07-29-2013, 06:26 AM
Another thing. Alissa Czisny will not be a factor this season.
Think about it.
1. The last three competitions for her were a disaster.
2012 Challenge Cup
2013 Fox Cities Invitational
Why do people assume that she'll revert to her 2011 form rather than her 2012 form? She doesn't tend to do well at Olympic year nationals.
2. USFS tends to punish skaters for poor performance at Worlds.
Keep in mind, Alissa Czisny still hasn't gotten her "You screwed the US at Worlds" score reduction from American judges. The last IJS competition she competed in was 2012 Worlds.
It is clear from the way that the USFS has treated her (making her do sectionals AND regionals, not giving her a single GP spot OR a senior B international) that Alissa will no longer be given the red carpet treatment by the USFS (remember what happened to Rachel Flatt's scores from 2011 nationals to 2012 nationals).
3. Michelle Kwan was not able to come back after a hip injury. Alissa is one year older than Michelle was, has one more hip injury, and she wasn't as good as Michelle was to begin with.
4. Even assuming Alissa performs well, gets high scores, and comes back successfully, there are several skaters (such as Polina Edumnds, Christian Gao, Agnes Zadawski, Courtney Hicks) that could outperform her, have decent PCS, and more tech content.
People tend to overvalue skaters who are coming back. Plushenko didn't regain his Olympic title, Sasha had her lowest finish at Nationals ever. Johnny was last at his comeback competition, etc.
Injuries are a killer in sports. In sports (or in anything really) you need practice time. And injuries kill practice time. Look how Mirai Nagasu had a relatively disappointing season following her injury a few summers ago.
07-29-2013, 09:27 AM
To be fair, injuries were a major factor in all of those performances, so none of them reflect her potential when healthy. The other skaters you mentioned would have to skate clean to beat Alissa if she makes an error; in other words, if they make the same number of errors as Alissa, she will come out on top. I agree with you that she won't be competitive, but I think her form will be somewhere between her 2011 form and her 2012 form, not her injured form from the end of 2012.
Originally Posted by Reginald
07-29-2013, 01:46 PM
Tripping on the Podium
Reginald, basically I agree that Alissa will probably not be competitive again. However, you mention several issues which bother me. Michelle trained after her graduation from Denver University with the intention of competing at the 2010 Olympics. At some point she said she had all her triple jumps back and was getting into elite figure skating condition. When she received her acceptance into the 2 year Masters program at Tufts University she announced her intention to pursue her education rather than continue elite skating. I don't know what her consistency rate was on her triple jumps or if she was doing combinations, but I don't think it is fair to say she wasn't competitive. We don't know if she was competitive or not.
The Ice Challenge in Graz is scheduled for the end of November 2013 at the same time as the Midwest Sectionals where Alissa would have to compete. If USFSA assigns Alissa to Ice Challenge Graz (senior B) she will not be competing at those Sectionals. You seem to think she hasn't been assigned to Graz, but those slots have not yet been assigned by USFSA. She would probably have to skate at Regionals, but generally you don't need a full array of triple jumps for her Regionals.
I also think drivingmissdaisy makes a point about Alissa being injured at those events in 2012 and 2013. Alissa said repeatedly she didn't know what the problem was....her jumps weren't working but she wasn't in a lot of pain.
Anyway....I don't think Alissa will be able to train at elite level without having further problems with her hip.
Last edited by MFarone; 07-29-2013 at 01:48 PM.
07-29-2013, 03:00 PM
Michelle had her hip surgery in August 2006. She did not immediately return to training, as she was attending the University of Denver and also had been tapped by Presidents Bush and Obama for envoy duties. She returned to training for a possible shot at the Olympics in 2009.
So unlike Alissa Czisny, Michelle did not attempt to return to competitive skating right after her surgery. She took her time and gradually got her jumps back over a period of years before her decision to enter graduate school instead of trying for another Olympics.
07-30-2013, 03:37 AM
State of American Ladies...
In Ashley Wagner's latest interview, she expressed that her goal is to stand on the podium at the Olympics. I think there's a strong chance that she will.
She needs to hold off rising skaters like Kanako and Gold as well as topple one the three of reigning World medalist: Kim, Asada, and Kostner.
