My Non-Prediction: I might be in the minority but I think Julia is going to storm back next season. I don't know why...just a feeling. I think she'll snag a gold medal here, beating out Gracie Gold who will take silver. Evgenia will have a strong debut but she'll narrowly place 3rd beating out Satoko for bronze.
My Non-Prediction: Liza T does what Liza T does and wins this one without too much of a fuss. I think Ashley will have a solid performance that puts pressure on Liza T but not enough shake her. Polina will finally have two strong skates at a Grand Prix event and will edge out Alena for the bronze medal.
My Non-Prediction: This is a tough one. It's going to come down to Elena's technical consistency versus Mao's amazing overall skating. If Elena wins there could be issues regarding her high PCS (which I'd agree with); but if Mao wins with significantly fewer triples than Elena's usual seven, there could be issues there too (which, again, I'd agree with). I can't call this one... Rika and Anna will battle for bronze though and I'm fairly certain about that. I think Rika will come out on top.
BEAST MODE mojo, this could be an interesting showdown between her and Liza T. Liza T can stack a lot of points with her incredible jumps but, lest we forget, Julia can stack major points across the board. Kiira Korpi (FIN) is making her return to the Grand Prix after a two-year hiatus which should stir up the 4th-6th placements between her, Kanako Murakami (JPN) and Gabrielle Daleman (CAN).
My Non-Prediction: My instincts say to pick Liza T because, well, duh...triple axel anyone? But then again, I'm really feeling like Julia may rise this season. Call me crazy, but I'm going to pick Julia to win this one over Liza T. Why not? Think how awesome I'll look if I'm right! Gracie for bronze again...
My Non-Prediction: I think Elena will take the title here. Evgenia will be strong but Elena will charm the pants off the judges and she'll come out on top. I'm going to pick Polina for bronze. I say Rika is going to skate well but Polina will medal here too.
My Non-Prediction: Though all three contenders suffer from under-rotation issues (interesting...) I think I'm going to go with Mao. Even when the jumps aren't all there, she's got enough substance to her skating to still score well. I think Satoko is going to rise under the pressure and hold off Ashley for the silver medal.
So based on my Non-Predictions, I've got Julia with 30 points, Mao and Elena both with 28 or 30 points, Liza T with 28 points, and Ashley, Gracie and Evgenia all tied with 24 points which means the tiebreaker would come down to whoever had the lowest combined score of the three. I'd say either Ashley or Gracie would miss out on the spot simply because Evgenia usually puts up pretty strong numbers. That would be a kick-ass Final...I have no clue how that event would turn out.
Of course, this is nothing but speculation. We have no idea how these ladies are going to skate. Just think back to this time last year: if someone told you that Julia Lipnitskaya would basically tank and that Elizaveta Tuktamysheva would become the world champion, you'd have thought they were nuts. Point is, there's just no way to tell what will happen.
Besides, things can and usually do change between now and the start of the Grand Prix. The assignments are often treated like registering for classes; there's an Add/Drop period. There will undoubtedly be changes to the current line ups. For one, each event has a TBD slot (Cup of China has two). Also, it should be noted that Olympic champion Adelina Sotnikova (RUS) has said she is coming back to competition this season but is not listed for any of the events. Perhaps she'll be added to an event or two as we get closer to go-time which would definitely shake up the standings. We'll just have to wait and see what happens.
We've got a long wait until October 23 when the 2015-2016 Grand Prix season officially begins. Which events are you looking forward to most? Who do you think will win? Are my predictions 50 shades of cray-cray? Let me know below.
Make sure to check back soon. It's almost time for my Off Season Fun posts to start. Ta for now!