Grand Prix Final–December 8-11, 2011–Quebec City, Quebec, Canada–Pairs

PAIRS

Pl Name Nation Points SP FS
1 Aliona SAVCHENKO / Robin SZOLKOWY GER 212.26 2 1
2 Tatiana VOLOSOZHAR / Maxim TRANKOV RUS 212.08 1 2
3 Yuko KAVAGUTI / Alexander SMIRNOV RUS 187.77 4 3
4 Dan ZHANG / Hao ZHANG CHN 182.54 3 4
5 Meagan DUHAMEL / Eric RADFORD CAN 170.43 5 5
6 Narumi TAKAHASHI / Mervin TRAN JPN 164.42 6 6

I’ve enjoyed watching the Grand Prix pairs events all season, and the final was no exception. The top three pairs skated exceptionally well, and the gold medalists and silver medalists were separated by fractions of a point. Had Savchenko/Szolkowy not missed their usually spot-on throw triple flip in the SP, it would not have been quite so close. I’m still not a huge fan of their “Pina” long program  music; I find there are too many music cuts for my taste. One certainly can’t argue with the way they skated it here, though. The quality was high from beginning to end. The fact that Volosozhar/Trankov have been together for such a short time and are having such great success is nothing short of amazing. Their unison is almost unbelievable in a pair that has not been together very long. “Black Swan” is a good vehicle for them. I love Kavaguti/Smirnov’s long program to “Clair de Lune”; he presents her perfectly and they show more connection to each other on the ice than I think we’ve seen in the past. Zhang/Zhang have never been huge favorites of mine. Her lack of emotion and lack of change in facial expression have always left me cold. Hao Zhang looks positively emotive next to her. They have been on the scene a long time, and I don’t see her getting “artistic religion” any time soon. Their lack of connection with each other and the audience may stand up for now, but Sui/Han already have that emotiveness (is that a word? Well, if not, it should be 😉 ); once their technical skills and consistency mature, Zhang/Zhang are going to have all kinds of trouble. Duhamel/Radford and Takahashi/Tran did well to make the final, but they were outclassed in this field.

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