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Thread: Kwan at the Crossroads and Choices

  1. #1
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    Kwan at the Crossroads and Choices

    A poster said on another thread that MK has a phobia about the CoP. This is what I think about MK and the CoP:

    I don't understand the word 'phobia'. From what I read, Michelle seemed to think it was enough for her to continue the same way she has been doing right along and that's basically what she's done for the past few years and has brought home medals (however, usually in the 6.0 system).

    Despite some transition moves and improvements in jumps and spins (thank you Rafael), she got a taste of other compertitors at Worlds, who had already understood the power of the CoP. Irina who does so many tricks including Bielmans and Sasha who squeezes in two separate spins at the end of her program and Carolina going for the big combos are well Cop oriented!

    MK must decide to catch-up. It's not a fear; it's a choice.

    IMO, if we see Michelle skating in Skate America with a very CoP oriented routine (I don't want to hear, she's still working on the routine) then I belive she is serious about the Olys. She doesn't have to win SA; just present herself as a CoP skater!!

    If we see the usual beautifully skated routine without risks, then we know she is not serious about the Olys and maybe will just make an announcement of leaving eligibility at the US Nationals.

    The third option, and it is what makes me have a phobia, is that we will be presented with an announcement of retirement before Skate America and probably at a Cheesefest.

    Any other aspects of this skater at the crossroads?

    Joe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz
    A poster said on another thread that MK has a phobia about the CoP. This is what I think about MK and the CoP:

    I don't understand the word 'phobia'. From what I read, Michelle seemed to think it was enough for her to continue the same way she has been doing right along and that's basically what she's done for the past few years and has brought home medals (however, usually in the 6.0 system).... Joe
    I don't Michelle was thinking that it was enough to do the same thing. Rather, I think she was trying new things and hurt herself -- so she stopped. (She's not CoP-phobic, she's surgery-phobic). At the beginning of last season, she said she stopped practicing a certain spin because it hurt her back; Alexandra Stevenson reported that she also left a Marshall's practice early because of back pain. I think that she will be trying this summer to see if she can put together a CoP friendly program without hurting herself, but if she can't, she might retire before Olys.

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    Tripping on the Podium
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    I think Michelle has tried to adjust to CoP. Some of her combinations this year were with a double loop instead of a double toe, something she has rarely done over the years. At World's she did a 3-2-2 which I've never seen her do. Jumps are more secure and much higher.

    She still had trouble with the spins. I think she tried to make them harder, but they lost speed or looked awkward.

    I share Mathman's frustration concerning scoring of spins. A Level 1 or 2 element that is done beautifully, accurately and musically should score higher than an ugly, off center (with foot in hand) Level 3 spin. Oh well. This hurts Michell a great deal, because the strength of her spins is the centering and the line, but not the over all mobility of the position, which seems to be all the scoring cares about.

    I think the way Michelle needs to work the system is not to do positions and movements that hurt her but garner points. I think she needs a really beautifully choreographed program to wonderful, lush, warm music, so she can wow us with her presentation. She needs to take advantage of moves in the field, gestures and spins that work for her. She needs to use some of her signature moves that are technically difficult and also gorgeous.Then she has to do this all really well, really fast, totally clean and do all the jumps. Then I think she can win again.

    I know the trouble with my little plan here is literally time and space - getting all that in and having the points add up.

    The scoring system seems to reward "harder" elements even when they are sloppy or ugly. This is exactly the opposite of how Michelle has always approached her skating. So I think she can work the CoP for points - jumps, spins, transitions. yes, that all has to be there. But others do harder tricks. So Michelle has to take advantage of her special strengths - warmth, musicality, expression, attention to detail, clarity, moving an audience, and consistency. Then she has to get a program with a huge "wow" factor so that when she's done we have tears in our eyes because of the sheer beauty.

    So I am hoping that she doesn't throw out her special talents in the CoP quest. Those talents should serve her well in the componenet marks. But as we've seen, if the jumps, the levels of the elements, etc. aren't there, no amount of "presentation" will make those compnenet scores higher.

