Rostelecom Cup Ladies Preview

Kiira Korpi missed Worlds last season due to injury but came back to win the bronze medal at Cup of China last week and won silver at Finlandia Trophy earlier this season.  With the back to back events she won’t have time to make any adjustments and fatigue might be an issue.  She’ll need a gold medal to qualify for the Final while a silver will keep her in the running.

Agnes Zawadzki claimed the gold at the U.S. Figure Skating Classic earlier this season and showed an improved ability to deliver a good free skate after a solid short program performance.  However, the scores from that event have not been held up all season.  If she can replicate her performance she could claim her first Grand Prix medal.

Adelina Sotnikova started her season with her third straight Grand Prix bronze medal at Skate America.    Some jump errors in her free skate led her to improvise and insert an extra combo which was ruled invalid.  That mistake hurt her technical score so she should easily be able to improve here.  She’ll also need a gold medal to qualify for the Final and a silver to stay in the running.

Kanako Murakami qualified for the Grand Prix Final in her debut season two years ago but failed to medal at either of her assignments last year.  She has had trouble putting together two clean programs in the past and will need two solid performances in this field to medal.  She won the bronze medal at Skate Canada and is also looking for a gold or silver for a chance to go to Sochi.  

Gracie Gold struggled in her Grand Prix debut at Skate Canada and admitted that she had trouble keeping her competitive focus.  Now that she has some international experience at that level we’ll have to see if she’s better able to handle the competition and regain the form that led her to a World Junior medal or if she’s rattled by that performance.

My podium predictions:
Gold: Kiira Korpi
Silver: Adelina Sotnikova
Bronze: Agnes Zawadzki

Bios of the competitors:
Kiira Korpi, FIN: She is the reigning European Silver Medalist.  She won bronze at Cup of China.  She is the 2007 and 2011 European Bronze Medalist.  Her personal best is 169.86.  She is 24 years old.
Valentina Marchei, ITA: She finished 8th at Worlds and Europeans.  She placed 4th at Skate America.  Her personal best is 158.79.  She is 25 years old.

Kanako Murakami, JPN: She placed 5th at Worlds and 4th at Four Continents.  She won bronze at Skate Canada.  She is the 2010 World Junior Champion.  Her personal best is 178.59.  She is 17 years old.

Polina Korobeynikova, RUS: She placed 19th at Worlds and 4th at Europeans.  She placed 4th at JGP Australia and won gold at  JGP Romania last season to qualify for the Junior grand Prix Final where she won bronze.  Her personal best is 164.13.  She is 16 years old.

Alena Leonova, RUS: She is the reigning World Silver Medalist and placed 7th at Europeans.  She placed 7th at Skate America.  She qualified for the Grand Prix Final last seasona and won bronze.  She is the 2009 Junior World Champion.  Her personal best is 184.28.  She is 21 years old.

Adelina Sotnikova, RUS: She is the reigning Junior World Bronze Medalist.  She won bronze at Skate America.  She is the 2011 Junior World Champion.  Her personal best is 178.87.  She is 16 years old.

Viktoria Helgesson, SWE: She finished 11th at Worlds and 5th at Europeans.  She placed 8th at Skate America.  Her personal best is 161.79.  She is 24 years old.

Gracie Gold, USA: She is the reigning World Junior Silver Medalist.  She finished 7th at Skate Canada.  Her personal best is 172.69.  She is 17 years old.

Caroline Zhang, USA: She is the reigning Four Continents Bronze Medalist.  She finished 9th at Skate Canada.  She is the 2010 Four Continents Bronze Medalist, 2007 World Junior Champion and 2008 and 2009 World Junior Silver Medalist.  Her personal best is 176.48.  She is 19 years old.

Agnes Zawadzki, USA: She placed 6th at Four Continents.  She finished 8th at NHK Trophy and 7th at Rostelecom Cup last season.  She is the 2010 World Junior Silver Medalist and 2011 World Junior Bronze Medalist.  Her personal best is 161.07.  She is 18 years old.