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Thread: What happened to these promising US Skaters?

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    What happened to these promising US Skaters?

    The US had so many talented and promising skaters. What happened to them???
    Alexe Gilles
    Becky Bereswill
    Angela Maxwell
    Kristine Musademba
    Kristiene Gong
    DeeDee Leng
    Amanda Dobbs
    Lanney Diggs
    Austin Kanallakan
    Curran Oi (I know he went to MIT, but is it safe to say that he's retired. He had so much talent)
    Tracy Tanovich (pairs, former partner of Michael Chau)
    Dennis Phan

    Also, is it safe to say that Kimmie Meissner is retired?

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    At the rink. Again. mskater93's Avatar
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    Alexe Gilles - didn't make it out of sectionals this season (moved to Detroit, has had issues with technical problems)
    Becky Bereswill - didn't make it out of sectionals, technical issues
    Angela Maxwell - quit, had issues with authority figures (rebeled against her parents, etc and didn't want to put in the work)
    Kristine Musademba - quit after a couple disappointing seasons
    Kristiene Gong - was injured last year
    DeeDee Leng - quit, injury
    Amanda Dobbs - she wasn't that "talented" with only 3S and 3T; hasn't made improvements to her technical content

    Also, is it safe to say that Kimmie Meissner is retired? Yes

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    Quote Originally Posted by mskater93 View Post
    Alexe Gilles - didn't make it out of sectionals this season (moved to Detroit, has had issues with technical problems)
    Becky Bereswill - didn't make it out of sectionals, technical issues
    Angela Maxwell - quit, had issues with authority figures (rebeled against her parents, etc and didn't want to put in the work)
    Kristine Musademba - quit after a couple disappointing seasons
    Kristiene Gong - was injured last year
    DeeDee Leng - quit, injury
    Amanda Dobbs - she wasn't that "talented" with only 3S and 3T; hasn't made improvements to her technical content

    Also, is it safe to say that Kimmie Meissner is retired? Yes
    Thanks for the update. I'm sorry to hear about all the ones who quit, but I guess skating is like a pyramid with a narrow summit. There's not much way around that fact. It makes the ones who persevere and improve look all the more impressive, doesn't it.

    Although Meissner seems to be retired from eligible competition, I noticed happily that she's taken part in several skating show events. It's great that she's able to do skating that she enjoys.

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    The only one I miss on that list, whom made a huge impression on me at Nationals last year, is Kristine Musademba. She was FANTASTIC; her LP reminded me of fairy running across the ice, she was a delight!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    Thanks for the update. I'm sorry to hear about all the ones who quit, but I guess skating is like a pyramid with a narrow summit. There's not much way around that fact. It makes the ones who persevere and improve look all the more impressive, doesn't it.
    Yes. And it's expensive. So in the US generally the pretty-good skaters keep at it as long as they're getting international assignments. The ladies are usually competing as seniors while still high school age. If they're not making progress by the time they graduate, often it makes more sense to go to college than to continue competing. Some choose to become professional skaters (coaching or performing in shows) instead of or in addition to college.

    If there were lots of money coming into the sport from outside so that the 20th or 30th best skater in the country could make a living competing at nationals and other senior-level events, then more would stick around longer. But that has never been the case with this sport.

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    Competed this season but did not qualify for US Nationals:
    Alexe Gilles
    Becky Bereswill
    Amanda Dobbs
    Austin Kanallakan
    Tracy Tanovich (Junior Ladies)
    Dennis Phan

    Kristine Musademba and Laney Diggs decided to attend college full-time - both took their high school education seriously while they were competing.

    There was an MIT news article within the past year about Curran Oi in which he said he hasn't ruled out returning to competition after college. He competed in U.S. Collegiate Championships 2 summers ago. ETA the May 2011 article link: http://tech.mit.edu/V131/N26/aotwcurranoi.html
    Last edited by Sylvia; 02-16-2012 at 03:53 PM.

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    Oops, I also miss Alexe Gilles, she had HUGE jumps. The trouble is she never managed to land them. :( Also, like Kira Korpi, she's good looking; from the instant I saw her I was thrown back to Carole Lombard (the love of Clark Gable's life). Good looks only help the sport, not hurt it (e.g. G&G).

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Didn't Angela Maxwell withdraw from the 2010 US Championships with an injured back?

    I haven't heard about her since?

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    Yes. And it's expensive. So in the US generally the pretty-good skaters keep at it as long as they're getting international assignments. The ladies are usually competing as seniors while still high school age. If they're not making progress by the time they graduate, often it makes more sense to go to college than to continue competing. Some choose to become professional skaters (coaching or performing in shows) instead of or in addition to college.

    If there were lots of money coming into the sport from outside so that the 20th or 30th best skater in the country could make a living competing at nationals and other senior-level events, then more would stick around longer. But that has never been the case with this sport.
    Good point, gkelly, and worth keeping front and center. I think this problem shows up especially in pairs, as we've discussed in another thread. Skating is so expensive that keeping a pair together long enough for them to develop is all but impossible when other problems are factored in (for example, the girl grows and/or the boy doesn't). This puts us at a huge disadvantage against countries with subsidized national programs such as China and Russia (and I assume Germany but have no information on that). For some unknown reason, we've lately escaped the couples jinx in the discipline of ice dancing. I don't know what cosmic grace has allowed us that escape, but I'm thrilled.

