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  1. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlai View Post
    Agnes, Mirai and Gao all medalled last year, and also they landed more jumps.
    It's as if half of the ladies on the GP don't want to go to Sochi or something.

    I didn't expect Cesario to medal on the GPs but at least she performs consistently and is a reliable competitor.
    Really because of luck of the draw (and partially because some more unreliable skaters like Sotnikova have put in better performances than Cesario), I think, that Cesario hasn't medaled.

  2. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlai View Post
    I am going by memory but I dont remember Mark Mitchell having had sr ladies place top three at nationals before. But nationals will be in Boston...
    Well I think Jenny said she thinks the problem with Mark and Peter as technical coaches is that they teach their students to go around the circle and around the rotation when jumping and she said that isn't a technique she believes in because it messes up the shoulders and body alignment. Well makes sense, because their skaters do tend to be more lacking when it comes to technique and jumps... But still, Christina has a sound technical and jumping base though.

    I wouldn't put too much stock into these grand prix outings. There's still 2 months till Nationals and so many things could change by then. It's all about peaking at the right time and who knows if the Russian babies (ladies I guess now for Sotnikova and Tukt) have already peaked on the GP.

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    For Karen Chen to withdraw more than a month in advance of the Grand Prix Final, I hope her injury is not so serious that it will keep her out to Nationals. She deserves a shot at the Junior World team it would seem, given the strength of her results. The Championship events also carry a lot of weight from an ISU points standpoint. Important to begin building those in each of the junior seniors.

  4. #84

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    Quote Originally Posted by leapfrogonice View Post
    For Karen Chen to withdraw more than a month in advance of the Grand Prix Final, I hope her injury is not so serious that it will keep her out to Nationals. She deserves a shot at the Junior World team it would seem, given the strength of her results. The Championship events also carry a lot of weight from an ISU points standpoint. Important to begin building those in each of the junior seniors.
    I think even without going to Nationals she would have a chance to go to junior worlds if she was healthy by then. Leah was named an alternate last year after making the JGPF and withdrawing from nats and Karen skated very well on the JGP scoring so high that I could see her being named.

  5. #85
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    In terms of programs I think Wagner has nailed the short. The long needs a climax or at least more highlights to work. She isn't drawing the audience in the same way her last two long programs did. Those PCS are quite low for just one mistake to be honest. I think the fact that her PCS is that close to Sotnikova's should be an alarm for Team Wagner. She needs to be regarded as the bottom of tier 1 (Kim, Asada, Kostner) instead of the top of tier 2 (Suzuki, Murakami, Sotnikova, Lipnitskaya etc)

    In terms of skating, the elements are mostly solid except for the 3/3 which is understandable, for now. If anything, she needs to spin faster, but good for her for nailing the levels at least.

    At this stage I think a top five in Sochi is likely, but top three isn't yet. I think she doesn't yet have the conviction to command higher PCS. She needs mid to high 8s, not high 7s or low 8s. A consecutive medal at GPF will help.

  6. #86
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    ^^^This sums it up perfectly.
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    from Speedy Death

  7. #87
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    I am more and more impressed by Cesario. She is doing the best she can and is doing her part mostly so far this season at all the internationals she entered. I don't think her 3loop3loop will ever be ratified; but once she has her spins down and perhaps also improved her speed, she can contend for a medal at Nationals. It's not like Gao, Nagasu, Hicks or even Gold are delivering convincing performances so far this season.

  8. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marco View Post
    In terms of programs I think Wagner has nailed the short. The long needs a climax or at least more highlights to work. She isn't drawing the audience in the same way her last two long programs did. Those PCS are quite low for just one mistake to be honest. I think the fact that her PCS is that close to Sotnikova's should be an alarm for Team Wagner. She needs to be regarded as the bottom of tier 1 (Kim, Asada, Kostner) instead of the top of tier 2 (Suzuki, Murakami, Sotnikova, Lipnitskaya etc)

    In terms of skating, the elements are mostly solid except for the 3/3 which is understandable, for now. If anything, she needs to spin faster, but good for her for nailing the levels at least.

    At this stage I think a top five in Sochi is likely, but top three isn't yet. I think she doesn't yet have the conviction to command higher PCS. She needs mid to high 8s, not high 7s or low 8s. A consecutive medal at GPF will help.
    Great post/analysis, Marco. Wagner's long program needing a climax/more highlights is so true. R&J is missing excitement and it doesn't demand that the audience watch. With Black Swan, you could sense that the audience in the arena, and even at home, were really excited to see the program performed. You could almost sense people sitting up straighter and paying attention when Ashley took her starting pose, as if they were saying to their friend, "ooh, watch this program. it's great!" R&J is missing that excitement. Tweaks need to be made to bring more excitement to it. So far, the only women's programs that make me stop and watch them are Asada's and Lipnitskaya's, but the latter mostly because her costume is so genius.

  9. #89
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    And the placement of the final 3flip - It was perfectly placed to the music in her last 2 long programs and allowed her to explode but this time it was just 'there'.

