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View Full Version : What does Caroline Zhang need to do to work her way back up to the podium?



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judgejudy27
03-19-2010, 09:29 PM
Why? Go back and read every criticism of Caroline in this thread. Slow speed, mule-kick, poor basics, look at all of them. Which of these criticisms were NOT true last season? She was slow, had a mule-kick, had poor basics. Yet she was bronze at Nationals and top American at 4CC and World Team Trophy. What changed?

What changed is the judges started to hammer her for her problems you speak of after patiently waiting for years of them to be fixed. That is the biggest change of all. She will no longer got the same scores she had received her whole career while having those issues without correcting them even if she stays upright. The judges have drawn the line. While that is happening the field is only improving around her both nationally and abroad.

For the record I am one of those who felt she was robbed of going to Worlds in 2009. The sad thing for her is if she had been sent there the way she was scored in early 2009 events the U.S probably would have gotten 3 spots. She probably would have been in much better sted in the USFSA and international judges eyes (especialy the USFSA) and even with all her issues her career would likely be in much better shape now. Alas as it is, it will take major changes if she is to ever even compete at a senior World Championships.

Anita18
03-19-2010, 09:41 PM
Don't know if it's true, but a few years ago someone posted who trained at the same rink with her that CZ was notoriously unmotivated when it came to practice. She just killed time on the ice. It was her mother that told her she better start actually skating during practice or else. But CZ was portrayed as someone who tried to get by with the least amount of work possible.

Don't know how true that was back then, or if it is still true today, but that's some background for you.
Well, many people try to get by with the least amount of work possible. :shuffle: Overtraining isn't good either. The thing is you have to train smart and efficiently, namely by working on the stuff you're bad at. That's the part she hasn't done.

Nomad
03-19-2010, 09:44 PM
judgejudy's post says it all as far I'm concerned. She's a lovely skater from the waist up, and her spins and spirals are impressive. But the rest of her skating...not so much.

judgejudy27
03-19-2010, 09:45 PM
^ That says it all as far I'm concerned. She's a lovely skater from the waist up, and her spins and spirals are impressive. But the rest of her skating...not so much.

Although the funny thing is that is how I often felt about Cohen. :lol: OK it would be unfair to compare Cohen to Zhang, her jump technique, edges, and speed were never THAT bad. Still I see Zhang as almost sort of a Cohen lite of the younger Cohen. Cohen did atleast develop wonderful musicality and choreography as the years went on (certainly not there in say 2002 though IMO).

2sk8
03-19-2010, 11:41 PM
My vote - rediscover her joy/love of skating, else she will never have the fortitude to correct all the other problems everyone has identified.

Polymer Bob
03-20-2010, 03:19 AM
What changed is the judges started to hammer her for her problems you speak of after patiently waiting for years of them to be fixed. That is the biggest change of all. She will no longer got the same scores she had received her whole career while having those issues without correcting them even if she stays upright. The judges have drawn the line.

I have read this opinion before, and I can see why some posters believe it. But I just don't buy it. All the ISU and USFSA judges held a secret meeting in a dimly lit, smoke-filled room and decided to get tough on Caroline? I cannot accept that.


For the record I am one of those who felt she was robbed of going to Worlds in 2009. The sad thing for her is if she had been sent there the way she was scored in early 2009 events the U.S probably would have gotten 3 spots.

Exactly! Why do so many feel she was robbed? Because she skated better last season. Compare video clips of last season against this season. You can see that Caroline skated more poorly this season than last, even with all the same flaws. Why did she skate worse this season? That is what we don't know.

IceKween
03-20-2010, 04:26 AM
I have read this opinion before, and I can see why some posters believe it. But I just don't buy it. All the ISU and USFSA judges held a secret meeting in a dimly lit, smoke-filled room and decided to get tough on Caroline? I cannot accept that.

No, I don't think that's what anyone is saying. Juniors is totally different from seniors. In juniors, CZ landed the jumps, had great flexibility and gorgeous spins. The speed, the wonky technique, etc were all there then but for a junior skater she was 'worthy'. Now three or four years later skating as a senior the judging panel is looking for something more than that. They didn't have to meet in a secret room to decide to dump her. I'm still in awe at those who didn't recognize Nagasu as the better skater when they went 1/2 at Nationals in juniors. It was so obvious IMO. Nothing is a given in skating, but Nagasu was where I'd put all my money on over Zhang. Zhang just didn't have the basics.



You can see that Caroline skated more poorly this season than last, even with all the same flaws. Why did she skate worse this season? That is what we don't know.

She looks bigger, maybe taller and heavier. And she's had to really amp up the donkey kick to get her off the ice, even if it is only a couple inches. And really, will you admit that she has looked miserable in her performances this season? There's no heart there, no fun. It's hard watching someone do something that they are clearly gifted at yet being so unhappy doing it.
What I'd like to know is what is the point of having a coach in the infant stages of a career when they allow such horrendous technique? If MamaZ is so in charge of things, why didn't she say "Uh, no! That looks horrible and l don't want my daughter having knee and hip replacements by 25. Coach, you need to do better at teaching her". Then again maybe she has. I'm not quite familiar with anyone other than Lu Chen that Mingzhu has coached, so maybe Mingzhu just lucked out with a gem first time out.

