Constable , Costume Police
I'm really looking forward to the return of S/B ( may his recovery be complete )...What an embarassment of riches !
I too am so excited to see Samuelson/Bates back. Zoueva & Shpilband will have 7, count 'em 7 senior teams at US Nationals next season and I cannot wait to see the battle.
Originally Posted by NorthernDancers
Are the Shibs a top 10 team yet?
They might need to be this year to help the US qualify for three spots next year; and secure their third spot 2012 World team for themselves.
Absolutely. There really is no question to me that they'll be top ten/eleven (D/W are 2nd at worst, which means 11th is what they need)
Originally Posted by Bruin714
Wicked Yankee Girl
Shibs were first alternates in the fall GP circuit, with two bronze medals-most strikingly, with major errors in the SD at both competitions.
As to where the Shibs will fit at Worlds, I have been watching the Europeans dance competition on youtube, and I can't say that anyone but P&B super impressed me a whole lot. I can see where F&S and K&K will look better by Worlds, both teams fighting their way back from injury. The Russians will be pushing Bobrova & Soloviev, but their new SD does no more for me than their old one did. R&T's SD is special, but they will not be at Worlds, despite having beaten I&K at Russian Nationals. The one program I haven't watched yet is I&K's FD; however, their SD was really foul and should have been behind R&T's. I smell the stench of politicks there.
Americans: D&W, S&S, C&Z. The Shibs are ahead of C&Z and will stay there.
Canadians: V&M, C&P, W&P. The Shibs beat W&P in the FD at the beginning of the season, and again at SA. They were nipping at C&P's heels too.
European threats: B&S, I&K, H&Z, F&S, K&K. Shibs beat I&K already this season.
Non European threats: None at this time
At their very worst, I can't see the Shibs finishing lower than 10th. They could finish as high as 6th, as did V&M at their first Worlds.
Either way, the US gets 3 dance teams.
And if the Shibs fall, C&Z were second alternates in the GP, also with 2 bronze medals.
What I understand is the main problem for pair skaters and ice dancers in Japan is a serious shortage of practice rinks. Even some of the top skaters sometimes have problems reserving enough ice time at their home rinks, I heard - for example, Daisuke Takahashi had to move to a rink in Korea in the summer of 2009, because his home rink, which belongs to the university, was closed due to the outbreak of swine flu and he could not find an alternative rink anywhere in Japan. Lots of national level skaters have to practice in the congested rinks with novice or none-elite or sometime leisure skaters. Many have to start very early in the morning - like 6am - and come back late at night to avoid sharing ice with none-elite / none-competitive skaters. Some always have to travel to another prefecture to continue practising in the summer as their home rink operates as a swimming pool during the summer months. (Some top-level skaters are therefore campaigning against closure of ice rinks, though the situation remains severe due to the economic climate.)
Originally Posted by colleen o'neill
This is for single skaters, and one can imagine the situation can be much worse for pairs and dancers. The space they require for practice makes it harder for them to share ice with too many other skaters. That means they have to pay a lot of money for ice time for themselves, or continuously travel distances to find a rink they can practice. And who wants to do that when their chance of being international level skaters / dancers is very slim?
Also a historical shortage of pair skaters and ice dancers means a lack of coaches who can train pairs and dancers, while those who can train single skaters are plentiful. (An interesting trivia I'd like to share is that Narumi Takahashi, who started off as a single skater in her childhood, changed to pair-skating when her family moved to China for her father's business, I heard, because of a lack of suitable training infrastructure - a coach and all - over there. A different country, a different situation.)
Having said this, the situation is much worse for pairs than for dancers, I believe. At the moment, Japan has only one pair who are competing at the national level, while we have two senior ice dance couples and one junior. There used to be a very small number of male skaters in Japan, but there are a lot more nowadays and the number is growing due to the continuous success of Japanese male skaters at international level. Hopefully, the similar can happen for the pairs and dancers, but it may take time...
Last edited by mot; 02-11-2011 at 04:11 PM.
Interesting. You would think the pair skater situation is better than the ice dancers' in Japan. Japan has produced top female pair skaters who trained themselves abroad:
Originally Posted by mot
Kyoko Ina - No. 1 pair in US;
Rena Inoue - No. 1 Pair in US;
Yuko Kavaguti - No. 1 Pair in Russia;
Narumi Takahashi - No. 1 in Japan with a Canadian partner and trains in Canada.
If Japanese federation is truly serious about cultivating strong pair teams, they might do very well with offering and expediting Japanese citizenship to Marvin Tran, Narumi's partner.
As you can see from the above, Japanese ladies have proven themselves to be first-rate pair partners. It might be quicker to entice already promising male pair skaters from abroad than starting from scratch, so to speak. And you can do so by offering a citizenship to Tran. This will signify that Japan is serious, as Japanese are notorious for their unwillingness to accept immigrants as well as abdicating their citizenships.
Belbin/Augusto team sought the Michigan congress person/representative to expedite Tanith's US citizenship, just in time for the 2006 Olympics.
Given their contribution in building strong ice dance teams in the US, upside for offering Japanese citizenship to Tran could be just as great.
Wicked Yankee Girl
It is possible that Tran is not willing to give up Canadian citizenship. Certainly, that was a factor in one of the mixed teams not being able to go to the Olympics last year-the lady was unwilling to give up US citizenship.
