Nebelhorn Trophy Ladies Preview

On paper, Mirai Nagasu of the United States should blow the field away at this event.  Her personal best is 20 points above the rest, her highest score last season was over 20 points greater and she had the fourth best score of the season overall.  She has all the goods to put together winning programs, even winning the short program at the 2010 World Championships.  At most events, it seems like Nagasu has a mental block, and if she performs well in the short, she messes up her free skate.  Twice last season she fell out of spins.  If she can keep her head on straight and skater two clean programs, this should be an easy win.

Ksenia Makarova had a good season in her first full year as a senior, taking home the silver medal from her Grand Prix debut and finishing 4th at Europeans and 7th at Worlds.  With several young Russian skaters climbing into the senior ranks, this will be a critical season for Makarova looking forward to Sochi.

Elene Gedevanishvili of Georgia is an extremely unpredictable skater.  She could contend for gold or land toward the bottom of the pack on any given day.  She is extremely athletic and her programs are full of personality and entertainment value, but she lacks the consistency to make her a sure bet for the medal stand.  
Other contenders include Sarah Hecken from Germany and the Helgesson sisters from Sweden.  They are fairly evenly matched and are fairly consistent skaters, and could easily capitalize on any openings left by some of the other ladies.  Viktoria generally has better results then her younger sister Joshi, but at both events where they competed against each other last season, Joshi came out on top.

My podium predictions:
Gold: Mirai Nagasu
Silver: Ksenia Makarova
Bronze: Sarah Hecken

Bios of the competitors:

Kerstin Frank, AUT: Her personal best is 105.73.  She is 23 years old.

Isabelle Pieman, BEL: Her personal best is 96.64.  She is 27 years old.

Adriana Desanctis, CAN: She is 23 years old.

Yretha Silete, FRA: She finished 11th at Junior Worlds.  She placed 4th at JGP France and 6th at JGP Germany last season.  Her personal best is 134.03.  She is 17 years old.

Elene Gedevanishvili, GEO: She finished 10th at Worlds and 9th at Europeans.  She placed 6th at NHK Trophy and 7th at Skate America last season.  She is the 2010 European Bronze medalist.  Her personal best is 164.54.  She is 21 years old.

Sarah Hecken, GER: She finished 11th at Worlds and Europeans.  She placed 10th at Trophee Eric Bompard last season.  Her personal best is 155.83.  She is 18 years old.

Natalie Weinzierl, GER: Her personal best is 77.33.  She is 17 years old.

Tiffany Packard Yu, HKG: She finished 26th in the preliminary round at Worlds and 25th at Four Continents.  She is 22 years old.

Clara Peters, IRL: She finished 21st in the preliminary round at Worlds and 27th at Europeans.  Her personal best is 71.15.  She is 20 years old.

Francesca Rio, ITA: Her personal best is 122.70.  She is 20 years old.

Karen Kemanai, JPN: She finished 8th at JGP Japan and JGP Czech Republic last season.  Her personal best is 115.28.  She is 16 years old.

Shion Kokubun, JPN: She won bronze at JGP Romania and placed 5th at JGP Japan last season.  Her personal best is 128.78.  She is 19 years old.

Manouk Gijsman, NED: She placed 26th at JGP France and 18th at JGP Germany last season.  Her personal best is 113.18.  She is 18 years old.

Victoria Muniz, PUR: She finished 17th at Four Continents.  Her personal best is 99.40.  She is 22 years old.

Youn Joon Park, KOR:

Ksenia Makarova, RUS: She finished 7th at Worlds and 4th at Europeans.  She won silver at Skate Canada and placed 7th at Cup of Russia last season.  Her personal best is 171.91.  She is 18 years old.

Marina Seeh, SRB: She finished 25th in the preliminary round at Worlds and 15th in the preliminary round at Europeans.  She is 25 years old.

Sonia Lafuente, ESP: She finished 25th at Worlds and 12th at Europeans.  She placed 7th at Trophee Eric Bompard last season.  Her personal best is 143.60.  She is 19 years old.

Joshi Helgesson, SWE: She finished 15th at Worlds.  She placed 7th at Cup of China and 4th at Skate America last season.  Her personal best is 149.08.  She is 18 years old.

Viktoria Helgesson, SWE: She finished 17th at Worlds and 6th at Europeans.  She placed 9th at NHK Trophy and 6th at Skate America last season.  Her personal best is 161.79.  She is 23 years old.

Irina Movchan, UKR: She finished 23rd at Worlds and 26th at Europeans.  Her personal best is 123.15.  She is 21 years old.

Joelle Forte, USA: She is 25 years old.

Mirai Nagasu, USA: She is the reigning Four Continents bronze medalist.  She finished 4th at Cup of China and won silver at Trophee Eric Bompard last season.  She is the 2007 World Junior silver medalist and 2008 World Junior bronze medalist.  Her personal best is 190.15.  She is 18 years old.