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Thread: Olys: Will USA medal at all?

  1. #91
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    Olys: Will USA medal at all?

    "As for the women, I expect to see either Cohen or Kwan - or perhaps both - win medals, but I do not expect either of them to win the gold medal. Irina Slutskaya is the favorite, not just because she's the defending World champion, but the judges love her. She skated a sub-par, slopped long program at SLC and nearly won the gold medal Cohen might take herself out of medal contention with mistakes, and Kwan might not have the technical content to challenge for a medal. "

    I'm perplexed by the continued perception that Irina is unbeatable and other posters (not necessarily you, SkateFan4Life) continually giving skaters such as Shiz, Fumie, Miki, Carolina, Joannie Rochette, even Kimmie Meissner and Emily Hughes, the benefit of the doubt that they could pull off some huge upset, but not giving MK and Sasha the same benefit of the doubt that they could win. It's always, "Sasha's not going to be able to pull off a clean program." "MK doesn't have the technical prowess to compete." At some point, Sasha will skate cleanly (or clean enough to win). And if anyone can up her technical content enough to be competitive, it will be MK. I firmly believe she is one of the smartest competitors around and will have a competitive program next season.

    As for Irina, I'm sorry, but I can't yet jump on the bandwagon that she is going to be the same skater this year that she was last year. Yes, she won everything she entered last year, but she did not always skate particularly well. She was certainly beatable at Europeans, but her main competition doesn't come from Europe. A reasonably clean program by MK, Sasha, Shiz or Fumie would very likely have beaten her there.

    The competitions when Irina skated her best (i.e., reasonably clean with completed 3/3's) happened to occur in Moscow (COR and Worlds). No one knows how much she benefitted by not having to travel at either competition. She was not only in her home country, but actually in her home city. Certainly she was able to train under her usual schedule right up until the last minute. She didn't have to deal with jet lag, unfamiliar food, strange hotel beds or noises in the night, etc. For all we know, she could have been sleeping in her own bed at night and not even staying in a hotel. Not having to travel, (especially with her medical condition) could have been a huge advantage for her. We saw how travel and skating at altitude affected her at Europeans in Tornio. Who's to say whether the altitude will not affect her again at the Olympics?

    She also had the home crowd in her corner at Worlds. In addition to proving (to herself or others) that she could compete even with her illness, the excitement of having the first Worlds in Moscow in over 100 years was certainly motivation for her, as was the possible sweep of gold medals by Russia.

    I'm not denying that she skated a spectacular long program at Worlds and won fair and square. But no one other than Irina really knows how much of a toll last season took on her and if she is going to be able to reach that same level of motivation this year. She hit a real high last season -- she proved that she could compete. She won Worlds at home (which I'm sure means more than anything to her). Is it reasonable to assume she will be able to reach that same high next season without the same motivational factors pushing her? I think we need to reserve judgment until we see her compete through the GP to see what kind of condition she really is in.

    Cheers,

    Ragsy

  2. #92
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    ITA, Ragsy I think Kwan fans in particular are laying low at the moment, not wanting to send any vibes out into the universe that might bounce back and pierce our hearts.

    We will have more to go on after Campbell's, Skate America and especially the Cup of China.

    Mathman

  3. #93
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Ragsy - I think fans perceive Irina as the top skater at this point in time. It is based on the Worlds, the 2 GPs, and the GPF. It was only Euros that some doubt entered the picture. No other female skater gave such a winning season as Irina did. And why not continue it? We will see.

    No one is writing off anyone else but it won't be easy. Irina is a CoP specialists and its the points that win in this game. She's got em.

    Joe

  4. #94
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    MM - Yeah. You would lose against Tim and so would I. But hypothetically too, if it were Michael skating well, and Tim was not at his best, do we go back to the better skater on paper or to the best that night? Given there is only one spot left in the Nats for going to the Olys. I'm not talking about a Federation decision but a judge's decision. (Not like Jenny going and not 3rd place Kimmie).