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    I don't think Michelle needs to bend herself into a pretzel or a beilmann to match Irina or Sasha. She just has to interpret the rules a little differently than those two simply because she doesn't have their flexible back. For instance, her flying spin was close to a level 2, she might not be capable of a beilmann but she is capable of a catchfoot as seen in Arianne as well as multiple body variations during the actual camel spin. She can try multiple COES for her combo spin to rack up points. Her layback is definitely her sore point but I think Fumie got a level 2 for her layback in her Carmen program and she didn't have to hike up her leg so perhaps Kwan could go about that way. It will definitely be hard for Kwan to score level 3s in her spins but I think she has the best shot with the combo spin while keeping her other spins level 2. That way her back doesn't receive as much stress as it would if she were trying multiple catchfoots.

    Her footwork is already up there, same with her jumps (just keep going with 3 different jump combos and yes a 3/2/2 looks awesome). Her spiral is easily a level 3 as long as she remembers to hold the positions

    Again, It's really the spins and transitions that need work and I think she's getting there. I think people were expecting level 3s and such at Worlds and given that spins were never Kwan's greatest strengths, I think she did a lot of new stuff--for her. Maybe not for us , but for her, it was definitely new positions, COEs,etc. Even with a disaster like Bolero, she still had a lot more going on than in her previous programs.

    She just needs music that is made for her. That was her biggest weakpoint this past season. and she just needs to stop changing around the choreography, she lost out on selling the program to the judges because she herself looked so lost out there on the ice.

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    An Opinion

    If she's serious about next year she needs to develop, with a professional choreographer (paging Lori Nichol or Sandra Bezic), a program that highlights her strengths and incoprorates moves and jumps/combinations with heavy CoP value. She needs a 7 triple jump program. She nees to set it in stone and not water it down as the season progresses. She needs to do the Grand Prix Series. She needs to do complete run throughs once to twice daily of her SP and LP. If she doesn't do these things she has no chance at the Olympics or at Worlds for that matter. She has alot of catching up to do but she can do it if she sets her mind to it. The music was not her weakest point and neither is her back. It's about setting some tough goals and completing them.

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    Some of the rules might change at the June ISU meeting, so maybe before Michelle decides on some things, we'll need to see if the ISU tweaks CoP like they did last year. I'm hoping that they will do something about the over-use of certain elements (i.e. the Beilmann). Is there a possibility that they might change the fact that a sloppy level 3 is worth more than a perfect level 1? Or least change it so that there isn't such a wide gulf between the two.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MidnightNess
    She just needs music that is made for her. That was her biggest weakpoint this past season. and she just needs to stop changing around the choreography, she lost out on selling the program to the judges because she herself looked so lost out there on the ice.
    I agree! I think Michelle can pull off a CoP program and still stick to her strengths. We know she can do the jumps and intricate choreography. If she has the goods choregraphed into her program and combines it with music that she can really interpret, it will have quite the impact. When you can feel the emotion from a skater's program, it leaves a lasting impression.

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    So many valid points made and still no closer to actually knowing (fer shure) what MK may or may not do....there's hope for the off season after all!

    I do think if Michelle is to go for the Olympics next year there are certain things she must do and other things that she can ( and believe me, only MK would have the money to do some of these optionals) do.

    First, I think she needs to figure out that avoiding next years GP series would be a serious mistake. I don't even think she has to do anything but bring the beginnings of a Jeff Buttle/Joannie Rochette inspired choreographed programs with limited jumping passes and medal to serve notice that she is serious about showing up prepared. No one is better off at the first of the season than Michelle, I'd say do the North American Events and then go back and train like heck for the Final (I'm sure she'll make it) and use that as a 'go for the gusto experience' right before the holidays to have to know what she has to pull out to win in Turino.

    Second is decline all "fluff' competitions. Lord knows Ms Kwan need never eat Macaroni and Cheese again unless she wants it. She doesn't need to worry about them. She doesn't need the money or the exposure. If she cherry picked just one to keep her confidence up ( never hurts to hear hundreds of people screaming your name) I suppose I could understand that. Marshall's won't go under and the competitions will be just as interesting if they invest in attempting in some foreign talent to boost the popularity. No offence to our Junior lady's, it's just I'd rather see Julia Sebastyn or Susanna Pokiio rather than one of the juniors.

