According to an article, the committee based the decision on world ranking and season best. No surprise there.
It was also a unanimous decision by the committee to send Dai. Kobayashi justified the decision by mentioning Dai's win at NHK. Of course. Plus she believes Dai would have been fully recovered by Sochi. As for not selecting Kozuka, she said Kozuka stated a little late this season (I guess she's referring to his poor GP performance and then now placing 3rd at Nationals), and other reasons which she did not disclose.
Well I think a late start is better than Dai's downhill performance since Sochi is still a little less than 2 months away. But then again, who knows if each of their performances is a fluke. So I guess it's fair to base their decision on potential.
I think they're not even considering Oda because it was due to Dai withdrawing from GPF that Oda was able to compete. So if they're considering that Dai qualified to GPF, then they cannot consider Oda 'qualifying' to GPF regardless of his results.
It's really a pity that Okinawa is no longer independent. Otherwise, Japan could toss their 4th to 6th-ranked skaters over and say "compete for Okinawa" - this failure to remain independent cost Oda and Kozuka their Sochi berths.
Firstly, I think there's tons of men in Japan that would deserve to go based on their results (compared to some other country's guys...) but unfortunately the system is what it is (in good and bad).
Secondly, as a federation I would make the selection rules so that I would be able to send the 3 best men who have the most potential to score big and place high.
Therefore I think (and this is obviously my opinion) it would be totally crazy to base the selection just by one competition. That said I get that it's clear and simple and at least measures ones capability under pressure. But anyone can have a bad competition for various reasons (injury, meltdown, infamous boot problems...). The more fair way for me is to let them compete during the season (and prior) and base the selections more on those. And if everything goes perfectly, the same men dominate in both.
Also, I think it's logical and fair to also have them compete at nationals. For obvious reasons, it's a competition were they determine the champions of that year. And like at world's etc. you only get one chance. And that should be clear of judging manipulation for desired results because the nationals should carry a high value on it's one. Therefore clearly (assuming judging was accurate) Yuzu was fair champion, Machida fair silver medalist and Kozu fair bronze medalist.
Also, it makes sense to have the champion be selected for the team. Whoever it is has made his mark. Also it gives the possibility to those who have not succeeded in gp series (because of injury, slow peeker etc) have their chance to show their capability at nationals. That means the winner or also 2nd/3rd could have a chance to go. That it then up to the wiser to decide based on rankings etc. Obviously, this allows more debate and cries for injustice, but makes more sense when you think the best for worlds (or O's).
The added pressure on nationals if it's the only selection base I think only backfires when thinking of the country's benefits (and athlete's). I've understood that the pressure can be so much that it become's the biggest thing for the season which can be left with athlete's running on empty afterwards. And the biggest target should be the W's/O's. Also it would give the athlete's sense of security (have they done good earlier in the season) and therefore train more towards peeking at the biggest event. Obviously those who haven't done great have more pressure, but at least they also still have a shot making it.
Having said all that the decision for Japanese skaters make total sense to me. Yuzu won and has succeeded previously and Machida also had a good season and succeeded at nationals. Dai didn't do well at nationals but based on overall season (and potential to actually be at the very top) he gets to go. Unfortunately Takahito wasn't that great during gp and also didn't do that great at N's as to assume he could really be a podium contender. Same with Oda, he was good not great during gp and also at N's. So it's sad for them of course but they really had their chance to show their potential.
With the ladies, it was simpler. Akiko won and did good in gp, Mao did great at gp and Kanako showed at N's she should go.
Ugh. This thread kills my mood. And many of you are acting like Kozuka has never gone to the Olympics before. Also, I would think that the "Olympic Dream" applies to most athletes at the Olympic level.
Am I heartbroken that Taka didn't make the team? Absolutely. I always hoped that the 2010 brOTP3 would reunite and be able to go again in 2014. Sigh, I hope Taka can stick around until 2018. I would love for him to have an Akiko Suzuki or Shizuka Arakawa moment.