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Rachael Flatt out for rest of the 2012-2013 season

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by Capella, Oct 30, 2012.

  1. haribobo

    haribobo Well-Known Member

    It's prob too late in his career to truly rebrand himself. At least IMO. But that doesn't mean he shouldn't try. Also, I don't think he does choreo, but most of his skaters end up with pretty weak programs and PCS. So while he is seemingly a strong jumps coach, otherwise he is a tough sell. Skating coaching in the US right now is in kind of a strange spot, with lots of top skaters with relatively no-name coaches. Tammy Gambill and Mark and Peter (of the better known ones) are generally coming up roses lately- Ricky D. and Christina G. in particular are doing great. Yuka and Jason were on top of the world a couple of seasons ago with Alissa and Jeremy, but those skaters careers have been a bit rockier as of late, so in turn, their coaches may not now seem like the geniuses they once appeared to be. Doesn't mean they aren't good coaches, but their rep takes a bit of a hit. But alas, different things working for different people and all that. Its nice to see some new faces in the kiss and cry, though...things will continue to evolve....
  2. haribobo

    haribobo Well-Known Member

    I'm not even sure if Rachael's bye is technically rescinded when she doesn't compete at this thing, but it doesn't bother me if it is- that is not a punishment for being injured- it is out of respect for all the skaters at sectionals doing their thing. Rachael could have gone to her int'l, done all singles, and still kept her bye to Nationals. No skater at Sectionals in men or ladies can do all singles and still qualify to Nationals. I am sure her injury causes pain and she made the right decision, but its not some huge injustice going on now- she is a bit lucky to have gotten the spot at SA in the first place given the very mediocre scores she attained at her one summer comp, as now she has a SB score and can do GP next season if she wants to....whereas Max Aaron and Keegan Messing who have been tearing up the Senior B circuit much more than Rachael has torn up any comp the last 2 years, still have no SB score for the last 2 seasons and can only hope to skate well at Nationals (where they have to compete against 1 Olympic gold medalist, 2 other Olympians, and Dornbush, Rippon, Miner, Armin, etc.) and then hope to be chosen for 4CC or Skate America to break through internationally. Rachael is riding the coattails of her own results from several years ago but hasn't shown much to warrant her assignments as of late. There's about 15 US ladies skaters who are skating better now than what she can do now. That said, what Rachael has accomplished whilst going to Stanford and competing injured is almost miraculous.

    It stinks just as much that Samantha Cesario, 2 years running now and who is probably even better than Rachael of 11-12 and 12-13, got injured prior to Nationals, couldn't compete there basically eliminating her chances of a junior worlds or senior GP spot. It sucks but that is the way sport goes, and plenty of equally talented skaters have had as cruddy or worse things happen to them. It has worked out OK for Samantha as she's been able to come back to the JGP and medal there every year, so in theory she could get a GP spot next year, maybe. At least there's a maybe. Rachael has had a good run, she has a lot going for her outside of skating and I think it is truly for the best that she take some time off since she has been injured on and off for years now and can't seem to get better. One way that USFS could help this situation a bit would be to hold some kind of legit competition in the early fall for skaters who were injured for Nationals that helps decide who should get the Skate America and JGP and senior B slots. That way, missing Nationals wouldn't be such a huge deal. They do take some of the comps like Liberty and Golden West, etc. into account a little bit, but they aren't really taken that seriously in general. I'm guessing this hasn't been done because of $, and its just easier for the assigning committee to use Nationals results than to throw a wrench into that with new results that you have to then counterbalance with Nationals and intl results to make tough decisions...
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2012
  3. stjeaskategym

    stjeaskategym Well-Known Member

    There's a relatively small group of US skaters selected for Sr international competitions. I'm not saying give any random skater registered for Regionals a medical bye... I'm saying stop punishing international skaters like Flatt for making what may have been a very wise decision--- to rest a current injury, which perhaps could have enabled her to compete in the remainder of her scheduled events this season (which was Nationals). Instead of encouraging Flatt to listen to her body and pace herself throughout her competition schedule, Flatt is forced to disappear for the rest of the season because she wasn't willing to sacrifice any more of her health for a competition that's quickly upcoming. I imagine that if Flatt had shown up at her Intl event next week and had withdrawn after a practice (or took to the ice for her SP and did the bare minimum) her Nationals bye would have stood. This is not a game the skaters should have to consider playing.

