03-30-2013, 10:18 AM
Sarah vs. Gracie
Sarah burst onto the scene in year #1 after Olympics. She had four years to improve herself and get herself into a position to be forgiven some small mistakes by the judges in the short program. By then she was the reigning world bronze medalist and had beaten both Michelle and Irina at Skate Canada, iirc. She was no newcomer and had a pretty good resume by then.
She probably was not as good as Michelle or Irina overall, but on that night she skated clean and neither of those skaters did.
Gracie burst onto the scene the year before the Olympics. She hasn't been around long enough to get "reputation points." Nor has she skated as consistently well as she could have. It's hard to believe she's as wonderful as everyone says she is when she didn't medal in the 4CC, one of her Grand Prix assignments and came in 8th and 9th in two short programs.
If she's like anyone, it will be that she's like Tara Lipinski. Maybe she'll get really, really good next year and jump over everybody, if that's even possible today.
Frankly, I find it sort of depressing that everyone's predicting next year's medallist to be 67% like last Olympics, and the third spot is "slotted" to go to the female Patrick Chan. There have been no exciting new skaters at all who have amounted to anything in 4 years, and that's sad.
03-30-2013, 11:06 AM
I don't think Alissa will be coming back from a second hip injury--she should understand that her body is telling her, "Enough." And even if she does return, the odds that she'll be in competitive shape in time to challenge for that third spot are minuscule at best. The same goes for Rachael, who seems to have acknowledged that her skating career is indefinitely on hold.
Originally Posted by Skater Boy
The judges, as you probably saw at US Nationals this year, don't think as highly of Mirai or Caroline as they used to. At top form, Mirai could possibly challenge for that third spot, but she'll have to overhaul her jumping technique (i.e., fully rotating ) before anyone in the USFSA considers putting her on another Olympic team. She should have a chance to prove herself anew on the GP circuit.
Angela Wang has never been to a big junior OR senior competition, and I wouldn't expect the Olympics to be her first. She has the potential to finish in the top six at Nationals if she skates two clean programs. As of now, I'm more interested in seeing how many (if any) GP assignments she gets.
03-30-2013, 11:16 AM
I would love to see Angela and Hanna on the senior GP next year. I think they are ready. They appear to be good competitors.
03-30-2013, 11:21 AM
She more than held it together in the FS at US Nationals, IMO. And she didn't crumble under the pressure at Worlds in the way that many other girls did--Gracie was the highest finisher of the "new generation" of teenagers. This is her first season as a senior, and while she hasn't handled her nerves as well as she could have, the amount of expectations thrust onto her in the few months of transition from junior to senior has been more than enough to spook her.
Originally Posted by Poodlepal
03-30-2013, 01:52 PM
I agree. The fact that the 3 Ladies who will most likely be on the podium were at the last Olympics and two of them medaled doesn't say a lot for this cycle heading into Sochi. I can't remember the last time a newcomer didn't get on the podium in the next Olympics.
Originally Posted by Poodlepal
03-30-2013, 05:31 PM
Depends on how you define "newcomer." Do you mean a skater who made their senior debut during the 3 seasons leading up to the Olympic season? While a veteran is a skater who was a senior during the previous Olympic cycle? Then 2006 Olympics is the last time a newcomer didn't get on the podium. All three medalists were veterans who had been to a prior Olympics.
Originally Posted by Jammers
Not surprisingly, they all retired immediately after, leaving the door open for the next generation to take over. Which I think is what will happen after Sochi.
The newcomers for this cycle just haven't quite put everything together yet--not enough competitive experience, they each have weaknesses to work on, and some need better programs. But I can see that happening soon...probably not in time for Sochi, but right after Sochi.
03-30-2013, 09:50 PM
Of the ladies on the podium in Vancouver, Rochette was the only 'veteran', at 24; YuNa and Mao were 19. So it's not so surprising that the younger ones would return for Sochi. While Mao's consistency has fallen off in the intervening years, YuNa's has apparently not. I'm not sure YuNa will retire after Sochi---2018 Olympics are in her country. I do expect Kostner to retire, but Mao, who knows. Mao may be like Suguri, and continue on and on.
03-30-2013, 10:08 PM
Yuna said that 2013 Worlds would probably be her last, so I'd be surprised if she did decide to continue competing after next year's Olympics. Given that she has about a 95% chance of repeating as the OGM, she really won't have any more titles to win or records to break. She'd likely find it hard to dredge up the motivation to look four years into the future.
Originally Posted by chuckm
That being said, it would probably be in Yuna's best interest to not attempt 2018. In five years, several of the younger girls could easily be at or above her level (Tukt, Sotnikova, Gold, Osmond, Li).
