http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xltDBVa9wHE#t=6m50s as did her 3L in her 3L-2T http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xltDBVa9wHE#t=6m look like a UR. I'm pretty sure a more astringent technical specialist would have nailed her for those.
What I do like about Ando's entry is that she certainly does make the women's event more interesting. Miyahara being more of a 2018 prospect almost solidified Suzuki and Murakami, but hopefully the addition of Ando will push Suzuki/Murakami.
I think Miki will definitely be a contender. By the Japanese nationals I think Miki will be capable of pushing out either Murakami or Suzuki, especially if one of them has a bad day.
I also think the placings at Japanese nationals could boil down to who has the most mental strength (ability to perform under pressure), and who WANTS the Olympics the most. And in that respect, I suspect Murakami could be the weakest, and perhaps has the least motivation since she has the luxury of another shot at the Olympics in 2018 if she chooses to continue skating...
In one edition of a TV show in Japan recently, they interviewed Suzuki and her coach, then in another edition they interviewed Murakami and her coach. I thought these were quite revealing about the mentalities and attitudes of the skaters:
Murakami seems to me, less of a "fighter", tries not to think about winning at competitions and prefers to "enjoy" them. Her coach criticised her for not setting goals high enough, and contrasted her with Asada (who she also used to coach): Outwardly, Asada is very controlled and reserved, but apparently this conceals a very strong determination and a fierce fighting attitude - she competes to WIN (her attitude is "if I don't go out there and try to win, what's the point?")
In the show with Suzuki, the comments and interactions with her coach showed that she is also very determined, wilful, and strong-minded. Apparently she has been fighting and arguing with her coach, constantly, since practically forever. She seems methodical, hard working and diligent.
Not that Murakami is "weak", or lacks ability... just that of the three above, I felt that she was litle bit too relaxed and Asada and Suzuki are mentally stronger - and they also have maturity (age) and experience on their sides.
Will Miki be stronger mentally, than any of the above? I have nothing to go on. But I think she has shown great strength and will to succeed in the past.
I wonder if her choice of SP music "My Way", says something about her determination to succeed in the face of some huge and unpleasant "controversy", over giving birth while unmarried and refusing to name the father (things that are still considered "scandalous" in Japan). Similarly she is returning to "Firebird" for the FS - the music she used to win the Japanese nationals twice in consecutive years... and it's apparently a "special" piece for her (according to a recent interview, don't know why).
IMO, the Olympic team should be selected on the basis of usefulness for Japan. There are only two criteria. Chances to win Olympic medals and investments for the future. Any skaters described as "strong", "motivated", "experienced", "established" are meaningless as long as they fall short of realistic chances for a medal. Suzuki is the 12th at worlds and her highest score outside of Japan is only 181 pts. Ando has passed her peak long ago and definitely lacking time and motivation to be competitive again. All of her "comeback mother athlete" stories are just publicity stunts. Her comment after Nebelhorn shows that she is not so serious about making the Olympic team. The third skater has no chance for a medal anyway. Then they should choose on the basis of usefulness in the future. Miyahara is the only appropriate choice at this point.
^^Interesting. But what you describe as a weaker attitude here, could actually be an advantage for Kanako, very much in nationals and of course, in Olympics. Precisely because the pressure ain't there, she is just out there to enjoy the sport. That makes her more relaxed, less stressed and in the end yes, maybe she doesn't have the killer instinct to really win the Olympics or so, but nobody expects her to anyway. I think, yes, she doesn't seem to have that strong of a will to win. She says she wants to end her career after this season, despite her age and possibilities! Maybe Kanako just has other priorities in her life and doesn't see this as a life/death situation. This will never make her world champion, but she seems ok with it.
Just looking at it from a presentation kind of view, I think Kanako and Akiko are miles ahead of Miki, who always seemed stiff, tense and nervous to me. Who knows what will happen, I wish every girl the best, they certainly would all deserve a spot.
Which men do you think will go to Olympics for Japan?
Miki has been "written off" before... and then she won her second World Championships, almost every other competition that season, and posted scores over 200 at 4CC and Nationals.
What was her comment at Nebelhorn, that shows she is not so serious?
You could be right about Miyahara, I forget that she is age-eligible for the Olympics. And she beat Suzuki at last year's Nationals. If she can get through the usual growing pains unscathed in the next few years, I think she is destined for stardom.
On the other hand, there is Kim Yuna. She is "good" at everything, no particular weaknesses. But (just my opinion) I also don't think she is the "best" at anything - except one thing: she has proven she has the mental strength to skate clean, when it really matters, and when the stakes are incredibly high. She does this despite (my opinion again) not being "relaxed" like Murakami, and I think that's a GIANT advantage...
I don't think Miyahara would score higher than Suzuki on international stage in the coming season. Investment for future? I assume it would be for giving her exposure/experience at the Olympic stage, and also for domestic marketing of the sport in Japan. A couple years ago I had a chance to talk to a reporter for a Japanese figure skating magazine at a competition. I remember he was enthusiastic for their new prospect, Miyahara. I understand they need a new, young star, and Ando, Takahashi and possibly Asada and Murakami are all making an exit. But, what about a skater's life-long effort and her wish to be chosen to participate in the Olympics on the merit of her skating?
So-called "effort" or "wish" don't matter at all. The values of Olympic candidates should be judged by usefulness for the whole skating community in Japan. After all, the Olympics is a quasi-war between nation states.what about a skater's life-long effort and her wish to be chosen to participate in the Olympics on the merit of her skating?
If as you said they judge it's unlikely anyway for either Suzuki or Miyahara medalling, why not send a better skater of the two to Olympics? Wouldn't it be sufficient to send Miyahara to 4CC or Worlds for her exposure/experience in major championships? Are Japanese skating fans going to be silent to see its fedration yield such power and a higher achieving athlete buried in federation politics?
It's almost certain that Miyahara skates batter than Suzuki (or Ando) at Japanese nationals. Most of the viewers and audiences will agree that Miyahara is the better skater and she should go to the Olympics. What the judges need to do is just producing the score sheet to fit the impression of ordinary people.
Miyahara is a pretty skater, but she visibly underrotates her tiny jumps. She does that even at a young age, so what will happen when she matures? It may not be so correct to say that she is the future.