Is the Ladies’ event at Worlds still the headliner above all other disciplines?
It is when Kim Yu-Na competes in it.
Right about now, the decision to keep Kim out of international competition all season looks like a great one. When it was first announced, some of us wondered if she’d really come back to competition… or if the announcement was the prelude to A Break, a la Weir, Rochette, and Lysacek.
It wasn’t. Kim is rehearsed (see this practice Clip of the Day of her Giselle SP) and appears ready to reclaim the World title… pretty exciting stuff for skating fans, and the additional month-long delay has likely built up the anticipation. Will she prevail? I think she will…
Gold—Kim Yu-Na (S. KOR)
Silver—Miki Ando (JPN)
Bronze—Mao Asada (JPN)
True, it’s been a year since she faced any competitive pressure… but it’s hard to think of someone who successfully fended off the Olympic albatross pressure cooker coming to Worlds a year later and quivering much about it. Even if her performances are sub-par, there’s a good chance she’ll come out on top (if the “winning” performances of others earlier in the season are any indication). And if, by chance, she doesn’t regain the title she last had in 2009? A simple shrug, a statement of “Maybe taking most of the season off wasn’t such a great idea,” and a firm resolve to compete for at least one more year should do the trick. (I’m only sort of kidding.)
As for silver and bronze, here’s the thing: I’m not crazy about the idea of Ando winning much of anything, but technically speaking, she’s an excellent athlete who has had a very good year (GP Final notwithstanding). If she skates well, a return to the Worlds podium would be a worthy reward. And then there’s Asada, an excellent athlete and artist who has had a pretty dreadful year competitively speaking. The complete results to her “rebuilding the jumps from scratch” approach remain to be seen, but I’m willing to bet she’ll skate well enough for bronze this week.**
** I believe Alissa Czisny could medal here. I really do. But in studying my predictions from earlier in the season, it appears that she’s done her best work when I underestimated her. So—Skate Gods, avert your eyes—I’m “underestimating” her, just in case, and hoping she a) doesn’t put too much pressure on herself, and b) skates to her own satisfaction.
A Top Five finish for one U.S. lady and a Top Eight finish for the other would be a joy, as it would give us three spots for next year’s Worlds. And it happens to be quite do-able this year. So that’s my official prediction for Czisny and Rachael Flatt.
And if anyone cares, the rest of my guess for the Top 10 consists of (in no particular order) Carolina Kostner, Kanako Murakami, Kiira Korpi, one of the two Helgessons (Joshi or Viktoria), and one of the two Russians (Makarova or Leonova). But if Cynthia Phaneuf takes it upon herself to sneak back in there, that would be just fine with me.
Let’s go watch some skating :-)