Parallels between Mira Leung and Caroline Zhang
Reading comments about how Caroline Zhang just squeaked by at nationals and has fallen off the map, it reminds me a bit of Mira Leung. I'm not saying their styles are alike, they're not. Caroline is definitely more graceful than Mira. However, their stories have similarities.
Mira and Caroline were both on the senior ranks as a young teen and touted as the next one, and for a few years, enjoyed success in the national ranks. Mira won the bronze medal in 2005, silver medal for three straight years, from 2006 to 2008. The season of 2008-09 was not a good year for her. She had disappointing results internationally and fell to sixth at Canadians, and was off the national team. In 2010, she barely qualified for Canadians, then finished fifteenth out of eighteen skaters in the SP and withdrew. She hasn't been heard from in the skating world since. She had potential and the competitive nature, but from I've read on here and other places, she was known to be stubborn and not listening. She also had an interfering mother who hindered her progress and tried to coach her and Mira's skating may have suffered as a result. Her jumps were consistent but they weren't high or always fully rotated.
Caroline certainly looked like she had the qualities to be the next big thing in US ladies skating, but has struggled to remain on the map even at US nationals, after being fourth in 2008 and then winning bronze in 2009, and the World Junior Champion in 2007, she fell to eleventh at nationals. She has tried to fix her technique but her results were all over the place, and she barely squeaked by a berth at US nationals this year. IT seems she tried to coach herself and as a result, she never had her basics fixed, like the lack of speed, underrotating jumps, and her high kicking free leg fixed before it was too late.
Both of them had potential, but neither had the proper coaching at a young age to learn the basics and it caught up to them. With Mira, Cynthia coming back and having relearned her jumps, she surpassed Mira. Cynthia was a better prospect for Canada, and had better results for the two years leading up to the Olympics. Ashley Wagner has since taken over as the leading lady for the US heading to Sochi. Caroline is also said to have had a controlling mother.
I think both skater's are cautionary tales of not having proper coaching, and learning the basics, and also about "Stage moms".
Caroline's mother was in no way a controlling mother the way Mira's was. Mira's mother was a controlling presence whenever Mira was on the ice. She watched like a hawk while Mira practiced and actually COACHED Mira when Mira's coach wasn't there. If Mira's coach's instructions differed from Mom's, Mira was always told to do what MOM said.
I agree that Caroline does not have good basics. However, look at what she achieved: World Junior Champ at 13(!), two more medals there, 2x 4CC bronze, 3 medals at Nats (bronze & 2x pewter). You cannot achieve these things without doing a lot of things right. There is a definite possibility that there would have been a tradeoff; had she spent more time training her skating skills she might not have EVER mastered the difficult jumps. I don't think Caroline can be used as an example of what not to do because 99% of skaters starting out would be thrilled to achieve what she has.
Oh come on about the Mom...Caroline's Mom was super dominant when she was younger. That might explain why she never looks like she enjoys skating, it is just what she does!
I remember reading Goldenskate and FSU around the time when Mira was skating (2005-2007ish) and the stories that featured Mira and her mother reached near-legendary levels of bizarreness unparalleled by any except maybe Mama Bonaly and Papa Henie. I don't think Caroline's mother had nearly the same amount of (negative) influence and control as Mama Leung.
Originally Posted by nam57
For instance, I remember reading that Mira's mother made her drill her jumps wearing a hockey helmet as well as knee and elbow pads....hence her funky jump technique. The worst I've heard about Caroline's mother was that she would make Caroline practice her jumps constantly and that she and Caroline would have fights by the boards.
Caroline has many fine qualities, the pearl spin creation and her flexibility, her musicality and expression, those are her strengths. She did have success as a junior, and even some a senior. It's too bad she never could fix her basics or her jumping technique because everything else was beautiful. It's sad that she seems to have fallen off the map. She worked hard to improve other the last few years. I wouldn't say she's an example of what not to do in most cases, just of the importance of learning the basics early.
