The fall international competitions are over and we are delving deep into National Championship Season. Just last week Sarah Meier and Stéphane Lambiel were named Swiss Champs and this week seven European Nations are holding their national championships. Russia, Japan, Canada, and the U.S. are around the corner.
One of those European countries holding their Nationals this week is Finland. I look at Finland as Europe's "Canary in a Cold Mine" as far as ladies figure skating. I can't remember a point in time when women's figure skating in Europe had so few high level competitors. But Finland actually has three women that, on a good day, might put a 'wee bit of a fight' in Vancouver.
But, poor alas, Finland is in the same boat as the U.S., they only get to send to women to Vancouver. So of these three talented women: Laura Lepisto, Kiira Korpi, and Susanna Pöykiö...one is going to miss the train.
A betting person says that Lepisto looks good to make the team. She's the reigning European Champ (albeit in protest by Carolina Kostner) and has easily been the top Finn this season. She's also added this season those harder triples in her free skate. Great musicality, strong components, and clever choreography will certainly get her to Vancouver.
But what about Pöykiö and Korpi? Both have been kind of just so so this season. Korpi did pull that out of nowhere silver in Beijing this season (I mean really? Where did that come from) while Pöykiö has huffed and puffed to poor finishes (11th at Skate America...eeeek!). But Pöykiö is the only one out of the three that has Olympic experience. Correction: A blog reader correctly noted that Kiira Korpi also has Olympic experience, finishing 16th in Torino. Thanks for keeping me on my toes!
Anyway, there is an opportunity for epic Finnish skating this weekend. I'm not entirely certain that this competition will be the final deciding factor for their Olympic Team (the European Championships in Tallin might be a more useful decision maker for the Finnish Federation) but it will likely begin to bring the picture into greater focus.