I definitely agree if Gold skated clean and if she had improved her artistry alot in one year, and if Carolina and Mao both landed only 4 triples, she would win the bronze (or even silver) most likely. Those are alot of what ifs to come together at once though.
Gracie could become the 'Mirai Nagasu' of the 2014 Olympics, assuming the podium is 'a lock' again, with Yu Na/Mao/Carolina.
Ashley has actually beaten Mao several times before, and will have another shot at doing so at WTT. I'm definitely not counting her out despite the lack of triple-triple combinations. As Kurt Browning said during the Worlds FS: she actually has pretty good technique now (incredible compared to her jumps between 2008-2011) They are solid now, usually nice and rotated (except the 3T as a second jump) and she doesn't two-foot (or if she does it's barely visible compared to glaring two-footed landings earlier in her career). There was a time in 2011 that everyone had written off Ashley as a contender nationally, let alone internationally. She made a gutsy move, worked hard and came back strong. 2013 Worlds is actually the only competition since 2012 Nationals that she didn't bring home some medal (if you count 2012 Worlds FS bronze medal), and a lot of those medals have been gold.
Saying she's close (top 5 two years in a row) but will never be close enough sounds wrong. She's got such a ton of drive and competitive fire that she could surprise us yet. A new season is a new season and she might not use the same strategy she did for this season (playing it safe). After 'Black Swan' I wondered if she was going to be able to come up with an equally good program - she delivered something much, much better. So. No writing off Ashley. (what else did you expect from me )
To answer the question: what does Ashley need? Equally good programs as this season and a solid strategy!
Look at her competition at GP
Skate America: Christina, Adelina, Valentina Marchei, Haruka, Mae, Alena (Leonova), Viktoria, Rachael and Sarah Hecken.
TEB: Liza, Julia, Christina, Mae, Polina, Jelena, Jenna, Joshi, Lena
If Ashley hadn't managed to beat them, I would've been shocked.
GPF -- she lost to Mao and barely beat Akiko. Not the best showing.
Nats - victory, though lost FS to Gracie. She beat Gracie by 2 pts, even though Grace was only 9th after the short. I actually expected Ashley to beat Gracie by a lot more points than that.
WC - no medal with Yuna, CaroK, Mao all competing. Lost to Kanako as well.
This is why some people feel skeptical. Ashley played safe against a very weak field and it worked because her competitors weren't that great. But when she does the same at the bigger comps, it's a no go. I'm not sure if she has the enough confidence and technical competence to throw down big tricks.
I think Miki's expected to make a comeback next season. That means another top jumper thrown into the mix. Though I don't always care for Miki's style of skating, she is a much better jumper than Ashley.
And its champ ending up as another "Mirai Nagasu" is a poor prize for the US...
Ashley also had a major injury at the GPF and food poisoning (salmonella?) right before Nationals. Both of these things take their toll on your body and your training time. I suspect once those two things happened (hip pointer = off the ice for ~2 weeks and even if you ARE on the ice, no jumping, salmonella = no endurance/stamina, a lot of physical weakness to rebuild from), Wagner's strategy for Nationals, 4CC (not going), and Worlds changed due to the lost training time for the elements she wanted to include (I think if she'd been training healthy all the way up to Nationals there was a good possibility of seeing the 3+3 attempted there or at least the 2A+3T). I give her the benefit of the doubt as usually when she talks a big game (which she had been leading into the GPF about adding in difficulty) she backs it up with at minimum attempted action (excellent LP after a crap short at Nationals a couple times, move to John Nicks, winning Nationals) because she seems to want it so badly. After WTT, she has the opportunity to choose new programs and start working those difficult elements into her programs.
As for Gracie, I suspect we're going to see something different choreographically. What it is yet, I don't know...
I said Gracie needed much better programs and more polishing seconds after I saw her in San Jose over a year ago. Potential is there.
She needs a dedicated coach/choreographer like Moskvina who tweaks and tweaks and tweaks until she can be perfect to maybe get a medal next year.
Ashley does not have a shot. She already got the 4th highest PCS. The problem is her TES, not PCS. She picked the right programs this year, and still couldn't do it. I don't think her PCS will be 4th next year with Adelina skating in Sochi and with Kanako on the rise. If Miki comes back, that's another PCS drop for Ashley.
Let's face it, Ashley just wants to go to the Olympics and collects Ralph Lauren goodies. The US fed should focus more on Gracie at this point. Find her the right choreographer. Is it that hard?
Someone with eyes should approve the choreography before giving it to her.
I don't think that Ashley is "done," nor am I ruling out the chance that she'll place ahead of Gracie at the Olympics.
Remember that, at Worlds, Ashley lacked a clean 2A-3T or 3-3, fell during her step sequence, and was still within 2 points of Gracie's FS score (and placed ahead of her overall by 3 points). Gracie has the potential to challenge for World medals if she gets better choreography and interpretation, but as of now, she's still the second US lady.
Of course Ashley might place ahead of Gracie, but I don't think anyone here wanted to guarantee the opposite. It's about who has better chances to medal.Originally Posted by ForeverFish
For now, Ashley doesn't seem to have much potential to keep getting better till next season. 3-3? 2A-3T? Why should anyone give her the benefit of the doubt she'll go for them next season, when she didn't do so this season? Last year, she really was gutsy - just won Nats to go on and up the technical ante right at 4CC. And it paid off! This season it was a continued 'smart strategy' game and never got her anywhere. And her PCS are quite high already, that's the major reason why she was quite close to Gracie even in the FS. But I doubt her PCS can improve that much more, especially not enough to challenge the 'Top 3'. Nobody will beat the 'Top 3' in PCS so easily, you need to beat them in TES. And while Ash is pretty consistent and her elemts have nice quality, she seems to be a little stuck on her current level.
Gracie is quite the opposite. She's more likely than Ashley to have a meltdown, but she does have better scoring potential (and I'd say already). Ashley might have fallen on her steps, but how many points did that cost her? She still got 1.96 points for it. Even with steps lv.4 and +GOE that's maybe a 3-4 points lose. Now look at Gracies TES - everything more or less landed, but some of those jumps were shaky. Given how amazing her jumps are when landed perfectly, Gracie did lose a significant amount of points in +GOE. That's why I'd say clean Gracie would have beat clean Ashley too. And Gracie is still younger, doesn't have as much experience, and has quite bad choreography. She has more room to improve than Ashley. Hence, Gracie seems to be the one more likely to medal. She might as well have a lot of problems or trouble with all of the pressure, so she might aswell place below Ashley, that's true. But I'd rather see her improve and skate up to her potential.
I thought Jeremy was dating Massimo Scali at one point.
Overall, I was disappointed with Ashley this year. Coming into the season, I was very excited because she made a lot of breakthroughs last year and I loved her Black Swan LP. I felt throughout the fall she skated safe, not only in the difficulty in the jumps but also the look of concentration she had going into each element in her programs. She doesn't skate with the freedom we see from the top 3 women and did nothing to upgrade her jump content from last year, whereas Mao tried the 3A more regularly and Carolina added a 3Z to her programs. Her plan for the year was to skate clean, safer programs and win her GP events, which is something she might want to rethink for next season if she hopes to try out more difficult combinations to prepare for the Olympics.
Is Kaetlyn's LP BV higher than Ashley? I knew the Russians and Gold's were, and Li's based on her Worlds LP, but I had no idea Osmond had a higher BV. If so that is further bad news for her as Osmond can easily match her on GOE and PCS as well, so once she gets more experience she will likely start regularly beating Wagner if she doesnt up her game as well.