judgejudy27
03-20-2010, 04:37 AM
The interesting thing is back in Juniors though Zhang came back to beat Nagasu for the Junior Worlds title even though Nagasu skated cleanly there. Zhang got higher GOE on the jumps and higher PCS. Also by the points Nagasu wouldnt have won U.S Junior Nationals that year either even with her clean performances without the errors Zhang made.

briancoogaert
03-20-2010, 11:39 AM
The interesting thing is back in Juniors though Zhang came back to beat Nagasu for the Junior Worlds title even though Nagasu skated cleanly there. Zhang got higher GOE on the jumps and higher PCS. Also by the points Nagasu wouldnt have won U.S Junior Nationals that year either even with her clean performances without the errors Zhang made.
Caroline Zhang was considered as the next BIG thing, despite her very big flaws. I think judges gave her the marks they think she would deserve in the future. The problem is that she never improved her skating.
IMO, judging was her biggest problem. If she had the marks she deserved as a junior, she would have been forced to rework her technique at a young age (13 or 14 y.o.) ;)

Polymer Bob
03-21-2010, 02:10 PM
I'm still in awe at those who didn't recognize Nagasu as the better skater when they went 1/2 at Nationals in juniors. It was so obvious IMO. Nothing is a given in skating, but Nagasu was where I'd put all my money on over Zhang. Zhang just didn't have the basics.


Did you put all your money on Nagasu 2 months later at Junior Worlds? ........ or last year's Nationals? The fact is, both girls have had ups and downs.


Caroline Zhang was considered as the next BIG thing, despite her very big flaws. I think judges gave her the marks they think she would deserve in the future. The problem is that she never improved her skating.
IMO, judging was her biggest problem. If she had the marks she deserved as a junior, she would have been forced to rework her technique at a young age (13 or 14 y.o.) ;)

Caroline's biggest margin of victory came at her first international competition, the JPG Mexico in September 2006 where she won by 53.60 points. Her last event before that was Junior Nationals where she finished 8th.

The ISU judges in Mexico gave her higher scores than she deserved because of her fearsome reputation? :confused: :confused:

Sylvia
03-21-2010, 02:23 PM
What I'd like to know is what is the point of having a coach in the infant stages of a career when they allow such horrendous technique? If MamaZ is so in charge of things, why didn't she say "Uh, no! That looks horrible and l don't want my daughter having knee and hip replacements by 25. Coach, you need to do better at teaching her". Then again maybe she has. I'm not quite familiar with anyone other than Lu Chen that Mingzhu has coached, so maybe Mingzhu just lucked out with a gem first time out.

IMO, judging was her biggest problem. If she had the marks she deserved as a junior, she would have been forced to rework her technique at a young age (13 or 14 y.o.)
Coach Li is listed as having started coaching Zhang from 2005. I don't recall offhand if she was her coach at 2005 U.S. Nationals when she won the Novice pewter medal. I know Zhang had several coaches before Miss Li and, from what I've heard from my southern California sources, Zhang's flaws (lack of speed and power in her stroking, small jumps with questionable technique) were often overlooked under the 6.0 system due to her many strengths (flexibility, spins, lines, ability to compete well, not fall much, etc.). Since Zhang usually had excellent results in competition from a young age, she most likely had little reason or motivation to improve/change anything/push out of her comfort zone. It is my assumption that had U.S. judges had been tougher on her at the lower levels (Novice and below), she might have been forced to fix the flaws that are so evident today.

Polymer Bob
03-21-2010, 03:29 PM
Since Zhang usually had excellent results in competition from a young age, she most likely had little reason or motivation to improve/change anything/push out of her comfort zone. It is my assumption that had U.S. judges had been tougher on her at the lower levels (Novice and below), she might have been forced to fix the flaws that are so evident today.

There is an old adage ( I'm not sure if it's true. ) about boiling a frog. Supposedly, if you drop a frog in hot water, it will jump out. But if you put a frog in cool water and slowly turn up the heat, it will remain in the water until it dies. This may be what happened to Caroline. If you look at old video clips, her mule-kick is there, but it's not too bad. It seems to have slowly gotten worse over the years. Because it slowly got worse, her coaches may have overlooked it. They would have panicked if her mule-kick showed up overnight.

chipso1
03-21-2010, 04:16 PM
Caroline's biggest margin of victory came at her first international competition, the JPG Mexico in September 2006 where she won by 53.60 points. Her last event before that was Junior Nationals where she finished 8th.

The ISU judges in Mexico gave her higher scores than she deserved because of her fearsome reputation? :confused: :confused:

If you actually go back and look at the protocols from that event, you'll notice that her main competition wasn't all that fierce. None of the other top girls had the 3flip (which was the required jump in the SP that year). Also, judges weren't deducting for wrong edge take-offs in 2006-07. If they had been, Caroline would NOT have been getting +1s for her Lutz and Lutz combinations in both the SP and FS (and her flip would have likely gotten an "!" as well). Furthermore, in 06/07, the technical panel wasn't scrutinizing downgrades as much as they do today. Had that competition been judged under the current rules (which have hurt Zhang so much), she wouldn't be winning by over 50 points.

Sylvia
03-21-2010, 04:20 PM
Also, Rachael Flatt had to withdraw from the 2006 Mexico City JGP due to injury.

FWIW, Zhang's flutz and flawed picking technique was already being discussed at 2007 US Nationals -- see this Junior Ladies thread in the Archives: http://www.fsuniverse.net/forum/showthread.php?t=46746&page=7

RD
03-21-2010, 05:07 PM
Maybe those with access to her FB can mention if she's had any recent updates?