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Thread: It's disappointing to think about, but...

  1. #1
    Skating is art, if you let it be. Blades of Passion's Avatar
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    It's disappointing to think about, but...

    The best performances we'll ever see from Mirai Nagasu, Ashley Wagner, Rachel Flatt, and Caroline Zhang probably already happened at 2008 Nationals.

    I'm still amazed whenever I think about how strong they were collectively at that competition.

    Mirai Nagasu's SP

    Ashley Wagner's SP

    Rachael Flatt's LP

    Caroline Zhang's LP

  2. #2
    Banned janetfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blades of Passion View Post
    The best performances we'll ever see from Mirai Nagasu, Ashley Wagner, Rachel Flatt, and Caroline Zhang probably already happened at 2008 Nationals.

    I'm still amazed whenever I think about how strong they were collectively at that competition.

    Mirai Nagasu's SP

    Ashley Wagner's SP

    Rachael Flatt's LP

    Caroline Zhang's LP
    I think you raise an interesting point - but I think one or even two of this group will make a successful transition to the senior ranks.

    Rachael has a 5th place finish at '09 Worlds which already seems better than 2nd, 3rd or 4th at '08 Natls.

    Ashley may make it to this season's GPF, if not she looks improved from last season to me.

    Mirai basically lost last season. If Carroll's team is working at fixing her jumping technique it is going to take more than a few months. I think Miria showed major "it" factor at COC and with cleaner jumps and more polish she still looks to me like the one who can make it to World podiums in the next few seasons.

    Caroline.....hmmm, I bet many of her fans still believe she will have a breakout season but realistically it looks like it will be a while before her jumps get fixed.
    But she has an underrated toughness and competitive spirit and I would not be surprised if she skated very well at Natls.

    I wouldn't give up on this group yet - but they better get going because by next season there is likely to be a new crop of little one's looking to make their mark at Natls.

  3. #3
    Skating is art, if you let it be. Blades of Passion's Avatar
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    I don't doubt that they will all have success in the future. These performances feel like their defining moments, though.

    For example:

    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    Rachael has a 5th place finish at '09 Worlds which already seems better than 2nd, 3rd or 4th at '08 Natls.
    Yes, Rachael did well last year at Worlds...but her performances there didn't match what she did at 2008 Nationals at all. She did a 3-3 combination (slightly underrotated, perhaps) in both the SP and LP at 2008 Nationals and skated cleanly in both phases of competition, whereas at Worlds she had a couple bobbles and no 3-3 in either performance.

    I don't think Wagner will land a 3Lutz-3Loop ever again and I don't think Mirai will ever do the 3Lutz-3Toe again either. Caroline's 3-3 seems to have disappeared as well.

    2008 Nationals was just SO strong on the female side. I guess the disappointment for me is the fact that none of them seem to be improving in terms of their presentation. If they all lost their 3-3's but were giving amazing performances that would be one thing...but it seems like they've all kind of lost some energy and are thinking too much about competing, rather than trying to just have fun with the music.

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    About Ashley's Lutz-loop combo; I think she just gave up on trying them because she sees what happens to Miki Ando; she barely ever gets her loop in the combo credited as a triple, no matter how rotated it looks. However, it's true that in competitions we haven't seen Ashley land any sort of triple-triple... I'm still hopeful that she's gong to pull off that triple flip-triple toe combo. And I think she mentioned that she has a loop combo prepared for this season, but just left it out at RC because she didn't feel sure enough about it in practice yet. I don't know if it's going to be a triple loop combo later in the seson.. Her Lutz-Loop at 2008 Nats was a thing of beauty... I think Ashley improved a lot in presentation; she was a little rough around the edges around 2008 Nats; didn't finish off her elements nicely. But she did have a great energy back then...

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    It would be a shame if this talented group of young, and I do mean young, skaters had already reached their peak, and I for one don't think they have. There's lots of room for them to continue to grow - literally for some, and performance-wise for all.

    I for one prefer the look of a more mature lady on the ice - performances tempered by grace, polish and confidence that only experience can bring. Read Alissa here. When I watch her skate I don't care about the jumps tho' I know competitively she needs them. The rest is so lovely I forget about the misses as soon as she starts moving again. Again I know that's not what counts in competition, but that aside, for pure performance, she's my girl!

    I actually feel I'm seeing a bit of that quality in Ashley. Hope she continues along that road.

    Anyway, I look forward to those kinds of perfromances from the current crop of what Dick Button called "baby ballerinas!" I see their best is yet ahead.

