Some of the judges took that charge very seriously: predicting Kaetlyn Osmond to win Four Continents was one of my favorite predictions, courtesy of Taryn. Some of our judges didn't exactly go out on limb: predicting that Evgenia Medvedeva would win Worlds felt a little too easy. But we've got a really good mix of totally-out-there predictions, obvious jokes, really blatant (and often admitted) wishful thinking, more scaled back possibly-realistic predictions, and pretty safe guesses. Let's review what everyone predicted for 2015-2016!
Predictions are presented by skater. In cases when more than one skater is mentioned, I made an arbitrary decision to assign the prediction to the skater of my choosing. And if the prediction was too entangled to pull out a single skater, I put it at the bottom in either a country or international grouping. Predictions are listed in the order they were made.
I've also made the bold (get it) decision to editorialize a bit. It's been fun to read the judges' thoughts all season, even when I disagreed with them (which happened quite a bit), and I'm excited to say my piece, too!
Jennifer Co: Max will keep surprising people with his results.
Erin: Max Aaron will be US National champion once again.
Did Max surprise people? Hard to say. His lack of consistency certainly wasn't a surprise this season. After his hotly-debated silver medal at nationals, I had personally counted him out of international competition this year, so finishing in the top 10 of a very competitive men's field at Worlds was certainly a surprise to me.
Sigrid Florent Amodio will pursue a successful career in clothes designing and will create the costumes for Team France.
His teammate could maybe use the help:
Victor: Mao Asada will win every event she enters.
Erin: Mao will fail to make the podium at the Grand Prix Final.
Amanda: Mao Asada will come back with a vengeance and win the World title.
Only Erin got any part of this prediction right, but I appreciate the belief in Mao's vengeance. This was definitely not the comeback season she wanted.
MJ: Mervin Tran finally gets a proper costume for the short program.
Do not mess with the power of the original owner of The Dress™, MJ.
Francy: Chan will get bronze at Worlds, if any medal at all.
Justine: Patrick Chan won't make the World podium.
Sharon: Patrick will not medal at Worlds.
Amanda: Patrick Chan will not make the podium at Worlds and will retire from competition for good.
MJ: Patrick Chan does quad toe-triple toe-boards and misses the Worlds podium.
Our judges weren't exactly hot on three-time World Champion Patrick Chan this season. Patrick simply didn't compete clean enough to compete with the best in the World, his outstanding Four Continents free skate aside (and even there, his short didn't crack 90). Huge props to MJ for accurately predicting Patrick's quad toe-triple toe-boards.
Alice: Nathan Chen will win nationals.
Lauren: Nathan will be the highest ranked U.S. man at Worlds. (Don't throw things at me, Adam and Max fans. I like them. I really like them.)
Severe editorializing: I think Nathan Chen should have won Nationals (don't throw things at me, either), and I think he might have beaten both U.S. men at Worlds. For my sanity, I'm calling you both right.
Justine: Chock and Bates don't win Nationals (Go Shibs!).
Lauren: C/B will go back ahead of the Shibs at 4CC, which will make for a battle royale at Worlds.
Chock and Bates' trajectory of results this year is pretty much something you never want to see. Despite getting better and better all season, they fell in the rankings, mostly because other teams - primarily the Shibutanis - really stepped up their game. Chock/Bates may not have gotten the points they needed at 4CC as Lauren predicted, but I bet this season lights a fire under them to make the battle for North American dominance between them, the Shibs, Weaver/Poje, and Virtue/Moir all the more competitive.
Amanda: Duhamel/Radford will not repeat as World Champions. They'll probably stay on the podium, but I can easily see Sui/Han or Volosozhar/Trankov overtaking them this season.
Victor: Megan Duhamal and Eric Radford won't be crowned as world champions.
Matthew: Duhamel/Radford leave [Worlds] without a medal.
Francy: Duhamel/ Radford will get bronze, if any medal at all.
I'm going to say The Judges' Table predictions are singlehandedly responsible for lighting an angry fire under Duhamel/Radford at Worlds. That is all.
