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Thread: What happened to Shelepen and Gao?

  1. #1
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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 bekalc View Post
    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.
    I agree, but I think her excellent jump technique is what sets her apart from the other girls. I keep forgetting she is 16 though, she looks a bit younger, but in some ways I think it's good that she wasn't a superstar at 14 because Caroline and Mirai were and then when they were 15 and 16 they grew and had to start from scratch basically, and while Mirai has improved, Caroline was probably at a higher level of skating when she was 14 than she is at now. Christina is skinny but she's not itty bitty like Mirai and Caroline were so I don't worry about her losing her jumps, all her jumps are fully rotated, even when she falls. I think it might take her a little while longer to become a force internationally, but I do think that she definitely has the potential to become one. She should go for 3f-3t next season she has the best flip jump ever. The abc commentator's think she is really good and she was named an alternate to the Olympic team. She beat Ksenia at the GPF and Ksenia was 10th at the Olympics, if Christina had gone, she could have maybe finished 9th or something - that's pretty cool.

    Oh, and anyone know why Polina Shelepen always wears unitards? I was just noticing that the other day, she hardly ever wears dresses, it's always the unitards for her. She can pull it off but it is interesting to see. Who is her coach does anyone know?

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    Quote Originally Posted by silverlake22 View Post
    I agree, but I think her excellent jump technique is what sets her apart from the other girls. I keep forgetting she is 16 though, she looks a bit younger, but in some ways I think it's good that she wasn't a superstar at 14 because Caroline and Mirai were and then when they were 15 and 16 they grew and had to start from scratch basically, and while Mirai has improved, Caroline was probably at a higher level of skating when she was 14 than she is at now. Christina is skinny but she's not itty bitty like Mirai and Caroline were so I don't worry about her losing her jumps, all her jumps are fully rotated, even when she falls. I think it might take her a little while longer to become a force internationally, but I do think that she definitely has the potential to become one. She should go for 3f-3t next season she has the best flip jump ever. The abc commentator's think she is really good and she was named an alternate to the Olympic team. She beat Ksenia at the GPF and Ksenia was 10th at the Olympics, if Christina had gone, she could have maybe finished 9th or something - that's pretty cool.

    Oh, and anyone know why Polina Shelepen always wears unitards? I was just noticing that the other day, she hardly ever wears dresses, it's always the unitards for her. She can pull it off but it is interesting to see. Who is her coach does anyone know?
    Gao does not have excellent jumping technique. Her flutz is pretty bad, almost rivals Sarah Hughes. She got an e call, not just !. Her spins, spiral, jumps aren't better than her contemporaries. She's already 16. If she couldn't fix her flutz in a year or so, she will never be able to fix it. I really don't see Gao moving to the top tier senior skaters. Kanako got wacky technique but she's a lot more polished. The Russian gals have better spins/spiral compare to Kanako's. They also have better and harder combo compare to Kanako's. All they lack are consistency, polish, and nerve. This is why I think they will likely challenge Kanako in the near future. Gao, no chance. She has absolutely nothing on Kanako at the moment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FlattFan View Post
    Gao does not have excellent jumping technique. Her flutz is pretty bad, almost rivals Sarah Hughes. She got an e call, not just !. Her spins, spiral, jumps aren't better than her contemporaries. She's already 16. If she couldn't fix her flutz in a year or so, she will never be able to fix it. I really don't see Gao moving to the top tier senior skaters. Kanako got wacky technique but she's a lot more polished. The Russian gals have better spins/spiral compare to Kanako's. They also have better and harder combo compare to Kanako's. All they lack are consistency, polish, and nerve. This is why I think they will likely challenge Kanako in the near future. Gao, no chance. She has absolutely nothing on Kanako at the moment.
    So what are you saying - all they lack are the most important ingrediants any skater can hope for

    I was sure Kanako would win and turns out it wasn't even that close. Too many here point out flaws in Kanako but overlook her good qualities.

    I don't think she lost a competition this year despite being up against these so called Russsian "wonder girls."

