U.S. Nationals is nearly upon us! With less than 2 weeks to go before the senior events start, I decided to put down what I believe will happen. This is going to be one exciting competition guys, and a lot of my predictions are total guesses! There's very few disciplines with favorites, which makes things interesting!
This is one that had me scratching my head. With Gracie doing who knows what and many other contenders, there is a chance for some real surprises. (I am also counting on Polina Edmunds being out - although she has not made an official announcement yet)
GOLD: Ashley Wagner
Ashley is for me, a clear favorite headed in to this competition. The reigning World Silver Medalist will NOT be defending a title, which mentally seems to add a lot of weight. She is coming off of a disappointing season so far, with a good start winning Skate America, and then 6th at Cup of China. I think that missing the GPF will lend to somewhat of an "angry" skate and I totally expect her to be very aggressive. She also most likely will benefit from a leniet national tech panel.. she may not see too many UR or edge calls. Also, expect high PCS. This is her first nationals since winning a World Medal, and I think she'll see some kind of boost to it. (I also think she deserves the highest PCS but that's just my opnion) She should easily slay this field.
SILVER: MIRAI NAGASU
I think that Mirai will definitely benefit from the wide open field this year. She is a fan favorite and will most certainly have the audience on her side. She is making huge strides in her competitive history after winning the silver at 4cc's and making top 10 at worlds last year. My only question is whether or not she will actually attempt the 3A here - the successfulness of that jump could very well be the deciding factor of her being on the world team or not.
BRONZE: MARIAH BELL
Coming off of a surprise silver medal at the 2016 Skate America, Mariah has definitely set herself up well to make the world team this year. Making a move down to California this summer to train with Rafael seems to have majorly benefit her. However, while this season she has been more consistent, she has still seen some disappointing performances. Consistency is key for her here if she wants to step on to that podium and into that world team.
PEWTER: KAREN CHEN
Karen has definitely still been dealing with consistency issues, but this season has been on an upward swing. Breaking 120 in the freeskate at one of her Grand Prix events is definitely a step in the right direction, but the short is still a problem. I can see her do well here, but don't know if she can crack the top 3 especially if she makes the same kind of mistakes in the short program as we've seen all season.
CONTENDERS(PLACES 5-10) :
Oh Gracie, what will she do? This season has been nothing short of disasterous - 5th at Skate America, 8th at Trophee De France, 6th(?) at Golden Spin of Zagreb. She will be looking for a huge comeback at this event. But I really don't see that happening.
69 point Short Program at Sectionals!! If she can do that here with a strong Free she can spoil.
Caroline has been skating clean program after clean program! I see her doing that again here, but will recieve low PCS and will most likely only spoil if we see all of the contenders make multiple mistakes.
2nd after the short at Golden Spin, Amber is definitely capable of a spoil here. She also struggles with putting together 2 clean programs together. If she can do that, she has potential.
Courtney is an incredibly strong jumper - and while I personally somewhat enjoy her programs this year, I'm not quite sure how she'll crack the podium. She also is a skater who would benefit from a lot of skaters royally messing up. The PCS and GOE for her programs will not be as high as the top contenders.
Bradie is coming off a bronze at the Tallin Trophy with 2 solid skates. I have her down here because I think she needs time to build up a reputation with the judges for higher PCS. Once she does, she'll be a top contender.
The rest of the competitors(many of these ladies could contend for top 10/top 6):
Alright, so there's my predictions. The only one I'm confident in is Ashley winning gold! Let me know your predictions in the comments! Men will be next.
I know a lot of people were confused. How could she score more with a visibly more "flawed" program?
It's actually quite simple. First, let's look at the PCS.
Ashley was visibly more exhausted at TCC. While she still interpreted the music far better than most the field, I will agree that the performance wasn't quite as spectacular as Worlds. Comparatively, the scores were correct in my opinion. At Worlds she received 73.78 for PCS and at TCC 72.08. Both very high, but giving her Worlds performance the edge.
Now let's look at TES.
Right off the bat, her total Worlds TES score was 68.45, and TCC was 71.72.
Why was it higher?
First we compare her 3F+3T. Both competitions were called < and received negative GOE.
Worlds was -0.40 and TCC was -0.70(she two-footed this one). However, because she missed the combo at the beginning and did just a solo 3F at TCC, her combo had a 10% bonus(it was after the halfway point), thus causing it to actually score more, simply because of when she added it.