Amanda: Polina Edmunds will continue to live in denial about her UR problem and will not make the World team.
Meghan: Polina will say at least once that she can win Worlds (hair toss).
Polina's UR-denial aside, her second-place finish at Nationals spoke to a consistency the other American women aren't demonstrating.
Joanna: Joshua Farris manages to come back in time for nationals, makes worlds and actually stays healthy for the rest of the season. (I went a little too big there, huh?)
Excuse me, I'm just over here sobbing quietly into Josh's spectacular 4CC free skate from over a year ago.
Judit: I hope that Fernandez will be again World Champion in Boston.
He did it!
Sigrid: Carly Gold will dye her hair blonde.
You never know.
Sigrid: Gracie Gold will dye her hair red.
Victor: Gracie will be top 4 at worlds, possibly top 3.
Tim: Gracie Gold will skate lights-out in Boston at Worlds, securing her first World Medal.
MJ: Gracie Gold moves her bun back to the top of her head.
Gracie didn't dye her hair, but Victor's top 4 prediction did come true. And she did get a small medal at Worlds, per Tim's prediction, although it was not her first. As for the bun...I'm not disappointed it stayed behind her head.
Joanna: Yuzuru keeps his trend of owning every 2nd season and skates a nearly flawless LP to set a new WR (probably at GPF, maybe worlds).
Victor: Yuzuru will win worlds. | Yuzuru will get over 315 [at Worlds].
Alejandro: Hanyu adds the quad loop into his repertoire and breaks the world record one more time.
D L: Yuzuru Hanyu will land the quad loop in his free skate at Worlds.
Joanna: Yuzuru will actually go for his 4Lo at worlds and land that thing in his first try (and I will get my first gray hairs out of worry before waking the neighborhood with my screams of joy). He'll get his world crown back with strong skates and still have something he's dissatisfied with to say "I need to practice more!" (the last part is the opposite of bold, haha).
Justine: We'll see the first 4L in competition. Fearlessly Determined Yuzuru will land 4 quads in his FS in Boston, break some world records and win his second world title!
These predictions are a memory of a time when we regarded Yuzuru Hanyu as a fantastic skating robot machine rather than a particularly talented human being. Yuzuru will break his record a third time? Yuzuru will land a quad loop? Yuzuru will land four quads? Yuzuru will win the world title? For me, these were givens, rather than "bold predictions" (except for the quad loop; y'all are crazy). In Boston, we were reminded of just how human Yuzuru Hanyu is. But these predictions speak to his magical season. Being reminded of Hanyu's capacity for error makes some of his other performances all the more impressive.
Joanna: Rika Hongo makes the GPF and becomes the absolute break out star by placing on the podium.
Rika Hongo did not make the GPF, but joining her teammate Satoko Miyahara on the Four Continents podium was an impressive feat that I certainly wouldn't have predicted at the start of the season. Rika brought the crowd to its feet at Worlds with her Riverdance (I'm thinking everyone performing in TD Garden should try it) but may have to do even more next season to fend off the upcoming crop of talented Japanese junior skaters.
Joanna: Boyang Jin will quad his way to the GPF podium and push off Javi or Patrick doing so. All the men will scream "to the quads!" and storm the practice rinks - except for Yuzuru, who did that anyway and carries on as always. Okay, or maybe not ;)
This was Joanna's joke prediction. Very funny, except for the part where if you replace "GPF" with "Worlds," this definitely happened. Boyang's base values from his quads were thehighest of any man this season.
Deb: National Champion Maxim Kovtun will finish behind one of his two teammates at either Euros or Worlds.
Joanna: Maxim Kovtun will continue to rile people up with his… existence.
Mara: Julia Lipnitskaya is going to bomb this year and once again barely squeak out a top ten at Russian Nationals. But she'll make a massive comeback during the 2016-2017 season and medal at Worlds. Yeah, I know. "This season." And I wrote the questions, too. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Alice: Julia will come back at nationals and somehow podium (let me dream).
