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Thread: US Figure Skating Prez: Women must start doing 3-3's, 3 axels, quads

  1. #1
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    US Figure Skating Prez: Women must start doing 3-3's, 3 axels, quads

    U. S. women must jump to it

    BY JO-ANN BARNAS

    Knight Ridder Newspapers

    DORTMUND, Germany - (KRT) - On the podium, it looked good: two medals, silver and bronze.

    But Chuck Foster, president of the U.S. Figure Skating Association, was looking beyond the performances of Sasha Cohen and Michelle Kwan on Saturday night in the ladies final at the World Figure Skating Championships.

    He was looking ahead.

    From his seat at the Westfalenhallen, Foster saw competitors from other countries attempt more difficult jumps and combinations than the American women.

    He saw new world champion Shizuka Arakawa of Japan whip across the ice with a three-jump wonder: a triple lutz-triple toe-double loop combination. Arakawa followed that with another difficult combination, triple salchow-triple toe.

    He saw the fifth-place finisher, Carolina Kostner of Italy, open her program with a three-jump combo: triple flip-triple toe-double loop.

    And he watched as Miki Ando of Japan, a 16-year-old who finished fourth, attempt a triple lutz-triple loop combination, though it appeared as if she cheated the landing on the second jump. Ando, competing in her first senior worlds, has landed a quadruple jump at least three times in competition. She didn't come close to completing it Saturday.

    The only U.S. skater who completed - or even tried - a triple-jump combination was Jenny Kirk, who trains at the Onyx in Rochester Hills. She fell on her triple toe-triple toe in the long program, but landed it in the short. She finished 18th.

    The point being, the pendulum in women's skating is favoring athleticism again.

    And Foster wouldn't mind seeing the Americans start moving that way, too.

    ``This competition showed that the bar has been raised,'' Foster said. ``Our people will have to start doing triple-triple combinations, triple axels and even quadruple jumps. We won't be competitive until they start to do that. That's a lesson to be learned for this event.''

    There's movement in that direction.

    Kirk and Richard Callaghan plan to work on securing a second triple combination - triple flip-triple toe - for next season.

    Robin Wagner, Cohen's coach, said they would begin training a quadruple salchow on a harness this summer and would add a triple-triple combination for next season. Cohen practiced a quad before but stopped two years ago.

    Kwan, five-time world champion, said that she, too, knew she had to push herself on the first mark. But first, she must decide if she wanted to compete next season.

    ``It's a test on your body,'' said Kwan, 23. ``But I know I need a triple-triple, that's for sure.''

    Wagner said: ``That's where women's skating is going. You don't want to be in a position of playing catch-up. You want to be a leader.''

    NOTEBOOK:

    The incident involving a man from Montreal who jumped the boards and skated onto the ice in a yellow tutu before Kwan's long program was no laughing matter for the U.S. contingent. Security was lax all week at the Westfalenhallen, with inconsistent checks of credentials and no baggage searches for journalists. . . .

    Arakawa was coached by Callaghan for a year before changing training bases to Simsbury, Conn., to be coached by Tatiana Tarasova. ``I want to congratulate Richard Callaghan, Shizuka's coach, who worked with her for a year,'' Tarasova said. . . .

    Callaghan said he planned to meet with Kirk after the Champions on Ice tour to analyze her disappointing placement. ``I have to figure out what happened,'' he said. ``For a person who trains as hard as she does, muscle memory should have kicked in. If she would have did all of her work, she would have been in the top six or seven.'' . . .

    It will be known this summer if skating moves to a new computer-based points system, perhaps signaling the end of the century-old 6.0 judging scale. If that happens, Kwan, who received six 6.0s Saturday night - though it wasn't known which nine of the 14 judges' marks counted - rightly ended the era. No other skater in history - man or woman - has received more perfect marks than Kwan.

  2. #2
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Hi Hydro, thanks for posting this interesting article. Is this from the Free Press? I'm from Detroit, too. Pretty good coverage all week from Jo-ann B.

    In the future, it's better to post a summary of the article with a link, because of copyright considerations.

    Mathman

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    Re: US Figure Skating Prez: Women must start doing 3-3's, 3 axels, quads

    Thanks for this, hydroradi!

    Here's my POV:

    Originally posted by hydroradi
    U. S. women must jump to it

    BY JO-ANN BARNAS

    Knight Ridder Newspapers

    From his seat at the Westfalenhallen, Foster saw competitors from other countries attempt more difficult jumps and combinations than the American women.

