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  1. #1

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    How could the U.S. provide more international opportunities for deserving or develop?

    Article on USC Annenberg School for Communications Digital News site - "Neon Tommy"

    Will The United States Ever Have A Breakout Senior Figure Skater?


    http://www.neontommy.com/news/2012/0...h5QWqI.twitter

    Interesting points are made.

    (Full disclosure-one of the skaters mentioned has a close relationship to crzesk8dad, that's not why I posted, but I felt I should be honest with you readers)
    Happy Skating!

    Crzesk8dad

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    I do agree that it would be nice for the lesser known skaters to get these B competitions, but the organizers need some "big ticket" names too to attract the public.

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    Not just interesting - spot on points. And, what about all those events on the ISU calendar the US sends no one too?

    "There's definitely a challenging situation here: send someone who's a likely medal contender or send someone who could, with some experience, eventually become a medal contender. It's this critical developmental experience that skaters need and have a hard time getting. Theoretically, if skating were a consistent enough pursuit, there would be no reason not to invest in just a select group of skaters.

    But skating is far from consistent. "

    "DEVELOPMENTAL"

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    Not sure I see the logic in what was written about the men's event. Of the four U.S. men assigned, three did not have any other international assignments. Aaron, who also competed in at least three summer events around the country, hit a quad Salchow and eight triples, including two triple Axels, in his FS. Mahbanoozadeh, fourth in the U.S. with no assignments, used the event to put mileage on his quad toe, which he landed in the short. Dolensky could be termed a (relative) "breakout" for the event; he hit his first-ever triple Axel there in the short. And while Miner has assignments, he needed to get his quad Salchow out there. Should, say, Aaron have stayed home, and, say, Sean Rabbitt and/or Scott Dyer been sent in his stead?

    As for ladies Zawadzki had a challenging summer with a back injury and needed to get the cobwebs out. It's clear Gold is a potential star, and USFS wanted her to get her first individual international experience prior to her Grand Prix. Perhaps a third U.S. lady could have been added, but we don't know if others were asked, and declined.

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    Of course, it's still nice to see that some federations took risks. In ice dance, for instance, The Ukraine sent Siobhan Heekin-Canedy and Dimitry Dun, who managed to place fifth. Or how about Denmark's Karina Johnson? She placed sixth in the ladies' short program despite lacking the name brand of Gold or even Amelie Lacoste (who is currently in third, despite her disastrous 2011-2012 season).
    Heekin-Canedy and Dun were 15th at last years world championships and the best in their country. Karina Johnson is the top Danish senior lady. Both these examples train year round in the US. I don't see that they took any risks at all, they sent their top seniors who were already living and training in the US.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nylynnr View Post
    Perhaps a third U.S. lady could have been added, but we don't know if others were asked, and declined.
    Yah, why wasn't a third lady added?

    I would think many skaters would have been chomping at the bit to compete in a Senior B held in the US.

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    Quote Originally Posted by orbitz View Post
    I do agree that it would be nice for the lesser known skaters to get these B competitions, but the organizers need some "big ticket" names too to attract the public.
    What do you mean?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by orbitz View Post
    I do agree that it would be nice for the lesser known skaters to get these B competitions, but the organizers need some "big ticket" names too to attract the public.
    For the people that went, were there many locals fans there? Skaters' families and local die-hard fans are going to be there not matter what. Based on reactions to the Senior Men, Pairs, and Dance, I'm guessing that non-local fans would have gone even if Zawadzki, Gold, Davis/Ladwig, and Kriengkrairut/Giulietti-Schmitt (skaters with GPs) weren't there.
    "The team doesn't get automatic capacity because management is mad" -- Greg Smith, agile guy

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    Gracie Gold

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    Senior level skaters (junior, too) need the opportunity to compete internationally. There are many competitions that are great for Novice and below, but the entries dwindle in Jr. and Senior. For men it is worse. Grant Hochstein ended up being the only Senior at Mid Atlantics to compete...the other two scratched. For the cost of a flight from CA and hotels in NYC, he could have put that money towards attending a Senior B at his own expense, but that is not allowed. You simply must be assigned by USFS and there is a very small list of competitions they are willing to do. (Just want to acknowledge that there are other reasons to attend a club comp such as supporting your club, getting feedback from judges, etc.)

