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  1. #41
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    I wasn't always a fan of Ashley's, but I think missing out on the 2010 Olympics poured gasoline on that spark she always had in her.

    What I love about Ashley is she always has attack and fire in her programs, and before 2012, it was like you could feel she wanted a National Championship more than any of the other girls.

    After seeing how most of the U.S. ladies since 2006 wilted under the spotlight once they were thought to be the leading U.S lady (Flatt, Czisny, Nagasu, Zhang, etc.), it's great to see a U.S. Champion that always skates like she wants to win.

    I'm sick and tired of U.S. ladies that skate like they're an injured deer caught in a car's headlights.

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    Now if only Gracie can get that eye of the tiger look back too. But it took Ashley years to get where she is so it might be expecting to much for Gold to make it to Sochi though she has the goods if she keeps improving.

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    I hope that come Nationals, the judges don't do Gracie any favors in PCS like they did with Flatt and Czisny.

    I think part of the reason why Ashley has more attack is that she was never given any favors or generous PCS marks at Nationals. I think that made her have more of a work ethic, and I hope USFSA doesn't spoil Gracie like they did by trying to anoint "it" girls of days past.

  4. #44
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    ^^ Hey, lots to agree with in what all of you guys have to say. I just read some of these later posts after I wrote down my below thoughts, so many of us think alike.

    Thanks robinhood for your further comments. I wonder re the directional issue. Maybe it does have something to do with left-handedness or right-handedness. I don't know, and I didn't really notice directional changes. Usually programs these days are reworked throughout a season. I'll have to take another look at Ashley's and Joannie's performances re directional changes.

    Quote Originally Posted by kwanatic View Post
    ... I've always admired Ashley's attack...all the way back in 2008. *The problem was her confidence bordered on cockiness and often stepped over the line to cockiness back then. *She had all of the talent but there was something missing there. *I always found Ashley more entertaining than Rachael but, given that Rachael was Miss Consistency back then and Ashley was prone to mistakes, Ashley never really broke through. *Even though she hadn't really had that breakthrough she carried herself as if she was just "all that and then some." *At the time, when she hadn't won anything, it was annoying and I didn't really care for her attitude.

    But last year...man, she just blossomed! *That move to Nicks was the best thing that ever happened to her. *He just smoothed her out and toned her down. *Instead of "YEAH! I'm Ashley Wagner BIATCH!" there was this subtle confidence and sureness that continued to build all season long, culminating in her showing at nationals. *When I posted on my blog at the end of the GP last year I said Ashley was the one American lady who had something to prove and that she was the one to watch out for. *Glad to know I was right!

    I love her confidence. *I love how she performs and blends everything in so well. *I'm really impressed with how she has stepped up and pulled herself up to the top. *It's not like there was a lot of hype surrounding Ashley when she came in. *She's had to build her way up to where she is now and I think that's why I respect her so much. *She's worked for it and earned it.

    I'm proud of her.
    I think Ashley was a bit overshadowed first by Mirai and Caroline during Junior competitive days, and then by Mirai, Rachael and Alissa for the first arc of her senior career. And that could have been that, except Ashley did some soul-searching as she has already described, and she decided that she was not going to give up on her dreams.

    Last season, some fans did not seem fully convinced of Ashley's capabilities, and she still has detractors out there (probably new naysayers will appear too even as her profile continues to rise). Whatever "cockiness" others have perceived in Ashley, I've never seen it as cockiness. I'd describe it more as fierce determination and belief. Maybe the problem was she just needed to reach a different level with her training and discover how to channel her energies and her so-called "cockiness" in the right direction. Once Ashley learned how to prepare and how to train and how to manage her nerves in a positive way, she's gone about backing up that unfailing and unflagging belief in herself.

    I've always liked something about Ashley. Even if she wasn't always my favorite, I always pulled for her and felt she deserved to make the World team and the Olympics too in 2010. I always loved her spunk and her fighting spirit. I truly never felt any sense of "Yeah, I'm Ashley Wagner BIATCH," coming from Ashley, at all. Although, I did get a sense of her wanting it too much and letting the nerves derail her a bit. I also felt she was simply under-appreciated earlier in her career. I thought she was kind of questioning, "Why them, and not me?" But that's okay, that's normal behavior. It's getting beyond that type of thinking that's harder to accomplish. Finally, perhaps, Ashley let go of her former questioning and comparing, and began asking herself, "What is it going to take? Do I have what it takes? What am I willing to give and to give up in order to work harder for my dreams?"