    Joe

  5. #95
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    Ragsy: you made some great points. When you asked, though,
    "Is it reasonable to assume she will be able to reach that same high next season without the same motivational factors pushing her?", I think that the answer is likely to be "no". Torino is not her home town, and, she probably won't have the backing of the audience (who will favor the home-country girl). I disagree, though, that "we need to reserve judgment until we see her compete through the GP to see what kind of condition she really is in" because Irina's medical condition, her mon's health, or both, could change overnight.

  6. #96
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    attyfan - Irina will not get the blast that Carolina will but she will certainly get the European crowd roars. We have to allow for some judges being influenced by the roar of the crowd; we have to allow for some judges who are just prejudiced; we have to allow for judges who are in awe of young contestants; we have to allow for some judges being inept; and we have to understand their will be more than one Russian judge in the mix from whatever State he is listed under. (He could even be from the USA.) If it is a close race, it will be a Russian decision, imo.

    The GPs will show who among the contestants are competitive. The Olymics should pick the 'best that night' but I am not at all sure it will.

    Joe

  7. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by ragsy
    "As for the women, I expect to see either Cohen or Kwan - or perhaps both - win medals, but I do not expect either of them to win the gold medal. Irina Slutskaya is the favorite, not just because she's the defending World champion, but the judges love her. She skated a sub-par, slopped long program at SLC and nearly won the gold medal Cohen might take herself out of medal contention with mistakes, and Kwan might not have the technical content to challenge for a medal. "

    I'm perplexed by the continued perception that Irina is unbeatable and other posters (not necessarily you, SkateFan4Life) continually giving skaters such as Shiz, Fumie, Miki, Carolina, Joannie Rochette, even Kimmie Meissner and Emily Hughes, the benefit of the doubt that they could pull off some huge upset, but not giving MK and Sasha the same benefit of the doubt that they could win. It's always, "Sasha's not going to be able to pull off a clean program." "MK doesn't have the technical prowess to compete." At some point, Sasha will skate cleanly (or clean enough to win). And if anyone can up her technical content enough to be competitive, it will be MK. I firmly believe she is one of the smartest competitors around and will have a competitive program next season.

    As for Irina, I'm sorry, but I can't yet jump on the bandwagon that she is going to be the same skater this year that she was last year. Yes, she won everything she entered last year, but she did not always skate particularly well. She was certainly beatable at Europeans, but her main competition doesn't come from Europe. A reasonably clean program by MK, Sasha, Shiz or Fumie would very likely have beaten her there.

    The competitions when Irina skated her best (i.e., reasonably clean with completed 3/3's) happened to occur in Moscow (COR and Worlds). No one knows how much she benefitted by not having to travel at either competition. She was not only in her home country, but actually in her home city. Certainly she was able to train under her usual schedule right up until the last minute. She didn't have to deal with jet lag, unfamiliar food, strange hotel beds or noises in the night, etc. For all we know, she could have been sleeping in her own bed at night and not even staying in a hotel. Not having to travel, (especially with her medical condition) could have been a huge advantage for her. We saw how travel and skating at altitude affected her at Europeans in Tornio. Who's to say whether the altitude will not affect her again at the Olympics?

    She also had the home crowd in her corner at Worlds. In addition to proving (to herself or others) that she could compete even with her illness, the excitement of having the first Worlds in Moscow in over 100 years was certainly motivation for her, as was the possible sweep of gold medals by Russia.

    I'm not denying that she skated a spectacular long program at Worlds and won fair and square. But no one other than Irina really knows how much of a toll last season took on her and if she is going to be able to reach that same level of motivation this year. She hit a real high last season -- she proved that she could compete. She won Worlds at home (which I'm sure means more than anything to her). Is it reasonable to assume she will be able to reach that same high next season without the same motivational factors pushing her? I think we need to reserve judgment until we see her compete through the GP to see what kind of condition she really is in.

