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    Yu-Na, Carolina & Mao: A Comparison

    Over at Golden Skate there was an interesting span of posts where people got a little off topic by comparing skaters in a Skater A > Skater B > Skater C format or in some cases Skater A > Skater B >= (greater than or equal to) Skater C.

    This got me to thinking: Seeing as how these are the three main podium contenders heading into worlds, how would you rank Carolina, Mao and Yu-Na in the following categories?

    Jumps (rank each)
    - Axel
    - Toe
    - Loop
    - Salchow
    - Flip
    - Lutz
    - Combos (3-3 and 2-3)

    Spins (overall but you can specify)
    Skating Skills (this includes edges, speed, flow, etc.)
    Transitions
    Choreography (for this year's programs)


    Here are my thoughts:

    Jumps
    - Axel: Mao > Carolina >= Yu-Na
    Mao's axel is so light and airy it almost looks like a single. Both Carolina and Yu-Na have great axels though I prefer Carolina's b/c of her landing position which is fully extended and often held for a count, whereas Yu-Na usually checks the landing quickly but I do love Yu-Na's ability to do the axel out of an Ina or SE...

    - Toe: Carolina > Yu-Na >= Mao
    Carolina's air position and coverage make it a great jump for her. Yu-Na rarely does a 3T as a single jump; it's usually in combination with lutz or an axel so it's hard to judge. I like the delay Mao's 3Ts but she doesn't do a toe by itself either. It's been in combination with the axel lately; when she hits it, it's equal to Yu-Na's.

    - Loop: Carolina >= Mao > Yu-Na
    Both Carolina and Mao's loops are probably their best jumps. Both get good lift and pretty rotations in the air with nice landings. Yu-Na doesn't attempt a loop...

    - Salchow: Carolina > Yu-Na > Mao
    Carolina gets nice lift into the air on this one. The sal is probably Yu-Na's weakest jump even though it's solid. Hers lacks the height/coverage of Carolina's. Mao's sal is good but she's still getting the hang of it so it's not very reliable right now.

    - Flip: Yu-Na > Mao > Carolina
    Yu-Na's flip has good height and coverage and is one of her best jumps. Mao's flip is her money jump and she's able to do it out of complicated steps, but it doesn't get the coverage Yu-Na's gets. Carolina's flip is lovely when she hits it but it often has a looong step up.

    - Lutz: Yu-Na > Carolina > Mao
    Yu-Na's lutz is excellent and is another strength for her. Speed, distance, height...she has it all. Carolina's lutz has been MIA but the one she did at Europeans was lovely. Mao still flutzes...

    - Combos (3-3 and 2-3): Yu-Na >> Carolina >= Mao
    Obviously Yu-Na's ability to do a myriad of 3-3s and a 2A-3T with consistency make her the easy winner here. Carolina has been doing a 3T-3T consistently and her 2A-3T is good too. Mao has not attempted a 3-3 is some years but her 2A-3T is pretty good and her 3-jump combos with two loops are very difficult.


    Spins: Mao > Carolina > Yu-Na
    Mao's spins have improved a lot this season. By far she has the best positions in terms of extension, flexibility and variations, her speed is better and she's been getting level 4s all season long. Carolina's spins are average but I put her above Yu-Na b/c of her extension, positions and the improvement to her layback (arms and leg positioning are much better this year). As for Yu-Na, with the exception of the layover camel and her back position in the layback (which are both lovely), her spins are about average too. They aren't as fast as they used and the positions aren't that great, but she's still adjusting to the new spins rules so we'll have to see if they've improved since nationals.


    Skating Skills: Carolina > Mao >= Yu-Na
    Carolina wins this. Speed, edges, ease, flow...all three have them but Carolina is tops IMO. It's difficult choosing who is 2nd here but I give Mao the slight edge. Yu-Na has the edge on power/acceleration when you compare her to Mao but I feel Mao edges Yu-Na overall. Best thing I can point to is the step sequences. I've never seen Yu-Na execute a step sequence equal to the complexity of Carolina or Mao's. All three are strong here which is part of why they are the top contenders.