Alice and I are left to keep dreaming.
Joanna: Evgenia will not have her unclear lutz edge called to break the LP world record on her way to world gold.
Victor: Evgenia will win.
You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.
Justine: Consistent Little Miss Satoko will repeat as World Silver Medalist (I don't think anyone's topping Evgenia this season).
Nori: Satoko Miyahara will shock everyone and win Worlds.
It's been a bit of a consolation to see that I wasn't the only person shocked that Satoko Miyahara fell off the podium at Worlds. And, to be completely honest, I'm not sure the phrase "fell off" is appropriate. "Pushed off," maybe. If I had judged Worlds, this would have been my primary gripe.
Matthew: Nagasu finishes the highest of the American ladies at 4CC.
Patrick: Mirai Nagasu will outskate at least one of the other US ladies at 4CC.
Hannah: The USFSA will make the right decision and send Mirai to Worlds instead of Polina Edmunds (hey, a girl can dream, right?).
Four Continents always seem to prominently feature at least one major American disaster, so it wasn't that surprising that Mirai beat both other American women who traveled to Taipei. Earning a spot on the podium, though, is a big deal for Mirai, who later came in the top 10 at Worlds after finding out only a few days before that she'd be competing. The top 10 finish (and that glorious short program!) has firmly reestablished Mirai as an international competitor. US Nationals is about to get very, very interesting.
Taryn: Kaetlyn Osmond will win 4CCs.
BOLD. I love it.
Victor: Gabriella Papadakis and her partner will win the ice dance event.
Sigrid: Papadakis/Cizeron will be the only ones who will revalidate their World title.
Following Europeans and 4CCs, It did seem like only Papadakis/Cizeron had a real shot at becoming two-time World Champions. They ended up rejoining most of their fellow 2015 champions on the podium.
Alice: Adian will beat out Kovtun, Menshov, and Voronov to be the new Russian national champion and make the Worlds team.
Alice and I appear to have the same favorite skaters.
Jennifer Cl: Anna Pogorilaya will NOT fall the whole rest of the season, all the while learning how to close her fingers and extend her limbs.
Shannon: For all not to be surprised if Liza or Adelina get sent to Worlds. Saying it now, I do not think Anna's spot is a lock.
Pogo is known for her massive falls. If Jennifer's prediction had been after Euros, she would have been half right (sorry, sort of).
Meghan: Adam will land a quad lutz.
Patrick: Adam Rippon will place higher than Max Aaron at worlds.
Rafael: Adam will land his quad Lutz cleanly at Worlds and rock the hell out of his free skate to land back in the top 6 at Worlds, and be the highest finishing American man.
Sigrid: Adam Rippon will show up at Worlds with his natural blonde hair
Adam Rippon's fourth-place free skate, which helped him return to the top 6 as the top American man, was not credited with a fully-rotated quad lutz. Instead, he almost made up a 10 point TES deficit to the third-place free in PCS alone.
Sigrid: Daniel Samohin from Israel will medal at Euros.
Samohin didn't come even close to medaling at Euros, instead being resigned to watch his teammate Alexi Bychenko take silver with two fourth-place skates. But winning Junior Worlds in a miraculous free skate comeback may have been sufficient redemption.
Sigrid: Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot will stop Russia from having another podium-sweep at Euros. | Aliona and Bruno will win a medal at their first Worlds together.
Erin: Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot will win a medal at their first Worlds.
Sigrid and Erin were much more perceptive than me - I didn't see this team medaling at Worlds in their first year as a pair. But they were spectacular.
Bronwyn: The Shibutanis will beat Chock and Bates at Nationals this year.
Rafael: Bold prediction: the Shibutanis finally surpass Chock and Bates at either the Grand Prix Final or Four Continents. Then they take that momentum and win their first National Championship and have the highest finish from the US dance teams at Worlds.
Erin: And, this one might be more wishful thinking, but I think the Shibutanis have a solid chance to win Nationals, especially if Chock/Bates make mistakes as they have been this season.
