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



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TheIronLady
06-18-2011, 10:44 AM
Also fresh in the judges mind was Miki creaming Alissa at 4CC (by over 30 points), NOT Alissa beating Miki at the GPF by 7 points, and further, Alissa's winning score at the GPF would have put her only in 4th at 4CC. This could also be a reason for Rachael trying to tough it out and skate at Worlds. Yes, she bombed at the GPF, but she skated well at nationals and 4CC, which is what was fresh in the judges mind...

A couple of things...

I think Rachael had a lot of pressure on her to compete. I suspect some of it was from sponsors who had provided her with opportunities. But it's obvious the USFSA also wanted her as the anchor of their bid for 3 spots. They feared Mirai and Alissa were not reliable. The USFSA wanted her there even injured.

This pressure from the USFSA shows their incompetence. Rachael should not have been expected to deliver better than 8th based on her performances this year. There wasn't much potential for higher unless others screwed up. She hadn't been able to muscle through her jumps like she had as a youngster. I think this was partly because she had Tom Z ruining her body by pushing a 3Lz-3Loop, which was unrealistic. Her mental game remained excellent (as shown by her effective selling of that EoE SP), but the pressure put on her by the USFSA was out of proportion to her potential.

If she had done her nats performance in Moscow, she was unlikely to get higher than 8th. If she had her on-fire Skate America FS again, she still would have been 5th or 6th. Look at the scores/numbers.

Jarrett
06-18-2011, 03:25 PM
Nevermind

ProgramerUSFS
06-18-2011, 04:15 PM
A couple of things...

I think Rachael had a lot of pressure on her to compete. I suspect some of it was from sponsors who had provided her the media exposure and opportunities afforded to US champions during the season. But it's obvious the USFSA also wanted her as the anchor of their bid for 3 spots. They feared Mirai and Alissa were not reliable. Rachael should not have been expected to deliver better than 8th based on her performances this year. There wasn't much potential for higher unless others screwed up. She hadn't been able to muscle through her jumps like she had as a youngster. I think this was because she had Tom Z ruining her body by pushing a 3Lz-3Loop, which was unrealistic. Her mental game remained excellent (as shown by her effective selling of that EoE SP), but the pressure put on her by the USFSA was out of proportion to her potential.

Rachael skated well at Nationals and 4CC if you consider well being a contender for 8th-10th place at Worlds. With her nats performance, she was unlikely to get higher than 8th. If she had done her on-fire Skate America FS again, she still would have been 5th or 6th. Look at the scores/numbers.

I agree, at the end of the day. Do we all think that a hurt, in pain Rachael Flatt can compete with the worlds top skaters? I don't, and don't even think that she could complete if she was in top shape today. Maybe two years ago. The fact she pushed forward, translates into, I am so much beter then the other world skaters, that even hurt I can score in the top group. Or maybe it was by some accident, I will land these jumps that everyone including the judges watch her miss over and over again in practices before the event. It was a joke, and the US looked bad because of the Flatt team decisions. I like Rachael as a person and think that she is a very wonderful young lady, someone who younger kids should look up to. But people make mistakes, as we are only human, and the thing that Rachael should do is just make a statement that her team did not make the right decisions, they were wrong in doing what they did, and that she wants to help USFS perfect its policies so that this type of thing never happens again.

If she did that, she would be the hero of the entire incident. Period.

edonice
06-18-2011, 04:45 PM
I’m curious to see how this affects skaters’ reporting of injuries. Frankly, I’m not sure it’s going to make a huge difference. The fine and reprimand are embarrassing, and show that the USFS has lost trust and respect in Rachael, but other than that it won’t affect her skating. She hasn’t been stripped of any medals, it won’t affect her GP assignments for next year, nor her ability to compete at Nationals and (potentially) Worlds. If, like John Baldwin, skaters are really itching to compete injured, they’ll probably compete knowing that the worst that can happen is that they’ll bomb and get fined. Not awful.

I do think this will put a stronger spotlight on the ethics of certain coaches and their policies concerning injuries (aHEM, Tom Z). And I hope this results in greater attention to and respect for skaters’ injuries. Yeah, skaters compete injured all the time, but we shouldn’t consider them heroes. It’s terrible to destroy your body for a single competition. I can understand that for the Olympics because it’s the OLYMPICS, but even so… I think Michelle Kwan had the right idea when she said that she respected the Olympics too much to compete at less than her best.

When Rachael competed injured to the point that she couldn’t complete her full arsenal of jumps or even smile during her program, she was showing that she didn’t care about the other American ladies, how she represented her country, or even her own body. I don’t think that’s how she felt, but unfortunately, that’s how she acted.

victoriaheidi
06-18-2011, 04:57 PM
When Rachael competed injured to the point that she couldnít complete her full arsenal of jumps or even smile during her program, she was showing that she didnít care about the other American ladies, how she represented her country, or even her own body. I donít think thatís how she felt, but unfortunately, thatís how she acted.