Her PCS is still behind the top three, but in figure skating, PCS can rise from one season to the next whether your actually PSC improves much at all. She needs to have a strong Grand Prix season to improve her PSC.
Ashley’s first challenge is to beat Mao at Skate America. From the past, Mao gets better towards the end of the season. In the early season, she has been inconsistent at best. Ashley also needs to medal at the Grand Prix Finals, which me she must defeat Mao again or Kostner. Doing so will put her into contention for a medal at the Olympics because her PCS will climb closer to the top three. This sets her up nicely.
If she skates clean or close to clean at the Olympics and one of the top three has an off night, the bronze medal is hers.
I think she'll be able to do this because her long program jump content is extremely intelligent, maximizing her scoring potential.
1 triple lutz (since this is her weakest jump, she is only doing one)
2 triple flips (consistent)
2 triple loops (her strongest jump)
1 triple sals
1 triple toe (She will put the triple toe at the back half of her double axel as combo. While this is easier than putting a triple-toe at the end of the triple flip or another triple versus the double-axel, it doesn't matter under the current scoring system. She gains the same amount of points.)
2 double axels (one the double axel comes after the loop as a combo)
She is able to do 7 triple jumps and 2 double axels with this jump strategy.
07-30-2013, 07:57 AM
From a realist's POV, however, Wagner medaling at the Olympics is unlikely (but not impossible). That is assuming that she goes, of course.
I think she might be underestimating the Olympic pressure....if she thought Worlds was intimidating, just wait.
Even if she were physically ready and had the 3-3 ready to go...it's a whole different story to do it under such a spotlight (Cohen in 2002?)
07-30-2013, 10:33 AM
Originally Posted by mskater93
Lower it significantly. I expect by the time of the Olympics she will have abandoned even trying a 3/3
07-30-2013, 10:35 AM
Originally Posted by gmyers
Oh, I am so happy to know she is coming back. Will she stay out of school for awhile or take a reduced load?
07-30-2013, 10:49 AM
Ashley seems to know that she needs to put the 3-3 in early in the season, if it happens or not is a different story.
07-30-2013, 11:00 AM
The Comeback Kid
I am afraid Ashley wont be able to hold off Gracie this season. I have said it before, Gracie is lacking the artistry, but her technical content can make up for that. If Gracie "If" has a clean SP and an LP like she did at Worlds, she will be US champion . Ashley has also to worry about Kanako, Zijun Li and Akiko Suzuki, however, Ashley have demonstrated that she is determined and anything could happen. As for the big three, I wont even mention Yuna Kim, but even with mistakes they can beat a clean Ashley, Mao Asada at 2013 worlds went from 6th place to 3rd with her LP that was not 100% clean, so if we assume that Mao improves Ashley cannot catch up to that. Carolina in the 2013 worlds made more mistakes in her long program than Ashley: single loop, and downgraded 3S, of course Carolina also has a higher technical content than Ashley, but still Carolina was about 7points higher than her in the LP.
Like some people have said the ice is slippery and anything can happen, but the problem Ashley has is that a lot of people would have to implode for her to make it to that podium. And Yuna Kim will not be off the podium. Mao Asada has the ability to show up to the big events; think about it in the last Olympics she started her season by not even qualifying for the Grand Prix finals, then, she delivered at the Olympics with silver medals and 2010 worlds gold, so you can never count her out. Carolina has gained consistency since the last Olympic, so I don't think she will be off that podium. She will be in a better position if she could medal based on her technical content, consistency or artistry, not based on one of the big three imploding because that is so out of her control.
With that said, I admire her determination and fight, because anything can happen
07-30-2013, 12:37 PM
Rejoicing in the land of Kwan
I think Ashley has a shot at the podium but a lot of that will ride on how well she does on the GP. If she has a year like last year (very strong at SA, close to perfect at TEB) and has a strong showing at the GPF, in addition to hitting her harder content, I'd expect her scores to go up. I think she'll have a hard time knocking one of the Big Three off the podium but there is no guarantee all three of them will be "on" in Sochi. That's why Ashley has to build herself up this season. If she has a stellar season and then skates well in Sochi the judges will be more likely to give her the boost needed to get the nod over a flawed performance by one of the top 3 ladies.
