As the 2015-16 season has officially ended, let’s take a look at the world’s top ladies and where they stand going to next year. I’m starting with the Russian ladies, because, well, they’re the talk of the town lately.
Evgenia Medvedeva- Let’s be real here, it was Evgenia's year. Aside from a loss to compatriot Elena Radionova, this girl won everything she entered. I am hesitant to get too excited about her, as Russia has yet to prove that they can produce the *same* champion year after year, but I do think she has future potential. Mostly because she really has the whole package- technical firepower and artistic performance ability, combined with that intense Russian competitiveness that has proved dominant. I would like to see them pick programs with more drama next year; the two she had this year were very similar to each other, and I like to see more of a clear storyline. Only time will tell if she can be the Russian superstar that finally finds some staying power. Your guess is as good as mine!
Anna Pogorilaya- Anna seemingly came out of nowhere at Worlds to win what was probably the most unpredictable of podium finishes in Boston. After an early season that was plagued by “Pogo falls” and uneven results, she put down two clean skates in Boston to overcome teammate Radionova and bring some of that hotly contested Russian spotlight back to her. Anna has always had the technical firepower to score big numbers, and she certainly proved she can compete with the world’s elite when she can be consistent. Her style of skating is not necessarily something I connect with, but it also isn’t glaringly terrible. Her programs this year were fine (not great, not awful), so I’d like to see something with a “spark” next year. You gotta keep that spotlight on you, kid, and it won’t be easy.
Elena Radionova- After being one of the Russian darlings of last season, Elena had to power through a literal growth season, working through adjusting her jumps to her new height. I actually thought she pulled them all together well by Worlds. New body issues aside, I think Elena made some wrong choices in the music department this year. The style of programs she chose emphasized her flailing, uncontrolled skating style and it left a bit of a messy impression. Program content matters and I think they just made the wrong choices this year. Next year, I’d hope to see her with cleaned up jumps and the heart and passion she always skates with. Maybe a powerful type of music (latin again maybe?) would be a better move.
Adelina Sotnikova- We saw Adelina win a medal on the Grand Prix this season (Please note that was Cup of Russia*) and finish 6th at Russian nationals, behind the 3 ladies mentioned above and juniors Turkskya and Sotskova. While it wasn’t a comeback of epic proportions, she needed to get back in the game if she wants to make a world or Olympic team in the next two seasons. Jumping issues aside, I actually think the time off made the rest of her skating better and I found her much more enjoyable to watch than in 2014. She has tough competition ahead of her and making a comeback to the Russian top three is a huge challenge. However, if she gets her jumps together, I 100% think she’ll get the backing from Russian feds to do it.
Julia Lipnitskya- It was nice to see a little bit of life from Julia by the end of this season. I think her coaching change was an incredibly great move and she actually looked to be enjoying being on the ice by years end. I wasn’t a fan of her Elvis short program, but she was really into it, and I think it helped her get through the year. This girl has so much talent that I would love to see her stage a comeback. The jumps seem to be coming back slowly, and next season would be the perfect time to build the stepping stones to a great Olympic season. I don’t care what she picks for programs, as long as SHE likes to skate to them.
Elizaveta Tutkamysheva- Her rise last season and her incredible fall from grace this year are shocking to me. I don’t think she was necessarily the strongest skater or performer, but man, she had jumps and she had consistency last year! I don’t know if it was physical exhaustion or mental pressure, but this season was certainly not the momentum she was hoping for. With a free schedule at the end of this year and other Russian stars getting the spotlight, all you can hope for this former World Champ is that she’s rested and healthy and ready to be back on the ice. She’s such a wild card, but she’s certainly in danger of being passed up for good by the other Russian ladies if she can’t pull it together.
Looking to next year, I am not sure if any of the Russian junior ladies are planning to go senior, but they certainly collected hardware on the junior circuit. It looks like the Russian talent pool won’t be running dry anytime soon; the question is WHO will it be at the top of the list?
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Reviews, predictions and opinions in the magical, sparkly and dramatic field of figure skating.