Rather, we feel bad for her for one or a combination of the following reasons (and I'm even leaving out the 'she hasn't lived up to her potential reason' as, like you say and I acknowledge, she has accomplished a lot in her career and it is a bit silly to feel bad even if she doesn't accomplish more):
-She quite obviously trained hard this season and has made huge improvements from last season. This didn't help her at all at Nationals. Those of us who think on some level that hard work should be rewarded feel a bit bad about this.
-One reason she didn't preform as well as she could at Nationals may well have been the flu. Some of us feel sorry for her that she couldn't compete while healthy.
-She was clearly upset with her scores and herself. Some of us felt natural empathy at her reaction alone, because it is hard to see another human being be sad. Now of course, it isn't like her mother had just died or she has been starving in Kenya, but her level of upset was something I think a lot of us can relate to.
-Some people feel bad at how they perceive her to have been treated by USFSA.
Well, I'm with her no matter what she decides to do and certainly if she decides to keep at it. In the last few years only two USA lady skaters have really given me performances I love to revisit and she is one of them. Maybe she hasn't won a world medal but she has contributed greatly to my enjoyment of figure skating in the post-Michelle/Sasha era. Many figure skating fans surely feel the same way so that's quite an accomplishment already even if it might take her a long time to see it that way.
Well said Layfan. I couldn't agree with you more.
I think whatever Mirai chooses to do, she should know that she has a large (quite possibly the largest out of the current crop of US ladies) fanbase who admire her performances and continue to root for her. I for one hopes she will continue, even though it's going to take a lot of hard work from her again.
Maybe she can pull an Alissa Czisny in 2011 and come back next year with gorgeous programs and blow everyone away. It also seems the international judges give out higher PCS to "older" competitors, so this should work in her favor as she's competed internationally for many years now. With her natural grace, I'm sure she'll continue to gain reputation for putting out beautiful performances.
Like others have said, the main reason I felt sorry for Mirai was because of her reaction after her skate and receiving her scores, how she was so disappointed and upset that she was unable to contain her emotions. (I hope she's feeling better about it now!) Plus, I was probably extra sympathetic because I was rooting for her to make the world team in the first place, I was happy that she had made improvements this year and did pretty well on the Grand Prix, and recently I'd watched how hard she worked and trained with her new coaches during that 20 min. mini-documentary.
After Mirai's long program, I knew it wasn't perfect and that she wouldn't be on the world team, but I guess I was expecting something more in the 3-5 range, so 7 seemed harsh to me. But after seeing many posters here say that they could see the many URs in real time, that they weren't borderline and therefore not ignorable, etc., I can accept that her placement was at least not outrageous and that it was probably correct. One explanation for her placement being low that seems strange to me, though, is that she was "lifeless," her interpretation was poor, things along those lines. This mostly just seems strange to me because I didn't think Ashley and the other top U.S. ladies skated with signicant more "life" or superior interpretation here. I don't think Ashley is the very best in the world when it comes to artistry/presentation/interpretation categories in the first place, but when she's at her best, the confidence, fire, and polish with which she performs her choreography is what makes her stand out compared to many skaters. She was not at her best at Nationals, the same fire and confidence was not there, she was more slow, cautious, and visibly nervous (therefore making the audience nervous for her, taking us out of the program), and the falls marred her program -- same with Agnes's. Gracie's long program had more of an impact because it was clean and an amazing technical display and accomplishment, but she did not seem invested in selling the choreography or show much expression until after she completed the jumps, and the choreography itself is forgettable and juniorish. But all three were still rewarded despite not being as clean or artistically satisfying and inspiring as the earlier skaters (Cesario was probably my favorite performance-wise), so I guess I expected similar treatment for Mirai, being the highest ranked U.S. lady in Vancouver, being a former National champion, having a pretty good season with visible improvement, and having her own great skating and presentation qualities such as in her spirals (though not held very long) and spins (normally I'm tired of the ever-present layback > haircutter/side layback > Biellmann, but I love the one at the end of her long program! It was also the only spin that my dad who doesn't watch skating specifically pointed out that he liked). I'm not saying she deserved to be placed ahead of Ashley or Gracie anything like that, just explaining why my first impression after seeing her placement at 7th was that she was given harsher treatment than the other top U.S. ladies. And if picking what the USFSA perceives to be the right skaters for the world team is at all on judges' minds when scoring programs at Nationals, I wish the system for choosing the world team could be changed and based on factors other than Nationals like other countries.
Mirai still got scores similar to Zawadski and Gold from a PCS standpoint (60+ for Nagasu, 60+ for Zawadski, and 61+ for Gold who really got a boost for SS due to the speed and attack she skated with and PE for the execution of crazy-hard tech content since it's a presentation and EXECUTION mark and she certainly did the latter) whereas Nagasu got a 49 for tech due to 4 UR and 1 DG and a lack of GOE in general due to the UR and DGs (these are automatically negative) that got counteracted (somewhat) by higher GOEs on spins and steps.
Between Gold and Mirai, a 1 point difference is probably fair given Mirai's PCS would likely be much higher if she skated clean. I still have no idea how Agnes gets those kind of marks though. I suppose all the right pieces are there but something about her skating seems to lack refinement IMO and does not warrant the type of PCS she gets.
I still think it stinks that Mirai had to skate with the flu. How well would she have done if she was healthy?
THIS! Hopefully her heart and mind are willing and she'll stay in good health.
Mirai worked hard this year and her coaches DID try to address her URs and attempted to boost her PCS scores with better transitions:
Road to Omaha: Nagasu happy to be under radar
"We have brought in Jamie Isley to touch up her short program (Benny Goodman's "Downhill Special") and Cindy Stuart to work with her on her long ("Symphony No. 3 in C minor" by Camille Saint-Saëns)," Olson said.
Both programs were choreographed this summer by Susan Austin.
"The goal is to add more transitions and more body movement in the [step sequence] in the short, to gain another level," Olson continued. "Jamie's style is great with jazz
Olson and Evidente have also attacked Nagasu's jumps, with Evidente's off-ice training regimen adding zip to the skater's form.
"Mirai is in great shape now, much better than last year," Olson said. "The main thing is she is fit, and it is easier for her to rotate the jumps. She has to keep her jumps clean while also showing excellent skating skills."
And the AT&T mini-documentary on Mirai gives some idea of the hard work she's put in this past year before Nationals. I hope she keeps it going into next year and beyond.
Last edited by Sasha'sSpins; 02-01-2013 at 01:27 AM.
I wonder if Mirai will be back next season. I got the feeling after seeing her break down after seeing her scores that it was if she had been given an ultimatum (by her parents?) that she would make the team or else just move on and go to school next September.