Figuring out the GP slots (Ladies)
Okay, so someone asked me to do this, so I figured why not. The ISU wants the GP events to be more prestigious – giving the more successful skaters more chances to compete, limiting the slots available to lower ranked skaters, etc. On the one hand, the rules mean that politicking is more difficult. On the other hand, politicking isn’t impossible. We also know that the host federation wants a good show too (more fans coming out in the future is a good thing) but they also want to promote their own talent. So, a conundrum. On the other hand, they saw that the “can choose three” option didn’t really benefit them, so they got rid of that (right???)
Last season, we saw that host picks didn’t have to meet the required minimum score: neither Balde nor DeSanctis did so at Nebelhorn but still performed at Skate Canada. We also know that the host nations do not have to use their allotted three slots (Japan in dance and pairs, for example), but that most try to.
1. HOST PICKS
Skate America: Ashley Wagner, TBA (Gracie Gold), Caroline Zhang
To me, this line-up makes the most sense. Wagner is the reigning National champion, the highest ranking skater from Worlds, etc. Gold is an exceedingly talented up-and-comer and will likely be one of the bright lights of US figure skating these next few seasons. Zhang’s Cinderella story is too good to deny. This is actually a fairly high profile group of skaters. Generally, one of the skaters is more a senior B type (Joelle Forte, Alexe Gilles). Maybe someone like Samantha Cesario can impress at the summer competitions and nab a spot. If the federation is feeling generous, Flatt has no guaranteed spot (nor does Gao). Hicks will likely stay junior. Nagasu would be a big vote of support
Skate Canada: Cynthia Phaneuf, Amelie LaCoste, Adrianna Najarro
Osmond will likely stay junior internationally. No idea about Myrianne Samson, but if she wants to skate, the third slot is hers. Ho hum. I hope that Canada sends its young ladies to Nebelhorn, Finlandia and Salt Lake/Lake Placid. The whining you hear in the background is Skate Canada, begging Joannie to return.
Cup of China: Kexin Zhang, Bingwa Geng, Quiying Zhu
I’m making the assumption that Zijun Li and Ziquan Zhao will be staying junior, but both have outscored Geng and Zhu last season.
COR: Alena Leonova, TBA (Julia Lipnitskaya), Elizaveta Tuktamisheva
Now this is a fascinating group. Leonova is a medalist. Lock. Lipnitskaya is the world junior champion. Near lock IF ELIGIBLE. So the question: how is the Russian federation thinking. Do they want a medal sweep? If so, go for Tuktamisheva or Sotnikova. Do they want to spread the wealth? Then it’s Korobeynikova or Birykova or Shelepen. If I’m the Russian fed, I avoid declaring all three spots
TEB: Yretha Silethe, Mae Bernice Mete, Anais Ventard
Just went with the highest scoring ladies again.
NHK: Akiko Suzuki, Mao Asada, TBA (Risa Shoji)
Calculated guess with Shoji. I don’t think Ando’s coming back. They can’t choose Asada and Murakami both. So between Imai and Shoji, I think the younger skater gets it (plus I wonder if Miyahara will get the push for the junior side of things as opposed to Shoji).
2. SEEDED SKATERS (ie, the top six at worlds)
Skate America: Akiko Suzuki (Ashley Wagner)
Skate Canada: Carolina Kostner, Mao Asada
Cup of China: Alena Leonova, Kanako Murakami
Cup of Russia: (Alena Leonova), Kanako Murakami
TEB: Carolina Kostner, Ashley Wagner
NHK: (Akiko Suzuki, Mao Asada)
If you have a host pick in the top six, you’ll want someone you can beat. Skate Canada often went with the bronze medalists (Lepisto and K/S were the 2010 bronze medalists, and low and behold, both were slotted in at SC – but withdrew before the competition). If you don’t, you just want a good show. Of the top six, Murakami’s the most beatable, imo. If Rochette doesn’t return, SC would love to have two world champion ladies. TEB wants a good competition and Kostner’s as close to hometown as the French get in this category.
3. GUARANTEED TWO (ie, 7th thru 12th)
Skate America: Ksenia Makarova, Valentina Marchei
Skate Canada: Elene Gedevanishivili, Viktoria Helgesson
Cup of China: (Kexin Zhang), Yretha Silete
Cup of Russia: Valentina Marchei, Viktoria Helgesson
TEB: (Yretha Silete), Kexin Zhang
NHK: Elene Gedevanishivili, Ksenia Makarova
Now it’s just guesswork. You (or at least I) presume there’s some politicking going on – maybe trying to get a skater compete near his/her homebase for some support. Maybe it’s to avoid two back to back competitions. Maybe it’s to split apart two competitors from the same nation.
So, where do we stand with the numbers
Skate America: 6
Skate Canada: 7
Cup of China: 6
Cup of Russia: 6
So, 24 slots left.