Ok, so we can start to see why her score was higher.
Her 3Lo+1Lo+3S was well done at Worlds, being the highest scoring technical element of the entire event (Go Ashley!!) earning 12.20 points.
She two-footed it at TCC, but was clearly all the way around. She received -0.28 and earned 10.72 points.
Ok, so less than worlds. Not being overscored!
Her 3Lz received an "!" at Worlds and no call at TCC. The only thing this affected was the GOE.
I actually felt her 3Lz was the best jump of her FS at TCC, it seemed the least worked and most airy.
Now, quite probably the biggest reason she scored higher at TCC was the solo 3F.
Remember her bobble at Worlds? Yeah, I do because it gave me a heart attack. (I saw her pick slip when she took off and immediately gasped when she started rotating off her axis. That's very hard to hold on to!)
Anyway, at Worlds it was called < with negative GOE due to the underrotation and stepout.
At TCC, she felt the landing was just a tiny bit off, and didn't do the combo off of it. However, she camouflaged her mistake well and still received positive GOE on it.
TCC: 143. 20
And there you have it! Does it all make sense now? I sure hope so!!
It's a question that's been on my mind quite a bit: Can Ashley Wagner become a World Champion? And, even bigger, Olympic champion or medalist?
Yes, Ashley became the first American Lady to win a World medal since 2006 - by winning the silver. Before she took the ice, the Russian wunderkid, Evgenia Medvedeva, broke the world record fs score with a completely flawless program. When Ashley's name was announced, many people were already saying "gold was out of reach".
But was it really?
Here's my analysis on the event that unfolded in her freeskate.
Let's start with the triple flip+triple toe<
So here's my issue. I know Ashley has struggled with UR calls in the past, and, as a huge Ashley fan, I will admit that many of those calls were right. But, I would have liked to see some consistency from the tech panel. Take her 3lo+1/2lo+3s for example. The landings of the Sal and the toe from each jump looked identical to me, so why is one called UR and the other called clean?
That aside, I looked at what the technical box gave her without the UR - 10.30
After the UR and the - goe that comes with it, it came down to 7.90.
Now let's talk about the solo triple flip<
This was the only mistake that was visible to the audience. This jump is usually solid for her, so it was slightly frustrating that she had that small bobble. And, this bobble cost her quite a few points. When it came up in the tech box, it was 4.90, already counting the bad landing but then getting called UR brought it down to 2.77.
Going back on the season, that triple flip would many times receive +3's from judges, and at the GPF that jump pass earned 7.13 points.
I then looked at the technical score of when she finished at worlds. It was at 74.01. This was already counting the bad landing, but neither of the UR calls. With that technical score, her fs score would have been 147.79. That's getting close to Medvedeva. Now we look at it, had she landed the triple flip well, and earned the amount of points she did at the GPF, we add 2.23.
That brings her up to 150.02, which is quite close to Medvedeva's score.
Finally, let's look at the lutz.
Now, I'll be the first to admit that yes, Ashley does not have the strongest lutz in the field. However, Medvedeva's lutz is clearly off of the wrong edge as well, so I'm looking for consistency from the tech panel once again. The way I see it, if Medvedeva got a clean edge call on the lutz, Ashley should have as well.
Because of the unclear edge call on her lutz, her goe was less. It does not affect the base value. At TCC a few weeks later, Ashley got a clean edge call on her lutz.
At Worlds she received 6.90.
TCC was 7.86.
A difference of 0.96.
We are now at 150.98, which, ladies and gentleman, would have won.
This means, that yes, if Ashley Wagner had gone 100% clean that night, she would be world Champion. Now, I'm not trying to tarnish her great achievement. Like I said, I am a huge Ashley fan and over the moon for her, what I'm trying to show you is just what this amazing woman is capable of. If she went 100% clean that night, not only would she have won, she would have broken the world record right after Medvedeva did it.
If this doesn't prove what Ashley is capable of, I don't know what does. She is capable of being World Champ, and to think of just how close she was is pretty amazing.
I definitely will be cheering her on at Helsinki and every other competition in between. All of this can happen, but before that, she has to get the consistency she needs to stay on top. I think she's figuring it out, but it will be tough to tell until the beginning of next season.
So, Can Ashley Wagner be World Champion?