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Thread: Where do Zawadzki and Gao go from here?

  1. #16
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    I really, really hope Christina continues. Personally, I thought she skated wonderfully at Nationals. I loved both of her programs--the music, the choreography, the costumes, her attention to detail. I just like her overall package. I think she was very underscored in PCS, especially compared to Agnes, who I felt was ridiculously overscored.

    The judges at Nationals seemed to have a clear preference for strong, fast, athletic skaters like Zawadzki and Gold and Hicks. Christina doesn't fit that mold. She is slender and doesn't have, I suppose, quite the sheer speed and power of Agnes. But she has so much delicacy and grace and sophistication and choreographic interest to her skating. I think her phrasing and attention to detail in the music is much superior to some of the other girls. Christina still has many areas she can improve in--technique and speed of spins, projection to the audience, better arch through her back in spirals and footwork, more speed, more confidence. But none of her best qualities were appreciated by the judges at Nationals, and it just seemed very unfair. I'm relieved that she at least got the 4CC assignment, which I interpret as a sign the federation still has faith and confidence in her.

    The irony is I think Christina's skating is better appreciated internationally than nationally. Whereas Agnes gets these tremendous gifts at Nationals but really no respect from the international judges.

    Anyhow, I hope Christina knows that she has many fans and supporters out there. And I hope she continues skating. If she does, I agree with kwanatic that Christina needs to do something very distinctive with her programs next year to get herself noticed more.

  2. #17
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    I just wish Christina would take herself to the ice dancers and learn how to get down in her knees & get some effortless power & glide. I thought she improved on that front a bit this year, but I'd like to see more from her in the basic skating department.

    And fix the flying spin.

  3. #18
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    Christina Gao: She really needs to go to a ballet class and needs to do some serious flexibility work, like advanced yoga. OR, as an option, she should study ICE DANCE. If she had the dancer's edge quality, flexibility and interpretation of music, she would be special as a singles skater.

    ***side note... Christina's SP music this year was "Close Without Touching" which is from the 1990's and is "New Age" music that is very sad and lyrical. It is about coming close to your goals, but not making it. IRONIC that she has been 5th like four years in a row. I would also like to say that I myself skated to this music in my career, and it does require a lyricism Christina does not seem to have right now. Also, people can remember that this music was also used in the 1990's by Karen Kwan for her SP. She was lyrical and lovely and 5th US Nationals the year she used it and "The Mission" for her LP.

    Agnes: She needs to go back to the drawing board in regard to how she trains. Her LP must now be the top priority in her training. Half of her LPs are a re-hash of her SP elements anyway, so training the LP will train her SP elements. If she corrects her training problems, she too can improve a great deal.

    I would also send Agnes to ballet class or ice dance class. Even if she "doesn't need it," it would improve her skating.

    This is a decent thread because it discusses what skaters can do if they PLATEAU in their skating. Fascinating!
    Last edited by Sk8Boi; 01-30-2013 at 12:59 PM.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by dorispulaski View Post
    I just wish Christina would take herself to the ice dancers and learn how to get down in her knees & get some effortless power & glide. I thought she improved on that front a bit this year, but I'd like to see more from her in the basic skating department.

    And fix the flying spin.
    Please see my post right after yours. Great minds think alike! Ice Dance would help SO MANY singles skaters....

  5. #20
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Yes, and I'm glad to see that Gracie has been doing lessons in Canton with Zoueva's team. I hope she continues to work on those things.

  6. #21
    At the rink. Again. mskater93's Avatar
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    Another thing that struck me beyond the FSSp (and the fact that she could use some time with an ice dance coach) with Christina is that if you look at the protocols, she had very few negatives but very few (none?) 2's and 3's for GOEs which I think translated to a lower PCS than Agnes and Gracie because while it was nice, nothing was really "wow" in the judges estimation. Gracie got a lot of big GOEs on her jumps and Agnes get 2's and 3's on the 3T+3T and the 3Lz. If Christina could get a couple things that were WOW, it might break that plateau for her...just a thought

  7. #22
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    Gao's jumps are very nice and the air position is great, but the jumps aren't all that big, and sometimes her ride outs aren't the best. She has very good toe jumps, but the edge jumps aren't as strong, or as big or flowy on the landings. I think her jumps used to seem bigger when she was so tiny and skinny, but now that she's grown up, the jumps don't seem so big. They aren't small by any means, but more moderate size and just very pretty, neat and tidy. I also think Christina probably needs a 3-3 in her FS to be competitive on the big stage too, just because she doesn't rack up much GOE on her spins and while her jumps usually get decent marks, like +1s, +2s and +3s don't really happen for her, on any elements. And then there's the flutz. She has to make up the ground somewhere, and while she's lovely to watch, her skating is subtle so the PCS tend to be modest. I think she can still do 3f-3t, if she did that in her FS and then changed her SP to 3t-3t and a solo 3f, I think she could maybe increasing her scoring potential a bit, plus hitting the 3-3s should help with her PCS.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by silverlake22 View Post
    Gao's jumps are very nice and the air position is great, but the jumps aren't all that big, and sometimes her ride outs aren't the best. She has very good toe jumps, but the edge jumps aren't as strong, or as big or flowy on the landings. I think her jumps used to seem bigger when she was so tiny and skinny, but now that she's grown up, the jumps don't seem so big. They aren't small by any means, but more moderate size and just very pretty, neat and tidy. I also think Christina probably needs a 3-3 in her FS to be competitive on the big stage too, just because she doesn't rack up much GOE on her spins and while her jumps usually get decent marks, like +1s, +2s and +3s don't really happen for her, on any elements. And then there's the flutz. She has to make up the ground somewhere, and while she's lovely to watch, her skating is subtle so the PCS tend to be modest. I think she can still do 3f-3t, if she did that in her FS and then changed her SP to 3t-3t and a solo 3f, I think she could maybe increasing her scoring potential a bit, plus hitting the 3-3s should help with her PCS.
    Agree that she's cutting it close on the triple loop, but that's pretty much it. Her axel and salchow are more than fine, and did you see the amount of ice she covered on her 3-3?

