Mao: Where is she at in her quest for OGM?

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by clairecloutier, Dec 23, 2013.

  1. clairecloutier

    clairecloutier Well-Known Member

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    For Mao fans. Following Japanese nationals, what does everyone think about Mao and where she is at?

    I, for one, am worried. Coming only 3rd at her own Nationals and over 15 points behind Akiko?? This is totally unexpected and not good. Up until now, Mao's season has been very impressive, if not quite as brilliant and dominant as I was hoping for. But now this. And with this being her last competition before Sochi, I am worried it will damage her standing in the judges' eyes. Especially if Yuna is strong at Koreans and Carolina at Europeans.

    What does everyone think Mao needs to do? My opinion: Dump the 2nd triple Axel in the LP. It's too much pressure and risk, too distracting. Concentrate on skating as cleanly/beautifully as possible. Don't forget the program; don't overfocus on the triple Axels. Really work on audience connection/feeling the music throughout the LP. Remember what Tarasova said: It will take an incredible, emotional program--a standing ovation and more--to beat Yuna at the Olympics.
     
  2. elif

    elif Active Member

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    I think she is in same situation as Savchenko/Szolkowy. If their rivals is also skating clean, their clean skates -probably- will not going to be enough for gold. PCS advantage is on the Kim so she has to up her technical score.
     
  3. riveredge

    riveredge Active Member

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    ice is slippery.. even yuna can make mistakes.. i think you also forgot julia, adelina or any russian skaters who are capable of skating the lights out especially they are in home ice..

    mao is gonna' be ok.. at least it's not sochi yet..

    we don't know if yuna's condition is 100%.. nor kostner's injury..
     
  4. floskate

    floskate Vacant

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    Better here than Sochi. She's been very consistent this season but I kind of felt that she might have a bad skate here. Personally I'm hoping for the 2nd triple axel to be given the boot by Mr Sato and adding in 3f/3r as the opening combo to make an 8 triple LP. Didn't Shizuka come off a 3rd place at Nationals before Torino? ;) That said, I don't care if she wins or not I just want her to have that skate of a lifetime.
     
  5. kwanatic

    kwanatic Well-Known Member

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    I'm not worried. Other than the fact the two 3A strategy was a bust, she didn't bomb here.

    I think it sucks to come in 3rd at her final nationals BUT it's not like winning would have proven anything. Everyone knows she's the best skater in Japan...

    More than anything I think this performance is confirmation that the two 3A plan isn't going to work out this season. She scores better when she has a more even layout and I think she knows that now. The two 3As at the beginning take too much energy and she runs out of steam at the end. Hopefully she'll go back to the layout she had earlier or someone at GSF suggested she goes for two 2A-3Ts in the program. That's a combo she's capable of hitting and it scores well.

    I'm not worried about Mao. This competition wasn't her best but it wasn't a disaster either. She was up against two nearly perfect performances from Akiko and Kanako and she made mistakes. Hopefully she's learned her lesson and will make adjustments and be ready to go for Sochi.

    One off performance does not a season ruin...;)
     
  6. arakwafan2006

    arakwafan2006 Active Member

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    I think Mao is in trouble. The Axel has not been her friend really. It's been close but not consistent at all. She does not own that jump! I think that two axels is a bad move and I also believe that she's waited too damn long to add the 3/3 in her program. I have been looking for that flip/loop all season and apparently she has as well. I'm not too worried about her bombing at Nationals. To be frank, I think that the season has been tremendously long for Mao and she's done well to skate as well as she has.

    The thing that sticks out in my mind however is how much better Lori Nichol understands Mao's movement and how much prettier her vision of Mao on ice is. I respect Tarasova and love her drama but this free skate is end to end skating with Mao not really using her edge quality she's worked on nor does it show her off in a feminine elegant light. I love that Mao is a loyal client and that TAT loves to work with Mao but everything from that tragic dress ( i hope i dont see that thing in Sochi) all the way to that heavy choreography that is not really that difficult is not showcasing Mao the way it should. This stuck out at Japanese Nationals with the jump failures.

