U.S. Ladies Prediction & Speculation Thread
So...it's the start of not only a new skating season but a whole new Olympic cycle.
So what's the state of the American ladies at this point? I know there have been threads here and there about specific skaters (i.e. Zhang) but here's a place to try to paint a picture of the entire scenario.
It's sort of early now but here's how I will start. Real brief impressions and will stay that way until I see some action:
First, the no-shows.
Cohen- she's done.
Em Hughes- ditto.
Then, the current generation:
Nagasu - Coming off her worst showing ever at the Worlds...and also her best showing at the Olympics a month before. Recovering from injury. Remains the US' best hope for a world medal and 3 spots if she can find her legs again and skate like she did at Nationals and Olympics.
Wagner - After a disappointing 3rd place finish at Nationals, she has her sights on a new goal: Sochi 2014. A major step she claims she took after then was to fix her lutz entrance. That, coupled with the new rule change for jumps I think will work in her favor. Not sure how much of a factor she will be internationally, but as long as she is consistent she will continue to be a force to be reckoned with at the national level. 2011 World team in her future? A National championship? stay tuned.
Flatt - from 5th at 2009 Worlds to a National Championship, to 7th at the Olympics, to 9th at 2010 Worlds. It remains to be seen whether 2010 Worlds is an aberration and she will continue to be her steady and reliable self. With her focus now near 100% on skating, let's see if she can grow. Got this feeling personally that she has peaked already, but let's see.
Zhang - I think this will be a rebuilding phase for her if she is serious about overhauling her technique. Therefore, I don't expect much in the way of results this season.
Czisny - Like the Katy Perry song goes, she's hot then she's cold, she's yes then she's no, she's in then she's out With her first major coaching change in several years, it remains to be seen whether it will help her consistency. There are two huge obstacles holding her back- (lack of) consistency, and cautiousness. She could be a serious contender if she can overcome both.
And then there was...
Gao - People seem to be expecting big things out of this girl. She's staying in the JGP this fall, but could be an outside threat for the National podium, especially if there are mistakes by the skater(s) above. Unlike another poster, I do not see her winning the National title or getting on the world team, but she can make her case by finishing 3rd or 4th. If she does that, I think she has made a strong case for the future.
Hard to say much more before the season actually begins, but feel free to start your speculations, etc. and in this particular thread let's stick to the American ladies
R.D. I pretty much agree with all of your predictions. Plus, I'd like to add:
Dobbs-She finished 6th at Nationals, and 4th at 4CC, but there are two shots against her--lack of difficult content, and her dedication to both pairs and singles. The only triples she has are 3S and 3T, but reportedly, she landed the 3F in the SP during summer competition, and is practicing the loop. Even though her consistency remains to be proven, if she can tackle the difficult jumps, then she will make waves at 2011 Nationals.
Zawadski- Very promising skater. 1st at Jr. Nationals, and 2nd at Jr. Worlds, but will she live up to her potential on the Senior level? At best, she could probably pull a top 5 at Nationals...but then that means some of the favorites are going to have to bomb...
she takes the audience on her journey of emotions
I think R.D. pretty much nailed it.
In the end, it's sort of the same as last year, the same girls to watch. The only difference is Mirai is the sort of the favorite so we'll have to see if she can handle the pressure and if she gets over her injury in time to train. Carroll and her youth are both on her side. She has repeatedly said Sochi is her goal so I think she is keeping this year in perspective, as there are still three more to go even if this isn't her year to burst to the top.
I think Mirai and Ashley and Rachael will both be upping their difficult. Rachael already had a 3-3 but she's supposed to be going for a 3z-3t this time. My bet is that she gets it. Mirai also, but we'll have to see how strict the judges are this year about downgrades. And not just for her, for Rachael, too. With Ashley, I don't know how consistent she can be on a 3-3, we'll just have to see. But she's got other factors going for her.
The other two differences is there won't be a Cohen wildcard and that Gao will be a medal contender. She could really play spoiler for the above three. As for Alissa, I really hope she sticks around and gives it one more go, just because I love her so much. I don't enjoy any current American's skating more than Alissa's, except for Mirai's. Alissa be the wildcard this year. But it's not just her tendency to choke that's going against her. She also lacks a 3-3 which could hurt her if Mirai, Rachael, Ashley and Christina really develop theirs.
My early predictions for top for are Mirai, Ashley, Rachael and Christina. And as usual, it will come down to who can keep it together.
Last edited by Layfan; 09-03-2010 at 10:19 PM.
Hmm. I didn't think of that, but then again, I think Czisny can at least make some points up in spins and spirals- which should at least pit her well against Flatt or Wagner (we saw this play out in dramatic fashion in 2009). Anyone know if Czisny is training a 3-3 or capable of one? I don't think it will really help her, to be honest. She's better off going for 6 triples, maybe even 7 if she wishes to stretch her luck, instead of the usual 5.
Originally Posted by Layfan
I believe Flatt is still the #1 US girl. Mirai is injured and out. Who said "no" to money, especially in Japan where they adore her? She's done for the season.
Czisny is also done.
