In the ladies event, there’s really two names vying for the gold medal- Satoko Miyahara and Gracie Gold. Both are in the discussion for a world medal, so this match-up is important before Boston. Gold beat Miyahara at Skate America, and then Satoko beat Gracie at the Grand Prix Final. Both skaters are coming off of a National title win and each one has what the other one lacks- Gracie needs a dose of Satoko’s consistency and Satoko needs the big, powerful jumps that Gracie has.
Satoko Miyahara- GP Season Average 200.04--- Satoko should be coming into this event with more confidence than ever. After consistency won her a silver medal at Worlds 2105, she grabbed gold at NHK Trophy and silver at the Grand Prix Final. Her consistency is starting to pay off with the judges in PCS- you can tell, especially in her short, that she’s working on expression and being a performer. However, they are really picky with her jump calls. She got one call at the Grand Prix Final (a flip edge in the short), so hopefully she can keep up that cleanliness. She’ll need every point and GOE to beat Gracie.
Gracie Gold- GP Season Average 198.80--- What this will come down to for Gold is one question- Can she put down two clean skates at one event? Completely clean, Gold will win over Miyahara because of GOE and PCS marks. (Satoko doesn’t get the credit in those areas that she often deserves.) However, clean skates have been a problem for Gold and last year, she finished fourth at this event when she easily should’ve won. This is a huge opportunity for Gracie to gather some momentum before Worlds and unfortunately, anything other than perfection will probably rouse her doubts. She is more than capable; she just has to do it.
Rika Hongo- GP Season Average 187.44--- After a strong start to the season with a silver at Cup of China, Rika struggled a little at Rostelecom Cup and Japanese nationals. Like Miyahara, her consistency under pressure is what will carry her to a possible podium finish; she just has to find those jumps and those feet under her. She added technical difficulty to her programs this year and she’s worked hard on her presentation. Don’t count her out!
Mirai Nagasu -- GP Season Average 175.64--- Mirai’s skating is looking better than ever this season, as she has been more confident and consistent than we have seen from her in a long time. At NHK and at Nationals, she was solid and her jumps are looking higher and cleaner. After a fourth at Nationals, I hope she can end her season on a high note with a great top five finish here.
Karen Chen-- GP Season Average 174.24--- Karen (replacement for Polina Edmunds) has had a rough season so far, struggling with boot problems and a heel injury. She is the total package skater and has incredible potential, but I am not sure how much time she has had since nationals to train or to address those issues. How she will compete here is a bit of a question mark for me. I’m very glad she’s getting the opportunity though. Go Karen!
Kanako Murakami- GP Season Average 171.59--- Kanako scored that 171.59 at Skate Canada, where she came in fourth before competing in Trophee Bompbard’s short program, where she was also fourth. At Japanese nationals, she placed sixth. We haven’t seen too much of her this season sadly, so I hope she can skate well here to end her season on a high note. She’s probably out of medal contention, but not out of the top five.
Alaine Chartrand- GP Season Average 160.81--- Alaine’s skating took a huge upward turn as she won her first Canadian title with two clean skates in January. In her Grand Prix events, she had strong shorts and then terrible longs that included unsuccessful triple axel attempts. At Nationals, she forwent the 3A and skated so well that I hope they continue that strategy here. Her personal best is 173.42, but I think two clean programs could score in the mid-high 180s. She could really surprise here.
4. Rika Hongo
5. Mirai Nagasu
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