    I don't know how many sports have you pencil a competition into your schedule and then yank it away simply because you wanted to rest an injury at a prior competition. I don't know how many sports deny athletes who have just represented their country internationally a chance to compete at their own Nationals. It's ridiculous. Certainly there are other sports that treat their injured high level athletes better than that. I'm very much aware that sports can be cruel and not always fair, but sometimes it goes too far. It's not a burden on anyone to guarantee the relatively small pool of skaters who are representing the country on the GP circuit/Senior Bs an opportunity to compete at Nationals a short time later. At the very least, skaters who are given byes to Nationals for whatever reason should not have them taken away because of injury.

    As for Tom Z, he was basically just encouraging Joshua Farris to do what is consistent with USFS's culture--- compete no matter what unless you want to risk being put out to pasture until next fall.

    Figure skating is a real sport and the demands of it grow by the year. You cannot stop injuries, but you can stop punishing injured athletes. I'm sure for Rachael it was punishment enough to have a hurt leg, not be able to skater properly, and have to withdraw from an international. She didn't deserve to have her granted Nationals bye taken away, too. That's just kicking her when she's down.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2012
  4. stjeaskategym

    stjeaskategym Well-Known Member

    I assumed it was rescinded when Rachael announced she was out for the season. Otherwise she could have simply withdrawn from this competition and at least left her possibilities open for Nationals which is still quite far away. If her bye still stands, someone please correct me since I've just written a bunch of paragraphs criticizing USFS for taking it away. :)

    Also, I understand your point about Cesario, but at least she wasn't given a bye to Nationals and then had it taken away from her for something pretty much out of her control (an untimely injury). That's my main issue with this Flatt situation. I'd just like to see USFS do a little better job caring for the well being of the skaters, in particular the ones who are representing USFS internationally. As I mentioned in my previous post, it's really not difficult to do.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2012
  5. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    She would have had a bye had she competed at her Senior B. If she was too injured to skate at her Senior B, she was too injured to skate at regionals, and if she didn't skate at regionals and place high enough, she doesn't have the possibility to skate at Nationals.
  6. haribobo

    haribobo Well-Known Member

    Its not as if it was a surprise though- she knew the consequence of withdrawing. And the timing stinks, but chances are she wouldn't be recovered by January anyway. If she hadn't done the international, she'd be required to skate at Mids at the same time. I get that it would be a nice gesture for her to keep her bye, but that is still sending a really cruddy message to the 5th place finisher at sectionals this year, who could end up being someone like Nina Jiang or Kiri Baga, who also represented the US this year on the JGP. They wouldn't get to go to Nationals, but Rachael was swept right through due to her star status and the fact that she showed up and did a few triples at Skate America? Nice. Now, had Rachael medaled at SA, *that* situation would really stink. I wouldn't mind seeing a rule built in that international medalists that season get a bye to Nationals. But I don't really see her indicating anywhere that she's bumming hard about her bye being rescinded. Girl needs more than a month to sort out these injuries, I'd think.
  7. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

    Maybe they'd still have medical byes if skaters (and coaches) hadn't abused them by claiming injuries in order to abvoid competitions they simply hadn't been adequately prepared for. When more than half of the competitors at a qualifying competition got there on byes, USFS had to crack down.

    Now the skaters know the rule: there are NO medical byes. Period. It's fair because it applies to everyone, not just a chosen few or ones who know which strings to pull.

    Rachale's no dummy. Let's give her a little credit for making the decision that's best for her at this time in her life.
  8. Carolla5501

    Carolla5501 Well-Known Member


    You want "figure skating" to be a real sport but then you want o allow those you like to just make the finals. Sorry it doesn't work that way in a lot of 'real sports' LOL! There were runners who didn't make the Olympic team because when the trials were held they were injured. There are lots of sports teams that don't make the finals because a key player get's injured. Even the Williams sisters were fighting to come back from injury to make sure they made the Olympic team because it wasn't a "bye" based on their past success. Venus admitted she was back before she was ready because "it's the Olympics"

    I think the real truth is "we want byes for Skaters we like" LOL!
  9. RD

    RD Well-Known Member

    :rofl: gotta love the "playing favorites" angle!

