2017 Rostelecom Cup Ladies Preview

Evgenia Medvedeva did not lose a single event last season and she holds the top scores ever recorded for ladies.  In fact, the last time she lost an event was at this event back in 2015 when she won a silver medal.  The only person she has ever lost to as a senior is Elena Radionova, who is also competing at this event.  However, if anyone else walked away with the gold, it would be considered a huge upset.  The rest of this talented field will be competing for the other two spots on the podium.

The youngest competitor is Valeriia Mikhailova who is 15, while the oldest is Carolina Kostner at 30.  Three ladies are making their Grand Prix debuts, including reigning World Junior Bronze Medalist Kaori Sakomoto.  Four of these ladies have scored over 200 points.  Mirai Nagasu has the biggest technical element of any of these ladies as she’ll attempt the triple axel in both her short program and her free skate.

Evgenia Medvedeva started her season with a gold medal at Ondrej Nepela Trophy.  All of her short program jumps are in the bonus, including her triple flip +triple toe and her triple loop.  Her combination earned an impressive 12.24 points.  She earned Level 4 on all of her spins and the step sequence and had all positive GOEs, earning 9 points.  Her program components were in the low to mid 9s and she even received one 10.00 for performance.  Her free skate is backloaded with six jumping passes in the bonus, including a triple flip + triple toe and a triple salchow + triple toe.  She did earn an edge call on her triple lutz, which was the only negative GOE for the program.  She earned 12 points from GOEs and earned Level 4 on all of her spins.  Her program components ranged from 9.10 to 9.35, and she earned two 10.00 marks, one for performance and one for interpretation of music.  She has the best short program, 2nd best free skate, and best total scores.

Wakaba Higuchi is entering her second season on the Grand Prix.  She won a bronze medal in her debut at Trophee de France last season.  She won silver at Lombardia Trophy with personal best scores in the short program and overall.  Her short program includes a triple lutz + triple toe and a triple flip both in the bonus.  She earned all positive GOEs, netting her 7 points over the base value.  She earned Level 4 for all of her spins and her step sequence and had program components in the mid 8s.  Her free skate includes two triple lutz + triple toe combinations, but only four jumps in the bonus.  She earned all positive GOEs, earning 12 points.  She earned Level 4 on two of her spins and her step sequence and had program components in the mid 8s.  Her biggest upgrade from last season has been to max out her levels, and complete everything with quality to rack up the GOE points.  She has the 3rd best short program, 3rd best free skate, and 3rd best total scores.

Carolina Kostner is returning for her 10th season on the Grand Prix, but her first since 2013.  She has 12 total medals on the Grand Prix circuit, at every event except for Skate Canada.  She has qualified for the Final four times in her career, the last time in 2012, and she has won a medal every time she has qualified for the Final.  She started her season with a bronze medal Lombardia Trophy  and a silver medal at Finlandia Trophy.  At Lombardia Trophy she landed a triple flip + double toe and a triple loop.  She earned all positive GOEs, netting 7 points and earned Level 4 for two of her spins and the step sequence.  Her program components were in the low to mid 9s.  Her free skate did not include a triple + triple combination, which she’ll need to be competitive at the Olympics.  She also singled an axel and did not complete a lutz.  She did earn Level 4 on all of her spins and her step sequence and had mostly positive GOEs.  Her program components seemed a bit low for her, in the high 8s with only one mark in the 9s.  At Finlandia Trophy, she missed her combination and fell in the short program but earned Level 4 for all of her spins and steps.  Her free skate had a singled flip.  She has the 4th best short program, 10th best free skate, and 8th best total scores.

Mirai Nagasu is also competing in her 10th season on the Grand Prix.  She has medaled four times, the last time at this event back in 2013, and has never qualified for the Grand Prix Final.  She kicked off her season with a silver medal at the US International Figure Skating Classic.  Her short program includes a triple flip and her combo at the Classic was a triple lutz + double toe, instead of a triple + triple.  She earned Level 4 on all of her spins. She earned a negative GOE on her triple axel attempt, which was fully rotated and she stood up on.  Her program components were in the low to mid 7s.  In the free skate, she had a much better triple axel with only a very slight negative GOE, earning her 8.10 points.  The rest of the program had issues with four under-rotated jumps.  Her only clean triple with a positive GOE was the final jump in her program: a triple loop.  She also only has four jumps planned in her bonus, she she really needs to make them count.  She earned Level 4 for her spins and her program components were in the high 7s and low 8s.

Elena Radionova will be competing for the 5th season on the Grand Prix and she has never not finished on the podium.  She has qualified for four straight Grand Prix Finals, winning two medals. She started her season with a bronze medal at the Ondrej Nepela Trophy.  Her short program includes a triple lutz + triple toe (under-rotated) and a triple flip.  She earned Level 4 on all of her spins, but only a Level 2 on her step sequence and her program components ranged from mid 7s to mid 8s.  Her free skate had a glitch when she received no credit for a loop and then tried to add a triple loop in later but also received no credit for it as an extra jump.  She also earned an edge call on her triple flip.  She had one clean triple + triple combination, a triple lutz + single loop + triple salchow.  She earned Level 4 on two of her spins and had program components in the high 7s and low 8s.

