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Thread: Slutskaya is absolutely baffling

  1. #1
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    Slutskaya is absolutely baffling

    I gotta say something about Irina Slutskaya: she's absolutely baffling. I can't understand this woman's psychology.

    You see, I felt sorry for her when she absolutely bombed at the 2006 Olympics. But that's because I haven't followed the GP circuit that year and only read about it. Now that I've went on Youtube and watched her LP from Cup of Russia, it has left my head scratching.

    In the Cup of Russia LP, Irina did a triple salchow-triple toe - double toe combination (according to the commentators, I can't piece together the jumps myself.) Anyhow, why would she go all out early in the season and skate an absolutely perfect technically-loaded LP and then go on to reduce the difficulty as the season went along? That is the worst possible way of approaching your Olympic season.

    Skaters should proceed from a slow early season start with moderately difficult programs and build up their conditioning so that their most difficult technical performance comes Olympics time. Slutskaya did exactly the opposite. Hard, challenging programs early on in the season later gave way to less difficult, and less jump-packed programs. (Think of her LP at the GP final, Euros, and the Olympics - all of them performed significantly worse than those of Cup of China and Cup of Russia.)

    Now, I can't imagine why she would land a three jump combination with three triples in a GP and not plan to go for in during the Olympics. If she did do that, then Arakawa would have to have brought own her own triple-triple. Which of the two would prevail is immaterial. What is certain is that all of us would have loved to watch both Slutskaya and Arakawa execute technically difficult programs - it would have made the ladies competition a heck of a lot more interesting to watch.

    And let me tell you that even if Slutskaya did her triple-triple (maybe even with a double toe at the end) in her Olympics LP and skated her heart out, that performance would have left memories even if she earned only a silver or a bronze with it. I know that the Olympic GM is incredibly important, but an Olympic performance that's perfect without winning gold is almost just as good.

  2. #2
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Well, it's not like Irina began the season telling herself, "I know, I'll skate well at the beginning of the season, then fall apart at the Olympics." I think she did the best she could at each competition and that's how it worked out.

    I have never really felt that skaters should lay back at the start in the hope that the skate gods will be molified and they will peak at just the right time. Why shouldn't Irina go for a triple-triple in the first event, in the middle, and at the end, all three? Too gruelling? You have a month to rest up between competitions.

    Irina was on an incredible roll the whole 2004-2005 season, culminating in 2005 worlds. When she continued into the 2005 Grand Prix, it looked like there would be no stopping her. Maybe she did indeed run out of steam at an unfortunate time, maybe her nerves got her at the Olympics, maybe even her chronic health challenges caught up with her.

    But I still am not a fan of the "Casey at the bat" strategy. Casey let the first two pitches go by ("It wasn't me," said Casey. "Strike one," the umpire said. ) When he finally swung away, it still didn't work out.

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    Custom Title demarinis5's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krenseby View Post
    I gotta say something about Irina Slutskaya: she's absolutely baffling. I can't understand this woman's psychology.

    You see, I felt sorry for her when she absolutely bombed at the 2006 Olympics. But that's because I haven't followed the GP circuit that year and only read about it. Now that I've went on Youtube and watched her LP from Cup of Russia, it has left my head scratching.

    In the Cup of Russia LP, Irina did a triple salchow-triple toe - double toe combination (according to the commentators, I can't piece together the jumps myself.) Anyhow, why would she go all out early in the season and skate an absolutely perfect technically-loaded LP and then go on to reduce the difficulty as the season went along? That is the worst possible way of approaching your Olympic season.

    Skaters should proceed from a slow early season start with moderately difficult programs and build up their conditioning so that their most difficult technical performance comes Olympics time. Slutskaya did exactly the opposite. Hard, challenging programs early on in the season later gave way to less difficult, and less jump-packed programs. (Think of her LP at the GP final, Euros, and the Olympics - all of them performed significantly worse than those of Cup of China and Cup of Russia.)

    Now, I can't imagine why she would land a three jump combination with three triples in a GP and not plan to go for in during the Olympics. If she did do that, then Arakawa would have to have brought own her own triple-triple. Which of the two would prevail is immaterial. What is certain is that all of us would have loved to watch both Slutskaya and Arakawa execute technically difficult programs - it would have made the ladies competition a heck of a lot more interesting to watch.

