And as for that SP, he got level 4s in his non-jump elements so it's not like it was a total meltdown.
Ross has always been a slow-and-steady skater. That means in the short-term he doesn't get the results while he works out whatever he's trying to improve (in 2011 that was the 3A; this year it's the 4S and his choreography/PCS mark) but he manages to work it out in the long-term.
Ross is more of a FS skater so I think he can move up from 14th.
Maybe it might have been better for Ross to regroup and prepare solely for Worlds instead of gearing up two weeks after Nats for the high profile 4CC event. At that event, Ross did nothing but lose even more confidence than he seemed to slightly lose at high-pressure, highly competitive U.S. Nationals.
I expect Ross will pull up from 14th when all is said and done and I agree in general about what is being said, however, the whole nationals results/scoring in general I think needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Bear in mind:
- the 6th place men's finisher at Nationals beat the silver medalist by 20 points at 4CC
- the men's pewter medalist and 8th place finisher at Nationals beat the silver medalist's 4CC score at JW by 14 and 10 points, respectively (with one less element)
- the 5th place lady's finisher at Nationals beat the silver medalist by 10 points and the bronze medalist by 18 points at 4CC
- the 8th place lady's finisher at Nationals beat the 6th place finisher by 15 points (and the pewter medalist by 2) at JW
Given this, I think it's fair to say US nationals results are a little questionable. Not to say that Miner didn't deserve to be 2nd at Nationals, but Farris did beat him on TES at Nationals, and then put up a considerably higher score at JW compared to Miner at 4CC. Dornbush didn't do well at Nats but beat Miner by 20 points at 4CC. Given that the placement of Miner over Farris at Nationals was due to PCS, in that case, Abbott may have well gotten 2nd at Nationals because internationally, the difference in Miner and Farris PCS is maybe a few points, but Miner vs Abbott is a lot more than a few points and a lot more than what the gap between the two at Nationals was. Zawadzki beat Gao at Nationals because of PCS too, then Gao scored way higher than Zawadzki at 4CCs, and even a little higher in PCS. Siraj did so well at Nationals because she got very high PCS, then at JW her marks were way lower and she winds up 11th with a sub-140 score. So, while it's not a travesty, the USFS just looks a little unwise regarding some of the decisions they make regarding team assignments and Nationals marks.
Richard has had bad luck for two seasons, but he has perhaps a better quad than Ross. Both Ross and Richard have taken serious hits to their confidence and I don't know what the remedy for that is except receiving more support and achieving more success and respect internationally. Adam Rippon appears to be with a coach who may be able to help him perfect quads, but we shall see. If that could happen it would be wonderful for Adam, but how steep an uphill climb for international recognition? Unless Adam continues with his new and improved 3-axel and gets solid command of quads and full U.S. political backing, it will be hard for Adam to make significant strides internationally. In addition, timing as well as depth of men's field domestically and internationally are huge factors.
I think had Richard D went to Worlds this year and skated clean, he may have placed in 7 - 10 range in sp. And if a healthy clean Abbott had showed up sans quad, he may have placed in 5 - 8 range. With either of those guys paired with Max, it's likely Max would still be about in 8 or 9 place after sp. Ross was very consistent last season but he was unable to go to Worlds due to the lack of a third spot, which contributed to limiting his overall development. That lack of a third spot has significantly impacted the ability of the U.S. men to gain enough momentum and international experience and comfort zone with international judges. Nationals is always high pressure and highly competitive, with the added pressure of vying for only 2 spots on the World team, and then carrying pressure to place well enough to bring back a third spot while you are still just a developing skater. And then being faced if you don't perform well with the likelihood your stock will tumble and it will be doubly difficult to get back to Worlds.
The lack of a third spot can be traced to USFS poor decision to gamble on not sending Abbott to Worlds in 2011 by the smallest of small margins when Abbott was clearly established in the senior international arena. That decision hurt Abbott and it hurt the U.S. men's field. This year, by the measure of a couple of doubled jumps Abbott took himself off the World team, as the landscape has changed so drastically and USFS seems quad hungry and as usual they also lack vision and have managed to trap themselves between a rock and a hard place with limited options for relieving the pressure.
And btw, nothing changes the fact that Ross and Richard were egregiously dissed in 2011 for skating very clean programs as skaters new to Worlds. The fact they were new to Worlds was no excuse for low-balling them in the marks.
