The next stop of ISU Grand-prix series is Moscow and this event promise to be really exciting to watch! So, here is my list of 10 main reasons why Rostelecom Cup 2015 is worth watching and also 10 main intrigues of the event.
1. Another gold for Javier Fernandez?
With another victory Javier Fernandez will make into the Grand-prix final as the winner of two GP events. Actually to get into GP Final he can place from 1st to 4th places at Rostelecom Cup but honestly there is nobody to lose to. So, Javier should try hard not to win here and I don’t even know what he should do (not do) to be out of the pedestal) But I wish Fernandez to skate both his programs clean and show once again that reigning World Champion can defend his title.
2. Will Nam Nguyen show better result?
I think finishing 5th at Skate Canada wasn’t what Nam Nguyen expected, especially after pretty successful previous season and even a medal at GP events. So, it’s interesting whether he has improved from Skate Canada, whether his free program looks better now and whether he changed his costume that looks like a women’s blouse. Looking at Entries list I don’t think it will be hard for Nam to win a medal here.
3. Can the Russian men eventually please the home audience?
Men’s skating is a sore point for Russian figure skating fans but maybe this time someone will eventually please the home audience? Sergei Voronov, Adian Pitkeev and Mikhail Kolyada will try. Actually i think that Sergei Voronov has good chances to win a medal. He definitely can, if he will manage to skate pretty clean both of his programs.
4. The new prima of Tutberidze’s group
After Lipnitskaia has left the Eteri Tutberidze’s group Evgenia Medvedeva got all attention of her coach. According to results at Skate America and taking into account a generous second mark she got, Medvedeva is not only a favorite to win Rostelecom Cup but also a new hope of Russian figure skating federation for the medals of this season. Will see whether Evgenia will manage to perform impressively in front of the home crowd (lots of Russian skaters told they don’t like to skate at home, because it’s a big responsibility and they feel it).
5. The return of an Olympic Champion
It will be the first international competition for Adelina Sotnikova after a year break. But I don’t think it was a right decision to participate at grand-prix event. If she wants to come back and show that she’s ready to fight and how serious her intentions are then she needs to skate at two GP events, try to get into the Final and show to everyone what she is capable of. If she’s not ready to do that, then she should participate in some B event instead and doesn’t take a points from those who will need it to get into the Grand-prix final. The situation with Russian girls this season is not so pleasant for the federation so wonder why they didn’t ask Adelina to withdraw? Is it a commercial motives or they don’t believe she can interfere into the fight for medals? But it’ll be really interesting to see Adelina again.
6. Chances for Rika Hongo to win Rostelecom again?
Last season Rika Hongo surprisingly won the Rostelecom Cup, this time she also has good chances to medal. But I doubt that it will be gold. To beat the Russians at home Rika needs to skate the best she can and the Russian girls need to make mistakes (not even one mistake). Can this happen? Who knows. But Rika Hongo is a good competitor who won’t miss her medals if it’s a chance.
7. Kavaguti & Smirnov vs Stolbova & Klimov
The pair skating is now on so high level of technical difficulty that it’s hard to fight for medals without a quad throw or quad twist. And turns out that Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov was the best prepared for such changes Russian pair. If only they were consistent. Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov missed half of last season as they said to have more time to prepare the ultra-C elements. But….he haven’t seen those ultra-C yet) The first GP event was not successful for them too but who knows, at home even the walls help.
8. What to expect from Peng & Zhang?
Cheng Peng and Hao Zhang wasn’t impressive in the short program at Trophee Eric Bompard (thus I liked the program a lot) but we haven’t got a chance to see their free program. According to their trainings thay will try to add a quad throw to their quad twist. If they will manage to do that we will have another pair that can be a medal contender at any competition. But the main thing for them is consistency, Cheng Peng need to learn how to land her jumps in every competition) I don’t think thay will win the Rostelecom Cup, but the silver is definitely possible.
And like always there will be lots of drama in ice dance)
9. Cappellini & Lanotte vs Weaver & Poje
Both duos won their first grand-prix events, both are the first pairs of theirs federations, both can win here. It will be really exciting fight to watch. Personally I bet on Weaver and Poje but Cappellini Lanotte definitely won’t give up so easily. And they both should watch out because the Russians want to get to the Grande-Prix Final and to do that they need to place 2nd…..I doubt that the Russian figure skating federation won’t help them.
10. The Russian ice dance drama
Elena Ilinykh – Ruslan Zhiganshin and Victoria Sinitsina – Nikita Katsalapov will meet again at Rostelecom Cup. Last time Ilinykh and Zhiganshin won this local battle but this time I’m not so sure. Sinitsina and Katsalapov had an impressive start at Skate America, they had some time to improve the lifts not to get a deductions this time, also the judges have already seen them and know what to expect so their second marks can be higher. And it definitely will be a battle of nerves, not only for skaters but for their fans too)