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View Full Version : U.S. Figure Skating reprimands, fines Rachael Flatt



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aftershocks
06-16-2011, 08:48 PM
@edonice. ITA, and thanks for your thoughtful comments.


... Mirai can’t be called unreliable. Mirai started off last season with an injury serious enough to put her in a cast for four weeks. She was going to have a tough season no matter what she did. I think she’s also struggling because her own self-doubt (in interviews and on the ice) has given others an excuse to doubt her. No American skater has more potential than Mirai, and there are few things more terrifying than not living up to your potential. Also, fourth place at the Olympics, and 1st place in the Worlds short program (after a marathon season) is incredible.

As for Frank ‘whining’ about Rachael’s injury, his job is to advocate strongly for his skater. He’s not whining, he’s being a great coach, the kind you want in your corner. He’s already shown that he won’t support Mirai when she’s not skating up to his expectations. That means that when she is skating up to his standards, you can trust Frank when he says she’s the best skater for the job.

I’m conflicted over how Rachael and Tom Z will take the ‘reprimand’. Rachael rides heavily on being ‘the good kid’, the one who balances school and skating and is a good egg all around. Being publicly slapped on the wrist for lying to her federation is probably completely new for her. I doubt she’s had so much as a detention in her life. Same with Tom Z. He’s tried to represent himself as a coach who tells skaters, ‘work hard and you’ll succeed’, a completely Hallmark ethic. But unlike Frank, he’s encouraged badly injured skaters to compete, and all but threw Rachael under the bus when she skated poorly at Worlds. His actions, and the USFSA’s anger at them, are in conflict with how he tries to present himself.

There’s a chance that both Rachael and Tom Z will just be pissed at the federation for being unfair, and go about what they were doing before. Rachael doesn’t have a great record for addressing the parts of her skating that really need work – speed, flexibility, grace. And I don’t think Tom Z listens to anyone.

But Rachael is a good person, I really think she is. She clearly loves to skate, and this season she looked somewhat directionless. I hope she takes this as a sign that she should listen to her instincts about what’s right for her, and what’s right to do. And I hope that Tom Z gets the message that he needs to listen to his skaters more closely and respect their injuries as well as their successes.

A.H.Black
06-16-2011, 08:49 PM
I always wondered where Rachel's USFSA "moniter" was in this whole situation. As I understand it, high level skaters have someone from the USFSA (a judge or some other official) in their area that keeps an eye on them. They are aware of things like whether the athlete is training, if there are any glaring problems in programs, if there are any big physical changes in the skater etc. Usually this monitor has a relationship with the skater and the coach such that the monitor is aware if there is an injury. I wondered why no one in the USFSA knew about Rachel's injury. Now it appears that the injury was kept quiet - at least. With Rachel training in Colorado - in the USFSA's back yard, so to speak, I still wonder why no one knew - or if no one knew.

Iceman
06-16-2011, 08:58 PM
So all the years Michelle skated with a much more serious injury, she reported that injury to USFSA. If she did, what does that say about the USFSA that they would let her risk becoming even more injured? If Rachel had skated well, the USFSA and Phil and Frank wouldn't have given a toot if she had skated with a broken back. Such hypocrisy!!!

Cal Girl
06-16-2011, 08:58 PM
Wouldn't a US Passport, which Nagasu presumably would have had for years as she's competed internationally for quite some time, be all she needed? She wouldn't need a Visa, right?

ETA: If a Visa was needed, I would hope that USFSA processed paperwork for all the alternates as soon as they knew the new Worlds location.

I don't think alternates get Visa's just in case they get called to skate. Do they? Obtaining a Visa takes time.

If Rachael did not have the knowledge about the seriousness of her injury till right before she left and she was still able to do her jumps priot to leaving, I think if I were in her shoes, I would have competed too. But, I wouldn't have been forthcoming with the injury immediately after I skated.

I wonder if Mirai could have even been granted a Visa in time. I can recall when AP McDonough couldn't compete because her Visa to Russia wasn't filed in time. . . .

JamieElena
06-16-2011, 09:06 PM
I don't think alternates get Visa's just in case they get called to skate. Do they? Obtaining a Visa takes time.
.

Why wouldn't they have gotten everything just in case once they knew the new location of Worlds? After all, there were at least 3 weeks of practice time on very slippery ice in which any of World Team members could have had an injury that could take them out of Worlds. It would seem to me that if you were doing the paperwork for the Team members, it wouldn't be all that much extra effort to add at least the 1st alternate, just in case, so why not do it?

A.H.Black
06-16-2011, 09:06 PM
So all the years Michelle skated with a much more serious injury, she reported that injury to USFSA. If she did, what does that say about the USFSA that they would let her risk becoming even more injured? If Rachel had skated well, the USFSA and Phil and Frank wouldn't have given a toot if she had skated with a broken back. Such hypocrisy!!!

You're right that if Rachel had skated well the USFSA would not have cared. Neither would Phil Hersh have cared. More to the interest of the USFSA, Rachel's performance lost the US a spot at next year's Worlds.

Michelle skated well enough to not lose spots on World Teams for the US - injury or no injury.

Hypocrisy? I think I would call it self-interest.

DarrellH
06-16-2011, 09:09 PM
In the past, haven't they made the injured skater prove that they were able to compete? I seem to remember hearing that before this.

