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Thread: Olys: Will USA medal at all?

  1. #106
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    I don't know how much competing in the US helps Michelle. She couldn't stand up in SLC when that was all she needed to do to win.

    I don't think it matters where the Olympics are being held, Michelle just can't take the pressure. Maybe this year will be different because she's coming in as an underdog, but I think the other girls have passed her by.

  2. #107
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Ah, baloney!

    To me (as Doggygirl hinted in a different context) it's like climbing the corporate ladder. When you are at level one, your goal is to try to impress other people.

    Then you get to level two. You are secure in your reputation and station.

    Finally you make it to level three. Now other people have to try to impress you.

    I can't speak for Michelle, but to me, I think she has achieved level two. There just has to be a little hidden piece of her mind that whispers, I have more world championships than this whole judging panel put together. Yeah, yeah, I fell on my flip. Do I need nine monkeys waving the rule book at me to tell me that?

    JMO

    Mathman

  3. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz
    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
    (TIC)
    Perhaps. But MK's "big big" mistakes still got her all those medals (as many Kwan fans like to point out often) while Cohen's "little" mistakes keep her out of the game time and time again .

    (in all seriousness)
    I will admit that I found it somewhat refreshing not to see Kwan's face on the world podium. (Kwan fans, don't take this personally- I don't intend to slight her here.) But something tells me that Kwan wasn't really committed or motivated (and why should she be, she's won five already) to win, and gave it only a half-hearted effort. Even with a new scoring system she could have easily gone all out. For that, she deserved what she got. And she didn't seem all that disappointed to me afterwards...

    Many people thought she would retire because of this half-hearted effort that she was giving (and I will give her credit for being able to win Nationals, even with little competition through these 3 years, and Worlds in 03) and didn't think that she would (or could) give the Olympics another honest try. Nevertheless, she committed to them. Now, will she win? It depends on what she wants out of the experience, which only she knows (none of us do, even though some of us would like to think we know) It could be just to represent her country one last time and enjoy the experience. Or, it could be to go for it all a third time. I have to honestly say that if she is just looking to have a good time, then I say she's actually more of a threat (think about throwing caution to the wind) than if she comes in with a game plan to win. She may not be #1 any more but she's still up there enough to pull off an upset.

    The GPs will tell, but only very little. (How many times have you seen a skater (say Cohen) dominate the GP series but is very little of a factor come worlds?) One thing will tell the outcome of the Olympics, and that is the Olympics.

  4. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by ragsy
    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
    This is another factor in play. Irina was able to dominate last season but can she do it again? The odds are in her favor because she seems to know the scoring system very well and can maximize her score even if the performance doesn't measure up. Nobody else has this advantage. The closest one is Cohen and that's only because she's a so-called "talented skater" with "pretty positions". Judges' eyes get the better of them and then they mark her high.

    ITA with your last sentence. My thoughts exactly- can she do it a second time? As I said, the odds are in her favor but it could easily turn around if she has health and/or motivation issues, which can very well happen.

  5. #110
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    First of all, I just want to thank everybody for keeping this thread mature! That rocks!

    Obviously Kwan is the underdog, and obviously others have "bigger tricks" and "higher jumps" and more bielmans, but I wouldn't write her off just yet. I agree that if she can go in to Torino feeling relaxed and like she has nothing to lose, then she's most likely to nail it. If she gets tense and uptight and makes a mistake or two, then many ladies can pass her by.

  6. #111
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    Even though I predicted Irina on the medal stand, I'm hoping that the judges will push the less established skaters ahead of these "old dogs".

    I don't expect to see Michelle on the podium.
    My ideal podium: (what I'd like to see, not a prediction)
    Miki Ando
    Carolina Kostner
    Emily Hughes or Sasha Cohen

    As much as I like Sasha Cohen's skating, I just don't think she has that special something that makes her a champion. At first I thought Robin Wagner was nuts about Sasha not training hard enough (because I know that Sasha's body didn't come out of a Crackerjack box), but now I think that Robin has something there. I think Sasha trains how she wants to train and not necessarily what's best to win.

  7. #112
    Hopeless fan Doggygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipso1
    First of all, I just want to thank everybody for keeping this thread mature! That rocks!

    Obviously Kwan is the underdog, and obviously others have "bigger tricks" and "higher jumps" and more bielmans, but I wouldn't write her off just yet. I agree that if she can go in to Torino feeling relaxed and like she has nothing to lose, then she's most likely to nail it. If she gets tense and uptight and makes a mistake or two, then many ladies can pass her by.
    The only prediction I'm pretty sure of is that this SHOULD shape up to be one heck of an exciting season especially for the ladies and the men!!

