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Thread: The American Ladies Leading Up To Sochi.

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spun Silver View Post
    When you look at people like Dai, Mao, and Miki, you see the most amazing determination to overcome hardships, the most exceptional work ethic. I'm not sure I see that when I look at Mirai. (Has Frank ever praised her work ethic?) She still comes across as a child in many ways, compared with the Japanese skaters - and I'm not talking about age but maturity.
    I very much agree with this. I love Mirai as a skater; she has SO much natural talent and spark, and such great skills. She has the ability to compete with the best in the world. However, she REALLY needs to grow up. I just saw for the first time the ladies' long program from last year's Worlds (didn't see it in 2010 due to not having that channel), and frankly I was stunned by Mirai's interview after her unsuccessful long program. Of course she was disappointed with her poor skate. But she really acted like a complete child in the interview afterward. She stared at the ground, wouldn't look at the camera, answered questions in a tiny little-girl voice, and was about to cry the whole time. It was embarrassing to see a skater at her level and age behave that way, just very childish. Mirai just needs to grow up a little and toughen up a little. Hopefully 4CC was a step in the right direction. I really hate to think of her talent being wasted, that's the only reason I'm critical.

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    ^ Which interview was that? Don't think I saw it. I'm always a bit confused when I hear people say she "acts like a child".

    Perhaps people [in general] are less willing to cut Nagasu a break because of her talent?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    Could you elucidate the hardships that Dai, Mao and Miki had to overcome. I believe the Japan Fed is quite able to take care of its skaters. Japanese elite skaters do not have the struggles of those skaters who come from nonBig Six countries.
    .
    Joe. Dai broke his leg or snap his tenton back in 2008 and off the whole season on 2009. This is career ending for most skaters. Mao has been reworking all her jumps this season and no needs to mention how she fare during the GP events. Even with the falls and bad skate she keep a brave face and face the media. Miki had a disasterous skate in 2006 Olympics and faced backlash from fans and media because she technically she didn;t qualify for Olympic spot (she finished in 5 or 6th place at national). Next year she won the world title and then injury with her leg in 2008 season.

    I think if you have the talents, its doesn't matter which countries you are from. Look at Yuna Kim, she bursted into junior scene out of nowhere.

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    Quote Originally Posted by R.D. View Post
    ^ Which interview was that? Don't think I saw it. I'm always a bit confused when I hear people say she "acts like a child".

    Perhaps people [in general] are less willing to cut Nagasu a break because of her talent?
    I think this is true. We see this skater who has the talent to be the Greatest. Of. All. Time. yet time and time again, she just doesn't bring it when we, the fans, expect it and its hard to forgive her for it... I also believe that MiRai suffers from the overall weakness of the US ladies since Michelle & Sasha's heyday when both were always podium threats and one could be counted on to win. Don't get me wrong, Alissa has been great this season and Rachael is pretty steady but for the last few years, we've focused on can the US finish in the top 10 as realistic expectations vs. which one of the US divas is going to win? Those are very different conversations and I don't think the fans are willing to acknowledge that...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kwanford Wife View Post
    ...for the last few years, we've focused on can the US finish in the top 10 as realistic expectations vs. which one of the US divas is going to win? Those are very different conversations and I don't think the fans are willing to acknowledge that...
    Excellent point. Very true. But IMHO- comments toward the current crop of Americans aren't any more vicious than comments towards Kwan and/or Cohen when they were around. In fact, I'd venture to say that fans in general are actually going EASIER on Nagasu than they did on Cohen when she would fail to win time and time again. The "acting like a child" comments seem so tame in comparison to the name-calling of a few years ago.

    I'm of the party that thinks things are all relative. We took having a contender all the time for granted for so many years...and it is frustrating many American fans that since Kwan/Cohen left, no one has really stepped up to fill their shoes. Nagasu COULD be the one to do it if she gained some confidence and self-esteem, but she won't even be at the World Championships next week to do so. Shame. Instead, again we're stuck with hoping the tried-and-not-true team of Flatt and Czisny can place well enough to barely eek out gaining back the third spot.

    (of course, as I mentioned before, it's Nagasu's own fault she's not going to this year's worlds, really...blowing it last year really ended up coming back to bite her in an unpleasant area...)

