What would be Angela Nikodinov's ranking potential be during the 2002 SLC season if she continued her upward trend from 2001?
Unfortunately, she didn't skate well enough during the GP series to make it to the GPF, and skated poorly at Nationals. Therefore she could not make it to the Olympic team. I know there are many what-ifs in the scenario - but does she have the physical or mental ability to make it the GPF and/or the Olympics? If she does make it to the Olympics, does she have the potential to medal or even when gold (since Kwan or Slutskaya both skated poorly)?
- She definitely could have made the GPF, but was . Unfortunately, she let her demons get to her at every event. Even after falling to 3rd at both Sparkassen and CoR, she could have still made the GPF by performing decently at NHK with a weak field. Unfortunately, she faltered and let Malinina take away her berth. If she did it make it to GPF though, I doubt she would make the top 3 - Hughes' 7-triple program would have topped Angela, even if she skated cleanly. This is assuming Angela still follows a 6-triple layout.
- At Nationals, Angela placed 4th after the SP. This was a close event, and I think much of her placement is due to her wonky 3flip landing - if she skated more convincingly (i.e. 2001 Nationals or Worlds SP), she would have at least landed ahead of Hughes. Similarly, a strong LP (6 triples) may have landed her at the Olympics, since Hughes was 'off' during the LP, aside from also landing 6 triples. Angela was also reported to be skating very well during practices. Of course, if she had made the GPF and/or done well there, her rep would have been much more boosted at Nationals.
- If Angela made the Olympics, I think a good SP from her would at least land her in 4th. Butyrskaya's SP was clean but unconvincing, and the judges would not place clean Sebestyen or Suguri ahead of Angela. In the long, what are her chances of winning a medal (or gold) if she skates to her potential?
Don't kill me for bringing in so many hypotheticals but I love discussing skating during the early 2000s. It's the era that got me into the sport and I like reanalyzing now that I have much more experience with it.