Elizabet Tursynbaeva will be competing for the 3rd year on the Grand Prix, and she has never won a medal.  Her best finish was in her debut at Skate America in 2015, when she placed 4th.  She won bronze at Autumn Classic International to start her season.  Her short program included a triple lutz + triple toe (under-rotated) and a triple flip.  She earned Level 4 for her spins and had program components in the mid to high 6s.  Her free skate has four jumping passes in the bonus, including triple salchow + triple toe and double axel + triple toe + double toe.  She earned a Level 4 for her step sequence but only one of her spins.  Her program components were better, ranging from 7.10 to 7.45.

Mariah Bell will be competing in her 3rd season on the Grand Prix, in her 3rd event.  She has one medal, a silver from last year’s Skate America.  She placed 5th at the US International Figure Skating Classic earlier this season.  While her score at that event, was fairly low, her scores last season are a better indicator of what she is capable of and that she is in the medal mix.  Her short program includes a triple lutz + triple toe (fall) and a triple flip.  Her only negative GOE was on the opening combination and her program components were in the high 6s and mid 7s.  Her free skate started off with a nice triple lutz + triple toe, but she under-rotated her three jump combo and fell, singled a flip, and missed a spin completely.  She also only earned Level 2 on her step sequence.  Her program components were in the high 6s and low 7s.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Evgenia Medvedeva

Silver: Wakaba Higuchi

Bronze: Elena Radionova

 

Bios of the competitors:

Anastasia Galustyan, ARM: She placed 23rd at Worlds and 12th at Europeans.  She finished 9th at Rostelecom Cup and 11th at Trophee de France last season.  Her personal best is 162.58.  She is 18 years old.

Mae Berenice Meite, FRA: She finished 16th at Europeans.  She placed 7th at Trophee de France last season.  Her personal best is 174.53.  She is 23 years old.

Nicole Schott, GER: She placed 19th at Worlds and 10th at Europeans.  This is her Grand Prix debut.  Her personal best is 165.92.  She is 21 years old.

Carolina Kostner, ITA: She finished 6th at Worlds and is the reigning European Bronze Medalist.  She is the 2014 Olympic Bronze Medalist; 2012 World Champion; 2008 and 2013 World Silver Medalist; 2005, 2011, and 2014 World Bronze Medalist; 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2013 European Champion; 2009 and 2011 European Silver Medalist; 2006 and 2014 European Bronze Medalist; and 2003 World Junior Bronze Medalist.  Her personal best is 216.73.  She is 30 years old.

Wakaba Higuchi, JPN: She placed 11th at Worlds and 9th at Four Continents.  She won bronze at Trophee de France and finished 4th at NHK Trophy last season.  She is the 2015 and 2016 World Junior Bronze Medalist.  Her personal best is 217.63.  She is 16 years old.

Kaori Sakamoto, JPN: She is the reigning World Junior Bronze Medalist.  She won silver at JGP France and gold at JGP Japan last season to qualify for the Junior Grand Prix Final where she won bronze.  This is her Grand Prix debut.  Her personal best is 195.54.  She is 17 years old.

Elizabet Tursynbaeva, KAZ: She finished 9th at Worlds and 8th at Four Continents.  She placed 5th at Rostelecom Cup and 8th at NHK Trophy last season.  Her personal best is 191.99.  She is 17 years old.

Evgenia Medvedeva, RUS: She is the reigning World Champion and reigning European Champion.  She won gold at Skate Canada and gold at Trophee de France last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where she won gold.  She is the 2016 World Champion, 2016 European Champion, 2015 World Junior Champion, and 2014 World Junior Bronze Medalist.  Her personal best is 241.31.  She is 17 years old.

Valeriia Mikhailova, RUS: This is her Grand Prix debut.  Her personal best is 152.22.  She is 15 years old.

Elena Radionova, RUS: She won silver at Rostelecom Cup and gold at Cup of China last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where she finished 6th.  She is the 2015 World Bronze Medalist, 2015 European Silver Medalist, and 2013 and 2014 World Junior Champion.  Her personal best is 211.32.  She is 18 years old.

Mariah Bell, USA: She placed 12th at Worlds and 6th at Four Continents.  She won silver at Skate America last season.  Her personal best is 191.59.  She is 21 years old.

Mirai Nagasu, USA: She is the reigning Four Continents Bronze Medalist.  She placed 9th at Skate Canada and 5th at NHK Trophy last season.  She is the 2016 Four Continents Silver Medalist, 2011 Four Continents Bronze Medalist, 2007 World Junior Silver Medalist, and 2008 World Junior Bronze Medalist.  Her personal best is 194.95.  She is 24 years old.