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  1. #521
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    We all know Ashley is capable of some choreography but the problem is, Wilson didn't give her ANY. Or she has stripped it down deliberately to get used to the tech layout.

    icenetwork article

    "I think this program requires a level of sophistication I really haven't put out yet in competition," she [Wagner] said. "With David's steps, and the intricacy of the program, right now I'm trying to focus on the technical aspect of it. I'm hoping as the season goes on that I'm able to weave in more and more of the artistry."
    So maybe the LP will get better as the season progresses.

    I'm not fond of the final straight line spiral into the kneeling on one knee slide before the final combo spin. It's supposed to be a dramatic moment, but it falls flat for me. There's something very juniorish about that.

  2. #522
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    Thanks for the link, just as I hoped.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

    from Speedy Death

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    Thank you for posting the article, orbitz. I'm happy Ashley knows what she's doing and should do from now. I was impressed by her sportsmanship to go for 3-3s. Yes, she is now a serious medal contender at Sochi with her 3F-3T. When you focus on techniques, the program can be more simple than usual. I'm sure she can work on choreos as the season goes on, since she has experiences with Nicks and Mills in the past two years. Go Ashley!

  4. #524
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    To me the most exciting things next week are battle for US #2 or 3 of US ladies in SC and the Japanese men

  5. #525
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    To me it's mostly the battle for #3 ladies. I think Gracie has it in the bag.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

    from Speedy Death

  6. #526
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbd1235 View Post
    I'm fascinated that many are calling her Mills programs "well-choreographed compared to her latest season stuff". With Mills the FS music cuts were better and that aspect really worked, but I found Ashley's upper body movements with Mills to be way too contrived, and the same goes for her facial expressions (big time). I might be a minority, but here goes:

    I think that BAR NONE her newest Shae-Lynn short program is the best short program work she's ever put out as a skater. I thought Pollock was awful (even as a big fan) and I did love the Red Violin but I love this more. This new program is more natural compared to the red violin and her footwork is on another level. I have never seen 30 seconds of Ashley skating so perfectly tuned to music as I have now seen in her Skate America SP. Big improvement, and then there's the 3/3....

    As for the FS, I hated it for a few views after Japan Open. The darn thing didn't seem to go anywhere and I didn't like the music, although I was massively impressed with Ashley's arms, footwork and expression. After a few views I actually fell in love with the program and the music though still hated the choreo sequence at the end. I feel that the Skate America choreo sequence was FANTASTIC so I now really like the whole program. The judges seemed to agree, the GOE for her choreo sequence was higher than anyone else's in the competition including Mao. Anyway, imo it was clear watching the FS at Skate America that Ashley was having trouble keeping herself "in check" after landing the 3-3. It just seemed to me that her facial expressions read like a book. I think she then resorted to caution and thinking (especially the footwork) which imo was a smart move in her first GP FS of the season.

    BUT BOY compare her arms and especially facial expressions to anything she's ever done before. The girl is emoting big time and I buy it 100%. David Wilson really brought that out and it is very natural. Now go back and watch her Samson and Delilah FS in the middle where she has the pose section. She had awkward rigid arms in every event, her feet looked awkward and the face was contrived at all but one event. I loved that program, but I call this improvement

    And I wouldn't be too concerned about spin levels, I wouldn't be surprised if that was all worked out by the GPF (see last season Ashley spins)
    Thank you thank you thank you.

    This perfectly sums up how I feel about her recent programs, except I am not yet in love with R&J. I think Mills got help in that the music he chose was more familiar and melodic for people whereas Wilson chose more unusual cuts which require much more warming up to.

    I really do think she needs to look to other aspects of her technical marks though (the 3loop, spins) otherwise she would just be wasting the technical edge she had with the 3/3.

  7. #527
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marco View Post
    ...I really do think she needs to look to other aspects of her technical marks though (the 3loop, spins) otherwise she would just be wasting the technical edge she had with the 3/3.
    Upthread, a recent interview w/ AW was posted which suggested that her strategy was to get the technical elements down first, then move on to bringing the choreography together. I think personally, by the 'technical elements', that means she has specifically concentrated on the 3-3. She had 2 UR's at SA; (1) the 1st 3loop which was probably caused by that trip just before the jump, surprised she pulled it off, then right into a nice 2x. (2) 3z, but that is not something she UR's chronically.