Now here’s where the hosts can be crafty. The next two groups of skaters are only guaranteed one slot. However, if they want them to get two (say they’re a talented junior skater who can make a real mark, or someone who just had a bad year and consequently fell out of the earlier categories), you can save a host pick (TBA) and select them after they get the one from the following batch. If you don’t, they might not get two.
4. Top 24 on ISU Ranking, Top 24 SB list without a spot – guaranteed one
These are the skaters here: Alissa Czisny, Kiira Korpi, Mirai Nagasu, Joshi Helgesson, Agnes Zawadski, Adelina Sotnikova, Miki Ando, Polina Shelepen, Sarah Hecken, Sofia Biryukova
The skaters that are eligible here but I’m giving a host spot to: Haruka Imai, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, Carolina Zhang, Julia Lipnitskaya*, Gracie Gold*
Skate America: Julia Lipnitskaya, Sarah Hecken
Skate Canada: Gracie Gold, Adelina Sotnikova
Cup of China: Alissa Czisny, Sofia Biryukova
Cup of Russia: Kiira Korpi
TEB: Joshie Helgesson, Agnes Zawadski
NHK: Mirai Nagasu, Polina Shelepen
Assumption: Zijun Li and Satoko Miyahara stay junior, Miko Ando doesn’t compete.
5. Junior medalists from worlds/jgpf guaranteed one spot
All accounted for above (for the record Lipnitskaia won both, Shelepen and Korobeynikova were 2nd and 3rd at the JGPF, Gold and Sotnikova 2nd and 3rd and world juniors)
Skate America: 8
Skate Canada: 9
Cup of China: 8
Cup of Russia: 7
Thirteen slots left. Now, all the skaters guaranteed one spot COULD get two (currently 12 skaters only have one GP slot). And then they’d go to the substitutes list. I don’t know if they’ll do the former first, though.
I highly doubt that JSF would have Suzuki and Asada duke it out in NHK again. Suzuki will most likely get host pick, but having both at the same GP would deter one of the chances to get into the GPF. JSF is better off giving it to Murakami so Asada gets TEB and COR (better yet SC where there's less competition). The last spot is usually given to a lower ranked skater such as Yuki Nishino who will be aging out of seniors. However, that spot will most likely be reserved till the last minute for Miki Ando if she chooses to compete.
I actually think Zijun Li will move to seniors. She's old enough and China has 2 spots for worlds. There is no doubt that Kexin Zhang and Zijun Li are the two best skaters in China. Bingwa Geng has her reliable lutz but no other jump. Qiuying Zhu was only given the 3rd spot for the past few years because she's had international experience and there wasn't anybody better within the age group.
I think Julia Lipnitskaiya will stay junior because of the new rules, not jumping ranks. She has to compete with Leonova, Tuktamysheva, Sotnikova for the worlds spots (and that's only the case if she's age eligibile, which she isn't!) if she does do seniors. Juniors makes much more sense because she's the default pick.
I think you forgot Korebeynikova from the Top 24 scores.
I guess zijun li won't stay junior next season. She is the no.1 lady in China for the passed two seasons. And she just got her first senior international gold medal in Triglav Trophy. I believe Chinese federation and her coach Mingzhu li can't wait to send her to senior level.
Li will likely move up, she's done 2 seasons of JGP already and is eligible for senior ISU championships this coming season, plus with 2 spots for China, she is a favorite for one of them, it's a toss up over who is better between her and Zhang, but she is much stronger than Geng at this point (and obviously Zhu).
I think Biryukova will get a host spot at COR because she is only likely to get one GP without it. The same could be true for Shelepen, and Korobeynikova. Lipnitskaya can almost certainly get 2 GPs (if she is even allowed to move up) without COR, same for Tuktamysheva. 3rd spot will likely go to Leonova because she is the highest ranking lady in Russia. Ksenia has 2 events guaranteed, and we can assume Tuk, Lip, and Sot will as well, without COR. So I think COR will be Leonova, Biryukova, and either Shelepen or Korobeynikova. Agafonova will likely have to settle for JGP again or senior Bs, I fear there is just not room for her to get a GP with all the good ladies in Russia right now who already have 1 or 2 events guaranteed.
As for Japan, Shoji had a rough season do to injury, but she did squeak into the top 24 on the SB list due to her good competitions early in the season, so if she moves up, she has 1 event guaranteed, and then a host spot could give her a 2nd. So I think it's probably wise for her to move up now, she's done two seasons of JGP, made two JGPFs, and when she is in good form, she has a good shot to make 4CCs as she will be old enough this coming season. Miyahara I think will stay junior, she's not old enough for Worlds next season, she's so little, and she hasn't made the JGPF yet. If Risa is recovered I would actually give her the nod over Haruka, who is a nice skater but just so inconsistent. But it would be nice if both Risa and Haruka could go to NHK though, along with Akiko. Mao and Kanako have 2 GPs guaranteed, so they don't need NHK to get 2, but Shoji and Imai both will likely.
