http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IU78A1ezsJA When Gracie is on, her jumps are quite amazing. And how we each view skaters' looks is subjective. I wouldn't say I'm "enthralled" by Gracie, but obviously she has great potential. I don't think "regal" has anything to do with it at this point in her career. But I think she's trying to work on her confidence, and on her arms and her presentation. She's learning how to compete in the pressure cooker of the senior ranks. She's also got to navigate the hype from people who tend toward being enthralled by her potential. Gracie is a pretty girl, with long legs and a nice look on the ice. And with a magical name for a skater to boot! Although with all the hype, I hope her name doesn't get over-cliched from the tempting use of puns, before she has a chance to succeed. Both Gracie and Kaetlyn have a long way to go, but they both have talent and wonderful potential, which is nice to see in North American skating. Everything has to go just right for each of them, because figure skating is not easy. I was reading something Petr Barna (who is now coaching) said on his website: Those are very wise words from an Olympic medalist and one of the finest skaters of his generation. I agree there doesn't seem to be any magic involved in what is required to become a figure skater. However, when everything comes together just right after all the hard work, patience, diligence, more hard work, learning from falling down and getting up again (and with a huge dollop of luck), magical moments can happen on the ice. And when the magic happens in a performance, that's what makes the hard work and the steady belief in one's talent worthwhile. We fans need to practice patience too. BTW, I think Sotnikova is extremely talented and she has wonderful artistic qualities, but right now I don't get from her anything regal or confident. Sotnikova has had her moments, but she's not pulled it altogether consistently yet. And for that matter, look how long it took Carolina to finally realize her regal potential! Carolina was supposed to be Italy's golden girl at the 2006 Olympics. It takes awhile for talented skaters when they are young to learn who they are and to be able to express that with confidence and with artistic maturity on the ice. Mao Asada and Yu Na Kim are also definitely regal and confident, but they still each have their weaknesses, and they each have sacrificed a lot to make it to the top. Just getting there and trying to maintain their position is another huge struggle. I think Sasha, Michelle and Tara were simply precociously talented and both Sasha and Michelle were artistically mature at a young age, but that doesn't happen for everyone. And none of their paths were simple or easy just because they achieved success at young ages. Every skater has their own path, and their own unique journey. Also, only a lucky few get to stand on top of the podium at the Olympics. The important thing is in learning how after striving for and not necessarily winning gold, that there is gold in the effort and in the lessons learned. Figuring out how to mine that particular gold and how to appreciate one's blessings can take a lifetime. Someone needs to tell Phil Hersh, the media, and the USFS (who should know already) that they need to practice patience too. Celebrate the victories of young talent, but tone down the hype, and learn how to continue giving encouragement and support when athletes falter or don't live up to the lofty expectations we set for them. I love the new thread title too!