    These senior level skaters that are not Olympic contenders are of value to our sport. They all bring something to the ice that brings out the best in our Olympians. They are the training mates, the specialists in spins or artistry or jumps. And yes, their chances of breaking out would be improved greatly by the chance to see themselves as international competitors. Looking at the ladies entries for the International Classic, I see former US competitors Georgia Glastris and Stephanie Rigley who switched to representing other countries years ago, still in the sport at about age 20. I think it is clear that the opportunity to do meaningful competition keeps skaters skating. The expense of year round skating is too great just to have Regionals/Sectionals be your only meaningful outings. There are plenty of skaters who retire after the JGP, but I doubt that these are the skaters who will be the top contributors to USFS in the future in terms of coaching or judging.

    I know of a Senior Level skater who was personally invited by the Turkish federation to compete at the Istanbul Cup (senior B) based on previous international results. USFS would not approve because it wasn't on their list of competitions, even if the skater paid their own way. After a strong regionals, this skater competed with an injury at Sectionals and that was the end to the season. Senior B's of the skaters choice would keep skaters like this training for competition through April and that would be great for them and the sport.

    It is hard to be a Senior level skater. You are generally older...the injuries are more severe and you don't heal as quickly. Unless, you are training at a place like Colorado Springs, you are most likely lonely on the ice for contact with peers. Plus, when you do US competitions you will know more coaches and officials than you do competitors. The chance to compete in Senior Bs is the chance to connect with other skating peers from around the globe.

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    ^

    I couldn't agree more.

    USFS really isn't getting it...

    (And same goes for Skate Canada)

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    I don't fault the USFS for sending Gold to this event, considering she has limited international experience. This was only her second senior event (counting that team competition in Japan). I think for both Gracie and Agnes, the USFS is trying to nurture some of their promising, but still somewhat emotionally fragile skaters by giving them a good opportunity to medal and gain valuable ISU points.

    I think the men's choice were actually good opportunites for Armin, Max and Timothy. Plus the points they have gained may put them in contention for replacement slots if they become available later.

    The most surprising pick in the line-up for me was Chock/Bates in dance. However, maybe that turned out to be a blessing-in-disguise considering how low their levels were in their free dance (granted one of their step sequences was probably downgraded with one of Evan's falls).
    I meant to take the high road.... but I missed the exit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziggy View Post
    ^

    I couldn't agree more.

    USFS really isn't getting it...

    (And same goes for Skate Canada)

    Ditto that...great post n*ice mom. I know of similar situations to the one you mention - there are opportunities for other skaters to compete internationally, but USFS doesn't allow it.

    Another example - why doesn't USFS send Collegiate National medalists to international collegiate events like Winter Universiade? Does any one know? the skaters paid there own way in the past when collegiate medalists were sent to international events AKAIK. And, other countries take those events seriously - I believe Oda medaled at a previous Universiade - seems it would be both an opportunity, encouragement for skaters to continue when in college AND would likely increase the caliber of Collegiate skating.

    The absence of those opportunities goes a long way toward explaining why US skaters who can switch countries do!

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by nylynnr View Post
    Not sure I see the logic in what was written about the men's event. Of the four U.S. men assigned, three did not have any other international assignments. Aaron, who also competed in at least three summer events around the country, hit a quad Salchow and eight triples, including two triple Axels, in his FS. Mahbanoozadeh, fourth in the U.S. with no assignments, used the event to put mileage on his quad toe, which he landed in the short. Dolensky could be termed a (relative) "breakout" for the event; he hit his first-ever triple Axel there in the short. And while Miner has assignments, he needed to get his quad Salchow out there. Should, say, Aaron have stayed home, and, say, Sean Rabbitt and/or Scott Dyer been sent in his stead?

    As for ladies Zawadzki had a challenging summer with a back injury and needed to get the cobwebs out. It's clear Gold is a potential star, and USFS wanted her to get her first individual international experience prior to her Grand Prix. Perhaps a third U.S. lady could have been added, but we don't know if others were asked, and declined.
    This ^^

    Agree with the other posters here, I see nothing controversial about the USFS selection of skaters to the Salt Lake event - it represented a pivotal and unique development opportunity for each. In fact for the most part, I think the USFS did a good job making sure all skaters who had a strong 2012 Nationals finish got on the GP, JGP or a B event. If you want to get on the list, go knock it out of the park in Omaha.