Again, interesting. I know Tanith retains the dual citizenship between US & Canada. I also know that Japan do not allow a dual citizenship. I just wonder "how easy/hard it is" for a Canadian to regain the citizenship once he/she gives up on it.
Originally Posted by dorispulaski
P.S.: I should have added that provided, of course, Tran is willing to consider seeking Japanese citizenship at all. This is a serious matter for which the athlete's choice should be respected.
Last edited by CARA; 02-11-2011 at 05:28 PM.
Wicked Yankee Girl
In the case I'm remembering, if the lady was not a US citizen, she ceased to qualify for some of the college funding/or eligibility for programs (I forget which) that she was getting.
Oh, that makes sense. Financing is always a huge consideration as figure skating is an expensive endeavour. Athletes may also have to take into account their future prospective - amature skating career is very short and only a handful of skaters can build professional careers.
Originally Posted by dorispulaski
It would be interesting to find out kind of incentives - financial and otherwise - various countries provide for enticing promising skaters. France (Marina Anissina) and Russia (Kavagushi, Tatiana Volosozhar) appear to be experienced in this area.
I believe doris is recalling the Estonian dance team of Mallory/Rand. She was concerned she'd lose funding for university, so she didn't take up citizenship in Estonia. They did compete at worlds following, but are not competing this season due to his compulsory military training.
Tripping on the Podium
I have this strange feeling that Mirai is going to surprise everybody and land a silver.
And then everyone is going to say that she should be going to World's instead of Rachael...
A lack of male skaters who want to do pairs in Japan has been a big problem for Japanese female skaters searching for partners. Most of them ended up moving abroad to find partners. Kyoko Ina, though born in Japan, was raised in the US, so her base was already there when she came up to the senior rank and she chose to compete for the US. Rena had an interesting career in which she represented Japan in both singles and pairs categories in the Olympics. She however moved to the US to continue her career as pair skater. Utako Wakamatsu, who had a successful career as a pair skater (a few podium finishes in GPS and 4CC) competing for Canada, retired when she realised she would not be able to represent Japan in the Olympics as her partner was not willing to obtain Japanese citizenship - or was it not possible for him to do so perhaps? - my memory fails me here. [note - my recollection about Utako's case was inaccurate. Please read Antilles's post for more accurate information. Thanks.] Yuko moved to Russia when she was only 16 because she wanted to do pairs, and represented Japan, USA and Russia before obtaining Russian citizenship to go to the Olympics. It was, I read, a very difficult decision for her, as regaining Japanese nationality once her competitive career is over will be very difficult. Narumi moved to Canada to find a coach and a partner.
Originally Posted by CARA
This lack of male partners may be attributed to both physical characteristics of Japanese men (relatively short and slight build), and a lack of infrastructure - rink, coaches, ect, I previously wrote about - and thus opportunity to try pairs when younger. I also heard that parents hesitate to encourage their sons to pick up pair skating because of fear of injuries caused to their partners. Maybe doing singles is far too popular at the moment too - they have enough home-grown idols to look up to, while there's no male pair skater to be their idol, sadly. Girls can dream of being the next Kyoko, Rena, Yuko or Narumi.
As you have pointed out, very strict rules attached to obtaining Japanese citizenship has been the main obstacle for pair skaters with foreign partners to represent Japan in the Olympics. For example, one of the rules is that those who want Japanese citizenship have to have lived in Japan for minimum of 5 years and be fluent in the language, unless they have Japanese parentage like Cathy and Chris Reed. It will be very hard for a foreign-born pair skater to a) be a regular resident in Japan where satisfactory training infrastructure does not exist, and b) study the language as well as training for the Olympics.
As far as I know from the latest interview, Mervin Tran is not thinking of obtaining Japanese citizenship at the moment. Anyway, as the 5-year residency rule applies, he's already missed the boat for Sochi 2014. It means he should have made his mind up about his future nationality at the age of 18/19 - that's far too young - when they have not even competed in seniors and do not even know whether they will be good enough to qualify for the Olympics in 5 years time. He was a single skater until he paired up with Narumi in 2007.
Narumi, when asked about nationality-and-Olympic question, said having a wonderful and ideal partner like Mervin outweighs the opportunity of representing Japan in Sochi. Japan may not have a representing pair in Sochi, but the skating world will have a bright young pair who have a strong tie and brilliant career prospect ahead of them.
Mind you, come to think about it, I am a Japanese ex-pat living in the UK, and it took me 5 years of continuous residency here to obtain a permanent visa / residency. It will take me another year if I want to apply for the citizenship. I had to pass citizenship exams in English too. So Japanese rules are not that much stricter than British ones perhaps? I do not know if they apply exemptions for talented athletes; I wouldn't know anyway as I am not one of them!
Last edited by mot; 02-12-2011 at 11:11 AM.
Reason: inserted a link to correct inaccurate information
Japan isn't the only one with strict citizenship requirements, it's true! Estonia also does not permit dual citizenship. Case in point: Kaitlin Mallory.
From personal experience, I know German citizenship is quite hard to get (though, obviously, there are exceptions for talented foreign athletes, and there have been some reforms ), since they have citizenship based on jus sanguinis. My cousin's husband is German, and I don't think she's eligible for citizenship just because she married him. She has to live in Germany for 3 years...which they do not, as they have lived in Switzerland and South America for all of their relationship due to work. Their son, however, was automatically a German citizen even though he was born in Colombia, because his father is German.
Last edited by oleada; 02-12-2011 at 12:28 AM.