Rachael Flatt: Complete Profile
As the 2011-2012 competitive season ended, one US figure skater that was out of sight and out of mind for many skating fans was the once highly-discussed Rachael Flatt. No longer evaluated as an elite skater who could contend for the World team, Flatt was relegated to the lower ranks of America's ladies figure skating. That said, what are your impressions of her skating in general but also of her performances this season and especially at Nationals? Classified by many as simply as a solid jumper with no other redeeming features, it would be satisfying to draw up a more complete profile of Rachael's strengths and weaknesses. Certainly she has used her jumps to score points; that cannot be denied. However, no worthy skater's accomplishments can only be summed up in terms of their jumps. Even for Miki Ando and Irina Slutskaya, two ladies often derided as pure jumping machines without skating skills, there are aspects to their skating outside of their jumps that have made them the remarkable skaters they are.
I for one always loved Rachael. I was really surprised that anyone thought Mirai won the 2010 Nationals, I though Rachael was so much stronger on the jumps, and was a bit annoyed with the commentators when they basically gave it to Mirai. Needless to say, I was happy with the outcome.
I felt she was royally screwed at the Olympics with those random downgrades on her flips that came out of nowhere. I still believe it was totally political.
I always enjoyed her, but the performances that stand out in my mind are:
Nationals Long 2010
Nationals Short 2011
Nationals long 2012
Thanks for starting this thread.
I think Rachael's biggest asset is her competitive spirit and work ethic. People often note that other skaters were better than her, yet Rachael managed to be in the top 2 for four straight years. Given the inconsistent results of her competitors, that is something worth noting. Even at her worst, she still managed to finish in the top six at Nationals and in the top 12 at 2011 Worlds with a broken leg.
Rachael's weakness were mostly things I think were out of her control. She never was a waif and never was super flexible to do amazing spins and spirals. The one thing I think she was weak at that was within her control was her (and her team's inability) to produce programs that really highlighted her strengths. Early in her career they had her do ballerina music and later on she was doing this super cutesy jazz stuff. I don't think either worked that well. Despite being a warhorse, I think Firebird was the closest Rachael had to a well-suited program.
Overall, I think Rachael had a decent career, even if it wasn't close to the likes of Michelle or Sasha. Should she decide to go full-time for school, I don't think she should have any regrets.
This season was bad for Rachael, but if I remember well, she was off the ice for an entire month during the summer, did not have an ideal training situation during her first semester, had bad foot injuries right before her second Grand Prix, had to get new boouts, and was temporarily unable to jump triples until a week or two before Nationals. Given all that, the long program at nationals was especialy amazing. She is an engaging live performer, even though her programs were not always the best.
I hope she stays in for another season, because it seems that only now is she really coming in to her own personality. I wonder, would her career be better if she had had another coach for most of her career?
I've heard that Rachael is someone who is more appreciated live. If she gets a GP, I'm hoping its Skate America so I can witness this myself. I think her performance ability is reflective of a give-it-all attitude, tied to her competitive spirit.
Originally Posted by ghislaine
Good points regarding the challenges this season.
For me, Rachel Flatt is similar to Sarah Hughes. Very consistent, but lacks showmanship in her skating.
Many casual fans pick their favorites based upon performance more than actual skating skills. A lot of people though Mirai should've beaten Rachel in 2010 because of showmanship.
Skating as a sport requires the desire to fight and overcome. Skating as an art requires performance. Not everyone has both.
For me, Ashley and Rachel have the competitive spirit, but not the showmanship that just 'glows' from within. Mirai and Alyssa have 'performance' when they are 'on', but lack 'fight'. It really has been a long time where the US has had someone with both qualities.
I agree 100%, and couldn't have said it better myself.
I think people expected her to have the same trajectory of Sarah Hughes, although without the gold medal. Sarah went from 7th to 5th to 3rd and was then expected to vie for the bronze in '02 (along with woman among girls, Maria Butyrskaya). I think people forget that she was a favorite for a medal, if not the gold.
Rachael was going along the same path, as the smart, solid, but not-beautiful skater, when suddenly her fortunes fell. She went up to 5th, but then fell each year after that.
My question: did Rachael's skating fall, or did the judges suddenly "turn" on her for some reason? I know she lost some of her consistency even before her broken leg.
I always liked her though, and hated it when she was blamed for her body type, which is not in her control.
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I think Rachael's skating fell a bit. I remember her being much more consistent with the 3-3 around 08-09.