03-30-2013, 10:38 PM
I doubt Tukt, Sotnikova, Gold, Osmond, or Li will ever be above Kim's best level of skating which is amongst the very best in history (and the best in history under COP standards). The only one of those who I think might ever even come close to Kim's best level of skating someday are Gold and Li (maybe Tuks, no chance for Sotnikova or Osmond IMO, they could win World medals or even World titles in the future years, but wont reach Kim's peak of skating for sure). So Kim coming back or not, if she wanted to, would be completely dependent on whether she could revive her former standard of skating at a relatively advanced age for amateur skating, but it certainly wouldnt be those girls scaring her away ever. As for no records to chase if Kim wins in Sochi she would have a chance to tie Henjie's record of 3 Olympic Golds if she were to win in Korea, so that would be incentive. I dont think she would continue competing non stop, she might go to the post Olympic Worlds, but would almost certainly take a break for awhile, but then could return for the pre Olympic Worlds just like she did this time, in preperation for the Olympics.
03-30-2013, 10:41 PM
In 2006 the podium was 27 year old Slutskaya, 24 year old Arakawa, and 21 year old Cohen. 2 of those 3 had competed at the 1998 Olympics, and the 1994 Junior Worlds. The other was already in her 6th consecutive World or Olympic event, which would have been 8th without the age rule and an injury. Some field of newcomers, LOL!
Originally Posted by Jammers
03-31-2013, 08:13 AM
I can't read the future, but Yu-Na has a lot of pride in the technical side of her skating such as her triple/triple combination and her lutz, etc. I don't think she would want to come back to competition unless she still had her big tricks--which aren't easy to maintain, even though Yu-Na makes her 3/3s look easy. A lot of extremely hard work and training goes into those 3/3s and I doubt she'd want to maintain that level throughout her 20s. She wants to go to Sochi and finish her career on a happy note. I don't think she wants to drag out her career forever--she'll go for show skating instead.
Originally Posted by ForeverFish
03-31-2013, 12:03 PM
I dunno. A lot can happen in five years, especially to a group of teenage skaters, so I'm not going to write off the possibility that any one of the younger girls can achieve or surpass Kim's current level of greatness. Gold and Sotnikova are already known for their stunning technical ability, though they still need the polish to make their jumps look as effortless as Kim's. Tuktamysheva and Osmond have various early-senior issues to work out, but I wouldn't be at all surprised to see them challenging for World medals in the near future. The only one who I worry for is Li--her presentation is reminiscent of a young Kim's, but I'm not impressed with her jumps. For comparison, her sparkling clean Worlds FS netted 127.54, while Gracie Gold's flawed FS (-GOE on 3 elements) clocked in at 125.40. Li will need better height, speed, and flow before she's ready to truly compete with the big guns of the next quadrennium.
Originally Posted by pangtongfan
Probably the best example of "ice is slippery" is Tara Lipinski--an entirely different skater than Kim, yes, but she soared from 15th at 1996 Worlds to World Champion in 1997, and then OGM in 1998.
03-31-2013, 02:09 PM
Yu Na Kim at 17 was already WAY better than any of the skaters you mentioned currently are at that age or older, and she only continued to improve significantly each year since then. Based on that it would be a huge stretch for any of those to be at the level of Vancouver or even London or Los Angeles Yu Na Kim. It is never going to happen. Not to mention her record of 7 years of Senior competition not missing a single podium, quite possibly 2 Olympic Golds and 6 World medals and 3 Grand Prix final titles and so on.
I do like that group and I look forward to their taking over as the ones on top following the retirements of the vets after 2010, but Kim possibly deciding on coming back would be strictly on her own level of skating, and whether she could still skate at or close to her former level given age, injuries, time away, etc...
03-31-2013, 03:06 PM
YuNa suffered several injuries especially to her back and hips as a young skater emerging onto the international scene. This can happen to any skater in the world but her chances were worsened by the poor rink conditions in S. Korea (heating issues, ice quality) as well as the fact that there was (is?) no figure skating boot expert in Korea leading to poorly fitted boots with misaligned blades.
She now has the financial resources to buy prohibitively expensive ice time on some of Korea's better ice rinks as well as fly to any skating boot expert in the world, but I can't imagine that her old injuries have completely disappeared and increasing age is no friend to existing or future sports injuries no matter how good one's technique is. I don't wish to see her in competition during the 2014-2018 quad for the single reason that I want her to go forward in the best possible health. If the Korean Skating Union or Korean Olympic Committee has any decency they will not try to coax her to return, especially when they do NOTHING to take advantage of the spike in interest in figure skating in Korea to build an ice rink that is dedicated to and affordable for aspiring figure skaters.
As for future prospects, add Elena Radionova to the mix.
03-31-2013, 03:42 PM
Again, ice is slippery. Gracie Gold and Zijun Li have made huge strides in just one senior season, Kaetlyn Osmond came out of nowhere at 2012 SC, and the young Russians have proven themselves to be medal challengers on the international stage. I'm optimistic about their futures, and even if Yuna isn't around for comparison by then, I'd expect them to equal her technical ability and come within the lower range of her PCS (like Carolina Kostner now).
Originally Posted by pangtongfan
Never say never.