For the past few seasons, the Russian women have come into Europeans and swept the podium. And chances are, they will do it again this week in Ostrava. But they will play second fiddle to the big story of this event – the return of Olympic bronze medalist Carolina Kostner. She comes in as the underdog, but it remains to be seen just how competitive she will be against the consistency and difficulty that the Russian women will be bringing.
2017 Europeans Predictions
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GOLD Evgenia Medvedeva RUS – There’s really not much that can stop Medvedeva from continuing her dominance right now. Barring two or more falls from her, this should be another straightforward win for her. That said, she’s still human, and we’ve seen a couple of mistakes from her scattered across her competitions this season. Still, there’s no one at this competition more consistent than she is, and I fully expect her to repeat as European champion this week.
SILVER Anna Pogorilaya RUS – The World bronze medalist has had a very solid season, but is once again flying a bit under the radar after a fourth-place finish at Russian Nationals behind Medvedeva, Sotskova, and Alina Zagitova, who is age-ineligible for this competition. Her maturity as a skater sets her apart from her teammates but has been an underrated quality with the judges. This will be another chance for her to prove herself in competition, and it will be interesting to see whether or not her knee injury at Russian Nationals is still bothering her here in Ostrava.
BRONZE Maria Sotskova RUS – What a senior debut season so far for Sotskova, last year’s World junior silver medalist. She grabbed two GP medals and made it to the Grand Prix Final in her first try and finished fifth. But she’s perhaps the one who is most vulnerable to be spoiled by Kostner, mainly because her components are the weakest among the top four women.
4. Carolina Kostner ITA – At her best, Kostner is the one skater with the most valid shot at defeating Medvedeva. And it’s all about her components, which can arguably be stronger than Medvedeva’s. But Kostner is still in the early stages of her return to competition, and based on her last couple of competitions, her total jump repertoire hasn’t quite returned yet, and neither has her blazing power across the ice. Then again, it has been another months since we last saw her compete, so the potential for surprise is there.
5. Laurine Lecavelier FRA – Fifth place is really wide open, and I expect a new face to make it to the top five here. Lecavelier was just crowned French champion for the first time, and she’s had a strong season thanks to more consistent jumps in competition. But she will have to battle teammate Mae Berenice Meite, Nicole Schott, Ivett Toth, Roberta Rodeghiero, and Nicole Rajicova, to name a few, to grab her highest Europeans finish ever.