The thing I like most about him is his ever present smile. He seems like such a happy person, despite his past family tragedies.
I noticed that Mroz is no longer listed in USFS' International Selection Pool for 2014-15, so it appears he may have decided to retire from competition at 23 (no official word yet). He placed 9th at Nationals in Boston (ETA: he landed 4T+3T in both programs but had problems on other jumps).
His IN bio: http://web.icenetwork.com/skaters/profile/brandon_mroz
Last edited by Sylvia; 04-15-2014 at 04:22 PM.
"Randy [Starkman (1960-April 16, 2012)] lived by the same motto as the rest of us. The Olympics isn’t every four years, it’s every single day. He just got it." --Canadian Olympic kayaker Adam van Koeverden
I checked his ISU bio and Brandon was born in 1990, so he will be 24 this December. His career highlights include
06-07 - 4th at Jr Worlds (age 16)
07-08 - 4th at Jr Worlds (age 17)
08-09 - 2nd at US Nationals (senior), 9th at Worlds (age 18)
09-10 - 6th at US Nationals, 4th at 4 Continents (age 19)
10-11 - 2nd at Cup of China, 3rd at Bompard, 7th at US Nationals (age 19-20)
11-12 - 14th at US Nationals (age 21)
12-13 - 9th at US Nationals (age 22)
13-14 - 9th at US Nationals (age 23)
In addition to the family issues that may have distracted his mental focus, I think part of it may be dealing with a maturing body. A man in his mid-20s is going to be thicker and heavier than his teenage self, and that is going to make it harder to jump. Heavier bodies need more strength to get good jump height; broader shoulders don't rotate as quickly.
Over the years, we have seen other promising teenagers struggle somewhere in the 19-21 range. (Petrenko in 89, Eldrege in 93, Kulik in 97). Those with good basic jump technique who put in the work are able to come thru it. Even those who continue to compete succcessfully may continue to strugggle with a particular jump. (This is the age Lambiel's 3 axel went AWOL, for example.)
So, my guess is part of the problem is the male counterpart to the puberty monster, kind of like those promising 13 yo girls whose 3 lutzes depart by age 18. It takes a lot of talent, good technique, and a lot of work and determination. If he has found that he isn't motivated enough to put in the time and effort, maybe it is best to move on to something else. If he has retired, at least he walks away instead of ending up on the injured skater scrap heap.
Arent he and Jeremy Abbott good friends. Jeremy should have given him more encouragement to make his skating better again.
A shame. He had such real potential. I was a fan.
That was the first I heard of his family tragedies (nubka, see link on page 1), and I feel sorry for him for that, but he is a very boring skater. His Carmen was the most boring I've ever seen in my life.
Brandon Mroz, 2009 U.S. Naitonals Free Skate
Hindsight is 20/20, but I wouldn't say he looks like an up-and-comer when I view that video now.
I see a lot of two-footed skating and shallow edges (if he is even skating on his edges). Jumps aren't everything, and what is there to that program besides jumps?
I can't find a video from this year's Nationals, but here is his Free Skate at Nationals in 2013. His skating skills have not improved much, if at all.
Is it possible too that Brandon's training-mates around that time might have had something to do with it? The year after that National medal, Zakrasjek had two skaters on the Junior podium together, both with already exceptional jumps, and one who was being touted as the next big thing. Then the next year, even though one of those two left Zakrasjek, the other was becoming sufficiently credentialled to focus on as the number one skater in his camp.
If you were a coach and have two skaters, one who decides to come to training late or not at all if he doesn't feel like it, and one who works like a fiend, which would you choose?
I was very sad when I watched Brandon at Nationals this year. There was simply nothing there. Brandon made Max look like Jeremy or Jason.
DH and were watching Men's SP's on our 2014 Nationals DVD the other day and I said to my husband, "Carlos Santana ought to sue Brandon...for boredom!" Also, "Brandon needs another facial expression. Then he'd have 1."
I can't think of another skater less connected to his music. He's a great jumper, but that's it.
I didn't know that about Brandon. It could explain what comes across as a lack of focus in his skating. Looking at his programs, he has some nice qualities in his skating, but it always looks like he could be doing more. Don't think I'd be able to put my complete energies into skating either - I can only imagine the financial and emotional burdens he has been under. Bless him and his family.
Jeremy and Brandon are not friends. They only appeared to be for awhile since they shared the same coach, and all training partners are supposed to act chummy.
Brandon is a boring skater, who was nothing but jumps but was never a great jumper like say Max Aaron. He was near the top when the US lacked depth in strength like 2008-2010 but now with the US having such a super deep and strong field he is not a factor.
Brandon's fan must be morose.