It's 2013, which means that we are now 13 months away from the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. And my Olympic Buzz Experiment continues with the results from December 2012. It's probably no surprise to anyone that Yuna Kim's solid return last month at the NRW Trophy had some effect on the buzz. That, plus the results of the Grand Prix Final and the flurry of national championships, have resulted in some interesting movement from the fans.
To learn more about the Olympic Buzz Experiment and its methodology, scroll to the bottom of this page.
The top six may be the same, but there was some notable movement from two skaters who made some waves during December. Daisuke Takahashi won the Grand Prix Final then skated one of the best free skates of his career at Japan Nationals. Evgeni Plushenko skated his first full competition of the season and won his 2,341,234,085th Russian title. Both have closed the gap somewhat on the top two.
- Patrick Chan - 6.935 (-0.381) G,S
- Yuzuru Hanyu - 4.758 (-0.297) B
- Daisuke Takahashi - 3.132 (+0.319)
- Evgeni Plushenko - 2.056 (+0.586)
- Javier Fernandez - 0.968 (-0.098) DR
- Takahiko Kozuka - 0.202 (-0.093)
- Jeremy Abbott - 0.121 (+0.047)
- Evan Lysacek - 0.121 (+0.029)
- Tomas Verner - 0.108 (+0.034)
- Ross Miner - 0.081 (-0.048)
- Tatsuki Machida - 0.067 (-0.043)
- Brian Joubert (NEW) - 0.040 (+0.040)
- Florent Amodio - 0.013 (-0.042)
- Takahito Mura - 0.013 (-0.005)
Off the list: Johnny Weir
It was bound to happen - Olympic champion Yuna Kim was bubbling under with her second-place buzz standings in November. And her return to competition with some very strong skating at NRW Trophy convinced more than a few people that she is in it for good. She shoots up to the top of the buzz standings.
Meanwhile, Ashley Wagner slipped to second and Mao Asada upped her Buzz Number following their respective performances at the Grand Prix Final. The two of them are now neck-and-neck. The other notable movement was World champion Carolina Kostner, who generated some buzz of her own after making her season debut at Golden Spin then skating a strong free skate at Italian Nationals.
- Yuna Kim - 6.343 (+2.407) G
- Ashley Wagner - 3.750 (-1.772) S,B
- Mao Asada - 3.657 (+0.784)
- Elizaveta Tuktamisheva - 1.866 (-0.070) DR
- Akiko Suzuki - 0.771 (-0.553)
- Julia Lipnitskaia - 0.771 (-0.423)
- Carolina Kostner - 0.612 (+0.165)
- Adelina Sotnikova - 0.239 (-0.227)
- Mira Nagasu - 0.199 (-0.100)
- Kiira Korpi - 0.173 (-0.088)
- Gracie Gold - 0.146 (-0.059)
- Alena Leonova - 0.053 (+0.016)
- Kaetlyn Osmond - 0.040 (-0.016)
- Christina Gao - 0.013 (-0.005)
- Alissa Czisny - 0.013 (-0.005)
- Valentina Marchei (NEW) - 0.013 (+0.013)
Off the list: Zijun Li/Agnes Zawadzki
The fact that Tatiana Volosozhar/Maxim Trankov's disastrous, yet winning, free skate at the Grand Prix Final helped them gain in their Buzz Number could mean a few things.
Fans might be convinced by the possibility that they would win the Olympics even with one or more mistakes, especially with their home ice advantage. Or they might see their Grand Prix Final meltdown as an anomaly. It's likely a combination of both, since Aliona Savchenko/Robin Szolkowy also experienced an increase in their Buzz Number.
The pair who some thought should have won the Final, Vera Bazarova/Yuri Larionov, moved up a bit as a result of their performances at the Final.
- Volosozhar/Trankov - 7.740 (+0.785) G
- Savchenko/Szolkowy - 6.592 (+0.479) S
- Pang/Tong - 1.712 (+0.371) B
- Bazarova/Larionov - 0.736 (+0.032)
- Kavaguti/Smirnov - 0.599 (-0.196) DR
- Duhamel/Radford - 0.497 (-0.231) DR
- Sui/Han - 0.205 (-0.113)
- Denney/Coughlin - 0.205 (-0.113)
- Moore-Towers/Moscovitch - 0.103 (-0.034)
- Castelli/Shnapir - 0.034 (-0.011)
- Takahashi/Tran - 0.034 (-0.034)
- Peng/Zhang - 0.017 (-0.028)
Off the list: Scimeca/Knierim, Berton/Hotarek
The top three stayed the same, with just a bit more support for Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir than in November. But all in all, it's negligible movement. The big jump was made by Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev, who are certainly gaining momentum with their rejuvenating season.
- Virtue/Moir - 7.800 (+0.255) G
- Davis/White - 7.455 (-.0255) S
- Pechalat/Bourzat - 2.023 (-0.023) B
- Bobrova/Soloviev - 0.567 (+0.271)
- Ilinykh/Katsalapov - 0.433 (-0.135) DR
- Weaver/Poje - 0.267 (-0.097)
- Cappellini/Lanotte - 0.117 (+0.003)
- Shibutani/Shibutani - 0.083 (-0.053)
- Gilles/Poirier - 0.033 (-0.012)
- Stepanova/Bukin - 0.017 (-0.006)
What is the Buzz Experiment?
Examiner Figure Skating's Olympic Buzz Experiment polls skating fans and experts alike about their podium predictions for the Olympics at the end of each month. Beginning November 2012, results are being compiled every in-season month (November 2012-April 2013, August 2013-January 2014) to understand skater momentum as the Sochi Olympics approach.
By gathering predictions via email rather than from an online poll, the Buzz Experiment attempts to reduce skewed results often seen with online polls. The goal is not a popularity contest, though that aspect does play a role in the results, but rather a more genuine sense of who is generating the most buzz and momentum as the Olympics near.
Methodology of results
The biggest caveat that I have with the Buzz Experiment is that the analysis of results will likely change as I understand the data, have more questions, and get feedback. Currently, the Buzz Number is a weighted average of the responses as follows: Gold (53.33%), Silver (26.67%), Bronze (13.33%), Dark Horse (6.67%).
Results are accepted ONLY when participants provide predictions for one or more full podiums (i.e., if a person chooses just one person for the gold, the prediction is discarded). This allows a fairer distribution of predictions.
How do I participate?
For more background, take a look at my original post. Email me your January 2013 picks at firstname.lastname@example.org later this month. I want a gold, a silver, a bronze, and a dark horse for men, ladies, pairs, and dance. Note that you don't have to choose podiums for all disciplines if you are not familiar. Plus, tell me what country you are from.
If you have already participated, you will receive an email from me during the last week of January.