Monday, October 31, 2011

2011 Cup of China: Ladies Preview

The ladies field at Cup of China can be described in one word, young. Only two of the ten were born before 1992. Four ladies have already skated in one Grand Prix event but the rest are making their Grand Prix debut for the season. The ladies take the ice for their short program at 5:00 a.m. EST on Friday November 4th and for the free skate at 4:15 a.m. EST on Saturday November 5th.
I can't wait to watch 2011 World Junior Champion Adelina Sotnikova (RUS) in her senior Grand Prix debut and see if she can take home the Gold as Tuktamisheva did in Canada. She is consistent, artistic, polished, and packs her program with difficult elements, including triple-triple combinations. Reigning World Bronze Medalist Carolina Kostner (ITA) debuted at Skate America two weeks ago and took Silver, narrowly missing out on Gold. I've always been critical of her but I'm trying to be open-minded and I really do enjoy her new programs this season. At 24, she is more experienced than anyone in this field, but will that help her hold off the teenagers? Speaking of teens, 17-year-old Kanako Murakami (JPN) started her senior GP last season with a splash, winning a Bronze, a Gold, and Bronze at the final. She ran out of steam late in the season and placed 8th at Worlds but I bet she comes out strong and more mature to start this season. Also in the mix is Christina Gao (USA), who is making her senior Grand Prix debut after a strong junior career. She went through a huge growth spurt last year but is now really growing into her body and using her long lines to her benefit. Mirai Nagasu (USA) made me so upset last week because she blew her chance to win Skate Canada by falling on several jumps and yet again botching a spin. I'm afraid she maybe be destined to become the skater who "could've been" as she's talented beyond belief but never learned how to thrive in competition. Ksenia Makarova (RUS) has two of my favorite programs of the season but she struggles with consistency and anything less than two clean programs will leave her off the podium with this extremely talented field.

My Podium Predictions:
1) Adelina Sotnikova (RUS)
2) Carolina Kostner (ITA)
3) Kanako Murakami (JPN)

Competitive History: 

Christina Gao (USA)-4th 2011 World Juniors, 6th 2010 JGP Final, 2nd 2010 JGP Germany, 2nd 2010 JGP Austria; PB: 167.14 at 2010 JGP Czech

Bingwa Geng (CHN)-18th 2011 Worlds, 13th 2011 Four Continents, 5th 2011 Asian Winter Games, 5th 2010 Cup of China; PB: 142.48 at 2010 Cup of China

Carolina Kostner (ITA)-2nd at 2011 Skate America, 3rd 2011 Worlds, 1st 2011 Gardena Spring Trophy, 2nd 2011 Europeans, 3rd 2010 Skate America, 1st 2010 NHK Trophy; PB: 184.68 at 2008 Worlds

Ksenia Makarova (RUS)-5th at 2011 Skate America, 7th 2011 Worlds, 4th 2011 Europeans, 7th 2010 Rostelecom Cup, 4th 2010 Skate Canada, 4th 2010 Finlandia Trophy; 171.91 at 2010 Winter Olympics 

Valentina Marchei (ITA)-9th at 2011 Skate America, 10th 2011 Europeans, 5th 2010 Rostelecom Cup, 8th 2010 Skate Canada, 2nd 2010 Coup de Nice, 2nd 2010 O Nepala; PB: 153.71 at 2010 Rostelecom Cup

Kanako Murakami (JPN)-8th 2011 Worlds, 1st 2011 Asian Winter Games, 3rd 2010 Grand Prix Final, 1st 2010 Skate America, 3rd 2010 NHK Trophy; PB: 178.59 at 2010 Grand Prix Final

Mirai Nagasu (USA)-5th at 2011 Skate Canada, 1st 2011 Nebelhorn Trophy, 3rd 2011 Four Continents, 2nd 2010 Trophee Eric Bompard, 4th 2010 Cup of China; PB: 190.15 at 2010 Winter Olympics

Adelina Sotnikova (RUS)-1st 2011 World Juniors, 1st 2010 JGP Final, 1st 2010 JGP England, 1st 2010 JGP Austria; PB: 178.97 at 2010 JGP Austria

Kexin Zhang (CHN)-4th 2010 Asian Winter Games, 11th 2010 JGP Germany, 3rd 2010 JGP Japan; PB: 134.08 at 2010 JGP Japan 

Quiying Zhu (CHN)-14th 2011 Four Continents, 19th at 2010 World Juniors, 4th 2009 JGP Istanbul, 8th 2009 JGP Budapest; PB: 102.38 at 2011 Four Continents


  1. Murakami is truly an energy skater, and she gets easily pumped up by audiences, I can't wait to watch her. I also have frustration with Nagasu not engaging audience. Its like something holding her back. I would look for periodic brillance with spurts of disaster to her season unless she rids herself of the deamons. Sotnikova will catch everyone off guard as her team mate did in Skate Canada. Kostner is like fine wine, took me time to warm up also. My list has Murakami and Kosner Switched unless Nagasu has a brilliant moment. Randomness to that will be too hard to predict. Loving your blog.

  2. Christina Gao, I forgot. I am enjoying her, however some of the blogoshpere are making rude comments with reference to her weight. Don't like those, she is coming along nicely and skating has beautiful moments to her skating. She needs to be on the competetive field.