I am not brave enough to make my own predictions yet - still, I have my doubts about Alina's future prospects, tbh. Seeing how much struggle she had with jumps all last season - and how much she struggles with them even now, at shows - and considering her rather fragile psyche and certain weariness from two very hard seasons and lack of sport ambitions/motivation she had before - and is definitely having now even more (and missing majority of Novogorsk training too) - I wouldn't be surprised that she can bomb her RusNat performance again and miss national team spot despite all help from judges. It rather plausible scenario, btw.
I didn't leave her out. I have her top 3. I have a feeling Alina may withdrawl from the GP and take this year off. I don't think Zhenya will factor into the top. I think 3A, Rika and Lilbet for the top, with either Kaori , Young You or Liza sneaking in for the last spot. Overall, I think this will be the year of Rika.
I don't understand why Alina withdrawing from GPs is still an argument now. Girl chose her assignments, had her name submitted for them and is training every moment that she isn't doing shows. Even during shows, she's training. Elucidus making implications about her not being motivated enough because she isn't at trainings or the current state of her jumps is, in all honesty, premature. She's doing 3Lz-3Lo-3Lo and 3Lz-3T-3Lo in practices while in Japan for FaOI a couple of weeks back(with videos), and while she doesn't land all the jumps in shows, so does basically everyone else, even the ones who've been in training the whole summer. Skater Adam Rippon once likened jumping in exhibition lighting as trying to jump in the dark, and add to that show lighting, there's also the fact that show rinks are also hella tiny. Also to say that she has a fragile psyche or lacks "sport motivation" – this is a skater who won Gold at worlds after a hell of a tough season, and stuck it together when it mattered most while every other major contender, bombed. This is a skater who has herself said she can't leave Figure Skating, that she tried to, to leave and live a normal life, but found she was drawn back to it, again and again and that's why she's still competing today.
Like it or not, she's still got the most competitive layout out of all the ladies without a quad, and has made it a point to come back to compete for a full season after an Olympic Gold medal (that no other skater has done) and WON. Its fair to think she may not win Gold again, or even podium, that's your opinion and fair game to speculate and that's what this thread is about. But to discount her as a non-entity because "she's probably going to withdraw"? Seriously?