    Mr. Nicks (as he indicates in the USFS compilation clip) saw something in Ashley too. And he has expertly guided her to another level. But it is Ashley herself coming to the fore, not so much "toned down" as she is honed to the core. Not distracted by other competitors but concentrated on what she knows she can do. She amazed me last season with her calm confidence and renewed sense of purpose, and gracefulness combined with powerful attack. The blossoming didn't come overnight, and she ain't done yet. I'm looking forward to seeing Ashley continue to bloom and to shine.

  5. #45
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    Up until last year I was not a fan of Ashley at all. I did think she was cocky and couldn't back up her words to her performances. But the move to Nicks was a great one and her Black Swan program finally won me over.

    I like that she skates to win rather than skating not to lose. There's a difference. I don't want to see arrogance, I want to see confidence. Ashley's finally got that confidence and it's fantastic. When you're confident, you don't have to show off or talk smack because you know you can go out there and get it done. I'm really hoping that Ashley's confidence will rub off on other ladies and everyone can give their best performances. Those are the best kind of competitions to watch. And here's to Ashley medaling at (or winning!) the GPF and Worlds. I think Nationals is hers to lose and quite honestly, as much as I like several other skaters, I don't think they can hold a candle to her programs this season. Red Violin and Samson & Delilah are just that good.

  6. #46
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    ^^ Oh well, I never read cocky in Ashley's words or demeanor. I guess it came off that way to some of you guys. Sometimes an athlete might talk big in order to convince themselves, or simply because they believe in themselves, not because they are necessarily "cocky" in a negative or arrogant sense. The move to Mr. Nicks was fortuitous and from this juncture perhaps fated, but it didn't come at all easily for Ashley based on what she has described in her blogs and interviews. They look like a match made in heaven, but obviously it was Ashley's personal reassessment, the difficult decisions and the hard work under Mr. Nick's tutelage (which was not simple either) that has led to Ashley taking her skating to a new level.

    I believe she always desired to skate to win, but did not know how to channel the desire to win in the right direction competitively. I don't think she ever lacked confidence, it's just that now she has all the tools and necessary preparation to back up her innate confidence. She has a level of calm now to go along with her belief in her talent. She understands also that there will be more pressures placed on her, but she seems willing and able to withstand the pressures, especially after facing and overcoming the obstacles that confronted her in the past. I also admire the way Ashley is so supportive to her friends, some of whom are fellow competitors.

    I think Ashley's success and the way she has carried herself this season and last has already "rubbed off" on other ladies, in both the national and international ranks. I agree that her programs (including music, choreo, and costumes) are strong and well thought out, and very suited to her talent and personality.


    Quote Originally Posted by CantALoop View Post
    I hope that come Nationals, the judges don't do Gracie any favors in PCS like they did with Flatt and Czisny.

    I think part of the reason why Ashley has more attack is that she was never given any favors or generous PCS marks at Nationals. I think that made her have more of a work ethic, and I hope USFSA doesn't spoil Gracie like they did by trying to anoint "it" girls of days past.
    Sometimes there is a trial by fire which lifts an athlete to another level, but it could just as easily lead to their downfall, just as receiving "favors" could also lead to a downfall, or not. There's many factors involved, including talent level, work ethic, coaching, and often plain luck. Plus, how we each respond to a given situation is based on who we are as individuals. Ashley made the decision that she was not going to give up, and she made sacrifices and things came together for her. The path is not always the same for everyone. Ashley has always had "attack" in her skating, so I don't think that Ashley's "attack" is due to her "never being given any favors or generous PCS." I agree it probably did help Ashley in some ways that she came to a crossroads and had to make some hard decisions. But who knows whether or not if she had been favored on occasion that it wouldn't have helped her make it to the top? She might still have reached the top, perhaps sooner, but maybe just not in the same way. Pondering in hindsight is probably useless. (BTW, I think Alissa Czisny has always deserved to receive high component scores).

    Re Gracie, I think at the moment that perhaps there is a general feeling among U.S. fed that Gracie's jumping ability is a great asset, plus the fact she has as yet unrealized potential in other aspects of her skating, so they may indeed give Gracie the edge over other competitors such as Zawadski, Nagasu, and Gao, for the second spot for Worlds next year. This will be determined in January, of course.

    I do agree that premature "anointing" and over-favoritism can be a hazard. I would have loved to see Ashley make the Olympic team in 2010, but right now, I can't complain. IMO, Ashley has already proven her mettle. In regard to Gracie and some others: I think with the depth of talented skaters in the U.S., it must be extremely difficult to make judgments. Perhaps the best thing to do is try to look at skaters objectively, and assess all aspects of their competitive showings, look at what they have done internationally along with how they perform at Nationals, and also look at a lot of other intangibles. Treat everyone as equally as possible, and if you are compelled to favor, try not to overly favor anyone for the wrong reasons.
    Last edited by aftershocks; 11-21-2012 at 01:42 AM.

