Kwan found out she no longer can make a big impression simply with the pure beauty of her edging--how the blades move across the ice--when it is added to solid jumps, captivating spirals and occasionally competent spins.
Kwan revealed herself to be a quick study by immediately finding one of the system's flaws. In assessing level of difficulty from 1 to 3 for spins and footwork, which becomes an important factor in the score, a poor quality of execution does not lower the level and does not have enough impact on the mark.
Kwan always has been too much of a competitor to back down from a challenge, but this is a formidable one. The new system forces her to redefine herself athletically the way she did artistically at 15, when the kid in the ponytail turned into a young woman who could be a sophisticated Salome on ice--and do seven triple jumps.
"I have to put my back against the wall and do it," Kwan said. "That's what they are asking for, and that's what I have to do."