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aftershocks
05-01-2011, 10:34 PM
Personally, I have never hated on Alissa, (and my comments in this thread are not intended to hate on Rachael). I have admired Alissa's talent, and I have felt sorry for her disappointments and how much she has struggled with her nerves and technique on her jumps. I also admire the way Alissa has fought so hard to overcome her challenges, and how many people in skating have supported Alissa not only because of her amazing talent, but because they care about her as a person. And now having read my own words, perhaps the same can be said about Rachael, minus the amazing skating talent.

No, not a Tara/Michelle redux. Please spare us. No one said anything about Tara vs. Michelle, despite their names being mentioned in the same sentence. Browsing through posts is not the same as reading them.

ETA:
Sorry Genevieve, I reread your post, so I get you are making an analogy based on what the poster you are citing unfortunately brought to the discussion.

bek
05-01-2011, 10:37 PM
No way was the 2009 hatefest on Czisny confined to just Flatt fans. It was people's raw emotions coming out, especially since Olympic spots were on the line, and a few thought she shouldn't have even been on that world team in the first place.


Actually I think most of the anger directed at Czisny's placement was directly because people felt she Wuzgifted at Nationals. In fact I think most of the anger was at the USFSA judges rather than Alissa herself because most people suspected Alissa would give the performance she gave. You can't blame the athlete for performing how they normally perform. You blame the people who put the athlete there in the first place, when they could have easily choosen others (The USFSA judges could have easily put Flatt and Zhang ahead of Alissa based on Alissa's long.)




I think any US lady who underperforms internationally is going to be subjected to the same treatment until the almighty 3 spots have been secured again.


Then why weren't US fans screaming at Rachael and Mirai last year. They were relatively muted towards both girls and both girls did underperform. I think the issue in 2009 and 2011 was the same thing. The results of Nationals were controversial in and of themselves. In both cases the controversial member of the Team was the one who undeperformed too, which only made it worse.

In the case of Rachael if it had just been a poor skate I think people would have been a bit more muted. Because it is what it is and she's normally reliable. But her team giving " the whole she's soo injured excuse" I think justafiably has people saying why didn't you withdraw.

And why shouldn't we be sad because we have some talented young skaters. And one of Rachael, Gao, Mirai, Alissa, Agnes COULD have made the team, and now won't. The fact is we had several girls who could have done better than Rachael did at this state.

aftershocks
05-01-2011, 10:51 PM
^^ ITA with most of your above comments, bek.

IceAlisa
05-01-2011, 10:56 PM
Can't speak for others, but my own displeasure began earlier in the season at GPF with Rachael's rather poor performance and culminated with her inflated PCS marks at the Nationals. I made no secret of my feelings that Rachael wuzgifted by the judges and deliberately elevated above Mirai.

That Rachael failed to do well and deliver the 3 spots for the US ladies is just icing on the cake of otherwise mediocre season for Rachael. Perhaps her injury goes all the way back to the beginning of the season?

RD
05-01-2011, 11:16 PM
Actually I think most of the anger directed at Czisny's placement was directly because people felt she Wuzgifted at Nationals. In fact I think most of the anger was at the USFSA judges rather than Alissa herself because most people suspected Alissa would give the performance she gave. You can't blame the athlete for performing how they normally perform. You blame the people who put the athlete there in the first place, when they could have easily choosen others (The USFSA judges could have easily put Flatt and Zhang ahead of Alissa based on Alissa's long.)

Right, it really all started with Czisny's controversial win. But I really don't think the vast majority of the people meant to get personal about the situation. They were just venting frustration. I know I was. I see the same thing happening here. With the exception of maybe a post or two, I saw no real personal attacks directed at Rachel. Unflattering stuff? Sure. But there's a line to be drawn between that and all-out flaming.








In the case of Rachael if it had just been a poor skate I think people would have been a bit more muted. Because it is what it is and she's normally reliable. But her team giving " the whole she's soo injured excuse" I think justafiably has people saying why didn't you withdraw.