Originally Posted by Poodlepal
I disagree with most of this, but esp. comparing Sarah Hughes to Rachael. Sarah had the ability to skate beautiful programs, and at 16 was still a colt. We did not see her mature in the sport but her 2002 Oly skate was amazing. I do not know about correct edges and rotations counted in CoP but it was a great skate, better than Irina and far better than Kwan. She deserved the gold and she was on the cover of Time. Sasha was amazing in her SP and undermarked as the newcomer. Hughes rise was rapid and meteoric. She could have continued had she wanted to sacrifice, and get thru her growth spurt. I think Sarah Hughes was a fiery competitor who could probably run for President. She was amazing, and like Tara, gone way too soon from competition. Michelle would have had a much tougher road had those two stayed in, or been able to in Tara's case. Sarah competed well after SLC but she did not have the time to keep her level really high.
Originally Posted by heyang
Maria Butyrskaya was a lousy jumper with limited skills who "willed herself" (Bezic) to do things. She was lucky to have 1 good skate at 99 Worlds when others faltered.
I agree young Mirai was a great performer who has not been performing at all thispast season. Alissa is not a great performer. Ashley has it all now-fight and jumps and style. You were not impresed with her showing this year? Alissa is a very introverted beauty with everything who rarely pulls it anywhere near together. She needs some upbeat programs. I hope her last season is upbeat without dronal piano music.
Hughes and Lipinski get forgotten. Meteors that won the big prize then moved on. MK would have done the same thing, but...
Rachael was wonderful in Vancouver, great SP and flawless long-she was screwed-fifth place was fair, not seventh. We have likely seen her best, I've said before as Stanford is so challenging. I think too she can be happy to move on, having accomplished quite a bit as a skater.
Last edited by skateluvr; 05-07-2012 at 10:41 PM.
and... World Peace!
I've never understood why Hughes gets ragged on for "leaving the sport" because she "didn't want it anymore."... she's well rounded and wanted to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Debi Thomas, why is that a negative thing? Same for Rachel... why is school a bad thing?
I've heard quite a few people say that Rachael's skating is best appreciated live. Nadine, who has seen her several times, is one GS member who has praised her performances lavishly. I have a soft spot for Rachael because of her competitive spirit and hardworking approach. I agree that she was marked low in the 2010 Olympics, though that's tricky; whom would you have marked lower? Everyone did such a splendid job the night of the long program, and I think no one above Rachael fell. I guess a lot of people would suggest moving Lepisto down (I don't particularly remember her performance that night, so I don't say yea or nay), but Ando? Mirai with that marvelous set of programs? Certainly not one of the medalists.
In any case, Rachael has done a great job in her skating career. I like that she doesn't have the ideal body type. I don't like to believe that biology is always destiny. If that were true, we'd end up with a bunch of cookie cutter clones winning skating. Vive la difference! If Rachael decides to stay, good for her. If she chooses to leave and study fulltime, that will also be admirable. It will be interesting to see what she announces.
Yeah, Sarah needed to go to school. I think she would have regardless of Oly outcome. Even Sasha who always gets invited is plumping up and is at school, planning to be ...oh gosh, a "hedge fund mgr." She loves to trade. There is no big money so they are wise to get education and more edication.
Olympia, I would say Flatt outskated in all ways Lepisto and Miki was pretty awful. That LP program was dreadful. Morozov didn't help Miki with that number/horrid costume. Mike was really off and Flatt was spot on wonderful. The experts said 5th was their assessment. So yeah, Miki and Lepisto were overmarked while Flatt was pushed aside. Politics maybe with Mirai deserving at least 4th place.
She might have won third but how could they do that to Joannie in Canada given her loss and superhuman effort. I love Joannie from day 1. Canada's best princess by far. I think everyone is better in person than Tv or laptop! Lucky Nadine.
Do you know what college Sasha is at right now? Columbia or New York Univeristy or something?
rachael's jumps have always been spot-on. she is always able to deliver under pressure and is prepared mentally and physically about 90% of the time. she doesn't let her nerves get to her; she is a strong competitor. her artistry is not the best but it's not horrible, and i am glad she has made the effort to improve it over the years. one of the things that i love about her is she is a performer. she gives out emotion and facial expressions and lets the crowd in. when she's on, she's on. some of her performances have made me teary-eyed such as her 2009 world's LP, and 2010 nationals and olympics LP. you can tell she loves to skate.
Columbia I heard her say.