I see this ladies field breaking down into a series of head-to-head battles for finishing spots more than anything: Elena Radionova and Elizaveta Tuktamysheva battling for gold; Ashley Wagner, Anna Pogorilaya and Gracie Gold battling for bronze; and Polina Edmunds and Satoko Miyahara duking it out for the last spot in the coveted top six.
As ladies is my favorite discipline, I will go out on a limb here and attempt to predict the top ten.
Gold- Elizaveta Tuktamysheva has had a fantastic comeback season. She gets better GOE on her jumps and brings a more mature style to the ice than her Russian teammate. The biggest unknown here is that Elizaveta is planning to attempt a triple axel, which she could land for huge points- or fall on and lose major points. If Radionova and Tuktamysheva are both clean, I give Elizaveta the edge.
Silver- This would put Elena Radionova in second place at her first senior World Championships. Elena has also had an incredible season and I would be shocked if she wasn’t on one of the top two steps on the podium. I look for her to skate very well in Shanghai and she could easily win the whole thing if Elizaveta’s triple axel is a problem.
Bronze- I’m feeling good about Ashley Wagner’s chances to score her first World medal. The path of her season (and her scores) have been consistently building up to this point. That said, she has risky-for-her technical content planned and could be penalized for wrong edges or under rotations if she’s nervous. I think a solid short program is the biggest key to her success. She may be out of the top three in the short, but I see her coming back in the long for third place.
4. Gracie Gold- I think she’ll improve on her horrible Four Continents free skate here in Shanghai, but it will not be enough to grab a medal.
5. Anna Pogorilaya- Also struggling this season, I think Anna has the technical points to stay in the top six but her sloppy, component-lacking performances will leave her in fifth.
6. Polina Edmunds- I know she thinks she capable of a higher placement, but I do not believe her international scores support that. I do think she’ll skate more consistently than Miyahara to land in the final group.
7. Satoko Miyahara- I see her being very consistent at this competition but she can get a few jump calls and the judges seem to be holding back her components.
8. Rika Hongo- I hope she skates two clean programs to end her solid season in the same fashion. She needs some work in the polish department, but a top ten finish will be a great building block for next year.
9. Zijun Li- She looked good at Four Continents, and I look for her to build on that here with a finish in the top ten.
10. Kanako Murakami- She’s been a bit off this season, but she is a lovely skater. She’s facing A LOT of competition to land in the top ten so she’ll have to be at her best.
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