I'd argue if she didn't say anything, the speculation of hiding an injury would have come up anyway. I mean, she already tried to do it at the GPF...many people would have been suspicious IMHO.


And why shouldn't we be sad because we have some talented young skaters. And one of Rachael, Gao, Mirai, Alissa, Agnes COULD have made the team, and now won't. The fact is we had several girls who could have done better than Rachael did at this state.

At least there's still another 2 years to Sochi. If the next generation is truly talented, they would emerge at next year's Nationals, just like the current generation did in 2008, lead Team USA to 2012 worlds, and place well enough to get 3 spots back in which an extra skater would get invaluable experience in 2013 at the highest level (not to mention shared pressure of maintaining 3 spots for 2014). Perhaps Nagasu will be on that 2012 team, who knows.

IceAlisa
05-01-2011, 11:18 PM
And one more thing: about the comparisons with Czisny. I fully admit that I thought it was and should have been the end of Alissa's career. Who could have imagined that Yuka and Jason are such magicians who would produce a transformed and confident Alissa? But one has to consider that all Alissa lacked was consistent jumps. Every other aspect of her skating was superb. With improved consistency Alissa performed very well on the world and national stages.

It is the inverse with Rachael. The only thing in her skating were the consistent jumps. She had nothing else. With the jumps gone she has literally nothing to fall back on. And the bright side of the CoP is that it rewards other aspects of skating.

So while turning Alissa into a medal contender was one gigantic task, the main hurdle was psychological and perhaps tweaking some technical aspects of her jumps. Not so with Rachael--there were just too many aspects of her skating that needed a lifetime of work. I hope she goes on to Stanford and becomes a neurosurgeon or something along these lines--she certainly has the brain power and the drive. But it's time to hang'em up for good.

OrioleBeagle
05-01-2011, 11:25 PM
Isn't it Kathy Casey's job to make sure the skaters are fit for competition? Wasn't she a coach at the Broadmore Skating Club before she got her job with the USFSA?

newbatgirl
05-01-2011, 11:46 PM
Even Michelle went through the fire, but she was not prematurely awarded a National championship, nor was she trotted out to the television media as a junior, nor did she have the expectation of filling the skate boots of a recently departed legend. She had her family, a great coach, and her own expectations that fueled her. Different story, different circumstances.

Michelle came up on the heels of Tonya/Nancy, the artificial height of skating's popularity in the U.S. Skating on TV still had a measurable audience and did not have to compete with Internet, etc.

There is a certain desperation to how skating is marketed in the US now. Rivalries are built up, exploited, or even made up to create drama. Skaters have to be a mix of the ordinary girl/guy next door and a superhero who never makes a mistake, gets sick, or becomes injured. And, of course, if they can possibly manage it, skaters need to be amazingly good looking so the rest of the media cares about them.

edonice
05-02-2011, 12:05 AM
And one more thing: about the comparisons with Czisny. I fully admit that I thought it was and should have been the end of Alissa's career. Who could have imagined that Yuka and Jason are such magicians who would produce a transformed and confident Alissa? But one has to consider that all Alissa lacked was consistent jumps. Every other aspect of her skating was superb. With improved consistency Alissa performed very well on the world and national stages.

It is the inverse with Rachael. The only thing in her skating were the consistent jumps. She had nothing else. With the jumps gone she has literally nothing to fall back on. And the bright side of the CoP is that it rewards other aspects of skating.

So while turning Alissa into a medal contender was one gigantic task, the main hurdle was psychological and perhaps tweaking some technical aspects of her jumps. Not so with Rachael--there were just too many aspects of her skating that needed a lifetime of work. I hope she goes on to Stanford and becomes a neurosurgeon or something along these lines--she certainly has the brain power and the drive. But it's time to hang'em up for good.

I agree that Alissa's incredible performances this year have been a surprise, and a great one! I remember in an interview with Yuka Sato, Yuka said that she encouraged Alissa to live on her own, away from her family, to help build her independence and self-confidence. It's so clear in Alissa's skating now that her beautiful skating and newfound strength is coming from WITHIN her.

