Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo were, as anticipated, absolutely brilliant in their pre-Olympics international debut. I'm sure that in Germany, where the reigning world champions live and train and in Russia, where the wannabe world champions live and train, there was a shudder throughout the "force" which clearly says to all concerned "They're back!"
Excellence trumps all. I cannot find it in my heart to cheer for anyone else in the pairs competition. The grace, beauty and courage displayed by this pair is beyond that of anyone else competing in their discipline.
The same goes for Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto. While I dislike a few of their lifts and deem them to be awkward at best, truth be told, they are many miles beyond anyone else in terms of excellence and sheer beauty!
Nobunari Oda won the men's competition at Cup of China over American skater and World Champion Evan Lysacek. Oda is a sweetly charming skater with an elfin appeal and I wish him well. Lysacek is deliberately developing his power slowly during this pre-Olympic season and may not be at full power until Vancouver!
Mirai Nagasu was first in the ladies' competition after the short program. She then struggled throughout her long program and ended up fifth. Maturity makes a great deal of difference sweet girl.