Sunday, March 18, 2012

World Championships: Ladies' Preview

The ladies competition is by far the least predictable of all. It's been five years that gold is taken by an Asian skater (Ando 2007,2011; Asada 2008,2010; Kim 2009).
Former world champion, Mao Asada (JPN) is one of the favourites for the title. She had a difficult season last year, but now she seems to be on the way back. She won Japanese Championships and got the silver medal at Four Continents this year and if she finds her triple axel back she will be on the top of the podium.

Her teammate Akiko Suzuki had a tough 2010-2011 season too, but she regrouped and got silver medal at Grand Prix Final and Japanese Nationals. She has two delightful program, the short fierce and passionate and the free light and elegant, and has good possibilities of finishing on the podium.

Team U.S.A. is bringing to light a very pleasant skater, Ashley Wagner who surprised everyone winning for the first time Nationals and Four Continents Championships. During these competitions she showed a unseen competitiveness. The last time she entered Worlds was in 2008 where she placed 16th but is now looking for a podium finish.

Alissa Czisny (USA) had always struggled to find consistancy in her programs. Her skating qualities, though, are one of the finest of the bunch. Last year she was crowned Grand Prix Final gold medalist and U.S. Champion, yet this december, after qualifying for Grand Prix Final 2011, she had a foot injury that caused her some disappointing skates. She made quite a disaster at Challenge Cup last week, falling three times (one fall in the short program and two in the free) and placed third.

Carolina Kostner (ITA) is living the best career of her life. She won Cup of China, Grand Prix Final, European Championships and Challenge Cup this year. She usually skates with a lower technical content than it used to be in the past (and lower than many of her rivals), but this strategy, that allows her to feel more confident of herself and to give many clean skates, is serving her well so far. Last year she came third behind Miki Ando and Yuna Kim (who are not competing this year) and if she skates clean she will probably be on the podium.

Season Best scores: -Short Program
                               - Free Skate

Podium Picks:
Gold: Mao Asada
Silver: Ashley Wagner
Bronze: Akiko Suzuki

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