I wouldn't assume that they are all THAT attached to every single coach they've had. Some splits may be harsh I don't know, but I don't think its fair to say coaching coaches is wrong/bad idea. It depends. Sometimes the skater needs a change, and it is better to switch while you still can than to stay with a situation that isn't working. Look at Alissa, maybe things would have been better if she had made the switch a long time ago.
Yep. I can't help but wonder what the emotional toll will end up being on these skaters...
And besides not every coaching change is bitter. Look at Sasha and Nicks. She's always leaving him and going back to him. It depends on how the skaters handle splits too.
I don't think its fair to judge Mao just because she didn't find a coach that works for her yet, at the Senior level. Just because Mao was skating well under Auturian doesn't mean tthat he was the right coach for her. Just because Kim and Michelle were successful under their respective coaches, doesn't mean that they didn't/don't need a change.
And young skaters start out with childhood coaches and move on all the time.
Frankly in this scenario I think bringing up coaching splits is irrelevant. Last I checked Tarasova ended things and so Mao is coachless. It may not even be her choice. Besides, its clear the situation with Tarasova isn't working. I'm not sure why skaters should be criticized for leaving a situation that was clearly not working. (A case that is not the same for Michelle or Yu-na)
IMO Rochette and Ando are not as artistic as Yunah and Mao. Joannie is well packaged and the choreography of he programs is always excellent, but I've never felt that she had an innate sense of musicality or much artistic flair. While Ando's strength is that she's a powerful skater, which her programs don't always highlight.
I actually find it harder to quantify artistry in the ladies than other disciplines because it seems that graceful and feminine = artistry for the ladies while less graceful and feminine (i.e. Slutskaya) = masculine and the latter is seen as inferior to the former (i.e. Slute skates like a truck driver).
When I think of artistic ladies the names that immediately come to mind are not even Yunah and Mao, although both are strong skaters in terms of the second mark or PCS. But Alissa C., Fumia, and of course Kwan would be at the top of my list.
I guess people define artistry differently. For me Mao is a beautiful skater because she is elegant and moves with a lot of ease. But I don't find her particularly artistic. Artistry for me is more than just moving prettily. It also means the skater has some kind of vision of what they want to present on the ice. I disagree that Rochette doesn't have an innate musicality. I actually believe she is one of the most musical ladies skaters and can pick of very subtle nuances in the music. An unmusical skater doesn't skate to Summertime as beautifully as she did.
The only Japanese girls whom I feel are musical and artistic are Yukina Ota and Nana Takeda. Too bad their jumps failed them. Their positions are just as stunning and they move across the ice just as effortlessly. On the men side, no one can touch Takahashi, perhaps Honda at his absolute peak.
Lepisto, Nagasu and Suzuki I love as well and adore their programs but each in a particular and different way. Just like Mao who has a special light and etheral quality and a way of moving her head that just leaves me spell-bound.
Peggy Fleming once said about Cohen: "You can take a pic any time in her program, and she'll never hit a bad position". Even when her ass is on the ice (this I'm adding).
Kim hits tons of disturbing positions, at least to my eye. And I can always see them clearly, as if pics were handed to me in real time.
Asada, I wonder why there's a need to point it out, is an exquisite skater, artistically speaking. Her only flaws are definitely technical.
I agree that Asada's skating is much more stunning than Yuna's, from a pure still-photo perspective. But music and movement are a big part of skating's artistry too, and that's where I find Yuna or even Joannie level the score on artistry with Mao. (and why I think Fumie is more artistic than Cohen even though she could not straighten her leg or point her toes to save her life)
Fumie is more artistic than Cohen? Each to his own I guess.
Also, I don't understand how paying more attention to your choreography correlates to having an innate musicality. I think if a skater really has innate musicality, then they will make you forget that it is a choreographed program. At her best, Mao has an ethereal presence on the ice that she seems to move to the music without even trying.
I think her Clair de Lune at WTT and Lavender SP at 2007 JPN Nationals and at 2008 Worlds, also Nocturne at 2006 NHK and at 2006 Nationals suit your definition.
Her movements and interpretation of music were so smooth and natural that they made us forget the numbers had been choreographed. She was the music itself.
Last edited by galaxy; 09-08-2010 at 06:04 PM.
Wow there's so much to disagree with in this thread.
We've always had very interesting debates here on what artistry is and how you quantify it. Artistic doesn't necessarily = musical or vice versa. It's quite rare actually to find a skater who posesses both qualities in equal measure and I'd certainly put Mao in that bracket. (For a more universaly acknowledged example of this combination look no further than Janet Lynn.)
I think there was so much pressure on Mao to be more like Yu Na (i.e. faster, more attack, more faces etc) but in doing so she went against what was so great about her skating and as a result has explored her musicality to a greater degree than many others which will only benefit the artistic side of her skating in the long term.
I do agree with the poster upthread regarding her use of head movement. It's soooo subtle but she does it in a way that no other skater can and it is stunningly beautiful. There are some wonderful examples of this in her Ballade exhibition this season. As Fred says, each to his or her own, but sterile? Mao?
I think Sato had been hesitating for a long time about the offer from Mao, considering his age, his health, and the huge pressure that'll be put on his shoulders as a main coach of Mao, and his having Kozuka, another medal contender.
This spring after the Worlds, I saw a TV program where Sato appeared and heard him say, " If only I had more health, I could do more jobs."
I think by that time he had already been approached and made an offer by Mao's side.
It must have been a really tough decision for him to make.
I heard he had turned down her offer once. But it seems Mao didn't give up and kept asking.
Thank God, he finally accepted her offer.
I wish them the best of luck!