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Thread: What happened to Shelepen and Gao?

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    What happened to Shelepen and Gao?

    So Junior Worlds results are in, and I have to say I'm pretty surprised with a number of the results. I thought Polina Shelepen and Christina Gao were going to be shoo-ins for medals, but they finished 4th and 8th here without having a meltdown in either part of the competition.

    Polina Agafonova beat Polina Shelepen again here like she did at Russian Junior Nationals, and Anna Ovcharova beat Shelepen at the Junior Nationals and then again in the SP here, she ended up in 5th place a few points behind Shelepen overall after making a few costly mistakes early in her LP here, likely the nerves of being in 1st after the SP got the best of her. However, I am just surprised because earlier in the season it seemed like Shelepen was so much better than Agafonova and Ovcharova, and now all of a sudden they all seem pretty comparable. I don't know if Shelepen's recent struggles are due to a growth spurt/puberty, injury, or nerves but if anyone has information/insight on her that would be great. I am wondering if her wins on the JGP maybe hyped her up as a better skater than she actually is? She seems to have a lot of potential and some nice jumps, but recently she has seemed a bit sloppy and more mistake-prone and I just wonder why.

    Christina Gao finished 8th here and I tend to think that was probably mostly due to nerves, but her PCS scores are always pretty low. She showed so much promise at the JGPF with her great LP and then at nationals with her great 3-3 combo, but here she didn't do the 3t-3t in either program or her usually great 3f-2t-2lo in the LP. I don't know if she is going through a growspurt of sorts or gets nervous easily, but I was surprised that Kiri Baga, Kate Charbonneau, and Anna Ovcharova all beat her here, as earlier in the season I thought she was a stronger skater than all those girls. I still think she has a lot of potential but it appears she really needs to work on her PCS and stamina. Any insight on her is appreciated too.

    So what do people think? Do Shelepen and Gao have what it takes to be good skaters at the senior level, or were there successes this season random and not as impressive as they appeared? I think they both have a lot of potential, but it was a little odd to see them faltering here. Hopefully it's just growth related and they'll both get back on track soon.

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    I first watched Christina Gao at US Nationals. She has nice jumps and speed across the ice, but there was something awkward about her presentation, and I think that probably hurts her PCS. As a junior, I also thought Yuna was a bit awkward in her movements (probably due to her long limbs) but she has improved immensely since those early years. So I think in order for Christina to do well as a senior, she should polish her artistry and have stronger nerves. She does have Orser as her coach so that's a plus.

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    Nothing happened with Polina. She is just tired, she had really hard season and everyone expected to see her on the podium, that was too much for 14 y.o. girl. She has grown a lot during last summer, but it didn't hurt her jumps, she was really good at the beginning of the season and here, in Junior Worlds, she landed 2A-3T and 3S-3T and other jumps including 3F and two 3 lutzes in the FS. I think she just needs some rest, maybe Christina needs it too. They both are really strong and could be successful as a seniors, but both got a long way to go as well as Kanako Murakami

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    Quote Originally Posted by miki88 View Post
    I first watched Christina Gao at US Nationals. She has nice jumps and speed across the ice, but there was something awkward about her presentation, and I think that probably hurts her PCS. As a junior, I also thought Yuna was a bit awkward in her movements (probably due to her long limbs) but she has improved immensely since those early years. So I think in order for Christina to do well as a senior, she should polish her artistry and have stronger nerves. She does have Orser as her coach so that's a plus.
    Alright, glad we are on the same page . I still think she has a lot of potential to be a force in the future, but I do agree she is a bit awkward now, though I actually think it's just mostly because she is so thin, all legs and arms. Once she fills out a bit I actually think it will help her skating and presentation become stronger. Her technique is definitely good. Orser should help her become a stronger competitor too, Jr. Worlds is a pretty big competition and most of the girls in the event this year had mistakes in one of their programs which were likely caused by nerves. Kanako had two solid programs but she has more international experience than the other girls. I'm still pulling for Christina, I hope she skates on the senior GP next season!

