I think a lot of people figure even if they struggle Ashley and Gracie will qualify even if it is a disappointing third. As hard as Gracie has had it Gao, Nagasu, Agnes, Hicks, Zhang, Flatt, Wang et al haven't exactly shaken the world skating order.
If I had to predict I'd put it at Wagner/Gold/Nagasu. To me, Gao just doesn't have it. I wouldn't put much money on my prediction, though. Too many consistent skaters, and that includes Wagner.
Hi Robin A did you mean too many consistent or inconsistent skaters or is this like a double entendre the skaters are so inconsistent they are consistently inconsistent
There well could be some upsets in placement.
If she just crumbles under pressure and/or injury, bombs one or both programs, and finishes 4th or 5th or lower, then she wouldn't make the team. E.g., Czisny in 2010.
In practice, I think there is no chance that the national champions will not be named to the Olympic team. Unless they're not eligible: too young, not US citizens, haven't earned the required ISU minimum tech score at an international competition since last year.
Zayak was 4th at 1980 Nationals. The third Olympic/Worlds slots were split between her and bronze medalist Sandy Lenz, similar to the split between Paul Wylie to Olympics and Mark Mitchell to Worlds in 1992.But I can't remember any time where a skater medaled at Nats and was denied making the Olys. Oh wait, how about Zayak in 1980?
I'd also like to point out that, in 2011, Ashley Wagner -- who had just started working with John Nicks -- had the EXACT SAME finishes at her GP events as Gracie did this season (3rd at SC, 4th at NHK), though with considerably lower scores.
Right now, Ashley is still my pick for US champion, but I have a hard time imagining a scenario in which Gracie places lower than 2nd.
Well, for her it was craptacular. Or craptastic. Other people would kill for those scores.