One of the most striking things about Rachael's skating this year is that I never really got the feeling that it was Rachael skating so much as what she had been told to do. Her team talked constantly about how the judges wanted to see her hair shorter, lighter, they wanted her to have a different short program, they wanted to see her light and perky instead of classical. But the result is that on the ice she never really looked connected to her skating.

To me, her injury is just another part of that disconnection. She never seemed to make a single move on the ice because SHE felt like doing it, but because she'd been told that was what the judges wanted. Based on her statements and performances this year, it makes sense that she'd play down her injury and should skate even if she wasn't feeling it, even if she was in too much pain to skate well. That also meant that, consistent with what she's been doing all season, she wasn't able to skate with any real joy, feeling, or beauty.

I'm also pretty unsettled that her injury, after the short program, was described as just 'bothering me a little bit'. It was clear even in her short program that she was in a great deal of pain, not just a little bother. It seems with Rachael and her team that we're always getting a glossy and covered up picture of what's happening with her. Say what you will about Mirai, but she's one of her very harshest critics. I much prefer the honesty of the other skaters to the packaged quotes we get from Rachael and her coaches. I wish the USFS would support (and even insist upon) honesty, too.

PDilemma
05-02-2011, 12:13 AM
One of the most striking things about Rachael's skating this year is that I never really got the feeling that it was Rachael skating so much as what she had been told to do. Her team talked constantly about how the judges wanted to see her hair shorter, lighter, they wanted her to have a different short program, they wanted to see her light and perky instead of classical. But the result is that on the ice she never really looked connected to her skating.

To me, her injury is just another part of that disconnection. She never seemed to make a single move on the ice because SHE felt like doing it, but because she'd been told that was what the judges wanted. Based on her statements and performances this year, it makes sense that she'd play down her injury and should skate even if she wasn't feeling it, even if she was in too much pain to skate well. That also meant that, consistent with what she's been doing all season, she wasn't able to skate with any real joy, feeling, or beauty.
.

I have a feeling that Rachael is one of those very lovely girls who has always done what is expected of her. She strikes me as the sort who was probably so compliant in the classroom that she'd ask if she could use a tissue (those kids always irritated me just a tiny bit deep down inside and never visibly--like any teacher is going to deny a kid a tissue for a runny nose!). She was expected to skate at Worlds, so she did.

Trouble is that somewhere in their early 20s, a lot of those kinds of kids suddenly get really tired of that and want to do their own thing and don't know what it is.

IceAlisa
05-02-2011, 12:15 AM
That also meant that, consistent with what she's been doing all season, she wasn't able to skate with any real joy, feeling, or beauty.

To be honest, I haven't seen Rachael skate with any beauty since she was 12.

victoriaheidi
05-02-2011, 12:27 AM
I agree that Alissa's incredible performances this year have been a surprise, and a great one! I remember in an interview with Yuka Sato, Yuka said that she encouraged Alissa to live on her own, away from her family, to help build her independence and self-confidence. It's so clear in Alissa's skating now that her beautiful skating and newfound strength is coming from WITHIN her.

I agree! Alissa is doing this for Alissa-not her sponsors, not her family, but for her own personal desire. And it adds a certain freedom to her skating. Plus, I sound crazy saying this, but Alissa has such a pretty smile, and I love seeing her use it!


One of the most striking things about Rachael's skating this year is that I never really got the feeling that it was Rachael skating so much as what she had been told to do. Her team talked constantly about how the judges wanted to see her hair shorter, lighter, they wanted her to have a different short program, they wanted to see her light and perky instead of classical. But the result is that on the ice she never really looked connected to her skating.

To me, her injury is just another part of that disconnection. She never seemed to make a single move on the ice because SHE felt like doing it, but because she'd been told that was what the judges wanted. Based on her statements and performances this year, it makes sense that she'd play down her injury and should skate even if she wasn't feeling it, even if she was in too much pain to skate well. That also meant that, consistent with what she's been doing all season, she wasn't able to skate with any real joy, feeling, or beauty.

