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Thread: Who's peaking?

  1. #1
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Who's peaking?

    (This post is dedicated to Red Dog, who always hopes that something interesting will happen.)

    Does it seem like most of the supposed "favorites" for Torino already hit their stride some time in the past, and are now in a "hold on to what I got" mode? I wonder if this will leave the door open for the rising star who peaks at just the right moment.

    Irina had the best year of her life last season. Does she have anything left?

    Michelle is struggling to regain her one-time position at the pinnacle of the sport.

    Sasha's best shot was 2004. Now she is holding steady, at best.

    A year ago the Japanese ladies were the future of the sport. This year they all slid off the world podium

    Plushenko battles injury and faces genuine competition for the first time since Yagudin retired.

    Joubert is very good. But is he getting any better?

    Did Lambiel and Buttle shoot their wads at worlds?

    There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Which shooting star will hit his/her apex at Torino? My prediction: Weir and Kostner.

    Mathman

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    fun thread

    Mathman...I think you are right about Weir, but I would throw Lambiel and Buttle into the mix (the former can only get better competition wise baring new injury, the later may just ride the tide of confidence built this year on his already strong and amazing choreography base). I admit to not getting Kostner earlier....but the more I read about her, and having reviewed her worlds performances, I must agree she threatens to be the one.

    Irina, I think, remains a threat, but we will have to see how she is physically next year, particularly her stamina. Kwan is being discussed elsewhere, so I'll leave her out for now. Fumie is too good for words, but doesn't seem to conquer competition nerves/problems, so I don't see her as a particular threat, but someone to AT LEAST be aware of/watch for sure; Shiz...amazing, but unpredictable at best, another must watch but perhaps not as threatening as I would have predicted last year. I think a clean Sasha is always a threat....it just gets less and less threatening with each season (i felt the same way about Sandhu too), but you never know. If Bebe makes the national podium, I think she could threaten too; with Kimmie, I'll have to see what she is doing in the Fall.

    Plushy IS more threatened than ever, and his own injuries makes this a very precarious (i believe) year for him, but I wouldn't count him out yet; I just wouldn't say the gold is simply his to loose. And the sheer depth of the men's field right now is so exciting...i think there are easily 10-12 men who are really exciting to watch.

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    I hope Mao learns a bunch in the 05 - 06 GP series, peakis at Japanese nationals and takes the gold. I hope she peaks at 07 worlds in Japan and takes the gold

  4. #4
    Lovin' the Kween ... Now and Forever
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    Mathman, it's hard to tell yet who's peaking. For the ladies, I don't remember in recent times, an Olympics where any one of so many could win the gold.
    Irina has to be considered the frontrunner, but ... her health issues could play a huge part next season. Plus, as you asked, could last season have been the best she has to show us?
    Sasha ... IF she ever skates a completely clean competition, I think she will win. I'm not convinced that will ever happen though. If I'm wrong, good for her.
    Michelle ... can she come back and combine jumps and packed programs? I think she can.To what degree of success I am not sure. Time will tell. It would make one heck of a story though, if she throws her best out in Torino.
    Shizuka/Miki ... tough season last year, but they cannot be counted out to come back strong.
    The 3rd American lady ... Kimmie, Emily, Bebe?
    I am not convinced yet about Kimmie. Emily has that Hughes confidence, so watch out. Bebe has made a great move to Frank, IMO. I like her chances.
    Finally ... Carolina. I think she had the most productive pre-Olympic year season. Landing on the podium at Worlds made her a legitimate OGM prospect. This was HUGE, IMO.

    For the men, I still think Plushy has a strong likelihood to win gold. All the rest are question marks to me. Weir, Joubert, Lysacek, Lambiel, Buttle, Goebel. I have really no clue which of these will make a move. Except maybe Evan. If I had to pick a dark horse, he would be it. The judges seem to like him, and he, like Carolina, made a case for himself this season.

    I don't remember ever looking forward to a season as I am for this upcoming one. So many possibilites. Should make for exciting times and a busy internet!

  5. #5
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    I think I have given up on predicting the ladies LOL it always seems when I think I have it figured out, someone comes in and delivers. I agree Kwan could contend, if she competes on the GP this season and gets a good grip on CoP. Cohen is always a threat, but she is too unpredictable to count on. I think Irina is on a roll and could take it, and I consider Ando to be a top contender too. Shiz, well time will tell if she has it back or not. Kimmie is not able to go so can't consider her, is Emily eligible?
    Men,
    Groin injuries are tough to come back full from, especially in such a short time, but we can never count Plush out. I agree I don't feel it is his to lose though. Now that Weir has his quad and is getting more consistent with it, he has a terrific shot. I honestly think Joubert has a great chance. We have seen Morosov's brilliance in Olympic programs already, and after Worlds I think Joubert has something to prove to himself.

