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Thread: Can Gracie Gold handle the pressure?

  1. #241
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    Quote Originally Posted by dorispulaski View Post
    The point is that she learned how to compete quickly; that's all I was trying to say.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tara_Lipinski#Eligible

    She was 4th at Jr. Worlds in 1995, 5th at Jr. Worlds in 1996, 15th at Senior Worlds. She had not quite got the hang of this competing thing in her debut year on the Senior Circuit.

    The 1996-1997 season, she figured it out and never looked back.

    She was, indeed, one tough cookie, but it didn't mean she won everything she entered. And strange, but true, she never medalled at Jr. Worlds in 2 tries.
    Right. The fact is that just because Gracie struggled this year doesn't meant she'll suffer forever. I think it's part of her career arc. I think it's crazy to expect that skaters will never struggle in their careers -- the key thing is what they learn from it. And the fact is that sometimes you will fall down again and have to get up again.

    Consider the fact that two seasons ago, Gracie ended her season with a dismal sixth place finish at Midwestern sectionals. With in a few months, she was dominating summer comps and having a breakout junior season. Competing in seniors is obviously a different animal than being a junior, so though she is going through similar struggles as a senior, how to work through those issues is different than what she had to do when she was a junior.

    And honestly, I really think her poor performance at 4CC was very much a timing and less so on nerves. Let's fact is after that killer LP at Nationals, it's hard to motivate yourself that quickly and do it all over again.

  2. #242
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    Quote Originally Posted by mskater93 View Post
    Kwan was supposed to win Juniors the year before Lipinski (or 2 years, maybe) but also ended up either second or third.
    Kwan was 9th in U.S. juniors in 1992, at age 11. I don't think she had been expected to win, being so young and it being her first trip to Nationals. She probably was expected to win the following year, so moving up to seniors was apparently a way to take the pressure off. She finished 6th in seniors at 1993 Nationals. And then 2nd in 1994 and again in 1995 when she was probably the strongest favorite.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jammers View Post
    Seriously having to go back to when Tara was 12 to say she didn't know how to compete it s bit of a stretch. Tara was just one tough skater who wasn't intimidated even when she was skating against the most clearly dominate skater of her time. She had nerves of steel which many skaters just don't have.
    If there was ever a time that Lipinski competed flat-out badly, probably due to pressure, I'd say it was the short program at 1996 Worlds.

    She may have expected a medal at 1996 Junior Worlds and been disappointed to finish 5th, after having been 4th the year before. As I recall there was some disagreement about strategy (e.g., whether to include the 3Lz) with coach Jeff DiGregorio, which led to her leaving him between Junior Worlds and Nationals.

  3. #243
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    Could be Tara just wasn't good enough to win at that time.
    Last edited by Jammers; 02-21-2013 at 05:14 PM.

  4. #244
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    Quote Originally Posted by James R View Post
    This will anger many, but while Michelle was great, she skated mostly under 6.0 and was somewhat held up in scoring by her own hype and legacy. Not saying she wasn't the most amazing US lady of recent times, but she was definitely handed at least some of those golds. Also, Michelle was probably quite unique in terms of how hard she worked for it. So for both reasons of rarity of the incredible work ethic she put forth, and for the changes in the judging system which forces TE beyond what Michelle could really do, I don't see "Michelle Kwan consistency" happening again... ever. It's just never going to happen.

    Sasha Cohen... that could maybe happen again. Someone that has incredible ability, struggles with some things but can win for us "if she's clean." We haven't really seen it quite yet. Alissa almost got there... a lot of girls were hyped but never reached that level. Sasha started in gymnastics and trained a lot of ballet, so now that I think about it that's pretty unique too.

