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Thread: Are We Rushing Rachael to the Podium?

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Are We Rushing Rachael to the Podium?

    We certainly did with Tara Lipinsky. In that era there was no competition for any skater in the US field to beat Michelle Kwan. Many posters joined the Tara bandwagon. However, we did see Tara in several competitions before she won over Michelle, and were aware of the media hype Tara was getting.

    We haven't seen that much of Rachael Flatt and only the results of her Junior Competitions and what she did in Sectionals this season are known. It is difficult to believe, at least for me, that she could win over Kimmie Meissner at this stage of her competitive career. However, given the inconsistencies of the remainder of the US field of Ladies skaters, I do feel there is a strong possibility that Rachael will be on the podium and will replace several US skaters as important contenders in the future.

    How do you feel about Rachael given the meteoric rise of Tara?

    Joe
    Last edited by Joesitz; 01-12-2007 at 06:47 AM.

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    Lovin' the Kween ... Now and Forever
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    Joe, I basically agree with you. I don't see her beating Kimmie, but under the right circumstances I could see her coming in 2nd. But ... my guess is that probably won't happen. I think bronze is as high as she will go this year. Even that might not happen if someone like Alissa or Bebe skate up to their potential.

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    Custom Title antmanb's Avatar
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    The problem with any very talented young skater in this era is the age limits. If Lipinski would have been subject to these current rules she would have been age ineligibile for Nagano and had nothing about her training changed her hip would have gone and she would not have that OGM, questionable whether she would have made any effect in the senior ranks because her injury could have left her out of inetnational championships before she was age eligible.

    I think Mao Asada has (so far) had a similar career to Tara but subject to the age rules. Potentially, had mao been eligible, she could have won the gold in Torino and then skated off to the endorsements awaiting her in Japan. Because of the age rules she has to now try and keep it all together to make the big splash on the senior circuit.

    I haven't seen much of Flatt except for the youtube clips and by all accounts they do not do her justice so i will wait and see. Zhang is another who i would probably compare to Tara. If zhang were able to skate at senior worlds i have no doubt she could equal or do better than Tara's 15th (was it 15) in her debut.

    Ant

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    Yes we are. I know I am excited about her, and I have only seen her skate on YouTube. I don't think she can beat Kimmie, but second is certainly not out of the question. After the season the American ladies had I have just lost hope for them. If you can land only one jump under pressure at the GP events what are you going to do at Worlds?

    I hope there is not too much pressure on Rachael at Nationals and she does well. It is sad to think the poor girl has pressure at her first senior Nationals.

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    Quote Originally Posted by antmanb View Post
    The problem with any very talented young skater in this era is the age limits. If Lipinski would have been subject to these current rules she would have been age ineligibile for Nagano
    Actually, Lipinski's birthday is in June, so she would have been 15 in time to be eligible for the 1998 Olympics (and Worlds; 4 Continents didn't exist yet).

    If the current rules had been in effect with no exceptions, she would have been eligible for the Grand Prix (Chamions Series) in 1996-97, so she could still have had the same results that year and been in the same position Mao Asada was last year, having beaten most of the top skaters at the series final but too young to go to the big event.

    Since she wouldn't have been eligible for 1996 or 1997 Worlds, we can imagine that if she had taken bronze at 96 Nationals that she would have gone back to Junior Worlds in the 97 season (it was still held in December at that time) and maybe finally won a medal there. And then maybe still won 97 Nationals. (Or not, if she hadn't pushed the 3loop-3loop into her repertoire, and/or if she made mistakes. In which case Bobek might have won the freeskate in Nashville and Kwan might have held onto the title despite a bad freeskate.)

    But with no Jr. World medal exception, Lipinski's season would have ended with the series final, assuming she had qualified.

    Would her 1998 season have been more or less successful without two Worlds appearances, including a win, behind her?

    and had nothing about her training changed her hip would have gone and she would not have that OGM, questionable whether she would have made any effect in the senior ranks because her injury could have left her out of inetnational championships before she was age eligible.
    As I say, she would have been eligible for everything in the 98 season, so if nothing had changed in her training she could still have been doing everything in 98 that she actually did, and at the same competitions. Whether she *would* have skated that well, and whether the judges would have scored her better or worse if she were as new a face on the senior scene as Asada and Kim this year instead of the reigning world champion, we can only speculate.

    I haven't seen much of Flatt except for the youtube clips and by all accounts they do not do her justice so i will wait and see. Zhang is another who i would probably compare to Tara. If zhang were able to skate at senior worlds i have no doubt she could equal or do better than Tara's 15th (was it 15) in her debut.
    Yes, it was 15th. Part of that was because she fell on two jumps in her SP, placing 23rd in that phase but skated a strong LP to pull up to 13th (I think) in that phase and 15th overall. (For the record, Kwan also made her Worlds debut at 13 and fell on one jump in the short, placing 11th, and skated well in the LP to pull up to 8th. S. Hughes was 7th in her first Worlds at 13; I don't remember any major mistakes but she did have some technique and presentation issues that improved but weren't fully solved by the time of her big win.)

