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View Full Version : The irrepressible, exasperating Mirai Nagasu, part II



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skfan
01-30-2012, 04:41 AM
i think it's unfair to say mirai was a zombie the whole time--i think mirai was attacking with determination / anger / defiance at the very start of the long program.

it made me optimistic, actually--i kept thinking, like bobek (another of my favorites) she is going to go all out and have a great performance when people have begun to count her out, when the pressure is sort of 'off' (although in COP being 5th doesn't mean you're out of contention for gold). i have heard people say she had a sour expression on her face, and i suppose that might be how they read her expression, but i didn't see an absence of emotion--at least not at the start of the long program.

it maybe that mirai is waiting for frank to tell her, try somebody else, because it's hard for her to 'fire' a legendary coach. of course, we're all guessing, nobody knows the real story. i am curious about whether nicks would actually accept mirai with ashley already his student, even if mirai wanted to become his student.

how many years can you defer in the UC system? can you attend part-time?

euterpe
01-30-2012, 04:59 AM
i think it's unfair to say mirai was a zombie the whole time--i think mirai was attacking with determination / anger / defiance at the very start of the long program.

No. I was in the arena in the front row and I watched Mirai's facial expressions closely throughout the FS. She was blank-faced from beginning to end. I found that very disturbing.

I was shocked when I read that she told Carroll she was focusing too much on her facial expressions. Was she trying to get a rise out of him?

IceAlisa
01-30-2012, 05:21 AM
No. I was in the arena in the front row and I watched Mirai's facial expressions closely throughout the FS. She was blank-faced from beginning to end. I found that very disturbing.

Ditto. No expression out of Mirai not only during performance but also during practices. None. Once, during a practice session after a long talk with Frank she did a short segment of her program when the expressive Mirai of yore came through but that was the only time I saw that. Deadpan the rest of the time and even sulky.


I was shocked when I read that she told Carroll she was focusing too much on her facial expressions. Was she trying to get a rise out of him?

Weird. I saw Frank talk to her during practice and before the performance, saying the same thing: "Look up."

sleepypanda
01-30-2012, 06:14 AM
how many years can you defer in the UC system? can you attend part-time?

I think it depends on the school. I know UCD has a Deferred Enrollment program, not sure about Irvine (or the schools). IIRC, most of the UCs don't allow freshmen to defer admissions, but transfer students with "compelling" reasons can.

Students can attend part-time--just apply for part-time status every quarter.

---

Mirai just looked so out of it Saturday night. I love watching Mirai when she's on, but when she's like that, it's painful. Maybe something is going on with her personal life that's keeping her unfocused, but whatever it is, I hope she takes the time to do a little soul searching and finds herself again. Part of me is still hoping and waiting she'll surprise and dazzle everyone again. The other US ladies have done it before!

bardtoob
01-30-2012, 06:44 AM
With UC schools, it is better for a new student (freshman or transfer) to withdraw at the beginning of the first term rather than defer because "a student that withdrew" has the rights of a student while a deferred admit does not.

b-man
01-30-2012, 08:14 AM
I will add another observation. Her practices were terrific Tuesday and Wednesday, with the jumps textbook. Her practice Friday, still very good. No falls, step outs or stumbles All were performed deadpan, no emotion. But during the short 20 minute warmup Saturday morning, the pressure became apparent. Mirai made a few stumbles that she hadn't been making all week. She immediately became irritated that things weren't going the way she wanted. It was clear to me that the pressure was already causing her a problem, and I am sure Frank saw it also. She appeared flustered/ upset emotionally, and I thought a good free skate unlikely at that point.

modern_muslimah
01-30-2012, 03:19 PM
Um, no. I don't think there's anything wrong with her mind. If someone isn't into skating for whatever reason, there's nothing wrong with that and no need to see a psychologist.

I do have to say all this pathologizing of Mirai (eg. she has issues! she needs a psychologist! she's just pretending to want to do other things more than skating to set expectations low!) is more a projection of what some fans desperately hope than reflective of any reality.

And I should say, Mirai is by far my favorite US skater (and really fav skater next to Mao Asada). But to me it's pretty clear her heart isn't into skating anymore. Some things just are what they are.

