Tuesday, April 20

2011 Grand Prix Series: Who Gets the Spots? - Ladies

I love making pointless charts of things that will soon enough be confirmed or officially announced, and the Grand Prix entrants for next season are no exception. While it's difficult without knowing who is retiring and/or skipping the series, I think that the ladies fields are more or less pretty easy to predict, and here's what I came up with:

All top 12 ladies from the World Championships automatically earn two events, taking up 24 of the 72 spots.
Mao Asada
Yu-Na Kim
Laura Lepisto
Miki Ando
Cynthia Phaneuf
Carolina Kostner
Mirai Nagasu
Ksenia Makarova
Rachael Flatt
Viktoria Helgesson
Akiko Suzuki
Sarah Hecken

The rest of the ladies in the ISU top 24 World Rankings and top 24 Seasons Best list are guaranteed one event, most of them probably ending up with two.
Joannie Rochette - definitely two events if she chooses to compete next season
Alena Leonova - definitely two events, Grand Prix Final qualifier in 2010 and top 10 in Vancouver
Kanako Murakami - definitely two events. World Junior Champion and Junior Grand Prix Final Champion
Caroline Zhang - probably two events. Four Continents medalist and strong World Ranking
Kiira Korpi - probably two events. High European Championships finish and strong World Ranking
Elene Gedevanishvili - probably two events. European medalist
Alissa Czisny - maybe just one event. There's plenty of other US ladies making their way up and Czisny doesn't have the results from the last four years to keep giving her chances
Ashley Wagner - probably two events. Grand Prix Final qualifier
Joshi Helgesson - maybe just one event. Strong World Ranking still but weaker results than last year
Jenna McCorkell - maybe two events. Strong World Championships ranking but it might be tough to get two invites as a non-host nation skater.
Elena Glebova - maybe two events. Same boat as McCorkell but she is top 10 in Europe
Haruka Imai - probably two events. Strong Four Continents finish and a host nation skater
Polina Shelepen - probably two events. Junior Grand Prix Final medalist and on the Seasons Best list
Amanda Dobbs - probably two events. Strong Four Continents finish and on the Seasons Best list
Sarah Meier - probably two events, if she continues. Just makes the Seasons Best list and had a strong showing at Europeans

Prediction? All of the ladies in this grouping will get two events initially except for Czisny. Others that might not be assigned two right away are Helgesson, McCorkell, and Glebova, but I still think all three will get them.

World Junior and Junior Grand Prix Final medalists not already qualified by World Ranking or Seasons Best lists are assured one event if they move up.
Agnes Zawadzki - probably two events. I think she'll move up and definitely get a push from the USFS
Polina Agafonova - I think she'll stay junior, at least for the Grand Prix series
Christina Gao - probably two events. I think Orser and the USFS will push her up into seniors, as she's already been on the Junior Grand Prix podium and was 5th in Senior Nationals

The other ladies that will fill out the rosters.

Alexe Gilles - I'll guess two events
Angela Maxwell - I'll guess one event, max-ing out the US ladies with three entries in each event
Amelie Lacoste - I'll guess two events. Next highest Canadian lady in the World Standings and Seasons Best, and was the highest finisher at Four Continents
Valentina Marchei - I'll guess one event. Top ten at Europeans but nothing much else to show from last year
Ivana Reitmayerova - Disastrous results in 2010 versus the previous season, but I bet she'll move up to the Senior Grand Prix and get an event
Diane Szmiett - I'll guess one event
Min-Jung Kwak - I'll guess two events. Top 12 in Vancouver, and she now has Orser to push for her to get invites
Myriane Samson - Canadian bronze medalist and World representative but didn't make it out of the short program. I think she'll get just one event because her World Ranking is not that great
Cheltzie Lee - I'll guess one event. Gained quite a following during the Olympics and Worlds in North America, and will probably be invited to one of the two events there
Tugba Karademir - Same idea as with Lee. I think she'll get one event
Yan Liu - I'll guess two events. Best skater from a host nation and qualified to the free skate in both the Olympics and Worlds, even if her World Ranking and Seasons Best scores aren't strong

That makes 72 out of 72 spots. If Fumie Suguri sticks around (crazy, I know..), I think she'll end up with one event over one of the previously listed skaters. And it might be the only international experience she gets next year. You never know, though. She could surprise and come back strong yet again.

Other things to keep in mind are that China and France technically earn three entries for both of their events as host nations. The only French girl that might have a shot is Candice Didier if she comes back at all, and whether she's healthy. Gwendoline Didier had an absolutely terrible short program at Worlds and it looked like she didn't even try once she made her first mistake, so I don't see her getting anything. Lena Marrocco finished 11th at World Juniors but she is 14 and I have a feeling she will stay on the Junior Grand Prix. As far as China goes, Binshu Xu didn't make it out of the short program at Four Continents and the representative at Junior Worlds, Quiying Zhu, was only 19th. So China might only use the one spot in their event (if Liu even continues!). Russia could invite one or two ladies to compete at Rostelcom Cup that aren't high on the Seasons Best or World Rankings, and the same for Japan at NHK. But I don't think that is likely.

Keep in mind that we don't know what skaters like Yu-Na Kim, Joannie Rochette, Alissa Czisny, Sarah Meier, Tugba Karademir, and Yan Liu are officially doing next year. Their withdrawals obviously open up even more spots.



highaims said...

It's been in the media here in Japan that Fumie Suguri DOES plan to continue at the competitive level.
Obviously, there's been the usual pros and cons about her decision, leaning slightly towards applauding her courage.
Thus, I'm curious, too, whether she'll be allotted spots in the GP series, considering the abundance of top-tier skaters as it is.

Tony said...

It's sad. I mean, I absolutely loved Fumie throughout the 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004 seasons.. I wasn't as excited by the 2006 Olympic season, but she had a great year and should have finished her career being satisfied with a 5th and a 4th at the Olympics and two bronzes and a silver at the World Championships-- that's great. What does she have to show since then? A top ten finish at one World Championship. With Asada, Ando, Suzuki, and Murakami really leading the way now, Fumie would almost have to completely reinvent herself by the time next season starts AND land all of her jumps every time out to even be competitive, let alone make the World team. I don't see it happening, but honestly it seems like a lot of the skaters these days just keep going until they are basically pushed out of the competitions by newcomers rather than just finishing on a high note. Sigh..