Gracie's SP: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gh1zxmrO5Tk
Ok, this was definitely not as awful as everyone made it out to be. As a violinist, I love the piece so I don't mind the music, but they definitely used most of the fastest prelude (the third) presumably to highlight her speed and power. I actually think the first 30 sec of the first prelude would be a better opening for the program, and the second prelude is a lot slower and all lyrical, which would allow for nice contrast in the program. It seems like Gracie just can't win; use fast music and be accused of looking frantic and unpolished, or use more delicate music and be accused of faking or pretending to be something she's not. Sigh..
Anyway, I actually see lots of improvement in her presentation. The choreography is very intricate but fun at the same time, although she was probably concentrating too hard on getting it right and fitting everything in to enjoy herself. Once she gets more comfortable, I could see her having lots of fun with the program - it's jazzy and sassy just like her "All That Jazz" exhibition.
To me, skating is a form of dance. Music should be chosen to support this particular dance style, based on graceful gliding with occasional bursts of energy. You would not choose tap-dance music to dance a rhumba. Why would Gracie's team think that the music they chose is appropriated for skating?
It didn't work for Michelle, Gracie. Also, Shizuka was a World champion before this--she'd already proved that she can put it down. And you can't start to put down Shizuka-like psychological attacks (Shizuka's 3-3-3s vs. Gracie's multiple jump combos) in practice and expect that everything else follows. You still gotta back that up in competition.Figure skaters changing coaches in September of an Olympic season is unusual, but as Gold noted, it has been done before with success.
"It was pretty obvious the relationship just wasn't working and we needed a change," she said. "We had been in rough waters for a little bit, and the ups and downs started to be more drastic.
"September is better than October; it's better than November, it's better than December. I know that [Shizuka] Arakawa left her coach two months before the Olympics, and it worked out for her. It's hard to say when the ideal time is."
(Arakawa left Tatiana Tarasova's group in November 2005 to train with Nikoli Morozov. She won the 2006 Olympic gold medal a few months later.)
It's still September, but we can only hope that Frank keeps Gracie in check.
Overall...the SLC ladies event was lackluster, with the exception of Hicks, who came prepared. :-)
The SP music is awful – screechy, repetitive, no build to a climax, etc. Both of her programs are terrible (the music cut and the choreography) and do nothing to emphasize her strong points as a skater. She should be skating to powerful music, not wearing a pink dress and flailing/flapping her arms to twinkling harps.
I was watching TSL this afternoon and they said Frank turned down working with Gracie several times, but Mitch Moyer from the USFSA kept calling him until he agreed to it. So, it doesn’t sound like he is all that enthusiastic about taking her on as a student. He’s got a lot of work to do in order to make her programs work.
And, according to that IceNetwork article, Gracie wants a coach to help her control her emotions. She needs to realize that SHE is the only one who can do that. Some people just do not have the temperament to be good competitors. She and Agnes are perfect examples. They can skate perfectly in practices, but they can’t handle the pressure of competition. Kim Yuna is so good not only because of her skill, but also her confidence and mental strength. Gracie doesn’t have those qualities. If you look at yesterday’s performance, you can see how falling on her double axel in her short program caused her to pop her axel, and how that mistake led to her other jump mistakes. She doesn’t have the mental strength or temperament of a good competitor (unlike Ashley, who is tough as nails.)
I read between the lines in her quote and I get the sense that her former coach was stressing her out. And that's extra time dealing with your coach is stressing you out or you have major personality conflict that is time taking away from optimal training.
And let's not adopt revisionist history on Ashley Wagner. Yes, she's tough and driven, but at one time that she was bombing SPs left and right that kept her from being a contender. She missed making the last Olympics because she did poorly in a short program. She also struggled with a perfectionist attitude ,just like Gracie, early in her career that it tough to get to the next level. It took Ashley years (and a big cross-county move to John Nicks) to rise up to her potential. It's a testament to Ashley's determination, that she was able to figure out what wasn't working and make the moves/decisions to be a contender.
Therefore, I disagree that "being a good competitor" is some sort of innate thing you have or you don't. You can learn to be a good competitor. I think in Gracie's case, she has to learn to let go and have confidence in her technique and ability. I also think she needs to let go and show more of herself in her performances and not be so obsessed over all the details. That is a tall order.
But i think Gracie wants it. She has said as much. However, it may be a long-term process for her. When you look at her past, even when she was in the lower-levels, the common thread was that she faulted because she wanted to live up to her own (or others) high expectations so badly. She didn't make Nationals in 2011 because of that (the growth spurt also made things worse). I remember her failure in Skate Canada last season is because she was in shock over all the media attention she was getting. And now, it could be a case that her coach was putting on his own exceptions on her so much, that she was starting to flounder.
I can sympathize with her, in a way. I know that in my career/work, sometimes i want to do something good SO BADLY that I tend to overthink things and make stupid mistakes. I think you are seeing that from Gracie in some of her poor performances.
So therefore, my hope in the coaching change, is that Frank provides the environment where Gracie can learn to relay on technique and ability, so she can let go and focus on the program. I'm not a huge fan of Evan, but one thing that worked well for him is that he was able to relay on muscle memory when he wasn't having a good competition; that's something Frank instilled, I believe. I also think Gracie has the same level of work ethic that Evan did, so I think Frank and her might be a good match.
I just have to wonder now with the coaching change, do you think there's enough time for Gracie to get 2 entirely new programs or is it too late? Maybe the LP can be reworked but the SP needs to go, what a disaster. I was embarrased for her. And did Marina choreograph that? Because, no...just, no. I cannot believe she would willingly want to skate to that awful screeching day in and day out.