    You want to talk about controversy? Let's talk about how the USFS blatantly favored Ricky after a crap Nationals and totally hosed a bunch of men, especially Armin.

    Re: talk about paying your own way to an international competition... shouldn't these opportunities should be based on merit not personal financial situation? There are already too many financial pressures on most skaters just to make ends meet in a very expensive sport. Now add the expense of sending yourself to an international too to get an edge over your competitors? That would put the ones from wealthy families or lucky to have benefactors at a really unfair advantage. Just IMO, and would be curious to hear the counterarguments on this.

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    Re: talk about paying your own way to an international competition... shouldn't these opportunities should be based on merit not personal financial situation? There are already too many financial pressures on most skaters just to make ends meet in a very expensive sport. Now add the expense of sending yourself to an international too to get an edge over your competitors? That would put the ones from wealthy families or lucky to have benefactors at a really unfair advantage. Just IMO, and would be curious to hear the counterarguments on this.
    I knew this would come up. By the time your skater has surpassed Intermediate you are broke anyway. How do regular folks pay for $30-60K of training? You do it through 2nd mortgages, liquidating assets and 401Ks, because you think it will not be forever. If you have a skater who has miraculously endured till they are senior than the amount of expense for an international competition pales in comparison to what you've put in. Plus regular competitions in the US often cost $1-2K if you have to pay for yourself and your coach or coaches (4 nights in hotel/entry fees/practice ice...even more if flights and rental car). There isn't that much of a thrill to do your 11th Liberty competition against the same pool of skaters. Instead that money would be better spent on an international.

    And the skaters I am talking about have merit. They certainly wouldn't be coming in last. For example, I wish Yasmin Siraj could go to a Senior B. She is going to train all year for Sectionals and Nationals just to qualify for a JGP the fall of 2013, when in previous years she qualified for the JGP, even the JGP final. Can you imagine what that does to your head when you are a teenager when you feel like you are going backwards? This is a skater who USFS has already made an investment in, so what would be the harm in letting her self-fund a trip to an international competition that would give her something to work towards and let her feel like she was moving forward. I have no personal knowledge of Yasmin's interest in doing this...she is just my example.

    Nor would skaters have to be representing the USA...could just represent their club. I wish there was an option to be an individual member of ISU.
    Last edited by n*ice mom; 09-19-2012 at 12:12 AM. Reason: Added a paragraph...or two.

  16. #16

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    "You must spread some reputation around before giving it to n*ice mom again."

    and, breakfast club, completely agree with you about Armin, but not about the "knocking it out of the park in Omaha" comment.

    Most of these comments aren't focused on USFS did it WRONG in SLC, as in Suzy should have gone instead of Sally though we could all differ on this or that choice, but on how more developmental opportunities can be provided.

    To quite n*ice mom, "These senior level skaters that are not Olympic contenders are of value to our sport." Well, at least some of us think they are, and believe they should have some opportunities beyond Liberty for the 15th time.

    On the payment issue, I may have an unpopular viewpoint - athletes don't start out on a level playing field in preparations anyway. Factors include ice time, travel time, parental commitment, coaching quality, injuries...many more, including money. I'm not sure why being willing to pay your own way - or seek funding from sponsors or family/friends to do it - is any more of an "unfair" advantage than any of the other factors.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BreakfastClub View Post
    Re: talk about paying your own way to an international competition... shouldn't these opportunities should be based on merit not personal financial situation?
    If nobody is sent to an international event, nobody is benefitting from that opportunity, merit or not.

    USFS's budget is limited and within that budget, skaters are selected on merit. But it only goes as far.

    Quote Originally Posted by BreakfastClub View Post
    There are already too many financial pressures on most skaters just to make ends meet in a very expensive sport. Now add the expense of sending yourself to an international too to get an edge over your competitors? That would put the ones from wealthy families or lucky to have benefactors at a really unfair advantage.
    The wealthy skaters already have a huge advantage, being able to access much more resources.

    Figure skating is a sport that only wealthy people really have access to. At least in the US.

