39. Carolina Kostner ITA
2017 Europeans free skate
It had been two seasons since we last saw Carolina Kostner. And when we last saw her, she took her first Olympic medal and her sixth World medal in 2014. After a 21-month ban from competition for her involvement with her ex-boyfriend Alex Schwarzer's doping, many wondered if she 1) had the will to make a return, and 2) had the longevity to continue after already over a decade in senior-level competition.
And though she was not at top form either technically or in her overall skating, she showed a lot of the qualities that took her to the Olympic bronze in Sochi and already lined her up as one of the legends in figure skating.
Europeans was, by far, her best showing in competition this season. And her free skate was very much vintage Kostner. Her technical content wasn't quite there this season, nor was her stamina, but I saw a lot of promise at Worlds in her practices. And even though she ended up sixth at Worlds, she could very well reemerge next season as an Olympic medal contender once again.