Rachael Flatt out for rest of the 2012-2013 season

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by Capella, Oct 30, 2012.

  1. maureenfarone

    maureenfarone Active Member

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    Wishing Rachael the best! Hope she is able to make a complete recovery and enjoy her time at Stanford. Perhaps she will compete next year or not...it is her decision. While she isn't my favorite lady skater, I have certainly enjoyed some of her programs.
  2. demetriosj

    demetriosj Well-Known Member

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    When hell freezes over, unfortunately. All that matters is winning medals.

    USFS does not give two hoots about their skaters' health, well-being, career, psyche etc. Skaters are treated like racehorses, and tossed to the side when injured/sick, and the "next big thing" is brought out from the wings. The cycle goes on and on and on........
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
  3. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

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    Which is exactly what she says she's doing by withdrawing at this time.
  4. Carolla5501

    Carolla5501 Well-Known Member

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    So where do you draw the line? "bubba" the skater claims injury. Do you let "bubba" who would have finished DEAD LAST at regionals go to Nationals just because "he was injured" Because that's going to create an "everyone is injured" game :)

    And USFS did "stomp" hard on Rachel a few years ago for competing injured. They didn't tell her to go to World's injured, she and her team packed up and headed out thinking "it won't matter" Rachel made that decision NOT USFS. She has proven that she does what she wants LOL!

    I see nothing wrong with saying "if you can't compete, we are sorry but we have to move on" That's how they do it in other sports. The sad truth is doing it the the other way and giving "byes" actually seems more problematic. That's what tends to lead to the 'come back to quick' attempts and long term chronic problems IMHO
  5. RD

    RD Well-Known Member

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    But - are other federations any better about this?

    I don't think it's so much USFS as it's just skating in general. Backing up even more, it's SPORTS in general. It's just the way it is...

    Because competitive skaters tend to be younger, it "seems" more harsh because a lot of times these girls are still growing, and it's the level of competition at the top that pushes them to do harder and harder tricks. NOT the federation. And it's more complicated than that, too- I suspect training habits among other things NOT controlled by USFS factor much more into injury susceptibility than some arbitrary rule about a competition...JMO
  6. B.Cooper

    B.Cooper Active Member

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    Looking at some of the other NGB's like US Ski Team....there is a greater respect for injured athletes. And, although the structure for going to international competitions is different, perhaps it is time that the ISU looks at the structure for qualifying for ISU World Championship events (yes, I know, a minimum TES is now required). But, from the perspective of someone who has followed skiing for a number of years, the World Cup series allows athletes to compete through out the season, and if they have to miss an event due to injury, they have time to recover, and get back to competing during the same season. Not sure of the approach that figure skating could take, but perhaps athletes that have a world ranking above a certain level or if they have competed at the World Championships, if they so choose to compete at their national championship, are invited back in a certain time frame, say within two years of their last Worlds competition. I am just thinking "out loud"...but then it opens up the competitions to just that....a competition, not a coronation. So, then perhaps it brings back fans who followed a certain athlete (thinking of keeping the fan base alive), but also allows the federation to create a unique marketing strategy ....battle of the newbies or up and comings, vs the seasoned athlete. Look at the San Francisco Giants...Buster Posey lost last season due to an injury, but he wasn't discarded. Yeah, I know, they guy gets paid $$$$$, but the team stood by him as a valuable asset. I don't think many federations view their athletes as assets, more as a item to be toyed with and jettisoned when they are finished with them. Skating has changed so much in the last twenty years...hard to see it existing in its current state twenty years from now.

    I agree with a number of posters, that a number of federations view their athletes as disposable. And, these same federations wonder why the sport is on the downhill slide....there is no momentum built around a "brand" that is recognizable.

    So, back to Flatt....None of us know the extent of her injuries, but Wishing her a total recovery, and happiness in where her path leads her.
  7. demetriosj

    demetriosj Well-Known Member

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    Yes, most of these competitors are under 18. That's what makes the shabby way they are treated when injured, etc. even worse. This is not the NBA. For the most part, these are not adults we are talking about, they are children. The way they are treated is borderline abusive, IMHO>
  8. Sasha'sSpins

    Sasha'sSpins Well-Known Member

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    I'm not a Rachael fan but it is unfortunate she had to end her season injured. I wish for her a full recovery and I'm sure she's enjoying her studies.
  9. Garden Kitty

    Garden Kitty Tranquillo

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    Wishing Rachael a speedy and full recovery.
    Maofan7 and (deleted member) like this.
  10. ioana

    ioana Well-Known Member

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    Adding my good wishes for a full recovery to the list. If she ends up leaving competitive skating, best of luck to her. I just hope she gets to make the decision on her own, instead of being forced into it by injuries.
  11. B.Cooper

    B.Cooper Active Member

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    Is there an athlete's advocacy group within the skating federations? What are the rights of the athletes?


