Ice Network

Karelian hot pot: French pair endures travel scare

Finnish paper delivers interesting predictions; Radford suffers hip injury
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Vanessa James and Morgan Ciprès have arrived in Helsinki, but the French pairs team endured a bit of a scare during their travels. -Getty Images

In case you didn't already know, Finland currently holds the top ranking in the World Press Freedom Index.

And in their worlds preview article, Helsingin Sanomat, the largest of Finnish newspapers, took their "artistic freedom" to a heightened level Tuesday, delivering predictions vastly different from the ones you'll find on icenetwork.

The local newspaper tabbed Madison Chock and Evan Bates as the favorites to claim the gold medal in ice dance, with challengers Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani, as well as Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, also competing for the top prize.

According to Helsingin Sanomat, the United States may "very well sweep the dance podium."

I guess those other teams have been excluded.

The newspaper also appears to have the scoop on how the ladies competition will play out. The main challengers to Evgenia Medvedeva -- the reigning world champion -- are fellow Russians Anna Pogorilaya and Elizaveta Tuktamisheva.

They also mentioned Satoko Miyahara as someone capable of capturing Medvedeva's crown. The only problem with that claim is that the Japanese talent was forced to withdraw from the event due to a hip injury. Tuktamisheva, on the other hand, is not competing here (she is listed as an alternate).

I think we can eliminate these skaters as "challengers."

Adding to the uniqueness of their predictions, Helsingin Sanomat said Yuzuru Hanyu, "who is coached by 1984 and 1988 Olympic champion Brian Orser," will be the favorite to win the men's gold medal. That's all well and good -- minus the part where they refer to Orser as a two-time Olympic gold medalist.

Orser did compete in those Olympic Games but earned silver each time, not gold.

Anything but lutzes

Canada's Eric Radford revealed he has been suffering from a muscle spasm in his hip the past week. The injury severely hinders his ability to land the lutz jump, since it prevents him from squeezing his legs together for the takeoff. The practices in Helsinki have been on and off, and on Tuesday, Radford fell several times on his lutz attempts.

His partner, Meagan Duhamel, said each portion of their program they performed in practice seemed to be at its peak, minus the lutz. She even landed a double axel-triple toe during Tuesday's session.

"I can only jump like that from time to time, not every day," Duhamel said. "My lutz felt good, so I have no need to do any more of these and I need to give Eric time to work on his, so I've just started practicing some other jumps."

Wake up!

The French pairs team of Vanessa James and Morgan Ciprès arrived in Finland on separate flights -- but that wasn't by design.

They had just flown from Miami, had a layover at home near Paris and were scheduled to fly to Helsinki on Sunday morning.

Either because of jetlag, confusion due to the time change or the fact that he was traveling alone while their coach, John Zimmermann, was with James, Ciprès doesn't know how it happened, but he overslept and missed the flight with his partner.

Luckily, the French pair didn't really miss a beat. Ciprès caught a later flight to Helsinki and arrived just a couple of hours after his partner touched down.

If James' gesture during our chat following the pairs short program draw was to imply something, it's that her partner has been advised to keep a closer look at his watch in the coming days!