  18. #18

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    Article on USC Annenberg School for Communications Digital News site - "Neon Tommy"

    Will The United States Ever Have A Breakout Senior Figure Skater?

    http://www.neontommy.com/news/2012/0...h5QWqI.twitter
    I found the headline of this article/editorial to be misleading but I assume it wasn't the writer's choice.

    A few corrections/clarifications to the article/editorial, plus some comments:
    ... there are limits to the number of entrants per country (based on World Championship placements) and per event (ten skaters/teams per discipline).
    The current limit is eight pair and dance teams per Grand Prix event.

    In order to select which U.S. or Canada venue would host the event, numerous clubs applied to the International Skating Union.
    The U.S. clubs had to apply to host the Senior B through U.S. Figure Skating, not the ISU.

    For U.S. men, this was a wonderful opportunity to showcase some who've never had the opportunity to participate in the Grand Prix. But why send skaters with some international experience when the U.S. has so many men who never get any international opportunities? Where were Scott Dyer and Sean Rabbitt? One could argue that the goal was a solid set of medals for the U.S. (and the U.S. men did sweep the medal podium), but who is to say that Dyer or Rabbitt or any other untested talent wouldn't have done just as well?
    Scott Dyer is listed among the senior level men in USFS' International Selection Pool (ISP) for placing 10th at 2012 Nationals (his sole international experience was at the Novice level several years ago), as is Jonathan Cassar (11th at Nationals), Grant Hochstein (12th), Brandon Mroz (14th), Alexander Johnson (15th), and Philip Warren (3rd in Junior). Of this group, Johnson and Warren have yet to compete in a senior international. Sean Rabbitt is not listed in the ISP.

    Why not give the chance to someone who doesn't have the opportunity? How about freeing up some room at the Junior Grand Prix level by sending a veteran of that series (perhaps Vanessa Lam) to Senior B's and rewarding a deserving junior with one of those slots?
    U.S. JGP age-eligible Senior ladies (such as Lam) often prefer the opportunity of getting an ISU Season Best score at a JGP, along with the possibility of a second assignment if they place well enough in their first, rather than competing at a Senior B where they have to place in the top 5 to receive the same number of ISU ranking points and no SB score. However, I do think that Lam is worthy to be sent out to a Senior B despite her 4th place finish in her JGP last month.

    It's worth noting that the U.S. has 13 young women up for consideration for the two or three spots at each of seven events, and while some of these ladies received two assignments, some received none.
    10 of these 13 ladies have been assigned to at least one JGP.

    My point is, even though I love skaters like Max Aaron (and was quite disappointed to see him miss out on the Grand Prix), I want to see breakthroughs.
    I would say that Max Aaron winning the gold medal in SLC was a breakthrough for him?

    ... but I know that so many of my favorite up-and-comers miss out on opportunities because the U.S. tends to put most or all of its eggs in one proverbial basket, and that's not necessarily the way to produce long-term success.
    17 different men (16 have competed as 1 was a late withdrawal due to injury) and 14 different ladies have been assigned to either a Senior B or a JGP so far this season by USFS -- that's not too shabby.
    Last edited by Sylvia; 09-19-2012 at 05:13 AM.
    "Randy [Starkman (1960-April 16, 2012)] lived by the same motto as the rest of us. The Olympics isn’t every four years, it’s every single day. He just got it." --Canadian Olympic kayaker Adam van Koeverden

  19. #19
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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by 2sk8 View Post
    On the payment issue, I may have an unpopular viewpoint - athletes don't start out on a level playing field in preparations anyway. Factors include ice time, travel time, parental commitment, coaching quality, injuries...many more, including money. I'm not sure why being willing to pay your own way - or seek funding from sponsors or family/friends to do it - is any more of an "unfair" advantage than any of the other factors.
    Totally agree. And thanks for the love.

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    I adore Scott Dyer's skating, but I thought his results this summer were just okay, probably not good enough to be assigned just yet.

    I wish US would save the senior B spots for the men without a GP so some of them could have 2 B assignments, and I wish 2 GPs for Josh and a senior B for skaters like Haley Dunne or Siraj, but other than that, I think the US intl assignments this season so far have been reasonable enough.
    Last edited by jlai; 09-19-2012 at 04:53 AM.

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