    As for what she can do...there's a lot and, like I said, some of it is something that only a few skaters could afford to do to win next Olympics. Fly in Denise Beillmann or Lucina in to help MK with Spins and also a trainer specifically with expertise in core strength development. I don't think it would be so bad if Michelle worked with a full time motivational sports psychologist (if she doesn't already).

    Though I doubt she could get Tarasova to work with her because of "conflict of interest", perhaps she could work with Moskvina or one of the other great Russian coaches on power stroking i.e getting more power for the push which would help her both skate faster and consequently give her better ice coverage.

    Another thing that has been mentioned in detail in another thread is to pay Lori Nichols fee and give her explicit instructions to "challange her" choregraphically. Nichols has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that she's a premier choregrahper with the Chinese and many of her other clients. If Kwan and Nichols can work together as equal partners (as opposed the the Frank Carroll Skating Experience) then I believe the result could be a great program. Of course, Il Kwan could also afford to keep Ms. Nichlols on retainer to help her refine and rework as needed through the season. I think one of the chief problems with Kwans Bolero program is that it was too "ever evolving". So much so that I don't think I ever saw the darn thing skated twice in the same exact manner, order, etc. Short of Nichols, I'd be asking Sandra Bezick. SB may not be my favorite skating personality, but I do have to give her props on some exsquisite programs (By the way, Ms Peggy F. If you're reading this, that's the way to use the word in a broadcast. Reserve it for one use and it's done for the night, thank you very much)

    The last thing I would suggest for Ms. Kwan is another challange. I know that she has expressed the desire for some sort of normalcy in her life and I also know that she'd probably enjoy some "pedestrian" experiences. Once of the best investments I think MK can make right now is in her mind. While she is young and still able to comprehend and learn so much at a much easier rate, It think it would be good for both MK and her skating if she were persuing some more education. That doesn't mean sacrificing practice time to go to UCLA, but any means that will both challange her mind while actually taking it off the pressures of winning that darned, ever elusive, OGM. Michelle is so smart and such a naturally warm person, I don't even think it would be beyond the pale of learning something fun like tv production and "Art of the Deal" type materials so that she can be fully prepared to sieze her own destiny when figure skating will eventually be done.

    ...or she could quietly retire....I sure hope not, this upcoming year wouldn't be nearly so much fun without her.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by kareliz
    I think Michelle has tried to adjust to CoP. Some of her combinations this year were with a double loop instead of a double toe, something she has rarely done over the years. At World's she did a 3-2-2 which I've never seen her do. Jumps are more secure and much higher.

    She still had trouble with the spins. I think she tried to make them harder, but they lost speed or looked awkward.

    I share Mathman's frustration concerning scoring of spins. A Level 1 or 2 element that is done beautifully, accurately and musically should score higher than an ugly, off center (with foot in hand) Level 3 spin. Oh well. This hurts Michell a great deal, because the strength of her spins is the centering and the line, but not the over all mobility of the position, which seems to be all the scoring cares about.

    I think the way Michelle needs to work the system is not to do positions and movements that hurt her but garner points. I think she needs a really beautifully choreographed program to wonderful, lush, warm music, so she can wow us with her presentation. She needs to take advantage of moves in the field, gestures and spins that work for her. She needs to use some of her signature moves that are technically difficult and also gorgeous.Then she has to do this all really well, really fast, totally clean and do all the jumps. Then I think she can win again.

    I know the trouble with my little plan here is literally time and space - getting all that in and having the points add up.

    The scoring system seems to reward "harder" elements even when they are sloppy or ugly. This is exactly the opposite of how Michelle has always approached her skating. So I think she can work the CoP for points - jumps, spins, transitions. yes, that all has to be there. But others do harder tricks. So Michelle has to take advantage of her special strengths - warmth, musicality, expression, attention to detail, clarity, moving an audience, and consistency. Then she has to get a program with a huge "wow" factor so that when she's done we have tears in our eyes because of the sheer beauty.

