I find opinions on Brian much more interesting to read than on Irina.
I remember his breakthrough on the Euros skate. He and Stephane were battling it out for third place. Of course, I went with the skater who could flow over the ice more than the one who appeared to me, a jumper only.
Plushenko is a showman. He sells every move to the audience. (not my cup of tea, but I understand it). Plush outskates Brian en toto. The Brian camp came up with improving his style, not all of it worked. Much of it hindered his consistency on jumps (his best asset). I see him in a state of flux on the ice. Sometimes he's looking good, sometimes not so good.
For corrective criticism, I would get him a simple costume with nothing to do with any sound tracks or operas. Let him free skate practice to all sorts of music during the summer months. He will find his own style. Then, get him a choreographer who understands where Brian is at and not try to make him something he is not. JMO. He's like that volcano waiting to erupt.
I know this is not about Stephane but since they made their debuts at the same time, I will be brief. He is a better all-round skater, maybe not as manly as some would want but his skating is on the senior level because he has a style. I'm hoping his gold medal doesn't keep him from continuing to progress.
Great summary Joe. As I was "catching up" reading through this thread, here is what came to mind as a person who is FRUSTRATED with Brian because I really DO want him to find what you describe - his own style executed in his own way.
Originally Posted by Joesitz
I will digress briefly. ITA with possible concerns in men's scoring where we can have jumpers with nothing else do well, or worse, the perception that non-jumping men can do better than jumping men. I would submit that we reserve judgement on whether the values for elements are properly assigned (i.e. the values of 4's and 3A's) until we see a few more men actual put something that involves a fair degree of both down on the ice. I don't think Buttle or Joubert put down performances at TEB that to me anyway, were worthy of thinking the NJS has it wrong. (at least not yet)
I think Brian is over-focused on the quad. Of course we only get the "snippets" of his interviews that the press chooses to share with us. But if he is hanging himself up on some form of the notion that "unfair!! quads should be worth more!!" then IMO he is wasting precious energy on one thing, when 14 things are important just to the TES part of the score in men's (LP). And PCS is roughly a whole 'nother half of the battle.
If Brian is going to hang his hat on the importance of the quad, then he needs to bring it on. A 4/2 in the SP is slightly more points than the 3/3 Buttle did, but that's the scoring system. If Brian wants to be the Quad King then that needs to be a 4/3. Brian attempted only 1 quad in the LP, and that was a solo quad, and it was not performed cleanly (neg GOE). Now, if Brian does a 4/3 in the SP, 2 quads (one in combo, preferably in a 4/3), AND does a perfect job on all other jumps, and a just reasonable job on everything else, (to a Buttle type who does a great job on everything else) then maybe he might have a point that jump rewards have gone too low.
But Brian hasn't done that, IMO.
On the other hand, Buttle will have a hard time when the "whole crowd" of top contenders are on hand. With all of them present, it is likely that at least a few of them WILL land nice quads and / or 3A's. I think he has been fortunate to "sqeak by" so far this season with GREAT choreo and other PCS, great non-jump elements, and lot's of jump trouble. I don't think that kind of skating will win Oly gold.
So I hope Oly gold will involve a performance somewhere in the middle of this - the sort of inspiration and creativity that Buttle has brought to the ice so far (sans good jumps), and someone who brings mainly the jumps but some other good stuff too. (and so far this season, I do NOT think that skater is Brian Joubert, no matter what he says about quad points). IMO someone like LI would be a better example.
RGirl - are you channeling me with post lengths???
With tongue firmly in cheek, maybe it would be interesting for skating fandom if we just made a quick switch - put Irina in the Men's division, and Buttle in the Ladies division for this year. (just joking from joke make here, and other jokes from COC!!) I just think a bit of "Buttle Robs Sasha!!" or "Irina Robs Joubert!" would make an interesting diversion from the "same ol' same ol'."
Last edited by Doggygirl; 11-20-2005 at 08:30 PM.
DG - I wont quote your post that would make it all that much longer, lol. (Ya know I don't know what lol means. I think it means, don't take me seriously or lots of love. What does it mean?)
Much of your take on Brian I agree with wholeheartedly. Problem started when he came out of nowhere (even in France). A boy wonder, if you will. Powerful jumper. What to do with him? Too many cooks stirring the broth.