    But yeah - I don't quite get it either. One of the few fair rules in skating (that is, no one gets special treatment and everyone gets a fair shot) and there is outcry about it...hmm.

    I don't know too much about the "byes" skaters get for having conflicting events, but aren't they understood to be conditional? It's not like USFS grants these byes and then takes them away once they're injured, if I understand correctly?
  10. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    It depends on the bye: placing X at Nationals and earning an automatic bye isn't taken away for injury or withdrawing from a Senior B or GP for any other reason. Getting a conditional bye for competing at an overlapping or close Senior B or GP is, and by not competing (for any reason), the skater hasn't met the condition and doesn't get the bye.

    Flatt didn't place high enough at 2012 Nationals to earn an automatic bye. Flatt had to compete at the Senior B conflicting with her qualifying event to fulfill the terms of the conditional bye, or she had to skate at the qualifying event and place high enough to earn a spot at Nationals.
  11. B.Cooper

    B.Cooper Active Member

    I am sure Flatt understood that when she withdrew from the Sr B event, that she was passing on US Nationals as well, when she made her decision.

    But, what gets under my skin, is the topic I've quoted above from stjeaskategym.....about the culture of "compete no matter what" Farris, Flatt, Ryan Bradley (had surgery on his foot post 2010 Worlds)...and who knows how many other of Tom Z's skaters have competed at risk to their health. I am not saying Zakrajsek is any better or any worse than any other coach...no point of reference for this...just that some of his skaters have been public about the injury issues.

    So, is Tom Z's mentality...compete no matter what....is that mentality pervasive throughout skating or is it just USFS? Or is Tom Z the extreme side of the pendulum of this attitude? USFS's focus is ALL about the medals, and I suppose that comes from the USOC, and probably is tied to financial support from the USOC. But, should the athletes be the ones who suffer the consequences of this mentality? Are the coaches responsible at all? Think about the number of 12-14 yr old girls, doing rep after rep of triples each day, bending into pretzels for spins, the guys are now taking on 3A's earlier in their careers (think Nathan Chen), the higher level of difficulty in throws for girls in pairs and the lifts for pairs...just don't want to think about that (Isn't Josh Reagan out of CoC with a rib injury?). COP has demanded a higher level of difficulty, and the kids are paying the price, when the coaches demand more from the athletes as the system has demanded it.

    I think it is about finding a compromise......and again, getting the athletes healthy....and KEEPING them healthy...which allows the athletes to train and compete at their best, and hopefully bring home the medals ;)
  12. UMBS Go Blue


    :rofl: that a skater and a coach worth forgetting about long ago :yawn: still command so much attention :saint:
  13. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

    So much double talk around here. In the midst of threads about not enough hard content, not enough 3/3s from the ladies, not enough quads from the men...we have discussions about how there are too many injuries and someone needs to address the problem to save the skaters.

    One and one still adds up to two. It can't be both ways. We can't see consistent hard jumps and harder combos and decrease injury at the same time.
  14. kwanatic

    kwanatic Well-Known Member


    I've noticed that too...
  15. ioana

    ioana Well-Known Member

    I think the discussion was more about skaters being encouraged to compete despite injuries (and in some cases aggravating them as a result), not so much having more injuries as a result of working on harder jumps or combos. I could be wrong, of course.
  16. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

  17. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

    That's because some people believe skaters need harder content and some people believe that injuries and skating injured are a big problem. They aren't necessarily the same people.
  18. overedge

    overedge Janny uber

    After seeing Flatt at Skate America (and at Skate America in Everett) I'm not convinced she's "worth forgetting about". She has some excellent qualities in her skating that could really be used well with a coach and/or choreographer who was more sensitive to what she's good at and not so good at. Firebird IMHO was a big mistake because that's exactly the kind of skater she isn't.
  19. Jammers

    Jammers Well-Known Member

    If she's not going to improve her speed or other skating skills no coach or choreographer is going to be able to help Rachael. Her best years are behind her.
  20. Jot the Dot Dot

    Jot the Dot Dot Headstrong Buzzard

    I'm gonna miss her, but it is for the best. Have a good rest and recovery, Rachael, you are one cutie I adore, on and off the ice.
  21. Blondie12

    Blondie12 New Member

    Did Rachael take a spot from another skater at SA? Like was she host's pick or would she have definitely been guaranteed a spot based on her performance last year? In a way, if Rachael isn't up to it, she should have withdrawn from SA and given the spot to another aspiring skater who has more of a chance. I am all for Rachael competing for personal pleasure, but the strength of the US ladies program should be considered as well. Part of the reason US figure skating is in the state it is in is because USFS kept giving chances to Alyssa, Jeremy and Rachael (though last season they seemed to back away from this).