    And let me tell you that even if Slutskaya did her triple-triple (maybe even with a double toe at the end) in her Olympics LP and skated her heart out, that performance would have left memories even if she earned only a silver or a bronze with it. I know that the Olympic GM is incredibly important, but an Olympic performance that's perfect without winning gold is almost just as good.
    There were rumours that as the season progressed Irini's health issues began to resurface, which is a likely scenario coupled with nerves at the Olympic games. If true you post is moot .

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    I've also heard rumours that she wasn't ill at the Olympics. I've heard all kinds off the ice like her doctors were playing with her meds so she'd peak at Olympics, then I heard that wasn't true, then I heard she was ill, then she was fine. Truth be told, the Olympics are very stressful for the favorites. Look what happened to Irina in '02. Her program was less than stellar. She was in a similar situation in '06. IMO, she was very overmarked all season and maybe the judges didn't do her any favors with that. Being in 2nd after the SP may have hurt her confidence and it was also the same position she was in after the SP in SLC. Sometimes these thigns are mental. I also know that Irina was saying she didn't expect to win. She felt the judges had been unjust to her for years and made no secret that she felt she should've won some competitions she didn't. It may have her own pyschological stuff that held her back. She could've won it all though. Sasha bombed with her 2 falls, so she could've at least gotten silver. It's a tough game.

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    Irina was having health issues. She was doing so well at the beginning of the season that the doctors had taken her off her medication, and that helped Irina to give some of her best performances. Prednisone causes water retention, headache, swelling of the face and hands, and fatigue. Not being on medication, Irina felt better and skated well.

    But as the season went on, after two tough GP events, Irina began to feel less well and the doctors had to put her back on medication. At the GPF in Tokyo, Irina was complaining of dizzyness and she said the long flight from Moscow exacerbated her symptoms. She made a mistake in the SP, was not her usual stellar self in the FS, and she lost the GPF to Asada.

    After a month of rest, she was able to pull herself together and win Euros yet again, but that effort probably robbed her of the energy she needed for the Olympics.

    As for her complaints about judges being unjust to her, right from the beginning of her career, she always felt that way when she didn't win the gold medal. She was never able to look at her performances objectively, and see that she made little mistakes that allowed others to place above her. I believe it is because she was told by her coaches early on that she was the best, and no one should ever beat her.

  6. #6
    Gadfly and Bon Vivant Mafke's Avatar
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    I'm still sticking with my pet theory, that apart from everything else, there was also something in that building/venue that didn't agree with her and/or aggravated her condition.

    Both Euro's 2005 and 2006 olys (in the same venue) had the same pattern, excellent SP followed by a dispirited uncharacteristically bad LP. That just was just not the typical pattern with her (SLC aside where she wasn't as bad in the LP as some seem to think, she was only 5-10 % of SLC I think she was more like over 20% (twice) off at the Palevala or whatever the hell it's called..

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    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
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    I think a part of Irina's problems in both '02 and '06 was her rivalry with Kwan. I think she was much too used to seeing Michelle as her only real competitor. In '02 Kwan did no have a good skate; in '06, she withdrew altogether. I think this gave Irina a feeling that she could get by with minimal effort, and as long as she stayed on two feet, she'd have it in the bag.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ptichka View Post
    I think a part of Irina's problems in both '02 and '06 was her rivalry with Kwan. I think she was much too used to seeing Michelle as her only real competitor. In '02 Kwan did no have a good skate; in '06, she withdrew altogether. I think this gave Irina a feeling that she could get by with minimal effort, and as long as she stayed on two feet, she'd have it in the bag.
    The difference between Irina's LP in 2002 and 2006 is like day and night
    In 2006, she downgraded several jumps. In 2002, she had minor mistakes.

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    Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program Tinymavy15's Avatar
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    as sombody else said, i do not think that it was Irina's plan not to let out the techniacl difficulty as the season went on. Her original plan was probably to skater her best at every competition the was she had the year before. win everything, and by the time the olympics rolled around she would have a few good, clean LP's under her belt and doing it one more time would not be that hard. I do not think that there are too many skaters on the planet that would say, i amd not gonna try that hard here, and so I can skate perfect later.

