As I said before, some girls who would have done senior assignments (and are ready) got stuck with junior assignments for lack of better choices. Had USFSA decided on who gets the host picks after summer monitoring, perhaps a girl who got stuck with jgp could have gone to SA. But then I don't see that line of thinking happening any time soon with USFS. The situation being what it is, Rachael earned her assignment with her nationals results.
The really unfair thing is the score inflation with the grand prixs. A GP skater with average skates ends up with better season's best than a promising jgp medalist. It's so hard for jgp girls to move up unless their federation does something for them (politiking or host picks)
All that said, this has nothing to do with Rachael.
What about Yasmin Siraj? She didn't do well at Nationals due to injuries but bounced back nicely this summer and fall and would have been a logical choice for a host pick. Also, were the scores at SA really inflated? If they were, I didn't notice it much, except for maybe a little bit among some of the medalists. If people feel they were, it's bad news for the American guys especially, none of them scored very high, and a few different junior men have scored similarly or even exceeded their numbers by a fair margin at JGP events.
Ok, as I've said for years, I used to uber Rachael. I thought she had so much untapped potential--sadly, she's done nothing to take advantage of it. It's just frustrating to see her continue to get out there when she freely informs anyone that she basically skates an hour and a half a day. When I finish my tough school days and need to do something, I walk around my dining room table. No kidding. Helps me relieve my stress and clear my mind. But you don't see me entering international walking competitions. Rachael's skating is tantamount to my walking at this point.
I'm also not willing to let Mirai off the hook: time to get her mental sh*t together or face the fact that giving in to headcasey-ness and putting skating low on the totem pole doesn't lead to international success.
I do not intend to say that either girl should make skating her top priority and put whatever else aside; that's not how I feel, nor is it my place to feel that way. But they have to realize that elite athleticism is not easy to achieve or maintain, and it requires 100% of your focus and time.
On a different note, this is the first time since 2003 Skate America US ladies go 1-2 in a gp!
If an elite athlete is going to train adequately and be a full time student, there is not going to be room for much else. And that means no sorority, no parties, no football games, etc...
I understand why Rachael wants that part of college life. But she is not going to return to a podium as long as skating is secondary to that.
On the other hand the level of skating in 2011 and 2012 was so much lower than 2009-2010 that it is too bad she could not mantain her 2010 level, as the opening was there for better results with similar skating. The field is showing signs of getting alot stronger again though, so that window has now passed over, not to mention she has sunk to the point of no recovery in too many ways to list.
As for Mirai, I would not rule her out yet (she did manage to get it together at the last minute before Vancouver), but I'm not holding my breath anymore either. It's unfortunate that the two US ladies who were so stellar at the Olympics spiraled downhill like this. But I'm glad skaters like Gao and Wagner are stepping up - it was awesome to see the Skate America podium this weekend.
ITA about the Stanford thing. Christina certainly didn't whip out Harvard gear, from what I saw! I also go to college with a US skater (someone who's not internationally known, but domestically has had some success), and I've never seen him hype his skating at school or his school in skating situations. I think people barely know that he skates.
But I'm also sick of seeing the excuse that "in order to have a normal college experience, she can't train as much." I hate the idea that there's one definition of what it means to be a college student and have that experience.
I think "the normal college experience" is overrated, anyway. But it all depends on the individual. Just because Flatt wants it doesn't mean she's wrong. Just because it didn't mean that much to me, doesn't mean I'm right. However, I do think that if you were an elite-level athlete and your priorities now prevent you from training at that level, then elite competition probably isn't for you anymore.
My job requires me to be a juggler, but that does not mean that I enjoy working with clowns.
Right now, I'm more interested in Ashley's, Christina's, and Gracie's skating. As well, looking forward to seeing how Mirai and Alissa will fare in their GP bids (if Alissa is well enough to go to NHK), and also seeing if Caroline will come back strong for Nationals. Happy that the U.S. ladies are looking stronger and more competitive. It's great to see the younger up-and-coming ladies looking good too this season.
Christina Gao did make the right decision to continue skating and it looks like she picked the right coaches. She seems to love Boston and is happy in school, so it's really wonderful to see her skating blooming too. And isn't it great that 2014 Nationals will take place in Boston!