    I vote for Mao with 1 Axel in the free and a successful 3/3 and more transitions (call Lori) for Sochi. I would feel more comfortable with her chances of beating Yu Na
     
  7. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

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    But Shizuka didn't skate her best at the Olympics in Turin. She benefited mistakes from others. I guess Mao needs this to win, too ;)
     
  8. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Julia, Elena, Anna, Liza, and Vera

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    I am very disappointed. I really thought Mao was finally setting herself nicely as the one to beat (even though I personally believe that a nearly clean Yu na is unbeatable). I am a big fan of difficult jumps, particularly the 3A by ladies. Yet I think she needs to focus on landing just One 3A cleanly, and not even think about a second 3A unless she doubles the first one. If she skates clean, she has a chance. Otherwise she is in danger of not even making the podium if Carolina and one of the Russians and one of the Americans skate well.
     
  9. inskate

    inskate Active Member

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    Reportedly Mao hasn't recovered from her injury and since GPF couldn't practice spins and jumps much because of back pain. It would probably be best for her to withdraw from Nationals, but JSF announced that withdrawing from Nats = no Olympics (Why? Because TV ratings, that's why :bribe: :bribe: :bribe: ).

    I think her success at Olympics will depend on how much she recovers. One thing that worries me is that she struggled with loop combos here, and loop combos are known to be hard on hips/back. I liked her 3F-3L in practices earlier this season, but I start to wonder whether the 2x3A strategy isn't so much about 3As, but more about avoiding loop in combo. :(

    Still, if anybody can overcome this, it's Mao. I hope she'll have some time to rest now and :kickass: at Olympics.
     
  10. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Julia, Elena, Anna, Liza, and Vera

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    I did not know about Mao's injury. This is a really bad time for an injury, with the Olympics just over a month away. Yu na benefitted from having her injury early in the season. She has had the time to heal completely.

    ETA: Both Carolina and Yu na will win their national titles without any problem; there is no competition. Mao had tough competition, and so will the nationals champions from Russia and the USA. I don't know if that's (competition) is a good thing or not. It just feels odd to see a national bronze medallist as the country's best hope for an OGM. However, both Akiko and Kanako earned their medals by skating well. There is no way the judges could hold up Mao with that skate. I hope her injury is not serious.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2013
  11. miki88

    miki88 New Member

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    It's more like chronic pain. It seems she's been having it for a while now. At GPF last year and this year she suffered from back pain. I think it affected her spins and she only got lvl 1 in one of her spins in the LP. I think she just needs rest. It's been a long season for her. I don't feel there is a need to worry much due to one competition. I would have been more worried if she peaked at Nationals. It's very rare for a skater to repeat a great performance in a short time.
    I don't feel it's that weird. Akiko and Kanako are really inconsistent skaters. Akiko can be very good at one competition, then do poorly at another. Kanako tends to peak later in the season. Mao hasn't been consistent either in recent years but she has been more consistent than the other two this season. And she has higher scoring potential, so logically she is their best hope.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2013
  12. PashaFan

    PashaFan Well-Known Member

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    I was in Turin & Shizuka skated amazing. She just doubled the loop. Her artistry was also above (IMO) Slutskaya.
    Mao needs to drop the triple axel. It's too much of a risk & let's face it you don't get the points you should for doing it.
    Yes, Yuna is favourite but a lot can happen.
    If Meryl & Charlie fall five times in US Nationals are we going to say they can't win in Sochi ?, No.
    I hope Mao gets a good rest before building up to Sochi.
     
  13. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    It feels like she has been competing against a ghost all season in a way. Kim hasnt even skated this season, except for one small B event, but everything Mao has done and the jumps she are trying are clearly centered around what she thinks she will need to beat Kim. There isnt an easy answer as she needs a very ambitious layout to hope to beat a clean Kim, so while her current strategy is indeed risky and could even jeapordize her podium chances if the other ladies step it up big from what we have seen this year, it is probably still the best one given what her goals are.
     
