The ladies' event at this week's 2016 Trophee de France is much like the men's event, where there's an overwhelming favorite for the title. But any of five other skaters could find themselves on the podium this week - a few new names and a few seasoned veterans. So who's going to get on the podium in Paris? I know not what I do not know.
Trophee de France predictions
Unofficial hashtag: #GPFrance
GOLD Evgenia Medvedeva RUS - If there's anyone who you should put your bets on, it's gotta be Medvedeva. She has lost all of one competition ever in her senior international career, which started last season. Medvedeva has both the consistency in her jumps and the components to run away yet again with a Grand Prix victory. I'd say it's everyone else running for silver at this point.
SILVER Maria Sotskova RUS - Talk about consistency. The World junior silver medalist will be making her Grand Prix debut in Paris this week. As a first-year senior skater, she's not as strong in components as the other top skaters are, but it's going to be consistency in her jumps that will put her on the podium here. But that's to say that if any first-GP jitters get in the way, watch for the other, more experienced skaters to overtake her.
BRONZE Gabrielle Daleman CAN - Fourth at Skate America a few weeks back, Daleman may have her best shot yet to grab her first Grand Prix medal this week. She's got the booming jumps and has made some fantastic strides this season in her components and overall skating, and she may very well take advantage of the inconsistency of some of her competitors and land on the podium this week.
4. Gracie Gold USA - Another step on the road back for Gold. Paris will be an interesting one for the two-time U.S. champ, who has been making her way back from the disappointment at Worlds last season. If she doesn't win a medal here, it will be the first time in her career that she doesn't win at least one GP medal during the season. But my guess is that that's not really the goal here. The goal here is to continue to get her confidence back - and if something has clicked for her in her training in the past few weeks, watch for her to zoom back to the top.
5. Mao Asada JPN - Speaking of the road back, it's the same story for Asada as well so far this season, though her recovery is from a knee injury that has kept her from putting her triple axel in her programs this season. She was sixth at Skate America behind Daleman and Gold, mostly on the heels of a poor free skate where she gave up point after point on her jumps. The issue for Asada without the triple axel is that she is mid-60s with a clean short, which is a good 5-10 points lower than the Medvedevas and Golds and Dalemans of the world if they are clean. So for her to play catchup in the free skate, which hasn't been her strong point so far this season, makes it really difficult to see her on the podium here.
6. Wakaba Higuchi JPN - Like Sotskova, Higuchi will be making her Grand Prix debut at Trophee de France. But unlike Sotskova, we have not necessarily been seeing consistency from her. We saw that earlier this season at Japan Open and Lombardia Trophy. She's a strong skater, and one of those five skaters who can get on the podium. Again, like Sotskova, Higuchi is not as strong in components as the other top skaters. So skating cleanly will be key.
7. So Youn Park KOR - The jumps are definitely clicking for Park better this season, so her chances at getting into the top half of the Grand Prix events are definitely higher now than they were last year, when she struggled mightily with inconsistency. She was eighth at Skate America earlier on.
8. Mae Berenice Meite FRA - Meite had a disappointing Worlds earlier this year, where she failed to get out of the short program. But she started this season with a win at Cup of Nice, and looks to be more solid than she was last year.
9. Yuka Nagai JPN - An absolute disaster of a short program at Skate Canada kept her from contending there, and she finished last out of 11 skaters. Where does she go this week? She's got the goods to finish in the top half.
10. Alena Leonova RUS - Fifth at Cup of Nice most recently, the former World silver medalist has not seen her fortunes make a return. Her jumps have abandoned her a bit, and every time she finds a bit of momentum, she can't capitalize on it.
11. Laurine Lecavelier FRA - 12th here last season, Lecavelier finished on the podium at Cup of Nice with teammate Meite a few weeks back.
12. Anastasia Galustyan ARM - Ninth at Rostelecom Cup, Galustyan will be in her second Grand Prix event in two weeks.