  7. #47
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    I normally stay away from these fan fests, but I do want to take a quick moment to give her (Wagner) a nod- finally a US lady that not only wants the best, but skates like it and settles for nothing less. I felt that ever since Kwan and Cohen left, that spark has been missing in our women. Skaters just simply happy to go to the Worlds or the Olympics, happy to place top 10 instead of challenging for a medal (or gold, even) and not backing down. Even as far back as 2009, I knew Wagner was the only one of the "2008ers" who had the drive and the work ethic necessary for success, but then she lacked guidance & mental toughness among other things. I remember her stating in an interview that she wanted to win in Sochi and everyone basically laughed her aside.

    Even after she went to Nicks, although I figured she would pick up a national championship at some point, I didn't predict she'd take it as far as to be in the mix for a world championship. It's like she is finally able to turn those words into actions and that's some powerful stuff. Curious to see how her career develops. I still want at least one of our other ladies to step up to the challenge...

    ETA: I never saw "cockiness" in Wagner. Just someone who REALLY wanted to be successful, but for some reason was being held back by something. In fact, I love that she isn't afraid to show her competitiveness and openly wants to win. Nothing wrong with that. Skating seems to be still stuck in the past century in this regard
    Last edited by RD; 11-21-2012 at 01:29 AM.

  8. #48
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    ^^ ITA. That's it, in a nutshell.

  9. #49
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    I am in love with Ashley Wagner. Finally, finally the US has a lady worth ubering. I'm so excited to see how she skates in the GPF. I want her to win All Of The Things.

  10. #50
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    I just posted the link to a new USA TODAY article on Ashley in GSD: http://www.fsuniverse.net/forum/show...ency-(article)
    "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

  11. #51
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    One thing that intrigues me is that Wagner seems to be thriving under the pressure, since it's external and not internal.

    For those counting, TEB marks her fourth consecutive long program victory (WTT, JO, SA and TEB).

  12. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by robinhood View Post
    I wish she would show much more multi-directional skating in her free program. Although it's a very well choreographed program that highlights her strenghts it's all skated clockwise
    I agree. But to allow for more multi-directional skating, you need to have good basics and be able to maintain good flow to begin with, otherwise you will only lose momentum whenever there is a change in direction and it does more damage to your program than good.

    This is one of the many, many things that Chan does seamlessly. Too bad nobody realizes it and just thinks he gets overmarked on SS and CH. The Japanese men sans Oda also do this well. The French and Russian men virtually don't do this at all.

  13. #53
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    That is why I hope Ashley could medal at championships but perhaps not win it. Unless US skaters see that great basics can help you win titles they will rely on jumps; flexibility and packaging

    That said I think Ashley worked on her skating some. I hope she Keeps at it
    Last edited by jlai; 11-21-2012 at 03:48 PM.

  14. #54

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    That wasn't pretty, but we'll take it. On to Worlds...

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    I am worried about her. She seems to be losing her early season consistency. That is two bad outings in the LP in a row now. That isnt going to cut it at Worlds at all. Right now I would say she is slated for a finish of around 3rd or 4th at Worlds if she skates cleanly, but if she makes mistakes she could drop down to 7th or 8th easily when one looks at how well the young Russians, Osmond, and others are now starting to skate. Hopefully she is saving her best for Worlds as I would love nothing more than to see her on the podium this year.

  16. #56
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    Now that Ashley's gotten injuries and food poisoning out of the way, she's free now to do a clean LP again. Pretty please, skate gods?

  17. #57

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    I'm sure the food poisoning was a major factor. I thought she looked a little weak and tired, which is very un-Ashley-like. But she has plenty of time to get herself together now before Worlds.
    Charter member of the "We Always Believed in Ashley" Club and the "We Believe in Ricky" Club

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    I'll give her a pass because she has been sick. She was great at the beginning but seized up at the end; that did look like stamina. Do you think she'll go to 4CC? It would perhaps be good to have another outing before Worlds just to wash the taste of that out of her mouth.

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    I think she should absolutely skip 4CCs. Between the GPF injury and the food poisoning she needs to absolutely not push her body before Worlds.

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    It seems my little sister is now an Ashley uber her exact quote "She fell, so what? she's my favorite, so she should always win!"

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