An opinion about Yu-Na's perforamnce level is totally objective i.e. I reckon her Homage to Korea at 2011 Worlds was superior to any FS she'd ever skated before in terms of performance level, projection, expressing emotion and theme of the program.
Anyway, I do not want to turn this into Yuna/Mao thread too. Luckily there will be many more than these two fighting for the gold this time. This means that if either one makes mistakes not only they won't win, but can end up off the podium altogether. And I agree with you that it's an uphill battle for Mao at this point but I believe she's got the talent to get there.
I think it would be quite difficult for Mao to win in 2014, simply because it's tougher for older skaters, and that includes Yuna. 23 is the beginning of a young woman's life, but it's pretty much the end for female skaters, esp. if their technique in jumps is unsound as Mao's is on certain important jumps like the lutz and axel ( she lacks scale on the axel compared to her earlier years and downgrades will be dinged even harsher this time). Skaters who won worlds and olympics at advanced years like Ando, Kostner, and Arakawa are the exception, but what they all had in common was excellent basic technique in their jumps. In fact, I think Gold has a better chance of medalling than Mao. And despite their struggles, Adelina and Liza still have better chance than Mao- being younger, being Russian, and knowing only CoP their whole lives. There will be no fondness or sentimentality in Sochi for any past champion imo- it will be a freeforall and only the toughest skater will be crowned, favorites be damned.
If Liza keeps improving her presentation she has a chance, and Julia definitely has a chance if she survives puberty well and keeps maturing. Adelina is a major long shot IMO. She is already not the jumper she used to be. If I were to guess now I would even predict a team of Julia, Liza, and Alena Leonova, and no Adelina, but we will see, there will probably be 5 or more with a shot to make the Russian team with possibly only 1 skater (whoever does best between now and then) a lock before Nationals.
I would like to see Mao win in 2014 in a sense but I think it is a long shot at best. I would give Yu Na and Julia better chances, and Wagner, Kostner, and Liza IF she keeps improving her presentation about the same odds.
I dunno, take a look at this:
Only a few weeks ago- her 3t looks pretty big (though wonder what happened to her 3lz-3lo), so does her flip (or is it a lutz, not sure with that entry and her slight flutzing). But I'm not sure she'll be getting a 3a any time soon (maybe never). Imo, Gold has a better chance of getting a 3a.
But Adelina still has dynamic qualites, great flexibility, her footwork may be the strongest and most dynamic of all the senior ladies, she's still quite young, and perhaps in need of better programs. She's def. not out of the picture yet.
^ you're saying if Tuk, Julia or Adelina will not be successful after Olympics , figure skating in Russia will die down ?
Akiko, Maria , Shizuka even Carolina have been successful
Irina Slutskaya at the age of 26 and 27 went undefeated for two and a half season being rock solid on her jumps and having a night off at only one competition (unfortunately the most important one).
Years ago after her win in Torino Shizuka still nails triple-triples and does all the features for spins and bullets for higher GOE.
Carolina, Maria and Akiko have been already mentioned. Advanced age doesn't really count that much if you train properly. It's just that we don't see a lot of successful "old" skaters simply because they usually retire if they accomplish their goals at a young age. Shizuka and Akiko had been waiting for years before their moment came.
^ Mao scored 197,58 points at 2010 Worlds. When you look at Yu-Na's results from 3 years preceding Vancouver you see that she scored more than that only twice (2009 Worlds and 2009 TEB) and you're claiming she would've won 2010 Worlds by over 20 points. That's ridiculous.