The 2014 ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships wrapped up today in Italy, with some familiar names landing on the podium. Finland 1 (Marigold IceUnity) were gold medalists after last medaling in 2011. Canada 1 (NEXXICE) won the silver medal for the third straight year, narrowly edging out Finland 2 (Rockettes), who won bronze after not qualifying for the event last year. All three teams skated clean in both segments, and were the only teams to get all of their technical calls in the short or the free.
While the American Senior teams are competing at their National Championships to earn spots on the U.S. world team this weekend, some international heavy-hitters will be on the ice in Sweden and Croatia.
Sweden’s National Championships take place from March 3-4. With only 2 Senior teams, it’s a guarantee that both will be at Worlds in April. However, the pressure is still on both teams to perform at their best as they prepare to compete for World medals in their home country in just over a month. Team Surprise missed some calls at Spring Cup a few weeks ago, losing the free program to Russia’s Tartarstan (9th in the world in 2011), though still finishing first overall. Typically a medal contender at Worlds, eyes will be on Team Surprise’s performances this weekend to gauge their improvement. Additionally, Team Boomerang had their highest ever finish at Worlds last year (8th), and will surely have been working hard in an effort to challenge for a higher finish this year at home.
At the Zagreb Snowflakes Trophy taking place March 1-3, Paradise (RUS) and Team Berlin 1 (GER) are expected to lead the pack based on their competitive history, though there are also other seasoned international competitors in the mix. Paradise surprised many people when they beat defending World Champions, Rockettes (FIN), in the short program at SynchroFest International back in December. However, they finished 3rd behind Team Unique (FIN) and Marigold Ice Unity (FIN) at French Cup in early February. Team Berlin 1 has been a top 10 finisher at Worlds a number of times in the past, so their performance and scores will be watched closely by their competitors as well.
Live streaming is available for the Zagreb Snowflakes Trophy, for the price of $8.00 (USD) for both days of the event.
Rockettes and Marigold Ice Unity will have the chance to defend their World medals in Gothenburg, Sweden, after the two teams won gold and silver medals respectively at Finnish Nationals yesterday.
Rockettes, Marigold, and Team Unique were all in the running for Worlds berths after trading placements in various international and domestic competitions all season. Finnish Nationals was the final test to determine which two teams would represent Finland at the World Championships in April. Although Rockettes won the National Championship and Marigold Ice Unity took the silver medal, Marigold earned the designation of Team Finland 1 for Worlds based on their cumulative successes this year. Rockettes will attend Worlds as Team Finland 2. Team Unique finished third in both the short and free programs at Nationals to win the bronze medal.
Full results from the competition are available here.
Rockettes and Marigold have won gold and silver respectively at the last two World Championships, while the Haydenettes (USA) are repeat bronze medal winners from 2011 and 2010. The Haydenettes will aim to earn a trip to Worlds when they compete at U.S. Nationals later this week, where they also hope to win their 20th National title.
You can’t become a World Champion without getting to the World Championships.
Sounds painfully obvious, no? While true, it is the most important consideration for Senior teams headed to their respective National Championships in Canada, Finland, and the U.S.A. this week and next. Each country will qualify two teams to compete at the World Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden, in April. But while it will be considered an upset if Nexxice (CAN) and the Haydenettes (USA) don’t earn berths to represent their countries at Worlds, Finnish Nationals is anyone’s game. (more…)