Could we ever allow for such a thing? I don't mean to promote baseless conspiracy theory here, but it seems that the general trend on figure skating message boards is that many posters assume that each and every skater without a doubt goes into competitions planning on having (near) perfect performances... but are things really so simple?
Is there another way to get to the top prize without absolutely having to win all the time? Could feigning weakness for a spell or even not pushing oneself too far before the operative moment actually serve to affect other competitors stratagem (as in jump layout, presentation and the like)?
For clarification: Let's say that skater A has for some time been capable of reaching the top of the podium in most of the competitions he/she has entered in the past few seasons, yet this is something the skater has rarely achieved. We'll say it's because they're choosing to improve on other elements of their skating, rather than specifically focusing on a successful jump layout. Skaters B,C, and D however, because skater A is considered out of contention, bicker amongst each other for the top spot, laying all they have onto the table for the previous two seasons. Is it not to skater A's advantage to keep what he/she has been working on for these seasons a bit of a mystery, such that when all the practice is finally presented with a successful jump layout, skaters B,C, and D are now trying to catch up to what skater A has achieved? Is this at all plausible?
Competition experience is one thing. Everyone probably does want to put out a few perfect performances so they know what it feels like. But a win at TEB is a lot different from the OGM. And adversity over triumph will always sell just as well as the constant winning streak. Elite Figure Skaters are largely trying to build careers, aren't they?
Please don't crucify me for this, but if you must, go ahead.