2019-20 U.S. Ladies Figure Skating

mrrice

Record Breaker
Joined
Jul 9, 2014
I love this whole post!

Personally, I already feel that this year the philosophy of patient, steady work shows beautifully in Starr's performances. And it's clear that she has invested in being an artist in the sport we all love so much. (1) Longevity, so that she can create a body of work (and so that we fans can enjoy her longer) and (2)progressing in expressiveness, as a performer ... those two values are more important to me than whether someone is seen as a so-called "gold medal contender" or whatever. And no one can predict ... those qualities of Starr, plus never quitting, could result in results that no one can predict now. History proves it: Ashley Wagner earned her longevity, owns a gorgeous, irreplaceable body of work, and grew as an artist and performer. Plus, she's still the only ladies' World Medalist that the US has, since Kwan/Cohen/Meissner era.

I think it will be interesting to see how Starr does now that she's a fulltime Senior. I've always enjoyed her skating but, I still see her in 4th position. Alysa, Mariah, and Bradie have the tech and performance skills to keep them ahead of Starr unless she makes some serious changes. The fact that she is older than Alysa makes me think her goal should be a podium finish which would be amazing.
 

skylark

Gazing at a Glorious Great Lakes sunset
Record Breaker
Joined
Aug 12, 2014
I think it will be interesting to see how Starr does now that she's a fulltime Senior. I've always enjoyed her skating but, I still see her in 4th position. Alysa, Mariah, and Bradie have the tech and performance skills to keep them ahead of Starr unless she makes some serious changes. The fact that she is older than Alysa makes me think her goal should be a podium finish which would be amazing.

My mind has been sticking on an idea, and you've given me a good opportunity, mrrice! So, every time I hear a Russian skater asked what their goal/goals are, whether they're single skaters or pairs, they say their only goal is to skate as well as they can. And if pressed, I've heard some say that they're not thinking of (that year's) Worlds, or Olympics. They say they're only focusing on performing as well as they can for the competition at hand.

It's not only the Russian skaters who respond to the question that way, but I notice many seem to have been taught to respond that way. Even though they might say every athlete wants to do what they see others doing, and even though there's a strong emphasis on winning, not just placing. I can't help thinking that the skaters I've heard say this are benefiting from the repetition in their own heads, and hearing the repetition from coaches as well, that they just want to skate their best. Another example: that's what Charlie White has said, that he always tried to think of doing what he could control, skating as well as he could, and letting the chips fall where they may.

Well, maybe it's just a personal choice. And maybe I relate more to the idea of "perform my best" than to set a goal and then be disappointed if I did well but didn't meet that specific goal. I remember hearing Gracie Gold say in an interview in late 2015 that she wanted to win Worlds 2016 in Boston, and that if she finished 4th she'd consider it a failure. That comment of hers has haunted me.

So, if anyone has thoughts? I'd be interested in hearing them.
 

macy

you should see her in a crown
Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2011
My mind has been sticking on an idea, and you've given me a good opportunity, mrrice! So, every time I hear a Russian skater asked what their goal/goals are, whether they're single skaters or pairs, they say their only goal is to skate as well as they can. And if pressed, I've heard some say that they're not thinking of (that year's) Worlds, or Olympics. They say they're only focusing on performing as well as they can for the competition at hand.

It's not only the Russian skaters who respond to the question that way, but I notice many seem to have been taught to respond that way. Even though they might say every athlete wants to do what they see others doing, and even though there's a strong emphasis on winning, not just placing. I can't help thinking that the skaters I've heard say this are benefiting from the repetition in their own heads, and hearing the repetition from coaches as well, that they just want to skate their best. Another example: that's what Charlie White has said, that he always tried to think of doing what he could control, skating as well as he could, and letting the chips fall where they may.

Well, maybe it's just a personal choice. And maybe I relate more to the idea of "perform my best" than to set a goal and then be disappointed if I did well but didn't meet that specific goal. I remember hearing Gracie Gold say in an interview in late 2015 that she wanted to win Worlds 2016 in Boston, and that if she finished 4th she'd consider it a failure. That comment of hers has haunted me.

So, if anyone has thoughts? I'd be interested in hearing them.

i have noticed this as well especially with Russian skaters. i think it puts things into a much more realistic and doable perspective than risking not meeting your goal of winning/placing, and considering it a failure.

it is much more productive to focus on what you can control than what you can't.

honestly i wish this would have understood this better as a competitor.
 

skylark

Gazing at a Glorious Great Lakes sunset
Record Breaker
Joined
Aug 12, 2014
i have noticed this as well especially with Russian skaters. i think it puts things into a much more realistic and doable perspective than risking not meeting your goal of winning/placing, and considering it a failure.

it is much more productive to focus on what you can control than what you can't.

honestly i wish this would have understood this better as a competitor.

As a figure skating competitor? Why do you think so many skaters do set a goal, then? Is it a style of coaching that says that's the best way to get results? I understand that it's good to have something to aim for. But I wonder if the damage to confidence makes it a risky proposition.