    Cheers,

    Ragsy


    Didn't michell beneffited from competiting at home in 2003 Worlds? Has michell skated a FULL SEASON in the past three or four years? Michell is a bigger question mark(has alot to prove to the judges and fans)this season than Irina. We know what Irina can do sick or not(she is not afraid to compete outside her country)but we have no clue about michell's skating,or whether she is going to compete in the GP. We'll see

  8. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by ragsy
    "As for the women, I expect to see either Cohen or Kwan - or perhaps both - win medals, but I do not expect either of them to win the gold medal. Irina Slutskaya is the favorite, not just because she's the defending World champion, but the judges love her. She skated a sub-par, slopped long program at SLC and nearly won the gold medal Cohen might take herself out of medal contention with mistakes, and Kwan might not have the technical content to challenge for a medal. "

    I'm perplexed by the continued perception that Irina is unbeatable and other posters (not necessarily you, SkateFan4Life) continually giving skaters such as Shiz, Fumie, Miki, Carolina, Joannie Rochette, even Kimmie Meissner and Emily Hughes, the benefit of the doubt that they could pull off some huge upset, but not giving MK and Sasha the same benefit of the doubt that they could win. It's always, "Sasha's not going to be able to pull off a clean program." "MK doesn't have the technical prowess to compete." At some point, Sasha will skate cleanly (or clean enough to win). And if anyone can up her technical content enough to be competitive, it will be MK. I firmly believe she is one of the smartest competitors around and will have a competitive program next season.

    As for Irina, I'm sorry, but I can't yet jump on the bandwagon that she is going to be the same skater this year that she was last year. Yes, she won everything she entered last year, but she did not always skate particularly well. She was certainly beatable at Europeans, but her main competition doesn't come from Europe. A reasonably clean program by MK, Sasha, Shiz or Fumie would very likely have beaten her there.

    The competitions when Irina skated her best (i.e., reasonably clean with completed 3/3's) happened to occur in Moscow (COR and Worlds). No one knows how much she benefitted by not having to travel at either competition. She was not only in her home country, but actually in her home city. Certainly she was able to train under her usual schedule right up until the last minute. She didn't have to deal with jet lag, unfamiliar food, strange hotel beds or noises in the night, etc. For all we know, she could have been sleeping in her own bed at night and not even staying in a hotel. Not having to travel, (especially with her medical condition) could have been a huge advantage for her. We saw how travel and skating at altitude affected her at Europeans in Tornio. Who's to say whether the altitude will not affect her again at the Olympics?

    She also had the home crowd in her corner at Worlds. In addition to proving (to herself or others) that she could compete even with her illness, the excitement of having the first Worlds in Moscow in over 100 years was certainly motivation for her, as was the possible sweep of gold medals by Russia.

    I'm not denying that she skated a spectacular long program at Worlds and won fair and square. But no one other than Irina really knows how much of a toll last season took on her and if she is going to be able to reach that same level of motivation this year. She hit a real high last season -- she proved that she could compete. She won Worlds at home (which I'm sure means more than anything to her). Is it reasonable to assume she will be able to reach that same high next season without the same motivational factors pushing her? I think we need to reserve judgment until we see her compete through the GP to see what kind of condition she really is in.

    Cheers,

    Ragsy

    You bring up some really good points. That said, I do think that, since Irina would be still in Europe, she would get SOME enthusiastic applause.

    About MK and SC getting more slack: MK has an uphill battle to fight right now, and SC is fairly predictable (she'll make at least one or two small mistakes). However, the other skaters aren't quite so predictable. That's why I think they are more likely to pull off an upset.

