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Thread: Zhangs out of Grand Prix

  1. #16
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    Perhaps it will be this injury that will inform them of how they might "re-invent" themselves should they decide to return to compete. Their accomplishments are already quite full and complete. Will hope they return with strength in more ways than just a return to physical health.

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by feraina View Post
    Z/Z's replacements have been announced:
    http://isu.sportcentric.net/db//files/serve.php?id=2135

    Sui/Han will indeed compete in China! Kadlecova/Bidar (CZE) will replace Z/Z in France.

    I'm a little worried about S/H competing so much this season. They already did two JGP's, and now they will have two GP's back-to-back. And then they will attend at least one of JGPF/GPF, then National's, then JW. That's a lot for one season! I hope they don't burn out by the time JW rolls around. I'm thinking about the two seasons in which Mao and Caroline at 14 did well on the GP series (Mao won GPF, Caroline got 4th), they both went back to JW, made mistakes, and were overtaken by others to win silver.
    It is a real worry and not just for burnout issues. As a veteran of the trip, going from Asia to USA is far harder on the body than the other way around, and about 90% of my fellow travellers agree. It takes days to get back "in phase" when you head eastbound through that many time zones. If I were a coach, there's no way I would put a pairs team on Cup of China followed by Skate America, especially one that had already done two major competitions within the previous month, and were facing another a few weeks later. It's scarier for pairs than singles, as a miscue because if a skater's body or head is a bit off, could lead to a bad accident. I'm rather aghast, frankly. They are being pushed too hard.

  3. #18
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    It makes me think of Denis Ten last season. Going all over the place and competing at everything and the Jr Worlds comes in and splat.

  4. #19
    Constable , Costume Police colleen o'neill's Avatar
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    I've either missed something , or I've forgotten..What is their injury , again ?

  5. #20
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    He broke a finger.

  6. #21
    Constable , Costume Police colleen o'neill's Avatar
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    Ah.

    Well , I think there's something wrong with her ( maybe not physically ).. All last year, she looked like she'd rather be anywhere else but on the ice. *sigh.* I've always felt he was far more , I don't know - tuned in ; alive to their programs , music , etc. than she was.

    I don't think there was a thing wrong with the actual programs, themselves , last year. What has always held them back is a lack of expression. I think the programs ( particularly the FS ) were a brave attempt to bring them (her) out of the shell. The attempt failed because she couldn't or wouldn't do it. He was into it ,and gave it his best shot. She wasn't , and didn't.

    There was some lovely choreography in their FS, and if both partners had been able to immerse themselves in the program it could have been a knockout.

  7. #22
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    I'm really surprised to hear they're 25 and 26. I thought they were nearer to the ages of Shen and Zhao, lmao.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigsisjiejie View Post
    It is a real worry and not just for burnout issues. As a veteran of the trip, going from Asia to USA is far harder on the body than the other way around, and about 90% of my fellow travellers agree. It takes days to get back "in phase" when you head eastbound through that many time zones. If I were a coach, there's no way I would put a pairs team on Cup of China followed by Skate America, especially one that had already done two major competitions within the previous month, and were facing another a few weeks later. It's scarier for pairs than singles, as a miscue because if a skater's body or head is a bit off, could lead to a bad accident. I'm rather aghast, frankly. They are being pushed too hard.
    Well, to be fair, they had already been assigned to SA, so they had to make that trip no matter what. They are not adding much to their travel schedule to compete in Cup of China in addition to SA. It's more the stress of being in another major competition. But considering it's very close to where they train, and there's no real expectation on them to do well, maybe it's not a big deal.

    As for traveling east versus west, I don't think it makes much difference when it's basically half way around the planet. :P But yes, that much traveling and that many time zones are definitely hard on the body. Good luck to them!

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by blue_idealist View Post
    I'm really surprised to hear they're 25 and 26. I thought they were nearer to the ages of Shen and Zhao, lmao.
    To be fair, they have been to three Olympics (came 11th) and did the Junior/Senior circuit concurrently a couple times.

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by feraina View Post
    Well, to be fair, they had already been assigned to SA, so they had to make that trip no matter what. They are not adding much to their travel schedule to compete in Cup of China in addition to SA. It's more the stress of being in another major competition. But considering it's very close to where they train, and there's no real expectation on them to do well, maybe it's not a big deal.

    As for traveling east versus west, I don't think it makes much difference when it's basically half way around the planet. :P But yes, that much traveling and that many time zones are definitely hard on the body. Good luck to them!
    Yes, they were assigned and required to skate at SA. I agree that they don't have to travel for CofC, but the stress of competition is still a factor and especially a first GP in their home country. I don't agree that there are no expectations on them--I think they will be expected to have strong skates and the public watching will expect them to be on the podium (even if their coaches and Chinese Fed may not expect it). However, my expectation is that they will have pretty good skates at CofC but crash out by SA. I just wish the Ch Fed had given another team a chance this time.

    And BTW, you are very wrong about east vs west. It makes a big difference. I've done the transpac both ways innumerable times in my life--as a child, a teen, a young adult, an older adult. And jet lag is ALWAYS is harder on all body rhythms and processes, eastbound. Which is why I'm not optimistic any more for Sui/Cong at SA--and until the CoC assignment came up, I figured they had a decent shot at SA podium behind S/S and D/B, with the rest of the field being weaker. Now I'm not as sure.

