The American Ladies Leading Up To Sochi.
What do you think we can expect from the U.S ladies as they prepare for 2014 ? Of course we won't be able to know this until we see how the national team preforms at the 2011 worlds in Russia, but do you think that we have a legit shot of getting our 3 spots back ? Now just for the next worlds but the Olympic games. In the time leading up to Sochi do you think that the U.S ladies will having more gold and silver medal winning performances at major international competitons ?
I think the whole "two or three spots" argument is irrelevant.
Originally Posted by Jtsmith123
I would always rather have two legit podium contenders as opposed to having "three skaters."
OK, I see the logic problem in my last statement as two legit podium contenders will typically earn three spots.
I stand by my statement though and await the year when USA Ladies have TWO legit podium contenders. I don't think we have that this season.
Japan seems to have two podium contenders and three skaters that can finish in the top 6.
USA does not have that which is why we only have two skaters going to Wolrds and most likely will only have two next season.
If Alissa can finish in the top four and Rachael in the top 8-9 then we will have three skaters at Wolrds next season.
I am sure Japan will have three Ladies at Wolrds next season but not so sure USA will have three. The way I see it they either earn it on the ice or they don't.
And what if we get three spots back for next season? It is good for fan interest but is NO guarantee that we will keep three spots for the following season.
Better odds, but in another year or two the Russian Babies will become eligible. Japan will still be strong so unless USA Ladies get back to their position of dominance there is no guarantee about three spots.
I suspect we will have two Ladies qualifying for Worlds leading into Sochi.
I do think on their best days Alissa and Mirai are world class but not so much Flatt or Wagner.
Maybe we will need our younger girls to step up to get back to the glory days.
That means Agnes, Christina and the others improving in both quality and consistency.
1. Yes, I think the USA can get three spots back if Flatt and Czisny skate their capabilities, regardless of what anyone else does.
Originally Posted by Jtsmith123
2. The second half of your question is harder to answer. But I'm liking the breadth of the American ladies right now.
Thanks for joining us, Jtsmith, and thanks for starting this thread. Welcome to Golden Skate. Post often, post long!
At the moment, there is no American Lady skater who has the Tech, or the Performance ability of Mao. Mao's 4CC was, imo, classic beautiful presentation. In 3 years she should be the top ranked skater.
I'm awaiting to see something competitive of Yuna before writing anything further than She has the most speed of any skater today. If she stays for 3 years, we will watch closely at the GPs.
Kostner, Czisny and Flatt all have competitive ability when they are "ON". But, they have a lot of catching up to Mao and Yuna. Not sure 3 years will do it.
Similarly, there is a need for strong improvement by Nagasu and Gao.
Don't knock the GPs as too early for peaking. Those skates are the ones that show improvements.
There are always a lot of promising young skaters, so it's hard to say what will happen with the up and comers. Agnes and Christina are probably done with growing pains and have already had some pretty good results so they should be factors, but they still have a lot of room for improvement and will need to prove themselves on the senior international stage in the coming seasons.
Most of the promising girls younger and smaller than those two^^ (Courtney, Yasmin, Vanessa, Lauren, etc) I'm hesistant to predict greatness for, just based on what happened to Kimmie, Caroline, Katy, Emily, etc. Puberty, money, highschool/college scheduling, etc could all become issues so for now I'm adopting the wait-and-see attitude with this lot.
Then we have more question marks in veteran skaters like:
Alissa - will she continue to skate until Sochi and if she does, will she be too far past her prime by the time it rolls around? Also, has she really controlled her nerves?
Ashley - will she stick around and if she does will she make the changes she needs to make to be a factor internationally? Or will the younger girls pass her by like it seems some have already?
Rachael - will she be able to handle Stanford and skating, and if she can, will she be able to maintain her current level of technical content and consistency? If she is still getting good results in the coming season or two, would she be willing to take a year off from college to train in preparation of the Olympics?
Mirai should still be around come Sochi and should be a factor, although being injury-prone, freespirited, and often a victim to her nerves like she is currently may make her less of a shoo-in for the Olympic Team as she maybe should be. So the question for her is can she remain injury-free, become better disciplined/more serious, and control her nerves in time for Sochi? Only time will tell. If she can't, she might be left off the team.
So there are a lot of factors, and getting 3 spots for the Olympics could potentially be hard with all the talent coming up in Russia and Japan. That being said, we don't know if Yuna, Miki, even Mao, the Finns, etc. will even be competing at the next Olympics or the Worlds before it, so the odds of getting 3 spots may stay like they are now.