    Transitions: Yu-Na > Carolina = Mao
    I give Yu-Na the edge here due to her transitions into her jumps. All three include good transitions throughout their programs, but Yu-Na's entry into her jumps are what stand out. The moves connect with little prep time before the jump and they are faster and more difficult than Carolina or Mao's, plus she often adds transitions to her exits too. I would say Carolina's exits are better than Yu-Na's exits though; however, Carolina's entries are sometimes long...and Mao's jumps are often preceded by steps that don't pause as long as Carolina's do, though she (Mao) doesn't have as many transitions out of her jumps. So to sum up all have great in-the-field moves. In terms of transitions for jumps: Yu-Na (entry and exit), Carolina (exit), Mao (entry)...whew!


    Choreography
    - SP: Carolina > Mao > Yu-Na
    This one is based purely on preferences of course. I think Carolina's SP this year is the best she's ever had. Amazing musicality, almost every accent is used. It's a phenomenal program. Mao's I Got Rhythm SP has grown on me. I like the throwback Mao style mixed with the skills she's gained as a mature skater. She pulls it off very well. Yu-Na's SP is good and while it's better than a number of programs it doesn't stand out in comparison to Carolina and Mao's programs to me.

    - FS: Mao > Carolina > Yu-Na
    Again, it's all preference here. I think Mao's Swan Lake FS is lovely. It's a simple program that highlights her strengths in all of the right ways. The pacing is very good and the edit is very effective. Carolina and Yu-Na's programs are still works in progress but I'm feeling Carolina's Bolero more than Yu-Na's Les Mis. Lori has found a way to make Bolero work for Carolina and I think the program has moved from pretty good to nice IMO. For Yu-Na it's the same with her SP. Les Mis is a good program but, compared to Mao and Carolina's programs, this one grabs me the least. There are some nice moments but it doesn't do anything for me like her programs have in the past.


    Feel free to add categories I left out. And sorry if this has been done before. I just thought it'd be interesting to see what everyone thought...

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    I think jump categories should be divided into triple jumps and double jumps to be more clear.
    For example, being good at 2Loop doesn't necessarily mean being good at 3Loop, and there are many exceptions..

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    Thank you, this is an interesting breakdown.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

    from Speedy Death

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    Thank you kwanatic, excellent and interesting post. I will try to do my own version as soon as I have more time!

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    I honestly don't understand how anyone can include Kostner in the same category as Mao and YNK...

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    Guts: Yu-Na >>>>>>> Caro = Mao

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jiazumi View Post
    I honestly don't understand how anyone can include Kostner in the same category as Mao and YNK...
    Absolutely, Carolina = Yu Na >>>>>>>>> Mao

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jiazumi View Post
    I honestly don't understand how anyone can include Kostner in the same category as Mao and YNK...
    I hate threads like this, but I must say, I absolutely feel the same way. Kostner's rise in the last 2 years came about when (i) Yuna was not competing and (2) Mao underwent jump overhauls and regressed to half of her former self. Kostner is just not in the same league as Mao/Yuna. Kostner's improvement is admirable and should be applauded, but she isn't even Top 5 in terms of talent among current ladies skater (I would put the Russian babies above Kostner in terms of pure talent). To compare a journeywoman veteran who fell more than an Italian goalkeeper in her Olympics LP to two prodigious once-in-a generation talents who dominated from their very debuts is an insult to the latter. But I do recognize that at least for this year's Worlds, due to the points Kostner has built up over the past 2 years, it will be a close battle should Kostner skate clean.

    Yuna >>> Mao >>>>>>>>>>>>>> Kostner

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaia View Post
    Kostner's improvement is admirable and should be applauded, but she isn't even Top 5 in terms of talent among current ladies skater (I would put the Russian babies above Kostner in terms of pure talent).
    What is "pure talent"? Talent in what? Jumping talent (although Sotnikova and even Tuktamisheva clearly have more)? I think Kostner was/is "pure talent" when it comes to skating itself, as well as things like musicality. And, yes, also jumps - as many have said, when she does them her technique is practically textbook (which can't be said for Mao).

    kwnatic, thank you very much for this thread and your comparison - it's very interesting.