  6. #6
    Lovin' the Kween ... Now and Forever
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    Katya, both Kimmie and Emily are eligible to go to the Olympics.

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    Contenders

    I will just speak to the women. Irina is the absolute favorite hands down if she maintains her conditioning and if she stays on the steroids. If she comes off the steroids alot will change for her pain wise. Then I would put Carolina, Michelle (if she can motivate herself), Sasha and Shizuka in the running. I don't see anyone else being able to pull it off. I wish I could say Fumie because I reall love her skating but I don't see it happening. Ando needs to improve alot before I see her as a real contender. But let's face it anything can happen and has.

  8. #8
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Much too early for predictions. I have to see the GPs to see if there is more to peak.

    Since I already know their technical capabilities, I'm going to be looking for:

    Irina's health problems

    Carolina's confidence

    Sasha's steadiness

    Shizuka's confidence

    Fumie's determination

    Joannie's lesson learned

    Susanna's continued upward bound

    The new Chinese girl on the block

    Evgeni's health problems

    Brian's return to the fold

    Stephane's proof that he is top 3

    Buttle's proof that it was no fluke

    Li's getting judges appreciation

    Lysacek - proof that it was no fluke

    Weir - without injuries

    Othmund's making a move upward

    Sandhu, Goebel, Weiss, Griazev, Honda,Stefan - to change my mind, maybe.

    All of the above will be seen in their respective Nationals and more importantly the GPs. Whether or not they win or podium is not so important as to how well they skate under international pressure.

    There is only one prize in figure skating and that is Olympic Gold.

    Joe

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    I agree with Michelle having peaked, but that happened a couple years ago. I think Shizuka's peak was in 2004, but she could prove me wrong cause she still rocks. I don't think Irina has peaked because the last couple seasons she's been mostly healthy she's kicked ***, and this was just another one of those, so she may still have it in her. And I don't think Sasha's peaked yet. Personally, I think the Olympic title in ladies is between Sasha and Irina.

    For men, I think Plush is slowly deteriorating, but he has oodles of determination that could help him. Lambiel hasn't peaked - dude is very consistent and all around talented and could keep going like that for a few more years. With Jeff, it's hard to tell. This was undoubtedly his best season yet, however, prior to the food poisoning last season, that was an outstanding season for him, his best ever, and was looking to keep flying high. So who knows what next year brings (and if he can handle the pressure the Canadian media will bombard him with - he's already in newspapers modelling the Olympic uniform!). Weir hasn't peaked so he could be a challenger, however, I'm thinking it may be Sandhu. Emanuel has most definitely not hit his peak yet, and has boundless talent, if he'd just show it. I've been saying for the past bit that he'll hit it this season - making it a Liz Manley season for him, having the skates of his life at the Olympics, and surprising many. I mean, dude is definitely going to skate his *** off in Torino, since it'll be the 3rd olympics he's qualified for out of Canadians, but the first he actually gets to compete at (in 1998, even though he came 2nd at Canadians, they sent Jeff Langdon instead, cause Eman had no experience, and then Eman was injured for SLC).
    So I'm thinking the Mens event will be between Plush, Stephane and Emanuel, but throw Joubert, Jeff and Johnny in the mix.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz
    The new Chinese girl on the block



    Joe
    Who is this ?

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    Some skaters have peaked, but are still in contention for a medal. Plushenko’s level of skating dropped off after Yagudin turned pro, but he is one of the only skaters who can compete for gold without a quad. In the QR at worlds, he did not attempt the quad and was only 1 point behind Lambiel who performed 2 quads. I wonder how worlds might have been different if Plushenko had not attempted a quad in the SP and performed a 3z3t for his combination. I imagine he would have been a close 2nd to Lambiel going into the final and would not have withdrawn. There is no way to know how his presence in the LP would have affected the other competitors’ performances, but with Lambiel’s popped jumps, I think Plushenko could have won another world title without ever attempting a quad in the competition.

  12. #12
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    (This post is dedicated to Red Dog, who always hopes that something interesting will happen.)