Last edited by silverlake22; 04-17-2011 at 08:24 PM.
I think the only possible U.S medal hopes for Sochi are Nagasu and Agnes, but both have a whole lot of work to do. Czisny will be too old if she even is still skating and makes the team then, and Gao just isnt good enough. Flatt definitely isnt good enough and will probably go off to college after this season anyway. Wagner isnt even a consideration to ever make a U.S world team again, forget contending for a medal.
What brought the frustrating situation home to me was coming across an old skating magazine for 2007 or thereabouts (sorry; can't remember the exact year) in which a photo of the Junior World Champions appeared. The podium was an American sweep: Zhang, Nagasu, and I think Ashley Wagner. Zhang was the gold medalist. Where are the snows of yesteryear....
I don't know whom we have coming down the pike, but the promising baby ballerinas who were supposed to dominate this current Olympic cycle are currently down on their luck. Thank goodness Alissa has remained. Though she is not the world's best jumper even when her nerves are steady, she has real distinction as a skater because her skating reflects a musicality of presentation, and she might be the best spinner in the world currently. But I can't see her holding out until Sochi. Mirai is great except when she isn't. Zhang...she could recover, but I wouldn't bet the farm on her suddenly becoming invincible. Rachael is steady but nowhere near the level of Mao and YuNa. Gao and Agnes: I don't know much about them, having seen them just the once as seniors, at Nationals.
I'm not brimming over with confidence right now, but one can always be surprised by someone who isn't even on the horizon at this moment.
Maybe being a little pessimistic. I mean, Miki Ando is the same age as Alissa, and she's winning pretty much everything this season. Now I know that this is now and not 3 years from now, that in the figure skating world there's a big difference between being 23 and 26, that the field is a little depleted right now with no Yuna or Joannie, Mao struggling, etc, and that Alissa doesn't have the jumps or consistency of Miki, but it's not entirely out of the question that she could still be internationally competitive come Sochi. I'm not counting on it, but it isn't out of the realms of possibility.
Originally Posted by pangtongfan
Regarding Christina, she isn't good enough now, but that doesn't mean she won't be in 3 years. She has the most technical content out of all the US ladies right now and one of the only ones with a consistent 3-3, and her jumps are not only consistent but get +GOE. Her spins and spirals need work, yes, but these days they don't count for much anyway, and those things are easier to learn than a 3f-3t, plus she is already getting the levels as is. Her PCS aren't great but those should improve if she can perform well consistently on the senior ranks, which shouldn't be an issue considering her jumps are very solid and she doesn't seem to have any major issues regarding pressure. She's also going to have basically all of Orser's attention, at least for the upcoming season, which should help. This season didn't go as well as a lot of people hoped, but I think that was mainly due to 1.) her growthspurt and 2.) peaking too early in the season. The growing pains should be done, and she will likely figure out a plan with Brian to prevent peaking so early (ie at her 1st GP like she did this season) next season.
This is just my opinion but I think Christina has better odds of becoming a medal contender internationally than Agnes does. Agnes is on a faster track for right now, which is why she's beating Christina, but I sort of feel like she's as good now as she's ever going to be, and could potentially regress. With Christina I don't feel the same way. Agnes has the quintessential Tom Z flaws - slow, a little generic, etc and if she stays with Tom I feel like those weaknesses won't be addressed. Christina, OTOH, has Orser and Wilson on her team, and has already improved tremendously under that team. The other thing about Agnes is her height. She towers over the competition, and for now she can still pull the jumps off because she's thin as a rail, but that might change in coming years and she could end up like Kostner or Phanuef, very talented, but very inconsistent. I know Christina got a lot taller this season too, but she's still a lot smaller than Agnes so I don't worry about her as much. If Agnes leaves Tom Z, then I think she still has a good shot at making the Olympic Team in Sochi and becoming a medal contender, but if she doesn't, I don't know.
Mirai is still probably our best hope, but I don't know if she can really change. I hope she can, but, it's hard to tell. She's so good when she's on, but she's off as often as she is on, and if she wants to be on top, that has to change.
Ashley and Rachael probably won't be factors but you never know. I think Caroline Zhang is done for sure, but I don't feel the same way about Ashley and Rachael. I think a lot will depend on how the up-and-comers fair on the senior ranks.