07-09-2014, 06:58 PM
On the topic of Mao, to me it seems clear the only thing that was holding her back was the tremendous pressure. For the four years after Vancouver she put her life after skating on hold and struggled mightily to stay near the top to be a medal contender. The moment that pressure was off, she skated what was, in my opinion, the single greatest ladies' freeskate the world has ever seen (one of the best artistically and unquestionably the best technically). Unfortunately I don't think if she comes back that pressure will ever be off to allow her to skate with such freedom.
07-09-2014, 07:12 PM
The LP scoring wasn't the issue, the SP scoring was. There are two programs not one 😬
Originally Posted by Jammers
07-09-2014, 07:41 PM
I guess there is a case to give Irina the 2002 Olympic gold as she was clearly robbed of winning the short program, which would have already done it, and also Hughes probably deserved to be way lower than 4th in the short program. However there is also a strong case Irina didn't even deserve 2nd in the long program. She landed only 4 truly solid triples (Cohen and Kwan landed atleast 5 totally solid ones), was incredibly slow which is usually one of her strengths, and the overall program was weak in many respects. I wouldn't have cared too much who won the 2002 OGM unless I had a huge emotional investment in one of them (and even then probably not) as nobody really deserved an OGM that event. Hughes did a potential OGM winning LP, but not even close to a SP worthy of an OGM. Slutskaya and Kwan did not do performances worthy of an OGM, and a still then very raw Cohen wasn't even an OGM skater yet, let alone a performance worth one that day. Really Kwan, Slutskaya, Suguri, Cohen, and Hughes should all just be given a bronze medal from that event, rather than a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th, and just leave it at that.
07-10-2014, 01:02 AM
I think this is one of the best answers because Mao admitted that pressure had bothered her. I think another way to look at her journey since Vancouver is one of gradual overall improvement while reworking her jumps and skating technique: starting from the very bottom at the NHK trophy 2010 to the three peaks in the Sochi LP, the Worlds 2014 SP and the Worlds 2014 overall performance. Admittedly the rise was often inconsistent, the 2011 4CC's LP was much better than the 2012 NHK LP, for example, and there is the darker lining of her Sochi SP, as if she was a swan that had to dive before she could fully soar. But, skaters who take such risks in high tech content like the triple axel for woman usually are inconsistent: Mdiori Ito for example.
Originally Posted by drivingmissdaisy
Her true breakthrough came when she focused on the jumps and elements separately (each single process), as she said she did in the Sochi LP, instead of bearing the pressure of an Olympic gold (the end result). Similar to your views, I believe this enabled her to deliver the greatest artistic and technical performance I have ever seen. I believe she still had pressure to save her dignity, but even she said that she wouldn't have skated that way had the SP been clean, which shows your statement has a lot of legitimacy. Fortunately, this "release" from bearing an Atlas like pressure on her back carried into the Worlds where she gave her best ever SP and overall performance for the SP and LP. I think the lessons she learned about letting pressure get to her will serve her well, if she returns. But, I do believe that skating with such freedom in competition as she did in the Sochi LP is a rarity for her or anybody.