After Worlds last season, it looked as if Yuna Kim, Mao Asada and Carolina Kostner were the three favorites for the Olympic podium. However, I believe Carolina has lost a lot of ground/momentum this season, and at this point, I would be surprised to see her make the Olympic podium.
She delivered a clean short program at Europeans and was still beaten by two Russian girls, one of whom (Sotnikova) had basically the same jump content as her. And in the free program, she does not have the technical content to compete with young girls like Lipnitskaia, Sotnikova, Gold, etc. Her spins and jump difficulty are lagging behind many of her competitors.
At Europeans, the judges showed that they were willing to give the young Russian girls high PCS. This was previously Carolina’s big advantage over them, but with the Olympics being held in Russia, I think we will see a big push for Lipnitskaia or Sotnikova to make the podium.
Now that Carolina no longer has a huge PCS advantage over the younger girls, I don’t see how she can compete with them, considering her inferior technical content and the fact that she has never been known for skating clean.
I think the favorites for an Olympic medal are now Kim, Asada, and Lipnitskaia/Sotnikova (with the games being held in Russia.) In order to have a shot at the podium, I believe Carolina will have to skate clean and attempt the 3F-3T in her long program. But even that might not be enough, considering how she skated clean and was still beaten by the two young Russians in the short program at Europeans.