    There is the Athletes Advisory committee at USFS whose mission is :
    "the collection of viewpoints and ideas of active and former competitive athletes, the representation and promotion of the rights and viewpoints of active and former competitive athletes, the conducting of informational meetings and the election of individuals to serve in athlete positions of U.S. Figure Skating as well as athlete positions in the USOC."
    http://www.usfsa.org/Story.asp?type=leadership&id=826
    Based upon the current roster of this group, about a half dozen active skaters involved ...so about 10% of the total committee

    There is the PSA....The Professional Skaters Assocation " The PSA is the official figure skating coachÂ’s education, training and accreditation program for the U.S. Figure Skating and the Ice Skating Institute. We are the largest and most recognized of all figure skating coachÂ’s organizations in the world"

    And, the only other group that I can think of that would be actively involved in the safety of the athletes (mental health as well as physical health)..would be the USFS Parents committee, whose mission is:
    "collecting viewpoints and ideas of parents of active and former competitive athletes; communicating these ideas and viewpoints; informational and educational meetings for parents; providing guidance to parents in their supportive role in the lives of competitive athletes; promoting Codes of Ethics and good sportsmanship; selecting spokespersons for meetings, seminars and camps; preparing and publishing FOCUS for Parents in SKATING magazine."

    Unless I have missed something notable, not sure how these groups actively help the bulk of the USFS skaters, who are mostly under age 18, esp the girls. This is a group of athletes that really has no voice in their federation IMO. Because, if it am correct, to serve on a USFS committee, the individual has to be 18 or older, correct?

    How do other federations work? Is there a good example out there of a federation that does really work to serve the athletes' needs in terms of health and well being?

    Found this website....
    http://www.injuredathletes.org/
    But, this is more of a high school format, not quite the level of figure skating, which quite frankly, sits between an amateur sport and a professional sport.

    Not sure of the best way to approach this, but if there is a silver lining in all of this, perhaps with the greater incidence of injury due to COP, maybe the federations will wake up and smell the coffee and rethink how they approach the sport....to do more to keep the athletes healthy, and when injured, help them find answers and find service providers that can help them get healthy and get them back to competing. Ultimately, the Federations want medals, and to do so, they have to have healthy functioning athletes. How about being "pro-active" rather than "re-active" for a change. ;)
  12. ioana

    ioana Well-Known Member

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    A lot of members for the Athletes Advisory Committee are over 18 and retired, but that doesn't mean they didn't compete at that age and cannot speak for skaters who currently do. If anything, they are in a better position to explain their point of view since they are no longer competing themselves which makes it easier to be objective, i.e., there is less at stake for them personally, but they were in a situation where USFSA decisions impacted their career and could offer their own experience as examples.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
  13. B.Cooper

    B.Cooper Active Member

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    ioana...you hit the nail on the head...as many of the AAC members are no longer competing ....and in your words..."there is less at stake for them personally".....and quite frankly, therein lies the problem. They may be better able to voice their concerns as to what is an issue for the younger group of skaters with no/little risk, but those athletes who are currently competing can not and will not voice their concerns, because there is SO much at risk. How does that mentality change, because until it does (think cycling and the entire Lance Armstrong issues)...until the door is open, and there is a frank discussion, very little will change. The cyclists that have come forward, hopefully, will help that sport clean itself up.

    But, with skating, because there ARE so many young elite skaters, and even the elite skaters who are over 18, can not voice their concerns because of the risk to their careers, what can be done to help them? Are there concerns that committee members become jaded over the years....and the old boys mentality, like medical school interns...."we did it, or we put up with the system, why shouldn't the newbies coming up have to deal with it as well?" Not convinced that is the way to go. Change is difficult for everyone, but with COP and the physical demands on these kids, esp the young girls, something has to give, and it is usually their bodies, unfortunately. Not looking for a utopian society, but wouldn't it be great if there were voices that advocated the health of these athletes?
  14. Sylvia

    Sylvia Whee, summer club comps!

