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Thread: How much should U.S. Nationals count for World team selection?

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    How much should U.S. Nationals count for World team selection?

    This topic could have its own discussion thread so I've created one:
    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    If there is prestige to the Federations, then they will send the 'Best Athlete(s) to the Worlds/Olys. Why is the USA bent on sending those who happen to skate well at the one shot Nationals as the best team to represent the Federation. Do you think the French Fed will not send Amodio to Worlds because he had an unusually poor skate at French Nats and placed 4th?

    Except for injuries, etc., the Selection Committee will rubber stamp the results of the US Nats as representing the finest skaters for the USA team. Do you believe it?

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Personally, I don't think the USFSA should go the route of the French or Russian federation, where Piseev or Gailhaguet or some committee meeting behid closed doors can just send the skater whose coach has the most political pull within the federation.

    I would not like to see a system where the committee can just say, you go to worlds, you stay home, on the basis of personal whim.

    The advantage of the winner-take-all National Championship is (assuming unbiased judging) that it is cut and dried. The skaters know exactly what they have to do to make the World team, no politicking in the hallway.

    However, a point system in which a skater gets credit toward making the world team by virtue of placements at international competitions would be OK, as long as the criteria are precisely delineated in advance and not dependent upon being the current darling of the powers that be.

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    I've always found the judging at US Nationals to be just as questionable (or not) as international judging.

    In fact, truth be told, a little more questionable.

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    she takes the audience on her journey of emotions Layfan's Avatar
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    I just deleted this reply from the Hersh thread and put it in this one:

    I think with the U.S. ladies part of the difficulty is that right now there is no obvious skater who should get preferential treatment. Let's say Alissa, Rachael, Mirai and Ashley all skate wonderfully at nationals. Is it more important that Alissa made the final or that Mirai came fourth at the Olympics? Is it more important that Rachael is the most consistent or that Alissa tends to score higher internationally when she is clean?

    There is no Michelle Kwan in this field. So for now, I think there is no problem with sending whoever finishes 1-2 as all the ladies have their strengths/weaknesses and none of them have medaled at world/Olympics. Course if the 1/2 is a huge upset like Gao/Agnes it could get weird. However, I don't think that will happen.

    In the concrete situation we have at hand:
    I agree with what Doris said in (yet another) thread that where it might help Rachael and Alissa is in their PCs marks. But this will be much more true if Rachael and Alissa do well at the final. Imagine if one of them wins It will be a huge breakthrough for either of them and then we can start talking about whether they should go to worlds even if they finish third or fourth at nationals.
    Last edited by Layfan; 11-29-2010 at 01:01 PM.

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    I believe that if the USFSA wants to use ISU results to determine World teams, there should be a set formula using results from the various competitions. They should not make a vague reference about using ISU events, then lock themselves in a room and just come up with whatever team they want.

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    I think it's good to have some flexibility in the team selection for two reasons:

    *to allow for extraordinary circumstances in which the clear leader of the field is unable to compete at Nationals for some reason (e.g., temporary acute illness or minor injury that will almost certainly be resolved in plenty of time for Worlds) or to finish the competition, perhaps for a fluke reason like breaking a blade during or right before the performance

    *to discourage judges from propping up favorites on the theory that choosing a world team with their marks is more important than just judging what they see on the ice that day

    But there needs to be a clear sense that Nationals results count and that a skater who is eligible for Worlds will not be left off the team in favor of someone they defeat at Nationals. I can only think of two times when that has happened: Paul Wylie in 1992 and Katrina Hacker in 2008.

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    I don't remember the Katrina Hacker situation at all. In Worlds, was it that Wylie was passed over for Mark Mitchell? I remember there was a fuss because Eldredge had an injury and so was given a bye into the Olympics, and then Wylie got to go as well. Had they compromised by promising Mitchell a spot on the Worlds team? The one thing I remember is that Wylie made (>ahem<) good use of his spot at the Olympics. That was a competition for the ages for him! Mitchell was also a fine skater, with (like Wylie) beautiful extensions on his moves. It was unfortunate that 1992 was one of those years with just two spots available for U.S. men.

    Come to think of it, it's in the two-spot years that problems generally arise. Remember the 1994 Ladies' lineup, with Michelle as the alternate? (And the other, more dire aspects of that situation too, of course.)

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    It should be a guide as to who to send but not written in stone. What if a skater does great during the GP season and does well at 4C or Europeans but has a bad night at their nationals? Should a lesser skater get in becuase they had a bad season but got lucky one night? I think way to much credit is given to Russian coaches and not enough to the skaters.

