Well, it depends.
Johnny Weir will be competing for the first time since 2010 at the Finlandia Trophy this weekend. Though Mr. Weir appears to be taking his comeback very seriously by training difficult combinations, getting two Grand Prix events and enlisting Nikolai Morozov for
Most unfortunately, one always knows what to expect when it comes to Evan Lysacek. Such Things have been Known since
Does this even count as a comeback anymore? Considering the fact that the man's been competing before I even knew how to read and write, by now I've come to accept that Evgeni Plushenko's going to be lurking around forever, perpetually mounting comebacks and effortlessly cranking out quads against all odds....
Nobunari Oda is mounting his comeback campaign after a season away from the competitive ranks due to injury. Unfortunately for Mr. Oda, the past season has arguably been instrumental in establishing what is likely to be the pecking order of Japanese men going into Sochi: Daisuke Takahashi and Yuzuru Hanyu have established themselves as the top two Japanese men, in whatever order. Barring injury, this is unlikely to change in the coming season. Mr. Takahashi and Mr. Hanyu may not be the most consistent skaters, but Mr. Takahashi can easily out-PCS Mr. Oda even with a considerable amount of technical errors, while Mr. Hanyu's prodigious jumping ability and youth puts him at a significant advantage over the aging Mr. Oda. For Mr. Oda to make the Japanese world team, the only skater realistically in his sights is Takahiko Kozuka. Given Mr. Kozuka's consistently poor performances last season, this may not be too difficult if Mr. Oda improves on the level he's shown at the recent Nebelhorn Trophy, but a consistent quad will be essential for Mr.Oda, as would more commitment, spark and life to his performances. However, if Mr. Kozuka improves and returns to the form he was in at 2011 Worlds, Mr. Oda is toast. Mr. Oda may be a very talented skater who at his best has some awe-inspiring jumps, crazy transitions into the jumps and insanely soft knees, but, at this point, it may very well be a better idea for the JSF to invest in the younger skater who isn't prone to Zayakking at inopportune times and also is a former world medalist to boot.
Miki Ando's comeback (if existent) appears to be shrouded in mystery. After sitting out the 2011-2012 season upon winning her second world title at 2011 in Moscow, Ms. Ando announced her return with two Grand Prix assignments this fall--Cup of China and Trophee Eric Bompard. But then came the interviews that openly admitted her reluctance to compete and her preference for show skating, the morbidly depressing tweets, that whole Nikolai Morozov breakup, the resultant coachlessness....what on earth is going on? That being said, if Ms. Ando does indeed return to the competitive ranks, it will be very interesting to see what her skating would look like unMorozoved. Maybe we may even see the pre-Morozov Miki Ando who actually treated the music as something more than background noise and had the ability to emote.
With two lukewarm and obviously under-motivated competitions after her glorious win at the 2010 Olympics, speculation about Yu-Na Kim's imminent retirement was rampant....until Ms. Kim announced her comeback with the ultimate goal of reaching the Sochi Olympics in 2014 earlier this year. Though Ms. Kim will not be participating in the Grand Prix series this coming season, she has presumably learned the lessons of the 2010-2011 season and will compete at more than a single competition per season in her comeback. Based on some of her more recent show programs, Ms. Kim's jumps look decent after being away from competition for so long and the performances as a whole have spark and look considerably less phoned-in than before. Overall, Ms. Kim's return to the competitive ranks marks a welcome change to the rather anemic ladies' field over the past couple of seasons. Carolina Kostner's watered-down jump content, Mao Asada's startling decline and the youth and growth spurts of the Russian wonderbabies have made for some less-than-groundbreaking displays of competitive vigor and technical excellence in the ladies event this past season. Ms. Kim's return should raise the level and add some excitement to the ladies field....provided that she is motivated and ready to compete. But I suspect she will be.
On a tangentially-related note, am I the only disappointed that Ms. Kim is not re-using her wonderful Homage to Korea long program after only skating to it once competitively? The Kiss of a Vampire sounds like a great idea for a short program, but I'm fairly apprehensive about a Les Mis mashup for the long program.