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    What role(s) should parents and coaches play in minimizing severe and/or repetitive injury risks for skaters who are pushing their bodies to their physical limits?
  15. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    As long as coaches like Tom Zakrajsek get Coach of the Year nominations and awards and do little to discourage injured skaters like Flatt and Farris from competing, I think this is an uphill battle to be fought by mavericks like Gauthier.
  16. skatemommy

    skatemommy Well-Known Member

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    Amen kwanfan, amen. "Uphill battle" is putting it nicely.
  17. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

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    This x infinity.
  18. jlai

    jlai Title-less

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    Tom's win was before the mass exotus of skaters from his camp though. He doesn't have any high level skater competing at the international circuit now, does he? I thought they all left
  19. overedge

    overedge Well-Known Member

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    But that's the point, is that he was being given awards while he was (apparently) encouraging skaters to push themselves too far physically.
  20. jlai

    jlai Title-less

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    True, though skaters left him soon after because of his "reputation".
    A skater's parent told me how he disapproved of Tom Z.; his kid, who's had some success, won't be training with Tom Z at all.
    If Tom Z. wants top skaters to come back, he may want to rethink his training strategy.
  21. haribobo

    haribobo Well-Known Member

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    It's prob too late in his career to truly rebrand himself. At least IMO. But that doesn't mean he shouldn't try. Also, I don't think he does choreo, but most of his skaters end up with pretty weak programs and PCS. So while he is seemingly a strong jumps coach, otherwise he is a tough sell. Skating coaching in the US right now is in kind of a strange spot, with lots of top skaters with relatively no-name coaches. Tammy Gambill and Mark and Peter (of the better known ones) are generally coming up roses lately- Ricky D. and Christina G. in particular are doing great. Yuka and Jason were on top of the world a couple of seasons ago with Alissa and Jeremy, but those skaters careers have been a bit rockier as of late, so in turn, their coaches may not now seem like the geniuses they once appeared to be. Doesn't mean they aren't good coaches, but their rep takes a bit of a hit. But alas, different things working for different people and all that. Its nice to see some new faces in the kiss and cry, though...things will continue to evolve....
  22. haribobo

    haribobo Well-Known Member

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    I'm not even sure if Rachael's bye is technically rescinded when she doesn't compete at this thing, but it doesn't bother me if it is- that is not a punishment for being injured- it is out of respect for all the skaters at sectionals doing their thing. Rachael could have gone to her int'l, done all singles, and still kept her bye to Nationals. No skater at Sectionals in men or ladies can do all singles and still qualify to Nationals. I am sure her injury causes pain and she made the right decision, but its not some huge injustice going on now- she is a bit lucky to have gotten the spot at SA in the first place given the very mediocre scores she attained at her one summer comp, as now she has a SB score and can do GP next season if she wants to....whereas Max Aaron and Keegan Messing who have been tearing up the Senior B circuit much more than Rachael has torn up any comp the last 2 years, still have no SB score for the last 2 seasons and can only hope to skate well at Nationals (where they have to compete against 1 Olympic gold medalist, 2 other Olympians, and Dornbush, Rippon, Miner, Armin, etc.) and then hope to be chosen for 4CC or Skate America to break through internationally. Rachael is riding the coattails of her own results from several years ago but hasn't shown much to warrant her assignments as of late. There's about 15 US ladies skaters who are skating better now than what she can do now. That said, what Rachael has accomplished whilst going to Stanford and competing injured is almost miraculous.

    It stinks just as much that Samantha Cesario, 2 years running now and who is probably even better than Rachael of 11-12 and 12-13, got injured prior to Nationals, couldn't compete there basically eliminating her chances of a junior worlds or senior GP spot. It sucks but that is the way sport goes, and plenty of equally talented skaters have had as cruddy or worse things happen to them. It has worked out OK for Samantha as she's been able to come back to the JGP and medal there every year, so in theory she could get a GP spot next year, maybe. At least there's a maybe. Rachael has had a good run, she has a lot going for her outside of skating and I think it is truly for the best that she take some time off since she has been injured on and off for years now and can't seem to get better. One way that USFS could help this situation a bit would be to hold some kind of legit competition in the early fall for skaters who were injured for Nationals that helps decide who should get the Skate America and JGP and senior B slots. That way, missing Nationals wouldn't be such a huge deal. They do take some of the comps like Liberty and Golden West, etc. into account a little bit, but they aren't really taken that seriously in general. I'm guessing this hasn't been done because of $, and its just easier for the assigning committee to use Nationals results than to throw a wrench into that with new results that you have to then counterbalance with Nationals and intl results to make tough decisions...
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2012
  23. stjeaskategym

    stjeaskategym Well-Known Member

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    There's a relatively small group of US skaters selected for Sr international competitions. I'm not saying give any random skater registered for Regionals a medical bye... I'm saying stop punishing international skaters like Flatt for making what may have been a very wise decision--- to rest a current injury, which perhaps could have enabled her to compete in the remainder of her scheduled events this season (which was Nationals). Instead of encouraging Flatt to listen to her body and pace herself throughout her competition schedule, Flatt is forced to disappear for the rest of the season because she wasn't willing to sacrifice any more of her health for a competition that's quickly upcoming. I imagine that if Flatt had shown up at her Intl event next week and had withdrawn after a practice (or took to the ice for her SP and did the bare minimum) her Nationals bye would have stood. This is not a game the skaters should have to consider playing.