  9. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by curious
    Didn't michell beneffited from competiting at home in 2003 Worlds? Has michell skated a FULL SEASON in the past three or four years? Michell is a bigger question mark(has alot to prove to the judges and fans)this season than Irina. We know what Irina can do sick or not(she is not afraid to compete outside her country)but we have no clue about michell's skating,or whether she is going to compete in the GP. We'll see
    Without skating a full season, Michelle has won two World medals, which is more than most skaters have done even with a full GP. Furthermore, the GPs that Michelle has skipped included a GPF in Colorado as well as SA and SC -- leaving the US isn't that big a problem (especially since, before the ISU issued its threatening letter, Kwan could have done the GP and skip the GPF). Michelle, more than any other skater, could easily could have retired (as a matter of fact, there were a lot of people predicting she would do just that before Moscow). If Michelle skips the GP, it is because something is wrong (whether or not she discloses the details) or because she wants something out of this Olys besides a medal -- but IMO, her guts are not wanting.

  10. #100
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    Some amateur armchair quarterbacking....

    When it comes to MK, I admire her skating, and all of her accomplishments over the years - which span a competitive career that has been very lasting. There is no doubt that her accomplishments will stand in the record books for years, regardless of the outcome of any particular competitions next season, including the Olympics.

    I personally like evaluating competitive strategy (heck, I like doing that in the Corporate world as well, but that's not at issue here). So my following observations have nothing to do with MK on a personal level (I've never met her in person, but would probably enjoy that experience if I had the chance). This is strictly strategic observation.

    In my eyes, there are a couple of things that I think hurt MK in the recent competitive seasons:

    1) Relying too much on reputation and too much of what MK wants to put on the ice, as opposed to what the judges want to see, and that the current rules require.

    2) Relying too much on home ice environment. (please note, I did NOT say home ice advantage)

    On point 1) - I sort of shook my head when MK was interviewed during World's this year, and stated that "getting used to COP" was some sort of issue. COP / NJS has been around now for two seasons of international competition, so that just doesn't make sense to me for someone as highly competitive as MK claims to be.

    On point 2) - MK has a very well deserved, incredible American / North American fan base. I personally admire the fact that MK seems to feed on that *energy* - not fall apart over it. (which is a ??? with regard to Carolina in Turino) That is something that many, many skaters over the years probably couldn't do. But since she seems to thrive on that audience, what is the opposite? What happens when she skates on foreign ice where she doesn't get that level of audience feedback? I HAVE to think for a performer / competitor, that audience reaction makes a difference pro or con - feeds you or makes you fall apart. Since MK seems to thrive effectively on the "pro" side of the coin, what happens when she takes the ice to a more neutral reaction? One of the reasons I hope MK does the *full* GP this year is to test her programs in a *Non Love Fest* environment. To this armchair quarterback, that seems more important to me than "getting feedback on COP" which I never really bought in the first place.

    So, given this long explanation, what it MK's competitive record over the last 3 seasons 1) in the US, 2) in North America and 3) outside North America?

    While we're at it, I wouldn't mind discussing this same POV for others such as Sasha (same criteria) Irina (Russia, Euros which I might equate sort of to NA for MK/SA) and Other International) etc. That might give us some interesting statistics to discuss since it's still the off season.

    Maybe I have a future as a bookie, since I don't tend to get emotional about this stuff.... Or maybe I'm just still a rookie!! (that would make me feel really really good at my age!)

    DG

  11. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doggygirl
    ... So, given this long explanation, what it MK's competitive record over the last 3 seasons 1) in the US, 2) in North America and 3) outside North America?

    While we're at it, I wouldn't mind discussing this same POV for others such as Sasha (same criteria) Irina (Russia, Euros which I might equate sort of to NA for MK/SA) and Other International) etc. That might give us some interesting statistics to discuss since it's still the off season. ... DG
    As best I can tell, over the past three years, Michelle has skated outside the US only twice -- Dortmund and Moscow. At her US events, though, she has won 5 out of 5 in '02/'03; 2 out of 5 in '03/'04 (with a silver at a cheesefest and 2 bronzes, one at Worlds and one at a cheesefest); and 3 out of 5 in '04/'05 (2 cheesefests and Nats; she got a silver at one cheesefest and came in 4th at Worlds). Irina's record in the US in '02/'03 is (I think) the last cheesefest; she missed Worlds because her mom was ill; and I don't think she had other events in the US. In '03/'04, she did Worlds in Dortmund and one cheesefest; that was the year she was sick. In '04/'05, she was undefeated everywhere -- including a cheesefest in the US and two events in China. I don't know about Sasha's record.