I always say skating is all about reputation and momentum. Ashley did a decent job of building her reputation last season but she needs to continue, especially after the GPF and nationals. She was much stronger at worlds and WTT so she needs to continue on that path. And then of course momentum is key. She had a ton of momentum heading into the GPF last season extending all the way back to the beginning of that year. She'd won nationals in 2012 and followed it up by winning 4CC, then placed 4th at worlds, won Japan Open and then won both of her GP events...that's momentum. She's got a good start so far (worlds and WTT) but she needs to continue to build on that momentum and, most importantly, she needs to sustain it. She can't poop out at GPF and then struggle to get back to form during nationals...she might miss her shot at Sochi.
I think we'll have a better idea of how everyone will place after we see how people fair on the GP this year. But in order to build herself up (and this goes for every single skater with their eye on Sochi) the time to start winning is now. You can't have a crappy season and then expect to be great in Sochi...you might not even make it to Sochi.
07-30-2013, 01:21 PM
Definitely agree with this. We all saw what happened after Ashley won Nationals for the first time. She went from very unremarkable international results to suddenly winning 4CC and placing 4th at Worlds. Momentum/reputation is indeed key, and I think more so for Ashley than some people.
Originally Posted by kwanatic
Mao, for example, is less dependent on momentum. She is like Lu Chen back in 1998: she could be 25th at Worlds the previous year, yet still be in contention at the Olympics, because she has such a long track record and so much talent.
Ashley is different. It's not that she's not talented, but she doesn't have that same history of success to draw on. What I saw in her recent TSL interview is a skater with fight and grit, but not a whole lot of self-confidence. She said she wasn't artistic and she wasn't very good at footwork. Some might say she's being realistic; I might argue she's not giving herself enough credit and is still fighting to fully believe in herself. For someone struggling with confidence, it can make a huge difference when momentum swings her way; she can grab that feeling and use it to boost herself.
I think Nationals will be key. If Gracie wins Nationals with breakthrough performances, it's hard to see Ashley coming back. But if Ashley wins Nationals with strong performances--her chances will be much improved. On the Grand Prix, I think it's important for Ashley to show very good programs, stay even with Gracie, and do well. I don't know if she needs to win both GPs. It couldn't hurt, but she has to pace herself. But, given her new training situation, I think it's unlikely anyhow that she would peak early this year.
07-30-2013, 01:27 PM
I think the question that truly needs to be answered, and one that will ultimately determine Wagner's level of success this season is whether she has reached the peak of her skating career or not. Is 4th at worlds as good as she's going to get? Or will she reinvent herself again to become one of the world's top contenders?
07-30-2013, 01:59 PM
she takes the audience on her journey of emotions
It sounded from Ashley's TSL interview like she was supremely determined to get the 3-3 and that, for now, that her strategy is not be to play it safe at the GP. She suggested that she would compete the 3-3 early in the season because she felt she need to practice it in competition. So, that's a gamble. If she takes a risks in early competitions and fails to make podiums because of the 3-3 it may affect her "goodwill" PCS during an Olympic year. If she goes for it, and I hope she can, then I hope she goes for it Takahashi-style - go for the hardest jump and if you fall, shrug it off and nail the rest of the program. If she does that she could stay in the mix because people will understand that she's in shape and consistent but is simply going for the hardest jump she can. She could always hold back an nationals too and then put it back at the Olympics. Frankly, I think if Ashley is clean, she doesn't need the 3-3 at nationals.
07-30-2013, 04:47 PM
That is a big "if" because Ashley has delivered two clean programs more often than Gracie. Gracie has more technical firepower, but the US judges usually value artistry over technical merit if it's a close call. For example, I think if Michelle and Tara's Nagano programs were skated at Nationals, Michelle would have won by a landslide. The USFSA benefits by having consistent champions and marquee skaters to build a marketing campaign around, whereas that dynamic is not present in international competitions. If Ashley skates a strong GP season, I don't think she will lose Nationals unless she gives it away, or Gracie lands 10 triples combined in the SP and LP.
Originally Posted by Minze2001