Sasha is not part of the Oly Team and she shouldn't be. Had she decided to give Nats a try, and why not?, starting in 2008 would have been the year for training. over and out.
Her comments re Mirai and Rachael are tasteless, imo, but she has a right to predict as anyone else has.
Here is what Sasha said:
"The American girls that reached Vancouver are young and haven't competed as much internationally, so they're kind of hit or miss."
"They're good skaters, they're just not at the same level as the international girls."
Here words seem like an honest and realistic appraisal.
That I didn't know, and it sounds much better than what was printed before.
I'm sure that what Sasha said and how the reporter spun it are very different. Amazing what context can do.
The thing to remember, also, is that athletes are often by necessity very self-centered, or at least self-absorbed. Except in team sports (and sometimes even then!), many of them are caught up in evaluating their own performances and their own needs 24/7 and don't have much time left over for considering either the abilities or the feelings of competitors. Certainly there are exceptions to this statement--some people are inherently gracious and mature.
Remember that in her Olympic years, Katarina Witt was known to enjoy psyching out rivals (and did a swell job of it, too). By 1994, when she was known as "Mutti" ("Mom") among other skaters, there's photographic evidence to show that when Szewczenko and Baiul collided on the ice in practice, the person who helped both of them up off the ice was Witt.
I agree with Sasha's assessment, the US ladies are set to flop at these Olympics barring some miracle. We're set to have a ladies podium completely free of Americans. If this were to occur, it'd be the first time since 1964 that no US lady managed to make it on the podium at the Olympics, and that was after Flight 548. You can try to spin it however you want, but it'd be a flop.
The ladies might not be the strongest, but the this is one of the strongest men's teams we have ever set to the Games. And also, who would have thought that we would have not one, but TWO medal threat dance teams. Even in pairs, Denney and Barrett are the strongest technically the US has had in a while. Although the dominance of our US women has ceased, we have very strong medal chances in men and dance.
Actually, I can envision a scenario whereby Mirai is at least third in the short program. Mao and Yuna are susceptible to nerves, and if Mirai skates as well in the Olympics (short program) as she did in Nationals-who knows? Often the skater that has nothing to lose skates the best.
As far as Sasha is concerned, she will do anything to keep her name in the public eye. She is a wonderful show skater, does some wonderful things on the ice, but without the jumps.....
Rachael could make the podium! She is living a normal life, catching up on her studies, while everyone else is worrying themselves to a frazzle.
I read that Mirai said that she'd be happy if she could be on the podium with Mao (when asked what she thought about competing with the Japanese team).
For Rachael to win a medal it seems we would have to see a bad competition full of mistakes.
I would rather see the best skaters perform well and if that means Rachael only finished 5-8 so be it.
If the judging has any semblance of fairness I would not be surprised if Mirai finished ahead of Rachael.
I understand Sasha was asked a question and gave an honest answer, an assessment most of us agree with. I think Sasha could have been more diplomatic, even if she just repeated what she said at Nationals about them being good skaters and excited to compete, and left out the not up to par thoughts. What I feel is ironic is Sasha was in the same shoes back in 2002, young, very little International exposure, and she felt she was capable of winning at those Games. IIRC, she had admitted her original goal was to "win in 2002 and retire like Tara did." While there were many hyping up an American sweep of the podium, most of those in the know didn't think Sasha would break through at those Games and thought 4th (3rd in SP) was a very, very good result. SO, my point is, Mirai and Rachel are in the same skates Sasha was back in 2002. Granted, in 2002, there were probably 4 or 5 serious podium contenders ahead of Sasha, while there are 6-7 considered ahead of the Amerian Ladies. But if one can reach the Final Flight, I think that is a great result, and certainly an attainable one. If one podiums, or is 4th, I think that would be fantastic! I do believe this could be a breakout competition for them, much like 2002 was for Sasha, and vault them into the next Olympic cycle. We'll see!
Last edited by MKFSfan; 02-14-2010 at 01:20 PM.
I am no expert -- far from it -- but from the videos I have looked at, it appears that the problem is that she reaches down for the ice with her toe-pick before completing the rotation, then she gets caught for underrotation. Skaters with more solid technique seem to be able to let the ice come up to meet them, or something like that (?)
Anyway, I don't think it needs to be splat-fest for one of the American girls to end up in podium contention. Nobody will skate perfectly. All Mirai and Rachael have to do is -- plan your skate, skate your plan. If you finish eighth -- hey, you are top ten in the world at something. (I wish I were. )