GANGNEUNG, South Korea -- The women's figure skating competition will essentially consist of two contests: the battle for gold between Russian training partners Evgenia Medvedeva and Alina Zagitova, and then the fight for bronze among everyone else. In a field where almost anything could happen, these six women will be fancying their chances.
Bradie Tennell (USA)
The reigning U.S. champion is skating first in the short program, the spot usually reserved for up-and-comers with no chance of a medal. But don't be fooled. Tennell's rapid rise has been spectacular. Sidelined for two seasons by back injuries, the 20-year-old emerged seemingly out of nowhere to win bronze at Skate America in November, and she hasn't looked back since. She skated two clean programs to win nationals in January, forcing her way onto the Olympic team. It's hard to gauge her international level because she's relatively untested, but one thing has become clear over the past three months: Tennell rarely falls. And on a pressure-filled Olympic night, that goes a long way.
Mirai Nagasu (USA)
Nagasu is getting all the love in Pyeongchang. Since becoming the first American woman -- and third overall -- to land a triple axel at the Olympics at the team event, she's been congratulated by Reese Witherspoon, complimented on her looks by Leslie Jones and dream cast on one of her favorite shows, "Brooklyn Nine-Nine." Nagasu is soaking up the attention but staying focused on her goal of medaling. After all, she'd come so close in Vancouver, at 16, placing fourth in one of the most competitive women's fields ever. Nagasu finished second behind Zagitova in the team event free skate, proving her full point potential is high enough to land on the podium. She will need to be rock-solid on those triple axels if she wants to become the first American woman to medal since Sasha Cohen in 2006.
Kaetlyn Osmond (Canada)
Months after her first Olympics in 2014, Osmond told her parents she wanted to quit skating. After recovering from a stress fracture in her foot, she broke her right leg in two places while swerving to avoid another skater during practice. Now, the three-time Canadian champion is out to add an individual medal to her gold from the team event. The reigning world silver medalist, Osmond is both stylish and powerful on the ice, performing to Edith Piaf and "Black Swan." She finished in third behind two Russians at the Grand Prix Final over Italy's Carolina Kostner and Japan's Satoko Miyahara, two of her stiffest competitors for Olympic bronze.
Satoko Miyahara (Japan)
Nicknamed the Tiny Queen, 4-foot-11 Miyahara came in fourth in her Olympic debut in the short program of the team event. The 19-year-old said she was inspired by the gold and silver medals her countrymen Yuzuru Hanyu and Shoma Uno won in the men's program. Like Hanyu, she is returning from injury, having fractured her hip in 2017. Can she make it three medals for Japan?
Carolina Kostner (Italy)
Experience is worth its weight in gold at the Olympics, and Italy's Kostner has plenty of it. Pyeongchang is the 31-year-old's fourth Olympics, and she's ready to defend her bronze medal from Sochi. She finished second to Medvedeva in two Grand Prix events this season, as well as in the team short last week. She did less well in the long program, where she lost points on three different jumps to finish fourth out of five skaters.
Maria Sotskova (Olympic Athlete from Russia)
It's a testament to the strength of her teammates, Medvedeva and Zagitova, that Sotskova flies under the radar. The third-best Russian skater could very well prove to be the third-best skater at the Olympics. Like her compatriots, the 17-year-old does many of her jumps with one hand over her head, increasing the difficulty and therefore her score. She will be skating last in the short program, an added level of pressure on her Olympic debut, but she could make it a Russian sweep.