    Does it seem like most of the supposed "favorites" for Torino already hit their stride some time in the past, and are now in a "hold on to what I got" mode? I wonder if this will leave the door open for the rising star who peaks at just the right moment.
    Now, for me it is too early to tell who has peaked and who has not, but this is a great question nonetheless. I would love to see someone unexpected win it all. I think Kwan has definitely had her day. Slutskaya, don't know. 2005 worlds may have been it. Then again, it may have not. Cohen- big ?.

    Now, what do I wish? The following is my 100% honest opinion, so be prepared for some bias.

    MK- Now that we know Kwan will go to the Olympics, give one last valiant effort and make it worth while. It probably won't be enough for her to win though, unless miracles happen. And they HAVE happened many times before. I wouldn't necessarily want her to win, but she should be happy with the result, then call it a career. If it's enough to win, fine. Just don't expect to see me on the boards after that, waiting out the Kwan gush fest.

    Kostner- wouldn't mind her winning, but boy she'd better deserve it. I don't count on a fair result this one being in Italy.

    Irina- hope she doesn't win. Sorry, but I just don't like her enough. If I have my way, Moscow '05 would be the performance of her life.

    If there is any unfair result, no more skating for me. This is it.

    Others- Let's see what could happen. Any one wins, I'm good. (Well, except for a couple of skaters that shall go unnamed...hehe)

  13. #13
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    I think people think too much about the road ahead, especially the Olympics. As always, anything can happen to these athletes along the way or during the Olympics. It's really too early to speculate anything. If each skater looks after his/her health - that is the main thing - the rest will fall into place.

    Training is a very complex and rigorous routine and each of these skaters know what lies ahead. One hopes they did not all "peak" at this years worlds and will now suffer burn out or become yesterdays news. They all know the routine and are prepared for the road ahead.

  14. #14
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    Barring injury, I think that Lambiel and Kostner are on their way up: after long layoffs due to injury, and, in Lambiel's case, surgery, each did consistently well across three rounds of competition for the first time, and the result was a first senior Worlds medal. I don't think that Cohen peaked in 2004; I would have expected her to do very well in 2005, had she not been injured this year. Her confidence, though, seems to be her biggest hurdle.

    Plushenko's absolute best eligible performances may be behind him -- and this is not for certain, depending on how he heals -- but Plushenko with a double hernia was still very close to Lambiel's best in the qualis, where Lambiel had a great performance. Like with Plushenko, I think with Slutskaya, it's about her health.

    Weir's injury in 2005 puts him at a disadvantage for not having performed the quad in competition, but, on the other hand, if he's healthy, he should have between four and seven competitions in 2005 to try to land it before the Olympics, depending on the status of the cheezefests and whether he does 4C's. He was very close to the podium in Moscow, despite his injuries and the three substandard skates (for him) that ensued.

    I'm not sure about where Buttle's confidence lies. He knows he won silver partly due to others' injuries and meltdowns. Lysacek's confidence must be extremely high after Worlds. If his hip heals, and if the judges don't apply a different standard to his "sophomore" season and sink him, like they did Ando, I think he'll do very well this year. I'm disappointed that Ando regressed back to her Firebird program for Worlds, instead of working through her superior guitar concerto program. Who knows what her coaching change will bring. But I suspect she may be the most resilient of all of the top Ladies, and if Olympic pressure hits the usual suspects, she will be well-positioned to capitalize on it.

    I think the issue for Kwan and Arakawa is whether they can regain the intensity and hunger for this year's competitions. Arakawa has said that she had been planning to retire after Dortmund and after showing Ando the ropes at senior competition, and that she was pressured into competiting again this year. She admitted to not having had her heart in it, but said she is hungry again after this year's failure at Worlds. Kwan's interviews have seemed a bit lah-di-dah for several years, and maybe she still has it in her belly to do her best, but I wouldn't guess that from hearing her speak. I'm hearing that skating is her job. (I don't envy her having to be "on" and under scrutiny all the time. It must get old.)

    Reports from shows and practices in Russia say that Klimkin is well on the way toward healing. I don't know where he is with his quads, but he's said to have all of his triples back, and also that he's looking good.

    I have a feeling that Sebestyen and Rochette are going to need more time than between now and Torino to get their confidence back and to regain the respect of the judges.

  15. #15
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eeyora
    Who is this ?
    The Chinese lady to watch this year, imo, is Yan Liu . She certainly won't peak this upcoming season (much too young) but I think she'll make a statement. a very lyrical style budding! Check out the GP that she is entered in.

    Joe

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