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    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    I don't remember the Katrina Hacker situation at all.
    Hacker beat out Kimmie Meissner at nationals but instead of being placed on the world team they let Kimmie go to Worlds and sent Katrina to 4CC - IIRC...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    I don't remember the Katrina Hacker situation at all.
    What Tonichelle said.

    In Worlds, was it that Wylie was passed over for Mark Mitchell? I remember there was a fuss because Eldredge had an injury and so was given a bye into the Olympics, and then Wylie got to go as well. Had they compromised by promising Mitchell a spot on the Worlds team? The one thing I remember is that Wylie made (>ahem<) good use of his spot at the Olympics. That was a competition for the ages for him! Mitchell was also a fine skater, with (like Wylie) beautiful extensions on his moves.
    Yes, exactly.

    It was unfortunate that 1992 was one of those years with just two spots available for U.S. men.
    Well, there were three spots on the team, and one of them went to Christopher Bowman, who won that Nationals.

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    Skating is art, if you let it be. Blades of Passion's Avatar
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    Skaters should qualify for Worlds based upon their own achievements. If you were in the top 10 at the previous Worlds, that should be an automatic invite. If you finish in the top 10 at the current season's Four Continents or Europeans (this number could vary from year to year and also be a little different between the two competitions depending on the level of competition at each event. It could also vary between disciplines...you'd probably want less pairs to qualify, for example), that should be an invite. If you win a medal at any Grand Prix event of the current season, that should be an invite.

    Each National federation should only determine who gets to go to Four Continents and Europeans. Countries who do not qualify a skater via those means could still send 1 skater to Worlds if they qualify via some other form of good standing.

    This method of determining who gets to go to Worlds means we might see 6 or 7 entries from the same country competing in a single discipline, which should absolutely be allowed. Why should a good skater be left out simply because of the country they are from?
    Last edited by Blades of Passion; 11-29-2010 at 02:13 PM.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    The 2008 U.S. championship was a weird competition. That was the year that Johnny Weir and Evan Lysacek exactly tied, with 244.77 points each.

    In ladies the order of finish was

    Mirai (too young for worlds)
    Rachael (too young)
    Ashley (just barely old enough)
    Caroline Z (too young)
    Bebe Liang
    Katrina Hacker
    Kimmie Meissner.

    Wih their three worlds spots USFS sent Ashkey, Bebe and the seventh-place finisher, 2006 World champion and defending U.S. champion Kimmie (over 6th place finisher Hacker)

    At Worlds, the placements were reverse. Kimmie got 7th, Bebe 10th and Ashely 15. Only two spots for 2009 worlds. (Would a team of Mirai, Rachael and Caroline have done better?)
    Last edited by Mathman; 11-29-2010 at 02:27 PM.

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    she takes the audience on her journey of emotions Layfan's Avatar
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    Skaters should qualify for Worlds based upon their own achievements. If you were in the top 10 at the previous Worlds, that should be an automatic invite. If you finish in the top 10 at the current season's Four Continents or Europeans (this number could vary from year to year and also be a little different between the two competitions depending on the level of competition at each event. It could also vary between disciplines...you'd probably want less pairs to qualify, for example), that should be an invite. If you win a medal at any Grand Prix event of the current season, that should be an invite.

    Each National federation should only determine who gets to go to Four Continents and Europeans. Countries who do not qualify a skater via those means could still send 1 skater to Worlds if they qualify via some other form of good standing.

    This method of determining who gets to go to Worlds means we might see 6 or 7 skaters from the same country competing in a single discipline, which should absolutely be allowed. Why should a good skater be left out simply because of the country they are from?
    That is an interesting suggestion. So this year the U.S. would get to send Rachael, Alissa, Ashley and Mirai

    Plus whoever medals at the Four Continents, if anyone.

    But you mentioned Europeans. What about U.S. nationals and Japanese Nationals? I always think of Europeans as a sort of national. It's not the same to be a French champion as a U.S champion or a Japanese champion. The European Champion is more comparable to the U.S. champion. And no fair that the Europeans would get that extra way of qualitying - especially it you are going to reach all the way down to 10th!
    Last edited by Layfan; 11-29-2010 at 02:14 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PolymerBob View Post
    I believe that if the USFSA wants to use ISU results to determine World teams, there should be a set formula using results from the various competitions. They should not make a vague reference about using ISU events, then lock themselves in a room and just come up with whatever team they want.
    I agree with this 100%.

