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View Full Version : U.S. Ladies [#5]: All That Glitters Is Not Gold



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judgejudy27
10-22-2012, 09:02 PM
Incredibly slow skating and spins that barely move, while doing nothing harder than a triple loop is not international level skating today. It is regional level skating at the U.S level perhaps and that is where Flatt now belongs. So what if she did 5 triples, Katarina Witt in 1987 could even do the same 5 triples she did, while doing a bunch of other things between Flatt wasnt even trying to do.

judgejudy27
10-22-2012, 09:06 PM
Honestly, it sort of confuses me, Rachael we know has had chronic tendonitis for around two years and bulging disks in her back for even longer. Now skating is not a priority. So why does she continue if she's constantly injured and/or in pain, has to go out of her way to train, and isn't getting good results at competitions? It's weird the commentators were talking about how Rachael's 6th place finish at Nationals was "disappointing" for her, but for most of us watching the event, it seemed like Rachael really stepped it up and had a great FS that, combined with Mirai's meltdown, allowed her to finish as high as 6th. Had she skated like she did most of last season, she would likely have been out of the top 12. And even here at Skate America, I'll say I was surprised when Rachael landed 5 triples in her FS, I was not expecting that, but she still finished 9th and her PCS were really low and that's an indication of how she's viewed on the international stage now.

I could understand if Rachael was skating for Germany or Switzerland and she was the best skater they had to send to these international events and therefore she was sticking around just because she could and didn't have to worry about taking a more deserving skater's spot, but in my opinion, it would have been in much better character for USFS to give someone like Samantha Cesario, Vanessa Lam, or Kiri Baga the spot at SA, not only giving them valuable international experience but also opening up spots they were taking on the JGP that really should be given to skaters like Polina Edmunds and Mariah Bell, who are developing junior skaters and thus the perfect candidates for JGP events. Further, we all know Flatt was given Ice Challenge just so she doesn't have to skate at Sectionals out of which she likely would not qualify for Nationals (regardless of if she competed at PACs or Mids, both are deep fields), so its kind of silly. If she really loves to skate that much despite her injuries, pain, interference with college life, and results and scores indicative of how far her skating caliber has sunken to what it once was, at least in the eyes of the judges, then I don't have a problem with that. But she should be competing at qualifying competitions, not GP events. If she wants to skate regionals and sectionals and makes it to Nationals fair and square, good for her, it shows that she's still one of the best skaters in the Nation and can get to Nationals fair and square. But these international assignments that conveniently give her byes from these competitions when she's in the current form she's in are really irritating. There's so many other good girls in the US who would love the chance to skate at SA, and maybe USFS should stop encouraging them to stay on the JGP if they are ready and willing to move up just to save spots for old favorites or crowd getters and give the JGP spots to junior ladies who really should be competing at those venues in the first place.

ITA. Giving Flatt Skate America was a ridiculous decision and her second to last place finish was exactly as should have been expected. Her 6th place at Nationals was not a dissapointing result for her last year, but an extremely good for one for where she now is. Thankfully the madness will stop next season I am sure and we will see Flatt with no international assignments. What is the point to hold back up and comers or developing skaters from getting opportunities so some has been who admits to not even prioritizing skating anymore can finish last at a Grand Prix event with 70s or Regional level caliber skating.

dawnie
10-22-2012, 09:15 PM
It would have been nice for Flatt if she went out on a good note last year at Nationals. Now I'm afraid she's going the Fumie Suguri route...

judgejudy27
10-22-2012, 09:27 PM
It would have been nice for Flatt if she went out on a good note last year at Nationals. Now I'm afraid she's going the Fumie Suguri route...

That is what baffles me. The audience gave her a huge goodbye, thanks for years of great skating and contributions to U.S figure skating ovation. She reacted emotionally like she was waving goodbye, thanks for years of your support. She turned in an unlikely great performance for herself at that point in time, the ideal note to end on. Everything pointed to this being a wonderful note to retire on, and yet she continues competing, it was like WTF girl you said your goodbyes last year, they said their goodbyes back, but some skaters dont recognize their retirement gifts. Forget the Fumie Suguri route, I wouldnt be surprised if she becomes the Mira Leung of this years Nationals (Mira Leung from Nationals 2010 I mean, she already had her Mira Leung 2009 last year). Last years message from the judges was a polite "go away" and this years will be an emphatic "get the hell out!". For the record Mira was 6th at the 09 Canadian Nationals, and withdrew after being 15th in the short program in 2010. A similar placing is what I project for Flatt at this years Nationals.

