The situation in Olomouc, CZE, is comparable to the one that presented itself one year ago, when the European Standard title was contested in Wroclaw, POL. Not all of the favourites enter this championship either.
In 2016 we wrote: "To everyone looking forward to another taste of the drama in the dance-by-dance battle for points that was decided by the whim of four decimals separating the Russians from the Germans in the Wuhan final: it won't happen in this European! Simone and Annette are not among the starters, having withdrawn at the very last moment."
Whatever the reason for them to stay away in 2017 too, we must learn to accept such a decision. It is their career and only theirs. Even if their absence preempts us from enjoying another tight race between the #1 and the #2 in the WDSF World Ranking.
Just to remind ourselves, last time Dmitry Zharkov - Olga Kulikova, RUS, and Simone Segatori - Annette Sudol danced against each other in the final of the 2017 GrandSlam Wuhan, the margin separating first from second place was nothing - well, it was 0.04. That is not even half of a decimal point.
Third place in 2017 Wuhan, CHN, went to Evaldas Sodeika - Ieva Zukauskaite, LTU, who were five points back. They told us after the awards presentation that they would probably train more and compete less this year. Who knows, this approach could allow them to close the gap to the two top-ranked couples. They were the runners-up in Wroclaw last year, seven points behind Dmitry and Olga. But that was with the Judging System 2.1. Let's see how they fare with 3.0.