I am really astonished at how much coaching changes have transformed Christina Gao and Bobrova and Soloviev in just a few short months.
Gao used to have flashes of brilliance here and there in her skating programs but I have never been fully impressed until now. Her coaches Mark Mitchell and Peter Johannson have helped her improve just about every aspect of her skating. Her musicial interpretion has improved tremendously. She now hears the music and uses it to her advantage. Her audience connection has improved. Her ability to perform has improved (she seems far more aware of the audience now). Her stroking and ice coverage seem greatly improved. I love the improved speed and flow in her skating. I love the improvements in her spins...they are much faster and centered better and the positions are superior to anything we have seen before. Gao's posture looks vastly improved as well. Her jumps look cleaner and higher. The rotation looks tighter and more efficient. I see more joy in her skating than I have ever seen before. Christina Gao seems like a brand new skater out there. She reminds me now a great deal of Lu Chen...she skates with the same kind of grace, speed, flow and musicality. I am truly amazed.
Furthermore, I don't even recognize Bobrova and Soloviev this season. They look like totally different people and they skate like totally different people. Their new coach, Alexander Zhulin has toned down their previously over the top costumes and make-up (I never knew that there were two such attractive skaters hiding underneath all of that). It's like they have been revealed for the first time.
Moroever, their coach has toned down their previously frantic choreography so that it's now possible to appreciate their great body-line and matching extensions. Their edging and flow looks far better. Their unison and posture look vastly better. Their connection to each other and to the audience seems to have improved 100%. I don't even recognize them anymore. They seem like brand new skaters. All the changes have been for the better.
I can't wait to see what other miracle transformations this season has in store.
It has to be awesome for Christina to train with Ross Miner. He is definitely a skater's skater and probably is a great example for Christina as far as skating skills, training ethic, etc.
Ross himself went from non-factor at the 2010 GP to 2011 Nationals bronze medalist in just a few short months, so I'm not surprised at the rapid progress Mitchell/Johannsen has already made with Christina.
Plus the Skating Club of Boston seems like a real fun place with a lot of different skaters; judging by her tweets, she seems to be enjoying this very much.
Gao will challenge for podium at nationals. She is skating better than Mirai, Rachel, Alissa. Looks Like Wagner, Gold maybe, Gao, Zawadski and perhaps-Angela Wang are top 5. or top six-forgot Zhang. Gonna be a good fight for every medal. Ashley will ned to skate great to repeat as NC.
Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program
I hope Gao is Silver at Nationals (to Ashley's Gold). I thought she was ubber talented two-three years ago when she first came onto the senior level and was i little surprised about how she never lived up to her potential. Her jumps are huge...under Orser she skated and was packaged as a mini yu-na, now she has that yu-na quality but is very much her own skater and has improved greatly with her spins and musicality.
Simply the best.
I had almost given up on her at Nats but Gao at SA was just amazing! Her jumps are totally back, which is to say that they weren't really good under Orser's tutelage--puzzling, huh?
I agree with with Tinymavy15 and also hope that she could break out to the silver medal in this season's Nationals.
I got really excited when I saw her at SA. She looked so self-assured and mature. I hope this is just the beginning for her.
I was really impressed by Gao's performance: in my predicitions, I didn't consider her a podium contender at all, considering her last season results (5th and 10th in her GPs, 5th at nationals), but she left me just , she looked so calm and comfortable, enjoying her programs, and the fact that she's attending Harvard is just another positive factor about her. She's really more mature and her jumps and spins are more refined, the technical panel was just really hard with her giving the spins level (but it was the same for everyone): her 2A is a lot better than, the same for her lutz and her LSp. She's really going to be a medal contender at Nationals and she could maybe go to the GPF if she places 3rd in France...
In case anyone is interested - here is Scott and Sandra calling Christina's Skate America LP:
IMO the gushing from Sandra in this case was quite appropriate:
"Christina in a word is DIVINE. She has a subtlety about her performance that is ENDEARING."
"But maybe sometimes actually it holds her back because I think she doesn't seem to receive the credit she deserves."
I couldn't agree more....and Sandra is not just one of my very favorite all-time choreographers but I also enjoy her commentary.
She knows what she is talking about........
Didnt Gao g through a growth spurt when she was under Orser?
She is super talented and I too loved her program.
Yes, I think the growth spurt was clearly the issue the last two seasons.
Originally Posted by emdee
Look at her here from 2010 U.S. Nationals -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7liNIlGSGts
Then here she is a year later at 2011 U.S. Nationals -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0pGIiXc9ks
And then 2012 U.S. Nationals -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ldlLf_CHZc
She grew so quickly in the last two years, it was clear she wasn't quite used to her tall body. Here at Skate America, it seems she finally has command and confidence and can use those long limbs to her favor, which is great to see!
I have had great expectation for Christina for a number of years now, even as she struggled with her growth spurt last season. So no surprise for me. I based my opinion mainly on two factors, at least one of which I have written about. Firstly she has that star quality to me, a captivating grace in her moves even when she was somewhat gangly. And then I was very impressed with an interview before last season when she expressed her ambition, citing Patrick Chan as her role model. There she has one thing in common with her idol - choosing idols outside the box. She picked a Man instead of a Lady like all other girls, just as Patrick picked Federer, Wood, and Kwan as models of dominance in sports. This is somebody who doesn't limit herself. I wish her the best. She has already proven she can have it all, with determination, organization, and hard work.
Add to Christina's success factors intelligence and parental support. Her father moved to live with her in Toronto when she trained there with Orser. She has self sacrificing parents crucial in the success of many Asian descendents.
and yet....I suspect Christina is on her own now...away from the closed environment of the Cricket Club, with no Dad always looking over her shoulder.
Originally Posted by SkateFiguring
Boston is a fabulous place to go to school..... and the freedom of attending classes with other real students - as opposed to taking classes online seems to be a tonic for Christina.
Mirai recently echoed similar sentiments...she is happier being more independent and taking her art classes with other students as opposed to online schooling.
Who knows...lots to consider here in the strange, often demanding and at times unnatural lives of "Ice Princesses."
Last edited by janetfan; 10-24-2012 at 12:19 PM.
I think some people thrive when they have more things on their plate, and Christina seems to be one of those people. Skating and school are probably able to balance each other out...sometimes focusing on one thing can make it become too stressful. I hope that she can continue this upward streak though, since most of the skaters who try to do both eventually decide to do one or the other, with school winning out in many cases (the Hughes sisters, probably Flatt, etc).