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    2axel Yuna>Mao>Kostner. All of Yuna's jumps have good flow coming out of them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jiazumi View Post
    I honestly don't understand how anyone can include Kostner in the same category as Mao and YNK...
    I think it would be a good thing to learn a bit more about figure skating.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jiazumi View Post
    I honestly don't understand how anyone can include Kostner in the same category as Mao and YNK...
    Just give them time. Yu-Na hasn't been competing for a couple of year and Mao is reworking her jumps. With some mileage they can catch up to Carolina!


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    Quote Originally Posted by ehdtkqorl123 View Post
    Guts: Yu-Na >>>>>>> Caro = Mao
    Have to disagree here. Mao has always shown her courage by fighting back when she was down. It took guts to persist with the 3A- a jump that most ladies don't even attempt, and it took guts to land it three times in the Olympics. It took guts to revamp her jumps completely when judges started giving her low marks for ur. It took guts to completely overhaul her skating even after winning two world championships and an Olympic silver medal. Most skaters would have been satisfied with those accomplishments. To cap it all, she showed great courage in competing at worlds, just a couple months after losing her mother.

    I don't think either Yu na or Carolina come close to Mao when it comes to pure courage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    I don't think either Yu na or Carolina come close to Mao when it comes to pure courage.
    I don't think guts and pure courage are the same. I'm not even sure to know what guts is (not physically, of course !).
    In Mao's case, it's more dedication to the 3Axel than courage, and something that I consider not really clever.
    I admire her determination to land the 3Axel, but I'm not sure it's the good decision. Just like Joubert wanted 2 quads and 2 3Axels at 2006 Olympics. It's putting too much pressure, IMO.

    Anyway, as someone already mentioned, that kind of thread is interesting, if we take objective facts, but it's impossible to rank those three skaters in general.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    Have to disagree here. Mao has always shown her courage by fighting back when she was down. It took guts to persist with the 3A- a jump that most ladies don't even attempt, and it took guts to land it three times in the Olympics. It took guts to revamp her jumps completely when judges started giving her low marks for ur. It took guts to completely overhaul her skating even after winning two world championships and an Olympic silver medal. Most skaters would have been satisfied with those accomplishments. To cap it all, she showed great courage in competing at worlds, just a couple months after losing her mother.

    I don't think either Yu na or Carolina come close to Mao when it comes to pure courage.
    Well, persisting with 3A because it is the only option to beat one's rival, fine I will give her some credit just because no ladies do 3A nowadays.
    Revamping wrong jumps to get higher marks.. that's a different story. Isn't it what every figure skater is supposed do?
    Since Yu-Na had almost no wrong jumps(well, she used to get wrong edge calls on her flip jump but it's gone in 09-10 season) compared to Mao, Yu-Na doesn't have anything to revamp..
    You said most skaters have satisfied with these accomplishments.. How about Yu-Na going for another Olympics after she won gold in Vancouver? How about Yu-Na going to 2010 Worlds right after she won gold in Vancouver even though she could just rest in Korea? How about Yu-Na never missing podium even though she had gone through severe back pain in her early senior period. How about Yu-Na becoming today's Yu-Na even though she came from a country with no figure skating infrastructure and financial supports unlike her neighbouring country?
    After winning gold in Vancouver, she could easily retire and be free from pressure, but she didn't and decided to continue to get Olympic tickets for her junior skaters. If she will not win another gold in Sochi, many people will be disappointed, but she risked all these worries and uncertainties. IMO that's what true guts mean. Maybe I was too harsh that I had so many >'s between them, so I will remove a couple of >.

    Actually my gut comparison was regarding the guts at competitions.. Yu-Na nailed her SP right after Mao. Mao after Yu-Na's FS? hmm you know what I mean.
    In that regard, I remember how Caro did after Yu-Na's FS in 2009 Worlds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jiazumi View Post
    I honestly don't understand how anyone can include Kostner in the same category as Mao and YNK...
    Carolina has beaten Mao at every competition for the past 2 seasons. If anyone doesn't belong in this category its Mao