I agree with this, too. Although, honestly, every time I hear that the judges wanted her to be "light" and "perky," I think about how off Tom Z/Lori Nichol were on this one. When I think "light and perky," I think gentle, upbeat...I think of light classical music, not the Betty Boop routine.

Let's face it: Rachael got the Betty Boop thing because her short program from last year actually worked. This year, they changed her short program when the problem all along has been that "Slaughter" FS. Don't get me wrong, I love her EoE program, but I saw nothing wrong with the original short.

Back to Rachael's disconnect: yes, I agree. It's as though some guru gave her a checklist and said, "if you follow this, you will win," but it wasn't stuff she really felt like following.


I'm also pretty unsettled that her injury, after the short program, was described as just 'bothering me a little bit'. It was clear even in her short program that she was in a great deal of pain, not just a little bother. It seems with Rachael and her team that we're always getting a glossy and covered up picture of what's happening with her. Say what you will about Mirai, but she's one of her very harshest critics. I much prefer the honesty of the other skaters to the packaged quotes we get from Rachael and her coaches. I wish the USFS would support (and even insist upon) honesty, too.

I don't like complainers, but I don't like people who feel that trudging through everything, no matter what, will garner respect.

And, even though Mirai says things that aren't necessarily perfect, I still love her! I think she's adorable when she gets up to speak.

It's kind of like these kids at my high school. Some sound like pre-written press releases when they get up in front of the school to speak at assemblies or whatever, and they never get the crowd very energized. The ones who get everyone excited are the ones who get up there and lay it all out without sounding scripted or memorized (and, though this isn't true with Mirai and Rachael, I tend to tune out the scripted ones-I wonder if they even mean what they're saying!).

I have said this many times now, but I think that, if Rachael wants to continue, she has to continue the right way:
1. It has to be her choice, not the fed's, not Tom's, not Lori's, not her parents', hers.
2. She has to dump Tom and Lori. She just does.
3. She needs to find a coach who wants to work with her on the rest of her elements and a choreographer who can help her choose music that makes her feel free on the ice (although, IMO, she should keep the short 1 more season).
4. She needs to work on her freedom on the ice-not just artistry, but her feeling of sheer enjoyment when she's skating.
5. She needs to not push herself!
My mom always jokes that I love Rachael because Rachael took AP classes while simultaneously pursuing something major in a completely different arena (bad pun), which is what I do. I think that one of the many lessons I've had to learn is not to push myself too hard. It's unfortunate when you want to push yourself and no one is stopping you ( la Rachael this weekend), but if you can learn your limits, you can help yourself so much.

Rachael this weekend reminds me of Payson Keeler on Make It or Break It. I know it's a teen show, so I doubt anyone here watches it, but this is pure Payson during the Pinewood match-her coach made her do a very difficult vault she'd never done before just so her team could win, and Payson can't set limits for herself, so she did it and failed.

newbatgirl
05-02-2011, 12:32 AM
To be honest, I haven't seen Rachael skate with any beauty since she was 12.

Ouch!

While beauty is subjective, I have found that Rachael's exhibition programs can be quite lovely, perhaps because they have more of her and less of Tom Z. in them?

RD
05-02-2011, 12:46 AM
I'm also pretty unsettled that her injury, after the short program, was described as just 'bothering me a little bit'. It was clear even in her short program that she was in a great deal of pain, not just a little bother. It seems with Rachael and her team that we're always getting a glossy and covered up picture of what's happening with her. Say what you will about Mirai, but she's one of her very harshest critics. I much prefer the honesty of the other skaters to the packaged quotes we get from Rachael and her coaches. I wish the USFS would support (and even insist upon) honesty, too.

SAME HERE!

edonice
05-02-2011, 12:53 AM
Ouch!

While beauty is subjective, I have found that Rachael's exhibition programs can be quite lovely, perhaps because they have more of her and less of Tom Z. in them?

I completely agree. I saw Rachael skate at this year's Improv-Ice and couldn't believe my eyes. She was connecting to the music and not only looked like she was having fun, but was fun to watch. So she's capable of lovely, connected, joyful skating, I just don't think it's been encouraged properly in her.