I'm with you on Brian's focus on the quad, and that's a problem with him because he has a good quad toe, but so does Stephane, Lindemann and Sandhu - not to mention Plushenko. Tim had 3 different quads at one time but that's another story. I think the points allotted to the quad are sufficient, and he will earn those points when his quad is completed and again when it is repeated in a combo. He's doing fine on that portion of the scoring. Yet, Jeffrey beat him twice (TEB and Worlds), and Takahashi (SA). Brian should be thinking what is it about Buttle and Takahashi that puts him out of the gold. Neither of them are the type which the judges would 'hold up'.
Brian should be thinking for himself, know what he needs, and find a coach and choreographer to guide him. He was once Plush's biggest threat.
Just saw the competition, and I can't say I'm crying foul for Joubert on this one. Nobody came out and skated well. It was a matter of comparing who did the most and what kind of mistakes they made. Yeah, not a good day for Jeff on the jumps, but his choreography, spins and footwork are second to none. Joubert, on the other hand, did some great jumps, but his choreography looks like it belongs in juniors and his footwork and spins leave a lot to be desired. He looked tired and did not keep up with the music at the end. This is just not a program that's going to take him places. For the record, I wouldn't have been crying foul for Jeff if he'd been knocked out of the gold either. I adore Jeff, but sincerely hope he does not win an Olympic medal if he puts down a mediocre skate like this. I want to see the top guys on the podium have great choreography and a great skate.
Got to see Goebel for the first time this season. In a word, awful. He looks incredibly uncomfortable with his new LP and today he didn't have the jumps either. I think it will be a big struggle for him just to make the Olympics, let alone the podium. First thing he needs to do if he wants to get there is to ditch his LP. No matter what the choreography looks like on paper, it's really just not for him.
Buttle and Joubert ending up 1 and 2, along with Chiper the Romanian 3, who I can't say much about since this is the first time I've seen him (today, 11-27, SP).
Originally Posted by Zanzibar
As far as I'm concerned, I love that a mix of those who are great at the non-jump elements as well as the components are right up there with the jumpers--though I do want Jeff to get his 3Axel down for criminy's sake.. It reminds me of that "played all the time" pop hit from some years back, "Mambo Number 5":
A little bit of Buttle for the gold,
A little silver Brian, I am told,
Told the judges where to put their lumps
For not giving more points for jumps,
I like Chiper for getting third
Since Romania gets lot of t**ds,
Except for gymnastics and ice dance,
Where they have a he!!uva chance,
It's been long time no Rgirl song,
If we're lucky, next time much more long.
At least Olympic ice has lotsa room,
Hey, boom shacka lacka lacka, boom!
You old dance and skating trickster, you. What you described is how every great modern dance choreographer since the '60s developed both their own style of moving as well as their choreographic style. One, Laura Dean, told me she either sat or just walked around her studio for a month until one day she started just spinning. Since the 1970s, all her pieces have been built on walking and spinning. Since she's also a musician, she developed the music along with the choreography rather than choreographing to music already scored. I'd say a few of her works are genius.
Originally Posted by Joesitz
Anyway, how I wish every coach would allow his/her skater to develop their own style the way you described. Obvously such work can't take up the entire practice time when they're young and still learning technique and skills, but as they master those things, I say more time for improvisation and discovery. I understand Lori did this with Michelle during the summer of '95. Lori put on a lot of different pieces of music and had Michelle just skate however she felt like to each piece. When Lori put on "Salome," lightening struck, as they say.
I can see many top level skaters and up-and-comers benefitting from this: Sasha (a lot); Onda (may be too late); Fumie (wish she had earlier; same with Sasha); Ando (now, as in this summer);; Asada (this summer!); Kimmie (this summer, too!), as well as a number of the men: Joubert, of course; Griazev; ChingJiang Li; Honda (though probably too late for competitive skating), and others.
Look what a slightly different approach but with the same focus has done for Sandhu? He takes dance classes every summer, really concentrated on it this summer, and when he skates well, he's performing with every part of himself and it's all Sandhu. IMO, nothing is more compelling than a highly trained athlete or artist (musician, composer, painter, writer, sculptor, singer, whatever) performing/creating in his/her own "voice" in an unassailable way.
Brilliant note of extremely constructive criticism. If I were you, I'd actually send it to Joubert's official website administrator--s/he must have a contact email with Joubert's manager. I'm dead serious. What's the worst that could happen? He either won't read it or sustain a career-ending injury while using your suggestion--just kidding on the latter. Go for it, Joe! Say something about your background, too, so he knows your not just speaking out of Sandhu's bu** spin.