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  1. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by jlai View Post
    If Tom Z. wants top skaters to come back, he may want to rethink his training strategy.
    It's prob too late in his career to truly rebrand himself. At least IMO. But that doesn't mean he shouldn't try. Also, I don't think he does choreo, but most of his skaters end up with pretty weak programs and PCS. So while he is seemingly a strong jumps coach, otherwise he is a tough sell. Skating coaching in the US right now is in kind of a strange spot, with lots of top skaters with relatively no-name coaches. Tammy Gambill and Mark and Peter (of the better known ones) are generally coming up roses lately- Ricky D. and Christina G. in particular are doing great. Yuka and Jason were on top of the world a couple of seasons ago with Alissa and Jeremy, but those skaters careers have been a bit rockier as of late, so in turn, their coaches may not now seem like the geniuses they once appeared to be. Doesn't mean they aren't good coaches, but their rep takes a bit of a hit. But alas, different things working for different people and all that. Its nice to see some new faces in the kiss and cry, though...things will continue to evolve....

  2. #62

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    Quote Originally Posted by stjeaskategym View Post
    Regardless of the extent of her injury or what Rachael is thinking in regard to her career, the fact that she had to chose between competing injured in the next few days and ending her entire season is pathetic. USFS's old-fashioned rules strike again. To grant a skater a bye through to Nationals because they are strong enough to be competing at an international competition during the week of Sectionals and then to say "never mind, no bye for you" and punish the skater when she's injured and needs to withdraw is absolutely ridiculous.
    I'm not even sure if Rachael's bye is technically rescinded when she doesn't compete at this thing, but it doesn't bother me if it is- that is not a punishment for being injured- it is out of respect for all the skaters at sectionals doing their thing. Rachael could have gone to her int'l, done all singles, and still kept her bye to Nationals. No skater at Sectionals in men or ladies can do all singles and still qualify to Nationals. I am sure her injury causes pain and she made the right decision, but its not some huge injustice going on now- she is a bit lucky to have gotten the spot at SA in the first place given the very mediocre scores she attained at her one summer comp, as now she has a SB score and can do GP next season if she wants to....whereas Max Aaron and Keegan Messing who have been tearing up the Senior B circuit much more than Rachael has torn up any comp the last 2 years, still have no SB score for the last 2 seasons and can only hope to skate well at Nationals (where they have to compete against 1 Olympic gold medalist, 2 other Olympians, and Dornbush, Rippon, Miner, Armin, etc.) and then hope to be chosen for 4CC or Skate America to break through internationally. Rachael is riding the coattails of her own results from several years ago but hasn't shown much to warrant her assignments as of late. There's about 15 US ladies skaters who are skating better now than what she can do now. That said, what Rachael has accomplished whilst going to Stanford and competing injured is almost miraculous.

    It stinks just as much that Samantha Cesario, 2 years running now and who is probably even better than Rachael of 11-12 and 12-13, got injured prior to Nationals, couldn't compete there basically eliminating her chances of a junior worlds or senior GP spot. It sucks but that is the way sport goes, and plenty of equally talented skaters have had as cruddy or worse things happen to them. It has worked out OK for Samantha as she's been able to come back to the JGP and medal there every year, so in theory she could get a GP spot next year, maybe. At least there's a maybe. Rachael has had a good run, she has a lot going for her outside of skating and I think it is truly for the best that she take some time off since she has been injured on and off for years now and can't seem to get better. One way that USFS could help this situation a bit would be to hold some kind of legit competition in the early fall for skaters who were injured for Nationals that helps decide who should get the Skate America and JGP and senior B slots. That way, missing Nationals wouldn't be such a huge deal. They do take some of the comps like Liberty and Golden West, etc. into account a little bit, but they aren't really taken that seriously in general. I'm guessing this hasn't been done because of $, and its just easier for the assigning committee to use Nationals results than to throw a wrench into that with new results that you have to then counterbalance with Nationals and intl results to make tough decisions...
    Last edited by haribobo; 11-02-2012 at 05:22 AM.

