It’s a little over 2 weeks until the pairs competition starts at 2017 Worlds in Helsinki. With that in mind, I thought I’d put together my second consecutive Top 6 Pairs Marathon watchlist! (Some of you may remember last season’s Top 6 Pairs Marathon.)
Just like last year, I think 6 pairs are legitimate contenders for the World podium this season. Not coincidentally, they’re the 6 teams who sit atop the ISU season’s-best total score list.
A couple of pairs from last year’s Top 6 Pairs Marathon are not among this year’s group (Volosozhar/Trankov, Kavaguti/Smirnov). Two other pairs made big gains this season and have taken their places: Tarasova/Morozov and James/Cipres. However, 4 pairs from last year’s list appear again: Sui/Han, Savchenko/Massot, Duhamel/Radford, and Stolbova/Klimov.
It seems all but certain that some combination of these 6 teams will stand on the podium in Helsinki. Yet, many of these teams have not competed against each other yet this season. To get a sense of how they stack up, you can watch The Top 6 Pairs Marathon below. Although you’ve probably seen some of the performances before, watching them back-to-back gives you a different sense of how the teams compare.
The marathon consists of one SP from each pair, followed by one LP. The idea is to show each pair at their best this season. In many cases, I went with the pairs’ top-scoring programs. However, for some, I chose different routines. For example, Tarasova/Morozov got their highest SP score at Europeans, but I felt their Grand Prix Final SP was actually a bit cleaner and stronger, so I chose that routine. Also, Duhamel/Radford got their highest scores at Skate Canada, but their SP has really improved since then; plus, their LP jump layout/entrances have changed a lot. So I chose their Four Continents programs.
Here is The Top 6 Pairs Marathon!
Tarasova/Morozov: Grand Prix Final 2016 SP
Sui/Han: Four Continents SP
James/Cipres: Europeans SP
Savchenko/Massot: Trophee de France SP
Duhamel/Radford: Four Continents SP
Stolbova/Klimov: Russian Nationals SP
Tarasova/Morozov: Europeans LP
Sui/Han: Four Continents LP
James/Cipres: Europeans LP
Savchenko/Massot: Europeans LP
Duhamel/Radford: Four Continents LP
Stolbova/Klimov: Russian Nationals LP (Maxim Trankov was impressed!)
Thoughts After Watching the Marathon
For now, I’ll just give a few brief thoughts after watching the Marathon.
1. Tarasova/Morozov are on a serious roll, winning both the Grand Prix Final and Europeans. Frankly, it’s pretty amazing how far they’ve come with an LP that’s gotten much negative feedback (and, let’s face it, even scorn) from fans. Watching their Euros LP, I was reminded of 2006 Olympic champions Totmianina/Marinin: Another Russian pair who had that classic line/form/technique and was beloved by the judges–but not so much by fans. Technically, Tarasova/Morozov have all the goods. Artistically, they’re not quite there yet. Will it be enough for gold at Worlds?
2. Sui/Han had a stunning comeback at Four Continents, after almost a year away from competition. Who would have thought Blues for Klook would be such perfect material for them? Already so strong technically, this team just continues to grow as performers and looked better than ever in Korea.
3. I’m excited to see if James/Cipres will land a clean throw quad Salchow for the first time at Worlds. They’ve been getting closer and closer this whole past year. If it happens in Helsinki, it could help propel them toward a medal.
4. Savchenko/Massot are like the opposite of Tarasova/Morozov. Technically, they’ve been up-and-down. But artistically, their programs are outstanding. I love the final pose in their “Lighthouse” LP, where Bruno lifts Aliona up. It kind of symbolizes my hopes for them: The new partnership taking Aliona to even greater heights.
5. It’s been an unexpectedly tough season for Duhamel/Radford, but they’ve handled it with grace and class. Recently on her blog, Meagan expressed her disappointment with their programs at Four Continents. But honestly, from my perspective as a viewer, I felt there was a lot to admire in these programs.
6. It’s been a hard season for Stolbova/Klimov, too. But they still have it. Such power and strength and intensity. Ksenia remains as fascinating as ever. Their Clair de Lune SP—such a departure from their usual style—honestly gives me chills, it’s so unexpectedly good. (Style note: Can we please see the ash rose dress again at Worlds? It’s really beautiful.)
I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts after watching the Top 6 Pairs Marathon! Any surprises/new observations? Any programs you liked more or less than before? If so, please share! 🙂
Next week, I’ll be posting a complete preview of the pairs event at Worlds. So, stay tuned for that! 🙂