From what I've heard so far about her work ethic, it's likely Caroline who pushes herself hard into the competitions regardless of injury.
My heart was broken last night. She was so tense on and off the ice. I wish fans can absorb her pressure!!
With her bad technique on all her jumps, and these recent reports that she is having back problems, I think this is a huge indicator of where she is headed. She is going to break her back and not be able to skate ever again. If she keeps on going the way she does. Having good posture and technique are essential traits towards being a good skater. I don't think she has this. And I think that Pearl Spin is also a reason why her back is not as in good shape.
Caroline's problems started back, at a critical time in her skating development (around intermediate level), she went essentially coachless and picked up some bad technical habits. Never corrected. Got a coach that is too much of a marshmallow to deal with Caroline and/or her family (mother?), and maybe just not a strong enough techical coach. Was touted in the media as the Next Big Thing, had a taste of success on the junior circuit, at a time when her tech flaws were overlooked. Never corrected. I think this is where she started to get a little overcocky as to her true abilities. Then she hit the big time and hit a wall when all her issues started biting her in the backside. Now the Winning Momentum and the publicity have gone to others. I'm sure she doesn't like being relegated to the back seat of US skating now, but so far she doesn't show much awareness that if she wants to stay in competitive skating and succeed, she needs a complete overhaul. And that means....getting out of that old familiar comfort zone, and being able to take some coaching ToughLove.
The observation above about Caroline liking exhibitions but never seeming to find much joy in the competitive part, rings true, now that I think about it. She may need to come to the realization that competitive skating at this level is just not for her, and get out of it. I think her season is likely over after this Nationals, (or maybe 4CC), and she needs to make some hard decisions. And if a pushy family behind the scenes is the issue, she is old enough now to put her foot down and have some say in what the vision will be. I suspect the USFSA is frustrated with her visible lack of skating improvement this year--regardless of how she places at competitions. The injury excuse doesn't fully wash with me---you can be injured, not able to jump or do Pearl spins, but still improve stroking and power and learn to skate faster. She hasn't even done that. Sorry if this all sounds harsh. I really don't hate Caroline, but this season, I find her enigmatic and frustrating.
Last edited by bigsisjiejie; 01-22-2010 at 10:01 PM.
Thank you for your above response. I thought I was being too harsh as well.
I don't know why Caroline wanted to go through the agony (physical and emotional) of competing here when she is obviously not ready. Maybe a chance at thr team was too much to give away, but I am half hoping she withdraws before tomorrow evening and saves us the pain of watching her. Right now she has to get well and figure out what she wants to do with the rest of her career, not cling onto a hope of making top 10.
I just re-watched her Skate Canada FS.
And It is sad that only two things I could say they were good were final two elements,
spiral(not speed but just the position) and spin, then nothing else.
Even her basic skating was very sloppy too.
And it is heartbreaking to see her facial expression like that at the ending.
Yes, It is frustrating for us to see her struggling,
but it is beyond us to tell how much SHE is frustrated now.
If they send her to the Junior Worlds again,
sadly I do not think she is capable to win there
as current top junior ladies are clearly better than her.
As other peope wrote here, I think she should get herself a new coach.
However, I suspect the reason that she has been with her current coach is
that simply Li Mingzhu is Chinese.
Also she trains at the rink owned by the Kwan family.
So for her and/or her family, Chinese connection seems to be very important,
which is understandable considering the fact
she is a daughter of the recent Chinese immigrant family.
But I think she should break away from that though I know that could be very difficult,
people in a minority community feel strong obligation to help each other
and stick to each other to survive.
But for her now, she should break away from that to survive.
Hope things will work out for her,
otherwise she will be remembered only for "PEARL SPIN."
Definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result.