  11. #26
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    Well, for political reasons Sui/Han need to have as much international exposure as possible. They are student of Bo Luan, former pairs partner of Bin Yao, who's in charge of not only the Pairs national team, but also the entire figure skating national program. Sui/Han are not on the national team, and Yao has not spoken particularly highly of them in the press, saying that they are still too young to know whether they will really end up doing something great, despite winning everything on the international junior level last year, thus far exceeding the results of all of Yao's young teams (Z/W, D/W), and also S/Z, P/T, Z/Z in their junior days. Notice S/H weren't invited to Shen/Zhao's big show in Beijing on the occasion of their wedding, while Z/W and D/W were. They also don't get Chinese federation funding for getting nice costumes or hiring non-Chinese choreographers. Their coach is obviously very good among Chinese pairs coaches, but I think they should really spend some time with someone like David Wilson or Lori Nichol to work on their lines, posture, edges, expression, etc. Improving those things and therefore their PCS is absolutely crucial for their progress.

    Yao & Luan are obviously not on good terms (they should really work together, given the dearth of good coaches in China), I don't know exactly why but I heard that back when they were together, Yao felt Luan's lack of technical skills (in particular solo jumps) was what kept them down, and has remarked to the press on various occasions that the woman's technical skills make or break a team.

    Right now, S/H are finding success on the international scene *despite* Yao and the federation's lack of support. Yao is telling the media that junior success doesn't necessarily translate to senior success (in reference to S/H), so S/H really have a lot to prove in their GP assignments. They have to get as much positive exposure as possible, so that perhaps they can get more financial and political support within the federation despite not being coached by Yao.

    Results speak more loudly than anything else. The other Chinese junior team that just won JGP Czech and qualified to the JGPF is also coached by Luan Bo, as is another young team that just won a Chinese domestic championship at the senior level (and beaten out Yao's more experienced teams). They are the other two most promising young pairs teams in China right now, but unfortunately both are too young for GP's. Otherwise, D/W already have two GP's. Z/W had two, but because they messed up on their paperwork for Skate Canada somehow, they couldn't skate there as assigned -- but anyway apparently Z has a foot injury and may not be able to skate at all.

    What other Chinese pair do you have in mind that you'd like to see given a chance at CoC?

    It's always good to have more than one coach within a federation, no matter how good they are. Different coaches have different styles and see different things, and may be able to work better with different skaters, or give different things to the same skaters.

    So while it's a lot of pressure/stress on Sui/Han, their GP success would lift not only their own fortunes, but also those of their coach, and those of their training mates, as well as possibly their ice rink (for future generations of skaters), which is a provincial training center, outside of Beijing.
    Last edited by feraina; 10-16-2010 at 07:41 PM.

  12. #27
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    Fascinating, feraina. Thanks for your post.

  13. #28
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    Actually Z/Z also won 2 JGP's, JGPF, and JW in 2000-1, but they were 3rd in at National's, while S/H won National's last season as well -- although the top three pairs were all absent. Anyway, I would *hate* to see talents like S/H never fulfill their full potential like Z/Z. S/H desperately need a good coach to work with them on the PCS side of things, or they might really amount to nothing more than Z/Z's fate. From last season to this season, they've learned a triple jump (3T), improved on the quad throw as well as the 3-twist -- technically they are already almost among the world's best pairs, but they are getting beaten in PCS by S/K and T/T, who are improving by leaps and bounds in that respect, while I see S/H making minimal improvements there. Given the politics, I think doing well on the GP's is their best and maybe only chance in the short term to get the necessary federation support/funding, and therefore the opportunity to improve on their weaknesses with better choreographers/coaches.

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by feraina View Post
    So while it's a lot of pressure/stress on Sui/Han, their GP success would lift not only their own fortunes, but also those of their coach, and those of their training mates, as well as possibly their ice rink (for future generations of skaters), which is a provincial training center, outside of Beijing.
    Their GP success could also result in their removal from Bo Luan and reassignment to Bin Yao, a possibility not mentioned above. They don't have any room for failure, as failure will just provide more "I told you so" grist for Bin Yao's mill. My fear is that by having them scheduled like this, the chances of falling short are now multiplied, just due to sheer fatigue. I thought that another year of success on the junior international circuit, + success at one GP, would cement their names at least internationally, and domestically make it harder for BY and the Fed to dismiss them as a fluke. Or for that matter, make it harder to keep Bo Luan on the periphery. While I agree with your statement that more than one Top Coach is beneficial to an overall system, BY might not agree.

    I find something very distasteful about resting the entire fortunes of a coach, training mates, training center, etc. on the back of a couple of teenagers, who at this point certainly aren't able to call the shots nor even have input into the big decisions. While all Federations have their internal politics that affects their skaters, this situation seems uglier than most. Sigh. But what's done is done. I just hope that the decision for them to push hard and make their move right now doesn't backfire. And that they don't get injured.

  15. #30
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    I find it really sad that Yao Bin is letting jealousy and old grudges affect the future of a talented pairs' potential. S/H are clearly better than any of Yao's young teams. Shouldn't he consider the future of Chinese pairs skating now that the older ones are either retired, injured, or may be retired?

    And I have to applaud Luan Bo and Zhang Wei for getting S/H this far without the federation's support and money. Their costumes, music, and choreography are all gorgeous, imho, much better than Yao Bin's pairs. And if they can't get support from the federation to improve their PCS, can they perhaps get Denis Petrov's and Chen Lu's support in Shenzhen? I'm a total newbie when it comes to figure skating, but would they be able to improve S/H's spins, footwork, stroking, etc.?

    Speaking of Denis and Lulu, how is the state of their skaters? It would be very interesting if there could be top skaters from the south of China.

    All in all, I hope S/H success in both the short term and long term. I just adore them so much, and it would be a tragedy for them to never realize their potential.

    And sorry for such a long first post!

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