2017 Skate Canada Ladies Preview

Three of last season’s Grand Prix Final qualifiers are competing at this event while three ladies are making their Grand Prix debut, including World Junior Silver Medalist Marin Honda.  Honda is the youngest lady in the field at 16 years old, while Ashley Wagner is the oldest at 26.  Five of these ladies have scored over 200 points while two additional competitors have hit 199.

Interestingly enough, this event looks like a battle between Swan Lakes and Moulin Rouges.  Maria Sotskova is skating to Swan Lake for her short program, while Kaetlyn Osmond and Anna Pogorilaya are using Swan Lake for their free skate.  Karen Chen is using Moulin Rouge for her short program and Ashley Wagner and Kailani Craine are using Moulin Rouge for their free skate.

Kaetlyn Osmond has had a bit of an uneven career plagued with injuries.  She won a gold medal at her Grand Prix debut at this event in 2012, but did not compete on the Grand Prix again until 2015.  She has won three medals and qualified for the Grand Prix Final for the first time last season.  She won gold at the Autumn Classic International to start her season.  Her short program includes a triple flip + triple toe and a triple lutz.  She had all positive GOEs, earning her 8 points, and her program components were in the high 8s and low 9s.  Her free skate was largely clean with a triple flip + triple toe and a double axel + triple toe.  Her opening combination almost earned all positive +3 GOEs and netted her 11.56 points overall.  She only has four jumping passes planned in the bonus and she singled an axel at the end of her program.  She again earned all positive GOEs, earning 14 points and had PCS marks in the high 8s and low 9s.  She did lose a point for a fall outside of her required elements.  Her biggest issue in the past was skating a clean free skate, and skating two clean programs in the same event, so this was a big step for her coming off of her World medal, to be able to skate such solid programs at the beginning of the season.  She has the 2nd best short program, 4th best free skate, and 4th best total scores.

Maria Sotskova is starting her sophomore season on the Grand Prix, after winning two medals last season and qualifying for the Grand Prix Final.  She won gold at Finlandia Trophy with personal best free skate and total scores to kick off her season.  Her short program includes a triple lutz + triple toe and a triple flip.  She earned all positive GOEs and had program components in the mid 7s to low 8s.  She lost one point for going over time.  Her free skate includes a triple lutz + triple toe and a triple flip + single loop + triple salchow with five jumping passes in the bonus.  Her only error was under-rotating the double axel at the end of the program.  Her program components were better, in the mid 8s.  She has the 9th best short program, 6th best free skate, and 6th best total scores.

Marin Honda is making her Grand Prix debut after winning a World Junior Championship and the World Junior Silver Medal last season.  In her two seasons on the Junior Grand Prix, she won three silver medals and one gold, and qualified for the Final twice, winning bronze in 2015 and withdrawing last season due to illness.  She started her senior career with a gold medal at the US International Figure Skating Classic.  She landed a triple flip + triple toe and a triple loop in her short program with all positive GOEs and program components in the mid 7s.  Her free skate includes a triple flip + triple toe and a double axel + triple toe with five jumping passes in the bonus.  Her only major error was doubling a salchow near the end of the program.  She had all positive GOEs and her program components were stronger, ranging from 7.85 to 8.20.  She has the 10th best short program, 9th best free skate, and 8th best total scores.

Karen Chen will be competing for the third season on the Grand Prix, but she has never finished higher than 5th place.  She won a bronze at the US International Figure Skating Classic to start her season.  Her short program had an under-rotated triple lutz + triple toe and a triple loop.  Her program components were slightly better than Honda, who beat her at this event, in the high 7s and low 8s.  Her triple lutz + triple toe was again under-rotated in the free skate as was her triple flip (edge call), triple salchow at the end of her three jump combo and her triple lutz.  However, she has since scrapped this program and has a brand new free skate that she choreographed herself and has only been working on for two weeks.  In fact, this will be her third free skate program of the season.

