Look, I am not saying she needs to do patch every day for the entire spring after 4CC (although that could help A LOT of the issues currently being bandied about here between core strength, edge quality, and skating skills), but if, as eye witnesses have mentioned, that she starts jumping ASAP into a practice session with little attention paid to stroking drills, she needs to rethink this. People who are considered good SKATERS are ones who have put the time into learning the proper edge and stroking techniques. Chan - patch and an emphasis on skating skills, Abbott - ice dance and patch and now with Yuka and Jason an emphasis on skating skills, Kwan - patch and an emphasis on skating skills, Yuka - patch, and so on...Skaters who have been unable to jump for a period of time seem to be the ones who come back stronger with an emphasis on blade to ice skills (Carolina K and it looks like Christina Gao)
I think that better basic skating would have given Sasha better speed and flow over the ice and given her power and command of the ice. I only saw her the one time live, and even in her SP, she didn’t have anywhere close to the ease of movement or the flow of Kwan or Slutskaya, and she looked positively novice next to Arakawa. I don’t know how much it would have helped her scores which were the women’s record scores until Kim came along and obliterated them.
But yes, I think better use of her edges and knees would have helped her jumps. My daughter once commented that Sasha didn’t land on an edge. She landed on the flat of her blade and turned it into an edge. This would explain her “silly falls” late in her programs. Landing properly on the correct edge would have given her more secure landings and probably kept her butt off the ice.
To answer your question, I think better edging would have help Sasha with her flutzing.
Back to Zhang- obviously, she is not suddenly going to be speeding across the ice after a couple short months. This stuff takes time, and if improvement can be seen in her speed (hard to tell on TV, honestly) then it's obviously being worked on. I agree that a better command of the ice will go a long way, but it also must be balanced with how much of a bump in scores she will see, if any.
One way to judge speed on TV is to watch the signs on the boards behind the skaters. If you can read the sign easily when the skater is moving across the ice, the skater is very slow. For the fastest skaters, it's difficult to read the signs at all when they're moving.
Sasha may have had some technical issues, but that can't be the only reason that she always came in just short of winning the gold. Other top girls made big mistakes now and then, too. Just by the luck of the draw, she should have won at least one world championship or a couple of national championships, given how many opportunities she had for things to go her away. And it wasn't that she couldn't ever skate a perfect LP, as she did do a couple of times in the lesser competitions. She just could never keep it together in big competitions -- if other girls made mistakes, she crumbled even more. Sure, having a stronger technical basis would have helped her, but the really good competitors rise to the occasion, they skate *better* than they do in practices or small events. Rachael Flatt is really impressive that way. Some of the Russian skaters clearly have that mental fortitude too. Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, for example. You see her falling and popping jumps in practice and warmup, then when the real competition begins, boom, she lands her 3-3 and other hard jumps without giving away any hint of doubt. Actually, Michelle Kwan was really, really good that way. She clearly enjoyed the experience of being on competition ice -- it brought out the best in her.
Back to Caroline, I think she does have a tendency to peak later in the season, which could be why she usually did better at 4CC than at National's. She's been scoring pretty steady scores in all her competitions this season, the only exception being the FS at SA (she was in bronze position after the SP). Unfortunately that was also the biggest stage, thus leaving the impression she was having a bad season. Ashley I think will do quite well. She's been looking strong all season, since the summer, and now with a 2A-3T she has even higher scoring potential. Agnes Zawadski is the biggest question mark, I think. She has had only one solid program this season, the SP at National's. The FS at National's was more like her typical program this season. It will be interesting to see how things shake out.
Last edited by feraina; 02-07-2012 at 10:46 PM.