    It's probably unfair to hold new skaters to either Michelle's consistency or Sasha's ability ... maybe it's best to look at who's winning now and figure out what they're doing and how to replicate it. How DO the Japanese sweep podiums now anyway? Did they really grow so many inherently talented skaters, or is it cultural? Work ethic and talent for math to squeeze all the points they can? Maybe USFSA should focus on having FS mathematicians available to work with the coaches and help our skaters win more points.
    So you are saying some of Michelle's (the actual one with the skating skill ability) wins was because of rep as if Sasha's rep didn't help her get an Olympic silver with 2 falls...lol walking away on this one.

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    I think there's still reputation scoring in CoP. Moreover, I think that if Michelle and Sasha had grown up under CoP, they'd have trained for it and flourished under it, so that point is probably not applicable. Remember that not only Frank Carroll but Lori Nichol have become CoP experts and have done very well for their skaters, so if (all other things being equal) Michelle had been able to work with those two today, she'd have had splendid results, given her great skating skills, her work ethic, and her coolness under pressure. Sasha's limberness would have shown up in her great spins, and her general excellence (leaving out her less stellar stroking and suchlike) would have carried her through also, I imagine.

    About James's other point, that it's unfair to hold new skaters to Michelle's and Sasha's standards: In a way, this is valid, but in another way, this is what skating is about. The ones who win have to have some combination or variation of Michelle's qualities or they will be defeated in competition.

    The truth is that in American skating, we probably need another Michelle. That's what the Japanese skaters and YuNa are: they are Michelles in terms of their excellence (though each has a different combination of traits to add up to that excellence). Kostner is an unusual case: she had great skills all along but has been a head case up until now. What saved her is that there are no other Italian skaters who could beat her, so she had the luxury of trying and trying again until she was 25 or so.

    What position is Gracie in? Well, we'll know more after Worlds. At the moment, we really don't have enough information to decide.

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    This may sound trivial . . . But I remember reading that Gracie had a nosebleed prior to one of her programs at Nationals. And at 4CC, it seemed like her nose was bleeding a little after her LP. I wonder if it's possible this is an ongoing problem and that it's contributing to her spotty performances?

    I know I'd be plenty distracted if I were about to skate at a big competition and was worried my nose would start bleeding during my program.

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    Her nosebleeds might be brought on by her nerves. She needs to get that under control. The pressure for a first year Senior to be the saviour of US Ladies skating right off the bat has been ridiculous and she has let it get to her. People need to let her grow and develop as a skater at her own pace like most skaters do and leave her alone with these over the top expectations.

  8. #248
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    Quote Originally Posted by lavender View Post
    So you are saying some of Michelle's (the actual one with the skating skill ability)
    This is the part of a hater post where I stop reading. Please make a note of this to save yourself time in the future.

    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    I think there's still reputation scoring in CoP.
    There certainly is, but the judges hands are more tied now. Elements are elements and now they're all assigned points, which add up. Fudging the numbers only does so much now. Not that they don't try their hardest to fudge numbers, of course. But the negative result is that the soul has been sucked out of the sport. All to hinder cheating, rather than actually expose or create oversight to stop it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    Moreover, I think that if Michelle and Sasha had grown up under CoP, they'd have trained for it and flourished under it
    I'd say Michelle "managed" under CoP while Sasha did quite well compared to her 6.0 performance, since under CoP her chronic falls didn't necessarily end her chances in any given program. I'm looking and the only major competition I can find Michelle skated under CoP was '05 Worlds where she finished 4th with 200.19, just behind Carolina Kostner with 200.56, Sasha 214.39 and Irina 222.71. I could have sworn she won her last nationals under CoP but wikipedia lists it as 6.0.

    I always think back to the 2002 Olympics ladies free, with the quote "but she wasn't CLEAN, Scott!" That quote echoes in my head every time I watch a skater blow jumps or have ugly falls and walk away with gold under CoP (sometimes casually strolling away with the gold, even after 2 huge mistakes) simply because they earned enough points on other jumps and elsewhere (whether fairly or not) to quite literally pay for their mistakes. Sasha walked away with the OSM in 06 after 2 huge mistakes. I do not believe that could have been the case under 6.0. I guess skaters could have coasted to silver under 6.0 with 2 big mistakes, but in that instance I don't know.

