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  1. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loves_Shizuka View Post
    People in this thread are asking why she retired when she can clearly still match the tech content of todays ladies. Well, the answer is actually quite obvious if you look at her wildly inconsistent results - Shizuka didn't enjoy competing.
    All true. I still wish she would come back--her and Yukari.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by poths View Post
    To think, between 1998 and 2003 she couldn't even make the Japanese team (since she had no personality or any kind of decent program construction). What could have been had she found TT in, say, 1998. 2002 Champion?
    She would have spared the world from having Hughes as a OGM and having to watch so much Yoshie Onda within that period.

    And if she started to pick up her style, choreography and jumps and consistently deliver in 1998/9, there would have been no new Slutskaya to contend next to Kwan. Arakawa would have been the token athletic elite competitor for Kwan and she would have trashed Slutskaya because she would have the jumps and the grace.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loves_Shizuka View Post
    Shizuka didn't enjoy competing.
    Because she was so underrated and never really received political backing except perhaps for 2004 Worlds and 2006 Olympics, the two events she rightfully won anyway.

    To lose out the SLC Olympic spot to Yoshie Onda on GP draw, to never really been given benefit of the doubt, and to never really get top marks even when she skates really well must have broken her spirit. She had a relatively clean and solid 2005/6 GP season but didn't even manage to make GPF for god sake.

    The skate of her life at 2004 Worlds nearly lost to a 5/4 split to Kwan's 5 triple effort to Tosca. Freakin' Tosca.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marco View Post
    Because she was so underrated and never really received political backing except perhaps for 2004 Worlds and 2006 Olympics, the two events she rightfully won anyway.

    To lose out the SLC Olympic spot to Yoshie Onda on GP draw, to never really been given benefit of the doubt, and to never really get top marks even when she skates really well must have broken her spirit. She had a relatively clean and solid 2005/6 GP season but didn't even manage to make GPF for god sake.

    The skate of her life at 2004 Worlds nearly lost to a 5/4 split to Kwan's 5 triple effort to Tosca. Freakin' Tosca.
    Okay, I enjoy Shizuka's skating, but she was very much a late bloomer, and I don't think it was a "miracle month" with Tarasova that turned her skating around. If anything, I credit Richard Callahan for most of her improvement. There is no way she would have risen to the top in 1998 with a new coaching team, she had too far to go. Her musicality improved bit by bit every year, but even now, she struggles to project raw emotion and/or sex appeal. She also had some really awkward positions(see: her lazy low free leg in jump landings, inability to create a clean line in spirals). Combine that with a major lip and cheated jumps and I don't think she would be challenging Slutskaya in the SLC quadrennial.

    Also, in 2004, as great as her LP was, her sp was a mess choreographically and her combo was sloppy and badly cheated. I would have placed her in sixth. I think she should have certainly won the lp with a good lead on tech merit, but I found Kwan's presentation to be superior even with a watered-down program.

  5. #25
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    Tarasova's influence in style and skating might not be immediate, but her political prowess sure was. Without it, Arakawa couldn't possibly have placed as high as 2nd in the sp with that heavily cheated 3/3 (and on both jumps).

    As a matter of fact, while Callaghan should certainly take credit towards that World title, Arakawa had always had the jumps and the consistency since her junior days. It's always a matter of putting things together.

    The flaws in her jumps (edge problems, underrotations, form) didn't improve much under any coach but in any event didn't mean much as I am sure you know by now that Sarah Hughes was the 2002 OGM?!

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marco View Post
    Because she was so underrated and never really received political backing except perhaps for 2004 Worlds and 2006 Olympics, the two events she rightfully won anyway.

    To lose out the SLC Olympic spot to Yoshie Onda on GP draw, to never really been given benefit of the doubt, and to never really get top marks even when she skates really well must have broken her spirit. She had a relatively clean and solid 2005/6 GP season but didn't even manage to make GPF for god sake.

    The skate of her life at 2004 Worlds nearly lost to a 5/4 split to Kwan's 5 triple effort to Tosca. Freakin' Tosca.
    I totally get what you're saying - Arakawa WAS (and IMO, still is) underrated; but there's more to it than that. Yes she didn't have the support, and was very much "under the radar" but Shiz really wasn't anywhere near her best until much later in her career because she just didn't develop as quickly as some of her contemporaries.

    I agree it would have been nice for Shiz to have had a Kwanesque career - something she certainly had the talent to do IMO - but in many ways it was the fact she didn't which makes her skating all the more special to me as a fan (read: uber) Arakawa contemplated retirement pretty much every year! After failing to make the SLC team, she wanted to quit. She continued anyway, pretty much with the intention of definitely retiring in 03 - she had an unexpectedly good 02/03 season, winning GP medals, making it to the GPF, winning the Asian Games and finishing top 8 at worlds. So the JSF convinced her to stay one more year.

    2004 was definitely to be Shizuka's last year, even after posting her best perfomances on the GP circuit and winning GPF bronze. Yet by now her skating had moved up a level IMO, thanks to boosted confidence from the success of the previous season. Her basics, jumps, spins, flexibility, and consistency, and even her choreo and programmes, dresses and appearance, were all stronger, like she'd had a mini-makeover. The JSF got Tarasova for her, and she was finally getting some support and backing. I think others saw her potential more than she did herself. Still, heading into worlds I remember hearing in the Japanese press that this was her last competition. Of course, we know what happened there. So again, she was convinced to stay.