  10. #10
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krenseby View Post
    The difference between Irina's LP in 2002 and 2006 is like day and night
    In 2006, she downgraded several jumps. In 2002, she had minor mistakes.
    in 02 she hadn't yet been battling some pretty serious health issues.

  11. #11
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krenseby View Post
    The difference between Irina's LP in 2002 and 2006 is like day and night.

    In 2006, she downgraded several jumps. In 2002, she had minor mistakes.
    In 2006 she doubled an intended triple flip in combination and fell on her triple loop. But the two skates were similar in that Irina was utterly lacking in that spark and spirit that we had grown to expect and love.

    In both, she looked sluggish, unhappy, and befuddled, and both performances went steadily downhill as the program droned on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    In 2006 she doubled an intended triple flip in combination and fell on her triple loop. But the two skates were similar in that Irina was utterly lacking in that spark and spirit that we had grown to expect and love.

    In both, she looked sluggish, unhappy, and befuddled, and both performances went steadily downhill as the program droned on.
    Yeah, but in the 2006 program, she was a lot worse anyway. Of course, we could make the conclusion that in both cases she let the pressure get to her and totally freak her out to the point where she couldn't skate reasonably well or anywhere near her usual standard. If that's true, than how sad.

  13. #13
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    she's not the only skater to bomb under the pressure after having a successful competitive career...

  14. #14
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    I agree that Slutskaya was trying to keep up the momentum of her 2005 season in 2006. How many posts here had her crowned as Olympic champion, with a two mistake cushion, going into GPF?

    Eiither during or after 2005 Cup of China, in which she beat Asada by nearly 20 points, and Arakawa by nearly 23, she was iinterviewed. Calling neither skater by name, she referred to Arakawa, and not as a compliment, noted how controlled she was. But she had nothing but praise for the "little one," whom she was annointing the future champion. She wasn't nearly as gracious after GPF, when the "little girl" beat the "mature woman," and she questioned the PCS.

    While Asada would not compete at Torino because of age, Slutskaya almost seemed vulnerable. Odds were, there was no reason to fear Cohen in the LP, and Arakawa has already lost to Slutskaya and Asada at CoC and Asada and Cohen at TEB.

    Just before Torino, Cohen was training away, with many rumors around her condition, but Arakawa was landing 3/3's in practice, a different skater than the one against whom Slutskaya competed earlier that season. Arakawa's practices did not skip the notice of the judges. In addition, Slutskaya had to deal with pressure from those who noted that she was the key to a Russian sweep, which was likely the end of Russian dominance, for at least the next Olympic cycle.

    Slutskaya was a skater who scored her major victories when she had a lead. She did not have this in Torino. Even though Cohen had falled twice at the beginning of her FS and that Arakawa landed no 3/3's and doubled her loop in hers, she couldn't skate a solid FS.

    I think her only chance psychologically would have been if Ladies had been in the first week, when Arakawa's practices wouldn't have made as long and powerful an impression and given her such momentum*, and before the sweep pressure built. Had the Men been last, I believe that Plushenko would have completed the sweep.

    *Atlhough had Ladies gone first, there would have been no pressure for Arakawa to be conservative, since no one would have known in week one that no other Japanese athlete would have medalled. Then we might have seen 3/3's from Arakawa, which, if successful, would have made her unassailable, in my opinion.
    Last edited by hockeyfan228; 12-02-2007 at 11:50 PM.

  15. #15
    Custom Title ks777's Avatar
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    I think Arakawa had something to do with Irina's poor free skate at the Olympics. All the commentators from the US and Canada were raving about Arakawa during the official practices. Arakawa was landing every thing and she was just on fire and that put Irina a lot of pressure remembering what happened in Salt Lake City. You start doubting yourself and fall on your favorite jump, the triple loop. Shizuka was landing 3/3/3s and I am pretty sure Irina saw them too. Shizuka was totally a different skater from a few months ago. At the end, Irina lost her confidence.

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