Come to think of it though I think the reason Flatt was given this assignment was just to compile an easy field for Wagner to win and far outshine the other Americans at. The USFSA is clearly behind Wagner as their #1 now, even over Gold at this point, and has confidence in her, as they now should. They pay her off handsomely for that by assigning two of the weaker Americans who are no threats to her like Gao and Flatt, and the weakest international lineup possibly with the likely to plummet in 2013 World silver medalist Leonova as their seeded skater pick, a slumping Sotnikva, and basically the softest field they could put together. At Nationals Wagner will likely come in heavily backed by TPTB so while she is likely to outskate the field and deservedly reclaim her U.S title, even if she has an off event and some mistakes and erratic Jekyl and Hydes like Nagasu, Czisny, or Agnes skate great, they can protect her and make sure she wins be it by inflated PCS or whatever is neccessary, but at an international event that woudlnt be the case so they just made sure to not take the chance in case she had an off day hence assigning weaker Americans to the event with her. Gao's outstanding performances were probably not expected, but as it turns out an unexpected bonus for the USFSA with Wagner skating great and winning easily as well, pefect start to their season.

RD
10-22-2012, 09:32 PM
With all the raining down on Flatt in this thread (much of which I agree with, BTW) it should be pointed out that she actually DIDN'T finish last at SA. She actually wasn't terrible (jump-wise at least), but is no longer getting the levels, etc. to be really competitive.

There are skaters even less capable than she is skating at ISU championships, so that isn't really the issue. The bigger issue is the limited number of international spots for US skaters, and we know the US has a lot of capable skaters - Flatt does have credentials from previous seasons, sure, but if she is no longer delivering, should they be still assigning her events?

Some skaters have surged back just as the skating public was preparing to stick a fork in them. It's going to take that kind of effort for her now.

Jammers
10-22-2012, 09:36 PM
How is Flatt not having to compete at Sectionals this year? She should have to earn her way to Nationals just like the rest of the girls have too. I'm tired of the USFSA coddling her.

Nomad
10-22-2012, 09:44 PM
How is Flatt not having to compete at Sectionals this year? She should have to earn her way to Nationals just like the rest of the girls have too. I'm tired of the USFSA coddling her.

She's competing at Ice Challenge in Graz, so there's a conflict.

judgejudy27
10-22-2012, 09:49 PM
She is just too scared to compete at Sectionals since she knows she probably wouldnt qualify for Nationals, so she found a loophole to get into Nationals directly. Come Nationals this year she will probably be wishing she had taken that course (going to Sectionals, likely not making it, and retiring gracefully in peace) after all. I predict the judges at Nationals will have their scalpels ready, I predicted they would last year to an extent and was proven correct, but this year it will be a much greater extreme. Obviously the message was not strong enough last year, so they will drill it in much deeper and more forcefully this time around. Her general skating is so weak these days it is not as if it is hard to do this either, they dont even have to underscore her, they just have to score her skating exactly as it is now (which aside from some rotated heavy small triples majorly sucks these days) with absolutely none of the support a former top skater would normally expect. Scores for skating skills in the 4s would be easily justified should they wish.

gkelly
10-22-2012, 09:49 PM
Do you feel that the judges were not merely objectively evaluating her performance as skated, but also using the scores to indicate how they personally feel about her as a skater? I know this might sound like a silly question, but I am trying to understand the psychology of judging.

Wouldn't asking that question here (as opposed to asking actual national and international judges) be more likely to elicit answers that will explain the psychology of fan interpretation of judging? :)

haribobo
10-22-2012, 10:22 PM
She is just too scared to compete at Sectionals since she knows she probably wouldnt qualify for Nationals, so she found a loophole to get into Nationals directly. Come Nationals this year she will probably be wishing she had taken that course (going to Sectionals, likely not making it, and retiring gracefully in peace) after all. I predict the judges at Nationals will have their scalpels ready, I predicted they would last year to an extent and was proven correct, but this year it will be a much greater extreme. Obviously the message was not strong enough last year, so they will drill it in much deeper and more forcefully this time around.

I'm far from Rachael's biggest fan, but this is really kind of an abusive attitude. These judges don't come to Nationals to "send skaters messages", forcefully or otherwise. They are there to judge what they see...obviously there is some politics being played with PCS every year where so and so chosen ones of the year are boosted up and Susie '7th place at her one-JGP event' Skater is given mediocre PCS regardless of how she skates, and Rachael will be probably somewhere in between. Rachael didn't assign herself to her senior B that gave her a bye through Sectionals- USFS did that- so I don't see how one can say she was "too scared" to do Regionals. She wasn't too scared to show up at Nationals last year after a nightmare GP season, and she competed at Worlds even when injured and clearly couldn't skate well (when many of us wish she had withdrawn), so being too scared to compete has never been Rachael's issue. Also, USFS is just doing with her what they would do with any 6th place (non-junior-age) finisher from Nationals without 2 GP events.