    So I am hoping that she doesn't throw out her special talents in the CoP quest. Those talents should serve her well in the componenet marks. But as we've seen, if the jumps, the levels of the elements, etc. aren't there, no amount of "presentation" will make those compnenet scores higher.

    Except for the part about noticing her jumps being much higher and more secure this year, which I didnt, I totally agree with everything you said. Even though I am an Irina fan first and foremost if Michelle could conceivably do this she would have a great chance to win the Olympic Gold next year. You should be her coach but unfortunately you are not. I believe the problem with her current coach, although he is an excellent coach, is he has a god-like self image of her(I get this from his quotes and interviews I read)and is likely to tell her there
    was a plot against her when she does not do as well as hoped.

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    Seems to me it is IRINA's coaches who tell her she should have won every competition she lost. That's why Irina is still grumbling about not having won Worlds 2001 (which she lost on a 7/2 split---not even close) and still claims she was "robbed" of 'her' gold medal in 2002 even though her FS was slow, flawed, and far from brilliant. Irina even said in an interview that she won gold at Euros 2005 with a bad FS to make up for the medals she should have won that were denied her.

    Kwan has never made excuses for her losses and has never claimed that she should have won a competition that she lost. We all have to remember the GPF in 2001 when Irina won with an incredibly sloppy 4-triple performance over Kwan's 6 triples and Hughes's 7 triples. There was not a word from Kwan about being robbed.

    Kwan knows perfectly well when she skates well and when she doesn't. Nothing her coach could possibly say to her would cloud her judgment. Kwan KNEW she lost a medal at Worlds 2005 in the QR. If she had tacked on one more double jump somewhere, she would have been on the podium.

  11. #11
    Kwan's vodka dealer VIETgrlTerifa's Avatar
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    I don't understand why people think Carolina is way ahead of Kwan under COP considering Kwan beat her in the SP and LP where both Carolina was clean in the SP with a 3/3.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slutskayafan21
    Except for the part about noticing her jumps being much higher and more secure this year, which I didnt, I totally agree with everything you said. Even though I am an Irina fan first and foremost if Michelle could conceivably do this she would have a great chance to win the Olympic Gold next year. You should be her coach but unfortunately you are not. I believe the problem with her current coach, although he is an excellent coach, is he has a god-like self image of her(I get this from his quotes and interviews I read)and is likely to tell her there
    was a plot against her when she does not do as well as hoped.



    Is michell "I want to do things my way" attitude that's hurting her, not the coach. Don't you think the man wants a better coreo transitions and harder jump combos in her programs? What can you do when your skater has the last word instead of You the coach. Wasn't that her problem with Frank?

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    Quote Originally Posted by VIETgrlTerifa
    I don't understand why people think Carolina is way ahead of Kwan under COP considering Kwan beat her in the SP and LP where both Carolina was clean in the SP with a 3/3.
    Kwan beat Kostner in the SP by .4 of a point. Kwan beat Kostner in the LP by .69 of a point. In Moscow, they were neck and neck in the SP and LP.

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    If Kwan approaches the olympic season with more careful planning, I think she is capable of a medal. She needs to do more GP events preferably outside of USA. Add more transition and choreography in her programs. Time to rehire Lori to give her some programs that emphasize her strengths. I agree that Kostner and Kwan are practically tie with each other under COP when both skate their best.

    Quote Originally Posted by curious
    Wasn't that her problem with Frank?
    Where did you get this information?? When Kwan was with Frank it was very much a 2 way street. Since when did Frank ever said Kwan wanted things her way?? Confused Kwan and Frank with Cohen and Nicks?? maybe??
    Last edited by gezando; 05-01-2005 at 01:18 PM.

  15. #15
    Kwan's vodka dealer VIETgrlTerifa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hockeyfan228
    Kwan beat Kostner in the SP by .4 of a point. Kwan beat Kostner in the LP by .69 of a point. In Moscow, they were neck and neck in the SP and LP.
    Yeah, but people think Kwan has so much work to do while Carolina is way ahead in terms of COP. That's the point I don't get.

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