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Thread: Should Flatt have skated at the World Championships on an injury?

  1. #1
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    Exclamation Should Flatt have skated at the World Championships on an injury?

    This thread is not intended to be a bash thread, but I would like to pose a legitimate question.

    For those that haven't kept up with the WC developments, after the ladies SP (where Flatt placed 8th), it was revealed that Flatt had a leg injury- I believed it was a fractured right tibia, which was diagnosed last Friday. She appeared to be in serious physical pain in the practices. Anyway, she went on to skate the FS, struggled mightily (not quite as much as at GPF, but still nowhere close to her best) and placed 14th (12th overall). Along with Czisny's 5th placement, the US once again falls short of 3 spots, and extends the medal-less streak to 5 years.

    The question here is this: Assuming that this was an injury that has been bothering her for at least a week prior- should she have gone to Worlds? Should she have WD and allowed a healthier member of Team USA to go in her place? Or even if the alternate couldn't make it- should she have WD, at least to save face? Of course, if the injury occurred WHILE she was at Worlds, not much could be done. But it seems like something that she's been struggling with beforehand. I'd like to hear your thoughts.

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    Question: If Flatt had withdrawn before the free skate, would Alyssa's 5th place finish have stood alone to give US a 3rd entry (5 + 0 = 5)?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Penny View Post
    Question: If Flatt had withdrawn before the free skate, would Alyssa's 5th place finish have stood alone to give US a 3rd entry (5 + 0 = 5)?
    Hm. I don't think so. Yuna's top three finishes have only given S. Korea two placements.

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    A week before? No way. Nagasu could not have prepared in time for a decent performance at Worlds with only a week or two. Was Mirai even still training on the possibility she may get called as an alternate? I don't think so, so I really don't see how she could have placed much higher than Rachael.

    For her own sake, she probably willed herself to perform despite the pain and injury because she knows there's a good chance this could be her last Worlds. She probably believes that skating and giving it her all despite the pain and injury was a better way to "save face" than to withdraw. At least it reaffirms that she's mentally tough.

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    It's only my thoughts, but I read somewhere that she would attend that spiffy university in California, after this Worlds. So this was her Last Hurrah for figure skating, and she wanted to skate it. Actually she helped to retain the USFS 2 spots. So it wasn't so terrible after all.

    Cizny's been around for quite sometime. Does she have plans to stay on? No doubt Mirai will. Does the USFS have any up-and-coming Lady figure skaters in case either of them blow it in the Nats? It's not longer a Lock with MK, SC, and JK not there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    It's only my thoughts, but I read somewhere that she would attend that spiffy university in California, after this Worlds. So this was her Last Hurrah for figure skating, and she wanted to skate it.
    ^agree with this 100%.

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    Maybe worst possible timing for diagnosing the fracture. If they discovered this last Friday (22nd), then yes, that is probably too late for the First Alternate (Mirai) to be called and substituted in to an overseas competition. It would have been different if the USFS had already planned to take the First Alternate to Russia anyway--which of course, they didn't. So at that point, Rachael's choices were really to skate on, in pain--or withdraw and leave the spot unfilled. In this case, I can't fault her for sucking it up and going through with the competition, as long as she and her docs thought it would not lead to long-lasting damage. And no doubt, of course she wanted to skate her "last hurrah" or whatever, as long as she felt could stay on her feet--any competitive skater would feel the same way.

    If this fracture had been found even a week earlier--say on the 15th--then it would be a different story and I'd be in the camp that said Rachael should have immediately notified the USFS that she was forced to withdraw. This would have been enough time to get Mirai's paperwork and travel documents in order and have her prepped and ready to go to Russia. Then the burden shifts to Mirai to be ready--which the First Alternate should always be when they train. However, once the calendar clicked into that week of the 18th, pretty much past the Point of No Return for substituting.

    If the competition had been held this year in North America where logistics would have made for quick, easy last-minute traveling and not required a body adaptation to crossing so many time zones, then a Flatt withdrawal on the 22nd and Nagasu substitution might have been possible. But given the circumstances, I can see how it played out as it did. I think it's unfortunate, but no harm, no foul here, and I can't cast aspersions against Rachael.