    ME: maybe he should've been watching more closely the past two years Jr. Worlds, where the Japanese have been attempting such combos. for a while now, and eventually it figures that these phenoms (aka Miki Ando) would eventually be moving onward to Seniors. Not only that, but Shizuka Arakawa (a Sr. competitor) has been attempting & landing 3/3 & 3/3/2 combos. for two seasons now as well (aka 3/3 @ 2001 SA, 3/3/2 @ 2002 4CC, & TWO 3/3 combos. @ 2002 Japan Nationals). Finally putting it all together @ 2004 Sr. Worlds. ***Note: additionally, the wake-up call should've been sounded when Sarah Hughes unofficially retired from competiton last year - the first & only American woman to have ever landed TWO 3/3 combos. (7 triples in total) in competition thus far - and whom consistently landed difficult 3/3 combos. over a period of 4 seasons as a Senior.***

    He saw new world champion Shizuka Arakawa of Japan whip across the ice with a three-jump wonder: a triple lutz-triple toe-double loop combination. Arakawa followed that with another difficult combination, triple salchow-triple toe.

    He saw the fifth-place finisher, Carolina Kostner of Italy, open her program with a three-jump combo: triple flip-triple toe-double loop.

    ME: please see my comments above. 'nuff said.

    And he watched as Miki Ando of Japan, a 16-year-old who finished fourth, attempt a triple lutz-triple loop combination, though it appeared as if she cheated the landing on the second jump. Ando, competing in her first senior worlds, has landed a quadruple jump at least three times in competition. She didn't come close to completing it Saturday.

    ME: ah, how everybody is underestimating Miki, lol :D At least that has been my perception after reading several articles & message boards, etc. Heck, IMHO she has more potential than Shizuka......let Shizuka bask in the praise (she truly does deserve it; no ifs/whats/buts about it) & also take on the enormous expectations & pressure that comes along with being a World Champion (just ask Michelle Kwan)......while Miki hasn't even begun to show what she is capable of, which is good, I'd rather the Japanese press laid off Miki (unlike what they did with Midori) & let her progress in relative peace. Also, I'm glad that Miki has things she still needs to work on (aka presentation) b/c as the old saying goes "a fat cat is a lazy cat". Let Shizuka peak here, while I wait for the others (aka Kwan, Cohen, Ando, et al) to peak when it's most important. ***Note: as to the underrotations being pointed out on Ando & not Arakawa, more biased reporting, Ando is usually clean as a whistle (1/4 underrotation is nitpicking IMHO) whereas Arakawa's (being 2" taller than Ando) underrotations are usually more severe. Either way, as long as they're not 1/2 underrotated, I think they are ALL good. ***


    The point being, the pendulum in women's skating is favoring athleticism again.

    And Foster wouldn't mind seeing the Americans start moving that way, too.

    ``This competition showed that the bar has been raised,'' Foster said. ``Our people will have to start doing triple-triple combinations, triple axels and even quadruple jumps. We won't be competitive until they start to do that. That's a lesson to be learned for this event.''

    ME: hmm, I personally think he is overreacting a bit, at least in regards to America's elite (aka Kwan & Cohen). However, he's right on as regards our Jr. development program. In fact, they should have noticed the Japanese program stepping it up a few years ago & did likewise (best to be ahead & not have to play catch-up). JMHO.

    There's movement in that direction.

    Kirk and Richard Callaghan plan to work on securing a second triple combination - triple flip-triple toe - for next season.

    ME: I agree that Jennifer needs two 3/3 combos., but is her heart really in it?, now that is the question (Shakespeare anyone, lol ). Not only that, but she has had hip problems in the past due to working on those combos. (especially the loop jump). Thus, she needs to ask herself, is it worth it? If so, I wish her well (as always, she's a favorite of mine). If not, she always has the option to compete in Pairs (another favorite discipline of mine). Or even to just turn away from it all & go to college (ala Sarah Hughes). I wish her well in whatever she decides to do (no lie).

    Robin Wagner, Cohen's coach, said they would begin training a quadruple salchow on a harness this summer and would add a triple-triple combination for next season. Cohen practiced a quad before but stopped two years ago.

