It just depresses me that, in terms of coaches with credentials, Mirai has moved way, way up and Caroline has moved way, way down (at least Ms. Li has coached a world champion and Olympic medallist). Why couldn't Caroline have gone to someone notable like Mirai did?
Mirai's under-rotation problem, prior to her growth spurt anyway, didn't have to do with her lack of height. Her jumps were always quite high, but somehow she couldn't stay tucked in long enough to finish off the rotations in air. In fact, her height really helped alleviate her slowness in rotation in her junior year, when she had some UR problems but they weren't devastating. But then she really grew a lot and gained some weight, and she rotated even slower and her height suffered a bit, too, and that's how her triples became even more UR'ed.
Caroline's UR problem, OTOH, is directly a result of her lack of speed and lack of height. She rotates super-humanly fast considering how little flow/height she gets into her jumps, it's amazing that she can get most of them ratified most of the time! If she can skate faster, and really jump *up* instead of twist around going into her jumps, I think that would do wonders for her jump GOE and general PCS.
Besides speed and jump height, Mirai is also notable for her posture: posture going into jumps, and just stroking in general. She has a very straight back and upright posture, and manages to generate quite a bit of power. All this is something that Caroline can really use to enhance her own skating. If she had better posture setting up her jumps, maybe she wouldn't be mule-kicking so much.
Well there are the reports of those who knew Mirai. The thing is Mirai went to Charlene in mid season 2007...At Junior Worlds Goldenskate praised Mirai for her technical skating skills.Do you know this for a fact? Are there videos of Mirai's skating pre-Charlene? Regardless of whether we fans believe that Mirai's speed benefited under Charlene, Caroline seems to think so (based on my last exchange with her).
Now I could be wrong, but I don't think in let's say two/three months time does a skater develop great skating skills.
"I feel that I need a change to further improve my skating, so I have chosen to work with Charlene," Zhang continued. "I feel she will be able to add a new dimension to my skating."
My my my, those media training sessions at Champs Camp do produce boring comments
Good luck to Charlene and Caroline! So far, we have no reason to think Charlene CAN'T make Caroline fast and her jumps higher. Yay for a better politicking coach, too...maybe Charlene can also book Caroline some sessions with a good jump doctor?
And it also seems from the article that the desire to train with a large team, including continuing with Kuchiki, comes in large part from Mirai and her family. Charlene says it takes this much to train teenager like Mirai, and maybe she needs even more. One might even say that the continued influence of Kuchiki may be what held Mirai back from improving on her jumps.
Here's an older article:
Apparently Mirai first went to Charlene for her footwork. And I do think that Mirai now has some of the best footwork among the top US skaters. Her footwork is actually a highlight in her exhibitions, whereas Caroline leaves out complicated footwork in all her exhibitions. This speaks to the difference their respective abilities and confidence wrt to this element. The difference is also amply apparent in their competitive programs. Caroline can really use some help to make her skate harder transitions better in her programs. I somehow forgot that Charlene got coaching from Colson. Since she chose to highlight Colson's influence on her own skating and coaching, I think this bodes well -- because Patrick's skating skills and work ethic mainly came from Colson not Don Laws.
This article details Mirai's training regime:
Apparently she only trained two days with Wong, and usually when a skater goes to all these different coaches on different days, the decision is driven by the skater and family, not by the primary coach. It also sounds like Mirai was difficult as a student, and they probably had personality clashes. I can't imagine Mirai saying to Frank Carroll: I don't like your perfume (not that I can imagine Carroll wearing any ), I'm not coming near you today for instructions.
And from this article:
it sounds like Mirai simply didn't get enough consistent training. And she also sounds like she had a bit of a motivation and/or attitude problem (not wanting to get up early to train, or do homework).
So all in all, at least from all the published material, it is not at all clear to me that Mirai's problems this year had to do with Charlene's coaching abilities. Now, maybe Mirai was already skated fast and jumped high prior to going to Charlene, but I didn't know anything about her skating back then and can't find any concrete material online either.
Btw, I think it's pretty factual to call Caroline a workaholic and Mirai not as one. "Workholic" refers to amount of time for working, not the quality. It seems like Caroline skated a lot but didn't get the highest quality of coaching, or at least the kind of coaching she needed to improve. Whereas Mirai was not often available to be coached, at least by Wong, whether it was because she was training with other coaches on other days, or not wanting to get up, or not liking Wong's perfume or advice.
Last edited by feraina; 06-15-2009 at 06:36 PM.
Too many cooks spoiled the broth in Mirai's case (at least, Frank seems to think so). Hopefully, it won't be the same for Caroline.
ETA: Skating folks in southern California have told me that Nagasu was long known to be a very talented young skater with excellent basic skills (she did qualify for Nationals twice at the Intermediate level from the very competitive, deep SWP region, for example) but, unlike Caroline Zhang, she didn't have consistent performances and results until her breakout Junior season in 2006-07.
Last edited by Sylvia; 06-15-2009 at 06:46 PM.
Btw, Caroline said she'll stay in the Artesia rink, so she's not going to have to train in a new rink or go on different sessions (the ones, for instance, Frank Carroll suggested might have been too full of little kids for Mirai).
As for Mirai's success under Charlene, the fact remains that she suddenly rose out of (relative) obscurity under Charlene. Now, one might argue that all the best qualities of her skating were already set before she changed coaches, but obviously she didn't achieve great success under her old coaches, and if she were happy with them she wouldn't have switched to Charlene at all.
Also, according to that one article I linked to earlier, Mirai went to Charlene first for footwork, apparently without intention to have her as the primary coach, so that might have happened before the official switch in 2006.
Last edited by feraina; 06-15-2009 at 06:55 PM.
I have no idea if Caroline is a diva off-ice, but at least now we know Mirai has the makings of one.
Well, whatever Charlene Wong's merits or flaws as a coach, since it's now official, I can only wish them the very best this season. I hope that it all works out well for Caroline. If she can win National's this season, then that'll be this fan's dream come true. (And of course, that'll also ensure her ticket to the Olympics.)
So it's now official, and the speculation can end.
There seem to be some major switchups here. Good luck to all parties in the Olympic season.