Based on early season performance so far from Kozuka, Oda, Takahashi and Hanyu, I can see the following realistic scenario playing out :
Originally Posted by inskate
- Kozuka, Oda and Hanyu made GPF in which Oda won a Bronze medal = highest place Japanese from GPF (Oda has always done quite well in GP Series)
- At Japanese Nationals, Kozuka won the Nationals for the 3rd time while Takahashi finished 4th
- Hanyu has the highest ISU World ranking
So, how would they justify giving Takahashi a spot based on the set criteria?
Skating is art, if you let it be.
The 3 highest Japanese Men in terms of both World standing and Season best score are eligible under criteria #3. Takahashi will be in the top 3 amongst the Japanese Men in terms of World standing, so even if he doesn't skate that well during the Grand Prix and Japanese Nationals, he could still be picked.
Originally Posted by wallylutz
If Takahashi doesn't make the GPF and isn't top 3 at Japanese Nationals, though, I don't think he will be chosen.
Bona Fide Member
The thing, though, is that Japanese men seem often to be quite inconsistent. I don't think it's a good idea to base too much speculation on how one of them will skate at one competition simply based on how they skated at their last one. Especially Dai. He can struggle at one competition - and be brilliant the next. Or vice versa.
To be honest, I have no idea. Until now, the selection process was much more "mechanical". For the Olympics 2006 the skaters collected points in international and national competitions and whoever collected the most got to go. For Vancouver, the spots were given to 1. the skater who placed the highest at the GPF podium (Oda), 2. the skater who won Nationals (Takahashi), 3. the skater who was on the National podium, with international standings taken into consideration (Kozuka had both the bronze medal and 3rd best World standing after Oda and Takahashi). The rules were always clearly stated and the role of the JSF was limited to reading the list of qualifiers aloud.
Originally Posted by wallylutz
Right now only the winner of the Nats is sure to go, the rest will be hand-picked. It isn't clearly stated what JSF will value more - the highest PB of the season? The highest placement at nats? The highest World standing?
In the situation you described above, I think a lot would depend on the actual placement of the skaters at Nationals. If Kozuka won (for the 2nd time, actually, but it doesn't matter as far as the selection process is concerned), he'd get to go.
Then, let's say, Hanyu got silver, Oda - bronze, Takahashi was 4th, Machida 5th and Mura 6th.
According to the criteria posted above, 2nd spot would be selected between the silver medal at Japanese Nationals (Hanyu), the winner of the bronze medal at Japanese Nationals (Oda) and the skater who placed the highest on the podium at the Grand Prix final (Oda) -> Oda would have bronze at Nats and the GPF placement, so he'd get this spot.
3rd spot would be selected between the skater qualified via point 2 but was not chosen (Hanyu), 3 skaters who will have the highest World standing at the moment of the Japanese Nationals (Takahashi, Hanyu and Machida (at the moment)), 3 skaters with the highest ISU season best score (hard to tell - their seasons PB scores could be pretty close). I think in such scenario Hanyu would get to go since he would have point 2, high season standing (even if a bit lower than Takahashi's) and possibly one of the season's best scores going for him.
That's just my interpretation of the rules, though. Of course, I'm speculating purely about the interpretation of the rules, not on the skaters' actual placement at GP and Nats. I don't think anything can be predicted at this point.
The most depressing thing is, those skaters have dealt with injuries recently, from minor to quite serious. They know they have to be at their /absolute best/ for the entire season to make the team - and, in result, they might end up re-injuring themselves (or acquire brand new injuries). I think the worst case scenario would be if the Japanese Olympic team consisted simply of the last 3 skaters who can remain somewhat vertical without crutches and painkillers.