I think Sotnikova is the only Russian lady who can realistically contend for a medal (bronze at best); she's come close to beating Kostner before. If Tukt and Lipnitskaia are the Olympic team ... as good as they are, they don't have the Olympic-medal package quite yet. And Jammers raises a valid point about Julia approaching "that age" when young girls' bodies will grow and fill out to resemble their adult proportions -- Sotnikova and Tukt were both light little waifs before they smacked right into the puberty cliff.
Originally Posted by Serious Business
The only lady I'm confused about is Zijun Li; I'm not sure if she's still awaiting a significant growth spurt, or if she's pretty much finished in terms of physical development. It's hard to say because there seems to be a trend among Asian girls (Yuna, Mao, and Kanako in particular) of remaining extremely slim after puberty -- however, I think that all three of them were still growing at Zijun's age.
Originally Posted by TontoK
1992- Browning was the favorite, but Petrenko winning was no upset at all. He had won the short program at the last 2 Worlds, was the only 88 Olympic medalist, and lost the World title to Browning in 91 on a 5-4 split (with 0 triple-triples to 3 for Browning, and a mistake). Browning had been injured all year, and skated very weak in his only outing, so his disaesterous showing was always a possability too. Wylie was a shock, but really the only one.
1994- 30 year old Boitano on a bad knee, who had lost all his competitions in his comeback pre Lillehammer should not have been seen as a favorite, and IMO only was in the U.S. Browning was more of a surprise, especialy as unlike 92 he was completely healthy, but he really hadnt been skating well this season, and had been only 4th in his short program at his own Nationals. Petrenko probably would have repeated his 92 Gold medal had Marcus Hernits not had his skates come apart just before Petrenko skated and totally threw him off. Even Brian Orser in the CTV booth blamed Petrenko's bad short completely on that. Stojko winning wouldnt have been much of a surprise and he really should have won based on his performances he gave. Urmanov's win was a big controversy at the time.
2002- Sarah Hughes was firmly established in the top 3 and had been closing the gap on a somewhat faltering Kwan and Slutskaya in the year leading up to the Games. Shouldnt have been seen as such a big surprise, and it mostly only was due to the ridiculous overhype of a then very raw Cohen pushing Hughes suddenly further back in peoples minds, some viewing her as only the #3 American (which in reality was never the case).
The difference between all of those is that atleast for the moment there is a heavy favorite who is renowned for her consistency and big event clutchness who is skating very well right (Kim of course). There are two unreliable but potentially brilliant veteran stars who could upset her and it wouldnt be a huge surprise if one of them were to zone that day (Asada and Kostner); but there is definitely no room for a second tier contender to win the gold with the favorite Kim being far too reliable, and in good form right now, to be in any danger of being beaten by any of that group.
I agree with that assessment.
Originally Posted by ForeverFish
I think both Adelina and Liza are in the hunt. Anyone who can produce a 130 LP internationally can be in position to take advantage if a top skater makes errors. I don't think either are favorites for the top spot of that second tier of women skaters, but Liza's Europeans LP would have ranked 3rd at Worlds (or 4th if you believe Euros was inflated), so anyone who can deliver under Olympic pressure will be positioned for a great finish. A lot of women are in the mix, and it all depends who can capture the moment.
Originally Posted by ForeverFish
You also have to factor in the SP, though. Internationally, Liza didn't produce a SINGLE short higher than 60 this season; she has actually scored below 50 in that segment, which would bury her at the Olympics. In 2010, you'd have to go down to 12th place to find a short program that scored lower than 60 points, and down to 21st for one that received less than 50. Adelina can also be hot and cold in the SP, but the two 60+ scores she posted this season were extremely high -- 67+ (good enough for 4th in Vancouver) -- and one was with a downgraded 3-3. I agree that "anyone who can deliver" can challenge for a medal, but the key word is "can" -- and honestly, the Liza we saw throughout this season always fell short of delivering in the SP.
Originally Posted by drivingmissdaisy
A high FS score can only put you on the podium if you've already skated well in the SP, and the low 130's seems to be Liza's current score ceiling (7 clean triples, only 1 element with negative GOE).
Elizaveta's LP at Euros would've placed 2nd at Worlds.
Her LP would beat Caro's (silver medalist) but Mao got 134 for her LP.
Originally Posted by Moment
FF is right about having to deliver in the SP and LP though, and the two Russians have had problems with that. But Ashley used to have problems with the SP too and improved that weakness, so the Russians may as well. I like the prospect of having a lot of women competing for medals though. Liza, Adelina, and Akiko's finishes at Worlds were disappointing but show how truly deep the women's field is.
I believe a minimum score of 200 will be required for a podium in Sochi, so a short around 67 and a long around 133, something better than that probably is needed. The winning score will probably either be Kim's typical 220+ or one of Mao or Kostner skating lights out and also achieving that.
