Yu-Na last year at Worlds scored around 70 for a clean SP with the edge call... without it, how high can she reach? 73? 74? (Remember that she scored 78 with the spiral sequence, 5.40 points, and with higher GOEs for all the jumps and with a level 4 layback, she doesn't have all these things now so I don't think that she can really score more than 75)
Julia scored 72.90 without skating her best (she can usually do a lot better all of those jumps)... I don't think the judges will be afraid to give Yulia almost the same PCS as Yu-Na, and the same for the GOEs, and don't forget that Yulia's spins will score a couple points more than Yu-Na's...
The only one who has the chance to beat Julia in the SP is Yu-Na, but only if she skates incredibly incredibly well (at least as well as she did at nationals I would say)...
At this point, I'm pretty sure that Team Asada and Team Kim are aware that Julia is the one to beat. I'm also certain that they are aware of the overscoring as they are skating on Russian soil. These are realities that may play well into both skaters's psyches heading into the Individual events. With Mao, she must know what her chances are realistically- and there's absolutely no shame in admitting that fact. She probably now knows how it must have felt for Cohen, Slutskaya and Arakawa when they saw her during the 2006 season. The positive here, is that really- there's not that much pressure on her to perform. All eyes will be on Kim, Gracie, and Julia. Although the press will be on Asada too, this week's events have changed- she's not a favourite for gold anymore. This should then give Asada a sense of just 'do your best' because that's all she can do. Obviously, this is how it should play in a perfect World.
As far as Kim is concerned, the judges should be able to compare her style side by side with Julia. Yes, Julia has flexibility and the technical prowess, but they would never dare give her PCS marks akin to Kim's in either Vancouver or at Worlds. There's just no explaining that. Kim would have to really bomb for her not to be rewarded.
I don't know about you, but what are the chances that Julia will end up with mind games on the night with such high stakes?
Welcome to GS, Alexis!
Whoever wins, it will be a disservice to Julia if she is overmarked. If she should do better than everyone else but get outlandish marks, it will look as if she won because of her marks, not because of her performance. This shadow will follow her afterward. When YuNa won in Vancouver, she was so clearly superior that there was no question that she deserved the gold. But even a close victory can be understandable as long as both skaters are marked to the same standard, as in the case of Michelle and Tara in Nagano. Some of us may not be happy with the results, but we see what the judges valued and how things added up.
I honestly doubt that Julia will crumble under pressure. That girl is a robot. She has nerves of steel and has nothing to lose.
Although I respect her fierce competitiveness and I think her spins are great, I am not a great fan of her skating. When I see her skating I am left without emotions and quite frankly I do not like her programs. They have been crafted very ingeniously, but they are manipulative in my opinion (especially Schindler’s List). I also fail to see her connection to the music and her ability as a story teller. She is a prodigious 15 years old, but she is till a kid and it shows. She has the making of a star, but in my opinion she is not shining yet. I know she gets huge scores, but I do not think that her performances (especially the FS in the Team Event) deserve these kind of staggering values.
Whether she is unbeatable will really depend on the judging and the performances of other skaters. If Mao skates lights out and lands her jumps, I really do not see how they could put Julia on top. Mao skates with so much grace, she is so lyrical and her SP is truly magnificent in my opinion. And if Caro is clean on both programs with a similar jumps layout as in Worlds last year I do not think I could bear Julia receiving higher scores. It was hard enough at the Team Event after Caro’s performance which was too good for words. Even on that occasion, the difference in their skating skills was so palpable and Carolina’s ability to conjure moments of true beauty so clear that I was disturbed to see Julia being placed first. If that was a sign of things to come, then there is, alas, little hope for Caro and Yuna and perhaps only Mao’s triple axel could save the night. I hope I am wrong and that my dream podium (Caro, Mao and Yuna) comes true though!