    We're not going to be sending any more 13- or 14-year-olds to Worlds, or younger 15-year-olds (e.g., Cohen in 2000 or Meissner in 2005). If any of the new young skaters medal at Nationals before they're old enough, we'll probably see them at Junior Worlds that year and on the Grand Prix the following season(s), so if they qualify to debut at Worlds at 15 3/4 or 16, they'll have that experience but will still be facing the biggest event of their careers so far. Is it easier to handle pressure at 13 or at 16? Are the expectations higher for the 16-year-old who has already made a name for herself?

    Did Meissner benefit from having already competed at the Olympics, where most of the expectations were on Cohen, before debuting at Worlds and skating better there?

    Anyway, "we" as fans can't rush any of these skaters to the (US) podium. If they get there before they're eligible for Worlds, it'll be because they skate better than older skaters at Nationals. If they don't, it will be because they don't skate their best, or older skaters do, or older skaters' power and/or presentation prevails in the judges' minds over number of jumps landed. And what they do with the achievement will not be up to us either. Let's just not jump from acknowledging that a young skater could (or did, after the fact) medal at Nationals or achieve good international results to being disappointed and blaming them if they don't go on to shoot directly to the top immediately afterward.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    Anyway, "we" as fans can't rush any of these skaters to the (US) podium. ...
    And what they do with the achievement will not be up to us either. Let's just not jump from acknowledging that a young skater could (or did, after the fact) medal at Nationals or achieve good international results to being disappointed and blaming them if they don't go on to shoot directly to the top immediately afterward.
    Thanks for putting it into good/rational perspective.

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    "We" aren't putting anyone on the podium. What will put Flatt on the podium is other skaters (Liang, Czisny, Zukowski, Taylor) skating the way they have been this past season. None of that group has been consistent at all, while Rachael has been very consistent during her Novice, Junior and now Senior career.

    And let's not forget that the #4 lady is on the podium, too.

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    gkelly - That was an exceptional dissertation on the subject of Age, Eligibility, and the Rising Star of a very young skater. I think it should be published. While it answers many questions, it definitey, makes one think.

    Joe

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Regarding 'pressure' which many posters are considering a big factor in the US Nats, I do not find that so. There is pressure for the skaters to do their best and become part of the US Worlds Team but seasoned skaters know all about this and should be able to handle the pressure to their advantage.

    In the case of Rachel, she is still at the age where she knows she is not expected to be on the podium so she will skate her best and no point in worrying about making the team since she can not. I think skating without worry is a favorable factor for Rachel and given her technical abilities she just may squeeze on that podium.

    Joe

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    I don't think Rachel will be under any pressure at all. The only "buzz" in play here is from the fans. I don't think the people at large expect much out of her let alone know who she is.

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    I wasn't aware the boards were that old to be on the bandwagon for Lipinski but then again I wasn't following olympic elligble skating at the time.

    I don't think Rachael or any other skaters who have been hyped (media or otherwise) are being hyped any more or less than Tara or Oksana or whomever else might have been elected as the chosen one for National or International podiums...

    as they say, the ice is slippery and it could be anyone's game...

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    Beyond us wacky Figure Skating Fans who post our thoughts on Blogs/Forums like these I do not think there is Any hype on Rachael. No ESPN, SI, USFSA coverage of her at all anywhere. I think the general public of Spokane will be amazed by her if she skates even close to her capability. Then the Hype will really begin, especially if she medals. And I hope she does!

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    JMHO, but so far from what I have seen, Flatt does not look podium-ready just yet. In a year or two, possibly, but right now I think she needs a few of the top ladies to make big mistakes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dancindiva03 View Post
    JMHO, but so far from what I have seen, Flatt does not look podium-ready just yet. In a year or two, possibly, but right now I think she needs a few of the top ladies to make big mistakes.
    You know I don't think that is going to be a problem for her.

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    Quote Originally Posted by flying camel View Post
    You know I don't think that is going to be a problem for her.
    It might not be, but you never know. We have seen Alissa stay on her feet once or twice, could happen again. Bebe skates some great SP's, she might just put together a clean LP in Spokane. Katy Taylor has been off all season but she, too, is capable of clean programs. Emily Hughes, I don't know if I've ever seen her skate a totally clean LP but I think she is capable of it. IMHO Flatt will need to skate absolutely perfectly AND hope that at least a few of these ladies falls at least once, if not more, because Flatt lacks the polish to really challenge these girls.

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