She also has no flexibility in her back. If you pause while watching her layback, her head is tilted backwards but her back is completely flat, and her leg is out to her side rather than more behind her. I believe she was the only skater to get -GOE on a spin, so that is an area she could improve.
I think the bad layback came from a back injury as well.
So I think her team needs to figure out a way to do a better layback to deal with some of those challenges...
After Hamill's Olympic gold, females rushed to copy her "Dorothy" haircut because they wanted to look like her, for crying out loud.
I like and respect Kwan, but in my opinion, the very nice interest in her did not match the utter obsession with Hamill.
Perhaps our perspectives reflect a difference among generations.
And I am talking about the widespread response of the general public -- not about the response only from serious skating fans. janetfan wisely pointed out earlier that those are two different perspectives as well.
Well, you know the drill - if you want recognition among the general public and you're a skater you have to win the Olympics. Or at the very least, get a medal...it's no longer enough to simply go there. I can just imagine all the magazines and companies waiting to pounce on Gold should she show any potential in this path...I do not envy her situation, the pressure will be tremendous...
Last edited by R.D.; 10-24-2012 at 11:31 PM.
I think her speed would probably be the area of her skating least affected by a weight gain. Constant injuries to her back and ankles could really affect it, though, as they'd limit her training time and her ability to push off her blade properly. There really isn't a great substitute for ice time when developing speed because you need to develop specific muscle patterns and muscular endurance (not the same as plain old cardio endurance). Lack of muscular endurance is not necessarily related to weight. Ironically, limited training time makes weight control more difficult and the whole situation becomes much harder to manage. I really hope that she can get a proper diagnosis and find an excellent physical therapist and get this all sorted out so that she can train properly again.
Like I said above, I have criticized Rachael about her weight in the past, and I'm not really a huge fan of her skating. I do think, however, that she showed at this competition that she's been working on jump consistency and her programs, while not overly exciting, were still somewhat pleasant to watch. She has room to grow, but I don't think she can much until she's fully healthy. The situation is so much more complicated than just a weight issue.
The girl is out of shape. Don't beat around the bush.
When you say out of shape, I assume you mean out of condition, and it seems as if that's true. Clearly she hasn't had time or ability to train in the way that she would need to, which seems mostly to be a reflection of her injury/injuries. The lack of back flexibility is something we've seen for awhile, and for years it's been known that she has some kind of back problem, either chronic or recurrent. Yes, she used to have a lovely layback, and an especially fine spreadeagle. I'm sorry to see that those elements are no longer at her best.
It's hard to judge her musicality. It was excellent when she was fourteen or so, and I don't think that's something that you lose. So what she has lost is completeness of execution--extension, posture, placement. This time out, however, her jumps looked solid, though not spectacular.
I have heard time and time again that Rachael is a lot more impressive when seen live. I don't know what that means in terms of whether speed, lift, and so on show up better in a live setting. I just know that this particular long program wasn't as distressing to watch on YouTube as I feared it could be. In fact, many elements of her program looked pretty good.
Last edited by Olympia; 10-25-2012 at 11:24 AM.
Yes, no doubt she's out of condition, or rather, that she isn't skating at her highest potential due to injuries. But her stamina was actually pretty good -- she did not seem tired or exhausted after she was done with the program. I really truly believe the lack of speed and the low levels on her spins is really a result of her lack of physical ability to do those additional revolutions or to power the blade to go faster, i.e. lacking that muscular endurance that MoonlightSkater is talking about.
I was looking at photos my husband took during the event last night and I noticed in some of the photos that it's clear that Rachael has a very thin waist, but yes, is larger at the top. I also noticed that while her arms and legs could probably benefit from a little more definition, they were hardly flabby.
That's interesting, Mrs. P. I think that Rachael is just a different body type from many skaters, but that need not be a problem. She doesn't have a very long neck, and she has sort of a slouch. She's probably mostly an endomorph. But there have been ladies' skaters of stockier build, and some of them have achieved very good form. I don't normally like to talk about Tonya Harding, but the fact is that even when she was out of condition, she finished off her moves beautifully. Midori Ito was another one who wasn't the typical ice princess, but she was tremendously musical. If Rachael were free of injuries and had full range of movement (she wouldn't need to be as bendy as Caroline Zhang or Sasha; Michelle was not all that flexible), she would give off an entirely different impression—and of course she'd have more time to train intensely.
And yes, I'm also glad that skating careers aren't put to a fan vote. We'd probably have gotten rid of both Paul Wylie and Todd Eldredge before their days of triumph.