:sigh:

We could be reading all of our thoughts into her head but considering what she has said in the past plus the way she continues to handle disappointment (poorly) seems to indicate that at least some of this is mental. Either way, couldn't your position also be what you are projecting onto her? To be honest, this whole thread is conjecture and unless FC or Mirai come out and tell us what was going on during Nationals, we're all just speculating on what went wrong. So I guess both camps (she's just not that into/she's lazy or she's a headcase who needs help) are both about equal right now. I'm not saying you're wrong and I'm right. Just that we really don't know. Hell, it could be a combination of both. Maybe the disappointments from Worlds 2010 to now are making her lose interest.

If she really isn't into (which as a fan I hope isn't the case), then I hope she finds what makes her happy. But if she still loves skating, then I hope she can find the right coaching/living arrangement to make her be successful and happy.

wonderlen
01-30-2012, 03:39 PM
I will add another observation. Her practices were terrific Tuesday and Wednesday, with the jumps textbook. Her practice Friday, still very good. No falls, step outs or stumbles All were performed deadpan, no emotion. But during the short 20 minute warmup Saturday morning, the pressure became apparent. Mirai made a few stumbles that she hadn't been making all week. She immediately became irritated that things weren't going the way she wanted. It was clear to me that the pressure was already causing her a problem, and I am sure Frank saw it also. She appeared flustered/ upset emotionally, and I thought a good free skate unlikely at that point.

I think Marai really needs to deal this 'feeling pressure' issue soon. I mean she has been skating and competing internationally since 14 and winning the US title at that age. Sochi is only 2 yrs away and she doesn't have much time. She already blows away so many international/national titles. If she can't figure out how to compete by now, i guess there is nothing left to do but go for plan 'B' career. Talent will only take you so far.

skfan
01-30-2012, 04:05 PM
thanks everyone for the insights regarding the UC admission and mirai's expression as observed by those who actually attended the event.

*sigh* i still hold out hope. don't try to talk me out of it :)

someone on GS suggested it might be stage fright. it's as good a theory as anything else, IMO.

IceAlisa
01-30-2012, 05:14 PM
I will add another observation. Her practices were terrific Tuesday and Wednesday, with the jumps textbook. Her practice Friday, still very good. No falls, step outs or stumbles All were performed deadpan, no emotion. But during the short 20 minute warmup Saturday morning, the pressure became apparent. Mirai made a few stumbles that she hadn't been making all week. She immediately became irritated that things weren't going the way she wanted. It was clear to me that the pressure was already causing her a problem, and I am sure Frank saw it also. She appeared flustered/ upset emotionally, and I thought a good free skate unlikely at that point.

That's all true. In practices she was calm, deadpan on the ice, but everything landed beautifully and easily. Once again, she appeared very well-trained. Off the ice she was laughing and having a good time with fellow skaters, Agnes in particular. I remember Ashley keeping to herself in contrast and having her fighter face on.

However, right before the short and the free skate I could see where the skaters waited to start their group's warm up and it was a different Mirai. Before she went out to warm up, she was pacing, looked nervous for the first time that week, almost angry or frustrated. On the ice she was tight, her face emotionless, movement mechanical vs. the easy grace of the practices.

agalisgv
01-30-2012, 05:25 PM
We could be reading all of our thoughts into her head but considering what she has said in the past plus the way she continues to handle disappointment (poorly) seems to indicate that at least some of this is mental. Either way, couldn't your position also be what you are projecting onto her? To be honest, this whole thread is conjecture and unless FC or Mirai come out and tell us what was going on during Nationals, we're all just speculating on what went wrong. So I guess both camps (she's just not that into/she's lazy or she's a headcase who needs help) are both about equal right now. I'm not saying you're wrong and I'm right. Just that we really don't know. Hell, it could be a combination of both. Maybe the disappointments from Worlds 2010 to now are making her lose interest. All good points.

I'm not interested in being right, here. My feeling is that there's a fair amount of indication based on things said by Mirai and Frank in previous interviews over an extended period of time that would indicate there are some serious motivation issues and this not just being a situation of her being a headcase (ie, someone who really wants to compete, but unravels during competition). I think to go with the headcase scenario, fans pretty much have to ignore all those previous interviews and reports, and for me that's just hard to do.

I would also say that insufficient training can often be evidenced by good practice sessions, but poor performance during competition. IOW, an athlete may have trained enough to do well in low-pressure settings, but not enough for muscle memory to kick-in during high-pressure settings. Other skaters have said in the past that was the issue for them and why they were inconsistent. It had less to do with being a headcase, and more to do with not training as hard as they should have been. That could also explain the deadpan expressions too--someone having to constantly think through their program rather than feel at ease enough to project.