  9. #24
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    Gao needs to decide does she go for Oly glory maybe just to skate and give up a year of school or even the first semester - within two weeks of the second semester she should know if she is going to the Olympics and or worlds so she can drop out of school if necessary. She needs to focus. All these girls want to go to the Olympics and there are lesser ones too. But of the known quantities you have Ashley, Gracie, Rachel, Mirai, Carolyn, Agnes, Christine, Alyssa and that doesn't include many other potential great skaters vying for two maybe three spots. Ashley is all but assured of one so you do the math. they need to do something special and fast.

  10. #25
    Like subtlety in ice dancing Serious Business's Avatar
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    US ladies always has a need for also-rans to keep the top competitors honest. If being the winner was common, no one would care. And having just a few winners among the absolutely hopeless (think Canadian men's figure skating, where there's Chan and then the riff raff) would be boring, and not particularly conducive to the discipline's long term health. We need ladies like Zawadzki and Gao, and their predecessors like Jenny Kirk, Tonia Kwiatkowski and Holly Cook. The close-but-no-cigars. We know, especially in retrospect, that they would never overshadow the stars of the day. But by golly, they have to try! They have to keep knocking on that door, and make a good show of it, so the audience will actually hold its breath for the real stars coming through. They're there to provide the drama, the substance, the impetus for competition. Without them, US nationals would be a coronation. We'd have an actual ice princess. Our founding fathers bled red, white and blue (it's a disease Thomas Jefferson caught in an unsavory area of Paris) so we can get away from clowns wearing crowns. So you see, it's the patriotic duty of skaters like Zawadzki and Gao to continue competing as long as they're able!

  11. #26
    At the rink. Again. mskater93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silverlake22 View Post
    Gao's jumps are very nice and the air position is great, but the jumps aren't all that big, and sometimes her ride outs aren't the best.
    This is my point - there's nothing WOW there which keeps her total GOE down and reduces her PCS potential. It's almost like if you do something WOW you get a boost in PCS as well (most likely unconciously)

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Serious Business View Post
    US ladies always has a need for also-rans to keep the top competitors honest. If being the winner was common, no one would care. And having just a few winners among the absolutely hopeless (think Canadian men's figure skating, where there's Chan and then the riff raff) would be boring, and not particularly conducive to the discipline's long term health. We need ladies like Zawadzki and Gao, and their predecessors like Jenny Kirk, Tonia Kwiatkowski and Holly Cook. The close-but-no-cigars. We know, especially in retrospect, that they would never overshadow the stars of the day. But by golly, they have to try! They have to keep knocking on that door, and make a good show of it, so the audience will actually hold its breath for the real stars coming through. They're there to provide the drama, the substance, the impetus for competition. Without them, US nationals would be a coronation. We'd have an actual ice princess. Our founding fathers bled red, white and blue (it's a disease Thomas Jefferson caught in an unsavory area of Paris) so we can get away from clowns wearing crowns. So you see, it's the patriotic duty of skaters like Zawadzki and Gao to continue competing as long as they're able!
    Both Gao and Zawadzki are going to 4CC, so despite some technical/artistic issues, both are doing well and hopefully will continue to improve with a few more competitions under their belt.

  13. #28
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    And is it actually true that Zawadski would never overshadow the top contenders? Her scores at Nationals were quite strong for what she did, and when she's on, she can earn huge scores. If she hasn't impacted much on the international scene, she hasn't skated that well on the international scene, but the judges have given her her due (she came third at the SC 2010 in the short, for example). I think she'll be kicking around for the next quad. Whether or not she gives herself the opportunities for major glory will be entirely on her, but I wouldn't be surprised to see her sneak on a podium here and there.

    Gao.... I don't know. I think she should continue. But I don't know if she'll have the success she had this year.

  14. #29
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    I don't think Zawadzki's in a bad position at all. If Ashley and Alissa retire after Sochi (and possibly even if Alissa doesn't), and Mirai doesn't improve again, she'll automatically be US #2. If Ashley doesn't retire, she'll just have to wait a little longer.. I know there is "risk" of other people overthrowing Agnes from that position but I don't see that happening in the NEAR future. I think Gao will probably retire after Sochi and focus on school no matter if she makes the team or not.

  15. #30
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Gao's quite young, and it looks like she likes combining skating & training with Mark Mitchell & the SC of Boston krew with Harvard, as she did this year. If that works for her, why should she stop until she after she graduates from college, which probably will not be sooner than 3 years from now?

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