team in 2014. I wish them both well but IMO their best years are behind them. I am going to stick my neck out & predict that joining Max Aaron will be either Jason Brown or Rick Dornbush.
    Women: Gracie Gold, Ashley Wagner & Christina Gao or Courtney Hicks.
    Dance: Davis & White, Chock & Bates, Shibutanis
    Pairs: Denney & Coughlin, Scimeca & Knieram

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    Quote Originally Posted by blue_idealist View Post
    Chock and Bates?!!!
    Sorry I meant to say Davis & White and Chock & Bates are locks. The Shibutanis and Hubbel & Donahue and maybe 1 or 2 other teams are fighting for the 3rd spot. I hope and think Hubbel & Donahue will get it though.

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    Czisny is not listed for any GPs though she was eligible by comeback rule, I assume this means she is still recovering and perhaps not jumping yet, in which case I see her being less of a factor for Sochi at this point. I really would not want her to get injured AGAIN trying to force a comeback too soon.

    Also Rippon only has one GP event, he could get the host pick at SA but I tend to think that will be going to Johnson, Brown, or Mahbanoozadeh. So idk if that hurts his chances for Sochi, in a way I think it does, because it sort of puts him on the periphery of the "contenders" who each have 2 GPs (Aaron, Abbott, Farris, Miner, Dornbush). Abbott has to face Miner and Farris at SC and then Aaron (and Rippon) at NHK, so it's like he has to go head-to-head with all the medalists at Nationals from last season on the GP, and depending on the outcome, idk if that could maybe hurt his chances (in other words, if he doesn't beat all of them at those 2 events, he might not be coming into Nationals with a very high stock). It will be interesting to see for sure. SC and TEB fields are really tough..Aaron and Dornbush lucked out with their assignments, I think they could both do very well and maybe make GPF.

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