As far as her projected competition at Sectionals, she would have been facing Nina Jiang, Kiri Baga, Ashley Cain, Becky Bereswill, Morgan Bell, Chelsea Christopher, and Carly Gold as her main competition. They are all good skaters and its a deeper field than we've had in Mids Senior ladies for a while now, but I'm pretty sure Rachael would manage to squeeze out at least 4th place among them. Her performance at Skate America, while not terrific, was far from embarrassing, and I've seen skaters finish 4th at Sectionals with FAR weaker skates than that. If any of the Mids Sectionals qualifiers can finish top 6 at Nationals this year, which I kind of doubt but you never know- then they can get the international assignments that Rachael got this year. We'll see...

triple_toe
10-22-2012, 11:24 PM
Well look at this way: if Rachael competes at Mids and qualifies, one of those girls doesn't get to Nationals. So maybe USFSA's logic isn't about saving Rachael from embarrassment but instead about making sure she doesn't take away a spot from anyone else. I think that she would likely get through mids by some pcs manipulation even if she didn't skate the lights out, so this prevents that. It's a win-win really.

chipso1
10-22-2012, 11:28 PM
All of this Rachael hate makes me think people have far too much time on their hands. :shuffle:

Did she skate well at Skate America? Yes. Was it up to her 2008-2010 form? No, absolutely nowhere close. Did she embarrass the U.S.? No.

MoreIce
10-22-2012, 11:54 PM
The part of this that really irks me is that GP assignments (for those who aren't seeded or top 25) aren't a right. They're a privilege and an honor, and by openly admitting that she typically skates for just an hour and a half a day and doesn't consider skating a priority, she makes it clear that, to her, a GP or two per season is an expectation. And she doesn't seem to expect the scores she's getting, even though everyone else could spot then a mile away.

IMO, she made it clear that skating wasn't her priority when she chose Stanford, because no one could really identify which top coach(es) worked in the area. That's fine; honestly, in the long run, school and her future are far more important than skating.

But then, don't take a GP spot that dozens of girls WORK to achieve.

My mom saw Rachael and said, "if that's her attitude, she shouldn't be skating competitively anymore."

This is how I feel too. Going to Stanford is a great accomplishment, but if she wants to be an elite skater it really should be a seperate thing.
For example Flatt could not wait to put on her Stanford hat in the kiss and cry both sp and lp, but didn't seem to care about her USA team jacket, which her coach put on her both times.
Competing in a senior Grand Prix event for team USA is a huge deal for most skaters, as it means you are at the top level in this sport.
It seems to me that Flatt just wants free trips around the country and world at this point. If skating is not her first priority she should be turning down these assignments for girls who actually are training to be at the top, not just doing skating on the side.

victoriaheidi
10-23-2012, 12:29 AM
It's just a shame, really. Rachael Flatt used to piss people off because she'd score/place better than other skaters. Now, she's practically last and people are mad about that.

I'm only upset about the fact that no one ever taught Rachael what not to say in the media (like at worlds in 2011 or, well, here with regards to the number of hours she trains per week). That and the fact that, again, she all but fully admits that she really doesn't do anything to work on her skating except skate for probably six or seven hours per week.

Ashley Wagner probably does six or seven hours on ice every two days, plus off-ice training.

And I'm not saying that Rachael has to focus on skating wholeheartedly or retire or anything. I'm just saying that a) she needs to re-evaluate her priorities and see if international-level skating is still one of them and b) not take any of these experiences for granted. So many skaters can't get GPs, especially here in the US. She's fortunate and it seems like she doesn't see that. She sees this as a natural part of her skating, which it isn't.

jlai
10-23-2012, 12:43 AM
The Rachael hate makes me :confused:

Considering how hard it is to get a GP these days, no skater, esp one who placed 6th at US nationals, would turn it down. And all things considered (school + injuries), Rachael did okay. If it were a mentally weaker skater, those jumps would have been falls or doubles. And given how mentally strong Rachael is, I think she would manage top 4 at sectionals were she going to skate there.

I don't usually agree with USFSA's SA host pick assignments or some other assignments, but that's not Rachael's fault. USFSA needs to take summer monitoring into account when deciding host picks, and be able to enforce policies to ensure skaters assigned to competitions are ready. But as we know by now, USFSA does not like to pass over skaters who placed well at nationals, even if these skaters have training setbacks. This is an USFSA issue, not any skater's.