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Thread: Juniors: Mirai Nagasu vs. Rachael Flatt

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    Tanguera feraina's Avatar
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    Juniors: Mirai Nagasu vs. Rachael Flatt

    JGPF series starts at the end of August, and two talented young ladies, Mirai & Rachael, look to dominate the ladies' events. They will almost surely both make it to the JGPF, and meet again at US National's. They have never competed against each other before. What are you head-to-head predictions? What are their relative strengths and weaknesses?

    For reference, Rachael received a total score of 160 at Senior Nationals in 2007, and Mirai got 155 in Juniors. Keeping in mind that seniors get one extra spin in the LP and that the PCS scores are somewhat inflated compared to juniors, these scores are more or less comparable.

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    Any chance we could have "International Juniors" in this thread title? I believe they may have competed against each other at the lower levels at Nationals... will check on this and get back later. I'm personally not into making head-to-head predictions, so I'll let others have at it.

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    So Rachael goes JGP and Senior Nats in this coming season. Is that correct?

    I find Mirai a bit 'giddy' when she skates but I haven't seen that much of her. Hopefully, I get to see a more serious side of her. She should be good.

    Rachael has had a lot of experience in one senior Nats which I am sure she has learned from. I don't think the USFS ordered favoritism for her senior skate. In fact it was a bit controversial.

    Hopefully SkateNet will show all the Junior Ladies and other divisions. I know a major network won't touch Juniors.

    Joe

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    Both of them are doing JGP and Senior Nats. It is on Mirai's USFS bio.

    In my completely unprofessional opinion:

    I think Rachael has the edge when it comes to experience, especially nationally, since she's already competed as a Senior. It will be "old news" for her by then. I do think downgrading her triple-triple was fair (and I think Kimmie's should've been as well), but if she does manage to do a clean triple-triple, this will be a great advantage for her. I find her jump landings...wonky, though. However, her presentation is nice and she expresses the music well.

    IMO, Mirai has the edge in spins (though Rachael has a nice layback), spirals, jumps, speed and overall technique. She's one of the few American ladies with a proper lutz and flip (unlike Rachael, who flutzes). Her jumps are higher and stronger than Rachael's, and she is much faster - I honestly found Rachael really slow. I think her presentation is also quite good and can improve once she's more used to "big" competitions. She can skate to perky, upbeat programs like her SP and more serious, mature ones like her LP. I find her *very* promising.

    Personally, I enjoy Mirai more, but both of them are very talented.

    Joe, I enjoy Mirai's giddy style. She's only 13, so it's really age appropriate. When else will she get to do a program like her SP?

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    Tanguera feraina's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sylvia View Post
    I believe they may have competed against each other at the lower levels at Nationals.
    Mirai has never qualified for National's at any level before. They might have met at regional or club competitions, but I think Rachael was generally a level above Mirai, so I'm not even sure they've competed at minor events together.

    I was surprised to learn today that Rachael learned her first triples when she was 12! Only two years ago! And she already has two 3/3's (3Lutz/3T, 3T/3T). Amazing. Here's an article about Rachael and her jump progression:
    http://www.skatetoday.com/articles07/031107.htm
    (Incidentally, this buoys my hopes that Mirai and Caroline are also at the age where they could add the 3/3 to their arsenal.)

    I also find Mirai's choreography more age-appropriate than Rachael's, as well as better spins and more speed/power in stroking, and height on jumps. But a ratified 3/3 is not to be scoffed at, it will count for something. Rachael's 160 at National's was based on two imperfect skates, whereas Mirai's 155 was as well as she could've skated. I'm not exactly sure who has the edge if both do clean programs.

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    At US Jr nationals, Mirai's second lutz was downgraded.

    Besides, the PCS at US senior Nationals are unrealistic benchmarks for international junior competitions.

    I think Mirai has the edge.
    Last edited by satorare; 06-22-2007 at 08:40 PM.

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    I love both of them and look forward to seeing them compete this season. I think Mirai has the better positions in her skating, but I feel Rachael has more of a spark on the ice that I like. I love seeing skaters who look like they enjoy skating, and I see that in Rachael's face. It's going to be so exciting to see both of them compete this season. Why did they make those stupid age rules?

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    I agree with flyingcamel about Rachel. She can work on her speed, stroking and height. IMO she has that "it factor" that Mirai just doesn't have. She really reaches out to the audience and puts a lot of effort into her presentation. She so wuzrobbed at nats but thats a slightly different thread. Mirai, compared to Rachel is boring for me. Her SP was blah. Maybe its her age, but Rachel (who is what only slightly older than Mirai) had a far superior Sp in terms of artistry.

    My pick is Rachel Flatt, but then again she is my favorite US up-and-comer, and I hold her way above all the others I've seen (including Zhang). Crucify me, I know.

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    Compared to Rachael, Mirai has so much more speed and flow across the ice. I also don't see the artistry or the "it" factor in Rachael's skating- to be perfectly honest she bores me. Mirai's already placed second at Jr. Worlds, so that will also put her in good stead. What Rachael has is the jumps, and that may be enough to put her ahead.

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    Does Mirai flutz? I saw her keeping outside edge first, but it looked to me that she changed to flat at the takeoff. Anyone to clarify?

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    Mirai doesn't flutz.

    mizu_iro, I agree in that I don't think Rachael has the "it factor". Stylistically, she isn't my cup of tea.