    05 was a miserable season; I really don't think her heart was in it, she struggled with motivation after winning Worlds and then had injury and boot problems. I'll always remember after her 05 worlds LP, her giving an interview on the verge of tears, saying she didn't want to do this anymore and that she wanted to skate in shows. So, for a while, there were more retirement rumours. She decided to give the Olympics one last shot, having missed it last time; but even at the GPF (which she didn't make) she said if two Japanese made it onto the podium, she didn't think she'd even make the Olympic team. But of course Asada was too young and Shiz finished ahead of Nakano at Nats. Finally, at Torino, Shiz looked confident, strong and settled. And for me, that was why I followed her career so much. She didn't peak at 18 and go away. She struggled, she lacked confidence and she didn't make the most of herself at such an age. But it was such a pleasure to see her stick with it, to mature and develop a sense of confidence and elegance only a woman of a certain age and experience can have. Her unexpected victories, later on in her career, at an age when so many female skaters have come and gone, made her successes all the sweeter for me.

    I'm so sorry I've gone on and on.

  7. #27

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    gosh, she was a really amazing jumper!!

    I only saw her performance in Torino Oly, and her fs was absolutely beautiful, and to see that clip? boy she was also a technician!

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by l'etoile View Post
    gosh, she was a really amazing jumper!!

    I only saw her performance in Torino Oly, and her fs was absolutely beautiful, and to see that clip? boy she was also a technician!
    Well, she was a technician before being anything else !

  9. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loves_Shizuka View Post

    I'm so sorry I've gone on and on.
    Your comments are very welcome. Her skill and back-story make her an inspiration for me. Snubbed by so many, she endured. I characterize her as skating with grace and rage.

  10. #30
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    I really think Shizuka was too shy to express the music. To me, she didn't want to be graceful. She probably was very flexible but was too shy to show that off.. like her spiral for example. She barely lifted her leg up before 2004. I think she was looking at figure skating as just a sport for a long time. She probably didn't realize how important to be artistic as well as athletic. She either didn't care or too shy to express the music. She really did have awkward spins and positions until she went to Richard Callaghan. That's why it took Shizuka so long to become a medal contender. The japanese feds always knew that Shizuka was the one with most talent back in 2002. After she failed to qualify for the olympics in 2002, I think the japanese feds stepped in and made a coaching change to Callaghan? I am sure the feds paid for the coaching fee.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by ks777 View Post
    I really think Shizuka was too shy to express the music. To me, she didn't want to be graceful. She probably was very flexible but was too shy to show that off.. like her spiral for example. She barely lifted her leg up before 2004. I think she was looking at figure skating as just a sport for a long time. She probably didn't realize how important to be artistic as well as athletic. She either didn't care or too shy to express the music. She really did have awkward spins and positions until she went to Richard Callaghan. That's why it took Shizuka so long to become a medal contender. The japanese feds always knew that Shizuka was the one with most talent back in 2002. After she failed to qualify for the olympics in 2002, I think the japanese feds stepped in and made a coaching change to Callaghan? I am sure the feds paid for the coaching fee.
    Some good points. Despite having a lot of nice qualities, I felt Shizuka lacked personality for a while. I think part of the reason could be that she didn't dedicate her entire attention on figure skating while she was still in school. Perhaps she only was able to find that passion for the sport after she finished her studies.

  12. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by ks777 View Post
    I am sure the feds paid for the coaching fee.
    Does the JSF spend money like that? I read Arakawa's father talking about the nearly prohibitive costs. I wonder.

    Another question: Prior to Arakawa going to Calahan, were there many Japanese skaters going abroad for choreography? When I see Midori Ito or the early Arakawa, I tend to think the Japanese were more ingrown, more focused on the athletics and hadn't really figured out the choreography yet.

  13. #33
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    IIRC, Arakawa's 1998 Olympic long program was choreographed by Toller Cranston. And I don't know who did the original 2001-2 version of Turandot but it was beautiful.

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by ks777 View Post
    I really think Shizuka was too shy to express the music. To me, she didn't want to be graceful. She probably was very flexible but was too shy to show that off.. like her spiral for example. She barely lifted her leg up before 2004. I think she was looking at figure skating as just a sport for a long time. She probably didn't realize how important to be artistic as well as athletic. She either didn't care or too shy to express the music. She really did have awkward spins and positions until she went to Richard Callaghan. That's why it took Shizuka so long to become a medal contender. The japanese feds always knew that Shizuka was the one with most talent back in 2002. After she failed to qualify for the olympics in 2002, I think the japanese feds stepped in and made a coaching change to Callaghan? I am sure the feds paid for the coaching fee.
    Good post, and I think you're right. Prior to 2003 I really don't think the JSF were that pro-active about anything (in comparison to now) The success of Suguri (and Onda) internationally kinda set things in motion. By 03 I think they really started directing Arakawa more. They decided her move to Callaghan and I believe "had some words" about the way her career should be going. Before then her skating was inward, unpolished and her mother still made her dresses. I don't think it's any coincidence that between 02 and 03 her skating improved greatly - as I said in my earlier post, it was like she had a mini-makeover; from her actual skating to the way she looked.

    I know the JSF (and her mother) basically insisted on Shiz going to Tarasova, and yes, they put up the bill. They also insisted on her going back to Swan Lake for her worlds SP in 04 (as opposed to Umbrella's of Cherbourg she'd used for the GP) I have a feeling though that the move to Morozov was more of a personal decision.

  15. #35

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    I'm not doubting that all that is being said here is true, because it could all be, but do we know any of this to be true, or is this a series of educated guesses? Do federations ever reveal their intentions--or their expenses?

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