    I'm not too worried. I'm actually happy w/ her strategy this year. Last year, she nailed it in the beginning but it didn't really go beyond that. This year, the kinks she needs to iron out are totally doable, so it should grow.

  8. #528
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    To me it's mostly the battle for #3 ladies. I think Gracie has it in the bag.
    With how she looked at SLC and those horrid programs and still not being a strong competitor at times i'm not sure how you can say that. Yes if she lands say 4 triples in the LP at Nationals providing she doesn't bury herself in the SP she's going to Sochi but i wouldn't bet on her until i see how she looks at SC.

  9. #529
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    After how Gracie has looked so far at these early competitions and then all of the changes she's gone through this summer, I'm not going to predict her to be #1 US lady at SC just yet. We'll have to see if she's made any progress in her short time with Frank. Hopefully we'll see some changes.

    As for Ashley, I loved the feel of her SP. It's very different and in an Olympic season it's great to stand out with something out of the box. Her 3-3 in the SP was really nice but I do think she cheated it in the FS and got the benefit of home ice from the caller there. Not a big deal b/c it was clearly around in the SP which means she's capable of hitting it. I'm so proud of her. I loved the footwork in the SP as well...it fits the music so well and really pulls the audience in. If she can get the speed and level up on her spins, that's a 70+ program.

    I'm proud of her for putting out such a good FS but I'm not sold on this program yet either. It lacks the drama and spark her last two programs had. There was more "BAM!" to Black Swan and S&D which really showcased Ashley's power and presence. There are moments in R&J that are nice but it's not leaving as big of an impact as her last two programs did. I like the ending but the rest of it feels kinda empty to me right now. Knowing that she's focusing on getting the jumps under control does make me hopeful that we'll see a little more meat added to this program in the coming months.

    It was an excellent start for her and if she skates like that at TEB the gold is hers. TEB has the lightest field of the season...

    I really enjoyed Samantha Cesario. I do think she should ditch the 3L-3L and go for an easier 3-3. A clean 3T-3T with some higher level elements would really boost her to that next level. I love both of her programs, especially her Carmen FS which is amazing and is the best Carmen FS I've seen since Sasha's back in 2001/2002. Great musicality and attitude throughout and she performed really well here.

    I feel awful for Caroline. I don't know what happen but she completely blanked in the FS. I think this may be her last appearance on the GP and it's a terrible way to go out. Her skills have completely deteriorated. I don't really like to say a skater should retire unless they want to but I think it may be time for Caroline to hang up her skates.

  10. #530
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    To me it's mostly the battle for #3 ladies. I think Gracie has it in the bag.
    Oh, I disagree. Gold needs to be in fighting shape - it's not going to be handed to her on default. For instance, she CANNOT afford to have the disaster of an SP that she had last year. It was pure luck that she was able to pull up to as high as 2nd even after that knockout FS. She still needed several skaters ahead of her to mess up (and that's precisely what happened).

  11. #531
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    ^^Agreed. Given Gracie's tumultuous summer, I don't know how anyone could be throwing all of their eggs in her basket just yet. On one hand Frank may be the savior sent from above who can immediately impact her skating and get her on the right track...OTOH it may take longer than the 3 months they have left to get her to where she needs to be to put forth a strong skate at nationals. We just don't know right now...

    SC is going to be critical for Gracie. She's stirred up a lot of doubt with her weak performances this summer which means she really needs to erase some of that doubt with a solid showing this week. She's under a lot of pressure but hopefully Frank is working with her and will be able to keep her calm.

  12. #532

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    Its October. All this xyz is critical, the sky is falling is to me. Slow and steady progress leading up to nationals should be the goal.

    It's when you panic and make a competition in October the goal post that you have a problem. JMO

  13. #533

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mayra View Post
    Its October. All this xyz is critical, the sky is falling is to me. Slow and steady progress leading up to nationals should be the goal.

    It's when you panic and make a competition in October the goal post that you have a problem. JMO
    I totally agree.

