Monday, October 14, 2013

2013 Skate America: Ladies Preview

We won't see the Ladies until Saturday (10/19) at 1:30pm EST for their short program and then on Sunday (10/20) at 4:15pm EST for their free. This Ladies field is all over the place, and while there are about 3 clear cut favorites, anything could happen.

Mao Asada (JPN) is my personal favorite for the Olympic Gold Medal this season, but I'm not sure how much of that is from my heart and how much is from my head. Regardless, let's start with her. After all the changes of coaches and jump technique shenanigans, she finally seems settled. Her World medal last season proved that. She was bested by Yuna, yet again, but Yuna is injured which could give Mao the space she needs to pass by. Starting off well here will be important for Mao's confidence and luckily, she only has two major competitors to work against. She is returning to her classical roots for both programs (Chopin & Rachmaninov) and though I loved her spunky short last season, classic Mao is best suited for the big song and dance of the Olympic season.

Ashley Wagner (USA) is our best hope for an Olympic medal this season, but she won't do it without
the triple-triple. She did it at the Japan Open and she needs to do it here, at least attempt it, or I don't think it will happen all season. She won Skate America last year so she has nothing to prove in terms of winning the event. I would rather she try the triple-triple, fall, and not win the event, rather than skipping it to play it safe. Grand Prix titles are great, but we only really remember Olympic medalists. Julia Sebestyen, anybody? Give us that sexy Romeo & Juliet and give us that 3-3 combo and we will all be thrilled to death!

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS) is a tale of two skaters. She blew us away her first year on the GP circuit with her jumps and her Slutskaya-fierce dramatics, but last year she fizzled out. Which skater is she? How is the Plushenko circus affecting her? Will she even make that Olympic team? There are so many questions surrounding this skater, and hopefully we will get some answers this week.

Elena Radionova (RUS) is the 2013 version of the 2011 Tuktamysheva.
She is the next best thing in a long line of "next best thing" Russian figure skaters. She is the reigning Junior World Champ and she's knocking at the door of the other Russian ladies. She's a teeny tiny peanut with great jumps until I see otherwise, but in a field of head cases, she could win out.

Samantha Cesario (USA) is one of my new favorites because she is a diva. She has a swagger and she knows it. She's not afraid of how she comes across and that is exciting for US Figure Skating. She has that pizzazz that we've been lacking and I'm so interested to see how she will do in the National spotlight. This could go either way.

Podium Predictions:
Gold: Mao Asada (JPN)
Silver: Ashley Wagner (USA)
Bronze: Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS)

The Rest of the Field:
Mae Berenice Meite (FRA)
Elene Gedevanishvili (GEO)
Valentina Marchei (ITA)
Elena Radionova (RUS)
Viktoria Helgesson (SWE)
Samantha Cesario (USA)
Caroline Zhang (USA)

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