    ETA: What I just said may sound a little harsh to a select few...but I mean it with ADR. Come on, we're talking sports, aren't we?
    Last edited by R.D.; 04-21-2011 at 11:36 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by R.D. View Post
    No one in particular. I was just making the point that a skater may look and perform differently at 18 than at 15.
    Oh, ok, I know some people try to say that's how Yuna was, but in all honesty, Yuna was a stunningly beautiful girl and skater as a young teenager. Of course she's grown up and is a more mature beauty and a better, more well-rounded skater now, but she really wasn't this ugly nobody as a young teen like some people want to think she was. She's always been a star.

    If Mirai wants to be a champion, she needs to get the champion mentality ASAP. Yuna has it, Mao has it, Miki has it, etc and that's why they are World champions, that's what sets them apart from Mirai. Mirai is as talented as those three and has the right looks and personality to be on top if she really wanted it, but that's a decision she needs to make. Right now, it seems like she's not sure if she wants it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by silverlake22 View Post
    Oh, ok, I know some people try to say that's how Yuna was, but in all honesty, Yuna was a stunningly beautiful girl and skater as a young teenager. Of course she's grown up and is a more mature beauty and a better, more well-rounded skater now, but she really wasn't this ugly nobody as a young teen like some people want to think she was. She's always been a star.

    If Mirai wants to be a champion, she needs to get the champion mentality ASAP. Yuna has it, Mao has it, Miki has it, etc and that's why they are World champions, that's what sets them apart from Mirai. Mirai is as talented as those three and has the right looks and personality to be on top if she really wanted it, but that's a decision she needs to make. Right now, it seems like she's not sure if she wants it.
    People say that YuNa was "plain" as a teenager? Unimaginable. As you say, Silver, she was a star from the first moment of arrival.

    I agree with you about both your exemplars of champion mentality (Mao, YuNa, and Miki) and your evaluation of Mirai. The kind of luck that Kimmie Meissner had in 2006 only comes along once in an eon--where you show up, are pretty good and are at your peak besides, and all the big guns have stayed home, and bingo, you're World Champion. This will not happen again for awhile. Mirai has to have the force of an open acetylene torch to face up against what's out there, or all the talent in the world won't matter an iota.

    In fact, it's more frustrating than that. It's not as if she's going to Worlds and must face off against three current or former World Champions. She didn't even make it out of the kiddie pool this year. She was topped by one of America's weakest jumpers (whom I adore, but let's be frank) and by one of America's less sparkling artists (whom I admire, but let's be frank). She'll be watching from her couch at home. Why is that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by silverlake22 View Post
    Oh, ok, I know some people try to say that's how Yuna was, but in all honesty, Yuna was a stunningly beautiful girl and skater as a young teenager. Of course she's grown up and is a more mature beauty and a better, more well-rounded skater now, but she really wasn't this ugly nobody as a young teen like some people want to think she was. She's always been a star.

    If Mirai wants to be a champion, she needs to get the champion mentality ASAP. Yuna has it, Mao has it, Miki has it, etc and that's why they are World champions, that's what sets them apart from Mirai. Mirai is as talented as those three and has the right looks and personality to be on top if she really wanted it, but that's a decision she needs to make. Right now, it seems like she's not sure if she wants it.
    I totally agree with you and R.D. on this one... I highlighted Miki because I think Miki is a prime example that the competitive, champion mentality can be learned over time... Yuna and Mao seem to have this in spades from day one whereas Miki has all this power but in the last few years has changed talent into ability - if that makes any sense. Another example of this is US gymnast Alicia Scramone (sp -sorry cannot spell her name.) Its not an issue that cannot be overcome - but it takes work. Even for a phenom...

    MiRai can do it, if she wants to and no chit chat amongst fans, natural ability or a coach is going to give that to her. Its an internal thing that she will need to harness and control. And she does need to grow up, get those emotions under control and decide what she wants.

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    People say that YuNa was "plain" as a teenager? Unimaginable. As you say, Silver, she was a star from the first moment of arrival.