    Clean... used to mean something. It has no relevance in and of itself now. If you have an identical program to your competitor other than one double axel where you landed on your butt, you'd always win under CoP, since even the butt-landed 2A counted for something more than the paltry -1.0 deduction for a fall. Still boggles my mind that it's only -1.0 for a fall under CoP. There needs to be some kind of escalating penalty ... not sure, but -1.0 for something that visually wrecks a program is a joke and an utter travesty. The continuing divide between the huge point loss for UR and the smaller point loss for a fall is like a knife in the belly of the sport. The audience is just never going to accept it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    if (all other things being equal) Michelle had been able to work with those two today, she'd have had splendid results, given her great skating skills, her work ethic, and her coolness under pressure. Sasha's limberness would have shown up in her great spins, and her general excellence (leaving out her less stellar stroking and suchlike) would have carried her through also, I imagine.
    Ignoring Michelle's age & injuries, I was under the impression that she simply never had very high jump difficulty. I know she lost the OGM in '98 due to Tara's much better jump difficulty. This lack of jump difficulty was often made up for in other areas under 6.0 (fairly or unfairly...) but I think that this would not be nearly as possible under CoP. If I'm wrong on that, feel free to correct me. But if I'm right, I think the lack of difficult jump combos would have precluded her from much real success under CoP, just like it precludes many others now. And why we see strings of skaters in the lower ranks / early groups falling on their face trying to do jumps they're incapable of, since without attempting those jumps they have no chance of even being relevant.

    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    The truth is that in American skating, we probably need another Michelle. That's what the Japanese skaters and YuNa are: they are Michelles in terms of their excellence (though each has a different combination of traits to add up to that excellence).
    Again, I don't think it's humanly possible to have Michelle Kwan consistency with the technical difficulty required now. Yuna Kim is the closest we've seen to that kind of superhuman ability, but look at how short her run was. (I also persist in the belief that while Yuna was a genuine phenom, her scores were quite often inflated, unless someone can prove to me how they weren't.) And I would not put ANY of the japanese ladies anywhere near the league of Michelle Kwan in terms of consistency. Mao may be "back", but she had seasons so bad people questioned whether she was washed up.
    Last edited by James R; 02-23-2013 at 07:22 AM.

  9. #249
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    Quote Originally Posted by James R View Post
    I always think back to the 2002 Olympics ladies free, with the quote "but she wasn't CLEAN, Scott!" That quote echoes in my head every time I watch a skater blow jumps or have ugly falls and walk away with gold under CoP (sometimes casually strolling away with the gold, even after 2 huge mistakes) simply because they earned enough points on other jumps and elsewhere (whether fairly or not) to quite literally pay for their mistakes. Sasha walked away with the OSM in 06 after 2 huge mistakes. I do not believe that could have been the case under 6.0. I guess skaters could have coasted to silver under 6.0 with 2 big mistakes, but in that instance I don't know.
    I don't think being "clean" made as much difference under 6.0 as it seems in retrospect, although it certainly was one consideration that judges could choose to reward.

    There's also the question of what constitutes "clean."
    E.g., what constitutes a bigger mistake, this or this?

    Sometimes none of the top skaters gave a clean program so the decision might have been made on fewest mistakes or on best successful content ignoring the mistakes, or some combination thereof. Sometimes the cleanest program was easier or of lower quality than a flawed program that won.

    Often when a program with one or more visible flaws ended up winning commentators and/or fans would question the judges' decision on the principle that the cleaner program should have won, even though judges had other priorities. E.g., Gordeeva/Grinkov over Mishkutionok/Dmitriev at 1994 Olympics.

    Also, sometimes the cleaner program would win the freeskate but not the gold medal because that skater was too far behind on factored placements from the previous phase(s) of competition to catch up to the skater with the second-best freeskate.

