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Thread: Poised to break through--but didn't

  1. #76
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    Wow - I've always considered myself a fairly knowledgeable figure skating fan but I haven't heard of alot of these skaters that are being mentioned.

  2. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    Julia Soldotova seemed poised for big things when she won the world bronze medal in 1999 and European silver. But she never reached that level again. :(
    Yup, she's another one. She was fourth at Russians the next year and didn't make the world team, so she changed to countries to represent Belarus, and sadly, it seemed to go downhill from there, she was 20th in at Worlds in 2001 and 18th at the Olympics and Worlds in 2002. I think she retired after that. I wonder if part of it was the facilities in Belarus, and lack of resources.

    Also Anna Rechnio from Poland, she had wonderful basic skating skills and in 1998 finished a surprising second after the short but the nerves would get the best of her most of the time.

  3. #78
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    Angela Nikodinov...sigh.....

  4. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkusNJ View Post
    Angela Nikodinov...sigh.....
    Yeah, I feel sad for how after 2001 it seemed like she couldn't catch a break, her coach dying of cancer and a very deep American field so she didn't make the Olympics or Worlds after 2001, injuries, her mother's death in a car accident :(. She was a lovely skater.

    Susan Humphreys. She looked to be a promising talent for Canada, but she was hampered by nerves, a bad back and mental fragility. She finally won Canadians in 1997, then at Worlds she developed a really nasty blister on her foot and she fell apart at Worlds in the Short then had to withdraw, and I'm pretty sure she retired after that. She just couldn't catch a break.

    Someone mentioned Mikkeline Kierkgaard, a lovely skater from Denmark. I think her problem was that lack of mental toughness. The Brit Eurosport commentators described her as a fragile talent and when she missed one jump it would all unravel. If she was ever able to master the Lutz and the flip and gain that consistency, she'd have put Denmark on the map.

    I agree about hyping young girls before they mature. Anything can happen and the puberty monster can devour a skater, especially the girls. I mean it even threw Michelle Kwan off, though she was still able to skate relatively well and regroup, largely due to her own focus and determination.

    Susanna Poykio

  5. #80
    I'm of two minds about Sasha. She had the talent to win everything and even with her mistakes, I prefer watching her over skaters who achieved much more in their careers. At the same time, I think the athletes who become the "greats" in any sport have a certain personality, drive, and vision that I think Sasha lacked. I think she made the most of herself and achieved a lot more than most skaters often described as inconsistent.

  6. #81
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    Gedevanishvili definitely. The thing about someone like her is that as she was poised for greatness, she also carried her country's reputation on her back. Georgia didn't really have anyone else to count on to make it into the world spotlight. So it's an additional sadness when a skater such as Elene doesn't quite make it.

    The more we discuss this topic, the less likely I am to want to include Sasha on it. Look at her achievements compared to those of the people mentioned here. She has medals all over the place, just not a lot of golds. Considering that Michelle was there the whole time Sasha was skating, that's pretty impressive. Yes, she had her shortcomings, but as London_calling says, she did make "the most of herself and achieved a lot more than most skaters often described as inconsistent."

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    I don't think Sasha deserves to be in here, she had success, and wasn't as much of a disappointment as some on here. I liked Sasha, but watching her crack under pressure more often than not was frustrating but even when she faltered she still fought to keep it together, I think she deserves kudos in Torino for missing the first two jumps then pulling it together and still delivering a respectable performance, I do think she deserved the silver in Torino, no one was perfect that night and the strength of the other elements and five clean triples allowed her to stay (Irina only landed four). I agree that there's a certain something the "Greats" have that Sasha didn't-- the ability to focus and deliver. Arakawa was there to win and skated to win, same with Sarah Hughes, and Tara Lipinski and most of the time Michelle Kwan. I think sometimes Sasha skated not to lose, but even with mistakes, I still enjoyed her skating. With Emanuel Sandhu, more often than not I'd get totally frustrated, at 2007 Worlds I was just embarrassed for him.

    Gedevanishvili definitely. The thing about someone like her is that as she was poised for greatness, she also carried her country's reputation on her back. Georgia didn't really have anyone else to count on to make it into the world spotlight. So it's an additional sadness when a skater such as Elene doesn't quite make it.
    Definitely true. In Japan or Canada or other strong countries, one skater doesn't carry the weight of their nation. Plus in a country like Georgia, likely facilities and access to coaching are an issue. Yu-Na faced the pressure of a nation as well but Korea is pretty developed and could afford to hire coaching and finance her career.