    Rachael can compete at nationals next year or whatever but she has no shot at all at being competitive internationally anymore. And i think Rachael knows that and is making a choice for it to be that way. there is no way she can have a normal college experience, do well in a science curriculum at stanford and be on top of the world in figure skating. It is not possible, and rachel knows it and she is making a choice to focus more on Stanford. i just do not think it is right to give her international spots (unless it is literally the case that there is no one else these spots can go to?)

    With the few international spots the US has they should divide them up so as to give skaters who have a chance more exposure. Indeed, Carolina Kostner had 3 GP spots last year which allowed her to refine her program and be ready for worlds. We should be getting all the top skaters at least 2 spots and then getting some other skaters in rather than giving the same people multiple chances. With the Olympics next year and Worlds this year to determine whether we get 3 spots, USFS dos not have the spots to give people who just want to skate for personal pleasure and who have no shot at going to worlds or Olympics.
  22. Nomad

    Nomad Celebrity cheese-monger

    Rachael didn't take a spot from anyone, she was the host pick and she earned it with her finish at Nats. The 6th place finisher traditionally gets two international assignments. In Rachael's case these were SA and Ice Challenge.
  23. Simone411

    Simone411 Covfefe! FSU Uber fan!

    Wishing Rachael a complete recovery regarding her right leg and ankle. I can't blame her for wanting to be healthy even if means not skating the rest of the season. Smart young lady. :)
  24. Alex Forrest

    Alex Forrest Banned Member

    I wish Ms. Flatt the best and wonderful things in her future. However, her new body is unable to sustain world class figure skating. There is nothing wrong with her to walk/skate away from competition and focus on her studies. Heck, as a world class skater she multi-tasked enough to get into Stanford. She's clearly headed for big things academically, whether a physics PhD or MD or whatever. She's shown she's a 'winner'. So why stick around skating? I suppose because she LIKES it, but to give her a spot when there are too many other skaters in the US who actually intend to work like maniacs to get to the Olympics? This just seems to be like a "Oh gee, I'm not ready, kinda injured, but I can't pass up Skate America". I think it's wrong. I wish her all the best, and I have no doubt she will be incredibly successful in her academic pursuits. But she's crossed that bridge of injury, she's getting heavier and filling out (not that it's a bad thing, but it's a realistic thing). She's not quite world class anymore, or at least competitive on a world class level. I'd rather read about her academic accomplishments than her skating failures. She's going places, but not in skating.
  25. stjeaskategym

    stjeaskategym Well-Known Member

    It's not so much Rachael that commands my attention as it is the situations in which she is faced. This particular situation potentially affects many a skater, not just Rachael.

    It's not like they picked Rachael's name out of a hat and sent her to Skate America... They sent her primarily because she finished 6th at Nationals (in other words, she beat a lot of skaters who could have been selected for SA instead). And because Rachael was good enough to represent her country at a Sr Int'l, I believe she deserves a bye to Nat'ls. I think it's wrong to grant a skater a bye to Nat'ls based on "scheduling conflicts" and then yank away that bye when the skater is injured. I think it's sad that USFS worries more about skaters potentially abusing a medical bye system than they do about the skaters' actual health & smart recovery methods. A lot of US Sr Int'l skaters are automatically qualified to Nat'ls anyway (based on their Nat'l finish last year), so the amount of medical byes they could possibly have wouldn't be large even if every remaining intl competitor wanted to abuse the system.

