Well, since WTT is over and the dust has settled, I thought it would be good to make a thread about the 2013-2014 OLYMPIC SEASON.
This will be my first full olympic season as a figure skating fan.
I have a short review of each of the top US Ladies, if you want to add more, feel free.
Nina Jiang: After winning the Juvenile title with a record score, and winning the Intermediate title, she has slipped below her peers. She was a train wreck on the JGP last season, and failed to qualify for Nationals. Her personal best is only 131. Unfortunately, I think we've see the last of her.
Biggest Strength: Musicality.
Biggest Weakness: Landing Jumps.
Angela Wang: The ultimate jumping machine. However, she seems to have Liza's problem in that she keeps flubbing short programs. Unlike Liza, she does not score tremendously well in the free skate.
I see from wikipedia that her short program will be choreographed by Tom Dickson. Excellent. She could be a force to be reckoned with Personal best: 162.65.
Biggest Strength: 3-3-2.
Biggest Weakness: Burying herself in short program.
Ashley Wagner: Ashley has finally destroyed the "best US lady" curse. She has become one of very few skaters to fix under rotation issues. She has been criticized for her lacking technical content, but that hasn't mattered as she "keeps her feet" busy, and for that earns high PCS.
Biggest Strength: Ultimate tough competitor.
Biggest Weakness: Has a lot to lose.
Gracie Gold: After 7 years of tortuous searching, the USFS finally has a winner of the "The Next Michelle Kwan Pageant." Yes, Gracie Gold is here to stay. She is America's best skater since the mid 2000-s. Personal best 188.03.
Biggest Strength: High international scores.
Biggest Weakness: Pressure heaped on her.
Alissa Czisny: The only US lady with a gold medal at a truly major international competition. (4CC doesn't have Europe). She is kinda like Carolina Kostner of the USA. An up and down skater who is sometimes overscored. I think if Alissa comes back she will skate better than she did in 2006 and 2010, but still not enough to make the US team. However, she won’t come back., She has has back-to-back hip injuries. The hip is arguable the most important part of the body for a skater. She is where Kwan Was in 2006. She still wants to compete, but her body is throwing in the towel.
Biggest Strength: Can be best in the world when she’s on.
Biggest Weakness: Can be 22nd in world when she’s not on.
Rachael Flatt: She is as technically brilliant as ever (or so she says). I don’t think she will return per IceNetwork interview.
Biggest Strength: Consistency
Biggest Weakness: School. Back injury foot injury.
Caroline Zhang: Only active american lady with multiple medals at a senior ISU Championship. Believe it or not, she could end up a winner of a ISU CHampionship. She was the second alternate for 4CC this year. With the extra spot next year for worlds and with most skaters skipping 4CC because of olympics, there’s a chance she could go. And if all the other top skaters skip 4CC’s she could win (a la Jenny kirk in 2002, and Katy Taylor in 2006). The problems with Caroline and Mirai is that they are 6.0 skaters. Caroline lands her jumps and looks pretty. She has problems with URs and does basic transitions (for an elite skater). However, Caroline's UR problem is not that mad.. Miyahara Murakami, Nagasu, Asada,a dn Caesario all have much worse UR problems. She is skating to Phantom of the Opera next season. Not sure if its SP or LP. I think she’ll go out with a magical performance at 4CC’s.
Biggest Strength: Work Ethic.
Biggest Weakness: Transitions, Speed.
Mirai Nagasu: Fix UR’s. Fix UR’s. Fix UR’s. She could have won the long program at NHK 2012 if she didn’t have 3 UR calls. Currently, only Ashley Wagner has a higher personal best than Mirai does. She has been pretty consistent on the Gp in the last 3 years (2nd and 4th, 2010), (2nd and 5th, 2011), (3th and 4th, 2012). she is the only one of the 2008ers that has not made the GP Final or WTT. I think that this will eb her last season. Personal best 190.15.
Biggest Strength: Joy and Excitement,.
Biggest Weakness: Under Rotations and DG’s. Flubbing long program
Samantha Cesario: Wow. This girl has really gotten unlucky. She was at Senior Nationals in 2010, then had to withdraw two straight years. However, she was the top US lady at the Junior Worlds this year. In order to content for the olympic spot, she’ll have to fix her UR’s (like everybody else), and improve her transitions.
Biggest Strength: Smooth Jump landings
Biggest Weaknesses: Underrotations.