    I don't know how many sports have you pencil a competition into your schedule and then yank it away simply because you wanted to rest an injury at a prior competition. I don't know how many sports deny athletes who have just represented their country internationally a chance to compete at their own Nationals. It's ridiculous. Certainly there are other sports that treat their injured high level athletes better than that. I'm very much aware that sports can be cruel and not always fair, but sometimes it goes too far. It's not a burden on anyone to guarantee the relatively small pool of skaters who are representing the country on the GP circuit/Senior Bs an opportunity to compete at Nationals a short time later. At the very least, skaters who are given byes to Nationals for whatever reason should not have them taken away because of injury.

    As for Tom Z, he was basically just encouraging Joshua Farris to do what is consistent with USFS's culture--- compete no matter what unless you want to risk being put out to pasture until next fall.

    Figure skating is a real sport and the demands of it grow by the year. You cannot stop injuries, but you can stop punishing injured athletes. I'm sure for Rachael it was punishment enough to have a hurt leg, not be able to skater properly, and have to withdraw from an international. She didn't deserve to have her granted Nationals bye taken away, too. That's just kicking her when she's down.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2012
  24. stjeaskategym

    stjeaskategym Well-Known Member

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    I assumed it was rescinded when Rachael announced she was out for the season. Otherwise she could have simply withdrawn from this competition and at least left her possibilities open for Nationals which is still quite far away. If her bye still stands, someone please correct me since I've just written a bunch of paragraphs criticizing USFS for taking it away. :)


    Also, I understand your point about Cesario, but at least she wasn't given a bye to Nationals and then had it taken away from her for something pretty much out of her control (an untimely injury). That's my main issue with this Flatt situation. I'd just like to see USFS do a little better job caring for the well being of the skaters, in particular the ones who are representing USFS internationally. As I mentioned in my previous post, it's really not difficult to do.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2012
  25. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    She would have had a bye had she competed at her Senior B. If she was too injured to skate at her Senior B, she was too injured to skate at regionals, and if she didn't skate at regionals and place high enough, she doesn't have the possibility to skate at Nationals.
  26. haribobo

    haribobo Well-Known Member

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    Its not as if it was a surprise though- she knew the consequence of withdrawing. And the timing stinks, but chances are she wouldn't be recovered by January anyway. If she hadn't done the international, she'd be required to skate at Mids at the same time. I get that it would be a nice gesture for her to keep her bye, but that is still sending a really cruddy message to the 5th place finisher at sectionals this year, who could end up being someone like Nina Jiang or Kiri Baga, who also represented the US this year on the JGP. They wouldn't get to go to Nationals, but Rachael was swept right through due to her star status and the fact that she showed up and did a few triples at Skate America? Nice. Now, had Rachael medaled at SA, *that* situation would really stink. I wouldn't mind seeing a rule built in that international medalists that season get a bye to Nationals. But I don't really see her indicating anywhere that she's bumming hard about her bye being rescinded. Girl needs more than a month to sort out these injuries, I'd think.
  27. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

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    Maybe they'd still have medical byes if skaters (and coaches) hadn't abused them by claiming injuries in order to abvoid competitions they simply hadn't been adequately prepared for. When more than half of the competitors at a qualifying competition got there on byes, USFS had to crack down.

    Now the skaters know the rule: there are NO medical byes. Period. It's fair because it applies to everyone, not just a chosen few or ones who know which strings to pull.

    Rachale's no dummy. Let's give her a little credit for making the decision that's best for her at this time in her life.
  28. Carolla5501

    Carolla5501 Well-Known Member

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    You want "figure skating" to be a real sport but then you want o allow those you like to just make the finals. Sorry it doesn't work that way in a lot of 'real sports' LOL! There were runners who didn't make the Olympic team because when the trials were held they were injured. There are lots of sports teams that don't make the finals because a key player get's injured. Even the Williams sisters were fighting to come back from injury to make sure they made the Olympic team because it wasn't a "bye" based on their past success. Venus admitted she was back before she was ready because "it's the Olympics"

    I think the real truth is "we want byes for Skaters we like" LOL!
  29. RD

    RD Well-Known Member

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    :rofl: gotta love the "playing favorites" angle!

