Is Rachael Flatt the (emotional) underdog?
Weird to ask that, especially being the newly crowned U.S. champ, but all this backlash in the last week makes me think that she'll have a lot to prove at the Olympics, at least to skating fans and viewers.
There's a clear (and I will agree, huge) contingent that sees her as nothing more than a COP skater who didn't deserve the national title. It seems that no arguments from pro-Rachael folks or past results will sway them otherwise after what happened Saturday night.
Just makes me wonder what it will take for Rachael to prove that she is a solid skater with personality -- because it seems that being consistent on jumps or even a fun SP isn't enough.
I think that's a much harder challenge than all her 4 AP tests combined.
Sorry, but I don't think that "contingent" is all that huge. Many people thought last year that Rachael was robbed of the title when she completed 7 triples in her FS to Czisny's 3.
I was in the audience at Nationals. Both Rachael and Mirai received standing ovations for their performances and there was no outcry over the result.
There are posters who have made big noise on the message boards because they wanted Mirai to win. But that doesn't add up to a "huge contingent", because it looks to me like the same disgruntled posters complaining over and over again.
On other boards, the response to the result is far more positive than it is here.
Rachael has already proven that she is a solid skater with her World Junior title, her 5th place finish at 2009 Worlds, and her two GP silver medals. Mirai is the one with something to prove, as she has competed at JW twice, finishing 2nd and 3rd, and has never won a medal on the GP.
As for her personality, I see nothing wrong with it. Different strokes for different strokes. At 17, Irina Slutskaya was blah on the ice, but in time she evolved to be a great performer.
Last edited by chuckm; 01-27-2010 at 11:23 PM.
I agree with Chuck. I think this supposed Rachael backlash has prertty much spent its force and now people will start looking forward to the Olympics, cheering on both of our U.S. ladies.
I don't see her as an underdog. She's going into the competition as the U.S. National Champion. That's doesn't sound like much now, since the "reputation" of the U.S. ladies has decreased somewhat, but she still is the American favorite and she's quite consistent, placing fifth at Worlds last year.
And as for the 4 AP classes + figure skating + Olympics + National Champion, I think she's absolutely mad.
My co-worker, who was also in the audience, said pretty much the same thing.
Originally Posted by chuckm
In my post,however, I wasn't referring to just the folks at GS, but just the sense I get from reading blogs and twitter posts and the of course the skating media. (Say what you want about the media, but their articles get re-tweeted, analyzed on blogs and of course reposted on message boards for discussion...)
I like Rachael personally and think she's a great skater, but it's not good that she's being used as the representative of all that is wrong with COP. (Even if it's not true)
But yeah, maybe this will all settle down...esp. if she medals or places higher at the Olympics.
I get the feeling she sees skating as just one part of life. I think she knows there is life beyond skating. I think that is why she seems so calm cool and collected on the ice. It is just a feeling I get watching her skate. Who knows for sure what goes on in her head.
The inner workings of bio mechanic engineering!
Originally Posted by gfskater
I've been a fan of Rachael since the beginning, one just needs to check all my posts, even as far back as 2007 or 2008 Nationals (whenever she made her first senior Nationals debut) to see that.
But I must confess I was more wowed by her that first time, with all that energy & vivacity & effervescence, lol Dick Button even made me LOL when they showed a clip of her skating at 3 yrs. old in some local show. Her name back then was "Show Baby" or "Baby Doll", something like that. And Mr. Button laughed & said you have to have a gimmick!
Anyhow, she doesn't even seem like the same skater in terms of showmanship, except in the SP! I hope to see the old Rach return some day. I remember I even said she reminded me of one of my all-time favs, Oksana Baiul, both in style & looks!
She has the consistency & jumps down pat (almost, just a little more work on those 3/3 combos.), and has worked hard & earned her rank amongst the USA Ladies Skaters. No complaint from me. In fact I'm thrilled on that part, also that Dorothy Hamill is her mentor!
That said, it's not just Rachael I'm disappointed in when it comes to the jumps, but ALL the USA Ladies Skaters. In terms of power, height, full rotation, et al, they don't come close to Tonya Harding's. JMHO.
Totally irrelevant, but you like smileys and colorful cheers, don't you?
Originally Posted by Nadine
Lol, yes I do, ever since I found the color icon a couple of weeks ago!