    Looking only at Olympic or even Olympic + world gold medals over the years is a small sample. Looking at all medal places and below at many competitions shows many instances when visibly cleaner programs lost to more obviously flawed ones.

  10. #250
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    There's also the question of what constitutes "clean."

    E.g., what constitutes a bigger mistake, this or this?
    To me, neither of these errors compromises the "cleanliness" of the program. (Although Petrenko made some worse mistakes later on.)

    Looking only at Olympic or even Olympic + world gold medals over the years is a small sample. Looking at all medal places and below at many competitions shows many instances when visibly cleaner programs lost to more obviously flawed ones.
    I think in the past the ISU made a deliberate effort to clean up its act when more people were watching. Falls were more of a kiss of death for gold medal aspirants at the Olympics than for middle-ranked skaters in lesser events.

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    I hope Gracie doesn't see these boards and think "wow, 17 pages of people questioning my ability to handle pressure" when much of it is about Kwan

    I also don't think we will see Kwan's consistency, but I think the reason is that there are so many ways to accrue points that a skater can make errors and win if they have sufficient difficulty. Clean programs fail to medal often under COP because the skater's spins, footwork, and PCS are not up to par with the top competitors. The goal under 6.0 was to do as much difficulty as you could accomplish while still being clean. Under COP, the goal is to try more difficulty than you can do clean with the hopes that, if you aren't clean, your higher difficulty helps you accrue enough points to win.

  12. #252
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    Quote Originally Posted by James R View Post
    Yuna Kim is the closest we've seen to that kind of superhuman ability, but look at how short her run was. (I also persist in the belief that while Yuna was a genuine phenom, her scores were quite often inflated, unless someone can prove to me how they weren't.) And I would not put ANY of the japanese ladies anywhere near the league of Michelle Kwan in terms of consistency. Mao may be "back", but she had seasons so bad people questioned whether she was washed up.
    YuNa and Mao have so many jealous haters!!!!!!!111!!1

    (Hmm, yes, it really IS fun to call people "haters". Maybe I should start doing it more.)

  13. #253
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    Quote Originally Posted by James R View Post
    This is the part of a hater post where I stop reading.
    I didn't take Lavender's post to be hating on anyone. Michelle was the better of the two in terms of the bullets under the "skating skills" component -- blade control, deep and secure edges, that sort of thing. (Shizuka Arakawa was better than both of them. )

    Anyway, there is not much point to comparing skaters from different eras. Would Sonia Henie have scored well under CoP? Well, she did have a 1A+1A SEQ in her arsenal.

    Michelle won forty-odd titles under 6.0. She skated only once under CoP. It was her very last competition before she retired to have the hip surgery that she had been needing for at least two years previously. It is hard to draw any conclusions from that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    I didn't take Lavender's post to be hating on anyone. Michelle was the better of the two in terms of the bullets under the "skating skills" component -- blade control, deep and secure edges, that sort of thing. (Shizuka Arakawa was better than both of them. )

    Anyway, there is not much point to comparing skaters from different eras. Would Sonia Henie have scored well under CoP? Well, she did have a 1A+1A SEQ in her arsenal.

    Michelle won forty-odd titles under 6.0. She skated only once under CoP. It was her very last competition before she retired to have the hip surgery that she had been needing for at least two years previously. It is hard to draw any conclusions from that.
    Thank you Mathman. That's okay.... that ship has sailed but if you look at my previous post you would see that I was trying to support sasha at first. I'm one of the few who miss Sasha and think if she kept skating she could have possibly challenged for an Olympic spot but nevermind.

  15. #255
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    I did not read the 17 pages, don’t know how we’re discussing Michelle and Irina in Gracie Gold thread, except I like both of them and Shizuka. About Gold, I just want to post that I watched her live for the first time at 4cc. She was amazing. Her jumps had a lot of height and distance, probably the best in ladies. Her new gala program is very emotional and she should perform more programs like that. Good luck to her at London Worlds.

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