I think the competitive atmosphere in the US is as tough if not tougher then any other country in the world. Besides over 50 some years of being the most dominating country in Ladies skating should tell you how competitive it has been here. And to be honest Russia has never had the depth the US has. Until about 3-4 years ago the Russian Ladies were in some serious hurt. Let's see where they are in about 7-8. Same with Japan.