Flatt's biggest competition comes from Ashley. But the same Ashley dropped out of Jr. Worlds. Ashley has a lot more problems than Flatt. She two-footed a lot of her jumps. Her flutz is pretty bad. If she's fixing them now, they won't be ready this year.
Gao, Agnes are both juniors. Not yet a factor.
Agnes is skating Senior this year and Gao was skating on the Senior level at Nats this past season. Ashley reportedly has fixed her flutz and landed a clean one with no calls at Liberty summer competition. Whether she can land it consistently at high level competition remains to be seen.
Originally Posted by FlattFan
she takes the audience on her journey of emotions
Well, I just have this feeling that Alissa not having a 3-3 - or even just having fewer tripples than the rest of the girls - will hurt her more than it has in the past. I think the judges thought her skating was inherently superior to the other girls in 2009 (And I'm not saying I completely disagree) and so she won even when other girls did more triples and were cleaner. But now those other girls aren't just up and comers trying to prove themselves. Mirai proved she could compete with the best at the Olympics and Worlds. Not only that, I thought all along last year that her skating had more maturity and polish than she was given credit for. But I think now, the judges will start to see it that way. Rachael wasn't as well received by the international judges but she has an Olympics under her belt - one more than Alissa does - and she did amazingly well at those Olympics. And Ashley has been around long enough that the judges might see her as a veteran, even if an unproven one. So, I think Alissa will need more than just her amazing spins and pretty spirals. It does depend on what the other girls bring, though. There is no guarantee that any of them will have consistent 3-3. And Alissa has just about the most solid 3z-2t of all of them. I'm just saying that at this point, the judges won't be disposed to assume that a clean Alissa is automatically better than the rest, the way I think they were in 2009. Judges are only human...
Originally Posted by R.D.
Alissa has done 3-3 competively, btw, but it's been years.
This is tough to call. Mirai is injured, but we really don't know how bad. Rachael did not have a stellar debut. Yes, it was a new program early in the season, but it was a new program early in the season for all the girls who beat her. We have heard reports about Ashley making improvements to her jumping, especially her lutz. Reports of Caroline's improvement over the summer appear to some posters to defy logic and reason. I would have to call those 4 girls the top of the heap.
Judges have certainly responded positively to Nagasu after all but shunning her in the past. Then again, she has struggled. It happened very suddenly, too. Flatt was smacked with phantom downgrades in the Oly FS and I think she should have placed higher for how well she skated. Overall, I think the new 70% DG rule is a good thing for all the American ladies because in the past two years, it has been their Achilles' heel.
As for Czisny, I don't see her on another world team unless we have another 2009, and even then, this time she's actually going to have to EARN it...
On paper, the team that is most likely to bring us 3 spots for 2012...ironically, the same team that failed to bring us 3 spots for 2011- a revitalized Flatt and a healthy, fighting Nagasu. Those two have some "street cred" with the judges and have done well in international comps. I suppose Wagner is the next best bet but she MUST overcome her SP demons. It's what prevented her from going to the Olympics, and what kept her out of contention in 2009.
If Nagasu remains injured or is compromised, then the "ideal team" then becomes Flatt and Wagner. I still think that on an ideal team of two, you keep Flatt on the team because she's guaranteed top 10 material at her best...and even not at her best, as in 2010 worlds. Hopefully there is someone waiting in the wings when these skaters retire and/or are no longer at their peak.
Last edited by R.D.; 09-03-2010 at 10:56 PM.
I feel it incumbent on me to mention that Estonia has nothing to do with Gedevanishvili, if that was the implication in the phrase "Turkey and Estonia." (Go, Elena!) I'm not trying to be picky or anything...it's just that I can never contribute when it comes to jump grading and suchlike. I only remember names. So I figured I'd bring it up. The closest Estonia has come to international glory that I can recall is to be near Lithuania, which sponsored Drobiazko and Vanagas. Gedevanishvili is from down the road apiece, in Georgia.
I'm glad to see people defend Rachael. She's a good skater, hardworking, meticulous. I don't know whether she's reached her full potential, and I don't know whether she's got any magic in her. We'll see what the season brings, and I hope she does the best she's capable of.
So far Rachael is 0 for 2. She lost to a Jr skater a couple of weeks ago - I think the one who just placed third at a JGP event and then she lost a showdown with Tom Z's new senior skater Agnes last week.
Originally Posted by Olympia
I don't see it as a big deal because she is surely preparing herself for the season and doesn't need to prove much at summer competitions.
Still, we don't normally see supposedly elite top threat senior skaters like the US Champion losing to middle of the road jr skaters. The problem is that Rachael missed jumps at these events. We know Yuna and Mao can miss jumps and still be hard to beat. That is not really the case with Rachael though.
Originally Posted by janetfan
Yes, that is her problem. She's got no wiggle room.
Luckily, we may have other skaters who do. Still, you've gotta hit when it counts. Rachel seems to be able to do that, so it sort of evens out in the end in a strange way.
Just for fun, Mirai is number three among active skaters on the ISU personal best list (number 4 if Yu-na Kim comes back), behind only Mao Asada and Miki Ando.
Rachael is sixth, with Lepisto and Kostner in between.
I would think Mirai should be behind Joannie.
Originally Posted by Mathman