I just hope the same thing doesn't happen to Gracie Gold...
I just hope the same thing doesn't happen to Gracie Gold...
The thing is the 2008 Nationals in the ladies division looked a lot like the 2000 nationals with Meissner playing the role of Kwan;
and Zhang, Flatt, Wagner, and Nagasu playing the role of Cohen, Hughes, Kirk, and Nam.
The only difference was that Kwan was able to hold off the Newbies, and Meissner was unable to.
Zhang (who had technique problems that the judges started hammering overnight)
Wagner (who after that Nationals, had short program problems that killed her chances in competition)
Nagasu (who could rack up a lead in the short program, but couldn't keep it, giving her the infamous "headcase" label)
Flatt (who was consistent to a point, but didn't have enough firepower to keep up with Asada and Kim)
Czisny (whose skating makes Jekeyll and Hyde seem unextreme)
Now, Czisny did manage to land her jumps and win the Grand Prix Final, but she followed that up 1.5 years later with 22nd place at worlds. I would be surprised if her carer isn't over.
Flatt had that tibiagate thing, and has fallen out of favor with the USFS. Now at Stanford (IMO, the college with the hardest workload in the world), her skating career appears to be over.
Wagner managed to win 4CC (on home ice...it seems as if that's the only place where US Ladies can win 4CC). But then her short program demons resurfaced at Worlds 2012 costing her a medal. It remains to be seen if her "breakthrough" was temporary or permanent.
After re-inventing herself during the 2011-2012 season, Zhang got hammered by the judges at 2013 Nats for UR's. Her technical content is lacking, and she has never broken 177 for a total score EVER, nationally or internationally.
Nagasu also struggled with URs in the LP. She seems to show a lot of potential, but never realize it.
The amazing thing is that while being on the senior International Circuit for only 2.5 years, Kimmie still has a greater career than either of those five.
The Best US Ladies skater always finished 4th-7th at Worlds or Olympics.
Meissner (4th 2007 Worlds)
Meissner (7th 2008 Worlds)
Flatt (5th 2009 Worlds)
Nagasu (4th 2010 Olympics)
Nagasu (7th 2010 Worlds)
Czisny (5th 2011 Worlds)
Wagner (4th 2012 Worlds)
The Gold medalist at the 2014 Olympics will almost certainly break 200 for a total score. Unfortunately, I think that the ceiling for all of the US Ladies is below that.
BTW: Christina Gao is extraordinarily beautiful:
It's obvious to me during the period that Kwan and Cohen dominated 2003-06 that there were not a lot of talented Junior skaters in the pipeline. If there were then there would been more depth for the US after they both retired in 2006. Instead it was up to Kimmie who was only 16 and Hughes who was never going to be a champion to carry on until the Junior ranks had some talent. To bad there was not a veteran skater or two that was at least competitive when Kwan and Cohan called it quits so the Junior kids didn't have to get pushed so quickly when they were not ready.
I'd say if anyone started getting hammered overnight for their technique it was Mirai. I remember Caroline getting hammered at her very first grand prix event @ Skate America 2007. She had a ridiculously high number of jump downgrades but still managed to win bronze because the rest of the field was horrible. Mirai seemed to get hammered out of nowhere sometime after she won her first national title.
Well, if you sort of think about it, Rachel Flatt was effectively Hughes' replacement for two years - dependable, if unimpressive on the top level.
But after Flatt went cold, that was it. Czisny and Nagasu, depends on the weather. Wagner, seemed to be on a hot streak but may have stepped into the refrigerator. Zhang, hindered by technical issues. Gold, experiencing growing pains under intense spotlight.
My job requires me to be a juggler, but that does not mean that I enjoy working with clowns.
I think the writing on the wall was further evident for US ladies if you go back and analyze the ranks of skaters just below Kwan - Cohen in the '03 - '06 cycle -
Kirk, Nikodinov, McDonough and Liang were promising in certain respects, and perhaps 1 or 2 of them would've become top competitors in the '07 - '10 cycle had things worked out differently, but each dealt with their issues. Kirk and McDonough found no joy in skating. I'm not sure about Liang ...
OK, Nikodinov was a holdover from '98 - '02, so probably not her specifically.
I'm sure if any of them had blossomed in this time period, it would've contributed to a richer scene alongside Kimmie and Emily in the '07 - '10 quadrennial. This further contributed to the 'big hole' I discussed earlier.
Kirk didn't have the "IT" factor to be a top dog, but at least she went for all of her triples most of the times.
Nikodinov couldn't control her double-itis and thus would've never become the #1 seed. Who else in the world consistently doubled everything after one mistake? That "strategy" never made sense to me.
Liang was way too inconsistent.
McDonough - I think her skating became lackluster after she matured. I couldn't see why some people were raving about her spins and jump, because I didn't see anything special about them when she was in Senior. Most of her triples had the obvious hooked landings that would've downgraded them, and all her programs looked the same since she basically did the same jump layouts in all of them.
^I don't quite get what you mean re: Nikodinov - are you saying she deliberately doubled her jumps?
I think the etymology of the JPN ladies is interesting and a lesson of things going RIGHT:
Dependable and lovely, Fumie Suguri became the 1st solid JPN skater over a decade ago, medalling at Worlds and together w/ Yoshie Onda, who had also struggled a bit going back to around 2000 but got it together, getting the JPN ladies 3 spots for '03 (I think). It just so happened that at the same time, Shizuka Arakawa finally realized her potential and wunderkind junior Miki Ando exploded onto the scene. Then, Mao burst onto the 2005 GP series and became a full-fledged Senior in '06 - '07. Arakawa and Ando had a bad year in '05 and '06 respectively, but Fumie was there, super dependable through '06 which allowed the JPN ladies to keep 3 spots. She was always luckily giving the right performance at the right time. And let's not forget Yukari Nakano, who 'covered' for Ando having a crap year in '08, still keeping 3 spots for JPN into '09. Then finally Akiko Suzuki started up the ladder in '08 or '09. Probably motivated by what she saw around her on her country's skating scene.
That's what happens when you have a deep dependable bench. A lot of times, they motivate eachother and not everyone will be a world beater, but they are there doing their best when they need to.
It's kind of the opposite of US ladies right now,
Last edited by olympic; 02-15-2013 at 03:51 PM.
I think the US ladies right now have a lot more depth then say in the last Olympic year back in 2010.
Last edited by Jammers; 02-15-2013 at 07:22 PM.
^Yes. Please don't misunderstand me. I think they are in better shape than the last couple of seasons. But, I think we need more clutch performers.
I think part of the problem is COP makes these skaters have to a lot more then the skaters had to do during 6.0. Would Kwan or Lipinksi have been as consistent if they had to do all the elements they have to do now? On the other hand i rarely if ever saw Michelle or Tara look terrified like certain US skaters do now.