Quote Originally Posted by inskate View Post

One thing to remember, though - the selection process will NOT be based solely on the Japanese Nationals.

Here's the link to a pdf document listing the Olympic figure skating team selection criteria (in Japanese): http://skatingjapan.or.jp/image_data...senkokijun.pdf

Rough translation:

The Olympic Team of Men and Ladies single will be announced at the end of Japanese Nationals.
The team will be decided from among the Olympic qualifiers by the following selecting method:

1. The first spot will be awarded to the winner of the Japanese Nationals.
2. The second spot will be awarded to a skater chosen from the following pool: the winner of the silver medal at Japanese Nationals, the winner of the bronze medal at Japanese Nationals and the skater who placed the highest on the podium at the Grand Prix final.
3. The third spot will be awarded to a skater chosen from the following pool: the skater qualified in point 2 but was not chosen, 3 skaters who will have the highest World standing at the moment of the Japanese Nationals, 3 skaters with the highest ISU season best score.

So basically, only the winner of the Japanese Nationals is certain to get a spot (and even that might possibly be influenced by the skater's international success, as the judges are more likely to give high PCS/GoEs to a skater who proved their consistency). If the second place winner has no high international standing, his season PB is lower than 3rd best and he didn't make the GPF, he might find himself booted off the team.

To sum up: the entire season including the Nationals will be a bloodbath. Every competition counts, as making the GPF (& winning a medal there), high season PB and high ISU standing will help to decide 2nd and 3rd spot. I don't envy those skaters who are slotted at the most packed GP events (Skate Canada: Hanyu, Oda, Mura + Chan & Abott; NHK Trophy: Oda, Mura, Takahashi + Fernandez, Abott & Aaron).
Based on early season performance so far from Kozuka, Oda, Takahashi and Hanyu, I can see the following realistic scenario playing out :

- 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?