2016 Europeans preview (ladies): A Russian sweep imminent

Unlike the men's event, where the potential for a Russian podium sweep will most certainly be spoiled, the ladies' event at the 2016 European Figure Skating Championships looks to lean very heavily toward that Russian sweep. In fact, the gap between the Russian ladies and the rest of the competition is just so big that it would take two or three major, major mistakes from one fo them for someone to even have a chance at the podium. So then the question is - who will win gold?

GOLD Evgenia Medvedeva RUS - It's been quite the debut senior season for Medvedeva, who came in as the hotshot Junior World champion from last season. She has been very impressive, though not perfect, all season. But her win at Russian Nationals was very much the momentum-building performance that she was looking to have before the second half of the season. And so she comes in with two goals - 1) to win her first European title, and 2) to establish herself as the definitive favorite for the World title.

SILVER Elena Radionova RUS - Might this be a second consecutive silver medal for Radionova? Last year, she saw her European title chances derailed by eventual World champion Elizaveta Tuktamysheva. Well, after having an inconsistent season, Tuktamysheva is not here to defend her title, but she once again finds her teammates to be her biggest obstacles to the title. She's likely going to fall just short, but if Medvedeva makes a mistake, this may be Radionova's to take.

BRONZE Anna Pogorilaya RUS - It's been a season of crazy falls for Pogorilaya, who found a whole lot of redemption at Russian Nationals with two strong performances to get her back onto the Europeans team for Russia. After the season she had, it certainly wasn't looking like she would see the last part of the season. But she's back, and two solid skates will certainly put her on the World team again.

4. Nicole Rajicova SVK - Who would've thought that Rajicova would end up being one of the breakout skaters this season? After qualifying for the free skate at Worlds for the first time last season, she put down two seventh-place finishes on the Grand Prix Series. She's never finished in the top 10 at Europeans, and she might just crack the top five this year.

5. Joshi Helgesson SWE - After finishing a career high fourth here last year, Helgesson was looking like she was ready to have a breakthrough. But this season has been uneven for her after taking two ninth-place finishes on the Grand Prix. That said, she had a solid showing at Finlandia earlier in the season. 

Outsiders: Another skater with similar past success at Europeans is Mae Berenice Meite, who has just lost consistency this season. Both of them have the international cred to get into the top five if they can skate two solid programs here. Also, watch out for Anastasia Galustyan, who started her season with two not-so-good Junior Grand Prix showings but skated solidly in her senior events.