2 pence response to your two cents :P
I know people's explanation and sympathies about why she left out her lutz and why her jump content wasn't as strong because of injuries blah blah blah. But this is a sporting championship at the highest level, and it should be about what is actually delivered on the ice on the day, irrespective of who it is by, why, and how. If it is the gold standard of ladies figure skating, frankly this ceased to be about the sport anymore...but then it never is, is it?
2) and 3) With no Yuna or Ando challenging her and Mao in a sad unstable state, she has the full support of the Europeans and the previously repressed Carolina Fans who has a real shot at regaining the championship for the 1st time outside Asia in 6 years, and back in Europe in 8 years. Carolina is a good skater, a great skater in certain areas, but her score is outrageous given what was put out there. You look at her FS and then Yuna Kim's FS at the Olympics that set the world record for ladies figure skating, be it technical content, artistry, depth of musical interpretations/realization, the difference is only 0.82 apart? Really? Wow!
4) The 'rebuilding confidence' and 'strategic smart' are water down excuses and discredit figure skating as a sport. It is easy to rebuild confidence when you have the judges on your side, and you just have to stay on your feet. It is about the people you know rather than what you are doing. Is that why we watch sport? Or merely formalities watching the popular girl getting her prom queen crown because she has the right superficial package?
5) I agree with you entirely on this. For me Juniors are far more exciting this year. Watching Liza and Julia blossoming in front of the world getting their creds especially Liza almost humiliate the seniors never mind her physical limitations means naturally she does have less ice coverage. These girls remind me the ethos of bringing their best, taking risks, putting out the stuff they can be proud of even at risk of failing. Doing it from the ground up. Win based on the merit of their sporting/artistic achievements rather than taking advantage of any particular favoritism or being 'strategically smart'. I am still hopeful for Mao/Akiko can put their 3A/3:3 out there and EARN a gold rather than someone like Carolina who seems consistently able to float above everyone on her exclusive Carolina express.
And oh.. I did watch her in Moscow, she is no way as fast as people claims, though was faster than Ando. When her score come up, everyone on my section were disgruntled and sooo soo surprised including some Canadians and Americans. Alena on the other hand at least tried desperately hard, and I'd always want to give people extra bonus for bother trying.