In a lot of ways, I can't help but agree with Ziggy. If a skater doesn't want to be on the ice and looks like they don't want to be on the ice, why would anyone want to watch that? Why would an organization want to give that skater the benefit of the doubt? Especially when you have a very talented group of girls coming up who want to be at the top, and they are putting in the hours and making sacrifices to get there. How many articles has Mirai had where her coaches talk about her not putting in the training time, her lack of motivation, her teenage angst etc.
I like Mirai and wish her nothing but the best, but her career thus far is in large part her making(the good and the bad) and she need look no further than that. JMO
^^ Hey, excellent points and everyone may come at this from different perspectives. Sure it's up to Mirai to figure out what she wants. I think she made her choice for the most part and she's been putting in the hard work and battling back. It's just harder to get credit now than when she was a precociously talented youngster who wasn't quite ready for the huge spotlight. I disagree with your opinion that Mirai's career when she was a young, impressionable teenager was "in large part her making (the good and the bad)."
And regarding perspectives from others re my comments: As I’ve already said, yes Mirai should try to sell her performances better when she's not feeling good, because her sad expression and body language only adds to negative perceptions by those who already don’t view her as magnanimously as they used to. One of the rare astute comments that Scott Hamilton made during the NBC broadcast (in reference to Christina Gao btw) was, “Don’t sell the negative.”
I’m not saying everyone is out to get Mirai, but they’re certainly not in a mood to “do [her] any favors,” to quote a famous line. Obviously, Mirai is known to be fighting back this season, and she’s not had great success for the last two seasons, so yes, I don’t think she’s in the “good graces” of her federation. Outside of her fans and those closest to her, I don’t think many were looking at Mirai this season with overly high expectations. I do think Mirai carries less “negative baggage” with international judges, but unfortunately she does have problems with URs and sometimes they are called fairly, and sometimes the calls are overdone.
Mirai did perform well on the GP circuit and she managed to position herself as part of the conversation for Nationals. IMO, had Mirai been held in higher esteem by Nationals judges, she would have been in 2nd place after the sp. Clearly the fed favors the powerful jumps and talent of Agnes Z, as even Agnes was surprised at being in second after the sp. Mirai’s problems with URs (as well as her reputation for having problems and for being repeatedly downgraded), certainly goes against her heavily when the calls are too-close-to-call.
Last edited by aftershocks; 02-06-2013 at 05:02 AM.
Mirai has Histrionic Personality Disorder. Her problem isn't with her skating technique as much as it is her mind. Not to fret as most young girls her age grow out of it. I'm surprised Frank didn't snap her out of it. After two seasons of mediocre performances one would think that she'd be humbled enough to grow up. Another case of too much to soon. When you are used to being handed a title it makes it even more difficult to have to work for it. The problem with the post Cohen/Kwan era is that the USFSA was rushing to find the next big star. Scores were inflated under the new judging system. The bar was raised higher but the body wasn't able to keep up even though the mind thought it was. Thus we have a young immature girl like Mirai who really didn't have much competition to rattle her chains until recently. She needs to go back to the drawing board and rework her whole technique. Most of all she needs counseling and to quit being a cry baby.
Mirai has Histrionic Personality Disorder. Her problem isn't with her skating technique as much as it is her mind. Not to fret as most young girls her age grow out of it. I'm surprised Frank didn't snap her out of it. After two seasons of mediocre performances one would think that she'd be humbled enough to grow up. Another case of too much to soon. When you are used to being handed a title it makes it even more difficult to have to work for it. The problem with the post Cohen/Kwan era is that the USFSA was rushing to find the next big star. Scores were inflated under the new judging system. The bar was raised higher but the body wasn't able to keep up even though the mind thought it could. Thus we have a young immature girl like Mirai who really didn't have much competition to rattle her chains until recently. Even reliable Rachel wasn't a threat really. Mirai insisted that it wasn't her time yet. Instead of fighting through her growth spurts she wept. You know the story..Pinky fingers gently sliding the tears into the corners of the eyes! She needs to go back to the drawing board and rework her whole technique. Most of all she needs counseling and to quit being a cry baby and fight! This is what makes a winner and a competitive athlete. If she isn't into skating or competing anymore she should step aside. She's been dinged repeatedly for her ur's yet she hasn't found a way to complete the rotation. You can't be a winner expecting to not do the work. Yeah I know..She had the flu. Excuses again.
Thanks for posting that diagnosis twice Tonya.
I see that from all those court-ordered anger management classes you took that you learned much about psychology.
The big thing Nagasu has to decide is whether it is worth it to take another shot at the Olympics, or whether she wishes to move on to other things in life. Only she knows what she wants.
IF she chooses to continue - then she really needs to find something more energetic and that doesn't give her the space to simply "skate around". She was at her best in 2010 with two perky pieces - why not go back to that? As for her jumps, they do need some work in general but she was sick here after all - she looked fine in the SP but obviously the reduced stamina would become an issue in the longer FS.
Not sure how Zawadzki got 2nd in the SP with a fall - out of all the skaters there seems to be the biggest discrepancy between domestic and international scores with her. I find that rather odd...
I think it was unfortunate Nagasu got sick at such an inopportune time. Reminds me of when Wagner was sick at 2011 Nationals and it led to a 6th place finish (her worst IIRC). In the long run it might have worked in her favor as it was the last straw that pushed her to go to Nicks the next season. What Nagasu needs to do is assess her current situation and determine whether it is sufficient to get her to the level she wants to reach. Then again, it's possible that Nagasu has already peaked as a skater (2010) and she will never get there again. You never really know...
