Those who never succeed themselves are always the first to tell you how.
Russia will have three spots for euros so the team could actually be sorted out by that event. So if top 3 are 1. LiPnitskaya very possible 2. Tuktamisheva and 3. Sotnikova and at euros It is 1. Sotnikova 2. Tuktamisheva. 3. Lipnitskaya then what? The stronger skaters later than russian nationals go. But what if lipnitskaya had an off day and would be back to being the best? Wouldn't ever be known! Worlds is also two spots.
I don't understand people who can country-swap so easily. Have they no pride? No loyalty? No sense of belonging or nationality?
It bewilders me.
Re: Country swapping. Seems like some skaters who swap countries earlier in their development have some success, like Makarova and Malinina. Or Kyoko Ina.
This was kind of golden era of Russian men, adding some skaters who competed that time for Russia: Ilia Kulik, Oleg Tataurov and Sergej Davydov.
Sergej Davydov was Vice-Junior World Champion for Russia in 1998 and competed for Belarus. He’d never managed to compete at Euros or Worlds if he had not switched countries, as he never got a reliable quad under his belt. But he had beautiful basic skating skills, elegant programmes and placed within top 6 at Euros a couple of times and I think twice top 10 at Worlds. – His career for sure would have been worse in case he decided to keep on skating for Russia. So it was a smart move! ;-)
Igor Pashkevitch also switched countries after a stellar season in 1996 and competed for Azerbeidzhan. But he couldn’t continue with such success and his results were pretty much similar to those prior to 1996 if I recall it right. But he was already about 25 years of age then and thus changed countries at a pretty much progressed age for a skater.
But I don't think most skaters take this decision easy. However, if you trained since being a little child, sacrificed a lot and know you are good enough to get some decent results, but it's just heavy competition in your country that prevents you from doing so, I think it's different. And Polina Shelepen is a different case anyways - she apparently has also Jewish heritage, i.e. mixed heritage, so I don't think her skating for Israel shows lack of loyalty or belonging to a nationality. This in particular not as anti-Semitism unfortunately is an issue in Russia. I keep my fingers crossed that she will represent her new country very successfully.
So this is completely unrelated to anything, but I just realized that Bobrova and Soloviev's straight jacket lift in their FD (their choreographic lift) is Usova and Zhulin's final Blues for Klook lift!
I recognized that straight jacket lift of Bobrova/Soloviev's too. I was surprised that the commentators didn't comment on it.
I understand that they want to keep the field managable and have representatives from smaller countries, but sometimes a country is just so strong at a moment in time in one discipline that it is really unfair that they don't have more than 3. I often think of the Soviet pairs or dancers in the late 80s, the Russian men in the later 90s, the american women in the 90s, the Japanese men now.... I like that concept that there be a pool of skaters to compete for extra spots...
Not everyone feels a strong sense of national pride or patriotism. I don't see anything wrong with that. For some people, the chance to go to the Olympics far outweighs any vague sense of loyalty to their country of residence. Plenty of people compete for themselves, not for their country.
Seriously, usually a country “adopts” skaters if they help to move forwards the sport. From your post I get the impression that Israeli Figure Skating Federation is trying to make any senior skater an Israeli one, who can barely land a single axel. I too would not want to pay taxes for that, but again, I think the skaters are the wrong targets to blame.
But with skating you presume that there is a perfect world, where only hard work is the key to success. But it’s not. It’s also politics, influence of coaches, the luck of good timing and sometimes even – things which are beyond of the control of young skaters. Just look at the decision Russian Fed made with regards to handing out spots in the men for Euros and Worlds – it’s hard to argue the 5th place finisher Kovtun worked harder than Menshov. Actually I expected that this affair might be the final decision point for one or two skaters to switch countries.
Despite understanding the frustration to a certain point, I sadly think your statements and similar ones by others, but in particular the way and the language you are presenting your arguments with pointing out Israel doesn’t have enough “local skaters” only non-local ones and indicating that even “rubbish” Amercian/Russian skaters due to lousy jumps of locals are still technically superior to them, is a perfect effort to possibly subvert the achievements Israeli figures skaters made in the past decades in the eyes of many non-Israeli skating fans. Most of them would not waste a minute of time thinking if the skaters were imported / local, unless pointed out by others. So if that was the goal, it might have been achieved perfectly.