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carolla5501 View Post
    So where do you draw the line? "bubba" the skater claims injury. Do you let "bubba" who would have finished DEAD LAST at regionals go to Nationals just because "he was injured" Because that's going to create an "everyone is injured" game
    There's a relatively small group of US skaters selected for Sr international competitions. I'm not saying give any random skater registered for Regionals a medical bye... I'm saying stop punishing international skaters like Flatt for making what may have been a very wise decision--- to rest a current injury, which perhaps could have enabled her to compete in the remainder of her scheduled events this season (which was Nationals). Instead of encouraging Flatt to listen to her body and pace herself throughout her competition schedule, Flatt is forced to disappear for the rest of the season because she wasn't willing to sacrifice any more of her health for a competition that's quickly upcoming. I imagine that if Flatt had shown up at her Intl event next week and had withdrawn after a practice (or took to the ice for her SP and did the bare minimum) her Nationals bye would have stood. This is not a game the skaters should have to consider playing.

    I see nothing wrong with saying "if you can't compete, we are sorry but we have to move on" That's how they do it in other sports.
    I don't know how many sports have you pencil a competition into your schedule and then yank it away simply because you wanted to rest an injury at a prior competition. I don't know how many sports deny athletes who have just represented their country internationally a chance to compete at their own Nationals. It's ridiculous. Certainly there are other sports that treat their injured high level athletes better than that. I'm very much aware that sports can be cruel and not always fair, but sometimes it goes too far. It's not a burden on anyone to guarantee the relatively small pool of skaters who are representing the country on the GP circuit/Senior Bs an opportunity to compete at Nationals a short time later. At the very least, skaters who are given byes to Nationals for whatever reason should not have them taken away because of injury.

    As for Tom Z, he was basically just encouraging Joshua Farris to do what is consistent with USFS's culture--- compete no matter what unless you want to risk being put out to pasture until next fall.

    Figure skating is a real sport and the demands of it grow by the year. You cannot stop injuries, but you can stop punishing injured athletes. I'm sure for Rachael it was punishment enough to have a hurt leg, not be able to skater properly, and have to withdraw from an international. She didn't deserve to have her granted Nationals bye taken away, too. That's just kicking her when she's down.
    Last edited by stjeaskategym; 11-02-2012 at 07:41 AM.

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by haribobo View Post
    I'm not even sure if Rachael's bye is technically rescinded when she doesn't compete at this thing
    I assumed it was rescinded when Rachael announced she was out for the season. Otherwise she could have simply withdrawn from this competition and at least left her possibilities open for Nationals which is still quite far away. If her bye still stands, someone please correct me since I've just written a bunch of paragraphs criticizing USFS for taking it away.


    Also, I understand your point about Cesario, but at least she wasn't given a bye to Nationals and then had it taken away from her for something pretty much out of her control (an untimely injury). That's my main issue with this Flatt situation. I'd just like to see USFS do a little better job caring for the well being of the skaters, in particular the ones who are representing USFS internationally. As I mentioned in my previous post, it's really not difficult to do.
    Last edited by stjeaskategym; 11-02-2012 at 07:54 AM.

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by stjeaskategym View Post
    I assumed it was rescinded when Rachael announced she was out for the season. Otherwise she could have simply withdrawn from this competition and at least left her possibilities open for Nationals which is still quite far away. If her bye still stands, someone please correct me since I've just written a bunch of paragraphs criticizing USFS for taking it away.
    She would have had a bye had she competed at her Senior B. If she was too injured to skate at her Senior B, she was too injured to skate at regionals, and if she didn't skate at regionals and place high enough, she doesn't have the possibility to skate at Nationals.
    "The team doesn't get automatic capacity because management is mad" -- Greg Smith, agile guy

  6. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by stjeaskategym View Post
    Figure skating is a real sport and the demands of it grow by the year. You cannot stop injuries, but you can stop punishing injured athletes. I'm sure for Rachael it was punishment enough to have a hurt leg, not be able to skater properly, and have to withdraw from an international. She didn't deserve to have her granted Nationals bye taken away, too. That's just kicking her when she's down.
    Its not as if it was a surprise though- she knew the consequence of withdrawing. And the timing stinks, but chances are she wouldn't be recovered by January anyway. If she hadn't done the international, she'd be required to skate at Mids at the same time. I get that it would be a nice gesture for her to keep her bye, but that is still sending a really cruddy message to the 5th place finisher at sectionals this year, who could end up being someone like Nina Jiang or Kiri Baga, who also represented the US this year on the JGP. They wouldn't get to go to Nationals, but Rachael was swept right through due to her star status and the fact that she showed up and did a few triples at Skate America? Nice. Now, had Rachael medaled at SA, *that* situation would really stink. I wouldn't mind seeing a rule built in that international medalists that season get a bye to Nationals. But I don't really see her indicating anywhere that she's bumming hard about her bye being rescinded. Girl needs more than a month to sort out these injuries, I'd think.