    ME: *sigh* I honestly don't think that either Cohen or Kwan need a 4S or a 3A......no lie......one 3/3, yes, but not two (rather a 3/3 sequence + one 3/3 combo.). However, in Cohen's case, I would suggest one or the other, but not both. It's time to face facts, Sasha IS inconsistent *period*. I personally don't give a damn but that's just the way it is. Yes, she can do them in practice (even the 4S), but history has shown that it doesn't translate into big time competition (aka Olympics, Worlds). Best to work with what she excels at & can do ~ i.e. 6 triples + one 3/3 combo. or sequence + exceptional/innovative/unique/creative spins, spirals, carriage, posture, toepoint, etc. ~ and concentrate on skating "clean" programs (nothing more nor nothing less). Make it so that she blows everyone away on the second mark, so that all she has to do is concentrate on skating clean for the technical mark & see how the chips fall. JMHO

    Kwan, five-time world champion, said that she, too, knew she had to push herself on the first mark. But first, she must decide if she wanted to compete next season.

    ``It's a test on your body,'' said Kwan, 23. ``But I know I need a triple-triple, that's for sure.''

    ME: weird how I've seen a bunch of threads on several message boards about how Kwan should retire, etc........please........she's honestly America's best hope for gold at the upcoming Olympics. And if anybody can't see that, then they're blind (no lie). I mean c'mon, what more is there to be said - Michelle has basically dominated the ladies field since 1996 - has never been off the World podium since 1996 nor the American podium since 1995. Not only that, she's the one that started the trend of 7 triples since that time, and there are still women that have never matched that in competition (aka Fumie Suguri being one). Furthermore, she has landed the 3T/3T a total of eleven times in competition. Her record speaks for itself. And IMHO the only reason she hasn't done so since 2002 is b/c she's had no competition.......no need to do more than six solo triples when everybody around you can barely manage five.......and the one that could match her plus add TWO 3/3s had barely any presentation to speak of (aka Elena Sokolova in 2003). Well now that's all changed with the arrival of Shizuka Arakawa's TWO 3/3s at 2004 Worlds + very good presentation (not to mention Miki Ando). Heck, I personally think this is a good thing for Michelle (& skating btw) ~ will push her ~ finally has some competition. I honestly will not be surprised to see Michelle once again doing 7 triples + one very difficult 3/3 + a 3/3 sequence. JMHO.
    That said, I can't wait for the battle ahead - those with exceptional presentation (aka Cohen & Kwan) - going against those with exceptional technical (aka Arakawa & Ando). My hope is that both groups manage to blend their individual strengths with their individual weaker areas, so that a beautiful cohesive whole will be the result ~ i.e. raw power mixed with depth of character out on the ice. Ah, what a time we skating fans are in for - finally!

    Peace & Love, Nadine

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    TriGirl Rinkside
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    Oh, I find this quite depressing. Images of little girls, broken, strewn through ice rinks across America are running through my mind right now.

    Edited to add: Great post Nadine. You make a lot of good points.
    Last edited by tharrtell; 03-30-2004 at 01:15 AM.

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    Methinks Mr. Foster is becoming like other Federations by working the a-s off their skaters and winding up with cripples.

    The skaters know what it takes to win and they have to take the responsibility for whatever comes of it. Here are just a few names. Are the Federations responsible?

    Lipinski, Honda, Abt, Klimkin, and how many others we never hear about?

    The skater, the parents, the federations all play a role. Who makes the decision to push?

    Joe

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    I seem to remember that Sasha missed a season due to a stress fracture in her spine. I'd hate to think of what might happen due to the constant pounding of trying to train for a quad ( or even repeated triple triples). Many elite women athletes (of many sporting discipline, not just figure skating) have early osteoporosis (and I'm not saying that Sasha has this), but it is a real risk to many skaters who may suffer the long term consquences of
    their training.

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    I think in terms of injuries MK (nock on wood) is the lucky exception (of course it's no just luck, as MK is famous for spending time on stretching and warm up). The majority of skaters have undergone serious injuries at one point or another. I wonder if the specialists are putting in enough time to figure out the safest possible regimen for skaters.

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    An Opinion

    Some good points were made by all on this thread. I expect Michelle to remain competitive as long as she can practice the triple-triples without injury or pain. If either kick in, I expect that she might retire. Michelle can do triple-triples, but they aren't as sure a thing in competition as the usual jumps/combinations she does. She does not need the triple axel. Michelle's superior presentation skills are enough to keep her ahead of Shizuka and Miki if she does the triple-triples. I already see an improvement in her spins since teaming up with Arutunian. Sasha is her main competition IF she should ever develop any consistency and I am seriuosly doubting that will ever happen. Michelle is still our best chance for gold at the Olympics.

