5 favorites: Pairs
Keauna McLaughlin/ Rockne Brubaker
2009 U.S. Championship finish: 1
Hometowns: Los Angeles/Algonquin, Ill.
Short-program music: Unchained Melody by Alex North and Hy Zaret
Free-skate music: Selections from Slumdog Millionaire by A.R. Rahman
Around the rink: Won national juniors in Spokane in ’07 and went on to win worlds, only the fourth Americans to do so. Also won the three other competitions they entered that year, their first together. Followed up with two senior titles but finished 11th in ’09 worlds.
Rena Inoue/John Baldwin
2009 U.S. Championship finish: 3
Hometown: Santa Monica, Calif.
Short-program music: Astor Piazzolla’s Libertango
Free-skate music: Compositions by Tchaikovsky
Around the rink: Inoue was born in Japan and competed in the Olympics in 1994, finishing 18th, and was 14th in ’92 pairs. Moved to U.S. in 1996 and paired with Baldwin in 2002, becoming a U.S. citizen so they could compete in 2006 Olympics, where they finished 7th. The pair won two national titles and finished second three times. Highest world finish was fourth in 2006. They were engaged in 2008.
Caydee Denney/ Jeremy Barrett
2009 U.S. Championship finish: 2
Hometowns: Wesley Chapel, Fla./ Venice, Fla.
Short- program music: Song and Dance by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Free-skate music: Scheherazade by Nikoklai Rimsky-Korsakov
Around the rink: Barrett won 2004 junior pairs at nationals with Shantel Jordan. First teamed with Denney in 2006 but they split after four months as Denney moved to Colorado to concentrate on singles. Homesick and wanting to skate singles and pairs, Denney returned to Florida, reuniting with Barrett last season, when they finished second at nationals and ninth at worlds.
Amanda Evora/ Mark Ladwig
2009 U.S. Championship finish: 4
Hometowns: Bradenton, Fla./ Fargo, N.D.
Short-program music: Portugese Love Theme from Love Actually by Craig Armstrong
Free-skate music: Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor by Sergei Rachmaninov
Around the rink: Evora had one year of junior pairs experience before teaming with Ladwig in 2002. He had two previous partners. Ladwig was married in 2006 and has a son born last year. Ladwig is serving as U.S. Figure Skating Athletes Advisory Committee, a position Evora held last season.
Brooke Castile/ Ben Okolski
2009 U.S. Championship finish: 5
Hometowns: Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.; Ann Arbor, Mich.
Short- program music: Samba Pa Ti by Carlos Santana
Free-skate music: Clair de Lune by Claude DeBussy
Around the rink: Okolski, born in Arizona, skated with his sister for five seasons before pairing with Castile in 2002. Second season together were second in national juniors and ninth in worlds. After winning national title in ’07 placed 12th in worlds. In 2008 were third at nationals and 11th in world but were fifth at nationals last year.