Wednesday, November 21, 2012

NHK Trophy Ladies Preview

We're down to the final event of the season and several skaters are still in the running to earn a trip to the Grand Prix Final and a chance to preview the Olympic venue.  Ashley Wagner and Kiira Korpi have already punched their tickets while Julia Lipnitskaia, Elizaveta Tuktamisheva and Christina Gao await this weekends results to see if they will travel to Sochi.

Mao Asada already has a gold medal this season from Cup of China.  A 5th place finish would put her into a potential tie breaker but she can guarantee herself a spot in the Final with a 4th place finish or higher.  She shouldn't have any problem taking home a medal here and should find herself on the podium.

Akiko Suzuki needs a 4th place finish to tie herself with Christina Gao and Elizaveta Tuktamisheva while a bronze medal or better will guarantee her ticket to Sochi.  She earned a silver medal earlier this season at Cup of China and tends to improve as the season continues.  She's beat Asada before at home and will look to repeat that feat here.

Agnes Zawadzki earned her first career Grand Prix medal at Rostelecom Cup and can qualify for the Grand Prix Final with a silver medal or higher.  She's shown improved consistency this season but little mistakes in her free skate can cost her in this field, so she'll need to go clean if she hopes to challenge the top two Japanese ladies.  

Mirai Nagasu can qualify for the Final with a gold medal finish.  She has the ability to do it and has shown a more relaxed persona on the ice this season but under-rotation calls dropped her to 4th place at Cup of China.

Elene Gedevanishvili, Haruka Imai and Zijun Li can only qualify if they win a gold medal, but they still could face a potential tie breaker or fall just outside the top 6.  Of the three Gedevanishvili has the best chance if she can repeat her Skate Canada performance in the short program and skate a clean free skate.

My podium predictions:
Gold: Mao Asada
Silver: Akiko Suzuki
Bronze: Agnes Zawadzki

Bios of the competitors:
Zijun Li, CHN: She placed 5th at the World Junior Championships.  She finished 5th at Cup of China.   Her personal best is 160.06.  She is 15 years old. 

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

Mao Asada, JPN: She placed 6th at Worlds and is the reigning Four Continents Silver Medalist.   She won gold at Cup of China.  She qualified for the Grand Prix Final last season.  She is the 2010 Olympic Silver Medalist, 2008 and 2010 World Champion, 2007 World Silver Medalist, 2008 and 2010 Four Continents Champion, 2001 Four Continents Silver Medalist, 2009 Four Continents Bronze Medalist, 2005 World Junior Champion and 2006 World Junior Silver Medalist.  Her personal best is 205.50.  She is 22 years old.

Haruka Imai, JPN: She finished 9th at Four Continents.  She placed 5th at Skate America.  Her personal best is 157.72.  She is 19 years old.

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

Sofia Biryukova, RUS: She finished 9th at Cup of China.  Her personal best is 166.07.  She is 18 years old.

Ksenia Makarova, RUS: She placed 9th at Worlds and 6th at Europeans.  She placed 6th at Skate Canada.  Her personal best is 171.91.  She is 19 years old.

Mirai Nagasu, USA: She finished 4th at Cup of China.  She is the 2011 Four Continents bronze medalist, 2007 World Junior silver medalist and 2008 World Junior bronze medalist.  Her personal best is 190.15.  She is 19 years old.

Agnes Zawadzki, USA: She placed 6th at Four Continents.  She won bronze at Rostelecom Cup.  She is the 2010 World Junior Silver Medalist and 2011 World Junior Bronze Medalist.  Her personal best is 166.61.  She is 18 years old.


  1. Hi there. A bronze medal for Suzuki would put her ahead of Tuktamysheva and Gao. They both have 2nd & 4th place results. :)

  2. Thanks for catching that! It's been updated above.

  3. Great predictions! Also, Akiko won silver at Skate Canada, not Cup of China.