  7. #67

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    Maybe they'd still have medical byes if skaters (and coaches) hadn't abused them by claiming injuries in order to abvoid competitions they simply hadn't been adequately prepared for. When more than half of the competitors at a qualifying competition got there on byes, USFS had to crack down.

    Now the skaters know the rule: there are NO medical byes. Period. It's fair because it applies to everyone, not just a chosen few or ones who know which strings to pull.

    Rachale's no dummy. Let's give her a little credit for making the decision that's best for her at this time in her life.
    I'd rather be thought of as absolutely ridiculous than as absolutely boring.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stjeaskategym View Post
    There's a relatively small group of US skaters selected for Sr international competitions. I'm not saying give any random skater registered for Regionals a medical bye... I'm saying stop punishing international skaters like Flatt for making what may have been a very wise decision--- to rest a current injury, which perhaps could have enabled her to compete in the remainder of her scheduled events this season (which was Nationals). Instead of encouraging Flatt to listen to her body and pace herself throughout her competition schedule, Flatt is forced to disappear for the rest of the season because she wasn't willing to sacrifice any more of her health for a competition that's quickly upcoming. I imagine that if Flatt had shown up at her Intl event next week and had withdrawn after a practice (or took to the ice for her SP and did the bare minimum) her Nationals bye would have stood. This is not a game the skaters should have to consider playing.



    I don't know how many sports have you pencil a competition into your schedule and then yank it away simply because you wanted to rest an injury at a prior competition. I don't know how many sports deny athletes who have just represented their country internationally a chance to compete at their own Nationals. It's ridiculous. Certainly there are other sports that treat their injured high level athletes better than that. I'm very much aware that sports can be cruel and not always fair, but sometimes it goes too far. It's not a burden on anyone to guarantee the relatively small pool of skaters who are representing the country on the GP circuit/Senior Bs an opportunity to compete at Nationals a short time later. At the very least, skaters who are given byes to Nationals for whatever reason should not have them taken away because of injury.

    As for Tom Z, he was basically just encouraging Joshua Farris to do what is consistent with USFS's culture--- compete no matter what unless you want to risk being put out to pasture until next fall.

    Figure skating is a real sport and the demands of it grow by the year. You cannot stop injuries, but you can stop punishing injured athletes. I'm sure for Rachael it was punishment enough to have a hurt leg, not be able to skater properly, and have to withdraw from an international. She didn't deserve to have her granted Nationals bye taken away, too. That's just kicking her when she's down.

    You want "figure skating" to be a real sport but then you want o allow those you like to just make the finals. Sorry it doesn't work that way in a lot of 'real sports' LOL! There were runners who didn't make the Olympic team because when the trials were held they were injured. There are lots of sports teams that don't make the finals because a key player get's injured. Even the Williams sisters were fighting to come back from injury to make sure they made the Olympic team because it wasn't a "bye" based on their past success. Venus admitted she was back before she was ready because "it's the Olympics"

    I think the real truth is "we want byes for Skaters we like" LOL!

  9. #69
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    gotta love the "playing favorites" angle!

    But yeah - I don't quite get it either. One of the few fair rules in skating (that is, no one gets special treatment and everyone gets a fair shot) and there is outcry about it...hmm.

    I don't know too much about the "byes" skaters get for having conflicting events, but aren't they understood to be conditional? It's not like USFS grants these byes and then takes them away once they're injured, if I understand correctly?

  10. #70
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    It depends on the bye: placing X at Nationals and earning an automatic bye isn't taken away for injury or withdrawing from a Senior B or GP for any other reason. Getting a conditional bye for competing at an overlapping or close Senior B or GP is, and by not competing (for any reason), the skater hasn't met the condition and doesn't get the bye.