  14. #534
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mayra View Post
    Its October. All this xyz is critical, the sky is falling is to me. Slow and steady progress leading up to nationals should be the goal.
    THIS!!!

  15. #535

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    I dont think SC is critical for Gracie. Her cross-continental coaching change is too recent. But Gracie has not suddenly stopped being the most lady talented skater in the US (if not the most competition-ready at the moment). She has to be aiming at Nats and hopefully IMO aiming at the third spot so as to relieve some of the pressure on her. She doesnt seem to thrive on pressure as much as she thought she did, so best to lighten it. Slow and steady....

  16. #536
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    ^Gracie has issues, but she's driven and wants to win. Her jumps and spins have improved. She just needs to bring it all into focus and I hope FC can help her with that.

  17. #537
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    I hope Ashley puts in a lot of the choreography back into the program. Or get a new LP or rework the music edits... David Wilson normally is very good with music cuts so I'm surprised he gave this garbage to her.

    Beyond that, Cesario had a spark and fire at SA in her LP that I've never seen in her skating before! She's a decent skater, but she's missing that extra something that could potential bring her up to the top 5 at Nationals. It might be her slower speed and her weaker spins.

    Plus I was surprised the Eurosport commentators said Mao's program lacked spark and was empty... I thought Ashley's was more empty...

  18. #538
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    I am no Gracie uber, rather someone who is very aware of her flaws. However, I think it would take some MAJOR tanking for her AND an impressive enough string of performances from another two US ladies other than Ashley, for Gracie not to get the 2nd spot. I don't think the combined probability of these events occurring is very high.

    OTOH, I don't think "slow and steady progress" means starting at the bottom. Making the GPF would really be a nice feather in the cap of a would be Olympian. It would signal international judges' approval and competitiveness on international level. So yes, GP performances are not unimportant, starting with SKAM.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

    from Speedy Death

  19. #539
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    Gracie needs to beat Hicks and Gao at SC, for sure, to be considered a lock for the Olympic team IMO. If she doesn't, then in no way does she have it in the bag.

    As for Ashley getting a sign from the judges that she's "not in the same league" as Mao, I'll say I somewhat disagree because her PCS were only 3 points below Mao in the FS, and what did her in really was the TES, 58 for TES is not that great for a 7 triple program. Mao was generously called at SA, and while that could be seen as favoritism, she's going to be at the mercy of the caller when it comes to jumps and she happened to get lucky this time around. Ashley lost points on spin levels and then the couple of 2-foots which will obviously draw a caller's attention to the jump and rotation, whereas a questionably rotated jump landed on one foot (Mao had a few of these) could more feasibly get looked over.

    The way I see it, 3 points in PCS isn't that big of a margin and could be made up feasibly now that Ashley has the 3-3 and a 7 triple FS (especially where Mao is prone to URs and most likely won't try the 3-3, and is unlikely to get credit for it even if she does because I think the one she tries for is 3f-3lo). Ashley should be able to pick up those TES points she lost at SA pretty easily judging from the TES scores she was getting last season without the 3-3, so really, I think if she does that and really focuses on getting the spins sharper and all level 4, and makes sure the jumps are on 1 foot, then I think she could be in the mix for a medal at the Olympics. A clean Mao and Carolina will undoubtedly place above her even with Ashley having the 3-3 now, but Mao and Carolina are also no stranger to mistakes, so I think feasibly Ashley could sneak onto the podium if one or both of them make some errors. That being said, I'm not a huge fan of the R+J FS (love the SP though!), but she's getting good PCS for it already and I do think the ending is really strong so I'm not all that concerned at this point (her programs are certainly a lot better than both of Gold's, Gao's FS, Zawadzki's FS, etc.).

  20. #540

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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post

    OTOH, I don't think "slow and steady progress" means starting at the bottom. Making the GPF would really be a nice feather in the cap of a would be Olympian. It would signal international judges' approval and competitiveness on international level. So yes, GP performances are not unimportant, starting with SKAM.
    Perception of being a lock is nice, but see Wagner 2009/2010 GP finalist for how much that actually came into play when deciding the Olympic team vs Nagasu (4th,5th). If I were any of these girls my worry would be less beating each other on the GP and more progression to beating them when and where it counts, US Nationals.

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