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    Thank you all for the update. I'm most disappointed to hear about Kristine Musademba. She had so much talent. Good luck to her in college. Figure skating is a very unforgiving sport, however, I admire skaters do not put all their eggs in skating and instead look forward to future opportunities.

    Maybe Kristine should follow in Melissa Bulanhagui's footsteps and compete for the Philippines, or even Nigeria. That would be cool.

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    Quote Originally Posted by koheikun90 View Post
    Thank you all for the update. I'm most disappointed to hear about Kristine Musademba. She had so much talent. Good luck to her in college. Figure skating is a very unforgiving sport, however, I admire skaters do not put all their eggs in skating and instead look forward to future opportunities.

    Maybe Kristine should follow in Melissa Bulanhagui's footsteps and compete for the Philippines, or even Nigeria. That would be cool.
    Wouldn't it be grand? A skater competing for Nigeria. I'd love to see that. We'd finally get to change the name of 4CC to 5CC...go for it! Like the Egyptian bobsledder (I think it was bobsled) from a few Olympics ago.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    Wouldn't it be grand? A skater competing for Nigeria. I'd love to see that. We'd finally get to change the name of 4CC to 5CC...go for it! Like the Egyptian bobsledder (I think it was bobsled) from a few Olympics ago.
    No, it would still be 4cc because the four continents represented are the Americas (as a whole), Asia, Africa, and Oceania.

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    At the rink. Again. mskater93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    I think this problem shows up especially in pairs, as we've discussed in another thread. Skating is so expensive that keeping a pair together long enough for them to develop is all but impossible when other problems are factored in (for example, the girl grows and/or the boy doesn't).
    I actually read an article back around 2006 or so (when Tatmianina and Marinin were still competing and training in the US) that had some quotes from Oleg Vasiliev on the state of US Pair skating and why there were issues in the US versus Russia/China/et al. His take on it was that the a boy skater and a girl skater decide to try out as a pair team. In the US, if they don't immediately click (like in under a year) as a talented team, they break up and try again with another skater of the opposite sex. In Russia, you are partnered with someone and expected to make it work (unless something god-awful causes a need for the team to be broken up). It was very interesting.

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    Rooting for the divas with Kwanford Spun Silver's Avatar
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    What an idiosyncratic way of counting continents.

    Kristine Musademba has nothing to do with Nigeria, does she? Her father is from Zimbabwe. I think she struggled with injury as well as wanting to go to college, and so did Amanda Dobbs and her pairs partner. It's rough.

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    Like subtlety in ice dancing Serious Business's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    For some unknown reason, we've lately escaped the couples jinx in the discipline of ice dancing. I don't know what cosmic grace has allowed us that escape, but I'm thrilled.
    I analyzed this discrepancy in the other thread. But it's worth going into again. So why are the many factors seemingly at work against the US developing a top tier pair less applicable to US ice dancing?

    Ice dancing is less reliant on and less sensitive to differences in size and growth. Not that the woman being smaller doesn't help in ice dancing, especially with the lift levels, but it's a lot easier to adjust to it in ice dancing. Thus, it's both easier to find and keep partners.

    Ice dancing has less absolute skill barriers. Pairs requires a vast variety of skills (the most of all the figure skating disciplines, in my opinion), and some of them are just beyond the vast majority of people. Most skaters are never going to land triple jumps. A lot who do are never going to land them consistently. And if they can at one point, puberty can knock that right out. That alone can completely torpedo the international top tier potential of any pairs team. If one partner hits that wall, the team can wave world and Olympics medal hopes bye bye.

    In other countries with more autocratic skating programs, very often they will pluck out a boy and a girl who are talented at singles skating and put them in a pair. In the US, if you're a skater who shows talent in singles, you might dabble in pairs, but you're going to focus on singles, where the money is (which is more important to US skaters). And as with any country, if a skater shows good ice aptitude, but hits that triple jump wall or can't handle those lifts or whatever else, why not try ice dancing?

    And possibly the most important difference? Igor Shpilband! Let's face it, the US ice dancing program would not be making a peep without him. He has exactly the right experience, discipline and talent to mold all these skaters into great international competitors. We have no one like that in US pairs skating, it seems. John Nicks, who coached the last internationally dominant US pairs team, Randy and Tai, is either not working with any US pair team with much potential, or doesn't have the experience and skills to coach skaters for modern pair skating. All the negatives against US pair skating could be rendered moot if we had just one great coach (and supporting team). We don't seem to have one yet.

    I think pairs require the most complex, diverse and often paradoxical skills and qualities in partners. This easily leads to mismatches, frustration and impatience that aren't ameliorated because under the US system it's every skater for her/himself. I think progress in ice dancing is a lot more likely to be convergent, with both partners advancing together. That minimizes the drama.

    In conclusion, if the US wants to improve its pair program: dish out extra funding for pair teams to make up for the fact that pair prizes are not only lower, but have to be split among partners to encourage talented single skaters to go into pairs. Attract/kidnap a great pair coach.
    Last edited by Serious Business; 02-16-2012 at 05:55 PM.

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