Meghan: The Shibutanis will win Worlds on home ice in Boston
Patrick: Maia and Alex Shibutani will beat Chock/Bates at both 4CC and Worlds.
Bronwyn: The Shibutanis will end up on the podium in Boston, and finish second at 4CC.
Hannah: The Shibutanis will win.
The Shibs had unbelievable upward momentum the entire season, culminating in a National Championship and their first World medal in five years, beating American teammates Madison Chock and Evan Bates in the process. If you listen closely to their Worlds free skate, you can probably hear me ugly sobbing.
Joanna: Adelina becomes national champion again.
Olympic Champion Score Inflation™ was not wildly visible in Adelina's return to competition. Despite some noticeable artistic improvement, she didn't make the World team.
Sigrid: Stolbova/Klimov won't make the Euros team and will split up at the end of the season.
Braulio: Stolbova & Klimov will split.
Ximena: It won't be Volozoshar and Trankov, but Stolbova and Klimov, who will take the world title away from Duhamel and Radford.
These predictions were obviously all made at different times during the season, but none of them came true: Stolbova/Klimov made it Worlds, haven't split up (knock on wood!), and just missed the podium.
Patrick: Sui and Han will beat Duhamel and Radford at the Grand Prix Final. How's that for a bold prediction?
Sui and Han sadly dropped out of the Grand Prix Final, but Wenjing's injury didn't stop the team from winning silver at Worlds.
Sigrid: For the first time in forever Denis Ten will get a disappointing result at Worlds.
With multiple programs and injuries, this was not Ten's season.
Joanna: Shoma will skate very well too and win hearts everywhere, only be continuously teased by Yuzuru on any occasion and surprised by any camera and people in general.
Mark: Shoma continues to have jump issues at Worlds because he doesn't check his landings properly and they swing wide open.... agh!
Shannon: Shoma Uno will medal at Worlds.
Shoma's first senior season started strong but faltered a bit towards the end...until he landed the first ratified quad flip at Team Challenge Cup.
Alejandro: Tatiana and Maxim are defeated in Euros by Aliona and Bruno because he can't lift Tatiana in the last lift.
Victor: Tatiana and Max will win the pairs title
Judit: Maybe Voloshozar/Trankov will not go to Worlds.
Voloshozar/Trankov's comeback season went smoothy until Worlds when, per Alejandro's prediction, they did not get credit for one of their lifts towards the end of their program.
Deb: Ashley Wagner will stand on the podium in Boston (because if you're going to make a bold prediction, it might as well be a happy one).
Hannah: Ashley will be the highest placing American lady (with hopefully a medal).
I certainly didn't complain when these predictions proved true.
Francy: Weaver/Poje will win worlds in a close battle with Papadakis/Cizeron.
Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje just can't catch a break. Not only did they not win Worlds, they came in fifth, behind teams they'd beaten most of the season. With Virtue/Moir coming back next year, it remains to be seen whether they can even maintain their dominance in Canada.
Justine: I think Canada might only walk away with one medal in Boston.
Unfortunately for Canada, Duhamel/Radford were their only medalists at Worlds, but Canada did get several good performances from national medalists.
Alice: Forget Russian pairs, I will finally see the Chinese pairs sweep of my dreams at Worlds.
I'm going to leave someone else to discuss this so I don't have to. Needless to say, the Chinese skating federation has created quite a stir.
Justine: The Japanese Ladies and Men will win a medal a medal at each 4CC, Jr Worlds and Worlds - and two in half of them.
Without a men's medal at 4CC or Junior Worlds, or a ladies' medal at senior Worlds, this didn't quite come true. But Team Japan still had quite a season.
Justine: No Russian ladies make the World Podium this year.
Mark: Evgenia Medvedeva will place in the top 10 at Worlds and permanently remove some of her older teammates off of the World team, which is a shame because I really do see some improvement in Pogorilaya's skating.
Roxanne: No Russian men make GPF.
Matthew: The Russian ladies (Medvedeva, Radionova, Tuktamysheva) sweep the podium at Worlds.
