Christina Gao is sixteen and Agnes Zawadzki will be sixteen in July. Kimmie Meissner was world champion at sixteen. Mirai Nagasu was U.S. champion at 14. At 13 Caroline Zhang won her junior grand prix events by 53 points and 33 points, won thejunior grand prix final by 20 points, won the junior world championship, and was heralded as the second coming of Sasha Cohen for her positions, spins and spirals.
I think wait and see is all we can say at this point.
Agreed. You see, I think she has potential but I get the sense she's just a tad bit overhyped (is it her coach?)As for Gao, I'm excited about her but I think she needs a transformation like Michelle Kwan's in 1996 to be a world medal contender. Not saying it won't happen this year but we'll just have to wait and see. Judging from the results last year though, she already is a U.S. championship medal threat.
It was great to see Czisny come out of nowhere and have the skate of her life during 2007 Nats to become the surprise bronze medalist. Her first National medal, and most thought it would be her only one. She usually has good GP results but has never been able to hold it together at Worlds (or Nationals, with the exceptions of 2007 and 2009). Can't see how staying in longer will change that, but more power to her if she wants to continue. It's not always about the medals after all.I'm not surprised to hear Alissa is not retiring. Ever since I read that Brian Boitano urged her not to leave competitive skating with any regrets I expected to her to at least keeping training through the summer... I'm glad because I always love watching her. But it's hard to have any expectations. Quite apart from her nerves, I think she'll be at a total disadvantage with the new rules. She'll be able to rely even less on her spins and spirals to compete against much better jumpers. But I"m glad for her that she is not throwing in the towel. Good for her.
Generally I agree, but I would replace Gao with Flatt. Gao, maybe 4th place. She would have been 4th this year if it hadn't been for Cohen's "return" (albeit, a distant 4th).If I had to make a very early prediction, I see these three ladies medaling at US championships: Nagasu, Wagner, Gao. Always assuming they skate clean...
You can say what you want, but Kimmie was imploding just one year after she won worlds, Mirai was imploding in the 08-09 season due to her growth spurt, and Caroline imploded this season (save 4CC). The culprit? Growing pains. This is why in some ways Agnes and Christina aren't really at a disadvantage - sure if you're amazing as a 13 year old, 4-foot-8, 70 pound mite then you'll get a lot of hype, but chances are you'll grow half a foot and gain 40 pounds before you stop and then your body is so different that it has to readjust. I mean, Mirai is 17 and she just became a force again recently. In the 08-09 season, she was the same age as Agnes and Christina and was much worse (really, really low GP scores), so technically Mirai's progression in the past year could be compared to a unknown skater the same age who was fairly mediocre and then had a big break aka Agnes or Christina.
Nagasu was able to bounce back this season. It remains to be seen whether Zhang can do the same next season, or even if Nagasu can keep up the momentum and not let her Worlds slip-up trip her up.
Meissner has had a strain of bad luck lately but honestly I think she is past her prime. Wouldn't mind seeing her put down some skates she is happy with though.
The key for these young up-and comers is to KEEP IMPROVING. Be the best you're capable of and let the chips fall where they may. Unless your name is Mirai Nagasu, keep an eye on that rear-view mirror.
Last edited by R.D.; 05-09-2010 at 10:19 PM.
I wasn't aware that Agnes trained with Rachel Flatt. I knew about Gao and Yuna though. Nothing like having someone better than you around to push you and motivate you.
It was great that NBC took the time to show Gao last year. Even if these skaters DO turn out to be all they're cracked up to be, I don't see it happening next season. Possibly the 2011-12 season at the earliest.
What's more interesting to me is:
Can Nagasu can build upon her stellar season (save Worlds)?
Can Wagner conquer her SP demons?
Can Flatt take it to the next level now with more time/attention to devote to skating?
Will Zhang take the time to try to improve her basics so she can get back in the game?
Will Czisny be able to redeem herself after the crushing defeat at 2010 Nats as the reigning champ?
Will any old-timers (e.g. Meissner, Hughes) try to stick it out at least for another year or two?
That and more, coming up next. Stay tuned.
Last edited by R.D.; 05-09-2010 at 10:57 PM. Reason: organize post.
Castile/Okolski and Navarro/Bommentre are also retiring per Ice Network.