I feel terrible for Alissa, as I did for Rachael last year.
I'm not entirely sure what some of you expected the U.S. federation to do. Should they have yanked Alissa from the world team when they saw her results at the Hague? On what grounds: on suspicion of harboring excessive nerves? Did they even have the power to do so? I'm not arguing; I'm just asking. Who was obligated to do what before Worlds began? Should Alissa have turned herself in? I guess I'm not sure what the real-world possibilities were. (In fact, I'm almost convinced that Alissa would have been relieved if some Federation bigwig had shown up and kept her from boarding the plane, with Agnes Z. hovering nearby carrying a suitcase.)
After all, Alissa didn't always make a mess of things. It would almost be easier to evaluate her if she did. But last year she came in fifth, I think, at Worlds. If Rachael hadn't done so badly in 2011 at Worlds, we would have had our three spots back for this year.
That being said, there's no need to dump on Rachael either for the overall quality of her skating. Her style isn't my favorite (though I like her personality immensely). But for several years she was the best we had, and she deserved her spots on the world team. She was also a hardworking skater with a lot of drive, and that alone made her an asset to the U.S. team. We haven't had another one like that until this season, when Ashley (thank goodness) showed up with a furnace inside her.
I'm sure that the federation will want to have a talk with Alissa and her coaches in a short time, but there's no need for Alissa to have stood up in a brightly lit room and made some kind of confession right there at Nice this weekend. It's not coddling to give the lady a few days' breathing room.