yeah, great analogy...Wagner's no cream of the crop...she's no Porsche or Bentley, she's...more like an Acura, decent, dependable enough but not world-leading. (Flatt was a Toyota- very dependable but no shot at the top whatsoever.)
In terms of the US men, there are a lot of guys with great basics, decent jumps, and nice spins, but nobody who makes you sit up and notice him.
Agreed. Even if the way to get people to sit up and notice them is to go the Joubert route and just be hunky and charismatic in porny body suits. Whatever works. We have a few handsome ones coming up through the ranks...like maybe if Phillip Warren can get a quad...
In all seriousness though we are likely just at a transition period. Hopefully we'll have a new star, or multiple!, in a few years time. There's certainly no shortage of talent in the country!
Well, not the quad part, but we USED to have consistent men with at least the same technical content as the rest of the World (Hamilton, Boitano, Wylie...)
Some of us may remember Paul Wylie fondly now because of his activities after turning pro. But as an eligible competitive skater, calling him consistent is a streeeeeeetch. His silver at the Olympics was a total shocker. And it was a once-in-a-lifetime skate.
Wylie would've been one of the inconsistent skaters most of you like to harp on in this thread. He finished 11th at Worlds prior to the Olympics. If it wasn't for Todd Eldredge finishing third and Christopher Bowman finishing 5th, the US wouldn't have had 3 spots for the Olympics. If either Eldredge or Bowman (the latter is more likely) bombed, the US would've only had 2 spots for the Olympics. Then cue the bellyaching and recriminations about sending that flailing head case Paul Wylie to Worlds. Bowman, by the way, never finished lower than 7th at Worlds (his first one), while Wylie never finished higher than 9th at Worlds (also his first one).
Since this is a thread about World selection process to maximize the US' spots, the greatest hero for US men's skating in this regard in the last few decades is Todd Eldredge. Yes, he bores the bejeezus out of me when he skates. But he had an eligible senior career lasting over a decade. He went to Worlds 8 times, finished on the podium 6 of those times, and never got lower than 7th. It's skaters like him that keeps the spots open for a skating program. He can always be counted on to keep the total placements a nice and manageable number. Throw in two other talented, but perhaps less consistent skaters with him, and you just need one of them to do well enough to keep three spots. Eldredge made the team selection process easy for years and years.
We don't have a skater like Eldredge now. And we certainly don't have male skaters who are gold medal threats in their prime seasons like Boitano or Evan Lysacek. The US doesn't even have a realistic podium contender among any of its men right now. It's a miserable state of affairs for the discipline in the US.
I had high hopes that Ross Miner would turn into a Todd Eldredge. He seemed to have the sound technique and mental toughness for it (not to mention he's almost as boring a skater to watch as Eldredge). But it's not to be, as his recent bombing at Four Continents showed. You can't even count on him to medal at minor competitions like Grand Prix events.
Max Aaron is actually our trump card now. Although he's more like a Jack when the other countries have Kings and Aces. Aaron has shown, though, that he can tick off those quads in competitions. His truly wretched artistry and skating skills will keep him from getting too high. But his jumps won't let him sink too low, either. If Miner can have the skate of his season at Worlds (he has to eventually, right?), maybe we can get those precious placements after all.
Actually, until recently, if you had a skater in the top 3, you got three spots for the next year. Period. End of story. It wouldn't have mattered about Bowman's finish since Eldredge was on the podium.
As it was for Wylie, the Olympics were his first international championship (Worlds/Olympics) that he WASN'T in college and the championship DIDN'T fall during finals. That can make all the difference in that situation....
Paul Wylie's freak success, though, is probably the kind of thing the USFS is hoping for when going after that third spot in singles and pairs. Had the US only 2 spots for men that year, they might have sent Chris Bowman (the national champ) and Eldredge (the most successful US skater then) with an injury-by to the Olympics. In which case, we might've wound up a Bronze from Bowman instead of a silver. It's just a matter of playing the odds: the more skaters you send, the more likely one of them will have a miraculous skate.
But that's not really too likely. So I wouldn't sweat it too much if the US doesn't get that third spot back. I really don't see any of the current and upcoming US pairs and singles skaters being able to make a miracle out of it. If we have 2 spots each outside of ice dancing, I'm sure the gold and silver medalists at nationals will do as well as the US can in Sochi.
Last edited by Serious Business; 02-25-2013 at 06:04 PM.
Is it too late for Abbott to pull a Wiley?
Perhaps I don't want to know the answer to that...but it's always fun to fantasize about...same for Tomas Verner...
If some "old man", from the US or otherwise, does manage to pull out some kind of amazing performance in the near future I look forward to it. I mean, usually you don't earn the title of headcase without being really talented or having skated really well in some form of competition or another during one's competitive career right? lol. I should probably stop.
The US really does need a second coming of Lysacek though, equipped with the technical goods to be competitive in the current environment.