The men's short program at the 2010 world figure skating championships is tomorrow and several of the top contenders for medals have decided to sit this one out. Still, that doesn't mean that the finish order is going to be predictable. There are several contenders for the title and for medals overall.
Jeremy Abbott (USA): Soon, I may no longer be able to consider Abbott a true contender. I guess it will all come down to the way he skates at this competition. The reason he is still in this group is that he not only has a quad, but he also has triple axels, amazing grade of execution potential, and two beautiful programs that can score him high in program components. The reason I may not consider him a contender from now on is that he continuously flops in the biggest competition of the year - many think he leaves his best performances at Nationals. Whatever the problem, I would be so happy if we saw Abbott skate to his potential here. I think he could beat everyone if that were the case.
Patrick Chan (Canada): Chan is the reigning world silver medalist. He's had a disappointing season in which he fought a muscle injury and split from his coach, Don Laws, as well as made some major errors at the Olympics. Still, that doesn't stop Canadian media from writing that Chan is sad he doesn't get a chance to rematch with Plushenko. Huh? Anyway...I think Chan may very well win this competition. He is a beautiful artistic skater (one of my favorites to watch), but I think he is typically overscored by the judges. I also wish he would grow up a bit emotionally...he comes off as very immature and arrogant in interviews, and it's kind of tiring. But if he skates clean here, I think he's got the win. And really, skating is all it should come down to, in the end.
Brian Joubert (France): Blah blah blah, world champion, blah quad quad, blah, which Joubert will we see, blah, Olympic redemption, blah. I think I covered it. Longer version: Joubert could come out here, win the world championships, and come in last place in his very next competition. He is that erratic. But he was last year's bronze medalist, and he has some great jumps. With Lysacek, Plushenko, and Lambiel out, he has a great chance to crack the top three again. If he doesn't implode.
Nobunari Oda (Japan): It looks like the momentum has swung away from Oda, who could do no wrong at the start of the season. Although he isn't selling his programs as much as he was before, he still has his jumps, and they are beautiful. And if the spark returns for worlds, he could find himself on the podium. I was very impressed with his poise in the Olympic free skate.
Daisuke Takahashi (Japan): Takahashi is such a showman and an artist on the ice. What he is not is consistent. It's unclear if he'll be as stubborn about the quad here as he was at the Olympics. If he is, it may very well be as damaging here as it was there. If the jumps are with him, I assume he'll be on the podium. But there's no betting on it, as he's been up and down all season, since returning from knee surgery.
The Dark Horses
Takahiko Kozuka (Japan): I truly thought Kozuka was something special in Vancouver (as he has been many times in the past) and he seemed underscored to me. If he skates clean here, he may be able to capitalize on other skaters' mistakes. He not only has the quad but he also has a beautiful style that the judges like.
Adam Rippon (USA): I am not sure if Rippon will be able to medal just yet, but it's his first shot at the senior worlds and he's obviously arrived, having won Four Continents. He's exciting and a beautiful skater, and I'm hoping he can skate well here and conquer his jumps.
Michael Brezina (Czech Republic): This guy sure can land jumps...he's just not quite there yet, artistically. But he may be able to sneak onto the podium for a medal if the situation is right.
And don't forget about Ryan Bradley, Florent Amodio, and so many others! It should be a fun competition.