The weekend hasn't even started yet and tonight we're getting our first preview of things to come when the Vert International Qualifier blasts off at 9:00. When's the last time a contest started at 9:00 pm? I've heard skaters like to stay up late though so maybe it won't be too big of an adjustment. The 12 heaviest hitters of the '08 series are pre qualified straight to Saturday's prelims, so while something like twenty hopefuls duke it out for the eight remaining spots, last years top dogs will more than likely be sipping fruit juice puree's while watching on closed circuit televisions sets and getting rubbed down by the Tour masseuses.
If you need some sort of proof as to how hard it was to finish in the top 12 last year, then here it is. Rune Glifberg, Jean Postec, Rob Lorifice, and Lincoln Ueda all failed to do so, along with plenty of others. So tonight they, along with Postec's fellow Frenchman Terence Bougdour, Germany's Juergen Horrwarth, and 08' Free Flow Tour winner, Englishman Paul-Luc Ronchetti–or John-Paul Spaghetti as he's sometimes called—will be taking two 45 second runs in hopes of hanging on and making that top 8. If history is any good at predicting what happens tonight, about half of the 20 will fall on both runs, leaving the judges the decision of which two skaters in the half that stayed on have to go home wishing they'd added another banger to their line. I don't expect that it's going to take anything less than at least one version of the old 540 and a couple of flip tricks to break on through however. Safety Dancing is a loser's proposition, even in the IQ. I'd expect to see Lorifice and Postec advance for sure…but who can say anything for sure? It's up to them to stay on. Good luck pipe jammers.