Okay, let's say most of the overt corruption has been stamped out under the new system. That’s probably true and it's helpful, but we're still dealing with buzz, politics, subjectivity, human nature, erratic judging under complex and constantly changing rules, publicly anonymous ISU judging, fairly random GOE assessments, the endless possibilities for PCS manipulation, and the desire of many judges to "do the right thing," and not be too far of an outlier in their scoring so that they personally stay in TPTB "good graces." Figure skating is a subjective sport and it's always been difficult to judge. But the sport coasted along far too long with corrupt judging and with heads in the sand regarding the need for change. Then the sport fell completely under the control of ISU handlers who view it from the lens of a different sport which has only further complicated the ongoing transitional challenges figure skating is going through post Salt Lake City and CoP/IJS.
Isn't projection a defense mechanism for a Histrionic Personality?
You were hardly there, Tonya!
Probably one of the things Mirai's fans enjoy the most about watching her is the way she seems to have such a lighthearted infectious spirit when she's on and happy. Conversely, when she's not happy and lacks confidence it shows and isn't fun to witness. It's too bad that at the beginning of her skating career Mirai wasn't able to smoothly navigate the vagaries and the "we love you, we hate you" aspects of this sport.
Now, forgive me for taking a stab at a bit of child psychology.
Figure skating is a beautiful sport and it can be uplifting ... but on rarer occasions these days. Mirai's unique talent and lively infectious spirit on the ice when she’s on have been among those rare occasions of uplift (at least for me) in watching this sport. Of course Mirai is responsible for maintaining her own discipline and good training habits, but I also think it didn't help the development of her skating to have had such a huge spotlight placed on her at such a young age (ditto for Caroline Zhang). I think there is a delicate balance that could have been achieved for Mirai when she first burst onto the scene out of juniors, if wiser adult heads had prevailed. Yes, Mirai was precocious and she deserved to score highly at 2008 Nats, but I’m not so sure that winning at that time was the right result for the right reason, nor was it perhaps best for her personally. (I think the fed’s mindset at that time was kind of, "Quick, let’s reward the next Michelle Kwan/ Tara Lipinski/ Sasha Cohen").
With Mirai's subsequent technical problems on her jumps, 2008 was a period when there probably needed to be more focus on having her work on the fundamentals and to mature. Yes, encourage and reward her, but not with a title which didn’t even allow her to compete at Worlds (due to ISU age restrictions). That didn’t make great sense now or then. There were other ladies who performed comparably well that year, even if they weren't fresh precocious new faces. It might have been to Mirai's advantage to progress more slowly and to stay with coaches she was more comfortable with rather than her being sent to work with a top coach so precipitously.
Apparently all some people could see was Mirai's talent, her cuteness, and the possibilities of stardom. They didn't seem to fully see and appreciate her as the quirky, amazing and complicated youngster that she was. Nor did many adults actually seem to take the time to get to know her, understand her needs, and allow her the necessary time, guidance, resources, and proper attention for improving technical consistency on her jumps. Mirai is now a young lady and all some fans and people in the sport seem to see are bad URs, and an athlete they aren't so enthusiastic about anymore struggling to battle back to competitive form.
Definitely it wasn’t good if Mirai had trouble as a youngster with training discipline, but it was also important for her to have the right coaching matchup. I agree that Mirai does need to fully take the reins and be responsible for her life and her skating (which she seems to have done this season). Being sure what she wants and having a strong work ethic is important. The past can not be changed but it is possible to learn from it. IMO, it is difficult to assess when athletes are very young if they are ready for the demands of success or if they even understand what is required of them. At such young ages, they are definitely not responsible for all the choices that in fact are made for them.
I say all of this from an outsider, fan-centric viewpoint. These are my perceptions. But I don’t think we’d even be debating the Nationals results to this degree, had they been fair across the board. Many fans and non-fans watching were confused with the scoring, and simply looking at or even understanding the rules and the protocols does NOT change the fact that Mirai was a bit more harshly judged than some others. Again, as I said, what matters most is how Mirai responds to this setback. She should keep it in perspective and when looking back on her performance, try to separate the effects of the flu from what she could have done better. Her placement at Nationals and others’ negative opinions should not keep her from being proud of what she’s accomplished throughout her career and particularly this season, nor should she allow the official results to keep her from continuing to set personal goals and to work hard on reaching them.
To me so much depends on PROGRAMS - her getting choreography that will inspire her to put in the work because she is excited to show it to people. Her SP this season was OK and she certainly performed it to the hilt at Nats but it is still cutesy, not the kind of thing that generated any buzz other than for the fact that Mirai was showing some spark again. Caitlin Yankowskas, in the podcast released today on Aunt Joyce, talked about how important it is to tell a story through her programs and connect with the audience that way, and how that desire inspires her skating in general and also motivated her through some very tough times. I want that for Mirai... but you can't just inject the right feelings in people (alas). It is an inborn thing. But surely Mirai and her team can come up with programs she can get her teeth into -- or even just an FP if they want to keep the successful SP -- something that would showcase her in a mature and striking way. I guess money is a factor in this too, though....
Yes I agree much depends on the programs. However I think Mirai intended her FS to inspire her, since she liked it and called it a "story of hope."
She also mentioned that she wanted something "classical and mature" for her FS. I think when she performed her FS, she wanted to appear mature and stoic. It's probably because of that that she didn't show much emotion while performing her FS until the end (with her choreographic sequence when the music really builds). I think Mirai wanted to appear mature and grown up by keeping her emotions in check, but unfortunately she came off as looking uninvested in her performance.
I don't think this is 100% for anyone who's called her recent skating wooden, frozen, robotic, etc., but perhaps....some people are so besotted with the adorable kid she was, that they find it difficult to accept her in any other form.
"Puccini cries out for spirals, but really good ones." ~ Dick Button, 1998 Worlds