I was really happy she was going to another coach, even to Wong (it seemed like anything would beat doing nothing and staying put), and really, really bummed that she went back to Li. I just had no faith whatsoever that Li could help her fix all her problems in one season when she hadn't managed to make a smidget of an impression over the last several seasons. Li simply isn't a strong technical coach. LuLu was just incredibly talented, and lucky too perhaps, to end up with mostly good jumping techniques. Caroline has her positive qualities, but really needed a strong technical coach who could help fix everything that was wrong with her skating. Her bad technique was already so ingrained and beyond what Li could do for her. Caroline's got an unusual body: super flexible and no core strength, and a lot of weird stroking and jumping techniques associated with those things. She probably needs someone with a lot more experience and resources to figure out how to get her body to overcome its particular mix of weaknesses and strengths. No offense, but Li really seems like she doesn't know what to do with Caroline. She comes across lost and timid... And even Caroline looks like she's lost her faith in Li. Even if Li did have good advice, with this kind of teacher-student atmosphere, they were bond to run into a dead end. I bet she wasn't especially thrilled to come back to Li either. It was just that she didn't see any really good options. I so wish that she had gone to Frank Carroll or even Arutunian... *sigh*
As much as I adore Caroline, she is one of those "talk the talk but don't walk the walk" kind of people. She KNOWS her problems and has verbally addressed them several times. She understands that she has a major issue with speed, jump entry, and power, but she has somehow managed to maintain her bad habits. We all know old habits are hard to break, and in contrast to what alot of people on this forum are saying, I think she LOVES SKATING TOO MUCH.
Maybe she loves it so much that she doesn't want to take any time away from it to actually focus on the problems she knows she has. After all, her training schedule is so ice centered that it seems like that is all she does, all day, every day.
I hope this can be a wakeup call for her though, like everyone else is saying. I honestly don't want to see her in pairs. I really like her as a singles skater, but she's reached a critical point, a point where she has to make a tough decision. Life is about making choices, the best choices, and the last thing anyone wants is to have any regrets.
I will always have hope for Caroline, and I refuse to count her out.
Here's to a brighter future...
I was expecting to see a really awful performance, but I just saw Caroline's short on YouTube, and to my surprise, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. She started off with good speed and attack, and (ignoring the mule kick and the corkscrew technique, which are the same as they've always been) went faster than usual into the 3F with quick, clean rotations. In fact, she probably went into it with too much gusto, thus resulting in the turn out before the 2T. The fall on the 3R was just a fluke, as she had been nailing that jump in practice, and she looked understandably slower and "out of it" after that. Still, although she could stand to perform it faster, her footwork sequence is my favourite of all the American ladies this season, as she manages to look mature and elegant in the upper body without any flailing about.
Overall, I thought she looked trained and ready with more defined positions in the spins (especially the flying spin), and even though she didn't do the Pearl, her layback combo spin looked fine although she slowed down too much at the end of it. If she had hit the loop and 3-3, I don't think there'd be any cause for all this hand-wringing - she might not have been in position to make the Olympic team, but she most likely would've been a podium threat.
However, it comes to the same issue that her false technique does not cope with the speed.
It is obvious that she thought about only the rotation when she learned those jumps, not the height, distance, speed or the good technique, which is very common among young skaters, but unfortunately her earlier coach did not correct them at all, and probably he/she just praised her ability to rotate those jumps.
As she does not use the speed for her jumps, her jumps are very small, and in order to squeeze those rotation in such a little air time, she has to start to swing her entire body even before the take off, which all skaters do but not that much, that is how she has developed that the corkscrew technique, I believe.
Again that is rather common among young skaters, but it should have been corrected a long long time ago for Caroline. And as her jumping tchnique was developed for jumping without the speed, if she adds more speed, she messes up with them.
Now she has to go back to single jumps to solve this problem, which means learning jumps from the scratch all over again. This is so much more than just fixing flutz, and as you know a very few skaters succeeded to fix one.
Can she do it?
I guess so if she really wants to do it.
But her dilemma is that this will take more than one summer,
and she likes to keep competing.
In order to compete, she has to keep using her false technique.
Then she will never be able to fix it,
or never have enough time to fix it, I guess.
Well, whoever she will choose for her next coach,
I really wish he/she can help her out not only for the technique
but also for making a right decision,
like staying away from competitions for a while if it is necessary.
If she asks Charlene again,
I will say Caroline can not get away from the Chinese connection.
as Charlene's last name is "Wong."
I wondered about that. So she messed up the triple - triple, and did a triple - double with a turn in the middle. She fell on another jump. Does that deserve to be 20 points behind the leaders? Does poor jumping make everything else look bad?