Patrick Chan has not lost since taking second at Rostelecom Cup last year – Grand Prix Final, Canadians, then Worlds, where he was breaking records left and right with his new love for the quad toe. As was the case last week at Skate America, there seem to be three men whom, on paper, you would expect to be on the podium. But if Skate America were any indication, those expectations might just go right out the door.
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Two World champions are in the field, Chan and 2010 champ Daisuke Takahashi. And American Adam Rippon figures to be in the running for the podium as well. But there are lots of young guns in the picture ready to pounce at any opportunity should the favorites take a spill or three.
GOLD Patrick Chan CAN – The new king of the quad toe, or so it has seemed, is ready to claim his third career Skate Canada title. And the way he looked at Japan Open – three falls but still plenty of room to beat everyone else – one could imagine that he could end up with a different color medal. Nonetheless, he will need to be cleaner than that to hold off this group of talented skaters.
WATCH: Chan Japan Open free skate
SILVER Adam Rippon USA – With news of fellow American Brandon Mroz’s quad lutz in September ratified (or as the ISU put it, “homologated”) as the first ever, Rippon just got superseded in the history books. But the 2010 Four Continents champs has been talking quad lutz during the pre-season and had also talked of putting one in the short program as well. Whether or not that materializes this early in the season is to be seen. But after a disappointing last season, you can be sure that he’s prepared to get himself back into the mix.
WATCH: Rippon’s quad lutz in practice
BRONZE Daisuke Takahashi JPN – The fall Grand Prix circuit isn’t always where the 2010 World champion’s shows his best skating. And based on his performance at the Japan Open earlier in the fall, there’s a chance that the jumps are just not quite at full strength yet. Will he try a quad? Will it be a toe or a flip? Could this be the week that *two* new quads get ratified? Stay tuned.
WATCH: Takahashi Japan Open free skate
4. Kevin Van Der Perren BEL – Taking the surprise silver at last week’s Skate America, the veteran Belgian is right up there with the best of them as far as jump are concerned (triple-triple-triple, anyone?). But the rest of his skating doesn’t match up. But again, should the top skaters falter like they did last week, he’s right in there for a medal.
WATCH: Van Der Perren Skate America free skate
5. Denis Ten KAZ – There was some good and some bad with the young Denis Ten at Skate America. He seems steadier this season than he did in seasons past, but the inconsistencies, and possibly mental games, kicked in once again during his free skate after a terrific opening. Can he take some lessons learned and apply it this week? If so, he’s a medal threat.
6. Andrei Rogozine CAN – World junior champion, is this guy the next Canadian star? Amidst his stellar last season, he experienced a major hiccup with a 13th-place finish at Canadians, but he bounced back to win Junior Worlds. The potential is there, let’s see how he handles it in his senior international debut in his home Grand Prix.
7. Javier Fernandez ESP – I wasn’t the only one who thought his free skate at Worlds was underscored. The young Spaniard has the ability to do two different quads, and his skating is getting better each year.
8. Ross Miner USA – The surprise American bronze medalist was 11th at Worlds after a slow start to his Grand Prix season. He will need to be technically strong and consistent to make his mark in a sea of talented men this week.
9. Alexander Majorov SWE – The Swede is coming in as the World junior bronze medalist. His achievement was Sweden’s first medal at a major international competition since the early days of skating.
10. Elladj Balde CAN – The former Canadian junior champion makes his Grand Prix debut after a tenth-place finish at Nebelhorn Trophy earlier this season.
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