Having been overshadowed in the past few years by skaters in Asia and North America, the European ladies are hoping to regain some of the spotlight this week at the 2010 European Figure Skating Championships heading into the Olympic next month. The battle for the ladies’ title looks to be wide open, with no skater having a particularly breakout season in the field.
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Here is the scoop on the competitors at Europeans:
Kiira Korpi (Finland) – The 2007 European bronze medalist has been uneven this year, finishing eighth at Trophee Eric Bompard but then winning a silver medal at Cup of China two weeks later. Without a triple flip, she is at a technical disadvantage against the other top ladies. But she can utilize the strength of her components to move up the standings if the other ladies make mistakes.
Alena Leonova (Russia) – Having been the leading Russian lady in the international senior ranks since last year, it may come as a surprise that she has never won a Russian title. Leonova’s biggest asset is her energetic presence on the ice. If she can put her jumps together this week, she may head into the Olympics with a European title under her belt.
Laura Lepisto (Finland) – The reigning European champion has been hot and cold all season, unable to put together two clean programs back to back. She won her second Finnish title in December with a great short program but landed only one triple in the free skate. She is one of the best all-around skaters in the event, but she will need a couple of strong programs to successfully defend her title.
Ksenia Makarova (Russia) – The Russian youngster was the surprise champion at Russian Nationals, making the Olympic team with Leonova in the process. Europeans will be her first major international competition, eclipsing every other competition she has ever entered by far. But she has nothing to lose, and that may help her make a big splash this week in Tallinn.
Julia Sebestyen (Hungary) – Sebestyen won this event six years ago and is the most experienced skater in the event. She has had a resurgence this season after some injuries and will be a force to contend with once again.
Carolina Kostner (Italy) – The two-time European champion has had a rough season, skating poorly in the Grand Prix series and then losing her Italian title to Valentina Marchei. Europeans will be an important competition for her this week – as another lose to Marchei may cost her the sole spot for Italy in Vancouver.
Top 5 Predictions
1. Alena Leonova RUS
2. Julia Sebestyen HUN
3. Laura Lepisto HUN
4. Ksenia Makarova RUS
5. Carolina Kostner ITA
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