  12. #102
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    As I read these posts, I can't help but get the feeling that we all (both proKwan and antiKwan) want her to do the GPs. This has become an MK thread.

    IMO, Cheesefests serve a small purpose of allowing the competitors to try out their new routine to their new music with their new pretty dress and hopefully the boots and skartes do not present a problem. They are fun to watch, but I can not for the life of me see them as an auger to the Olympics.

    On the other hand, I do see the GPs as the principal competitions to making an intelligent guestimate of the Olympic results. It's not a question of who wins. It is for the descerning eye who can see the potential for leading up to the podium of the Olympics.

    As for Michelle, after 14 years of medals, she finally missed the podium much to Red Dog's delight. MK makes big big mistakes compared to Sasha's little mistakes. But RD may be correct. Only the GPs will tell.

    Joe

  13. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doggygirl
    ...too much of what MK wants to put on the ice, as opposed to what the judges want to see, and that the current rules require.
    I think you hit the nail on the head. (Rock on, Shelly!) I think we need to consider that Michelle is now a grown woman still competing in a teenager's sport.

    Granted, there are many professional athletes who manage to extend their adolescence by playing ball at thirty. Still, in Michelle's case I think there is a little part of her, maybe an unconscious part, that says to the ISU, I'm going to do my thing and have fun doing it. Certainly she seemed more interested last year in making something of her conception of Bolero than in garnering CoP points. (She wasn't all that sucessful at either, but that's another topic.)

    She was toying with moving on after the 2002 season, but various circumstances pulled her into Skate America (which she won), then Nationals (which she won), then Worlds. I'm sure no one was more surprised than Michelle when she came up with the gold medal at 2003 Worlds after doing everything she could to scale back and ease herself out of the competitive season that year.

    So here she is looking at another Olympics. What a hoot it must be for her!!

    Mathman

  14. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz
    Ragsy - I think fans perceive Irina as the top skater at this point in time. It is based on the Worlds, the 2 GPs, and the GPF. It was only Euros that some doubt entered the picture. No other female skater gave such a winning season as Irina did. And why not continue it? We will see.

    No one is writing off anyone else but it won't be easy. Irina is a CoP specialists and its the points that win in this game. She's got em.

    Joe
    Joe, if Irina were totally healthy, I would completely agree with your point (although I do agree that she is a CoP specialist). What I am still hesitating about is whether she will be able to soar even higher next season than she did last season. She achieved everything she wanted last season. I would assume her schedule would be exhausting to a completely healthy person. In Irina's case, looking ahead to another long season where she will try to match or exceed last season's success might require more motivation than she can muster up.

    Ragsy

  15. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by curious
    Didn't michell beneffited from competiting at home in 2003 Worlds? Has michell skated a FULL SEASON in the past three or four years? Michell is a bigger question mark(has alot to prove to the judges and fans)this season than Irina. We know what Irina can do sick or not(she is not afraid to compete outside her country)but we have no clue about michell's skating,or whether she is going to compete in the GP. We'll see

    Michelle certainly benefitted from competing at home at Worlds 2003, but there is a big difference between competing in your home country and competing in your home city. Worlds 2003 was in Washington D.C., more than 3,000 miles from Michelle's home. She still had to cross three time zones to get there. My point with Irina competing in Moscow was simply that she was, at most, crossing the city to get to the competition site. She may have been staying in a hotel, but she also may have been sleeping at home at night. I know I certainly get a better night's sleep in my own bed than I do in a hotel. She also would have had much better control over her diet and her training schedule. Even those little things could have had a very big impact on both her health and the outcome of the competition.

    Ragsy

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