Jennifer Cl: One of the three pairs teams slotted for Euros will withdraw due to a bad bleaching experience, dental work, or a spell being put on them, only to return for Worlds, no questions asked.
Sharon: At Worlds there will be only one Russian lady on the podium.
These predictions are listed in the order they were made, from Cup of China to Euros.
Our judges had a great time predicting international Russian results this year, but only Jennifer and Roxanne came anywhere close, while others predicted Pogorilaya wouldn't make Worlds and that no Russian other than Evgenia should expect to have much success.
Tiffany: There will be two US men and two US women in the Grand Prix Final.
Lauren: Our long national nightmare of US ladies missing the podium will come to an end when BOTH Gracie and Ashley get their heads in the game, capitalize on errors from other major contenders and stand on the medal podium in Boston. I will cry enough tears to fill the Charles River and Phil Hersh will tell us he predicted this all along. Whatever Phil, we have the receipts.
Emmy: The US will only have 1 medalist at Worlds.
Phillip: A U.S. lady will medal at Worlds for the first time in nine years.
Tiffany: Both U.S. pairs teams will skate 2 clean programs at Worlds and will go 6th and 7th, getting 3 pairs spots for the U.S. for the first time in 725 years.
Hannah: U.S. will get 3 spots for pairs in 2017
Keira: All three US dance teams will place in the top 5.
Mark: No American man cracks the top 8 at Worlds.
Mark: Alexa and Chris and Danny and Tarah somehow miraculously earn 3 spots for 2017 Worlds.
These predictions are listed in the order they were made, spanning the whole season from Skate America to Four Continents.
After Nationals and Four Continents, our American judges got very excited about the possibility of US pairs teams earning a third spot at Worlds. Despite the earlier success and Scimeca/Kneirim and Kayne/O'Shea, this wasn't their event, and with the competitive national environment, both of these teams may have to fight to get back to Worlds next year. Predictions about the US ladies finally securing a medal for the first time in a decade often appeared more like wishful thinking than anything else, but Lauren and Phillip were proven right.
Mark: Boyang Jin, Shoma Uno, and Nathan Chen are going to mix things up at each of their respective nationals, and all three will place in the top 10 at Worlds and permanently remove some of their older countrymen off of the World team.
Justin: All of the 2016 World Champions skated in Moscow this week: Fernandez, Stolbova/Klimov, Weaver/Poje, and Elena Radionova.
Judit: In pairs skating, there will be a big fight between Stolbova-Savchenko-Sui and maybe Volosozhar.
Ximena: Either Boyang or Shoma will knock Patrick or Denis off the Worlds Podium.
Joanna: [Evgenia Medvedeva] will be accompanied by another Russian lady on the podium and one Japanese lady (a resurgent Mao or the ever-consistent Satoko), while the American ladies medal drought continues because Ashley Wagner and Gracie Gold out-almost-girled each other again by coming 4th and 5th (I might feel a little mean about that last part… maybe).
Sharon: I'm rooting for a repeat of the GPF podium with Yuzu, Javi, and Shoma.
Erin: Zero of last year's World champions will successfully defend their titles.
Kathy: Only one European pair and one dance team will make their respective podiums at Worlds.
Hannah: There will be the ultimate showdown between Yuzuru, Javier, Patrick, Boyang and Shoma. The rest are fighting for top 10.
These predictions are listed in the order they were made, from Cup of China to Four Continents.
Kathy was totally right here (and Mark probably will be in a future year), but the rest of the predictions here really speak to the volatility of the typical figure skating season. Several of these predicted Worlds champions didn't even make the podium.
These predictions, then, whether very bold or very straightforward, probably say more about a skater's performance at the event when the prediction is made than about their likelihood of holding it together moving forward. But that doesn't make it any less fun to look ahead and imagine the possibilities (or lack thereof). Stay bold, friends.
What was your favorite prediction from this year? Think you can do better than our 2015-2016 judges? Leave us a comment to let us know, then sign up to judge a future event!