Debbie S
06-16-2011, 09:16 PM
In the past, haven't they made the injured skater prove that they were able to compete? I seem to remember hearing that before this.I am pretty sure that only applied to skaters who received medical/injury byes to Worlds or the Olys, most recently B/A in 2009. And before that was Michelle Kwan in 2006, Meno/Sand in 98, Nancy Kerrigan in 94, etc. MK did not have to be monitored in 98 b/c she competed/qualified at Nats. Nicole Bobek was also injured in 98, but competed at Nats so was never monitored. I remember reading there was talk going around during the few weeks leading up to the Olys but I don't believe she was monitored b/c it was not required. I wonder if there was a competition readiness agreement back then. Perhaps situations like that prompted the current disclosure requirement.

skateboy
06-16-2011, 09:31 PM
What about this: say Rachael/Tom had reported the injury. They go to Worlds. At the same time, Mirai and Frank go to Worlds "just in case." Could Rachael have just skated anyway, thinking she was good to go? Or would someone else have made the decision that Mirai would do the skating instead?

MacMadame
06-16-2011, 09:38 PM
Why so much blame is falling on her is astonishing to me.
I don't find it remotely astonishing. She did something really stupid (and actually kind of dangerous) and the consequences were not good for US skating. Why wouldn't people be pissed off? Heck, people give skaters as hard a time for wearing weird costumes or picking boring music, which is a lot smaller offense than what Rachael did.


I'm sure Rachael isn't the first skater that kept her injury on the down-low and skate through a competition. And I highly doubt the USFSA would have had an issue with Rachael had she helped secure the third spot, injury and all.
I doubt many skaters show up at Worlds injured without informing USFS. This is a well-known requirement and there is a lot of back and forth between skaters on the World team and USFS prior to Worlds.

Also, if Rachael had skated well, that would indicated that her injury wasn't that serious. Therefore, the argument could be made that there was no requirement to report it as it wasn't serious enough to fall under the rules.

Normally, it would have been reported anyway, but at least you could make that argument and it would make any punishment much less likely because of how the rule is worded. But, in her case, the offense is pretty clear cut. She obviously had an injury serious enough to need reporting by definition since it seriously degraded her performance.



Incidentally the US men failed to get 3 spots for next year despite the fact that they had three men available to earn those spots. I don't see 1/10th of the venom going to them that is going to Rachael. (Actually I don't think anyone should get venom).
I don't see her getting that much venom. People are annoyed and unhappy with her actions and talking about it. I think that's to be expected. After all, there is just as much chatter and complaint when athletes bomb due to nerves and we don't get 3 spots and that is not a situation where someone was being a complete dumbass.

As for the US Men, no one really expected them to get 3 spots even if everyone had skated to their absolute best. There isn't a lot of room for finger-pointing in that situation.

But someone skating with a stress fracture in the tibia, particularly on their landing leg, has done something that is not just completely stupid, but downright dangerous IMO. She could have broken the leg on any jump landing and ended up in the hospital at any time. To me, it's inexcusable that someone on her team didn't just say NO. It makes me feel really sorry for her that no one on her team seems to be able to look out for her best interests.

olympic
06-16-2011, 09:40 PM
BTW, it's worth noting that the Flatt thread is sucking the air out of the Wagner thread. :shuffle:

Debbie S
06-16-2011, 09:42 PM
BTW, it's worth noting that the Flatt thread is sucking the air out of the Wagner thread. :shuffle:Is that a good thing or a bad thing? ;)

aftershocks
06-16-2011, 09:55 PM
... Incidentally the US men failed to get 3 spots for next year despite the fact that they had three men available to earn those spots. I don't see 1/10th of the venom going to them that is going to Rachael. (Actually I don't think anyone should get venom).

Venom? Let's hope not. The fine and reprimand are not because Rachael skated poorly or skated while injured, or because 3 spots were not gained for the ladies. As others have pointed out multiple times, the issue is about Rachael (and her coach) not fully informing USFS regarding her injury as soon as it was diagnosed, no matter if it was a week before she left for Worlds. Clearly the USFS should have been informed, and the alternate's coach given a heads-up. That doesn't mean that Rachael would not still have skated. It means that by fully informing everyone, and giving every opportunity for the alternate to be there as a back-up, Rachael would have had the opportunity to skate if she could, but also to know that she didn't have to or need to gut it out when clearly she was experiencing pain from a significant injury. By not fully informing USFS, it simply looks careless and selfish on the part of the coach and the skater. USFS definitely is not without blame either, but perhaps this situation will help clarify for everyone the dangers, culpabilities and responsibilities associated with injuries and readiness to compete. Rachael should use this as a learning experience, and not allow it to deter her from continuing to compete, if she wishes. She should continue to hold her head high and gain strength from this difficult experience (instead of downplaying it or ignoring the implications), and perhaps choose a new coach more wisely.

This has nothing to do with the men not retaining 3 spots. Each of the men performed well, and were not suffering from significant injury that they failed to report. The men did not fare well in the skate order or the judging marks and reputation factor -- all things out of their control.

Kathryn2001
06-16-2011, 11:23 PM
From a lurker here and I've been interested in all your comments.
One question...if Rachael had pulled out after the SP, what's the best one skater can earn? If Alissa had landed on the podium, would it still have given us only 2 for next year?
Also, does anyone know what the latest time a skater can withdraw and be replaced by the alternate?
Apologies if this has been mentioned but I didn't see it.

pinky166
06-16-2011, 11:54 PM
From a lurker here and I've been interested in all your comments.
One question...if Rachael had pulled out after the SP, what's the best one skater can earn? If Alissa had landed on the podium, would it still have given us only 2 for next year?
Also, does anyone know what the latest time a skater can withdraw and be replaced by the alternate?
Apologies if this has been mentioned but I didn't see it.

I think the only way one skater can earn 3 spots at Worlds is if that skater wins the event, so if Rachael had withdrew, it wouldn't have made a difference. Alissa had a shot at 3rd but it was pretty much given she wasn't going to beat Miki or Yuna unless they really messed up and she went clean (I know she beat Miki at the GPF, but Miki really bombed the SP there and did win the FS by a good margin).