Good points all around.
And, a little honest disclosure: I'm not a particular fan of any of the "Big 3" and wouldn't be bothered one bit for someone new to emerge in Sochi.
I wouldn't mind if none of them make the podium, so far as they were fairly beaten.
I know how you feel. I can't remember the last time the top holdovers from the previous Olympics decided to stick around including the Gold and Silver medalists. It's time for the younger skaters to shine but it won't happen until Yuna, Kostner and Mao retire. But to be honest the younger girls didn't come around early enough in this cycle and are still growing as skaters unlike Mao and Yuna who were slightly older and much more experienced by the time of the Vancouver Olympic games. But let's face it you have some skaters like Kostner who will be in her 3rd Olympics.
Originally Posted by TontoK
Julia has a different temperament though, she seems much more confident and feisty than Adelina and Liza ever were. Plus she appears to have genetics working on her side so she may luck out in terms of puberty because from the looks of it she has a very slender frame and may not put on a lot of weight with puberty. Her mindset seems like an asset, she is so driven and determined. And I know this can change with age, but still, it's very apparent and I never noticed Adelina or Liza having the same way about themselves even before puberty so I think Julia will retain this mindset through puberty, at least for the most part. I think Julia could also wind up on the podium or closer to it than Adelina or Liza should she make it to the Olympics.
Originally Posted by Jammers
I agree that Li is very dangerous too. I don't think she will experience some big body change now, she will be 17 in the winter, she is probably just built that way. Lots of asians girls do luck out in that regard but as for Kanako, she did have issues with puberty because that was when she started getting so many URs, her rotation slowed down and it made everything more difficult. But I think some of that was due to her bad technique and also the way she is built with such a long torso and short legs, so center of gravity is lower, making it harder to get a lot of height on the jumps. Li has long legs and a short torso and her technique is also way better than Kanako's so I don't perceive her having trouble with her jumps - they are just too darn easy for her, that's really a gift and one I don't see her losing soon. I think she can make the GPF this season and if she does and does well there than I think she can definitely be in the mix to medal in Sochi if one or more of the favorites falter. I think it will be easier for her than Gold because Gold has very tough GP events, so it will be very hard for her to make the GPF, and even skating pretty well she could finish in the middle of the pack, which could affect her confidence and chances going into the Olympics.
What?! In what universe do you imagine that happening?
Originally Posted by gmyers
Julia Lipnitskaia should work on her basics and technique instead of attempting seven triples in the free skate. I can see her landing zero clean triples in near future if she doesn't. I'll have a laugh reminding her fans tore apart Mao and Carolina for landing only four clean triples and winning. The difference is Julia skates slow and has awful, robotic presentation so she can't win on PCS.
She did not deserve that score, especially the TES part.
Originally Posted by drivingmissdaisy
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If her jumping passes had been reviewed and judged correctly, they would've scored about six points lower.
Li's events aren't exactly walks through the park, either. At the Cup of China, she'll be up against Kostner, Murakami, and Sotnikova. The only one of those I could realistically see her beating is Sotnikova, keeping in mind that Sotnikova's PB is over 10 points higher than Li's. But let's assume that Li pulls through and wins bronze. At the NHK Trophy, Li is up against Asada, Gold, Suzuki, and Nagasu. We can essentially discount her from finishing ahead of Asada, Gold, and Suzuki, and even with UR's, Nagasu still receives sizable PCS internationally. So Li finishes fourth -- and that's assuming she can overtake Radionova, who is ridiculously consistent.
Originally Posted by silverlake22
OTOH, Gold won't win either of her events, but she has a very good chance of medalling at both. At Skate Canada, she will certainly be beat by Kim; she could possibly beat Suzuki for a silver medal with her TES. At NHK, it's pretty much the same deal -- Gold won't out-skate Asada, but the fight between her and Suzuki could come down to tenths. So Gold has two silvers at best, two bronzes at worst (more likely, she'll have one silver and one bronze, since she probably won't overtake Suzuki in Japan). I'm not sure where this "middle of the pack" conspiracy arose from -- at SC, you're suggesting that at least two among Osmond, Gao, Korpi, Lipnitskaia, Leonova, and Lacoste can out-skate Gold; at NHK, at least two among Li, Radionova, Miyahara, Leonova, Marchei, and Gedevanishvili (Nagasu is a wildcard).
Gold may still not make the GPF, depending on how Wagner, Suzuki, and Murakami perform.
So we have Li projected (most optimistically) for a 3rd and 4th place finish, and Gold (realistically) for a 2nd and 3rd. Who has better odds?
In a parallel universe where Liza and Adelina's PB's aren't ten and fifteen points higher, respectively, than Julia's.
Originally Posted by LRK