There are two women here who are undefeated this season so far - and, not surprisingly, only one of them will emerge from the 2018 European Championships without a loss heading into the Olympics. Evgenia Medvedeva and Alina Zagitova avoided showdowns at both the Grand Prix Final and the Russian Championships because of Medvedeva's foot injury that took her out of competition in the past two months. But their head-to-head is finally here, and the world is watching.
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GOLD Evgenia Medvedeva RUS - She has not been defeated in her last 11 international competitions, dating back to December 2016, and you know what? She's not going to be defeated here. Medvedeva may have a question mark coming in about the status of her injury recovery, but she never goes into a competition unprepared. I'd say she will walk away this week with a third European title and enter PyeongChang as the very clear favorite for gold.
SILVER Carolina Kostner ITA - The spoiler?? She was the one to spoil the Russian sweep last year at Europeans, and she will be the one most likely to do it again this year. Kostner has shifted into a new gear as she heads to her fourth Olympics - amping up her difficulty and bringing back the flip-toe and the lutz. She's serious about the Olympic podium and she's serious about making a statement here in Moscow. It will be her 14th European championships, and if she does manage to stand on the podium, it would be her 11th consecutive medal.
BRONZE Alina Zagitova RUS - Incredibly enough, Zagitova has yet to skate a clean competition this season, and yet she's managed to win all five competitions she's entered, including the Grand Prix Final. This will be her first ISU Championships as a senior, so many will be curious to see how she holds up under that pressure. She has certainly not been immune to the pressures of the big moments, especially in the short program, but it's her technical base value that has saved her in each case.
4. Maria Sotskova RUS - It's Sotskova's steadiness that has lifted her to this stage, where she's all but locked her the third Russian spot for the Olympics. And where she doesn't wow you with fireworks, she keeps herself in the conversation with her consistency. If any of those top three women make mistakes, you can be sure Sotskova will be there to sneak onto the podium.
5. Mae Berenice Meite FRA - Here's where things are getting even more interesting. Meite and Laurine Lecavelier have been in a battle for the one French Olympic spot all season. And it is Meite who has won all three head-to-heads - two domestic and one international. It has been Meite's rediscovered consistency that has helped her regain her form against Lecavelier, and it will be of utmost importance for her to maintain it here at this all-important event that will determine who goes to PyeongChang.
6. Nicole Schott GER - The three-time German champ has had a very solid season coming into her third Europeans. And especially in this field, she could secure herself a strong finish as she looks ahead to her Olympic debut next month.
7. Laurine Lecavelier FRA - Fifth last season at Europeans, Lecavelier has struggled to deliver consistent skating. And that's tough especially when you are putting in triple lutz-triple toes in your short programs. After the season she's had, she will absolutely need to beat Meite, and probably needs to do it by a healthy margin, in order to get that spot at the Olympics.
8. Nicole Rajicova SVK - This season has been a bit of a struggle for Rajicova, who was 9th and 10th at her two Grand Prix events. But she's generally a steady jumper, and that will help her get back in the top ten again this week.
9. Loena Hendrickx BEL - After a really strong debut season on the senior level last year, Hendrickx hasn't built on that momentum this year.
10. Lea Johanna Dastich GER - The German bronze medalist is making her Europeans debut this week. She's had a solid season on the Challenger Series level.