  8. #83
    Sometimes bad skating happens to good people... LiamForeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coppertop1 View Post
    I don't think Sasha deserves to be in here, she had success, and wasn't as much of a disappointment as some on here. I liked Sasha, but watching her crack under pressure more often than not was frustrating but even when she faltered she still fought to keep it together, I think she deserves kudos in Torino for missing the first two jumps then pulling it together and still delivering a respectable performance, I do think she deserved the silver in Torino, no one was perfect that night and the strength of the other elements and five clean triples allowed her to stay (Irina only landed four). I agree that there's a certain something the "Greats" have that Sasha didn't-- the ability to focus and deliver. Arakawa was there to win and skated to win, same with Sarah Hughes, and Tara Lipinski and most of the time Michelle Kwan. I think sometimes Sasha skated not to lose, but even with mistakes, I still enjoyed her skating. With Emanuel Sandhu, more often than not I'd get totally frustrated, at 2007 Worlds I was just embarrassed for him..
    I think Sasha did just as was expected. Of course because she was so exquisite many thought she'd step up. But her basic skating left much to be desired. It was always so clear at a live competition. She wasn't into the ice, generating power as much as the others. Her edging was not the best, which I think harmed her jumps. I don't think it was Sasha not skating to win, in fact several times she looked like she was about to burst she was channeling so much desire to win. Her basic skating couldn't hold her up.

    Her Olympic R/J was wonderful, and I think I love it more because she missed the two opening jumps, had to have thought "Oh well Olympic dream is over" and went out and nailed the rest.

    Gedevanishvili looked poised in 2006, but she then started growing. Her body had completely changed. It was a completely different skater.

    Nikodinov I don't think any had her poised to become a champion. She had no head for competition, and that was evident all the way back to Novice. She was a gorgeous skater, very secure, graceful, elegant, had all the jumps, but she always blew up with only a few exceptions.

  9. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by LiamForeman View Post
    I think Sasha did just as was expected. Of course because she was so exquisite many thought she'd step up. But her basic skating left much to be desired. It was always so clear at a live competition. She wasn't into the ice, generating power as much as the others. Her edging was not the best, which I think harmed her jumps. I don't think it was Sasha not skating to win, in fact several times she looked like she was about to burst she was channeling so much desire to win. Her basic skating couldn't hold her up.

    Her Olympic R/J was wonderful, and I think I love it more because she missed the two opening jumps, had to have thought "Oh well Olympic dream is over" and went out and nailed the rest.

    .
    Good observations, she was so flexible and artistic, I think it got overlooked, the commentators, especially the Americans fawned over her and ignored her flaws. When you look at many of the Japanese skaters, they have effortless speed and power and so have bigger jumps. Which is why I take issue when Sasha's most vocal fans try to argue that Sasha's artistry alone should win over those who skated better. Figure skating is a sport, and you don't win by falling. I agree that her performance in 2006 Olympics was beautiful, she likely did think "Gold is gone now it's a fight for a medal, so pull it together"> It's ironic because at the Worlds she did her usual, started off well then lost focus, almost like she started skating not to lose. I wonder if she had an artistic temperament, that can be a problem too.

    Gedevanishvili looked poised in 2006, but she then started growing. Her body had completely changed. It was a completely different skater.
    Yeah, the puberty monster ate her up, which is why we need to be careful at hyping up young girls before they mature. Makes me wonder about the Russian teenage phenoms out there, if they can maintain what they have and improve on it, they'll be great, providing the puberty monster doesn't derail them.

    Yeah, Angela just couldn't hold it together, unfortunately.

  10. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by coppertop1 View Post
    I don't think Sasha deserves to be in here, she had success, and wasn't as much of a disappointment as some on here. I liked Sasha, but watching her crack under pressure more often than not was frustrating but even when she faltered she still fought to keep it together, I think she deserves kudos in Torino for missing the first two jumps then pulling it together and still delivering a respectable performance, I do think she deserved the silver in Torino, no one was perfect that night and the strength of the other elements and five clean triples allowed her to stay (Irina only landed four). I agree that there's a certain something the "Greats" have that Sasha didn't-- the ability to focus and deliver. Arakawa was there to win and skated to win, same with Sarah Hughes, and Tara Lipinski and most of the time Michelle Kwan.
    LOL I agree with you on Sasha but lets not go overboard on Shizuka. Most of her career was crash and burn, she was one of the most inconsistent champion skaters ever. Sasha was in fact far more consistent than her. Shizuka did well to put it all together to win a major event twice (well really once once, while winning in Turin despite not skating all that well and landing only the same # of triples as the silver medalist), but she was not some stellar competitor.