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    Some additional thoughts/comments (btw thanks, tharrtell for the compliment): (:^)

    In retrospect, I'm of the opinion that Sasha Cohen should work on 5 solo triples with a couple of tacked on double toes to two of them........b/c she really has shown herself *consistent* when it comes to landing at least 5 clean triples.........and thus I apologize for earlier stating that she was inconsistent. The only reason I stated that was b/c of the FS @ 2004 Worlds. Actually, 2004 Worlds was her cleanest FS to date IMHO (no falls).

    Back to what I was saying earlier, I actually think that Sasha should aim for 5 triples, 1 quad & 1 2A (which is mandatory in order to fulfill the required 7 elements jumping passes in the new COP). Which would leave her without the added pressure of having to do ANY 3/3s at all, not to mention lessen the stress to the body due to the constant practicing of the 3/3s, especially taken into consideration that Sasha has already had to come back from a severe back injury before. In fact, I personally think that 1 quad = 2 triples, and should receive as many points as a 3Z/3R (hardest 3/3 done by a woman btw). JMHO.

    ***Note: btw sport = pain, and I'm sure these athletes know that better than anyone else......no pain, no gain.......thus, in order to be competitive with the rest of the world they need to take some risks/chances (aka a 3/3 or a quad or whatever).***

    Last note as regards Sasha & the quad, I actually think she has a better chance of landing the 4S than a 3/3 (though she has landed the 3Z/3T cleanly once @ 2003 Worlds & a couple of other times came awfully close). But that was also b/c she focused on that particular 3/3 combo. for two seasons, whereas she only focused on the 4S for half of one season (aka Fall of 2001). And during that Fall of 2001 she actually fully rotated one @ Finlandia Trophy (from all accounts from those that were there), but unfortunately fell after having completed the rotations. Then she followed that up the next month @ 2001 SA, where she actually landed a fully rotated one in practice (caught on tape, which I have btw). However, unfortunately, during competition she didn't even get it off the ground (huge pop). She just needs time - she only started working on it the summer of 2001 IIRC - didn't give herself enough time. In fact, Miki Ando only started working on her 4S the summer of 2002, and landed her first one that December of 2002. Since then, she has gone on to land it 4 out of 8 times in competition. And as much as Miki Ando is an all-time favorite of mine (no lie), I have yet to see her land as clean a one as Sasha did @ 2001 SA during practice.

    By the way, Ptichka, Michelle suffered a stress fracture to her toe during the Fall of 1997 from practicing the 3T/3T, which is why she didn't do the combo. @ the following 1998 Olympics. So it just goes to show one that anybody can suffer an injury, especially in f.s.

    kyla2, I agree with you on a lot of points as regards Michelle, especially that she CAN do the 3/3s........which is why I'd like for her to go for at least one very difficult 3/3 combo., a 3/3 sequence (not as difficult, but still up there) and 7 triples overall.........whereas I feel the opposite with Sasha, which is why I'd like for Sasha to aim for 5 clean triples (has done so in the past) & a 4S. JMHO.

    Peace & Love, Nadine

    GOOOOOO MICHELLE & SASHA!!!

  10. #10
    Mr. Michelle Kwan Spirit's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting this.

    Random thoughts:

    1. The president of the USFSA has only been in his position a year. Granted, he's had ample opportunity to witness the competition's abilities before now, but even so, let's not imply that he's slow to get going. Not yet. Besides, while the reporter made it sound as if he had this sudden awakening at Worlds, for all we know, he could have simply been speaking thoughts and plans that he's had all along.

    2. I worry greatly about the health of skaters pushing their growing bodies. I was really keen to see that news segment about the hinged skate they're developing; I think that will be a major step forward.

    3. Yes, Sasha has always been inconsistent, but now she has the same coach who once coached Sarah Hughes, who was an awesome jumper and was very consistent. We can see some small differences in Sasha already, and I think we'll see much bigger differences in terms of confidence next year. I think Robin can make the judgment calls about Sasha's ability and potential regarding jumps. I'm really excited about that skater/coach pairing. They could go far.

    4. FWIW, I think Michelle saw the writing on the wall the night she ascended a podium in Salt Lake City and accepted a medal the color of bronze. She's made no secret since then of her hunger for a 3/3. Such an addition to her arsenal would make the "triumphant" sections of her LP's all that more energetic. (The mind boggles!)

    5. Wasn't the new COP supposed to help steer skating away from becoming jump-fests? Wasn't that what everyone wanted? I'm so confused!

