In my initial posting, I had picked Pogorilaya- Miyahara- Wagner but as I did my research for the event, I was completely forgetting about Leonova (Yes, another Russian!).
Here's my revised picks:
GOLD- Anna Pogorilaya may not have the poise and polish of some of her competitors, but she sure has the technical goods. In her pre-season event (Japan Open) she only competed her Firebird free skate so I'm interested to see what she's bringing for her short. Her over-the-top style isn't my taste, but she has big jumps that are going to bring the technical scores high enough for the top spot on the podium.
SILVER- In her pre-season competition, Elena Leonova looked strong and confident. She has struggled over the years with injuries and consistency but the start to her season was very solid. I really don't like her cheesy short program but her Latin- themed long program suits her well. With all of the Russian ladies on the scene right now, they're all motivated to stand out.
If she skates clean, her technical scores will be high enough to get her second place
BRONZE- I have a soft spot for Ashley Wagner. She had a rough season last year but rebounded with a solid showing at the 2014 Worlds. Like Anna, she's only shown us her long program at the pre-season Japan Open, which has incredible potential but she had an especially poor showing there technically. If she can bring the fire and cleanliness to this competition that she did at the 2014 World Championships, it should be enough to keep her on the podium.
If one of the top three ladies struggle, keep an eye on Satoko Miyahara. She beat Ashley Wagner and Anna Pogorilaya at the Japan Open this year with a beautiful, clean free program to Miss Siagon. She doesn't have the big presence or big jumps, but she has a quiet consistency and graceful style that could easily vault her to the podium.
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