Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Vancouver Calling: Ladies Predictions

Here’s what I know: 23 ladies were on the roster last time I looked… Yes, Sasha is among them… the week started with 24 ladies, but Angela Maxwell (who finished 8th last year) has scratched with a back injury, according to Ice Network…Alissa Czisny is the defending champion…we can only send two ladies to Olympics this year; last time that happened was 1994. Last time the U.S. won an Olympic ladies medal: 2006… last time the U.S. won a World medal: 2006.

Here’s what I don’t know: Just what sort of a factor Cohen will be. The press was reportedly there in full force today, covering her first practice, and word on the street is that she looks remarkably similar to the last time we saw her at this event: in shape, jumping solid, spinning gorgeously. She even fell on a triple flip in her SP run-through, perhaps to let us know she’s consistently inconsistent.
But especially when we haven’t seen her compete since March 2006, I’m admittedly skeptical.

Oh, and I’m also unsure of the “seniorest” lady competing this time… unless it’s finally Cohen herself (at age 25). Anyone know off-hand? How about the youngest/least senior/juniorest?

OK, pretend there’s a drum roll… Here’s how I see it:

GOLD: Rachael Flatt
SILVER: Ashley Wagner
BRONZE: Sasha Cohen

Why Flatt (age 17)? I guess because she’s had the consistency, and this season she’s shown increasing signs of having the rest of the package. Maybe it’s all the work she’s been doing with mentor Dorothy Hamill…

I picked Wagner (age 18) next because I’m fondest of her overall skating; didn’t pick her to win because of too many tech errors on the jumps of late (downgrades, 2-foot landings, etc.).

As for Cohen— I’m still not happy about her presence. I know NBC loves it, USFS loves it, Phil Hersh, Procter & Gamble…but it just rubs me the wrong way. It’ll rub all the harder if she ends up taking an Olympic spot away from another American who might be of the age where she’s considering retirement for real. But I’m just going to lean on history a little when I say I don’t believe Sasha will have what it takes, technically, to make the team. She’ll have the PCS for sure, in spades, and rightfully so. But between the maturing of some of our current “girls” (Flatt and Wagner for sure, plus Mirai Nagasu and Caroline Zhang, both age 16), and the fact that two clean skates are a miracle for dang near anyone these days, least of all Cohen… and… sorry, but that’s how I see it. (Now watch me be dead wrong.)

DARK HORSES: They. Are. EVERYWHERE. The aforementioned Zhang and Nagasu could easily be in the mix, though Zhang was looking increasingly discouraged during GP season, and the flaws in her jumping technique (not to mention stunning lack of speed) seem unlikely to be corrected since we saw her last. Emily Hughes (age 20) may be the darkest of dark horses, considering she hasn’t medaled nationally or internationally in three years. But it would be rather satisfying to see her year off of Harvard reward her in that fashion. Alexe Gilles (age 18) is another one that could sneak into the mix.

And no, didn’t forget Alissa Czisny (age 22)… just saving the proverbial best for last. Such a splendid skater, such an agonizing thing to watch her compete most of the time.Would love to see her go to Vancouver, but I picture her finishing somewhere around fourth or fifth this time.

Czisny’s Swan SP from last year’s Nationals is the
Clip of the Day

By the way, here is the Davis/White
Free Dance From 2009 since I forgot to post it yesterday. Senior CDs and Ladies’ SPs Thursday!

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