2012 Skate Canada Ladies Preview

This event features lots of young talent as well as some seasoned competitors.  Fresh off her first World medal, Akiko Suzuki will be looking to keep the momentum going with a medal finish here.  She has such lightness and joy in her skating and is wonderful to watch.  She’s also fairly consistent with her jumps and she’s more likely to pop then fall but a fall on a fully rotated jump can will gain you more points than a clean single.

Elizaveta Tuktamisheva took the Grand Prix by storm last season becoming the first lady to win gold in her debut event and backed it up with a 2nd gold medal.  She faltered at the Grand Prix Final and failed to make the podium but came back to win gold at the Youth Olympic Games.  She sat out the rest of the season and chose not to go for a Junior World title so she hasn’t competed since January.  She was working on triple axels during the off-season but thought about pulling out of this event due to some stress and growing injuries.  I don’t think we’ll see the triple axel but I also think her team is looking to downplay expectations.

Gracie Gold is the new darling in U.S. figure skating with a U.S. Junior title and a World Junior medal under her belt.  She’s already debuted as a senior at the World Team Trophy and U.S. Figure Skating Classic.  Her jumps are her strong suit and she’s practiced some unbelievable combinations.  If she can land her jumps she has a great shot at the podium.

Another young skater making her Grand Prix debut is Kaetlyn Osmond.  She did well at Canadian nationals and Junior Worlds but surprised with a gold medal finish at Nebelhorn Trophy over Adelina Sotnikova.

Other skaters in the mix include Kanako Murakami who struggled with consistency last season and putting together two clean programs, Amelie Lacoste who missed the Worlds free skate minimum by .01 at the USFSC, Four Continents Bronze Medalist Caroline Zhang and Russian Polina Shelepen in her Grand Prix debut.

My podium predictions:
Gold: Akiko Suzuki
Silver: Elizaveta Tuktamisheva
Bronze: Gracie Gold

Bios of the competitors:
Amelie Lacoste, CAN: She finished 16th at Worlds and 7th at Four Continents.  She placed 6th at Skate Canada and 8th at Rostelecom Cup last season.  Her personal best is 157.26.  She is 23 years old.

Kaetlyn Osmond, CAN: She placed 10th at Junior Worlds.  Her personal best is 146.25.  She is 16 years old.

Elene Gedevanishvilli, GEO: She finished 10th at Worlds and is the reigning European Bronze Medalist.  She placed 7th at Skate America and 5th at NHK Trophy last season.  She is the 2010 European Bronze Medalist.  Her personal best is 165.93.  She is 22 years old.

Kanako Murakami, JPN: She placed 5th at Worlds and 4th at Four Continents.  She finished 6th at Cup of China and 4th at Trophee Eric Bompard last season.  She is the 2010 World Junior Champion.  Her personal best is 178.59.  She is 17 years old.

Akiko Suzuki, JPN: She is the reigning World Bronze Medalist.   She won silver at Skate Canada and gold at NHK Trophy last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where she won silver.  She is the 2010 Four Continents Silver Medalist.  Her personal best is 187.79.  She is 27 years old.

Ksenia Makarova, RUS: She placed 9th at Worlds and 6th at Europeans.  She placed 5th at Skate America and 7th at Cup of China last season.  Her personal best is 171.91.  She is 19 years old.

Polina Shelepen, RUS: She placed 6th at Junior Worlds last season.  She won gold at JGP Latvia and JGP Romania last season to qualify for the JGP Final where she won silver.  Her personal best is 162.34.  She is 17 years old.

Elizaveta Tuktamisheva, RUS: She won gold at Skate Canada and Trophee Eric Bompard last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where she finished 4th.  She is the 2011 World Junior Silver Medalist.  Her personal best is 182.89.  She is 15 years old.

Gracie Gold, USA: She is the reigning World Junior Silver Medalist.  She won gold at JGP Estonia last season.  Her personal best is 172.69.  She is 17 years old.

Caroline Zhang, USA: She is the reigning Four Continents Bronze Medalist.  She finished 6th at Skate America last season.  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.