I don't equate that with lazy though--just more different priorities over time.
If she really isn't into (which as a fan I hope isn't the case), then I hope she finds what makes her happy. But if she still loves skating, then I hope she can find the right coaching/living arrangement to make her be successful and happy. Yeah, I don't think she should quit if she can't be on top of the podium. I think people should skate because they want to--as long as it's not causing bankruptcy for themselves or their families.

I hope Mirai does get her mojo back, but I don't think there's anything wrong with her if she doesn't. And I guess I think it's problematic for fans to assume the only explanation for Mirai's behavior is some sort of psychological problems. Her psyche may be aok, and I don't think we should be assuming she necessarily needs fixing in order to conform to our wants and desires for her.

:)

IceAlisa
01-30-2012, 05:48 PM
Actually, I thought Mirai didn't look like she was thinking hard at all during practices. She rather looked like she wasn't thinking at all, as in barely present.

IceAlisa
01-30-2012, 06:05 PM
Sorry for the double post but here's a recent interview with Mirai: http://web.icenetwork.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120112&content_id=26327510&vkey=ice_news

"Missing out [on the Grand Prix] Final and competing against Carolina [Kostner], her jump repertoire is not as difficult without the triple Lutz, but even still her programs are amazing. I think if I put in that much effort into every single arm movement and every single pointed toe ... I guess I do fall a lot in my programs because I've been trying to concentrate more on my musicality."

Weird. Just the opposite happened, as in she still fell but no evidence of musicality or efforts to emphasize arm movements and to point toes.

Extra sleep aside, the two-way trip isn't practical every day. Nagasu also works with Rafael Arutunian at Carroll's former rink in Lake Arrowhead, and at least once a week with Galina Barinova in Artesia, home of the Kwan family facility, East West Ice Palace. When all else fails, and she and her mom don't feel much like driving, she skates at a newly opened rink in Pasadena.

"It's not the best [training] situation for me, but I'm making the best of it," Nagasu said.

Also,

With Barinova, a former Russian prima ballerina, she works on polishing her programs.

"I've been working with Galina to bring out the balletic side of Spartacus," she said. "The Tango is a little bit more difficult for me because, I mean, it's hard for me to be sexy. And the Tango is a new side of me that I'm working on.

"It's fun to work with Galina because she sees that I'm embarrassed and shy about the expressions and the styles I have to try to incorporate into my skating. But at the same time, it's nice to push my boundaries."

edonice
01-30-2012, 06:12 PM
That's all true. In practices she was calm, deadpan on the ice, but everything landed beautifully and easily. Once again, she appeared very well-trained. Off the ice she was laughing and having a good time with fellow skaters, Agnes in particular. I remember Ashley keeping to herself in contrast and having her fighter face on.

However, right before the short and the free skate I could see where the skaters waited to start their group's warm up and it was a different Mirai. Before she went out to warm up, she was pacing, looked nervous for the first time that week, almost angry or frustrated. On the ice she was tight, her face emotionless, movement mechanical vs. the easy grace of the practices.

Yes, I noticed that, too! Before and after practice, she looked happy and loose, but on the ice she looked dead serious. And I think this is part of the problem, that she feels she can't be herself on the ice to be successful.

IceAlisa
01-30-2012, 06:26 PM
Here's another article about Mirai (sorry if they had been posted) http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-mirai-nagasu-20120126,0,5641722.story


"Mirai is a terribly emotional person who allows her feelings to interfere with what intellectually she thinks she wants to achieve," Carroll said. "She has difficulty keeping her mind on the goal and not being distracted by minor things she thinks are important."
*snip*

"Because I have been raised by Asian parents in an American culture, I struggle a little bit with balancing the two," she said last week.

"Sometimes my parents want to push me harder and want me to work harder. They will say something is not good enough, and it gets into my mind that it is not good enough, and it does bother me. But my emotions also make me the passionate skater I am."
*snip*


"I'm very black and white," Lysacek said. "If I go to the rink, I'm going to train as if the Olympics is next week.

"Mirai has more gray … which is her emotions and her feelings, come into her skating life.

"Maybe that's why we get along. I tell her she needs to be more black and white if she wants to be best.

A whole lot of talk about emotions.