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaia View Post
    I hate threads like this, but I must say, I absolutely feel the same way. Kostner's rise in the last 2 years came about when (i) Yuna was not competing and (2) Mao underwent jump overhauls and regressed to half of her former self.
    , Carolina was 4th at her first Euros in 2003 with a phenomenal LP, and bronze medalist at Worlds in 2005.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ehdtkqorl123 View Post
    Well, persisting with 3A because it is the only option to beat one's rival, fine I will give her some credit just because no ladies do 3A nowadays.
    Revamping wrong jumps to get higher marks.. that's a different story. Isn't it what every figure skater is supposed do?
    Since Yu-Na had almost no wrong jumps(well, she used to get wrong edge calls on her flip jump but it's gone in 09-10 season) compared to Mao, Yu-Na doesn't have anything to revamp..
    You said most skaters have satisfied with these accomplishments.. How about Yu-Na going for another Olympics after she won gold in Vancouver? How about Yu-Na going to 2010 Worlds right after she won gold in Vancouver even though she could just rest in Korea? How about Yu-Na never missing podium even though she had gone through severe back pain in her early senior period. How about Yu-Na becoming today's Yu-Na even though she came from a country with no figure skating infrastructure and financial supports unlike her neighbouring country?
    After winning gold in Vancouver, she could easily retire and be free from pressure, but she didn't and decided to continue to get Olympic tickets for her junior skaters. If she will not win another gold in Sochi, many people will be disappointed, but she risked all these worries and uncertainties. IMO that's what true guts mean. Maybe I was too harsh that I had so many >'s between them, so I will remove a couple of >.

    Actually my gut comparison was regarding the guts at competitions.. Yu-Na nailed her SP right after Mao. Mao after Yu-Na's FS? hmm you know what I mean.
    In that regard, I remember how Caro did after Yu-Na's FS in 2009 Worlds.
    You're hysterical, I bet you would wipe YNK's butt too if you could. Probably never wash your hand again afterwards to boot.
    I guess the hard thing for a lot of people to accept is why God would allow me to go running through their yards, yelling and spinning around.


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    Quote Originally Posted by briancoogaert View Post
    , Carolina was 4th at her first Euros in 2003 with a phenomenal LP, and bronze medalist at Worlds in 2005.
    Not to mention those Euro titles and medals and her GP results, and although it was controversial, her silver at 2008 Worlds.

    Kostner's rise beyond what she'd achieved in the past has been mainly due to her finally becoming more consistent; the talent was always there. Since guts and courage have been mentioned in this thread, I think Kostner's ability to pick herself up after two dreadful Olympic seasons and accomplish what she has is really impressive - especially post-Vancouver, since she was also dealing with a serious knee injury at the time, but also after being in the spotlight at such a young age back in Torino.

    I don't like her choreo this season, though. I basically don't like anyone's choreo this season.

    I think spirals haven't been mentioned yet? I'd have Mao ahead in that one.

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    Kwanatic, this is a really fascinating thread, and I really enjoyed reading your analysis.

    For me, Yu-Na has much better jumps (aside from the 3Lo), but Carolina and Mao are more musical and have much better interpretation. Carolina has the best skating skills of the 3. Mao & Carolina have better footwork then Yu-Na. Carolina and Yu-Na are both faster than Mao.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaia View Post
    I hate threads like this, but I must say, I absolutely feel the same way. Kostner's rise in the last 2 years came about when (i) Yuna was not competing and (2) Mao underwent jump overhauls and regressed to half of her former self. Kostner is just not in the same league as Mao/Yuna. Kostner's improvement is admirable and should be applauded, but she isn't even Top 5 in terms of talent among current ladies skater (I would put the Russian babies above Kostner in terms of pure talent). To compare a journeywoman veteran who fell more than an Italian goalkeeper in her Olympics LP to two prodigious once-in-a generation talents who dominated from their very debuts is an insult to the latter. But I do recognize that at least for this year's Worlds, due to the points Kostner has built up over the past 2 years, it will be a close battle should Kostner skate clean. r
    Sudden 2 year rise?! Kostner has competed at Worlds since 2003! She came on strong as a young skater, won her first medal in 2005 (before Yu-Na and Mao were even old enough to compete in the senior level), fell hard (the Olympics, as you mentioned) and had a major resurgence. I think her determination and growth in her skating has been tremendous, and I am so glad she decided to continue skating when she could've easily quit.

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