Ideally, it would work out to the degree that 3-6 are skating really well each season and get the top assignments, while those that aren't, stay home but have a chance to return in a later season when they are skating better. Tuk skated great the year she won Nationals, and also got a Euro medal and top 10 at Worlds. This year she struggled and it's doubtful she would have been on the podium at Euros or the Olympics, but I don't discount possible future success. Her 3lutz-3toe combo from Nats was better than any combo I saw at the Olympics. Maybe sometime soon some other wonderbabies will have a bad season and Tuk will get back on track, get on the team and win some championship medal.
Originally Posted by bek
Honestly, is that any different than the career of Elene Gedevanishvili, except that Elene gets to go to more competitions and sometimes really embarrass herself in the process? Of course, she has more opportunities to actually BE at a championship the day she skates well, but a lot of that can be controlled by the Russian fed monitoring things carefully.
I wonder if Russia would ever move to a 4CC type model where they have different ladies go to Europeans and Worlds. I sort of hope not, since it would damage the prestige of Euros, but it would be a strategy to improve the rankings of their second tier ladies, give them opportunities for medals, and keep them in shape and less likely to switch countries so that they can be available in case the top tier ladies get injured.
But first let's see if they can qualify 3 spots for Worlds next year.
Russia is in a situation that USSR was once upon a time (for a few decades, actually). Too much talent and too few spots at worlds/Oly/Euros. Not many skaters switched countries at that time, probably because they were getting everything for free and were just waiting for an opportunity. Russia needs to hold on to their top 8 ladies at least, because you never know when someone will have a bad year/health issues/personal problems. Many of the promising ladies could be lost to puberty. Some may not have the mental fortitude to make it on the big stage. Even then, I expect the top 5 in Russia would probably medal at worlds. From what I heard the USSR pairs were so strong that their top 10 could medal at worlds!
Following up on Cherub's idea, I don't think rotating the Euros/worlds spots would reduce the prestige of the Euros, because most likely those ladies will medal there. However, it could muddle the issue for the RSF about who to send to worlds, and why not someone else to worlds. They are unofficially using Euros performance to pick the world team, I think (correct me if I am wrong). It sets up a tough competition to see who can deliver under pressure. The downside is if a skater doesn't get selected for Euros, she has to wait until next season for the opportunity.
Since most of these talented ladies are still juniors, I expect they will be medal/championship contenders for at least the next two Olympics (2018 & 2022). Beyond that it's impossible to predict.
It is a nice problem to have.
I am thinking that some of the men that cannot be competitive at the world level may want to consider switching to either pairs or ice dance early in their careers, and some of the ladies could make that switch. If this could be worked out, they will be strong in 3 out of 4 disciplines for a long time. It's hard to tell when a Russian man will win a world or Olympic medal, and actually be a contender for a title for either one.
And you forgot to mention Sakhanovitch, Sotskova and Medvedeva!
Originally Posted by Vagabond
I am also wondering what will happen to them. It is unfair that some of them may never represent the country at Euros/Worlds, considering that if they did, they would have a good chance of medaling there. There will always have to be someone placing 4th and 5th at Russian nationals, which may be just tiny bit worse than first three, and possibly still better than the remaining skaters in the whole Europe. I would love some of them to switch countries and compete for any of the ex Soviet Union countries, because I think it is a waste of talent. It shouldn't be that difficult for them to switch countries; I am sure at least some of them have ancestors/extended family in one of those countries. But I don't think they will. In my view the skaters who usually swap the countries are those who are too far from the podium, such as 10-20th place, and therefore too far from being send to Europeans/worlds. Those who are 4th and 5th will think that it is within their reach and won't swap countries. Which means that Russia will share the ones that are not as talented, but those who will be placing 4th and 5th may completely waste their talent waiting for their turn without ever going to Europeans/Worlds.
As far as the Americans are concerned, I would not overlook Junior champion Amber Glenn. Watched her skate at Nationals this year, and she has quite the jumping arsenal. Her jumps aren't questionable as Polina's are, and she has a presence that many juniors don't. So long as she can keep it together next year, I can see her threatening for bronze or maybe even silver in North Carolina.
In the late 1990s, Russia also dominated the jr ladies field and sometimes swept the podium. But once the top senior ladies emerged and stayed for a while, a lot of the jr talent just fizzled out (Timoshenko, the whole 1996 jr world ladies podium, etc).
The Russian ladies that worked out since jrs were Slutskaya, Volchkova (though no medal at worlds), Sokolova and Julia Soldatova (for one season). (Maria wasn't one of those jrs that came out late 1990s)
This will be true again, esp. with the new age rule delaying the moving of jr talent to senior gp by a year--which means Russian female jrs will have to stay jr longer, taking spots that could have gone to new juniors.
If Julia L and Sotnikova are here to stay there won't be a lot of room left for promising young ones.
I'll also add that despite Japanese success in men and ladies, they often lose the top spot at worlds to one very very dominating skater like Patrick Chan or Y Kim. So it only takes one superstar to dampen medal hopes of a very dominating nation.
That said, 3 very strong single skaters at worlds is very good for momentum and keeping 3 spots and other reasons. IF US ladies find 3 strong ladies too, they are in business to contend. They don't need 6 strong female ladies.
Last edited by jlai; 03-02-2014 at 05:54 PM.
I agree with many of your points. Having a couple of very good skaters isn't enough to win if there's a dominating skater like Patrick or Yuna. But with a deep talent pool, it increases the chances that one of them will be that dominating skater. Even now, coaches likely realize that you have to have something special to stand out even in Russia. Russia has 6-7 very strong ladies now, but with injuries, puberty, and losing interest, I think it's likely that more than half will not make it successfully to the world stage. So then, we're down to 3.
Originally Posted by jlai
I hope we'll see a stable 3 axel or quad emerge from one of the Russian ladies..
Well, no. If they have 6-7 very strong ladies now, and you are deducting a few due to injuries/loosing interest/puberty, you also need to add a few who will become freshly eligible. The next season it is only Radionova, but the season after that +4, and the following years there are again a few waiting (Tsurskaya, Gubanova etc) So the gains and losses will equal itself and they will still have some 6-7 very good ones.
Originally Posted by altai_rose
And I you take the same approach to the US ladies (Gold, Polina, Chan) and start deducting a few (injury, loosing inters, puberty), there may be no one left.