in discussions of this sort we try to convince ourselves that it is very important to get three U.S. ladies' spots for the world championships. Is it? The difference between two and three spots will briefly affect the life of precisely one person in the country (population 300,000,000) -- three, if you count that person's parents.
I am often accused of having no patriotism (and for that matter, no school spirit ). I have to admit that if Julia Lipnitskaya wins the Olympics next year I will say "good for her!" and I will not slit my wrists because she is not American.
It is, indeed, hard for me to convince myself that "how you skate at major international competitions" is something that "really matters at the end of the day." In truth it matters hardly at all. (JMO.)
MM: good points there. USFS basically says that selecting by Nationals results has been good forever and ever up until the last quadrenium, so why change? The issue has been inconsistency/injury (Flatt, Czsiny, Nagasu) and the strength of some unexpected skaters (Leonova, Kostner, Suzuki)
Let me say this again, in a less bombastic way.
I think figure skating should go from the ground up, not from the top down. Up with skaters, down with the Powers That Be.
Every 6-year-old Snowplow Sam that laces up his skates should have an equal shot at one day skating for the U.S. championship and a place on the team for the World Championship and the Olympics. This should be something that is earned by the skater, not bestowed from above by Federation Committees who have arrogated all power to themselves.
(OK, that wasn't less bombastic. Oh well. )
So it doesn't seem to be that much of a departure for USFSA to say, we'll chose the top two or three skaters by Naitonals and allow for a few exceptions.
I do find this Monday morning quarterbacking quite hilarious.
To be honest, I still think Wagner/Gold is the best shot at the world team right now but I don't know that Gracie is ready...hell, how is Ashley doing at this point? No one knows.
The only thing 4CC showed is that Christina had two solid skates and that Gracie and Agnes struggled. Does that mean Gracie will struggle at worlds? Not necessarily, but judging by her track record so far this season, I wouldn't expect any miracles from her. She's had two brilliant skates (SP at COR and FS at nationals), a few mediocre skates and a couple of disasters. Gracie is nowhere near consistent enough to bet the farm on at this point...
Gracie's hype is based solely on her potential. Everyone sees her soaring jumps from the practice videos so we all know she's capable of doing the jumps. Nailing the jumps under pressure is what she hasn't done yet. Yes, there was pressure at nationals but skating from 9th place is nowhere near as stressful as skating from 1st, 2nd or 3rd...so even after the clinic she put on at nationals I wasn't convinced she'd turned the corner. 4CC was proof of that. From all indications she's still not ready.
As for Christina, I think she should be proud of what she's done this year. She's had the best international season of her career and she has things to build on for next season. I do think she was the victim of biased scoring at nationals; her mistakes in her programs were nowhere near as bad as Agnes' and her presentation/artistry/etc. are better than Hicks'....she should have placed 3rd at nationals. But...bygones. The USFSA knew who they wanted to go to worlds and who they wanted for the alternate and they adjusted the results as such. The result: Christina got screwed. Her strong skates and 4th place finish at 4CC is all the vindication she needs.
Agnes has assumed Rachael's position with the USFSA. They love her big jumps and push her despite the fact the international judges' are less than impressed. But at least Rachael put out good performances internationally to help justify the USFSA's touting of her as the go-to skater...sorry to be frank, but Agnes sucks internationally. Something tells me Agnes will get dumped next year when one of the younger girls moves up.
The focus is on Gracie now. The commentators during nationals said she Gracie claims to love the attention she gets...I wonder if she still feels that way? If she doesn't deliver at worlds she will be crucified. It doesn't matter that she's inexperienced or whatever...fans will make excuses for her but what it boils down to is people want results and if she doesn't deliver, she will a punching bag from April until October. Look at Alissa last year...Rachael the year before that. The pressure is on and I'm sure she's feeling it.
For her sake, I hope she can get her act together in this next month...
I would be pretty concerned had Gracie skated lights out at 4CC. It's a learning curve and she has more to gain by faltering now than peaking too early. Now both Gracie and Wagner are going to be HUNGRY by Worlds time.
Gracie didn't skate all that bad at 4CC, but I sensed that she was pretty mad at herself after the FS. I agree she should do better at Worlds.
Gracie is doing just fine; ready to peak when it counts. She is gaining experience in competition, mileage on her programs and h andling the pressure. She is healthy and all is good.
I'm still doubtful (can't ignore the stats staring me right in the face - 1 for 4, etc.), but I agree with not wanting to peak too soon (at 4CCs). See, it kinda happened to Wagner last year...and let's see how the top international crop fare at Worlds as well.
You can't base an argument on one data point, especially when the bulk of the evidence is pointing in the other direction.
The significance of the difference lies in what Gracie can accomplish. Christina at her best couldn't touch what Gracie did in the FS at Nationals.
Last edited by ForeverFish; 02-11-2013 at 07:28 PM.
Or look at it this way.
Gao must be almost FLAWLESS to be in the mix. If Gao has an off day she's out of the top 10 - EASILY. To use someone else's analogy, yes, it's much like the "backup quarterback" situation (except she isn't the backup- Zawadzki is! *shudder*) where in most cases, the backup QB on average will not be all that much of an improvement (if any) over a rough performance from the starter.
But Gold can afford a few mistakes and still generally stay in the hunt (she must be careful not to melt down, though- 4CC was dangerously close and it happened at SC).