Some thoughts on pairs skating:
Tatiana Volosozhar / Maxim Trankov (Russia): Best in the world.
Aliona Savchenko / Robin Szolkowy (Germany): Second best in the world.
Sort of the same "duel for gold" as in men and dance, only with fewer world records and more artistry.
A bit of rivalry between the two girls. One girl left Ukraine to skate for a Western country. The other girl proudly skates for Mother Russia.
Russia owned the gold medal in this event throughout the Cold War and even through the 1990s and 2000s. Then they were completely off the podium in 2010. They really
want to hear the Russian national anthem playing when medals are awarded for this event.
Volosozhar and Trankov are undoubtedly the best in the world, but they are beginning to wilt under the pressure. Hopefully they can fix that and pull it off, because they are amazing when they do.
Thoughts on women's skating:
So many contenders for gold that I don't know where to start.
Some that stand out:
Julia Lipnitskaia (Russia) -- amazing artistry, amazing jumps, amazing competitive spirit, just plain amazing, my nomination for the greatest figure skater of all time
Yuna Kim (South Korea) -- won the gold at Vancouver in 2010 then went into retirement, at the end of last year came out of retirement from out of the blue and showed up at worlds where she won the gold, didn't skate this year until qualifications for the Olympics last month were she put out a world record score so high that I'm not even sure how it was mathematically possible
Mao Asada (Japan) -- awesome triple Axles, I love triple Axles, more triple Axles please
Gracie Gold (USA) -- good enough to win if everything goes right, and with a name like that just think of the headlines
Polina Edmunds (USA) -- her very first skate at the senior level was enough to put her on the US Olympic team, the Olympics will be her second skate at the senior level, good enough to win if everything goes right, I've never seen anyone moonwalk in ice skates before (referring to her post-competition exhibition skate)
Adelina Sotnikova (Russia) -- hard to notice her when Julia Lipnitskaia is also in the building, good enough to win if things go right
Akiko Suzuki (Japan) -- hard to notice her when Mao Asada is also in the building, good enough to win if things go right
Kanako Murakami (Japan) -- hard to notice her when Mao Asada is also in the building, good enough to win if things go right