Hannah Miller: IMO, Her long program at Nationals in 2013 was one of the best. yet it was only scored 10th best. Why? 2 UR calls, and a low transitions score. It’s weird how she and Gracie Gold were in about the same place two years ago. But while Gracie Gold got a PR machine, better technique, and some luck, Hannah has remained a dark horse up and comer. I think she will improve this season, but not enough to make the Olympic Team.
Biggest Strength: High international scores. Musicality.
Biggest Weakness: Small jumps.
Christina Gao: Ah, the 5th Place girl. When she was 5th in 2010, it was a great accomplishment. But in 2013, after coming in 5th for the 4th consecutive year, it was a huge disappointment. She still got to finish as the highest American ladies finisher at 4CC though. (despite the fatc that she fell.). I think that she’ll make the Olympic team, being the least mistake prone of the American Ladies.
Biggest Strength: International Experience. Flying under radar.
Biggest Weakness: Low score ceiling.
Agnes: She had the opportunity to be where Ashley Wagner is today if she only had skated a clean long program at 2012 Nationals. The ability to skate a clean long eludes her. She has massive scoring potential though She has 1 UR call at 2013 4CC. Dont really know how sevre her UR problem is. I think she’s make one critical mistake at 2014 nations which will eb enough to keep her off the Olympic team.
Biggest Strength: High TES potential.
Biggest Weakness: Can’t skate clean long.
Courtney Hicks: Under 6.0, she micght have actually won nationals 2013. But it wasn’t under 6.0. I think that she has potential. It will be interesting to see if she gets a SGP assignment.
Biggest strength: Good height on jumps.
Biggest Weakness: Only skates well at Nationals.
Polina Edmunds: The first US lady with 2 3-3’s since Kimmie Meissner. And she manages to avoid UR calls on both of them. At least at Gardena. I think that the judges will make her wait her turn at Senior Nationals 2014.
Biggest Strength: New, fresh face might take everybody by surprise (Kimmie Meissner).
Biggest Weakness: Keeping jumps through puberty.
Yasmin Siraj: She has been wildly inconsistent. However, she didn’t make that many mistakes at JW, and still got buried.
Biggest Strength: Decent PCS scores, lots of potential.
Biggest Weakness; low international Scores.
Vanessa Lam: She does not get that much height on her jumps, and still has a tilt in the air.
Biggest Strength: Exotic costumes.
Biggest Weakness: Off-axis smallish jumps.
Leah Keiser: I thought that she should have done Junior Nationals in 2012, and the moved up to senior.
Biggest Strength: Solid technique.
Biggest Weakness: Oft-injured.
Now, in the US ladies division, the two lowest scoring nationals were 2006 and 2010. Cooncidence? no. Usually a few skater perform well, and the reso dispoints.
Summer comeptitions are very critical.
Emily Hughes was excellent at Liberty the year before she went to the olympics.
Caroline Zhang scored very well the summer before she won Junior Worlds.
Rachel Flatt won Liberty the year before SHE won Junior worlds.
Also, Caroline Zhang was subpar last summer, and that continued into the regular season.
These summer comps don't count, but they do matter...a LOT.
With Yu-Na, Mao, and Carolina competeting on the GP this year, no more than 3 US ladies should make it to the final.
Ashley (duh), Gracie (duh), I think that Suzuki or Murakami will take the 6th spot.
US Nationals 2014
What will happen if everyone goes clean
1. Agnes Zawadzki (Jeremy Abbot of 2014)
2. Ashley Wagner
3. Gracie Gold
4. Courtney Hicks
5. Mirai Nagasu
6. Angela Wang
7. Christina Gao
8. Polina Edmunds
9. Hannah Miller
10. Yasmin Siraj
What I want to happen
1. Ashley Wagner
2. Mirai Nagasu
3. Caroline Zhang
4. Gracie Gold
5. Christina Gao
6. Leah Keiser
7. Yasmin Siraj
8. Agnes Zawadzki
9. Angela Wang
10. Courtney Hicks
What I think will happen
1. Ashley Wagner
2. Gracie Gold
3. Christina Gao
4. Agnes Zawadzki
5. Courtney Hicks
6. Samantha Caesario
7. Mirai Naggasu
8. Yasmin Siraj
9. Polina Edmunds
10. Angela Wang
This year, it is basically a race for the third spot. I don’t think that Ashley or Gracie will miss the team unless they bomb. I also think that the US ladies will manage not to win a medal at Olympic or Worlds again.