    As for Polina, her legs are so long I wonder how tall that girl is going to get. She has beautiful lines but if the rest of her body grows to become well-proportioned to her legs she could easily be Kostner height. That might not be an issue but it could effect her consistency, though I tend to think Kostner's inconsistency is due to more than just her height.

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    I think neither will be able to catch Murakami. Shelepen's teammates might in a year or two.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FlattFan View Post
    I think neither will be able to catch Murakami. Shelepen's teammates might in a year or two.
    Maybe. I feel like all the Russian girls are pretty unpredictable. Like the Polinas and Anna beat Elizaveta and Adelina at Russian Junior Nationals because they Liza and Adelina both fell a few times in their programs. Anna, Polina S, and Polina A have all beaten and lost to the other two at some competition this season, so it's hard to say who is better. If Anna's body doesn't change much I could see her becoming really good in a year or two, and as for the two Polina's, a lot depends on puberty, Polina A is teeny tiny and Polina S is already 5'3" and could easily grow 4 more inches.

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    I felt that Gao was a bit overrated for where Christina is at now. She has good jumping technique but I think her presentation needs some real work. I was sort of shocked when Goldenskate said she'd be the most likely to challenge Murakami because I just didn't see that. She's not doing the really difficult 3/3s that could make that happening, and her artistry and polish is no where near Murakami. I'm not saying Christina doesn't have potential-she does. But she still is a work in progress.

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    Quote Originally Posted by silverlake22 View Post

    As for Polina, her legs are so long I wonder how tall that girl is going to get. She has beautiful lines but if the rest of her body grows to become well-proportioned to her legs she could easily be Kostner height. That might not be an issue but it could effect her consistency, though I tend to think Kostner's inconsistency is due to more than just her height.
    Polina said in her interview they think her legs look not very proportional to her corp because of growth spurt she had last summer. Her bones grow faster than muscles so her legs look pretty skinny. That's why they decided not to use dresses for some time.

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    The problem with girls who go into puberty unusually long-legged is that when they start to fill out, their jumps are affected more than the girls who grow proportionately. Cynthia Phaneuf in particular was hard hit, and it took her years to get some of her jumps back, and even now, she has major problems with consistency.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckm View Post
    The problem with girls who go into puberty unusually long-legged is that when they start to fill out, their jumps are affected more than the girls who grow proportionately. Cynthia Phaneuf in particular was hard hit, and it took her years to get some of her jumps back, and even now, she has major problems with consistency.
    I know, that's what worries me. Cynthia is trim now and never got heavy going through puberty, but because she's tall, that alone was enough to result in inconsistency.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fashionista View Post
    Polina said in her interview they think her legs look not very proportional to her corp because of growth spurt she had last summer. Her bones grow faster than muscles so her legs look pretty skinny. That's why they decided not to use dresses for some time.
    Interesting. I actually think the pants accentuate her skinny legs but her outfits are cute so it doesn't really matter, just something I noticed. It looks like she gets taller at every competition this season, which may explain some of her recent struggles. Is there a certain height for which it becomes harder for an elite female skater to be competitive? It seems like there are no top female skaters above 5'7" (170cm), but I don't know if that is just a coincidence. Polina looks like she potentially could be taller than 170cm when she is done growing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by silverlake22 View Post
    Interesting. I actually think the pants accentuate her skinny legs but her outfits are cute so it doesn't really matter, just something I noticed. It looks like she gets taller at every competition this season, which may explain some of her recent struggles. Is there a certain height for which it becomes harder for an elite female skater to be competitive? It seems like there are no top female skaters above 5'7" (170cm), but I don't know if that is just a coincidence. Polina looks like she potentially could be taller than 170cm when she is done growing.
    Well, height itself doesn't affect sportsmen's jumps. it's a question of height-hips proportion. Talking about Kostner if her hips were an inch wider she would havedefinitely had better jump consistency.

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