  10. #90
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    I watched Wagner's LP this weekend - I was impressed by the improvements; the program is significantly more engaging but still needs more mileage. She really challenged herself. This is the type of music I could see someone like Kwan skating to, and ultimately making it work. I don't think Wagner is in Kwan's league but it is getting better.

    If Wagner had done a clean 3-2-2 a la SA and not 2-footed the opening 3flip (but kudos on the 3toe despite that!), her LP score would've been easily north of 130 points, perhaps mid 130s. I'm not getting certain aforementioned posters' thoughts that she will fall victim to Sotnikova and Lipnitskaya. She's too tough. I think she is where she needs to be right now in November.

  11. #91
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    ^^^

    Exactly, that 2nd flip mistake left a lot of points on the table because it was supposed to be a three jump combo. I agree with the other posters about the LP not being as impactful as the previous two seasons, but at least it doesn't feel as empty choreographically as her SA program. And yes Ashley needs to be closeri n PCS to the top tier than the 2nd tier, but I wouldn't panic about her being close to Adelina in PCS. Doesn't Adelina have a history of scoring high in the 2nd mark regardless of her tech scores?

    Let's just hope there's even more improvement in two weeks for GPF!

  12. #92

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    Quote Originally Posted by jlai View Post
    They are behind thw Russians in terms of gp successes and depth; I am not talking about individuals

    I just think the team in general is underperforming, far below what they cando; that is all.

    I agree with this. The American ladies are definitely underperforming as a group this season. Only Ashley has skated well. The others are just not in a good state right now: inconsistent performances, very late coaching changes, weak programs for the most part. It's weird. The girls are all talking about wanting to make the team, but the actual skating sort of tells a different story, almost like they're afraid to succeed or something.

    It's the total opposite with the Russian girls. They're all getting steadily better and putting out really difficult, challenging programs. They're fighting for those 2 spots. I'm not sure what exactly the American girls are doing.

    American pairs not looking good either. Only Denney/Coughlin and Denney/Frazier have performed to expectations; the rest of the U.S. pairs have been kind of a mess on the Grand Prix. And although the U.S. men have managed 3 GP medals, it's pretty clear we're not going to win any medals in Sochi. Well, at least we still have Meryl & Charlie in dance.

    I have to really wonder what the U.S. federation has been doing since last season in terms of mentoring and monitoring skaters. And how did so many bad ladies' programs make it through the monitoring process at Champs Camp?

  13. #93
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    Black Swan is a program I rewatch on a regular basis. It builds to a climax with the famous Black Swan spiral and the bourrées followed by the split falling leaf, all falling perfectly on accents in the music. Now that's choreography that captures the character. Same was true, but to a lesser degree with Delilah. With R&J, I am still waiting for those exciting moments--I hope Ashley and team have them up their sleeves and will roll them out come Nationals (and Sochi).

    ETA: the current R&J music cuts don't give Ashley much to work with. Please, Team Ashley, include the Dance of the Knights in the 2nd part of the program so that the audience (including the judges) could get engaged more.
    Last edited by IceAlisa; 11-18-2013 at 05:22 PM.
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  14. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by clairecloutier View Post
    I agree with this. The American ladies are definitely underperforming as a group this season. Only Ashley has skated well. The others are just not in a good state right now: inconsistent performances, very late coaching changes, weak programs for the most part. It's weird. The girls are all talking about wanting to make the team, but the actual skating sort of tells a different story, almost like they're afraid to succeed or something.

    It's the total opposite with the Russian girls. They're all getting steadily better and putting out really difficult, challenging programs. They're fighting for those 2 spots. I'm not sure what exactly the American girls are doing.

    American pairs not looking good either. Only Denney/Coughlin and Denney/Frazier have performed to expectations; the rest of the U.S. pairs have been kind of a mess on the Grand Prix. And although the U.S. men have managed 3 GP medals, it's pretty clear we're not going to win any medals in Sochi. Well, at least we still have Meryl & Charlie in dance.

    I have to really wonder what the U.S. federation has been doing since last season in terms of mentoring and monitoring skaters. And how did so many bad ladies' programs make it through the monitoring process at Champs Camp?
    I agree about the Russian girls. They seem to want it more and aren't afraid to show it. If you want something bad enough even nerves won't stop you and the Russian girls are showing how much they want it. On the other hand the US girls seem almost afraid of wanting it to much and they are skating timid. I don't want to hear Gracie say she's happy to get a Bronze medal at SC i want to see some fire in her belly that she isn't happy with just a Bronze medal. US girls seem to be afraid to say how much they really want it unlike the Russians.

  15. #95
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    The Russian women definitely have been bringing it this year, but I have to think in part it is because they are all only too well aware there are only two Sochi slots, and the way the Russian Fed makes their decisions about Euros/Worlds/Olympic berths is notoriously fickle. They cannot wait until Russian Nationals to have a breakthough skate and hope to get named to the team.