Going forward, it's possible that Richard and Max will be favored more heavily unless Adam and Ross turn into a one-two judges punch of Patrick Chan and Kevin Reynolds ... seriously! I'm not laughing. For Jeremy (who I love), it's endgame, unless he reinvents himself with miraculous quads. Evan and Johnny are too mirage-like and old-hat (not to mention plain old at this point). That said, under present state of affairs, there's no reason not to believe that Evan and Johnny both believe they can be the U.S. men's Saviors of Sochi. Now, I'm laughing.
And of course, USFS is having a love affair with Joshua Farris, and the love will surely continue. Jason Brown is quite simply a marvel with or without quad and 3-axel, although yay -- his triple axel is looking a lot more steady. With a 3-spot U.S. men's team, which is sorely needed, Josh and/or Jason would be the perfect fit. But, unless a miracle happens tomorrow, the U.S. men will have to fare with 2 spots again next season and go for broke to get that third spot to gear up strong and steady for the next cycle (which hopefully will include additional talents in Shotaro Omori and Nathan Chen). Meanwhile, USFS, please grow some political savvy, some vision and some judiciousness.
Okay so Richard started out very strong 2012-13 season but then began to falter with his consistency. I think that is a side-product of trying to develop and effectively train a quad. It changes timing and rhythm and endurance and mental capacity etc., etc. Unless you click with the quad seemingly right away like Chan and Reynolds, there can be a tendency to struggle. In any case, Richard had every opportunity to perform well at Nationals and he might have except for a nasty virus which depleted his strength. However, he didn't have much to show for his efforts internationally in the way that Ross had, so Ross had more buzz even if Richard is considered by some to be more well-rounded. So what about the scores at 4CC -- such a poorly scored comp, it's not even worth discussing how the marks were arrived at, except to say it proves nothing. Like I said, Richard was always slightly favored and he ran into bad luck and Ross has been more steady and successful, and lucky until a bit of nerves and shakiness showed up for Ross slightly at Nationals and more so at 4CC, which remember was only two weeks later (Max and Ross had no time to be solidly prepared).
Ross began the 2012-13 season with middling success (but very good programs) and then kapow Ross scores big time at NHK again grabbing bronze in a stacked field. Keep in mind that Ross successfully landed his new-found quad only in the fp, but it was a beautiful and steady fp and he was hugely rewarded in the marks. For some reason, Javi, who skated directly after Ross had a major meltdown which helped Ross win the bronze.
Interestingly, I believe that a lot of guys, especially Kevin Reynolds took a look at the scores given to Ross' fp at NHK and said, "Damn, I'm gonna get me some quads going, cuz if Ross can get scores like that with a quad, then surely I can too. And furthermore, what if I can get 3 quads and not meltdown like Javi did at NHK!?" There you have it, Kevin Reynolds, 2013 4CC champion and sitting in third place at Worlds 2013, in Canada no less. And ahem, Kevin Reynolds is a talented skater but aside from suddenly superman powers re quad, he's not drastically better skating skills-wise than Richard, or Ross, or Adam, and certainly Kevin's not better than Hanyu or Daisuke or Javi ... the list continues.
Josh Farris was NOT gonna do considerably better than Ross or Max at Worlds. Josh is better off being a Junior World champion and working his way onto the senior men's scene in 2013-14.
U.S. Nationals is unique and figure skating honchos everywhere are slow to adapt to changing times. That's an understatement. I think the problems are not only with TPTB selections, but with the scoring system and with the entire structure of how this sport is operated. There are too many talented skaters who never get any meaningful opportunity to develop. In order for the sport to grow, TPTB need to think differently. It's not only USFS that lacks vision.
Many congrats from me to Patrick, DENIS! and Kevin who skated brilliantly and deservedly placing top three. And kudos to Patrick who did prove those who had written him off wrong.
I am super happy for and proud of both Daisuke and Brian to have skated so passionately and placed 4th and 5th respectively. They have been competing on the very top level of senior circuit more than 10 seasons, and time and time again they have proved themselves that they ARE still in the game. My English is not enough to express how much I appreciate respect and admire both Dai and Brian.
My tiniest complaint is, if any, probably < call on Dai's 3Lz-3T combo. OTOH he was lucky that his 4T didn't get << I think, so it does not make any big difference overall in point-wise to me. Besides, Daisuke already compensated me with this performance full of his heart and his new costume . So I can live with its placement this time.
Very very sad to say but since this year's Worlds is likely to be their very last one to compete, I SOooo wish to the skating god to make Dai and Brian onto the podium one more time. Best of luck to them in the Free!