I'm not disagreeing with you, but this is such a "teenaged" mentality (Rachael's, not yours). I'm 17. I'll illustrate my point that many (not ALL) teenagers only think about themselves with a short story:

A big movie premiered a few months back, and had its first show at midnight. A one-time friend (call her Emily) decided to sneak out at 11:30 and bike to the midnight showing. She basically called all of her friends and said, "hey, I'm going, no one's gonna stop me, just tell my mom I left if I don't call by midnight."
She wasn't supposed to go to the movie for disciplinary reasons.

My point in telling this story is that teenagers are pretty much naturally selfish people, and they need guidance. Based on the quotes I've read from Rachael, John Baldwin and Tom, I think that Rachael wanted to compete and no one wanted to stop her competitive spirit, so she was encouraged to lie.

I don't think Rachael is a bad person, nor do I think she is unnecessarily selfish. I think she is just determined and needs someone to check a bit of her determination at the locker room door.

ProgramerUSFS
06-18-2011, 04:58 PM
Iím curious to see how this affects skatersí reporting of injuries. Frankly, Iím not sure itís going to make a huge difference. The fine and reprimand are embarrassing, and show that the USFS has lost trust and respect in Rachael, but other than that it wonít affect her skating. She hasnít been stripped of any medals, it wonít affect her GP assignments for next year, nor her ability to compete at Nationals and (potentially) Worlds. If, like John Baldwin, skaters are really itching to compete injured, theyíll probably compete knowing that the worst that can happen is that theyíll bomb and get fined. Not awful.

I do think this will put a stronger spotlight on the ethics of certain coaches and their policies concerning injuries (aHEM, Tom Z). And I hope this results in greater attention to and respect for skatersí injuries. Yeah, skaters compete injured all the time, but we shouldnít consider them heroes. Itís terrible to destroy your body for a single competition. I can understand that for the Olympics because itís the OLYMPICS, but even soÖ I think Michelle Kwan had the right idea when she said that she respected the Olympics too much to compete at less than her best.

When Rachael competed injured to the point that she couldnít complete her full arsenal of jumps or even smile during her program, she was showing that she didnít care about the other American ladies, how she represented her country, or even her own body. I donít think thatís how she felt, but unfortunately, thatís how she acted.

Wonderfully said. I couldn't agree more!

RD
06-18-2011, 05:41 PM
When Rachael competed injured to the point that she couldn’t complete her full arsenal of jumps or even smile during her program, she was showing that she didn’t care about the other American ladies, how she represented her country, or even her own body. I don’t think that’s how she felt, but unfortunately, that’s how she acted.

True. I agree...but that said,



My point in telling this story is that teenagers are pretty much naturally selfish people, and they need guidance. Based on the quotes I've read from Rachael, John Baldwin and Tom, I think that Rachael wanted to compete and no one wanted to stop her competitive spirit, so she was encouraged to lie.

I don't think Rachael is a bad person, nor do I think she is unnecessarily selfish. I think she is just determined and needs someone to check a bit of her determination at the locker room door.

The bolded part really says it all. Again, as a competitive athlete, she's going to naturally want to be given a shot, even if her body says no. It's the people around her (mostly her coach) that ALLOWED her to go that truly let her down. Seriously, I wonder if she didn't regret her decision to gut it out as soon as she stepped off that Moscow ice. I think she knew very well what could happen.

Flatt still deserves the fine/reprimand (as long as her coach and her team get harsher punishments) because at the end of the day, it was HER judgment and HER decision to go out there. Especially since she'd done it before at the GPF and failed.

I'm sure she'll learn from it and move on, though. It's not like it's a career-ending mistake, like many fans seem to want to believe.

jlai
06-18-2011, 05:53 PM
I think if you cannot practise a full arsenal of triples then you're not ready to compete. Yes, I do agree Team Flatt should have kept Frank C. informed, but Rachael is only a teenager. She'll learn.

VIETgrlTerifa
06-18-2011, 05:59 PM
I think if you cannot practise a full arsenal of triples then you're not ready to compete.

Well, some ladies have medaled at Worlds without a full arsenal of triples. ;)

jlai
06-18-2011, 06:04 PM
Well, some ladies have medaled at Worlds without a full arsenal of triples. ;)

Oh, sorry, I meant what's in their own arsenal--like, if Czisny cannot pull off a lutz and a toe, not if Czisny cannot pull off a sal. (when was the last time Czisny did a sal?)

Anyway, the Finnish girls have other things that make up for their lack of a full set of triples. ;) And Kim and Asada got other jumps or combos...

Zemgirl
06-18-2011, 07:05 PM
I think if you cannot practise a full arsenal of triples then you're not ready to compete. Yes, I do agree Team Flatt should have kept Frank C. informed, but Rachael is only a teenager. She'll learn.

