Sasha has been bridesmaid to Michelle Kwan 4 times at the U.S. Nationals (2000, 2002, 2004-05). But now Michelle has withdrawn. Some questions:
*On a scale of 0 (absolutely no chance) to 10 (cosmic certainty) what are Sasha's chances of winning U.S. Nationals?
*What will it take for someone to upset Sasha? Who is most likely to do this?
*Will Sasha be more likely to skate better, worse or the same with Michelle not there? Will Michelle's pullout put more or less pressure on her?
Also, I don't think the 2006 U.S. ladies champ will have an asterisk next to their name because Kwan withdrew. Nancy Kerrigan in 1993 and Nicole Bobek in 1995 won their U.S. titles with less than spectacular performances and/or a weak field and I've never heard anyone call their titles illegitimate. When Maria Butyrskaya won Worlds in 1999, she was remembered as the oldest woman ever to win a world championship. No one says her victory was hollow because Michelle was suffering from a fever at that Worlds.