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    Quote Originally Posted by feraina View Post
    Mirai has never qualified for National's at any level before.
    Nagasu qualified for two Nationals at the Intermediate level in December 2003 and 2004 (they're just not listed in her her USFS bio because she didn't make the final round either year). Here's the link to the Intermediate Ladies qualifying group at the 2004 U.S. Junior Figure Skating Championships (Dec. 2003) in which Zhang (4th), Nagasu (8th), and Flatt (11th) all competed (5 other girls from that group have since competed at Nationals, either at the Novice, Junior or Senior levels): http://www.usfigureskating.org/event...rladies-1c.htm
    Top 6 in each of the 3 qualifying groups advanced to the Final round, so of these 3, only Zhang advanced and she ended up winning the Intermediate bronze medal that year. Flatt won the Intermediate Pairs title at this same Nationals, BTW.

    Nagasu stayed at the Intermediate level the following season (2004-05) and placed 11th in her qualifying group at Nationals. Flatt stopped competing in pairs, focused on her singles, moved up to Novice and ended up winning the 2005 Novice national title (Zhang was 4th that year). Unfortunately, Flatt was too young to compete in the JGP in the fall of 2005, but both she and Zhang competed in the Junior Ladies event at the 2005 North American Challenge Skate in Kansas that summer (no age restrictions) where Flatt won the bronze medal and Zhang was 4th under IJS (Zhang was still underrotating her triples).

    They might have met at regional or club competitions, but I think Rachael was generally a level above Mirai, so I'm not even sure they've competed at minor events together.
    They both grew up in southern California so it's possible that they may have competed against each other in local competitions below the Juvenile level.

    Posted in another thread but relevant here:
    Quote Originally Posted by feraina View Post
    Another worrying sign is that she [Rachael Flatt] was 1st in Novice, 2nd in Junior, and now 5th in Senior at National's... Maybe it's that the competition just gets tougher at the higher levels,
    I just wanted to point out that 1st in Novice, 2nd in Junior and 5th in a Senior debut is generally considered to be quite an impressive rate of progress in 3 years precisely because, as you put it, "the competition just gets tougher at the higher levels." To compare -- Kimmie Meissner was 1st in Novice (2003), 1st in Junior (2004) and 3rd in Senior (2005), while Christine Zukowski was 1st in Novice (2004), 2nd in Junior (2005) and 6th in Senior (2006), and Danielle Kahle was 1st in Novice (2002), 3rd in Junior (2003) and achieved her highest Senior finish (6th) just this year.

    but then you have other skaters like Caroline and Mirai who lurk in the background when they're younger, and then explode onto the scene all of a sudden.
    Neither has really been "lurking in the background when they're younger" nor "exploding onto the scene all of a sudden" -- it's just that general skating fans did not know about them before this year compared to the people who follow skating at the grassroots and lower levels. Also, the Internet has most certainly increased fans' awareness of Zhang's skating, with her competition videos that have been shared and viewed online since last summer and fall (it started right here on Golden Skate, in fact! ). Back to Nagasu -- her excellent performances at the Golden West club competition near L.A. late last summer (where she placed a close 2nd to Zhang) as well as her domination at Regionals turned out to be harbingers of her success later in the season.
    Last edited by Sylvia; 06-22-2007 at 11:56 PM. Reason: fix typos

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oleada View Post
    Joe, I enjoy Mirai's giddy style. She's only 13, so it's really age appropriate. When else will she get to do a program like her SP?
    Oleada, It's the style of a cutsey wootsey little girl and how can you put her down? Lipinsky used it to her advantage. Everyone is awed by precocsius(sp) children.

    An exceptional jumper for a little girl who can giggle will please the audience as well as the judges. I just don't want to read that there is great artistry here.


    Joe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    I just don't want to read that there is great artistry here.
    Beholder You know you are just asking for it

    This is a tight one, Some of this will come down to the judges and "good ol' interpretation" again. Makes sense that they will play up the "cutesy little lady" for one and the mature distinguished skater for the other programme. Wont shock me anyway. Have to play up to the judges "heart strings." I wonder if they try to find out Judges favorite colors and songs? Seems like it does matter still.

    One issue I think is going to be the Tech Spec and if they can "see better" and ratify where ratification is due. Those points are going to be deciding factors IMO. If Rachael is robbed again than it is obvious Miria will clench (provided she is solid) and if the Techs can "see" - it will be really close.

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    Tanguera feraina's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sylvia View Post
    I just wanted to point out that 1st in Novice, 2nd in Junior and 5th in a Senior debut is generally considered to be quite an impressive rate of progress in 3 years precisely because, as you put it, "the competition just gets tougher at the higher levels." To compare -- Kimmie Meissner was 1st in Novice (2003), 1st in Junior (2004) and 3rd in Senior (2005), while Christine Zukowski was 1st in Novice (2004), 2nd in Junior (2005) and 6th in Senior (2006), and Danielle Kahle was 1st in Novice (2002), 3rd in Junior (2003) and achieved her highest Senior finish (6th) just this year.
    Sylvia, thanks for digging up on all the stats on everyone! While Rachael's resume is certainly impressive, as well as these other girls here, none of them really became "legendary" in the Michelle Kwan or Sasha Cohen sense, not yet anyway. Kimmie is the closest, but then we'll see whether she manages to get onto the WC podium again. I guess on the flip side, I'm interested to see how Michelle and Sasha, and earlier, Kristi Yamaguchi, fared in their pre-senior days. Did they win the national championships at every level they competed at, or more like how Caroline & Mirai have fared so far?

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