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    Banned janetfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blades of Passion View Post
    2008 Nationals was just SO strong on the female side. I guess the disappointment for me is the fact that none of them seem to be improving in terms of their presentation. If they all lost their 3-3's but were giving amazing performances that would be one thing...but it seems like they've all kind of lost some energy and are thinking too much about competing, rather than trying to just have fun with the music.

    There is more to skating than 3x3's - and if not for Yuna - Joannie with clean programs could easily win the OGM this year without including a 3x3.

    Let's look at Mao for a minute. It seems the recent rule changes have effected her greatly. They have also effected most of the other skaters too.

    I think so much nitpicking over jumps is creating a bunch of neurotic, tearful skaters. As I see the joy of performing leaving many of these skaters it is leaving me too. It is not that I mind the tears so much as I sense so many skaters are tentative and skating with too much caution, and even skating scared.

    I think there was such a big reaction to Akiko last weekend because we saw a performer go out and have fun. It is one thing for the purists to denounce a flutz, it is an altogether different thing to see half empty arenas and limited TV coverage with dismal ratings.

    I don't think skating is offering an attractive enough product to the public at the moment and I am sure there will be some pretty big changes coming again in the very near future.

  7. #7
    can't come down to Earth prettykeys's Avatar
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    Those were definitely some great performances, and they are all still very young so who knows how much they can and will improve.

    I am hesitant to blame the way the judging is happening or has changed. If all these young prodigies were once able to impress figure skating fans before, then why the changes now?

    Why are young prodigies so applauded, anyway? Yes, it is exciting to praise precocious youngsters who are able to do what many adults wouldn't be able to do. I think part of the excitement is because of the feeling that they hold so much promise ("If they're this good this young, then they can get so much better later!")...which I think is an unrealistic way to look at it.

    Issues to consider are physiological/developmental changes that alter a skater's centre of mass (and thus, sense of balance.) Flexibilty, if it isn't maintained, can also decrease. Increased weight also means that falls are more painful and more likely to lead to injuries. Faulty technique that is more often forgiven in a youngster who can make impressive jumps will be less forgiven as they mature, as well as more difficult to fix when the skater is larger and heavier.

    The biggest challenge, however, seems to be mental-emotional. A lot of these youngsters are used to being praised and applauded while young. When they enter senior-level competition, they are no longer regarded as "amazing", and it seems to result either in a paradigm shift ("I guess I'm not really so great, time to work hard again") or what looks like a bitter refusal to accept that notion (e.g. a certain skater's unhappy frown whenever she sees her marks, "damn those judges").

    I do feel that it was a bit unfair to impose stricter guidelines and changes in the rules in the middle of skaters' careers and development. But I think it's up to these skaters to change or quit or play the blame-game. Their youth is a bonus--they all have the time and capacity to do this, it's just a matter of whether they want to and have the proper coaches to teach and support them.

    Maybe they can ask Joannie Rochette for some advice!

  8. #8
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    Four words:

    Too soon to tell.

    However, things are going downhill for the US women, and fast.

    It seems that there was a temporary bright spot when Wagner nabbed silver at COR. But she struggles with inconsistency and underrotated jumps. Let's see how she does at NHK but I caution that expecting her to be as good or better than she was at COR will likely be a good recipe for disappointment.

    Some people wanted Cohen to come back and "save" the US ladies (*cough* Phil Hersh *cough*) but a) she herself is an inconsistent performer and b) the scoring system has changed since she last competed.

    Others said that Nagasu would be one to watch. It was apparent after the SP in China, but after the FS, suddenly she's struggling even more than the other Americans in the Oly hunt. And so many people said that Flatt was rock-solid, dependable, etc. but no skater is a machine. Plus, much like Meissner in 2006, if her jumps are off she has NOTHING to fall back on to keep her scores up.
    Last edited by R.D.; 11-03-2009 at 12:45 PM.

  9. #9
    Skating is art, if you let it be. Blades of Passion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    I think so much nitpicking over jumps is creating a bunch of neurotic, tearful skaters.
    Indeed.

    All of these ladies at 2008 Nationals skated with enthusiasm. They were happy to be out there performing and they weren't self-conscious about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trewyn View Post
    I think Ashley improved a lot in presentation; she was a little rough around the edges around 2008 Nats
    I believe her stroking and arms have gotten better, but there is also less raw energy and freedom.

    Sometimes I think performers focus too much on trying to look "serious", in order to appear more mature.

    Whatever the style of music, I want the skater to look natural while performing it. I want to see that they feel the music and that it flows through them.

    I posted her SP earlier, here is the LP:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShGt3JB_uu0
    Last edited by Blades of Passion; 11-03-2009 at 07:19 PM.

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