Wow, those are some really crazy stories about Mrs Leung! I knew Mrs Bonaly was a stage mom, and really she had no qualifications to coach Surya.
Well, let's face it. If they're being discussed by strangers on a message board, they've achieved more than 99% of all skaters starting out! It's like when someone complains that so-and-so doesn't have good skating skills. Come on, of course they do! They're in the Worlds/Grand Prix/Olympics. How bad can they be?
Originally Posted by drivingmissdaisy
But seriously, the expectation was that Caroline would be in medal contention internationally. She was briefly, with her 4CC bronzes and her near miss at the GPF a few years ago, but it looks like she'll never medal at worlds or go to the Olympics even, barring some surprising result next month.
I will google Mira Leung. I barely remember her, not being Canadian myself.
Mira Leung wasn't really a big name internationally. She was on the national level from 2005-2008 and finished 12th in Torino. She was a great competitor at her peak,. Her consistency, however, started to leave her in 2008. She did win the silver at Canadians, but she had some uncharacteristic mistakes and actually finished fourth in the long. She was coached by Joanne McLeod, who, as you probably know, also coached Emanuel Sandhu. Her coaching has been met with criticism on skating forums. Apparently, Joanne fired Mira a few times, and took her back. It makes me wonder why. Mira was said by many too be notoriously stubborn, so why would Joanne repeatedly take her back and not rein in her mother. I wouldn't say Mira was particularly elegant or lyrical. Mira was thought to be the poster girl of 2010 Olympics, but it didn't happen. She was also thought to be Joannie's successor. Again, didn't happen. Mira it seemed sealed her fate in some ways.
Originally Posted by Poodlepal
Mira's issues weren't just with her mom. Her jumps were small.
I don't know the whole story about Zhang's mom, but she was far more successful than Mira, even if she did wane towards the latter part of her career.
It makes me wonder why Joanne McLeod would suggest Mira add 3-3 combination when her jumps were tiny. Shouldn't the first step be improving the jumps, getting more height and power THEN maybe work on a 3-3? There was more than a lack of a triple-triple that held her back from threatening Joannie Rochette or the rest of the field.
Originally Posted by CanadianSkaterGuy
Zhang was at her peak when she first came on to the scene, as a young teen. She really improved her technique in 2012 and moved back up to fourth. I don't know that much about Zhang's mom, I'm just saying what I've seen on comments, not making judgments. I enjoy Zhang's skating a lot, she'd be a great show skater.
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I think Mira was touted as the next one at one point just because of the lack of good Canadian women besides Rochette (I know Phaneuf was in the mix for awhile, but then had that growth spurt). Caroline was a much better skater when she was younger than Mira ever was. Consistency landing jumps was one of Mira's only major strengths.
Sometimes bad skating happens to good people...
Now don't you go hating on my figure skating Mira-cle!!!!!!
See, I followed Mira's skating since forever. Her skating was awful, but in a rather perplexing and spellbinding way. I was at that competition where she showed her granny panties underneath her dress for all the crowd to see. I was sitting next to a great FS fan and amid all the murmurs of the crowd (face it, it is legendary) I actually tried to convince myself and my friends that it was on purpose and part of her costuming. LOL
I hope our Mira-cle has since enjoyed a happy life. I wouldn't be surprised if she has a doctorate by now. Mama Leung demands it!!!
I enjoyed Mira's skating, she was exciting, she had talent and was great competitor. Artistic and elegant? No. But Consistent and competitive and she certainly had promise. Oh yeah, I didn't know about the panties incident until I saw an up close picture. Oops. Oh well. She did things her way. It is too bad she fell off the map. It was odd. I liked her Terracotta Warriors program she did in 2006, great vehicle and it suited her well.
Originally Posted by LiamForeman
Mira is a smart girl, she was also a gifted pianist and a straight A student, so I'm sure whatever she's doing she can do great, even without Mama's pushing her. I wonder what she's doing now?
What are Caroline's plans after this year? Is she retiring?