    DG

  8. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by ragsy
    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


    She has achieved alot,but she wants that oly gold medal as much or more than Kwan,that's what keeps her motivated. She has plenty of difficulty in her programs,so the only thing she needs to take care of is her health

  9. #114
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    The problem is Irina has a very serious chronic illness that saps her strength and energy. Skating at home for Worlds '05 may have given her that extra 'edge' to get her through the competition with flying colors, but she will not be skating at home for the Olympics. Her FS at Torino (Europeans '05) was a disaster, and at the Olympics, she will be facing much tougher competition than Poykio and Liashenko.

  10. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by soogar
    As much as I like Sasha Cohen's skating, I just don't think she has that special something that makes her a champion. At first I thought Robin Wagner was nuts about Sasha not training hard enough (because I know that Sasha's body didn't come out of a Crackerjack box), but now I think that Robin has something there. I think Sasha trains how she wants to train and not necessarily what's best to win.
    Possibly, but at the same time I also think it doesn't have to do with the way she trains. Maybe she just doesn't have that extra bit of determination that a champion has. In other words, she is mentally prepared, but still can't handle the pressure as well as a "clutch" player would. (Notice how she always makes mistakes at the big ones?)

    Being able to do it is one thing. I'm sure she can. But being able to do it in the clutch is another. I DON'T think she can do that. And for that reason, I see no reason why she can (or should) win any major competitions. That is, unless everyone is worse.

  11. #116
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Red Dog - Your pet phrase is 'handling the pressure' Yet you refuse to name the skater(s) who can handle the pressure. Does that put the pressure on you to name the skater without pressure?

    Joe

  12. #117
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz
    Red Dog - Your pet phrase is 'handling the pressure' Yet you refuse to name the skater(s) who can handle the pressure. Does that put the pressure on you to name the skater without pressure?

    Joe
    From the three years I've seen skating, these are the big ones that I can come up with:

    2002- (Olympics) Hughes came through in the clutch and gave it her all. She put the pressure on others and rightfully won.

    2004- (Nationals) Kwan came through in the clutch after being 2nd in the short to Cohen. While Cohen opened the door for her, she still have to skate and give it her all.

    2004- (Worlds) Arakawa broke through and shocked everybody with the freeskate of her life. Once again, she came through in the clutch to beat a tentative Cohen.

    2005- (Worlds) Amid LOTS of pressure (being in her hometown, having the lead) Irina came through big time in the clutch and gave the performance of her life. Good for her.

    These are the major ones. There may be others I forgot to list, but these are all skaters that have been able to handle the pressure at least once.

  13. #118
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    I don't know about your picks Red Dog. I wouldn't say that Sarah and Shizuka skated clutch performances. While Sarah had always been a consistent skater, she wasn't skating for the gold medal. She was probably (in her mind) skating for a bronze or silver medal. Shizuka wasn't the favorite to win in Dortmund. All she needed to do was skate. This year she was the favorite and she didn't like the pressure at all and in several interviews said how she wish she didn't win in Dortmund.

    My pressure picks:
    Katarina Witt (all time leader)
    Tara Lipinski (won as the World Champion going into the Olympics)
    Oksana Baiul (regardless of whether you think she deserved it or not, she was the favorite going into the games, injured before the long program and skated the best she could and fought for her program. She wanted that title.)
    Irina at this year's worlds.
    Michelle at World competitions and Nationals, yet the pressure gets to her at the Olympics.

  14. #119
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    That's right, I forgot Tara in 1998. That was definitely a clutch performance.

    While I respect your thoughts, I do think that Hughes and Arakawa's performances were clutch, and this is why I think so:

    Yes, Hughes was in 4th place, and may have not had the pressure that some of these other ladies have had. But you have to keep in mind that this is still the Olympics, and she had a shot at a medal. I would say that is pressure. She had that opportunity to walk away with a medal, and she could have melted under the pressure and turned in a so-so performance, but she said to heck with it and went all out. That's the kind of guts Kwan and co. need to adopt if they are serious about winning the Olympics. If they mess up, so what- at least they gave it their best shot. Even then, they messed up ANYWAY even with the conservative approach. It's just not working anymore. For Kwan's sake I actually wished Cohen put up a little more competition so that MK could rise to the occasion and gain some confidence for the OLYs.

    As for Arakawa- she led her qualifying group, I believe. I also believe she was 2nd to Cohen after the short. Now, Arakawa had a perfect shot at gold if Cohen were to flub (which we know she does) and she could just knock this one out of the park. SO she rose to the occasion, delivered it, and put the pressure on Cohen, who couldn't handle it. IMO, that's what champions are made of. I would say Arakawa came though in the clutch, for sure. Maybe she didn't have mountain heaps of pressure like some of the other names you mentioned but it was still a clutch shot, IMO.

  15. #120
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    yet the pressure gets to [Kwan] at the Olympics.
    Actually, I'd say it got to her at Nationals, too- but due to the lack of competition she was still able to pull it off. Say she performed like that at the 06 Olympics. I'm sure someone would have blown the cover off of that (un)inspired performance.

    JMO though.

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