    I know that in the past, USFS has taken alternates along--I specifically remember the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics and Tonya/Nancy thing when USFS took not only the ladies' First Alternate (in case an injured Nancy had to pull out) but also the Second Alternate (in case Tonya, who was under criminal suspicion at the time, had to also be pulled). It seemed that back then, it was common practice for USFS to take First Alternates to the biggest competitions....but my memory of when this practice was discontinued is blank--perhaps someone else here knows more about this. Due to cost constraints and in this era of lower revenues, it's of course not doable anymore.

    I believe that if Rachael had withdrawn and left Alissa as the sole US lady skater, Alissa would have had to place 1st or 2nd to obtain 3 spots for the USA. (I'm open to correction by more knowledgeable forum members on this!) Not likely. Or end up in Top 10 in order to get 2 spots--which for Alissa was likely. So, a Flatt withdrawal would not have changed the outcome for USA on spots for next year. It would not surprise me if Team Flatt went through all these scenarios before making the decision for her to skate on, and correctly determined that at that late date, even with her impaired skating ability, that her participation and ultimate likely placement range wouldn't materially harm the overall USA situation.
    Last edited by bigsisjiejie; 04-30-2011 at 09:05 PM.

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    But- and as someone on another forum pointed out- This is very likely not something that just "appeared". It had to have been bothering her for an extended period of time. Yes, she just found out what it actually WAS last Friday, but I wonder how long it has been hampering her training. It's one thing if the pain is not so bad that you might be able to grin & bear it, another if it's actually preventing you from full training.

    I'm not quite ready to let her team off the hook, although I do understand the circumstances and that it was gutsy to go for it. But was it smart?

    ETA: Yes: if Czisny was the only skater, she would have to win Gold or Silver for 3 spots, and place 3-10 for 2 spots.
    Last edited by R.D.; 04-30-2011 at 09:25 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by R.D. View Post
    But- and as someone on another forum pointed out- This is very likely not something that just "appeared". It had to have been bothering her for an extended period of time. Yes, she just found out what it actually WAS last Friday, but I wonder how long it has been hampering her training. It's one thing if the pain is not so bad that you might be able to grin & bear it, another if it's actually preventing you from full training.

    I'm not quite ready to let her team off the hook, although I do understand the circumstances and that it was gutsy to go for it. But was it smart?

    ETA: Yes: if Czisny was the only skater, she would have to win Gold or Silver for 3 spots, and place 3-10 for 2 spots.
    Well, without additional information, we can't do anything more productive than speculate and second-guess.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigsisjiejie View Post
    Well, without additional information, we can't do anything more productive than speculate and second-guess.
    Well, that's true. Phil Hersh, however, seems to be asking the same question that I am, and at least he has the sources to get to the bottom of this. Hersh wrote that he's been in touch with USFS head David Raith, and Raith said that he would text team Flatt to make inquiries.

  11. #11
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    Meh. I think we are beating a dead horse before it has even died. 2011 Worlds is in the books, it is what it is. What is Phil Hersh going to say, that he never liked Rachael anyway?

  12. #12
    she takes the audience on her journey of emotions Layfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    Meh. I think we are beating a dead horse before it has even died. 2011 Worlds is in the books, it is what it is. What is Phil Hersh going to say, that he never liked Rachael anyway?
    I kind of agree. For me, it comes down to "what rotten luck. Rachael had a stress fracture and couldn't perform her best. If she had the U.S. probably would have gotten its third spot back." If there had been a last minute replacement chances are that person would have finished lower than eighth and it would have come down to "what rotten luck. Rachael had a stress fracture and didn't get to compete. I she had, the U.S. probably would have gotten the third spot back."

    It's a bummer the U.S. ladies have gone so long without a third spot but for me the wider picture is that we haven't had a strong medal contender for so long. The problem goes deeper than whether two ladies place just high enough to get the spot.

    I suppose I can't blame people for asking the question and people will ask. But I'm ready to move on to next season.

    P.S. on a side note, I find it kind of odd that Raith is going to text msg team Flatt about this. Text message? I don't know whether to think that means it's not a serious complaint or what.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    What is Phil Hersh going to say, that he never liked Rachael anyway?
    I imagine he would say something more along the lines of "I told you so!"

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    Maybe the US should send the alternative to world as well, like in Gymnastics so Mirai can make a last minute replace ment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wonderlen3000 View Post
    Maybe the US should send the alternative to world as well, like in Gymnastics so Mirai can make a last minute replace ment.
    I wonder if it's the financial constriction that's preventing from sending an alternative?

    Figure skating is an expensive sports, and the current lack of stable stars means less TV programming with which the federation could earn sponsorship incomes.

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