    By the way, the USFSA rules not only say that consideration can be given to other events, they also list those events in a pecking order as to which carries more weight.

    This seems to me quite strange if the rule is, don't pay any attention to these lists and just go with the top placements at nationals.

    Why bother to mention that winning the Grand Prix Final is more important in making the world team than winning ForurContinents if both of them count zero in the actual selection process?

    So this has made me wonder whether the USAFSA is getting ready to move a little bit in that direction in future years.

    Last year the big test was in pairs. Evora and Ladwig barely edged Inoue and Baldwin, who were experienced international competitors and former U.S. champions. And they also beat pre-event favorites and defending champions McLaughlin and Brubaker. Evora and Ladwig went to the Olympics (and got a top ten finish )

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    I agree with this 100%.

    By the way, the USFSA rules not only say that consideration can be given to other events, they also list those events in a pecking order as to which carries more weight.

    This seems to me quite strange if the rule is, don't pay any attention to these lists and just go with the top placements at nationals.

    Why bother to mention that winning the Grand Prix Final is more important in making the world team than winning ForurContinents if both of them count zero in the actual selection process?
    The way the rule is now, they count the Grand Prix Final from the same season (a month or so before Nationals) and Four Continents from the previous season (about 11 months earlier). They want to name their world team as soon as Nationals is completed -- they don't want to name a contingent team or wait two to four weeks until after that year's Four Continents to name it.

    I think the rules are there mainly to give them some discretion for the second and third spot if a strong competitor can't start or finish at Nationals, not to choose between closely ranked skaters who do finish at Nationals.

    It doesn't count for nothing, but it only counts in unusual circumstances.

    I.e., winning the Grand Prix Final doesn't mean you can bomb at Nationals and still get sent to Worlds. It means if you win the Grand Prix Final and have to withdraw from Nationals, you can be considered for the world team ahead of someone who placed third at Nationals and hasn't won an international medal since last year's Four Continents.

    They also tend to go straight down the senior standings for Four Continents selections, but the world team members often refuse the invitations, allowing lower-placed skaters to get that assignment.

    For Junior Worlds it's more complicated because they're usually choosing among skaters competing at both junior and senior levels at Nationals.

    Quote Originally Posted by Layfan View Post
    But you mentioned Europeans. What about U.S. nationals and Japanese Nationals? I always think of Europeans as a sort of national. It's not the same to be a French champion as a U.S champion or a Japanese champion. The European Champion is more comparable to the U.S. champion. And no fair that the Europeans would get that extra way of qualitying - especially it you are going to reach all the way down to 10th!
    YOU may always think of Europeans as a sort of national, but the ISU certainly doesn't! It's their oldest championship. Some years or some decades in some disciplines it has a deeper field than the strongest non-European nationals; other years it's weaker.

    In the days of the Soviet Union, the depth of field in the couples discipline was much stronger at Soviet Nationals than at Euros or at US Nationals.

    The official equivalent of Europeans is now Four Continents. Again, the strength of the respective fields varies from year to year. Euros and 4Cs should count equally toward Worlds qualifying as far as the ISU is concerned. Currently they equally don't count at all, but there have been proposals to use them as qualifiers in one way or another.

    The ISU can't dictate how federations use their own nationals to name teams. All they can do is allot a number of slots per country or place additional restrictions on qualifications to enter Worlds. They could also set rules for automatic qualification for Worlds.

    ISU championships such as Euros and 4Cs, or the GP Final, will never be handled in the same way as national results from small and large countries, regardless of the relative strengths of those fields.


    Maybe the number of slots each country gets at Worlds shouldn't be based on last year's Worlds results at all. Maybe say that all GPF medalists or all GPF qualifiers this season get an automatic spot at Worlds, and so do all medalists or top-5 finishers at this year's Euros and 4Cs.

    Then every country, regardless of how many automatic qualifiers they have and regardless of how their skater(s) did at last year's Worlds, gets one and only one free entry.

    I'd hate to see 20 skaters get prequalified for the Worlds short program and everyone else have to go through a qualifying round for only 10 remaining slots. Ten to twelve prequalifiers would be a better limit. Or else make everyone go through qualifying but allow the prequalifications allow strong federations to earn extra spots.

    So Takahashi, Oda, and Kozuka would all be prequalified for Worlds, and any other Japanese men who go to Four Continents and medal there would be prequalified, and Japan could still have one more free slot to use on promising skater without major medals this year.
    Last edited by gkelly; 11-29-2010 at 02:50 PM.

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