    But yeah - I don't quite get it either. One of the few fair rules in skating (that is, no one gets special treatment and everyone gets a fair shot) and there is outcry about it...hmm.

    I don't know too much about the "byes" skaters get for having conflicting events, but aren't they understood to be conditional? It's not like USFS grants these byes and then takes them away once they're injured, if I understand correctly?
  30. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    It depends on the bye: placing X at Nationals and earning an automatic bye isn't taken away for injury or withdrawing from a Senior B or GP for any other reason. Getting a conditional bye for competing at an overlapping or close Senior B or GP is, and by not competing (for any reason), the skater hasn't met the condition and doesn't get the bye.

    Flatt didn't place high enough at 2012 Nationals to earn an automatic bye. Flatt had to compete at the Senior B conflicting with her qualifying event to fulfill the terms of the conditional bye, or she had to skate at the qualifying event and place high enough to earn a spot at Nationals.
  31. B.Cooper

    B.Cooper Active Member

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    I am sure Flatt understood that when she withdrew from the Sr B event, that she was passing on US Nationals as well, when she made her decision.

    But, what gets under my skin, is the topic I've quoted above from stjeaskategym.....about the culture of "compete no matter what" Farris, Flatt, Ryan Bradley (had surgery on his foot post 2010 Worlds)...and who knows how many other of Tom Z's skaters have competed at risk to their health. I am not saying Zakrajsek is any better or any worse than any other coach...no point of reference for this...just that some of his skaters have been public about the injury issues.

    So, is Tom Z's mentality...compete no matter what....is that mentality pervasive throughout skating or is it just USFS? Or is Tom Z the extreme side of the pendulum of this attitude? USFS's focus is ALL about the medals, and I suppose that comes from the USOC, and probably is tied to financial support from the USOC. But, should the athletes be the ones who suffer the consequences of this mentality? Are the coaches responsible at all? Think about the number of 12-14 yr old girls, doing rep after rep of triples each day, bending into pretzels for spins, the guys are now taking on 3A's earlier in their careers (think Nathan Chen), the higher level of difficulty in throws for girls in pairs and the lifts for pairs...just don't want to think about that (Isn't Josh Reagan out of CoC with a rib injury?). COP has demanded a higher level of difficulty, and the kids are paying the price, when the coaches demand more from the athletes as the system has demanded it.

    I think it is about finding a compromise......and again, getting the athletes healthy....and KEEPING them healthy...which allows the athletes to train and compete at their best, and hopefully bring home the medals ;)
  32. UMBS Go Blue

    UMBS Go Blue KWEEN 2016! YES WE KWAN!

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    :rofl: that a skater and a coach worth forgetting about long ago :yawn: still command so much attention :saint:
  33. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    So much double talk around here. In the midst of threads about not enough hard content, not enough 3/3s from the ladies, not enough quads from the men...we have discussions about how there are too many injuries and someone needs to address the problem to save the skaters.

    One and one still adds up to two. It can't be both ways. We can't see consistent hard jumps and harder combos and decrease injury at the same time.
  34. kwanatic

    kwanatic Well-Known Member

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    I've noticed that too...
  35. ioana

    ioana Well-Known Member

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    I think the discussion was more about skaters being encouraged to compete despite injuries (and in some cases aggravating them as a result), not so much having more injuries as a result of working on harder jumps or combos. I could be wrong, of course.
  36. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    Exactly.
  37. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    That's because some people believe skaters need harder content and some people believe that injuries and skating injured are a big problem. They aren't necessarily the same people.
  38. overedge

    overedge Well-Known Member

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    After seeing Flatt at Skate America (and at Skate America in Everett) I'm not convinced she's "worth forgetting about". She has some excellent qualities in her skating that could really be used well with a coach and/or choreographer who was more sensitive to what she's good at and not so good at. Firebird IMHO was a big mistake because that's exactly the kind of skater she isn't.
  39. Jammers

    Jammers Well-Known Member

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    If she's not going to improve her speed or other skating skills no coach or choreographer is going to be able to help Rachael. Her best years are behind her.
  40. Jot the Dot Dot

    Jot the Dot Dot Headstrong Buzzard

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    I'm gonna miss her, but it is for the best. Have a good rest and recovery, Rachael, you are one cutie I adore, on and off the ice.