Last edited by silverlake22; 05-09-2012 at 05:43 AM.
Can someone explain to me which one is considered first? World Standings or Seasons Best? And also, is Seasons Standings used to determine GP slots?
I think Lipnitskaya has time. She must improve herself one more season in juniors, especially her presentation. She doesn't give any emotion, skating like a robot. Of course there is talent and special things I see about her (like her crazy elastic movements), but something still needs to be worked on.
I wish Sotnikova, Tuktamysheva, Korobeynikova and Shelepen all can compete twice. (impossible?)
And I think having both Gracie and Ashley in Skate America is not wise. Their chances (actually I think Gracie's chance) will be less..
It's hard to say. Wherever Gracie goes she will have to skate against somebody. If she opted out of Skate America, where she might have to face Suzuki and Wagner, then instead she night be up against Kostner and Asada at Skate Canada.
Originally Posted by Totentanz
Personally, I think the USFSA has, or ought to have, bigger fish to fry than trying to jockey skaters into the Finals. Their number one priority should be to put on the best possible show at Skate America and sell it, sell it, sell it! to television networks, sponsors and potential audiences.
I really like Imaginary Pogue's picks for Skate America. The U.S. champion (Ashley) versus the comeback kid (Carolin Z) -- and get your ticket now for the Gracie Gold Sochi Express!
Ashley is guaranteed two GP events, and she's the only US lady who is. She doesn't need Skate America, but the ladies who are guaranteed one by virtue of World Ranking, Seasons Best score, or JW medal (Zhang, Zawadzki, Gold) do need a second event, and may need SA.
Can someone pull strings to get Ashley in the same events as Leonova?
Originally Posted by chuckm
Suzuki: NHK as Japan #1, SC for historical reason
Leonova: CoR, CoC
Kostner: TEB, SA
Ashley should follow Leonova: CoR, CoC
Kanako: SC, SA
Mao: NHK, TEB
Zhang: TEB, SA
Gold: SC, NHK. I think NHK will invite Gold based on her WTT performance.
Agnes: SC, SA
Best chance for the American girls to advance to the final.
Personally, I think that is the wrong goal.
Originally Posted by FlattFan
I've already bought my tickets, but I definitely would love a Ashley/Caroline/Gracie combo at SA (with Suzuki!) That is my selfish wish.
Originally Posted by Mathman
Historically it does seem the U.S. Champion does end up at SA. In the last five years, only Alissa did not skate in the Skate America following their U.S. Championship (in 2009 she went to SC, but did do SA last year obviously).
As for Gracie, I think she will face tough competition at all the competitions. I think it's smart to have your young skaters do SA as one of their GP events, so they're at least at home soil.
Last edited by Mrs. P; 05-09-2012 at 05:44 PM.
Thanks for your detailed breakdown, Pogue. I always appreciate your analysis.
What is your goal for these girls?
Originally Posted by Mathman
I think if Gracie/Ashley/Caroline stalks Leonova, they would have the easiest path to the final.
Originally Posted by Mrs. P
Back in the hey days, it would be a good idea to expose our young skaters at SA. Now, you have their parents, coaches, choreographers make up of 90% of the audience. Might as well go for the final so the young ones can build up more reputation points and international ranking.
If I'm going to SA, I would want to see all of the US girls, too, btw.
It's not so much the goal for "these girls," but what I believe ought to be the priority for the USFSA. What i would be most afraid of is that, no matter who makes the Grand Prix Final, there might be only a handful of people in the world who care whether there is a Grand Prix Final or not.
Originally Posted by FlattFan
I think the USFSA has urgent need to tend to its own garden and should let the ISU plow its field as best it can.
Thanks for the info, re: Zijun Li.
1. Suzuki and Asada duked it out at NHK in 2008 as well as 2011. Between Murakami and Asada, the latter has more audience connection and history. If it was Suzuki and Murakami in the 5th and 6th positions, than yeah - I'd say Suzuki gets left out. As it stands, I'm comfortable with that prediction.
2. Thank you for mentioning Korobeinkova. I did forget her, and she ranks due to scores for sure.
3. I understand the logic behind splitting Wagner and Gold, but like Mathman, getting skaters to the GPF is an ancillary motive at best, in my mind, mainly because there's no sure path to the final.
a) Last season (11/12), Suzuki and Asada faced each other at NHK. Both made the final. Asada and Leonova faced each other at both NHK and CoR. Made the final.
b) The season before that saw Kostner, Flatt and Murakami face each other at Skate America and at NHK. All three made the final.
c) The season before that saw Ando, Wagner and Leonova face each other at CoR and NHK. All three made the final.
From a host's perspective, a today/tomorrow trio is the best. Showcase your stars of today (Wagner, Leonova, Tuktamisheva, Suzuki, Asada, K. Zhang) and promote your stars of tomorrow (Gold, Tuktamisheva, Lipnitskaya, Zijun Li etc)