    Shizuka's career from the time she made her first Olympic team:

    1998 Olympics- 13th
    1998 Worlds- out of top 10
    1999 Worlds- did not qualify
    2000 Worlds- did not qualify
    2001 Worlds- did not qualify
    2002 Olympics- did not qualify
    2002 Worlds- did not qualify
    2003 Worlds- 8th
    2004 Worlds- 1st
    2005 Worlds- 9th
    2006 Olympics- 1st

    1999 Grand Prix final- did not qualify
    2000 Grand Prix final- did not qualify
    2001 Grand Prix final- did not qualify
    2002 Grand Prix final- did not qualify
    2003 Grand Prix final- did not qualify, but got in as second alternate, and finished 4th
    2004 Grand Prix final- 3rd
    2005 Grand Prix final- 2nd
    2006 Grand Prix final- did not qualify

  11. #86
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    Sasha had great figure skating talent, but I think there were some discipline type of issues with her. I remember a coach got mad at her once for staying up all night baking several different types of cookies. Did she not train as hard as she should have? I don't know, but it was hinted at a couple of times. She also missed a year with a broken vertebrae, IIRC, and my mother thought she wasn't quite the same after that.

    Still, I wouldn't include her on the list. She was never the #1 American--Michelle was--or the #1 expected to medal at Worlds (if not Michelle, then Irina). She was expected to come in 2nd at Torino, with Irina poised to complete the Russian sweep.

    She had the door wide open, with Irina skating poorly, and she didn't take advantage of it, but in the end she did what she had to, winning probably America's last ladies figure skating medal for at least 12 years.

    Does anyone else think that Gracie is about to wind up on this list? I don't trust her at all. She should have made the GPF, if she's all that great. It's still too soon to tell, but I can see her flaming out along with Mirai and Caroline.

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    Does anyone else think that Gracie is about to wind up on this list? I don't trust her at all. She should have made the GPF, if she's all that great. It's still too soon to tell, but I can see her flaming out along with Mirai and Caroline.
    Gracie just started her career, I think she deserves a chance. Sheesh. Mirai yes has been around and had Caroline but it's not fair to doubt a skater who just started.

    Vanessa Gusmeroli won bronze at 1997 Worlds and then struggled with consistency, falling to 16th in 1998, then climbing back up to 5th and 4th in 1999 and 2000, then down to 9th in 2001. Admittedly, her bronze came from in a year when the top three were all struggling, Michelle and Irina were adjusting to puberty and body changes, and Lu Chen was injured and also having problemse with the Skating Federation in China.

    Mira Leung looked to be the poster girl for the Vancouver Olympics, then fall off the map after 2008. By 2009 Canadians, Cynthia Phaneuf had regained her jumps and had replaced Mira. Interesting that Mira and Cynthia had what the other lacked: Mira had the competitive edge and consistency, and Cynthia had the skating skills and artistry. With Mira, I think her overall skating let her down and in 2008-09 she wasn't as consistent any more and when her consistency was gone, so was her spot on the National Team

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    Gracie Gold...because she's been overhyped, it SEEMS like she's arrived. But she really hasn't, and it seems unlikely that she'll ever really be consistent enough to be a true champion. Sigh.

  14. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by bump View Post
    Gracie Gold...because she's been overhyped, it SEEMS like she's arrived. But she really hasn't, and it seems unlikely that she'll ever really be consistent enough to be a true champion. Sigh.
    Gracie is halfway through her second season as a Senior skater and she's already done? I admit she can be a headcase but she still has a lot of upside when she does skate well as she did in her SP at SC when she scored 69 points. Let's see what Frank can do for her.

  15. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jammers View Post
    Gracie is halfway through her second season as a Senior skater and she's already done? I admit she can be a headcase but she still has a lot of upside when she does skate well as she did in her SP at SC when she scored 69 points. Let's see what Frank can do for her.
    Agreed! Seriously, let's not declare a skater a disappointment when they just started! It often takes time and experience to develop consistency. Come on! Same with Liza K, she's having a rough year due to puberty but let's not right her off so soon. Not everyone can go out there right from the start and nail down the good, even Sarah Hughes and Sasha Cohen had bad outings early in their career.

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