Rostelecom Cup Ladies Preview

Miki Ando should be able to add a 4th consecutive gold medal to her haul at this event.  She had some problems with her short at Cup of China but came back with a solid free to win Gold.  She’ll need to put two clean programs together here to be more competitive against tougher fields.  Akiko Suzuki is proving that she deserves a place among the world’s best and should be able to land on the podium again here and qualify for the Grand Prix Final with Ando.  Alena Leonova won bronze earlier this season not because of how well she skated, but because of how poorly everyone else skated.  If the same happens here she might win a medal again, but this is unlikely.  Ksenia Makarova is looking to continue her hot streak by medaling in only her 2nd Grand Prix and Agnes Zawadzki is looking to redeem herself after a disappointing free skate at Skate Canada and make the medal stand in her second event.  Ashley Wagner is another one who could wind up with a medal especially if she pulls off the spectacular free skates she is known for.  This should be a very interesting competion for the medal stand.

My podium predictions are:
Gold: Miki Ando
Silver: Akiko Suzuki
Bronze: Ksenia Makarova

My USFSA Fantasy Team is:
A) Miki Ando
B) Ksenia Makarova
C) Myriane Samson

Information on all the competitors is below.

Myriane Samson, CAN: Samson finished 29th at the World Championships and 8th at Four Continents.  She finished 7th at Skate Canada earlier this season with personal best scores across the board.

Elena Glebova, EST: Glebova finished 21st at the Olympics, 21st at Worlds with a personal best short program and 10th at Europeans.  She finished 5th at Skate Canada last season.

Valentina Marchei, ITA: Marchei finished 8th at the European Championships with a personal best short program.  She finished 8th at Skate Canada earlier this season.

Miki Ando, JPN: Ando placed 5th at the Olympics and 4th at the World Championships.  She won her Rostelecom and NHK Trophy assignments last season and placed 2nd at the Grand Prix Final.  She is the 2004 World Junior Champion and 2007 World Champion.  She is the only lady to ever land a quadruple jump in competition.  She won gold at Cup of China earlier this season.

Akiko Suzuki, JPN: Suzuki placed 8th at the Olympics Games with personal best short and free program scores.  She also placed 11th at the World Championships and 2nd at Four Continents.  She won gold at last season’s Cup of China and placed 5th at Skate Canada to earn a berth to the Grand Prix Final where she won bronze.  She won silver at Cup of China earlier this season.

Sofia Biryukova, RUS: Biryukova placed 2nd with personal best scores across the board at her Junior Grand Prix assignment last season.  This is her Grand Prix debut.

Alena Leonova, RUS: Leonova placed 9th at her Olympic debut with personal bests in the short program and total score and followed it up with a 13th place finish at Worlds.  She was 7th at the European Championships.  She won bronze at last season’s Rostelecom Cup and silver at the NHK Trophy to qualify her for the Grand Prix Final where she placed 6th.  She won bronze at Cup of China.

Ksenia Makarova, RUS: Makarova placed 10th at the Olympics with a personal best free skate and total score, 8th at World Championships with a personal best short program, and 9th at Europeans.  She won silver and bronze at her two Junior Grand Prix assignments last year and placed 4th at the Junior Grand Pix Final.  She won silver at her Grand Prix Debut in Canada.

Ashley Wagner, USA: Wagner is the 2007 and 2009 World Junior Bronze medalist.  She finished 2nd and 3rd at her two Grand Prix assignments last year and placed 4th at the Grand Prix Final.  She finished 5th at NHK Trophy earlier this season.

Agnes Zawadzki, USA: Zawadzki is the reigning World Junior Silver Medalist.  She finished 6th at her Grand Prix debut in Canada with personal best scores across the board.