  14. inskate

    inskate Active Member

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    :confused:
    If she wanted a layout with the highest possible chance of success, she'd just go for:

    3A
    2A-3T
    3F
    --
    2A-3T
    3S
    3F-2L-2L
    3L

    49.36 for base value (vs. 42.52 for Yuna), high chance of scoring positive GoEs (as long as she nails 3A and moves that 3F-2L-2L further from the boards), plus the GoE-factoring benefit thanks to having both 2As in a combo with a triple. If she felt adventurous, she could even replace 3F with 3Lz for a full set of triples and minimal GoE loss.

    However, I don't think Mao will settle for anything that she considers an easy way out. She said that for her Vancouver was about medals, but she wants Sochi to be a culmination of everything she is as a skater, even if it means taking risks. She mentioned Midori's Rachmaninoff LP at Olympics 1992 as her inspiration - Mao said that she admired how despite falling Midori got up, skated her heart out and nailed a triple Axel at the end of her program. She said that when she watches that LP, she's thinking "aah, only Midori could do that". And her goals is to skate programs that would make people think "only Mao could do that".

    (Not to mention she talked about her ideal LP layout having 2 3As and two combos ending in a triple back in 2010, long before Yuna announced that she plans to aim for Sochi.)
     
  15. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    Good point. It is about the personal challenge for her well, whether it is the smartest competitive formula or not. She probably is bolstered in confidence (perhaps more than she should be) by that she won all her international events this year too, and fairly comfortably, despite substantial errors and almost no clean 3 axels in each.
     
  16. rosewood

    rosewood Well-Known Member

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    I just booted up my PC. Thank you for the info, inskate. I think I agree with floskate and miki88. I'll go and read more articles to know what Mao said after the Nats. I somewhat expected this kind of performances at Nats since Japanese skaters who participated in Grand Prix Final had tendency to show rather disappointing skating at Japnan Nats because of fatigue, especially in ladies' field. Only Mao among those top five ladies skated in GPF. Mao didn't need to score very well here since she won GPF, but other two girls had to show their skate of the life here to win the spots for Olympics. I'm just interested in what Mao thought about her philosophy/health after finishing the long program. I wonder if she would not be satisfied with winning OGM by one 3A and 3F-3Lo, but I also wonder if she would. It's about her philosophy and skating. I worry the most that her chronicle back injury wouldn't allow her to go with one 3A and 3F-3Lo even though she wants. All I wrote so far is my assumption, so I stop and go read articles, although she said nothing negative before finishing the seasons in the past. ;)
     
  17. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

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    I don't think the chance is good for Mao to win gold in Sochi. Mao had a stellar SP at the GPF, but her overall performances for the entire season have not been impressive.
     
  18. Spun Silver

    Spun Silver Well-Known Member

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    i dont comprehend the psychology of someone who would rather accomplish a personal goal than win the OGM. She has already done a 3-3A Olympics. It is the OGM she needs, or failing that, a worthy OSM. She is not at the age to set technical records but what she can do is focus on showing her unique beauty. Obviously JMO. :D
     
  19. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

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    It's her life, career, and legacy. I understand her.
     
  20. miki88

    miki88 New Member

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    Who else beside her had a more impressive outing? I guess you can say Julia L had cleaner performances. But none of the other veterans really had better seasons than Mao. Not Wagner, certainly not Kostner. Lol some people doubted that Suzuki would even make the team. It's great to see her put such a great performance at Nationals. But her season has been less than stellar. She lost to younger Russian skaters twice at the GP and did not make the GPF. As the only Japanese skater who made the GPF, I believe fatigue should be factored into Mao's performances here. The other skaters had about a month to prepare for this event, whereas Mao had like little over two weeks. Not to mention she was suffering from back pains, so her condition isn't the best. We will have to see how it will affect her performances in Sochi, but it's too early to judge by one competition.
     
  21. Jammers

    Jammers Well-Known Member

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    People keep acting like Yuna is a shoe-in to win in Sochi but she's rusty and better get more competitive skates in before she goes to the Olympics. It might have worked out last year for her but sitting out most of the season is making her vulnerable this year.
     
  22. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Julia, Elena, Anna, Liza, and Vera

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    I believe her personal goal is the OGM, not the triple axel, but apparently she believes that landing the two 3A's will give her the technical advantage over Yu na and others. Her other jumps are not that strong. She has not skated a clean LP the whole season, I think. Even a 2-footed triple axel is more valuable than some of the easier jumps, probably because she does not feel that confident about them. Her two 3A attempts mean she is pulling out all stops to win the OGM. However, I agree with the majority here that she does not need TWO 3A's, but she does need to land the rest of the jumps to have a chance.
     