    I agree with you about both your exemplars of champion mentality (Mao, YuNa, and Miki) and your evaluation of Mirai. The kind of luck that Kimmie Meissner had in 2006 only comes along once in an eon--where you show up, are pretty good and are at your peak besides, and all the big guns have stayed home, and bingo, you're World Champion. This will not happen again for awhile. Mirai has to have the force of an open acetylene torch to face up against what's out there, or all the talent in the world won't matter an iota.

    In fact, it's more frustrating than that. It's not as if she's going to Worlds and must face off against three current or former World Champions. She didn't even make it out of the kiddie pool this year. She was topped by one of America's weakest jumpers (whom I adore, but let's be frank) and by one of America's less sparkling artists (whom I admire, but let's be frank). She'll be watching from her couch at home. Why is that?
    Hmmm, why did Michelle fail to win Gold at two Olympics?
    Why did Miki lay one of the biggest eggs ever seen on Olympic ice back in '06?

    Why didn't Miki bring it last season at the Olympics or Worlds? She was beaten by Mirai and then Laura yet Miki is a world champion.

    Sometimes these things are hard to rationalize let alone explain.

    Why didn't Irina win in '02 or '06? I doubt if it wasn't for trying.

    Mirai started slowly this season and by 4CC seemed to be getting back close to her best. Her best of the year might have come at Worlds. Or maybe not!

    We will never know so there is always next season.

    Mao won her first WC at 17 and Yuna at 18. Mirai is still 17 so I am willing to give her a couple of more seasons.

    If she never wins I will still like her because of the way she moves over the ice. And just for being Mirai, a free spirit who brings her own unique brand of charm and grace to the ice.
    Last edited by janetfan; 04-21-2011 at 04:20 PM.

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    Your defense of Mirai is admirable. I'm sorry if I sounded hard on her. I think we're all just frustrated wandering around in the wilderness here in the U.S., with everyone being "almost" or "not yet" or "guess she wasn't the one" or whatever. We want some of what Japan has, I guess.

    You're right about why many of us love particular skaters, though, and it's not necessarily for the point scores. I'd love Alissa no matter what, for example, and if she never wins a world medal, her spins will be no less breathtaking. I love Sasha despite the fact that she (like Janet Lynn) never won a World or Olympic gold. (I love Janet Lynn, too.) And you know I adore Michelle, now and forever, OGM or no OGM. (The same goes for Kurt on the guys' side.)

    It's true that Mirai is wonderful on the ice, and that she's just seventeen. I will therefore be more patient and await developments.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hernando View Post
    Mao won her first WC at 18 and Yuna at 19. Mirai is still 17 so I am willing to give her a couple of more seasons.
    Correction. Mao won her first WC at 17 and Yuna at 18. By 19, Yuna became Olympic champ and Mao won Worlds for a second time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by miki88 View Post
    Correction. Mao won her first WC at 17 and Yuna at 18. By 19, Yuna became Olympic champ and Mao won Worlds for a second time.
    Close enough for Jazz, but maybe not for skating

    Thanks for the info though and I corrected my previous post.

    Won't Mao and Yuna both turn 21 in a few months ?
    Mirai will be 18.
    Last edited by janetfan; 04-21-2011 at 05:23 PM.

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    Mirai actually turned 18 this past weekend, I believe. You know what? She's still young. I remember being 17/18 and now that I look back on it - I was a total idiot (and that wasn't even that long ago!). I understand that Mirai is in a different situation, being a top athlete in her sport - she has to project maturity and grace on and off the ice. That being said, I do find her charming and believe that she'll learn from her past mistakes. Maybe not going to Worlds this year WILL be that "kick in the butt" she needs. She should now know that if she doesn't work hard enough for her goals - she won't achieve them. Contrast that with someone like Rachael Flatt. She's someone who doesn't necessarily have the same amount of talent and charisma as Mirai, but everyone knows that she's a hard worker.

    To emphasize again - she's still young. Take someone like Joannie Rochette, for example. While I acknowledge that Joannie is an entirely different skater from Mirai in terms of style and aesthetic, Joannie didn't win her first world medal until the age of 23. She won her Olympic medal at 24. If she were to actually announce her retirement, no one would deny that Joannie had a successful career. She just peaked late. Some skaters reach peaks at different times. Heck, there's Alissa Czisny, who I think a lot of us discredited until this season. She's 23 and has the chance to be on the World podium this year. So with regards to Mirai - someone who has absolutely every capability to do well and to win major titles - she has time. I hope she uses it to develop and to work hard and battle any demons that may be preventing her from reaching the top.

