With no Russians allowed in this competition, everyone else gets a chance to step up and win some hardware!
Gracie Gold is the clear favorite here and my pick for first place. If she skates clean, she should run away with the title. Though she had mistakes at Nationals, her prior foot injury didn't seem to be the issue there and the practice videos I've seen of her this week look strong. I think she will be hungry for a win and if she does win, it certainly sets up a nice battle with fellow American Ashley Wagner for a spot on the podium at Worlds.
Japan's Satoko Miyahara is fresh off of her first National title win and had a fairly strong season in the Grand Prix, just missing a spot at the Final. I think that she will skate well and get the silver medal. She has had issues with underrotations in the past, so I'll be looking for her to clean those up here before Worlds. She has a wonderful style to her skating and I expect a strong showing from her.
Truly, many skaters could take third place, but I'll go with Japan's Rika Hongo. She performed well in the Grand Prix and especially in the Final. I am sure she's looking to rebound from Japanese Nationals. She will have to skate like she did at the Final to grab a bronze, but she can do it. The battle for bronze may end up being more exciting than the top two spots.
Others to Watch: Polina Edmunds rebounded nicely at Nationals, and could finish on the podium if she continues that here. Her components are really lacking for me, which is why I didn't pick her for a medal. She has the TES, though. I'm praying for two strong skates from Sammi Cesario so she can end her season well. She also lacks components and struggles with levels, so I don't think she'll podium, but a top 5 or 6 performance would be great for her. Canadians Gabrielle Daleman and Alaine Chartrand could also be in the mix for a medal with their powerful jumps!
Enjoy watching! I will be sleeping, but will catch the replay : )
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Reviews, predictions and opinions in the magical, sparkly and dramatic field of figure skating.