Bona Fide Member
Girth is a lot worse than height for spinning, because moment of inertia isn't just determined by weight but by how far away each unit of weight is from the center of rotation. Height doesn't matter so much for moment of inertia (and speed of rotation) if the skater is doing an upright spin or Bielmann spin, or even a compact sit spin.
Originally Posted by Olympia
But it's not only the moment of inertia that figures into speed, it's also how much of a perfect "rigid body" the object is. You can spin around a baseball bat really easily, but try to spin around something floppy of the same shape, and see how much it slows down. Here is where core strength can help a skater (both in spins and jumps) -- you want to have really strong core muscles and engage them so that your body approximates as much of a rigid body as you can while you are rotating.
Core strength is especially important for doing a camel spin, as you have to really engage your core muscles and glutes to fight gravity and stay strong. I've never seen Caroline do a fast camel spin. She got only a level 2 in the SP on her flying camel, because she couldn't rotate fast enough to get sufficient rotations on two of the positions. She also only got a level 3 in her combo spin because it was a little slow. Having two of your three spins being graded low levels is a big deal in the SP. If she worked out super hard on her core and does the exact same program at 4CC as she did at National's, she'd be able to get higher level spins and earn 3-4 more points in TES. Good deal, huh?
I like all this talk about "inertia", keep it coming. Seriously, it brings to mind pairs skating, in particular Donlan & Speroff, and the mechanics of lifts/throws/twists. Gretchen Donlan being the tiniest ladies pair skater in seniors imho, and by that I just don't mean height, I mean more importantly weight/build, I can see how she & Andrew would have a leg up on the other US pairs if they started training a quad twist or a quad throw.
Btw, I read an article from several years back (when Gretchen was still competing as a single) wherein she stated that she had worked on her "core strength" in order to prevent any further injuries to her back (just like Sasha Cohen, she had sustained a stress fracture in her back and had to sit out a year). And just like Sasha, "core training" worked; her back when she lands those huge throw jumps is perfectly straight & strong, something I recall Peter Carruthers raving over.
Okay, back to Caroline Zhang and the question asked at the very top of this thread "Can She Regain Her Spot Among The Top US Ladies?". I say YES, of course she can, anybody can if they really want it enough to go that extra mile. Case in point, Alissa Czisny, I honestly thought she was done years ago. I mean she's been competing for 11 years in Seniors, since the days of Sarah Hughes/Sasha Cohen/Michelle Kwan/6.0! And to only come into her own these past few years is amazing (course COP helps tremendously as well; e.g. her spins). So I say if Alissa can do it, anybody can. They just have to rehaul whatever it is that's costing them points. For Alissa it was her mindset & jump technique, so she left her one & only long-time coach to train with Sato & Dunjien. And Caroline did the same, her nemesis was her technique, and she has improved a lot, but still has a lot more to do (e.g. mule kick is still there) and I personally think she can get even fitter. Same goes for Rachael.
The Olympics is only 2 years away, so between now & then the one that wants it the most, really wants it (not just talk) will p-r-o-v-e it by her actions. Whomever was down & out will come back literally "smokin'" next year, and by that I mean in terms of body!
It is hard to say. It was great to see her comeback. However I think next year could be harder for her. Agnes beat her at Nationals despite bombing the long program, and has huge potential, more overall than Zhang at ths point. Wagner and Czisny arent going anywhere. However next year Gracie Gold will be senior. A revitalized Nagasu would still have the edge on her as well. Someone like Christina Gao could still improve alot. I would say she has to continue working very hard if she is to even stay where is now, let alone move up, lets put it that way. At this point I would still say she is a long shot for the 2014 team but she is atleast back in the mix, and that is already an achievement.
Rejoicing in the land of Kwan