Three figure skating powerhouses take the stage in the ladies event- Russia, the United States, and Japan. Two Russian skaters lead the pack as favorites for gold and have been trading titles all season. Two Americans have the best shot for a spot on the podium- IF they can hold off yet another Russian and a few ladies from Japan. Buckle up for this one, folks!
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS): Elizaveta has competed an astounding 10 times already this season. In her major events, she won silver at Skate America, gold at Cup of China and the Grand Prix Final. She came in second to Radionova at the Russian nationals, but she came back to beat her at the European Championships weeks later. Rumor has it, she is planning a triple axel for Worlds, which is risky- but she could greatly be rewarded if she lands it. ISU Season Best Score: 210.40
Elena Radionova (RUS): In her first full season as a senior, Elena won gold at both of her Grand Prix events, and took silver at the Grand Prix Final and the European Championships. She is the reigning Russian National Champion and a favorite for gold along with her Russian teammate. She has been incredibly consistent all season and could certainly capitalize on a triple axel mistake by Tuktamysheva to easily win. ISU Season Best Score: 209.54
Anna Pogorilaya (RUS): Anna won gold at Skate Canada and silver at the Rostelecom Cup to qualify for the Grand Prix Final, where she came in fourth. She was also a disappointing fourth at the Russian National Championships but rebounded to a bronze medal at Europeans. Anna has struggled all season with consistency, making sloppy mistakes and looking lost on the ice. She has the technical difficulty to land on the podium, but has a problem executing it in competition and doesn’t have stellar components, either. She was fourth last year, but I think she’ll have to have a great skate to do that or better in Shanghai. ISU Season Best Score: 191.81
Gracie Gold (USA): Gracie won the bronze medal at Skate America and gold at the NHK Trophy. She was forced to withdraw from the Grand Prix Final with a stress fracture and came in second at the US National Championships about a month later. In her last performance, she came in fourth at the Four Continents Championships after a disastrous long program. Gracie seems to always struggle with putting together two clean programs, but she has the technical skills to score a lot of points when she’s clean. She will certainly be in a battle for a spot on the podium if she hits. ISU Season Best Score: 191.16
Ashley Wagner (USA): The current and 3-time US Champion won silver at Skate Canada and bronze at Trophee Bompard. She made a big comeback in the long program of the Grand Prix Final to win the bronze medal. Ashley’s season started out slowly, but he has consistently been adding technical difficulty to her programs and is on a great trajectory to win her first World medal. The key for her will be a strong short program to keep her in the running to land on the podium in the free skate. ISU Season Best Score: 189.50
Polina Edmunds (USA): After a rough Grand Prix season with no medals, Polina improved her jump consistency enough to come in fourth at the US Championships. She was picked for the World team, however, as third place finisher Karen Chen is too young to compete at Worlds. Polina won the biggest international event of her career when she capitalized on Gold and Miyahra’s mistakes to win the Four Continents Championships. Though Polina says she is a podium contender here, I don’t think her scores support that. She does have a great shot at finishing in the top six though. ISU Season Best Score: 184.02
Satoko Miyahara (JPN): Reigning Japanese Champion Satoko Miyahara won bronze medals at each of her two Grand Prix events and narrowly missed qualifying for the Grand Prix Final. In her last competition, The Four Continents Championships, she fell in the long program to finish second when a clean skate probably would’ve won her the gold medal. Other than that, she has good consistency, but can struggle with under rotations on her jumps. I think she has great promise, but needs another year or two to be in the podium conversation. With two great skates, she could land in the top six. ISU Season Best Score: 183.90
Rika Hongo (JPN): Rika won a surprising gold the Rostelecom Cup and was Gracie Gold’s replacement at the Grand Prix Final where she came in sixth. She was second at the Japanese National Championships and third at Four Continents. Rika needs more polish and experience to get into the top contenders at a World Championship, but she's had a consistent season and should land in the top ten. ISU Season Best Score: 178.00
Zijun Li (CHN): She is the Chinese national champion and most recently came in fifth at the Four Continents Championships. She’s looked a bit of her element this season and I am waiting for her to find her stride. She looked better at Four Continents than in her Grand Prix season, so perhaps she can finish strong here. Placing within the top ten for her is achievable for her and would be a good end to her season. ISU Season Best Score: 175.92
Kanako Murakami (JPN): The third member of Japan’s World team is Kanako Murakami that won bronze at the Cup of China this season. She was a disappointing fifth at the Japanese Nationals but is competing here because higher finishers at that competition were too young to compete at Worlds. I think she’s lost a bit of steam this season and though I like her skating style, she’s going to have to skate very well here to keep up with her Japanese teammates. ISU Season Best Score: 173.09
As with the men’s field, these ten ladies are not even the end of the conversation- there’s still Canadians Gabrielle Daleman and Alaine Chartrand, South Korea’s So Youn Park, Finland’s Kiira Korpi and Sweeden’s Joshi Helgessen who will also be part of the conversation for the top 12 spots. I am very excited for this competition! Check back in with me on Friday for all of my podium picks!
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Reviews, predictions and opinions in the magical, sparkly and dramatic field of figure skating.