What will the 2011/2012 season bring us in ladies?
WHAT WILL THE 2011/2012 SEASON BRING US IN LADIES?
The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming
All bets are off. The Russian baby brigade is entering phase one of their plan to dominate the world, and that is early entry into the GP season (well, not early by any rules, but early because they won’t be age eligible to compete at Worlds). At first, I would’ve said that Leonova and Makarova are in a holding pattern until that group comes of age, and then they’re outta here. Now, we can see that they earned three spots for Russia next season, both buying themselves some time and a lot of good will. If one of them transforms that into a successful GP season, they may see themselves in a good position going into the seasons thereafter and ultimately Sochi.
Mao Asada did the SGP in the 2006 Olympic season and that obviously set her up well for the next quad. I rather look forward to Sotnikova attempting the same thing (only this time, Olympic Gold in Sochi).
Writing people off? I don’t think so....
This season was all about those people who had previously been written off c oming back and coming back strong. Alissa Czisny? GPF and National Champion, top five at Worlds. Sarah Meier? Battling injuries that wrecked a couple seasons, winning Europeans at home (and seriously, if you don’t cheer a little at her reaction to winning, you’re made of sterner stuff than I am). Carolina Kostner, after two seasons of truly disasterous skates at Worlds/Olympics, comes through during the GP season as well as at Worlds. Hell, even someone like Miki Ando, who seems to be written off every three seasons or so.
American ladies... a reason for optimism?
The single most gratifying thing about this season was seeing the steady rise of Alissa Czisny. What really stands out about how Yuka and Jason coached her was that they improved a few things incrementally. Her jumps are a little stronger. She skates a little faster. Her confidence has improved. Meanwhile, both Mirai Nagasu and Agnes Zawadzki ended their seasons with their best skates of the season (@ 4CC and World Juniors respectively). Christina Gao is now Brian Orser’s top skater. While these things individually probably don’t mean a whole heck of a lot, together.... they’ve given me some hope for the rebirth of American ladies figure skating. Toss on Courtney Hicks garnering sixth in her international debut, and you’ve got a pretty formidable quintet. It’ll be interesting to see which of the group medals at Worlds first. My money’s on Czisny.
Japanese ladies... a reason for caution?
We’re so used to the Japanese ladies dominating – three skaters in the top ten for five years running at least. And I don’t want to sound like I’m writing anyone off after point out the successful performances of those written off. But at the same time, I’m wondering if the Japanese spring is slowly coming to a close. I’m not entirely convinced that Mao Asada’s project to rework her jumps is going to result in a greater skater/jumper. I doubt that Akiko Suzuki will make another worlds team (though hope spring eternal). I’m not all that enthusiastic about Murakami. Miki Ando is closer to the end of her competitive career, not the beginning. And the junior ladies weren’t all that successful this season (though Shoji lost the JGPF bronze on a tie breaker and placed a respectable fifth at WJs). I’ll be curious to see if any of the younger skaters have a breakthrough
All interesting, Pogue, and some very hopeful. I love your section about not writing people off. I try to hold to that as a general policy, because you never know--the season might yield some delightful surprise, such as the one Czisny provided this year. Which brings me to your next point, the way in which Alissa has improved this year. You are so right to point to Yuka and Jason's approach with her. Look how they kept her on an even keel and gave her the confidence to keep going. When I saw her in that lovely Chrysler commercial about the revival of Detroit, I thought that it could just as easily have been a commercial about her path, as well. I will continue to enjoy whatever progress she and the other American ladies make.
You're probably right about Russia, and that's fine. With skating excellence, my feeling is "the more, the merrier." Every good skater adds something to the world of skating, not just to her country's reputation and medal haul. I hope, however, that you're wrong about Japan, though it is troubling not to see a large crop of successful juniors from them. I especially hope you're wrong about Mao Asada, who is a world treasure. As for me, if I'm not going to give up on Czisny, I'm certainly not going to give up on Asada! I'm sure you will be happiest if proved wrong in regard to this last section of your post.
Sotnikova Vs. Tuktamysheva! Watching them should be great. Obviously Tuktamysheva can have problems with short programs and Sotnikova can flutz and get edge calls. It would be something if they both came out and just did really well right off the bat.
