It was announced this week that returning Olympic Champion Adelina Sotnikova would not compete in her assigned Grand Prix events due to an ankle injury. In my post about the Final picture after Skate Canada, I stated that my predictions hinged heavily on Sotnikova's performance. With her WD, the picture for the Grand Prix final looks a lot different.
ROSTELCOM CUP TROPHY BOMPBARD NHK TROPHY
Anna Pogorilaya Elena Radionova Gracie Gold
Mirai Nagasu Julia Lipnitskya Satoko Miyahara
Rika Hongo Ashley Wagner Polina Edmunds
That would make a final of: Pogorilaya (30 points); Radionova (30 points); Tuktamysheva (28 points); Lipnitskya (26 points); Gracie Gold (26 points) and Satoko Miyahara/Ashley Wagner (24 points)
The biggest gain here goes to Gracie Gold; without Sotnikova at NHK Trophy, she should be the clear favorite to win. Without much competition, she should win gold, but she's had a lot of trouble performing under pressure lately. Should she make it to the Final, I think it will be interesting to test her "I'm in the running for the best in the world" theory head-to-head against four of the Russians.
I also am interested to see her skate next to Polina Edmunds as we get ready for their matchup at Nationals. Polina would easily have won a medal at Cup of China had she skated cleanly in the short. I look for her to not make that mistake again and get on the podium at NHK.
Ashley Wagner will need a strong skate at Trophy Bompard. She will not be a favorite to win, with the Russian competition at that event, but she needs to stay on her feet, get that bronze medal and garner a good number of points to win that last spot in the Final over Miyahra.
NHK will be a very interesting event... with Gold, Miyahara, and Kanako Murakami in the hunt for a Final spot with a win or a medal.
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