I don't know..hard to tell competition is stiff.
Now, I have been deliberately avoiding this thread as I know from past experience (re. the Russian Ladies team) that threads like this rapidly descend into slanging matches. So, I haven't read ANY of the posts so far.
And anyway, I decided a long time ago who, in an ideal world, I wanted in the team - Asada, Suzuki and Ando.
However, I have been watching the coverage of the Ladies SP at the Ondrej Nepela trophy, and have just seen the 2 girls Japan has sent to Slovakia - Haruka Imai and Yuki Nishino.
Both of them put in really beautiful performances. Haruka was even doing wonderful things in the warm-up:
As for Yuki, she had a fall not long into the routine, but otherwise it wasn't bad.
I have to be honest - I thought it was going to be Asada and Suzuki as definites for the Olympic team, with a straight fight between Murakami and Ando for the third spot. I never even took the younger girls as serious contenders. (Sorry, but, based on last season, I still feel Miyahara and Sakamoto are not ready yet).
But, if Imai can polish off her routines by the time Japanese Nationals come along, she could become a dark horse.
Things have suddenly got a lot more complicated than I initially thought!
Oh, I wouldn't want to be the ones making the final decision on who goes to Sochi!
I hope it isn't Suzuki's heart that is broken.
Miki will have to fight for her spot and even if she goes clean (unless she has superb content), she isn't guaranteed to get it over Murakami/Suzuki.
Based on what Miki did at Nebelhorn, I don't think she's up to the level she'll need to be to get by Akiko or Kanako right now. Kanako isn't a beginning of the season skater but she always gets stronger as the season goes on. Akiko skates strongly at the beginning of the season and sometimes fizzles out late so she'll have to pace herself. Judging from the practice video I saw of her from Finlandia, she's looking strong. Most of her jumps were easy and secure. Akiko's challenge will be maintaining that through the 2nd half of the season.
Miki didn't look very good at Nebelhorn. What she did was good considering it was her first competition back but judging her next to everyone else in the field, she wouldn't crack top 10 at worlds with that. She was slow and labored, her spins were bad, she's developed a more pronounced leg wrap and her programs are very generic/uninteresting.
I will never count Miki out b/c she knows how to compete but I'm not sure if her best will be better than Akiko and Kanako's best. Miki has no GP invites which puts her at a disadvantage in terms of building her reputation back up. Yes she's a 2-time world champ and that will help her but not much, especially if she doesn't improve her skating.
For now Akiko and Kanako are safe IMO. We'll have to see what the landscape looks like in the next few months...
^^^The most accurate and non-biased assessment I have read in any of these "who should be on such-and-such team" thread!
Well written, kwanatic!!!
Miki's performance was good at the Nebelhorn considering how long she's been away. But, as you have pointed out, as it is, it is not good enough for the high placing that somebody of her talent deserves at the Olympics.
She will improve with more practice. But, I'm just concerned about her lack of competition practice between now and the new year.
She's not doing GP's, so will she be able to get the chance to compete at other Senior B's before then?
If she is entered in some, she might just improve enough to get on the Olympic team. If she isn't entered in any, I think she'll have trouble getting in the team.
Incidentally, Haruka Imai just put in another beautiful performance in the FS at the Ondrej Nepela there now.
Thing is though, Miki's level at Nebelhorn is comparable to or even better than what we've seen from US ladies who are considered to be contenders for the US Olympic team at this point in the season. The US ladies field at this point is pretty comparable to that in Japan, though with even more ladies in contention for the 3rd spot. Gold scored in the mid 160s at SLC, Zawadzki only like 150, Gao 153 at Nepala. So, if those are the kinds of scores American lady Olympic contenders are putting up at this point in the season, it sort of puts things into perspective, if they are going to make the team, those marks are going to need to be quite a bit higher, but it's expected that they will be quite a bit higher come Nationals and even the GP. If Miki's at a 162 now and needs to get to a 180-190 score to make the Olympic team, yeah that's a big ask, but the American ladies contenders don't seem to be in any better form at this point, and most of them even worse, and most fully expect that by Nationals that 20 to 40 point jump will be made. If they can do it, why can't Miki?
I mean, I get Miki just had a baby, but if she got all her triples back in 5 months time, you would think that she could get better spins and footwork and add in more combinations in the 3 months until Nationals. I mean, Miki has the experience, and she's gotten level 3s and 4s on her spins and footwork in the past so I feel like there's a chance she could get them back in time. Not saying she's likely to make the team but she definitely has a shot.
Not to mention that Murakami did far better at Japanese Nationals.
Akiko is great, there's still a chance she could be in the mix for an Olympic medal, but she probably peaked in 2012. Her jumps became less stable last season and I don't see them returning to the level they used to be at.
awful new FS for Murakami!!! 5th in japan open!! miki goes sochi!!
Two things about Murakami's second 3Lo:
a) it was iffy, and could have actually been UR'ed when the tech specialist slow-mo'ed it on replay.
b) even if was called as rotated, it wouldn't have made a difference in the final results.
Kostner's 3T not being called as UR was pretty ridiculous though as it was much more obvious than some of Kanako's URs.