I was thinking about my prediction for the pairs event at the World Championships, and it got me thinking about a potential situation.
First, here are my fearless predictions:
1. Volosozhar/Trankov RUS
2. Savchenko/Szolkowy GER
3. Duhamel/Radford CAN
4. Bazarova/Larionov RUS
5. Moore-Towers/Moscovitch CAN
6. Pang/Tong CHN
7. Kavaguti/Smirnov RUS
8. Berton/Hotarek ITA
9. Sui/Han CHN
10. James/Cipres FRA
11. Castelli/Shnapir USA
12. Peng/Zhang CHN
13. Scimeca/Knierim USA
14. Vartmann/Van Cleave GER
15. Della Monica/Guarise ITA
16. Kemp/King GBR
[And we get rid of a whopping two pairs, likely to be the teams from Poland and Bulgaria, after the short]
This World Championship is important because it determines the first 16 qualifying spots for the Sochi Olympics, while the remaining 4 are earned at the Nebelhorn Trophy early next season.
Here is an interesting situation, though. Say that one of the following things happens:
A) Germany decides to only send Savchenko/Szolkowy. A top two finish earns three spots for the Olympics. With Vartmann/Van Cleave as the second team at this event, the two teams' combined placements would have to be 13 or less, which extremely unlikely.
B) Both Pang/Tong and Cong/Han (CHN) place one spot higher than I predicted, giving them the magic number 13 and three spots for the Olympics.
Going down the list of results, this is how the Sochi spots would work out if just plan B from above were to happen:
Russia, 3 spots
Germany, 2 spots
Canada, 3 spots
China, 3 spots
Italy, 2 spots
France, 2 spots
That's already 15 spots! Even with an 11th and 13th place showing from the Americans (which would maintain two spots), technically only one spot could be filled for the Olympics in order to reach the 16 entries.
What happens in this odd situation? Does a 17th spot automatically qualify at Worlds and then only three spots would be available at the Nebelhorn Trophy?
What if situations A and B both happen and the USA still qualifies two teams to the Olympics with the same placements as I predicted above? Would a 17th and 18th spot automatically qualify at Worlds, leaving only two spots available at Nebelhorn?