I want to see Mao have a good GP season! 2009-2010 she was doing so many 3A's that she really wasn't ready until Japanese nationals and then 2010-2011 she was reworking so many things and again wasn't ready until Japanese nationals. I want to see 2011-2012 she be steady right from the first GP to the worlds. Kanako Murakami did not do well at worlds compard to how she started the season. Maybe a more normal season will be good for her. And Akiko Suzuki should start off well. No MIki Ando this season.
Kostner and Czisny repeating their very good 2010-2011 seasons would be good. Czisny for 2010-2011 was coming off a bad season but next she will be coming off a good season and hopefully that would lead to an even better season. With her new coaching and positive changes that is more possible.
I hope 'writing people off' was not meant for me. I do write about some skaters who are not skating as well as they were before, but that doesn't mean they can't podium. Anyhow, it is much much too early to predict now.
I will definitely want to watch Sotnikova in Juniors this season, and that other Russian junior whose name escapes me at the moment.
I'm very familiar with the Ladies of figure skating, and do not anticipate anything groundbreaking in additional Tech or Performances from them. They are all too familiar for me. I'm looking more for a competitive skater rather than a ballerina.
Adelina and Liza will be skating in your favorite next season - the senior GP series.
Originally Posted by Joesitz
I am not sure how Liza will do but expect Adelina to be in the GPF and most likely on the podium.
That's if she is healthy and doesn't grow 4 inches.
At Worlds she will have to skate as a junior and will try to defend her title.
Six Point Zero
If Adelina and Liza transition smoothly into the senior GP while Zawadzki and Gao up their tech we should finally see a pretty good amount of hard 3/3's next season. (And Liza might finally bring that 3Axel into competition.) Nothing technically groundbreaking, but bringing the average tech level up is always a good thing.
Originally Posted by Joesitz
If several girls develop a 3Axel there's always that potential for the first ever 8-triple program from a lady skater.
Zawadzki and Gao both have all their triples and I have a feeling we will see Agnes finally put out the 3lz-3t in competition this season, and if Christina can fix her 2a maybe she will start doing the 2a-3t along with her 3f-3t which is already a pretty consistent and solid combo for her. Add Adelina, Liza, Polina Shelepen to the list and I think we'll be seeing lots of 3-3s and 7 triple LPs in the coming season, which is exciting considering what happened this past season...
leave no stone unturned
Anna Ovcharova is coming back this season after injury, she will be a senior and she is maybe the most interesting russian lady to watch until the babies grow up.
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I'm interested to see what the Russian 'babies' will do but I'm also considering that they may be over-hyped. I remember all this hype about people like Emily Hughes, Caroline Zhang, and Mirai Nagasu a few years back and even Mirai didn't quite live up to it (Zhang fell way short of how good people thought she was going to be). Leonova had a pretty good season in 2010-2011, but she strikes me as very inconsistent. I think when she's on she's better than Makarova, but Makarova's probably more consistent. Having not seen the Russian babies compete, it's hard to say where I'd place the two senior women (that makes them sound really old lol) in relation to them.
The US has a lot of depth but no real clear star. They've got Alissa, Rachael, Mirai, Agnes, Christina, and Ashley as possible top 10 contenders at Worlds I think, but I don't think any of them could win the world title at this point and I could only see Mirai as a medalist, really. It seems like they're just trading places back and forth from competition to competition, which is a bit frustrating to watch. It will be interesting to see what Ashley does now that she has probably moved to a new coach, and Agnes too for that matter.
Since Miki Ando will be taking a year off of competitive skating, I think the Japanese world team will be Asada, Murakami, and Suzuki, not sure about the order of the second two, but there is also Shoji and Imai. I have yet to see Shoji skate and don't know much about her. Of course, there is also Fumie Suguri who also has an outside shot but probably won't be on a world team again unless others skate poorly at Japanese Nats. I'm not sure if Asada is on a permanent downward drag or not, but I'm really hoping she can get back into top form. I'm curious whether Suzuki will stay in until Sochi, but I guess that depends on what teams she makes next year and how she does at Worlds/4CC/etc. if she does make those teams.
Ps. Don't write off Cynthia Phaneuf.
Senior at nationals and will be old enough for Euros/Worlds should she make it but I'm pretty sure she'll be competing on the JGP. Where she didn't compete at all this season, I don't think she could compete on the SGP, except for a host spot at COR. But yes, I am very excited for her return! Where she was off for a whole season at this age though, I have to wonder how she's fairing with puberty monster.