    To counter that, I think most of the American ladies feel Wagner and Gold are going to be pretty much gauranteed two of the three Sochi places. That leaves a lot more pressure on the remaining girls for the one Olympic spot to be determined. I don't think it isn't because they don't want it, but the FEAR of not getting that spot is playing on their minds.
    I meant to take the high road.... but I missed the exit.

  16. #96

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    Quote Originally Posted by peibeck View Post
    The Russian women definitely have been bringing it this year, but I have to think in part it is because they are all only too well aware there are only two Sochi slots, and the way the Russian Fed makes their decisions about Euros/Worlds/Olympic berths is notoriously fickle. They cannot wait until Russian Nationals to have a breakthough skate and hope to get named to the team.
    I think you're right. And that's the advantage of a selection process that takes the whole season into account. The trouble with the U.S. system is it allows the skaters to perform subpar on the Grand Prix and still hope for that breakthrough, as you put it, at Nationals.

    You can see the same effect with the Japanese skaters. Because their system also considers the whole season, the Japanese skaters are putting every bit of effort they can into their GP performances.


    Quote Originally Posted by peibeck View Post
    To counter that, I think most of the American ladies feel Wagner and Gold are going to be pretty much gauranteed two of the three Sochi places. That leaves a lot more pressure on the remaining girls for the one Olympic spot to be determined. I don't think it isn't because they don't want it, but the FEAR of not getting that spot is playing on their minds.

    This makes sense. Yes, they're skating cautious and scared right now, so maybe it is fear that's dominating their minds. Too bad--for them and the audience!

  17. #97
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    I agree. The American ladies are, for lack of a better term, sucking right now. Ashley and Samantha are the exception...no one else is skating like they want to go to Sochi and that includes Gracie who aside from one good SP has done nothing worth writing home about. Everyone looks scared...like no one wants to step up and take the pressure that comes with being at the top. That's why I have so much respect for Ashley. She seems to thrive under that pressure and rather than run away from it, she embraces it. I don't get the sense any of the other girls have that mentality...it honestly feels like they are afraid to win b/c then they'll have to deal with the pressure of being expected to do well.

    The US has a number of great skaters...tragically, we don't have many good competitors. Russia on the other hand is stacked with great competitors. Anna is the most recent example...she's young and lacks a lot of what she needs to be a champion right now, but that doesn't stop her from gunning for the top. She's fearless...so is Julia...so is Elena...and it seems like having that competitiveness in their face is bringing out the competitiveness in Adelina and Liza T too. They know if they want to stay at the top they've got to show up. That's why the girls coming out of Russia are so mentally tough; they have to fight tooth and nail just to get an international event which makes them that much hungrier to get out there and do well b/c they know there are no less than three newbies nipping at their heels should they fall.

    Gracie, Agnes, Mirai and Christina need to find a backbone, (wo)man up and start competing. If I had to pick the American team for Sochi right now I'd pick Ashley Wagner, Ashley Wagner and Samantha Cesario. I honestly don't think any of the others have earned the right to go...

  18. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwanatic View Post
    If I had to pick the American team for Sochi right now I'd pick Ashley Wagner, Ashley Wagner and Samantha Cesario.
    Funny, sad and true.

    One of the big reasons I like Ashley so much. Besides being such a hard worker, she is a fighter. So are the above-mentioned Russians.

    But I may be in a minority when I say that Ashley is also special in other ways. I know people go on and on how she lacks talent and I couldn't disagree more. This season's LP doesn't let her interpretive talent shine as much as the previous seasons' programs but I am hoping to see improvement in that respect. She certainly has the ability to get the audience excited and involved in her skating. I noticed that back in 2007 and thought to myself that this girl is special. And she is.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

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  19. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by bek View Post
    I don't think so. I don't think a lot of the US girls on the GP are all that great other than Wagner and Gold.

    In general I suspect if Adelina and Julia continue to skate well, their PCS will rise, and maybe even above Ashleys.

    Especially Sotnikova, I'm not convinced Ashley's the better skater. I think right now the Russians have way more depth and options. And those options are going to force their kids to get better.. If they want a prayer of leaving Russia...I suspect one of the issues with Mirai was she was anointed so quickly as the great hope that she skated a bit. In Russia, those girls have so much competition its due or die. The good competitors are going to come out.

    In someways I find the depth sad too. Sad that some of those young girls won't make it out of Russia.
    I think the Russians seem to have better basics too overall. And I'm impressed that quite a few of them aren't shy about trying the difficult 3Lz-3R combo.

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    Yes, Ashley is a fighter, and seems to have a realistic approach to the season. She has, from what I can tell, done everything she's said she was going to do thus far. She's adding the 3/3, perfect or not, and she's building up the detail in the choreography as the seasons goes on. I like her fight. I like her general attitude.

    I hope for the best for all the ladies. A bit crushed for Gao. I really saw her building a case for that 2nd or 3rd spot. Now, I just hope she can re-focus and do well at Nationals. I think Gold will skate well enough to make the team, but I don't see her as an Olympic medal threat.

    O-

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