Czisny, Gao and Kwan
Czisny, Gao and Kwan
Chances to make the 2014 Olympic team (has to add up to 300%):
Everyone else combined 5%
if the team was purely based upon my wishlist, I'd go with Kwan, Gold and toss up between Nagasu and Czisny. Kwan is my favorite skater and I just wish her competition career hadn't ended as it did. If Nagasu or Czisny skated their best, they are capable of winning - unfortunately, they just have not been at their best. I give Gold the spot because she definitely has the potential - it wouldn't be that hard to be less juniorish by next season and she's definitely got the big jumps, etc. Just my fantasy team.
Now, realistically, it's Wagner and Gold. Wagner definitely does not have the lock to go in as US National champ though. As mentioned above, it only takes one off season to make a technical skater an artist. The 3rd spot is totally up for grabs IMHO and unless it's a fully revived and rejuvenated Nagasu or Czisny, the 3rd spot is unlikely to be a medal contender in Sochi. Even with earning back the 3rd spot, any of the American ladies would need help getting on the podium - but Olympic ice is more slippery than any other event........
But my question is, IF Gracie gets a better choreographer for next season, can her PCS realistically show significant increase by her GP events (8's or better)?
Gracie's PCS started out in the 6s at Skate Canada. At CoR, her PCS was in the upper 6s (SP) to lower 7s (FS), and both SP and FS were in the low 7s at 4CC. At Worlds, even though she had a rough SP, her PCS scores were in the 7.25 range and in the mid-7 range for the FS. Her PCS scores have already gone up because she is gradually skating more confidently. I think she has a way to go to reach the 8s, and she really needs a strong choreographer to help her do that.
Gracie was very exciting to watch at worlds. She still has a lot to prove but it's all there. She skates BIG! It's hard for me to imagine a team next year with out her at this point. Fingers crossed.
Ashley has now been USA's fiercest competitor for the last two years. I definitely hope she keeps it up and makes the team. She is far from perfect and is not always consistent but she does consistently go for it each time she sets foot on the ice. I know she's not considered a medal favorite but I actually think she's the type of skater that other skaters watch out for over their shoulders. She's not going to compete with Yuna for gold (who is?) but she could edge out even Caro and Mao if they make too many mistakes. All I'm saying is that she doesn't make the competition easy for her competitors so GO ASHLEY!
Alissa and Mirai. Who knows what they would have to do for a comeback convincing enough to make the team. Still, I'll defend them forever because they both have given me the most enjoyable and memorable performances of US ladies in the post-Kwan/Sasha era, especially Mirai at the 2010 Olympics. Looking back at her 4th place finish in such a tough field it's still hard to believe she's not among the top ladies now. But I'll root for her if she keeps at it.
I loved Christina last year and would enjoy seeing her on the team next year.
Agnes clearly needs to find a way to improve her consistency but I think she could also do with some advice on her style.
Ashley Wagner, Gracie Gold, and Alissa Czisny.
I wouldn't mind for Zawadzki to get the 3rd spot if she got more consistent, Christina to get it if she started skating with more flair, or Mirai to get it if she got her jumps back. I prefer Czisny if she's healthy, though. I think Ashley and Gracie are sure bets for Sochi barring injury.
As of this moment, I want the team to be Ashley Wagner, Gracie Gold, and Christina Gao.
Ashley and Gracie both proved two important things at Worlds--1) They CAN perform under pressure, not perfectly yet, but neither of them folded; and 2) The judges like them. Ashley got the 4th-highest PCS in the long, behind only the medalists; Gracie in the long held off quite a few other girls who had mistakes similar to her own, yet Gracie came out on top due to better GOE and/or PCS. All this gives Ashley and Gracie a very strong base to build on for next season.
I want Christina for the third spot because, of all the candidates, she has the best mix of experience and success on the senior international scene. I don't agree with sending a first-year senior like Wang or Miller to the Olympics. One Grand Prix season is not enough time to establish themselves as seniors internationally. (Yes, you could say it was maybe enough time for Gracie, but she is an exceptional talent, and she was skating at Worlds, not the Olympics.) As to the others, I would really prefer not to see Agnes or Mirai on the team. Agnes is inconsistent and not well liked by international judges; Mirai is struggling both technically and artistically. As to Czisny, no way. She's had her chances and then some.
I agree, too, that it hardly seems worth debating whether Wagner and Gold will get two of the spots; something extraordinary would have to occur for either of them to be left off the Olympic team at this point.
There is no one I'd love to see earn the third spot more than Czisny. Of course I think she should not be chosen unless she finishes in the top 3 next year at Nationals, so long as no one (say, Zawadzki) is unfairly placed above her.
Some folks have been talking about who should be chosen for the third spot in terms of which skaters may have a chance at the podium. This strikes me as bizarre. The chance that any of the American women -- let alone one besides Wagner and Gold -- would be in contention for a medal is so slim (it would take a meltdown on the part of Kostner and Asada; Kim would probably be on the podium even with a meltdown) that it seems useless to pick a third team member in terms of medal chances. Though, if that is one's criterion, I can't think of a better choice than Czisny, who, in spite of her oft-claimed inconsistency, would have at least marginally better medal chances than any other American woman besides Wagner and Gold.
I don't think it's unreasonable at all, on the other hand, to pick a third team member in terms of overall career achievement, longevity and deservingness. We're talking about the third spot, after all. Who cares, quite frankly, just how high the third member of the team finishes? And in terms of overall career-based deservingness, Czisny would have to be the pick (again, assuming Wagner is already on the team -- though I would probably not say Wagner is more deserving anyway).
I agree with Pepe Zero. The 3rd U.S lady, whomever she is, would take a miracle to medal. Wagner and Gold are very outside chances to medal, and yet they are so far ahead of all other U.S ladies in stature (if not also skating ability and competitive nerve) currently we are talking about them as locks for the first 2 spots. Thus they should just send whomever skates best at Nationals. It is like any are sure bet prospects for the future either, some are maybes in the years to come but no more than that at this point. In the event Nationals is judged fairly and it is who skates best there it would probably be Gao based on recent Nationals.
Wagner and Gold plus whoever earns the third spot.
Well, OK, who do you think will take the bronze next year?
Agnes Zawadzki--she has come in third two years in a row, the judges seem to like her there. On the other hand, she has done so poorly on the GP circuit, I can see them getting mad at her and keeping her down. Still probably the front-runner--50%.
Alissa--if she skates clean at Nationals, she will be on that podium and sent to the Olympics, there is no doubt in my mind. However, I think it's only about a 40% chance she'll be there at all it's 50/50 if good or bad Alissa will arrive, so I'd give her 20%.
Christina--the nationals are not her thing. I thought for sure she'd be on the podium after making the GPF, but I guess not. Unless she medals at the GPF next year, she will likely come in 5th again. I'd give her about 20%
A new person--I would love that, since I don't see Christina, Agnes or Alissa as having much hope for 2018. If any kid from the juniors can come and be Gracie's bridesmaid for the next 4 years, that would be fine with me. Still, only a 10% chance of that. There doesn't seem to be a clear frontrunner of any of the junior girls.
As for Gracie and Ashley-I think there is a small chance one or both won't make it (barring injury). Neither of them are consistent. Do I think that one or both will melt down and not make the team? No. Can I rule it out? Absolutely not. They're the best the US has got right now, but it's not like 1998 when you knew it would be Michelle and Tara. Really, they're both stuck at that Angela Nikodinov/Jenny Kirk/Tonya Kwiatkowski level of excellence, which means anything could happen.