    Flatt didn't place high enough at 2012 Nationals to earn an automatic bye. Flatt had to compete at the Senior B conflicting with her qualifying event to fulfill the terms of the conditional bye, or she had to skate at the qualifying event and place high enough to earn a spot at Nationals.
    "The team doesn't get automatic capacity because management is mad" -- Greg Smith, agile guy

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by stjeaskategym View Post

    As for Tom Z, he was basically just encouraging Joshua Farris to do what is consistent with USFS's culture--- compete no matter what unless you want to risk being put out to pasture until next fall.
    I am sure Flatt understood that when she withdrew from the Sr B event, that she was passing on US Nationals as well, when she made her decision.

    But, what gets under my skin, is the topic I've quoted above from stjeaskategym.....about the culture of "compete no matter what" Farris, Flatt, Ryan Bradley (had surgery on his foot post 2010 Worlds)...and who knows how many other of Tom Z's skaters have competed at risk to their health. I am not saying Zakrajsek is any better or any worse than any other coach...no point of reference for this...just that some of his skaters have been public about the injury issues.

    So, is Tom Z's mentality...compete no matter what....is that mentality pervasive throughout skating or is it just USFS? Or is Tom Z the extreme side of the pendulum of this attitude? USFS's focus is ALL about the medals, and I suppose that comes from the USOC, and probably is tied to financial support from the USOC. But, should the athletes be the ones who suffer the consequences of this mentality? Are the coaches responsible at all? Think about the number of 12-14 yr old girls, doing rep after rep of triples each day, bending into pretzels for spins, the guys are now taking on 3A's earlier in their careers (think Nathan Chen), the higher level of difficulty in throws for girls in pairs and the lifts for pairs...just don't want to think about that (Isn't Josh Reagan out of CoC with a rib injury?). COP has demanded a higher level of difficulty, and the kids are paying the price, when the coaches demand more from the athletes as the system has demanded it.

    I think it is about finding a compromise......and again, getting the athletes healthy....and KEEPING them healthy...which allows the athletes to train and compete at their best, and hopefully bring home the medals

  12. #72
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    that a skater and a coach worth forgetting about long ago still command so much attention

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    So much double talk around here. In the midst of threads about not enough hard content, not enough 3/3s from the ladies, not enough quads from the men...we have discussions about how there are too many injuries and someone needs to address the problem to save the skaters.

    One and one still adds up to two. It can't be both ways. We can't see consistent hard jumps and harder combos and decrease injury at the same time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PDilemma View Post
    So much double talk around here. In the midst of threads about not enough hard content, not enough 3/3s from the ladies, not enough quads from the men...we have discussions about how there are too many injuries and someone needs to address the problem to save the skaters.

    One and one still adds up to two. It can't be both ways. We can't see consistent hard jumps and harder combos and decrease injury at the same time.

    I've noticed that too...

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    Quote Originally Posted by PDilemma View Post
    One and one still adds up to two. It can't be both ways. We can't see consistent hard jumps and harder combos and decrease injury at the same time.
    I think the discussion was more about skaters being encouraged to compete despite injuries (and in some cases aggravating them as a result), not so much having more injuries as a result of working on harder jumps or combos. I could be wrong, of course.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ioana View Post
    I think the discussion was more about skaters being encouraged to compete despite injuries (and in some cases aggravating them as a result), not so much having more injuries as a result of working on harder jumps or combos. I could be wrong, of course.
    Exactly.
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  17. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by PDilemma View Post
    So much double talk around here. In the midst of threads about not enough hard content, not enough 3/3s from the ladies, not enough quads from the men...we have discussions about how there are too many injuries and someone needs to address the problem to save the skaters.

    One and one still adds up to two. It can't be both ways. We can't see consistent hard jumps and harder combos and decrease injury at the same time.
    That's because some people believe skaters need harder content and some people believe that injuries and skating injured are a big problem. They aren't necessarily the same people.
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    Quote Originally Posted by UMBS Go Blue View Post
    that a skater and a coach worth forgetting about long ago still command so much attention
    After seeing Flatt at Skate America (and at Skate America in Everett) I'm not convinced she's "worth forgetting about". She has some excellent qualities in her skating that could really be used well with a coach and/or choreographer who was more sensitive to what she's good at and not so good at. Firebird IMHO was a big mistake because that's exactly the kind of skater she isn't.
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    If she's not going to improve her speed or other skating skills no coach or choreographer is going to be able to help Rachael. Her best years are behind her.

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    I'm gonna miss her, but it is for the best. Have a good rest and recovery, Rachael, you are one cutie I adore, on and off the ice.

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