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Sochi Figure Skating preview (ladies): Free skate base value analysis

Ashley Wagner (USA) at the 2014 Winter Olympics
Ashley Wagner (USA) at the 2014 Winter OlympicsPhoto by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

With the ladies' free skate only a few hours away, the focus is now on what's going to happen with the top, especially those three practically tied for first with only 0.80 separating them. But, as with the men's event, the story could very well be told in the base values, so let's have a look at their jumps-only base values.

Analysis: Opining on the ladies' short
Ladies' short: Play-by-play/videos

Gold Medal Contenders
*Indicates bonus elements

  • Adelina Sotnikova (47.13) - triple lutz-triple loop (11.10), triple flip (5.30), triple loop (5.10), double axel-triple toe* (8.14), triple flip-double toe-double loop* (9.24), triple salchow* (4.62), double axel* (3.63)
  • Carolina Kostner (43.90) - triple lutz (6.00), double axel (3.30), triple flip-triple toe (9.40), triple loop* (5.61), triple toe-double toe* (5.94), triple salchow* (5.62), triple salchow-double toe-double loop* (8.03)
  • Yuna Kim (42.79) - triple lutz-triple toe (10.10), triple flip (5.30), triple salchow-double toe (5.50), triple lutz* (6.60), double axel-double toe-double loop* (7.04), triple salchow* (3.62), double axel* (3.63)

The numbers don't necessarily tell the story here. Why? Well, even though Kim has the lowest of the base values among the top three (no loop in the mix), she is the one who is most consistent in hitting every point in her base value. On the other hand, Sotnikova's lutz-loop hasn't been ratified all season, and Kostner hasn't maxed out her combinations all season. In fact, her base value is taken from what she *might* be throwing based on a hodgepodge of programs, including that triple flip-triple toe that she surprised everyone with in the short program.

So what does that mean? It means that even though Sotnikova has a bit of an advantage on paper, it may not necessarily translate into an advantage once it's all skated and done.

Possible Podium Contenders
*Indicates bonus elements

  • Julia Lipnitskaia (46.53) - triple lutz-triple toe (10.10), double axel-triple toe-double toe (8.70), triple flip* (5.83), double axel* (3.63), triple loop* (5.62), triple salchow* (4.62), triple lutz-double toe* (8.03)
  • Gracie Gold (46.14) - triple lutz-triple toe (10.10), double axel-triple toe (7.40), triple loop (5.10), triple flip* (5.83), triple lutz* (6.60), triple salchow-double toe-double toe* (7.48), double axel* (3.63)
  • Ashley Wagner (45.19) - triple flip-triple toe (9.40), double axel (3.30), triple salchow (4.20), triple loop-double axel sequence* (7.39), triple lutz* (6.60), triple loop* (5.61), triple flip-double toe-double toe* (8.69)

Pretty close among fourth through sixth in base value. Though they have practically the same elements, Lipnitskaia has a slight edge over Gold because she does five of her seven passes in the bonus. Wagner's program is, on paper, less difficult, but the way she constructed it (most of the tough stuff is in the bonus) puts her within striking distance of Lipnitskaia and Gold. Clean is the key.

Outsiders
*Indicates bonus elements

  • Mao Asada (51.76) - triple axel (8.50), triple axel-double toe (9.80), triple flip (5.30), double axel-triple toe* (8.14), triple salchow* (4.62), triple flip-double loop-double loop* (9.79), triple loop* (5.61)
  • Polina Edmunds (46.50) - triple lutz-triple toe (10.10), triple flip-half loop-triple salchow (10.00), double axel (3.30), triple flip* (5.83), triple lutz* (6.60), triple loop-double toe* (7.04), double axel* (3.63)
  • Akiko Suzuki (43.91) - triple flip-double toe-double loop (8.40), double axel-triple toe (7.40), triple lutz (6.00), triple flip* (5.83), triple loop* (5.61), triple salchow-double toe* (6.05), triple salchow* (4.62)

Why Asada even though she's in 16th? Look at that base value. She's certainly a long shot for the podium, but she could do some damage if she skates well. My one caveat is that this program layout is from Japanese Nationals, and word on the street is that she's only planning one triple axel in the free, so that will certainly decrease her base value.

Among the other two with 60+ scores, Edmunds has one of the higher base values in the field - her program is jam-packed with difficulty. Suzuki can score well if she goes clean, but based on the Team Event and the short program that's going to be a low-probability game.