I'm so glad you answered and gave your perspective. :thank: I can relate to this in other aspects of life, but I've never been a figure skater.
 

macy

you should see her in a crown
Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2011
As a figure skating competitor? Why do you think so many skaters do set a goal, then? Is it a style of coaching that says that's the best way to get results? I understand that it's good to have something to aim for. But I wonder if the damage to confidence makes it a risky proposition.

I'm so glad you answered and gave your perspective. :thank: I can relate to this in other aspects of life, but I've never been a figure skater.

yes, as a figure skating competitor. i was never a skater that went anywhere but trying to think back it seems my coaches leaned more towards results based goals, obviously skating well being part of it. a lot of it was also my own inability to handle competition nerves and internal goals i'd set for myself for getting on the podium or trying to make a final round etc and it almost always backfired. i remember always being so nervous thinking about whether or not i would skate well (being a good competitor is part of it too, but that's a different topic). when you're a kid you always want to do your best but you have no idea if your goals are counterproductive and then you don't understand whats happening when you keep missing. i think it would have been really beneficial if someone would have drilled that what's important is worrying about what i can control into my head as a young skater (i started at 7) and not being so results oriented.
 

brightphoton

Medalist
Joined
Jan 23, 2009
Skating your best is a noble goal, but perhaps it's a luxury for people who are both skating their best *and* winning medals. It reminds me of Meagan Duhamel, who in 2016 proclaimed that this season, her goal was to "have fun." I suspect she and Eric Radford were feeling triumphant, unstoppable, a bit arrogant (?), as they had just won a second gold medal for pairs at the world championships. But at the 2017 Worlds, they placed 7th, with a fall, shaky landings on a few jumps, and out-of-sync spins. You could see the disappointment on their faces. But why should they be disappointed? After all, didn't they achieve their goal of having fun?

A few months later, Meagan and Eric fired their coach. She talked about their poor results and needing a change. She also talked about the concrete results that she wanted, and made it clear that 7th place was definitely not good enough.

"If we didn’t make these changes we’ll probably find ourselves in seventh place at the Olympics. By going ahead and making these changes, we’re giving ourselves a chance to improve and reach the podium," said Duhamel. "We might also end up seventh at the Olympics even though we’re making these changes, but it’s the risk we needed to take."

At the 2018 Olympics, they got a gold team medal for Canada and a bronze individual medal
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cgu2CCmCOcA
 

macy

you should see her in a crown
Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2011
Skating your best is a noble goal, but perhaps it's a luxury for people who are both skating their best *and* winning medals. It reminds me of Meagan Duhamel, who in 2016 proclaimed that this season, her goal was to "have fun." I suspect she and Eric Radford were feeling triumphant, unstoppable, a bit arrogant (?), as they had just won a second gold medal for pairs at the world championships. But at the 2017 Worlds, they placed 7th, with a fall, shaky landings on a few jumps, and out-of-sync spins. You could see the disappointment on their faces. But why should they be disappointed? After all, didn't they achieve their goal of having fun?

A few months later, Meagan and Eric fired their coach. She talked about their poor results and needing a change. She also talked about the concrete results that she wanted, and made it clear that 7th place was definitely not good enough.

"If we didn’t make these changes we’ll probably find ourselves in seventh place at the Olympics. By going ahead and making these changes, we’re giving ourselves a chance to improve and reach the podium," said Duhamel. "We might also end up seventh at the Olympics even though we’re making these changes, but it’s the risk we needed to take."

At the 2018 Olympics, they got a gold team medal for Canada and a bronze individual medal
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cgu2CCmCOcA

even though she might not have said it out right, "having fun" most likely meant skating their best and letting the chips fall where they may, whether that means a medal or not. not skating well is in no way shape or form fun.

there should be another thread on this stuff, like the mental-physical aspect of skating and what makes a strong competitor.
 

brightphoton

Medalist
Joined
Jan 23, 2009
even though she might not have said it out right, "having fun" most likely meant skating their best and letting the chips fall where they may, whether that means a medal or not. not skating well is in no way shape or form fun.

there should be another thread on this stuff, like the mental-physical aspect of skating and what makes a strong competitor.

Another thing that must've made a difference is that Duhamel and Radford are top skaters who always had a definite possibility of finishing on the podium. Mentally, someone like Sasha Cohen or Michelle Kwan missing out on gold is different than non-elite athlete skating their best and giving a good performance. If a normal skater had their results, I think they'd party for 3 months straight.
 

mrrice

Record Breaker
Joined
Jul 9, 2014
even though she might not have said it out right, "having fun" most likely meant skating their best and letting the chips fall where they may, whether that means a medal or not. not skating well is in no way shape or form fun.

there should be another thread on this stuff, like the mental-physical aspect of skating and what makes a strong competitor.