Because Flatt is perceived to be flat
I confess I'm not crazy about her skating (although I like what she did with her SP)...however, that said, I'm glad that we have such a consistent competitor respresenting our country at a time when her compatriots are not. Although I have to say if Nagasu fixes her UR issues, she might eclipse Flatt since she (Nagasu) seems to be finding some consistency as well.
Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program
I don't see that she has anything to prove. She was perfect at Nationals and failed to capture out hearts. Sure, if she is perfect at the olympics, I think she will get some more fans on her side, and we will all stand up and cheer, but as to have something to prove, she already proved it.
The thing is Racheal is just not an emotional underdog. I think many share my opinion that I would like her to do well at the olympics, but won't be watching with baited breath or stay up all night to see her warm up. I honestly don't care that much where she places. Sure I don't want her to bomb, but I don't will her to suceed either. I don't know why this is, to me she has star quality as a novice skater, but failed to live up to it somehow. I guess it is because I personally like seeing line, and pointed toes and a straight back on a lady skater, but sometimes I feel like there is more to it than this.
I love her SP this year, but I think that a lot of the credit there goes to Lori Nichol and whoever did the music cuts for having it just "work" so well.
she takes the audience on her journey of emotions
I have actually said many complimentary things about Rachael. I don't like some aspects of her skating, and I can't help that. I do like some aspects of her skating. I do watch in awe as she lands such difficult jumps and just never seems to flounder. (Well, she does mess up but very rarely.) I think she is very musical. I enjoyed her SP. I have said many times that I thought Rachael skated better than ever at nationals, and that's great.
One thing I like about Rachael is that you can just sit back and watch and enjoy because you don't have to worry that you are going to see a meltdown like you do with Alissa. It's stressful watching Alissa skate and that takes a way a lot.
I have also said that it think it is great that Rachael has pushed herself so hard technically and reminded the other Americans that there is just no being competitive unless you can do the jumps and preferably have 3-3s.
I have also said that the judges can easily defend their decision and that I thought the competition was close. Unfortunately, numbers-wise, the competition was actually was NOT close and it's one of the things that continues to puzzle me.
I thought Mirai should have won and I make no apologies for it. But it's not like I don't think there is a good argument for Rachael having won or that Rachael skated badly. I've also said this many times.
I'm sure plenty of Rachael's fans and even others who aren't such fans thought Rachael should have won last year instead of Alissa, said so openly, and made no apologies for that either.
Alissa had to deal with a similar situation last year - when a lot of people thought she didn't deserve to win and were sure she would flounder at worlds. It was very negative pressure.
Alissa couldn't handle it. I'm sure Rachael can and that is one of the things that make her so great. I'm glad Rachael is going to the Olympics and I've said that several times too.
But that's kind of my point when I'm asking about being the "emotional underdog." People say she's consistent, but I sense a huge BUT coming from many people. I think while she's had the results and proven in that sense she's a good skater, as other people say (and you've just pointed out here). I also sense that people are not convinced emotionally that she's a champion.
Originally Posted by Tinymavy15
It's like anything else...you may know this or that, but in your heart you think differently.
I know that's not Rachael's problem. She'll be consistent as ever, probably win a bunch more medals and move on to the Ivy League and be that bio-mechanical engineer, but I think it's one of those things to think about when people look back at her career 20 years from now.
Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program
I think maybe we don't get emotionally involved because Racheal dosen't. She said she was mad after the SP at nationals being in third but we didn't see it. She was happy after the freeskate, but she didn't cry, or scream like Tara or anything like that. She is always happy, upbeat but never seems nervous or pressured or worried. She never really suffered a setback or a disappointment, two silvers at nationals could have been frustrating, but she always skated well she made the world team when she was age eligible. With Mirai she is emotionally connected to her skating, so we are. With Sasha you felt her passion in Malguena, Dark Eyes, Carmen and Rach. She could do things nobody else could do. Kimmie was not exactly a star, but she had that girl-next -door quality that you felt like you knew her. She seemed like an average girl worked hard and didn't have an attitude.
Racheal is successful, she does it all, not so perfectly that we sit back and say wow and cheer, but just complacently. She has a life outside skating, and while that is great, I think that is also why I could not get into the Hughes girls' skating. I guess sub-consciously we know that they have a whole other world to succeed in, while so many of these other girls live and breathe skating.