2014 Cup of China Ladies Preview

Julia Lipnitskaia had her breakout season last year with her Schindler’s List free skate.  She took home gold from her two Grand Prix assignments and won silver at the Final.  She became the youngest European Champion and became the darling of the Olympic Games with her outstanding performances in the team event which helped lead Russia to the gold medal.  She was impressively consistent hitting her jumps at every event including her triple+ triples.  The pressure seemed to be too much after becoming an overnight sensation and mistakes and falls left her with a 5th place finish in the individual event.  She rebounded to claim the silver medal at Worlds.  With many of the top ladies retired or taking the season off, she should be the frontrunner this season, but has several up and coming Russians nipping at her heels.  The Russian ladies have won each of the last two Grand Prixs and she’ll try to continue the streak.

Elizaveta Tuktamisheva is having a rebound season after failing to make the Olympic team last year.  She sat in first place after the short program at Skate America but too many falls and jump errors let a clean Elena Radionova pull ahead of her for the gold medal.  She has a chance to claim a spot in the Final with a another medal finish here.

Polina Edmunds had a breakout season of her own last year, winning the silver medal at US Nationals and becoming the youngest US lady named to the Olympic team since Tara Lipinski.  In fact, the Olympics were her first ever senior event and she showed remarkable composure under the pressure and finished 9th.  She was able to improve with an 8th place finish at Worlds. She has soaring triple + triples and has great packaging.

Kanako Murakami has big shoes to fill with the retirement of Akiko Suzuki and Mao Asada sitting the season out.  She has shown great promise and in her first season on the Grand Prix circuit, she medaled at the Final.  However, she’s struggled since then with jump technique issues and skating two clean programs.  She did not finish in the top 10 at the Olympics and had her worst finish at Worlds.  She did set a personal best score at Four Continents in her gold medal winning performance but couldn’t seem to replicate those results the rest of the season.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Julia Lipnitskaia

Silver: Elizaveta Tuktamysheva

Bronze: Polina Edmunds

 

Bios of the competitors:

Gabrielle Daleman, CAN: She finished 17th at the Olympics and 13th at Worlds.  She won bronze at JGP Poland and placed 4th at JGP Estonia last season.  This is her Grand Prix debut.  Her personal best is 165.59.  She is 16 years old.

Zijun Li, CHN: She placed 14th at the Olympics, 17th at Worlds and is the reigning Four Continent Bronze Medalist.  She placed 10th at Cup of China last season.  Her personal best is 183.85.  She is 17 years old.

Kanako Murakami, JPN: She placed 12 at the Olympics, 10th at Worlds and is the reigning Four Continents Champion.  She placed 4th at Cup of China and 7th at Rostelecom Cup last season.  She is the 2013 Four Continents Bronze Medalist and 2010 World Junior Champion.  Her personal best is 196.91.  She is 19 years old.

Anne Line Gjersem, NOR: She finished 23rd at the Olympics, 22nd at Worlds last season and 19th at Europeans.  This is her Grand Prix debut.  Her personal best is 142.87.  She is 20 years old.

Hae Jin Kim, KOR: She finished 16th at the Olympics, 23rd at Worlds and 6th at Four Continents.  She placed 9th at Skate Canada.  Her personal best is 166.84.  She is 17 years old.

Julia Lipnitskaia, RUS: She placed 5th at the Olympics, is the reigning World Silver Medalist and the reigning European Champion.  She won gold at Skate Canada and Rostelecom Cup last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where she won silver.  She is the 2012 Junior World Champion and 2013 World Junior Silver Medalist.  Her personal best is 209.72.  She is 16 years old.

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, RUS: She won silver at Skate America.  She is the 2013 European Bronze Medalist and 2011 World Junior Silver Medalist.  Her personal best is 193.31.  She is 17 years old.

Viktoria Helgesson, SWE: She finished 27th at Worlds and 14th at Europeans.  She placed 11th at Skate Canada.  Her personal best is 161.79.  She is 26 years old.

Ashley Cain, USA: This is her Grand Prix debut.  Her personal best is 162.39.  She is 19 years old.

Polina Edmunds, USA: She placed 9th at the Olympics and 8th at Worlds.  She won gold at JGP Mexico and JGP Belarus last season to qualify for the Junior Grand Prix Final where she finished 4th.  This is her Grand Prix debut.  Her personal best is 187.50.  She is 16 years old.

Christina Gao, USA: She placed 4th at Skate Canada and 8th at Trophee Eric Bompard last season.  Her personal best is 176.28.  She is 20 years old.