  23. bek

    bek Guest

    I do wonder if not showing up may hurt her in relation with the Olympic judges. However in fairness to Kim its not like she's only showing up for the Olympics.

    In general though she is going to Korean Nationals because she feels rusty. I get the impression that she may really have had an injury that kept her out of the GPF. Honestly though in the lead up to Vancover she did 3 competitions, now she'll have two.
     
  24. miki88

    miki88 New Member

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    Based on interviews, Mao's personal goal is to have the best skate of her life in Sochi. To her, she believes it includes 2 3As. One reason could be the 3-3 wasn't working out for her earlier in the season. But it is also an emotional choice. She wants to erase the memories of her performance in Vancouver, where she regretted the mistakes in the LP. Her LP also included 2 3As, so there is that connection.
     
  25. Spun Silver

    Spun Silver Well-Known Member

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    I just don't like the sound of the pressure she is putting on herself. To skate at the Olympics and face a competitor the likes of Yu Na Kim would seem to be pressure enough! Who can control something like a skate of one's life??

    I guess I don't think like an Olympian. :shuffle:
     
  26. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Julia, Elena, Anna, Liza, and Vera

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    Debie Thomas made that mistake in the 1988 and put undue pressure on herself by saying she wanted to have the skate of her life in the LP. When she made a mistake on the 1st jump (not a fall) the air seemed to go out of her. I hope that's not the way Mao is thinking. I hope she really wants to skate her best and is able to accept the results, whatever they may be. I know that in 2010 her disappointment was more about not skating her best rather than missing the OGM. She needs to let go of that, and treat this as a brand new competition, which it is.
     
  27. miki88

    miki88 New Member

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    But I think it's natural for a skater to want to have the best performance possible before they retire (i.e. end on a high note).
     
  28. lahaa968

    lahaa968 Active Member

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    I don't really think Japanese Nationals changed the scope of things. I'm thrilled for Akiko, and I do believe these performances will bring her to the fore as a medal contender in Sochi, but I still expect Mao to do better in Sochi. In a sense, this was probably the best time for a poor skate. I'm more relieved having her get her bad skate of the season out at Nationals rather than later at the Olympics or at Worlds.

    I do second what everyone is saying versus the 2 3A's. Just in terms of points, it's not worth it. Her original goal was for 3F+3Lo (which she landed < at 4CC last year). 3A+2T=8.5+1.4=9.9, while 3F+3Lo=5.3+5.1=10.4, or 3F+3Lo<=8.90. If she repeats 2A+3T, she would need to add +2T for the combo, so 2A+3T+2T=8.8. I would also bring back 3Lz. Overall, I think the original layout is best...

    3A
    3F+3Lo
    3Lz
    2A+3T
    3S
    3F+2Lo+2Lo
    3Lo

    I think making wild predictions based on this event is illogical. Evan Lysacek skated to a 3rd place finish at US Nationals in 2009 and went on to win the world title. As mentioned previously, Shizuka was 3rd at Japanese Nationals, and became Olympic Champion in 2006. Paul Wylie made the Olympic Team by 0.1 mark in 1992, and won silver in Alberville. As Slutskaya mentioned in a previous interview, things can change very fast in an Olympic year. We don't know what will happen.
     
  29. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Julia, Elena, Anna, Liza, and Vera

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    I don't think Mao should put in a 3Lz this late in the game. She has always had edge calls on it. The 3f3R is OK but the second jump is almost always ur. Still, it's worthwhile to attempt that combination.

    She needs to do what she feels comfortable & confident about, but I just don't like those back to back 3 A's.
     
  30. riveredge

    riveredge Active Member

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    miki beat yuna during the 2011 world championship without a flip and 3/3.. it's possible that anyone can beat yuna.. plus ice is slippery..

    as for mao.. sochi is still a month to go.. it's not the end of world because skating at nationals doesn't guarantee you anything..