Why does Caroline Zhang bore some people?
She has wonderful spin positions (probably one of the best laybacks in the history of figure skating), beautiful carriage, eye popping flexibility. So, why are some posters bored when they watch her?
I think it might be because she always chooses the same type of music, year after year. We don't see much in the way of personality from her during her performances.
Boring? Year after year? 2007 was her year to make international headlines, and also the year she came in second to Mirai at Nationals. 2008 was her senior debut on the Grand Prix circuit & she made the final!. Though she's been skating for years, she really has only been in the public eye for these two seasons. "Year after year" might be stretching a point. I saw her at both nationals (2007 and 2008) and she made a tremendous impact at both. She had the audience spellbound, and received huge ovations. To each his own, but I'm here to say that there probably isn't a skater anywhere that doesn't bore some poor soul in the audience. I might prefer Mirai's speed and vivacity, but Zhang is special as well.
Originally Posted by chuckm
Keeper of Bab's Death Stare...
At the risk of sounding like Aunt Peggy, I don't feel like she feels/hears the music.
Then again, I feel the same way about Mao, even though she has strong skating skills, and a lovely line...
Everyone's got different taste.
I don't like watching her because she's slow and her jump technique is horrendous.
She bores me because, like nubka said, I really don't think her skating relates much to the music. I think you could change the background music and her expression wouldn't change. She's also very much in the "ice princess" mold, and personally, I am a bit sick of that and enjoy skaters who do something different.
Also, I guess people rank different aspects differently. For one, I think she is very flexible, but I really don't look out for flexibility in a program. I myself don't consider flexibility a wow factor. And regarding her music choices, I won't say they're always the same, but I am not much of a classical music junkie and find her music rather tedious.
Wow, I thought I was the only one who can't finish watching her LP (and her SP "feels" like a LP). I think single skating is boring in general compared to pairs but once in a decade someone like Yu-na or Mao or Oxana Baiul comes along and nullifies that boring factor for a viewer like me. I think Caroline is the most painfully boring to watch in the current U.S. team followed not far behind by Alissa Czisny. It's her speed - she doesn't have it - and she doesn't flow across the ice. Also, maybe it's because she's so petite - her movements don't really deliver the music. Yeah, she's got nice "stretch" and great flexibility but somehow it doesn't really blend in with the music either.
Gadfly and Bon Vivant
I don't find her boring, I think she's a talented and charismatic performer but ....
I really don't care how flexible a skater is, I'm more interested in what the blade on the ice is doing not what the blade in the air is doing. Also, it's easy for extreme flexibility to cross the line from impressive to grotesque.
Last season she had some tech issues (flutz, mulekick, some other stuff), I'm more interested in seeing progress being made there than a new contortionist position in a spin.
I'm just not into very young skaters on the senior circuit. If anything I would raise the age limit for ladies. Apart from injury issues, very young skaters just don't connect with the music or their choreography the way they can a couple of years later. The monotony of her musical choices is a reflection of this. In terms of music and choreography she needs to get out of her comfort zone and take some chances.
L'art pour l'art
I don't think that you can really explain it. E.g. I love Johnny Weir, Alexander Abt, Lambiel, Takahashi etc. - but Jeff Buttle, who is an amazing skater and can do lyrical and musical as good or even better as the ones above - always bored me to some extend. I admire his talent, his technique - but I was never moved, inspired or touched by any of his performances. I can't explain it. Even guys like Joubert, van der Perren always excited me more.
It's probably the same for some people with Zhang. I don't think it's ignorance or deliberate snubbing - it's just what it is. I can also name pianists, dancers, singers and conducters that never moved me, despite the fact that they had without any doubt lots of talent, musicality, amazing abilities...
I think that's why it's called art - because it's different for each one of us, it's subjective, it's personal, it's emotional...
I think Medusa put it best. Its just how a person feels. Viewing something or someone as boring is a matter of taste. Why some people find Caroline boring is because their rubric for something that's interesting or exciting is not met. Their rubric though, is completely unique to them and how they perceive things is also unique. Just like how a single event can be taken/analyzed much differently from person to person. Why do people find watching the ballet boring? A person could say because of so & so (i.e. music) and another person could counter back that they love the ballet because of those exact reasons. That's what's great & also frustrating about spectator sports like figure skating or gymnastics. You can judge certain technical skills and appoint or devalue scores, but things like artistry/performance is really subjective to the person that's interpreting what they see. I mean it's not like baseball or football where athletes are given points based on scored runs; a touchdown doesn't count on how gracefully a person ran to the endzone- it just has to be fair and abide by the rules.
"Hold an edge and look sexy!"
Many good points have already been mentioned. It could be that Caroline's detractors prefer skaters who display great power, speed, strong basic skating skills (steady edging, command of the ice utilizing the full surface, and powerful stroking), and the ability to interpret varying styles of music and choreography, which are all elements she can potentially improve upon. The criticism of her that I keep reading is that her skating is being labeled as pretty fluff, but I have to say to those critics that she is very young on the senior international scene and that she and every other skater in the world needs more time to season on the world stage and to further develop the different shades of their style. Caroline may very well have different moods and choreography in her capabilities that will be tapped into later as she matures. I say give her a chance and who knows, she may surprise you. Right now though, she is only a 2nd season senior skater - she has potentially LOTS of time on her side.
Good luck Caroline!
Last edited by museksk8r; 09-20-2008 at 10:32 AM.
Totally agree with your post. She is still a newbie and to her credit has done very well. I am still wating for skaters (who will remain nameless) who have been skating a lot longer than Caroline to come into their own. Skating is subjective. A lot of people thought Kwan 's skating was boring. (no judgment and sorry to go off topic here) Caroline may have some faults but for me boring is not one of them.
Originally Posted by museksk8r
I don't find her boring but I can see how others do. It is her music choices or the music that is being picked for her. I just don't feel she ever skates to anything age appropriate. Her music doesn't allow her to smile or look like she is having fun. I think trying some more up tempo music would help.
Go Caroline! <3
Do I think Caroline is boring? Obviously not based on my username. Why? She appeals to me: I enjoy her flexibility, polish, and centering. She may not have the best jumping technique (but beautiful in-air positions); however, there are plenty of skaters that have their own flaws with which to correct: Yu-Na still, in my opinion, doesn't have a decent spiral positions (but good edging); Mao lacks facial expression (but has made tremendous improvement; Yuakri has that horrid wrap (but great consistency), and the list goes on.
Caroline may have her flaws, but she is, afterall, only fifteen, and working to the best of her ability to make improvements to her skating. To her credit, she acknowledges, and is working to improve, such her flaws (from her own words and witnessed through her new programs). She was able to learn, and consistently execute a 3-3 (after one season); she has incorporated her own uniqueness into her skating through her spins and spirals, and has even been credited with an ability to relate to the music by both Flemming and Bezic.
Concerning her music choices, I think she is playing it smart. She's relearning her salchow, working on her speed, and trying to correct her flutz and underrotation problems. It makes no sense for her to, in correlation with all that, use music with which she feels uncomfortable. Besides, Spanish Gypsy, last season, had plenty of variety, and we have already heard, from those who saw GoldenWest, that her music selections are not entirely soft and lyrical throughout.
One of the best Caroline montages I've seen...
Last edited by carolinefan177; 09-20-2008 at 02:34 PM.
probably the same reason some people don't like Irina Slutskaya's skating, or Michelle Kwan's
different strokes for different folks!