Originally Posted by seniorita
I'm excited to see the Liza and Adelina enter the senior GP next season. I think they will do very well. (And it actually might be disappointing that they won't be eligible for Worlds next year.)
As for American ladies, I don't feel the optimism. Czisny probably had the best season of her career but she is still not yet World medalist material in the judges eyes at least. And with more competition coming in future years, I don't see her achieving better results than what she had this season. Mirai still has the most potential but it all depends on whether she maximizes that talent of hers.
I see more potential in Risa Shoji than I do in Kanako. They both have UR issues but Shoji, though younger, is more graceful and refined in presentation.
Last edited by miki88; 06-06-2011 at 11:41 PM.
I feel that the Japanese Ladies will continue to dominate the skating world maybe not as they have in the past five year but they are surely to put a few more girl on top of the world podium. Mao will definitely return to the top. Miki will go on to Sochi, there is no question about that. I could see her return with a triple triple and quad by Olympic time. Akiko could return, many counted Miki out and look at her now. Kanako is going to a champion, she was tried at worlds. She was a junior, their season usually ends in early march not late april. She needs time to build the stamina. She is also is working on a triple flip-triple toe-loop. Shoji and Imai both have triple triples... work on the artistry and they are competition. The Russians are truly going to come back but I don't think as strongly as some people hope. The upcoming juniors are good but they are still have to go through growth and I could see the same thing happening to them as Caroline, Ashely, Mirai. Ksenia and Alena are getting better and better by the season and they are going to be tough to beat at Russian Nationals if they perform like they did at worlds. The USA is doing good. Alissa is going strong but needs to work on having all FIVE triples down and the artistic mark will follow. Rachel, Mirai, Ashely, Christina, Agnes, all need to work on consistency because they have the goods to be great. Please don't forget about Kim Yuna, Carolina, Kiira, or Laura.
Originally Posted by miki88
Alissa did well this season, but she didn't dominate and that was with a depleted field, so I just wonder how much we can expect out of her as she continues to get older and the competition gets stiffer. I just don't think she has the technical content to make a world podium in coming years. This year was her best shot, and she skated quite well and still missed out. She could surprise us all, though, I'm just not getting my hopes up. I think the odds are better for someone like Agnes or Christina where they are very strong jumpers, or Mirai if she can get herself together.
Also Risa Shoji will not be eligible for senior worlds this coming season as her birthday is July 6, 1996 so she's in the same boat as Adelina. She could compete on the SGP if she wanted to, but I assume she will do another season on the JGP where there are so many senior ladies in Japan and she might want to try and get some gold medals. With Adelina, Liza, Polina S and maybe Polina A and Rosa all moving up to the SGP, I can see Risa potentially dominating the JGP in the coming season. In any event, my point was that she can't compete at Worlds until 2012-2013, which gives her time to work on her jumps and I think by then she might be able to pass Kanako and Akiko, already she's considered above Imai even though she's 3 years younger.
Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program
Kanako will have to prove she can keep her jumps after she grows and will have to mature greatly in the artistry department to ever be a world champion.
Originally Posted by jovani2293
I am not as sure as you that Mao will return to the top, but I sincerely hope she can. the girl certainly has the heart of a champion.
Miki won't land a quad in competition again. I would be surprised if she keeps training them. Morozov found a new way to win--play it safe and play it clean. All the triples come pretty easy for Miki and she very rarely gets downgraded or flutzes. She has learned that skating clean freeskates without a 3/3 will land her on the podium almost all the time, and when paired with a clean short is serious material for gold. Why mess up her shoulder or risk another injury with the quad? At this point I guess she will go on to Sochi, she is dedicated to 2011-12 and it would be foolish to take off the year right before the olympics.
I don't think Akkiko will come back :( especially if the youngsters start to pose a threat.
Akiko Suzuki currently is in Detroit getting choreography from Pasquale Camerlengo. She is scheduled to perform in the Detroit Skating Club's benefit show for Japan on Thursday, June 9 (not sure if she is performing in the other DSC shows June 10-12?) -- for more info about the show: http://www.goldenskate.com/forum/sho...-support-Japan
Originally Posted by Tinymavy15
Last edited by Sylvia; 06-07-2011 at 12:37 AM.