    And last time I checked, most US skaters on the Int'l circuit WANT to compete and aren't just trying to fake medical bye their way into Nat's. I'd MUCH rather give a US Int'l competitor a medical bye than to force the skater to show up at her Int'l, even if she's in poor condition and better off recovering at home, in order to keep the bye. I don't see the point in putting the skaters in that type of predicament. Why would USFS want one of their athletes limping through an international competition anyway? Even if they don't care about injury recovery, they certainly care about results (as they should), and the results won't be good if the competitor is that injured.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2012
  26. overedge

    overedge Janny uber

    No, she isn't.
  27. stjeaskategym

    stjeaskategym Well-Known Member

    It has nothing to do with skaters I like. I'm not a Rachael fan, and I'm not saying she should receive a bye onto the Olympic team when she's injured :lol:... I just think she deserves an injury bye to Nationals as a Sr international competitor. I don't think this is playing favorites at all. Rachael has earned her opportunity to be a Sr Intl competitor this year based on her solid Nat'ls finish last year.

    You mentioned track & field--- to qualify to their Olympic Trials, you have to meet the "A" standard at certain Nat'l or Int'l competitions (sometimes the "B" standard is okay, too). If you are too injured to compete at one of these competitions, you can simply rest your injury and try to qualify at different events. Obviously, skating is different than track & field because it's a judged sport, but the overall point is that there is no overwhelming pressure for track and field athletes to show up at one specific event to qualify to Olympic Trials (I'm assuming Nat'ls for track & field has a similar qualifying structure). If you are injured earlier on in the season, it doesn't have to mean your entire season just went down the toilet.

    And if you look at a sport that's more similar to skating, like gymnastics, you will see that the athletes are encouraged to take proper care of their injuries during downtime in the competition schedule and are given numerous opportunities to qualify to Nationals or to petition there with an injury.

    Figure skating has a "you better compete at this one event otherwise you're screwed for the rest of the season" mentality, and I find that odd in a sport that continues to push the envelope every year. The sport is not getting any easier, and even if it did, injuries are still absolutely inevitable. There is nothing you can do to prevent all injuries... But you can control how you treat the skaters, and right now USFS treats injured skaters as if they are worthy of punishment.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2012
  28. jlai

    jlai Title-less

    Flatt's 6h place finish at nationals wasn't good enough for a bye according to USFS policy. If you think 6th place is good enough, next year someone will say 7th is good enough. And so on.

    You can't give every skater who has had an international competition a bye either. That would make running nationals very expensive. Currently, the competition bye receivers who are not already top 5 last year are JGPF qualifiers, Mirai, Gold for ladies. That's it.

    I think staying healthy is part of the competition.

    ETA: The rules are very clear. Either you are top five, or you have a competition scheduling conflict.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2012
  29. jlai

    jlai Title-less

    The people who get to vote on these things want US nationals to be the winner-take-all. Because of the importance of US nationals, the qualifying procedure to US nationals part has to be fair to every skater involved, including those without assignments, not just being "fair" to the injured skater involved.
  30. stjeaskategym

    stjeaskategym Well-Known Member

    It was good enough to get her Skate America... to be an Sr International competitor. If you are 6th place and not selected to represent the US internationally, fine, I understand why a bye maybe can't be granted. But if you are out there representing USA on the highest level of your sport (Sr obviously), I think you should be allowed at your own Nationals.

    How many Sr International competitors won't end up at Nationals besides Flatt though? It's not like the international pool for Srs is so huge that they can't all come to Nationals... They will all be there-- due to "scheduling conflicts". I don't see where the huge added expense is if you allow them byes just based on the fact that they are Sr Intl competitors. Maybe if you give all Jr Intl competitors byes, too, it's too much of an expense, but I'm not suggesting that... I don't think a Jr Intl should qualify you to Sr Nationals, and it's not as difficult to get on the Jr Intl circuit anyway.

    Fair enough. But you could get injured tripping on a sidewalk. I hate to see skaters getting "blamed" for their injuries. Often when injuries happen, nobody is to blame.

    I definitely agree the rules are clear, I just don't think they make sense. Remember when Alissa Czisny had to cram Sectionals in between her 2 GP events because the dates of the competitions didn't quite meet the "scheduling conflict" bye? Meanwhile, a skater with 1 GP who was lucky enough to have that GP fall on a date near Sectionals got a bye. That was a complete joke, too. In an effort to make things "fair", we forget the skaters are human, not machines.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2012