I think they go w Murakami. In a way sending Miki could be good for Mao - it diverts media attention away from Mao completely bc all of a sudden you have two stories - Mao- trying to get the gold medal she never got (very kwaneque) and Miki- trying to show someone can be a new mom and compete for a medal at the Olympics. If Miki is there,Mao of course will still have enormous pressure but it will not be all Mao, all the time, the storyline for the Japanese press gets more titilating if Miki is there
I don't see why Japan would send Miki unless she comes second at nationals after Mao. If she comes third, I don't think they send her especially if the score is tight or if there is an issue w another skater (illness, etc). miki is not going to medal - she does not have the scores and especially the pcs to compete. miki makes for an inspiring story but the Olympics is not a charity case.
I am afraid Akiko will bomb at nationals, I hope she does not, but I am not sure what Japan will do if she does. She has clearly been Japan's number 2 for almost the last quad -that should mean something. And there is a chance at a medal, like she did at worlds 2 years ago.
Otherwise, is this the last skate we see of Akiko in international competition (unless 4 continents, though I am not sure she would go as a consolation prize). Sad to see her leave so I hope to see her in Sochi.
I think JSF has an agenda already to push Miki off that podium at Japanese Nationals. They are definitely planning something even if Miki skates squeaky clean. My bigger question is... Is Satoko age eligible for the Olympics? Because if she was, she could possibly be a threat if Kanako or Akiko bombs at Nationals.
Either way, Japanese nationals is in a month, and Miki doesn't seem to be quite in Olympic shape yet. I don't know if she has the time to be get into the same shape she was when she was World Champion.
Well, I don't think Miky has much chance to be sent to Olympics unless she has a skate of her life at the nationals. But I don't think JFS is trying to push Miky down. I think they have been very accommodating towards her, letting her have international competitions (I believe even making sure she is invited because they couldn't 'send' her), even though she is not on the national team. It is not their fault that Miky's skating is not very good at the moment. Would USA give one slot to Courtney Hicks? They wouldn't because they have better skaters. If Courtney is currently beating Miky, I would not blame JFS for not giving the third spot to Miky, if they have better skaters too.
Mao is most likely to get the spot. She is the highest achiever at GP and she is the only Japanese lady who qualified to GPF.
Then there is Akiko Suzuki, who placed 2nd and 3rd at GP events and is the first alternate for GPF. I think she is very likely to get her spot too, as long as she doesn't have a major meltdown at the nationals. (I could imagine the judges wanting to hold her up at the nationals, based on her results at her GP events). So for the remaining spot there is fight between Haruka Imai, Satoko Miahara, Miky Ando and Kanako Murakami. Haruka Imai is the weakest from those four - finishing 6th and 9th at GP events and placing 22nd in the GP ranking. Miky Ando has achieved a lot in the past, but Japanese Federation is known for sending skaters based on their current season, not on their past achievements. Miky's competition results this season were not very good. She nearly did not qualify for the nationals. I think the Japanese Federation would gladly forgive her that, but even in the latest competition (this week) Miky was beaten by Courtney Hicks. That says a lot about her skating. The nationals are in one month's time. That's not that much time left, so unless there is some miracle, she does not have a chance to go to Olympics. The last spot will be either Murakami or Miahara. If you asked me last year, I would be pretty certain that Murakami has a bigger chance than Miahara. Miahara is prone to underrotating jumps and that's her downfall. However, Murakami placed 4th and 7th at the GP events and Miahara 5th and 5th. Miahara is one place higher than Murakami in GP ranking, so if she skates well at nationals, there is a chance that she may be sent (especially if Murakami doesn't have a good skate, like she did not have in her last GP).
IMO it's between Murakami, Miyahara, and a small chance for Imai, depending on how they skate at the Japanese nationals. Murakami has to be the front runner. She has been on the senior circuit longer than Miyahara. OTOH the JF may want to give the 3rd spot to a young skater that has potential for WC in the future.
It seems Miki is simply not ready for big competitions. Will she be ready by next year? We will see.
It will be Mao, Suziki and Murakami. Murakami has been promoted as Japan's number 3 for the past 2 years at least. If one of the ladies made a huge impact on the GP like Julia did I would say one of those ladies could steal Murakami or Suzuki's spot but none of these ladies did and Miki has failed to generate much buzz either.
Asada is in. She is the title contender.
Murakami is most probably in. She has not been the lowest placed Japanese lady at Worlds for 2 seasons, was close to medalling at Worlds for 2 seasons in a row and she is going to lead the team once Asada and Suzuki retire after this season. She is the upandcomer.
Suzuki is most probably in. Would have been a lot surer if she made GPF. She is still 4th on the SB list. But anyways she has been solidly in medal contention for a few seasons. She is the medal contender / veteran.
The three of them make the most sense as a team to Sochi.
Possible (but IMO unlikely) spoiler:
Miyahara, having so many of her jumps URed and her PCS pushed down throughout the GP season, is also not going to help her make the team, baring major disasters from Suzuki or Murakami. If anything, she should compete for Murakami's spot as she is also an upandcomer. And she actually has a higher SB to Murakami. But Murakami is probably a lot closer to a medal than Miyakaha is at this point and everyone knows Murakami progresses with the season, so I see a few convenient URs for Miyahara at Nationals and she will most likely return to Jr Worlds, or perhaps 4CCs if some ladies at the top decide to skip it.
With Asada back in form and pulling in all the political clout she could get, Ando is never going to commend those unrealistically high GOEs and PCS like in 2011, even if her jumps are back. If anything, she should compete for Suzuki's spot as she is also a veteran. But Suzuki is much closer to a medal than Ando is at this point and as shown in the past 2 seasons and Ando's SB is 30 points behind.
i hope ando skates a blinder at nationals, whatever the case ... her decision to come back has been a brave one ...
I am pretty sure Miki has already said her comeback is just for this season. I think Nationals will be her swan song like it will be for many skaters around the World (Flat, Zhang, U.S, Leonova possibly, Russia).
Originally Posted by Vash01
I agree with you on the contenders, although Imai would really need some mistakes to make it as, her PCS are just never that high.