Oh, sorry, I meant what's in their own arsenal--like, if Czisny cannot pull off a lutz and a toe, not if Czisny cannot pull off a sal. (when was the last time Czisny did a sal?)

Anyway, the Finnish girls have other things that make up for their lack of a full set of triples. ;) And Kim and Asada got other jumps or combos...
Well, Carolina Kostner couldn't do 3F or 3Lz during the GP season, and nobody suggested she shouldn't keep competing. It's true that Flatt wouldn't have gotten Kostner-level PCS, but the point is, lots of skaters skate through injuries and compete without a full arsenal of jumps.

Frank Carroll coached Lysacek at 2009 Worlds knowing Evan had a stress fracture and wouldn't be able to attempt a quad as a result, and I don't recall any criticism of that decision; on the contrary, it was used to illustrate how gutsy Evan was. The thing is, neither Lysacek nor Carroll could have known ahead of time how competitive he would be, but they went for it anyway and it paid off. If the risk Flatt and her team took had paid off, nobody would have considered any disciplinary action. While I'm well aware that her injury was more severe than Lysacek's, I still see too many parallels to be comfortable with how Rachael is being treated.

jlai
06-18-2011, 07:40 PM
Well, Carolina Kostner couldn't do 3F or 3Lz during the GP season, and nobody suggested she shouldn't keep competing. It's true that Flatt wouldn't have gotten Kostner-level PCS, but the point is, lots of skaters skate through injuries and compete without a full arsenal of jumps .

As we're speaking mainly of worlds and not of the build-up gp events, Kostner rotated a flip both in the long and short in Russia. Plus she had a 3t-3t. The only jump missing in her usual repertoire was the lutz and the other aspects of her skating made up for it. But if a skater is missing two out of the five triples in her usual repertoire and she's normally known mainly as a jumper then there's a problem.


Frank Carroll coached Lysacek at 2009 Worlds knowing Evan had a stress fracture and wouldn't be able to attempt a quad as a result, and I don't recall any criticism of that decision; on the contrary, it was used to illustrate how gutsy Evan was. The thing is, neither Lysacek nor Carroll could have known ahead of time how competitive he would be, but they went for it anyway and it paid off.

Many other skaters didn't have a quad during 2009 WC. Plus, when Evan wasn't ready, Frank C. was willing to pull Evan off the team (2008 worlds).

gkelly
06-18-2011, 07:49 PM
If, like John Baldwin, skaters are really itching to compete injured, theyíll probably compete knowing that the worst that can happen is that theyíll bomb and get fined.

They won't get fined for bombing.

They can get fined for not disclosing an injury to the proper USFS officials.

But if they do disclose, are not replaced on the team, and then go on to bomb when they compete, there's nothing to fine them for.

Similarly if they get injured during the competition.

Or if they are not injured but bomb for some other reason entirely.


I think if you cannot practise a full arsenal of triples then you're not ready to compete.


Oh, sorry, I meant what's in their own arsenal


Well, Carolina Kostner couldn't do 3F or 3Lz during the GP season, and nobody suggested she shouldn't keep competing....

Frank Carroll coached Lysacek at 2009 Worlds knowing Evan had a stress fracture and wouldn't be able to attempt a quad as a result, and I don't recall any criticism of that decision; on the contrary, it was used to illustrate how gutsy Evan was.

Exactly. Plenty of skaters have removed jumps from their repertoire, temporarily or permanently, because of injuries and still done pretty well for themselves. Kostner this year was a prime example. I'm also thinking of Surya Bonaly 1998 -- her results weren't what she or some fans hoped, but she was able to make a statement in the short programs at Euros and Olympics by using a 3T-3T combo in the absence of her lutz and flip.

PDilemma
06-18-2011, 07:51 PM
Many other skaters didn't have a quad during 2009 WC. Plus, when Evan wasn't ready, Frank C. was willing to pull Evan off the team (2008 worlds).

And Rachael was not reprimanded for having an injury but rather for not reporting it. Do we have information that indicates that neither Frank or Evan reported that stress fracture to USFSA? That's the issue. My guess is that Frank is diligent in seeing that he and his skaters follow the rules and report injuries when they are required to do so.

edonice
06-18-2011, 08:03 PM
They won't get fined for bombing.

They can get fined for not disclosing an injury to the proper USFS officials.

But if they do disclose, are not replaced on the team, and then go on to bomb when they compete, there's nothing to fine them for.

Similarly if they get injured during the competition.

Or if they are not injured but bomb for some other reason entirely.



You're right. I meant to say that if they have an injury and choose not to report it to the USFS in the fear that they'll be removed from the team, the worst they can expect is a fine.

As for not competing with a full arsenal of triples, Kostner proved earlier in the season that she can do well without them. Rachael placed highly only with all her triples. Without them, at the Grand Prix Final, she didn't do anywhere as well.