Worlds 2011: Predictions – Ladies

Ok. This post was wayyy overdue and it would have been even more overdue if I didn’t have writer’s block for something else I should be writing at the moment. Ok. Worlds is in 5 days (wahhhh!!!) and the end of the figure skating season is near. I remember starting this blog at the beginning of this season. It’s been such an interesting experience so far. I hope that I’ll be able to continuing blogging next season, although there may be huge changes coming into my life very soon. In any case, ze ladiezzz.

Yuna Kim will be back in time for Worlds and despite not competing at all this season, she looks like the top contender. It looks like her extension has improved (she actually turns out her foot and points her toes!) and if her jumps are the same, I don’t see anything that could stop her from getting her World title back from Mao.

As for Mao, she’s gotten a bit more training time to get her jumps right but her season and her performances have been far from perfect. She did relatively well at Four Continents but I think Mao is looking towards long-term improvement and her jump technique will take a little while longer to perfect. If she loses to Yuna this season, I don’t think that Mao should see this as a loss, but rather another stone on the road of her career. Compared to Sochi (and her formidable Russian rivals that may come with it), this season really isn’t all that important. I’ll be looking forward to Mao next season and I pray that she’ll try some Shae-Lynn Bourne choreography. Or Marina Zoueva… her LP for Takahiko Kozuka this year is absolutely stunning.

Because of Mao’s rough season, though, Miki Ando looks to be a good contender for silver… or gold if Yuna messes up. As usual, Miki’s choreography leaves a lot to be desired but she’s been having a good and steady season after grabbing the Japanese national title and the Four Continents crown away from Mao. The big question at the moment is whether or not the postponement of Worlds has affected her conditioning and training. I feel that Yuna isn’t as affected by the change in schedule because she hasn’t competed all season anyway and Mao got some extra time to train. Miki, on the other hand had a steady season leading up to Worlds. Who knows how this change in schedule has changed her readiness for the World championships.

Another lady to consider would be Carolina Kostner, headcase extraordinaire. Pretty decent Grand Prix results and then she loses to a total nobody at Euros. Carolina has taken out many of the toe jumps in her long program, which is really frustrating (her triple flip, triple toe is one of the most impressive – the height, the distance!) and puzzling when you look at her marks this season. If the ISU or the judges feel the need to put a European skater on the podium, Carolina’s the girl, with or without her triple lutzes and flips. In order for that to happen, however, the Asians mentioned above will have to bomb their asses off for her to slip into the top three.

Also up for consideration is Alissa Czisny, who got a huge endorsement with Chrysler. She’s so sweet.

Alissa was a dark horse and surprise winner of the GPF this season and after a disappointing finish last year at U.S. Nationals, she grabbed her title back from Rachael Flatt. (Good riddance for that.) Alissa was one of the favourites going into 4CC when something absolutely puzzling happened: she finished behind both her teammates (Flatt and Mirai Nagasu who won bronze). Whaaa? So the question of the moment for Alissa is: did she peak too early? Like Carolina, however, at least one of the three Asians above will have to screw up if she wants to be in the top three, however, a top 5 finish is within her grasp if she can prove that she is no longer a headcase.

And before I end, I think I’d like to mention Kanako Murakami as a skater who might surprise us. Kanako is still young and up and coming but she’s shown us that she’s capable of great things… like snatching gold from right under Rachael Flatt and Carolina Kostner’s nose at Skate America this season. I’m hoping for a great top 10 finish for her at Worlds, which she can improve on in the next couple of seasons leading into Sochi. She definitely needs polish (and I hope she nails her double axel in her SP) but I can’t help but be excited for her future.

Podium predictions:

Gold: Yuna Kim
Silver: Miki Ando (though my gut could be very wrong)
Bronze: Mao Asada

What are your predictions for the ladies? I’ll be posting more predictions soon.

~The Rinkside Cafe

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