If Mirai doesn't make a real effort to convince USFS she is serious about her skating, Mirai could find herself off the World team once again. Gracie, Ashley and Polina impressed the ISU judges at Sochi and Saitama while Mirai bombed at 4CC. Mirai has a lot to prove, and she could start by selecting a coach and then train hard in preparation for the GP. She absolutely has to put in two good performances on the GP circuit to have any chance at 2015 Nationals.
I think Gracie will stay the #1 US lady. I don't find her very artistic but I want to wait and she what she creates with Lori first.
Gracie is far more athletic than artistic.
I think they needed the ice princess image to lend her some sort of gravitas. Ultimately she just has to develop more emotional projection. Her skating skills aren't so bad. She just has to connect them to a mood/character. Also stop hanging her arm down during catch foot spins. It makes her look like a blond blue eyed gorilla!
Reading the "crazy predictions" thread, I realized that a lot of people already consider Polina ahead of Gracie for the next seasons... Why?! I'm not stating that Gracie is "the best skater in the world now and forever" as someone does but Polina has never actually beaten Gracie!! They're both excellent skaters, yes, but I think that Gracie's jumps and spins are much better than Polina's, and with Carroll has PCS has really gone up miles. The only thing in favour of Polina at the moment would be consistency but... do you remember 2012 Gracie? She was extremely solid and consistent, but then everyone expected so much from her and in the GP she began to bomb here and there. Couldn't the same happen to Polina, too (so they would both become "sometimes consistent and sometimes inconsistent skaters", as almost everyone is)?
FSGMT asked: A lot of people already consider Polina ahead of Gracie for the next seasons... Why?!
I think Polina skates with an all out abandon while Gracie seems to hold something back.
I expect Gracie to remain #1 this year but by the following year, Polina to become #1 (unless she continues to grow and then we will see).
Polina has an organic quality in her interpretation which you can't teach . Gracie is a very pretty athletic skater who is also a very good spinner I think it's going to be all about the programs .
I do not feel that way about Gold vs. Edmunds, however. Edmunds is still on the rise, but she has a bit of growing up to do, and who knows if she can keep her technical skills up/remain injury free through it all. At least on the international/world scale, Edmunds has yet to really break through the way Gold has. A solid skate by Edmunds cannot yet beat clean (or even flawed) Gold. The only reason Wagner had the edge over Gold for a year is because the latter was literally all over the place. But now that Gold has pulled it together (somewhat....), she's the new #1. The issue with Edmunds is not so much consistency as it is just "not being there yet". Different situation IMO.
Now, it COULD happen - Edmunds surpassing Gold for #1 - especially if the latter ends up going through post-Oly slump, but I wouldn't be willing to bet on it like the Gold/Wagner situation. More variables involved this time. If Edmunds can still do 2 3-3s at 18/19, then I'll believe it.
I don't have a preference between Gracie and Polina at this point, but I do feel like Polina has more potential. I don't feel a connection with Gracie's skating--I don't yet for Polina either, but I feel like she could develop it. Of course, this is just speaking in terms of personal preference, not in terms of "who will make it"--that'll be insanely difficult to predict.
I was at SOI last night and it was great to see all of the top four ladies form Boston live for the first time. I know it's deep into the off season, and exhibitions are far different from competition but still there was a lot to take in.
Polina - What I noticed right off the bat is her arms and how beautiful they are. I think she's still growing into her limbs but she has a very natural, beautiful port de bras. It's also clear that she had the least amount of experience of the four. She was skating well, but there was no real relating to the audience, but I got the impression it was a quality that would come in time. I also thought it was interesting to see she only did edge jumps in her program but they were really really nicely done.
Ashley - I was really impressed with her. Exhibition is where she really shines. She seems to really know her body and what it means to sell a program and PERFORM the heck out of it. Seeing her live really helps me understand why her PCS are always so high. Because they should be. Also her triples were on last night. Not a shadow of a doubt. I guess that's a benefit to getting to compete in so many major events, and do all the tours that come with it, there's a certain security I felt with her. It was like I knew she was going to come out and nail every moment.
Mirai - Was stunning. Especially On Golden Pond was breathtaking, and I also was really surprised by how fast she was skating. There was even one point when she was going into a jump that someone behind me commentated in it. Unfortunately she was someone that looked like she struggled with the on ice seating because she was going into a triple flip and I think she ran out of real estate and couldn't complete it. But boy has she found her voice. For me she skated with the most nuance last night, and she has this rare gift to change the energy of the room. I understand why people are worried that she went with Adam Rippon for her programs, but I have to say I think it was a genius move. It's clear she's passionate about these routines and that really comes across live. Also she's doing Caroline's pearl variation in the layback to great affect, and she's started holding her boot in the biellman position. She also had easily the best axel jump of any skater last night.
Gracie - It was clear that Gracie chose two pieces meant to be real show stoppers and I think on the whole it worked for her. The whole arena really got excited when they realized her second piece was Let It Go. I do admit, it made me really curious to see how Lori and Frank are going to keep developing her. I think she was another one that could have used the extra room that was missing because of the on ice seating. On the whole, I always feel like all of the skaters would have benefitted from that, but I guess they have their reasons for doing it that way. It was interesting, from where I was sitting at times Gracie really reminded me of Nicole Bobek. I can't quite pin point it, she doesn't have Nicole's spirals, and ultimately their strengths are very different, but for some reason the way their blades use the ice and the way they both relate to it, made me think of Nicole when I was watching Gracie.
Truth be told, I really just think it's going to boil down to who is consistent and who shows up with their a-game. Mirai has as god a shot as any to be a part of the conversation, and if her programs are of the quality of the exhibitions, I think she could turn heads. Ashley is still very much in this to win this. It's a shame that this past season went the way it did for her, but I think you can tell she's all the better for it performance wise. Polina has such a bright future ahead of her. If she keeps moving in this trajectory, she has a ton of potential. Gracie is the girl of the moment no doubt. We'll have to see if Frank and Lori can help her up the ante next year. The USFSA pretty clearly will be happy to place her a top their podium if she delivers the goods.
I agree about Mirai at SOI. She has the best artistry/performance and the best spins. I loved both of her programs, especially the one to Demons. She put her heart and soul into that one. She fell on a triple lutz when I saw her (can't remember which program), but so did Gracie. Mirai should be a contender but she needs to build up some credibility with the judges so that she gets the marks she deserved in PCS.
Ashley is next best in performance, but needs the right programs and needs to fix her bad habit of two-footing jumps. That may not be possible.
Gracie is super-fast but lacking in artistry and performance. She did better, I thought, with the Chicago program. She is not a Disney princess. She has the difficult jumps, though, so that will keep her in contention.
I didn't see Polina, but think it's way too soon to make any predictions about her. She isn't going to stay that skinny forever. Other skaters have faltered when their bodies filled out; but some have not. It's wait and see with her. She also needs better programs and better packaging from what I saw of her competitive programs. She needs a makeover a la Michelle Kwan in 1996.
Thanks for posting the impressions of the ladies at SOI. It didn't stop in my city, and I was unable to fit in a trip to Anaheim, the closest to me.
What I love about Polina is that there is joy in her skating. She just radiates happiness. Ashley exudes power, and I kind of feel that Gracie isn't sure what she's projecting yet. I was so impressed with Mirai's skating on youtube and would love to see make a good comeback. But after SOI, she really needs to find a coach quickly in order to be taken seriously. I hope things work out for her, but I just don't have a confidence with this. Hopefully, she'll surprise me.