Anna Pogorilaya will compete on the Grand Prix for her 5th season, where she has 6 total medals, and has qualified for the Final three times, winning the bronze medal last year.  She sat in 4th place at the World Championships after the short program but a 15th place free skate dropped her to 13th overall.  One of the most consistent Russian ladies since the last Olympics, she has been reportedly struggling with her performance at that event and hasn’t competed since.

Ashley Wagner is starting her 11th season on the Grand Prix, where she has won 13 medals, but she had her worst ever finish last year, placing 6th at Cup of China.  She has qualified for the Grand Prix Final five times, and had a four year streak which was broken last year.  She had a free skate to La La Land planned for this season, but decided to scrap it and go back to the Moulin Rouge program that won her a silver medal at the World Championships.  This will be her third time using this program in the last four years, but it is undeniably a signature piece and suits her style and personality like nothing she has skated before or since.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Kaetlyn Osmond

Silver: Ashley Wagner

Bronze: Maria Sotskova

 

Bios of the competitors:

Kailani Craine, AUS: She finished 24th at Worlds and 16th at Four Continents.  This is her Grand Prix debut.  Her personal best is 167.45.  She is 19 years old.

Larkyn Austman, CAN: This is her Grand Prix debut.  Her personal best is 136.82.  She is 19 years old.

Alaine Chartrand, CAN: She placed 11th at Four Continents.  She finished 5th at Skate Canada and 10th at NHK Trophy last season.  Her personal best is 186.11.  She is 21 years old.

Kaetlyn Osmond, CAN: She is the reigning World Silver Medalist and placed 4th at Four Continents.  She won silver at Skate Canada and silver at Cup of China last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where she finished 4th.  Her personal best is 218.13.  She is 21 years old.

Laurine Lecavelier, FRA: She finished 18th at Worlds and 5th at Europeans.  She placed 6th at Trophee de France last season.  Her personal best is 188.10.  She is 21 years old.

Marin Honda, JPN: She is the reigning World Junior Silver Medalist.  She won silver at JGP Japan and silver at JGP Slovenia last season to qualify for the Junior Grand Prix Final.  This is her Grand Prix debut.  She is the 2016 World Junior Champion.  Her personal best is 201.61.  She is 16 years old.

Rika Hongo, JPN: She placed 16th at Worlds and 10th at Four Continents.  She finished 6th at Skate Canada and 5th at Cup of China last season.  She is the 2015 and 2016 Four Continents Bronze Medalist.  Her personal best is 199.15.  She is 21 years old.

Anna Pogorilaya, RUS: She finished 13th at Worlds and is the reigning European Silver Medalist.  She won gold at Rostelecom Cup and gold at NHK Trophy last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where she won bronze.  She is the 2016 World Bronze Medalist, 2015 and 2016 European Bronze Medalist, and 2013 World Junior Bronze Medalist.  Her personal best is 216.47.  She is 19 years old.

Maria Sotskova, RUS: She placed 8th at Worlds and 4th at Europeans.  She won silver at Trophee de France and bronze at NHK Trophy last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where she finished 5th.  She is the 2016 World Junior Silver Medalist.  Her personal best is 205.30.  She is 17 years old.

Karen Chen, USA: She finished 4th at Worlds and 12th at Four Continents.  She placed 7th at Cup of China and 6th at NHK Trophy last season.  Her personal best is 199.29.  She is 18 years old.

Courtney Hicks, USA: She won bronze at Rostelecom Cup and placed 9th at Cup of China last season.  Her personal best is 183.12.  She is 21 years old.

Ashley Wagner, USA: She placed 7th at Worlds.  She won gold at Skate Canada and finished 6th at Cup of China last season.  She is the 2016 World Silver Medalist, 2012 Four Continents Champion, and 2007 and 2009 World Junior Bronze Medalist. Her personal best is 215.39.  She is 26 years old.