This is completely true. Wise words.
 

skylark

Gazing at a Glorious Great Lakes sunset
Record Breaker
Joined
Aug 12, 2014
Skating your best is a noble goal, but perhaps it's a luxury for people who are both skating their best *and* winning medals. It reminds me of Meagan Duhamel, who in 2016 proclaimed that this season, her goal was to "have fun." I suspect she and Eric Radford were feeling triumphant, unstoppable, a bit arrogant (?), as they had just won a second gold medal for pairs at the world championships. But at the 2017 Worlds, they placed 7th, with a fall, shaky landings on a few jumps, and out-of-sync spins. You could see the disappointment on their faces. But why should they be disappointed? After all, didn't they achieve their goal of having fun?

I highly doubt that it was fun for them to have that skate. They knew they were capable of doing better. So it comes back to the idea of having one's goal be to skate as well as they could. Maybe setting more specific goals works for some people and not for others. That's one of the reasons it's an interesting discussion to me. But in the US in the last 20 or 30 years, the conventional wisdom seems to have been that having a goal (not just in skating life, but in all life) is the only way to go, so I'm interested in exploring the idea. It's also why I've noticed so many Russian skaters saying they're only focused on skating their best performance possible and not looking to the results of the "end season" competitions, etc.

For instance (and this is taking it out of the FS world), actress Julia Roberts said once she never had a goal for her career and "I'm a seat-of-my-pants girl."
 

skylark

Gazing at a Glorious Great Lakes sunset
Record Breaker
Joined
Aug 12, 2014
yes, as a figure skating competitor. i was never a skater that went anywhere but trying to think back it seems my coaches leaned more towards results based goals, obviously skating well being part of it. a lot of it was also my own inability to handle competition nerves and internal goals i'd set for myself for getting on the podium or trying to make a final round etc and it almost always backfired. i remember always being so nervous thinking about whether or not i would skate well (being a good competitor is part of it too, but that's a different topic). when you're a kid you always want to do your best but you have no idea if your goals are counterproductive and then you don't understand whats happening when you keep missing. i think it would have been really beneficial if someone would have drilled that what's important is worrying about what i can control into my head as a young skater (i started at 7) and not being so results oriented.

Thanks for saying so eloquently what I was feeling and wondering about. :)
 

NanaPat

Record Breaker
Joined
Oct 25, 2014
Country
Canada
You guys do realize that Eric Radford was injured just before 2017 Worlds, don't you? It was a wonder he could skate at all.

They had to change one of their jumps to one they hadn't practiced in 3 months because Eric couldn't do a lutz at all.

https://www.cbc.ca/sports/olympics/figureskating/figure-skating-world-championships-pairs-1.4046310

As I recall, they didn't know exactly what was wrong. At one point Megan was contemplating what she would do if Eric was forced to retire. She thought about competing singles; she thought that in singles she would likely qualify for the Olympics but not make the cut for the long program.

So no, it's not fun to compete in excruciating pain and not knowing if you can even finish the program.
 

ladyjane

Medalist
Joined
Jun 26, 2012
Country
Netherlands
You guys do realize that Eric Radford was injured just before 2017 Worlds, don't you? It was a wonder he could skate at all.

They had to change one of their jumps to one they hadn't practiced in 3 months because Eric couldn't do a lutz at all.

https://www.cbc.ca/sports/olympics/figureskating/figure-skating-world-championships-pairs-1.4046310

As I recall, they didn't know exactly what was wrong. At one point Megan was contemplating what she would do if Eric was forced to retire. She thought about competing singles, she thought that in singles she would likely qualify for the Olympics but not make the cut for the long program.

So no, it's not fun to compete in excruciating pain and not knowing if you can even finish the program.

I remember that very well. I thought it was very courageous of them to skate at all.
 

brightphoton

Medalist
Joined
Jan 23, 2009
Yes, I knew they were injured. That was unfortunate, but only a compounding factor for them completely changing coach, goals, training in the following season.
 

skylark

Gazing at a Glorious Great Lakes sunset
Record Breaker
Joined
Aug 12, 2014
Gracie's interview with Scott Hamilton
https://youtu.be/AkzKgtvHRAE

I just listened to the whole interview, and what I love the most is how Gracie has this stream-of-consciousness thing going, which I love. Like talking in circles, and each time you revisit an arc, the meaning or comprehension grows. It's very cool ... and she's not overwhelmingly going "deep" with her thoughts, she keeps it light and about the subject. It's about her, but also not, if you know what I mean. Very refreshing.

My favorite parts were when she talked about (1) why Alex (Chicago) was such a good coach for her, and (2) about her and twin sister Carly.

At the end, she says thank you for letting her talk like she talks. Her friends know that whatever tangent she's on, there's four more tangents going off each one, and it's okay to jump in.

Altogether, I'm writing a five-star review here. :points:
 

macy

you should see her in a crown
Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2011
every time i see Gracie give an interview my respect for her just grows and grows. i love her personality and sarcastic humor.

she truly seems happy, and i'm so happy that she has been able to come this far as a competitor but more importantly as a person. she is such an amazing role model.
 

AshWagsFan

Edges for days.
Final Flight
Joined
Oct 14, 2017
Country
United-States
Does anyone know of Karen Chen is going to compete again? I think she was considering retirement after this season, but I’m not sure
 
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