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    Kwanford Wife, what you say about Miki is why I think Christina has a chance to make it to the top someday. She reminds me of Miki in some ways - started skating late, strong jumper/technical skater but not particularly great in the spinning and flexibility department. But Miki is a hard worker and has worked on her weaknesses to the point where they no longer hold her back in competition. I think Christina could undergo a similar transformation in coming years. She just seems capable of taking the good with the bad and staying motivated regardless of the result.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jadore View Post
    Mirai actually turned 18 this past weekend, I believe. You know what? She's still young. I remember being 17/18 and now that I look back on it - I was a total idiot (and that wasn't even that long ago!). I understand that Mirai is in a different situation, being a top athlete in her sport - she has to project maturity and grace on and off the ice. That being said, I do find her charming and believe that she'll learn from her past mistakes. Maybe not going to Worlds this year WILL be that "kick in the butt" she needs. She should now know that if she doesn't work hard enough for her goals - she won't achieve them. Contrast that with someone like Rachael Flatt. She's someone who doesn't necessarily have the same amount of talent and charisma as Mirai, but everyone knows that she's a hard worker.

    To emphasize again - she's still young. Take someone like Joannie Rochette, for example. While I acknowledge that Joannie is an entirely different skater from Mirai in terms of style and aesthetic, Joannie didn't win her first world medal until the age of 23. She won her Olympic medal at 24. If she were to actually announce her retirement, no one would deny that Joannie had a successful career. She just peaked late. Some skaters reach peaks at different times. Heck, there's Alissa Czisny, who I think a lot of us discredited until this season. She's 23 and has the chance to be on the World podium this year. So with regards to Mirai - someone who has absolutely every capability to do well and to win major titles - she has time. I hope she uses it to develop and to work hard and battle any demons that may be preventing her from reaching the top.
    I remember a similar discussion last year after Worlds, and I also remember taking the view that Mirai still had time. While I still think that she does, nevertheless, from a strictly probabilistic perspective, her window of opportunity is narrowing, if the standard of measurement is to become a great champion as opposed to occasionally medalling.

    While I could persuade myself last year when she was just 17 (if you know, know what I mean...) that she was still young, she no longer is, at least by comparison to the modern great champions. Putting on my green eye shade to settle into this insurance adjuster's perspective, if we refer to the Ladies Skaters Actuarial Tables circa the last couple of decades, it seems to me that the ladies who achieved sustained greatness (eg Michelle, Yuna, Mao) basically proved they were winners on the senior level by the time they were 15 or 16 years old, and won their first international championship before their 18th year had passed. There is reason to think (and the supporting evidence) that the statistical "peak" for ladies now tends to come earlier than for more historically distant champions, given the increased emphasis on athleticism.

    Again, just fitting the data using Mk.1 eyeballs, a notion that strikes me is that Mirai's career trajectory more closely resembles Sasha's, another skater from whom much was expected early, but who did not win her first senior titles until she was around 18, and never won an international championship.

    Admittedly, such fiddling around with statistics need to be taken with a grain of salt. There is always individual variation around the mean, so outliers are always possible. But this I take to be true on general principles: great ladies champions in skating will tend to show their colors early, and it gets increasingly more difficult to break through with every year that passes without crossing the finish line first (particularly given their relatively short competitive lives; the equivalent of a Phil Mickelson, who was well into his thirties before winning his first Major, is inconceivable).

    I'm of the opinion that next year is going to be the acid test for Mirai. Why comfort yourself with the relatively low odds of being the (positive) statistical outlier if you can get the job done now? What I sincerely hope does not happen is that Mirai is brooding over the same conclusions and puts too much negative pressure on herself, which could prove counter-productive. I would love to see the contrary, that she channels a soul-cleansing anger at herself and her doubters, and transforms it into a burning desire to come to this forum in 12 months time so that she can gloat to her heart's content .
    Last edited by Robeye; 04-21-2011 at 05:44 PM.

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