    If these young Russians are really so great then Kanako must be even greater since she beat them every time out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by silverlake22 View Post
    Oh, and anyone know why Polina Shelepen always wears unitards? I was just noticing that the other day, she hardly ever wears dresses, it's always the unitards for her. She can pull it off but it is interesting to see. Who is her coach does anyone know?
    Eteri Tutberitze.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FlattFan View Post
    Gao does not have excellent jumping technique. Her flutz is pretty bad, almost rivals Sarah Hughes. She got an e call, not just !. Her spins, spiral, jumps aren't better than her contemporaries. She's already 16. If she couldn't fix her flutz in a year or so, she will never be able to fix it. I really don't see Gao moving to the top tier senior skaters. Kanako got wacky technique but she's a lot more polished. The Russian gals have better spins/spiral compare to Kanako's. They also have better and harder combo compare to Kanako's. All they lack are consistency, polish, and nerve. This is why I think they will likely challenge Kanako in the near future. Gao, no chance. She has absolutely nothing on Kanako at the moment.
    That's what people used to say when people compared Yuna to Mao, and now look who won Olympic gold by over 20 points -Yuna, not Mao. Also Joannie got a lot better in recent years and she's 24, just because Christina isn't spectacular at 16 doesn't mean she won't be in the future. People hyped up Caroline Zhang too and then she didn't really live up to her success in juniors once she became a senior. Kimmie was World Champion at 16 and then was falling 3 times in her freeskates and getting international scores in the 130s a year and a half later. Mirai just last season was getting freeskate scores in the 70s and 80s at senior competitions, and now she just finished 4th at the Olympics. Emily Hughes was 7th at the Olympics when she was 17 and then became a very run-of-the-mill skater after. A lot can happen in coming years, both good and bad. Kanako may never live up to her junior glory on the senior ranks and those Russian girls have always been very good when they were 12 and then a lot of them dissappear in their late teens and twenties. A lot of people have compared Christina's skating to Michelle Kwan and Yuna Kim, so I don't think it is fair to say Gao has no chance at catching up to Kanako when they are both only 15/16 and so many things, both good and bad, could happen in the future. I actually think Gao will blow everyone out of the water in a few years and take people by surprise ala Yuna and Mirai.

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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    So what are you saying - all they lack are the most important ingrediants any skater can hope for

    I was sure Kanako would win and turns out it wasn't even that close. Too many here point out flaws in Kanako but overlook her good qualities.

    I don't think she lost a competition this year despite being up against these so called Russsian "wonder girls."

    If these young Russians are really so great then Kanako must be even greater since she beat them every time out.
    Kanako is the best in her age group, I was sure she was going to win, too. Currently, the Russian girls aren't as good as KM. But looking at their individual elements like jump combos, spins, spiral, they are more impressive compare to Kanako's. The whole is less than the sum of its parts for these Russian girls. I think in a year or two, they might grow a bit more as a skater, compete better, and can legitimately challenge Kanako.

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    The problem with all the Russian girls is that they are young and have not been bitten yet by the puberty bug. Many times in the past, young Russian girls have romped in the JGP and JW and then disappeared from the scene entirely.

    A few examples:
    Yelena Ivanova - won 1995 JW silver, 1996 JW gold, 1997 JW bronze, 1998 JW silver and then was not seen again
    Yelena Pingatcheva - won 1996 JW silver, was 5th at 1997 JW, then disappeared
    Nadezhda Kanaeva - won 1996 JW bronze and then disappeared
    Yulia Soldatova won JW gold in 1998 and eventually won World bronze, but then was left off the Russian team. She skated for BLR with no success and tried to return to Russia, but never competed again due to injury.
    Viktoria Volchkova won JW bronze in 1998 and had some success in the GP, but never won a World medal.
    Kristina Oblasova won JW in 2001, but never had any successes after that.
    A few Russian ladies won medals in the JGP but never went on to success elsewhere: Veronika Kropotina, Arina Martinova, Ksenia Doronina, Olga Naidenova, Ekaterina Kozireva, Margarita Tertichnaia, Oksana Gozeva.

    The only Russian ladies who had great junior success and went on to bigger and better things were Slutskaya and Sokolova. Butyrskaya was never a star as a junior.

    Russian ladies tend to mature a bit later, just when they should be achieving success in the GP. Even Irina Slutskaya went through major problems between the ages of 18 and 20 due to physical growth and maturity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by silverlake22 View Post
    That's what people used to say when people compared Yuna to Mao, and now look who won Olympic gold by over 20 points -Yuna, not Mao. Also Joannie got a lot better in recent years and she's 24, just because Christina isn't spectacular at 16 doesn't mean she won't be in the future. People hyped up Caroline Zhang too and then she didn't really live up to her success in juniors once she became a senior. Kimmie was World Champion at 16 and then was falling 3 times in her freeskates and getting international scores in the 130s a year and a half later. Mirai just last season was getting freeskate scores in the 70s and 80s at senior competitions, and now she just finished 4th at the Olympics. Emily Hughes was 7th at the Olympics when she was 17 and then became a very run-of-the-mill skater after. A lot can happen in coming years, both good and bad. Kanako may never live up to her junior glory on the senior ranks and those Russian girls have always been very good when they were 12 and then a lot of them dissappear in their late teens and twenties. A lot of people have compared Christina's skating to Michelle Kwan and Yuna Kim, so I don't think it is fair to say Gao has no chance at catching up to Kanako when they are both only 15/16 and so many things, both good and bad, could happen in the future. I actually think Gao will blow everyone out of the water in a few years and take people by surprise ala Yuna and Mirai.
    What you said could be true in the future. Gao could get injured in the future, too, and place 20th at regionals. That's why I said "at the moment, Gao has nothing on Kanako"

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