It’s hard to top this one as the feel-good story of last season.
Once the World junior champion, Caroline Zhang had been relegated to 11th and 12th, respectively at the 2010 and 2011 Nationals. Few would have predicted her stunning return to form last January at the 2012 Nationals.
But once she stepped on the ice for practice, it was clear that she was prepared and more confident than she had been in years. Doug Mattis (@DougMattis) was the one who predicted Zhang as the dark horse of the competition. And he was so right.
This short program was the big highlight – a confident Zhang returned full force with a clean skate that included a triple loop-triple loop, triple flip, and double axel. The loop-loop was called underrotated, but I mean, come on, it was a phenomenal combo.
Zhang would go on to take fourth at Nationals – many, including me, would have had her third – and then the bronze at Four Continents. Her free skate at Four Continents was the best free skate she had delivered internationally in years, capping off the most unexpected comeback of last season.