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    I'm praying Michelle sticks around and that RA helps her get those 3/3 combos without injury but I just have a feeling someone may get injured. Also I think Ando is a force to be reckon with but she is 16 years old. She's a big 16 year old in the skating world and hasn't really hit puberty. What is that going to do to her?

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    Ando is a big 16 year old because she HAS hit puberty!

    Sarah was always a tallish skater (5'5) even before she hit puberty: remember girls tend to grow tall like stalks and then fill out.

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    Well I have a feeling Ando is still growing. Not thinking of Sarah.

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    Originally posted by lavender
    I'm praying Michelle sticks around and that RA helps her get those 3/3 combos without injury but I just have a feeling someone may get injured. Also I think Ando is a force to be reckon with but she is 16 years old. She's a big 16 year old in the skating world and hasn't really hit puberty. What is that going to do to her?
    Hi lavender (you make some good points),

    Personally, I've always believed that Michelle will go to the 2006 Olympics in Turino, Italy.......provided she makes the team, of course.......but I feel that the reason she hasn't exactly come out & said it is b/c she's "superstitious" (ditto here ). You know the old saying don't count your chickens before they're hatched. Smart thinking.

    ***Note: on a related note, back in 1997 (just prior to the 1998 Olympics), I felt Team Kwan's biggest mistake was overconfidence - discussed indepthly on pp. 99-100 in the book Edge of Glory. After all, the skating gods are always listening. JMHO.***

    My expectation & hope is that Michelle will retire after the 2006 Olympics ~ appropriately enough @ the Olympics ~ no other setting will do IMHO. As America's greatest female figure skater EVER, and as unarguably one of the best ever in the sport, she more than deserves this honor. She truly walks amongst Giants. As such, I see her farewell being in the same status as when Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Muhammad Ali, Sonja Henie (whom also competed in 4 Olympics btw), and Steffi Graff retired from each of their respective sports. Go out on top like the aforementioned ones! (not like Martina Navratilova; though it's commendable that she's still playing tennis). JMHO.

    ***Note: not that I expect Michelle to cruise to the next Olympics. No, I expect her to skate better than she has ever done previously (no lie). As she has said before, she knows that she hasn't yet skated to her potential. Now's the time. On that note, I also look forward to her winning another Worlds (don't ever count her out).***

    As regards Miki Ando, I'm of the mind that she has already hit puberty.......just as Michelle Kwan hit puberty between the ages of 15-17........btw I'd rather use Michelle Kwan as an example than Sarah Hughes, b/c the former ones share a similar ethnicity/race (Mongolian; btw American Indians also fall under this umbrella). As such, it is widely believed that the Asian somatype differs from the Caucasian & Negro somatype in terms of slimmer build, small breasts, small hips, small bones, just smaller overall in terms of somatype. Thus, it is my belief that Miki Ando is finished with puberty or soon will be ~ she grew 6" during the 2001/2002 season alone ~ and has since grown an additional 1" during the 2003 season. She's presently 5'3" in height. Anyhow, I don't think she has to worry about any additional growth spurt (whether up or out) hurting her jumps in future. In fact, now would be the perfect time to perfect that nuclear bomb she has in her jump arsenal (aka 4S), not to mention the 3A. The various 3/3 combos. seem pretty much consistent in my book.

    ***Note: Sasha Cohen also looks to have finished puberty - being 19.5 yrs. of age - so now is the perfect time for her, too, to perfect the 4S. Btw, she's lucky that she's built small & compact ~ perfect for jumping IMHO.***

    Peace & Excited, Nadine (8^O

    P.S. Spirit, sorry, I didn't mean to imply that Robin Wagner does not know what is best for Sasha Cohen as regards her ability & jumping potential, etc. I was merely stating what I thought was best for Sasha, knowing full well that my $0.00 means squat (lol). (:^D Though it does feel good to pretend that I do. (;^)

  15. #15
    Sal-Kowabunga!
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    Nadine,

    Re: Michelle's toe/stress fracture. Wasn't part of the problem that year her boots? I seem to recall she had an endorsement for big bucks (big to her and her family THEN ), and she didn't want to disappoint her father and use different boots from the contracted endorsement. Then again, she WAS much younger! Today's Michelle would give herself an out cuz she's older and more saavy and has more leverage.

    I do remember seeing her foot in a cast on one of the ABC Grand Prix events (or were they still called championship challenge events?).

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