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Sochi Figure Skating preview (ladies): Top 12 prediction time

Yuna Kim (KOR) in practice at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia
Yuna Kim (KOR) in practice at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia
Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The ladies' short program starts in just a few hours, and after an exhaustive look at 18 ladies in the field, it's time to do some serious thinking get some predictions up. With this field, it's no easy task.

Ladies' preview: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

GOLD Yuna Kim KOR - It may not be the magic that brought her to the top in Vancouver, but it's going to be the combination of consistency and components that will give Kim her second Olympic gold this week.

SILVER Julia Lipnitskaia RUS - Speaking of consistency, that is completely going to be the key for Lipnitskaia this week. While others may falter, she's got a laser focus on the difficult technical tricks that she's planned. Those home ice components help too.

BRONZE Carolina Kostner ITA - What's likely going to keep Kostner from the top is her relatively conservative program compared to the other top ladies - case in point, her placement in the Team Event short program.

4. Mao Asada JPN - I mulled over this one for a while. Asada can go from gold to fifth or sixth, it really is dependent on where her jumps are when she's out there for those 6 1/2 total minutes. She's the only one with a fighting chance at beating a clean Kim, but the odds for two clean programs are just way too low.

5. Ashley Wagner USA - Will it be redemption for Wagner? If she can cut through the pressure of the Olympics, top five is very much hers to grab.

6. Gracie Gold USA - I'll say it again, that sub-130 mark in the free skate for Gold in the Team Event free skate was not a great sign. That said, things can change very quickly in this unpredictable ladies' field. Podium is not out of the realm of possibility.

7. Adelina Sotnikova RUS - Consistency wanted. When she is on, Sotnikova is one of the best.

8. Kanako Murakami JPN - That Four Continents win must bolster her confidence. She will need to watch out for the underrotations, especially in the free skate.

9. Polina Edmunds USA - Am I crazy? Not sure. But Edmunds has two things that a lot of the other ladies don't have - a consistent triple lutz-triple toe and, well, consistency, period.

10. Akiko Suzuki JPN - Suzuki is a bit of a wild card here, especially considering her results this season and her free skate in the Team Event. Can she put it together and make a run at the top five?

11. Kaetlyn Osmond CAN - Will the pattern of strong short and so-so free skate continue with Osmond?

12. Valentina Marchei ITA - Two clean programs can put Marchei in the top ten. It's all about consistency here.

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