Defector.com article on female skaters & Quads

Sylvia

Rooting for underdogs!
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Thanks @sheetz for posting this "food for thought" article link in the U.S. Women's thread. Since this topic is not just about the U.S. women, I feel it's worth creating its own thread for (hopefully) constructive discussion -- Kalyn Kahler is the same person who wrote the Sports Illustrated feature article on Alysa Liu after she won her first U.S. title in 2019:

This is one of the best articles I've seen on the subject.
Excerpts:
So how do you change an entire culture? Rafael Arutyunyan has ideas.
Before coming to the U.S., Arutyunyan coached for 25 years in Moscow. He knows the ins and outs of the way rinks function there and the resources and power available tano coaches. Since he moved to the U.S., he’s coached skaters to 11 national titles, and under his tutelage, Nathan Chen has won three world titles. But even with Arutyunyan’s success, he says the U.S. will never match Russia (or Japan or South Korea) in women’s skating without a complete overhaul of the current structure. “We have everything in this country,” he said. “Everything, more than anyone else. Money, ice rinks, energy, population. What we don’t have? We don’t have proper management of what we have. We don’t have a system.”
Arutyunyan says he isn’t talking about U.S. Figure Skating, which he thinks does a good job providing skaters with plenty of opportunities to compete. To Arutyunyan, the problem instead is that coaches are all freelancers, each doing whatever they think is best for their skaters using different methods. He also says that coaches aren’t given enough decision-making power. In most cases they report to the rink manager, who isn’t always a figure skating expert.
“If [the coach] creates great skaters, management should help him to do it instead of being the boss and saying not this, not that,” he said. “I need more and I ask for more, because I want to win.”
The 65-year-old says he “knows what he knows” and he dreams of a system where he could create an academy to not only train skaters, but to train coaches (in his coaching style) to streamline the process. Many times, when a skater comes to him for help, it’s too late in their career to make meaningful changes. “You should get ready for war before war started,” he said. “My problem is I am coaching women, not [junior] ladies skaters, because until they get to the point to come to me, they become women and then it’s too late. The system should be created when a child comes to you from 4 or 5 years old and you give them the shortest way to get more than anybody else.”
“In Russia, they are training differently,” said Kalin’s coach, Shebeco, who grew up skating in Russia. “It is a different process, how much they train and how many programs they do, how they apply their specific off-ice, vs. over here. It is just a different structure of training.”
Sometimes in this sport, “different” can be hard to discern from “abusive.”
It’s not like figure skating in the U.S. is free of scandals with eating disorders or abusive coaching. Here, it’s just less visible until the damage is done.
“Well first of all, if we did that, we would probably be suspended for SafeSport, especially nowadays,” Rice said. “I think in the U.S., it’s such a free country really, that if coaches scold their skaters, sometimes they are afraid of their parents or their clients leaving because you are too mean or too nice, so I do feel like maybe coaches hold back a little bit. In Russia they can get away with those kinds of things. They pick their children when they are little and it’s all about finding the right body types, it’s just done differently over there.”
 
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Icetalavista

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two things startled me in this piece:
-the Medvedeva example: that 4 runthroughs a week was considered a lot. I remember Richard Callahan saying he required 4 runthrus A DAY back when he was coaching

-Nancy Kerrigan was training 3 Axels and quads!

I would like to get Artunian's opinion of how consistent training techniques are between the multiple Russian coaches. What he thinks works well, what techniques he dropped (if any) when he came to the US, how he thinks his training concept could work here. My guess is he'd say that coaches would get trained by him or his academy centrally, then take the techniques to their own rinks. Goodness knows that approach couldn't hurt.
 

overedge

Mayor of Carrot City
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if coaches scold their skaters, sometimes they are afraid of their parents or their clients leaving because you are too mean or too nice, so I do feel like maybe coaches hold back a little bit.

I think the number of complaints filed with SafeSport (at least the ones we know about), and the unreported incidents that many, many skaters are aware of, contradict this idea.

And if coaches hold back on being "too mean" or "too nice" maybe that's a good thing, if they're thinking about the impact of what they say before they say it.
 

MacMadame

Doing all the things
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I think the number of complaints filed with SafeSport (at least the ones we know about), and the unreported incidents that many, many skaters are aware of, contradict this idea.

And if coaches hold back on being "too mean" or "too nice" maybe that's a good thing, if they're thinking about the impact of what they say before they say it.
I don't think it's a contradiction. Some parents think that only "mean" coaches get results. They want the coach to be hard on their kids. Other parents don't want anyone upsetting their kids either for good reasons (avoiding abuse) or bad (their kid is a special snowflake who does nothing wrong). And skating does make many parents into Crazy Skating Parents which adds to the dynamic of the coach not being able to do anything right in their eyes if the skater doesn't get results.

For myself, I would only send my kids to positive coaches, if they decided to pursue a sport (which they did not). (And only took from positive coaches myself.) Ones who would critique, not criticize. The downside of this is that the skater needs to provide their own motivation. Which for a 6-year-old could be tough. OTOH, if a skater is going to make it at the elite level, they kind of do need to have that kind of self-motivation.
 

Karen-W

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I think it's entirely possible to develop an Academy like Raf envisions, it just takes the necessary will within the USFS (and Skate Canada also) and the skating culture in North America (both PSA and rink managers). The seeds of it exist with the ice dance schools - we talk all the time about WISA being a good developmental/feeder program for skaters who then move to other academies as the skaters transition to senior elite competition. There isn't any reason why something similar can't happen for singles skating.

Like @Icetalavista, if I were independently wealthy, I'd love to sit down with Raf to discuss implementing his ideas and funding the project. It's a shame that no one was willing to take the risk because our women are falling behind and won't catch up unless there is a big change in US skating.
 

Sylvia

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Re-posting from the U.S. Women's thread since it's relevant to this one:
Does Raf even work with younger pre-novice skaters?
Yes. Here's a 4-min. video showing Arutuynyan's group classes (Brezina is one of his coaches) with skaters of varying ages/levels, filmed by On Ice Perspectives last year: https://www.instagram.com/p/CXPIOSmqsdG/
 
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overedge

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IMO what a lot of federations need to do is invest more resources in learn-to-skate and developmental programs for all levels of skating, not just academies for the elite-level skaters (or potential elite-level skaters). There will be a limited choice of talented skaters at that level if there aren't enough skaters in the pipeline from lower-level programs.
 

Icetalavista

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USFSA has a golden opportunity to take Raf up on his suggestion. Here's a coach who was an insider in the Russian system, clearly knows how to coach jumps and general skating, who is willing to share it all with US coaches. I could envision a system where kids of all levels start skating under either Raf or a coach trained in his technique. The coaches could also learn how to be tactful with skaters and parents - 'you are growing into a lovely tall young lady, but the jumps might be increasingly hard for you - I'm willing to coach you, but want you to have realistic expectations.' Those coaches could also be on the lookout for naturally -small skaters who might have an easier shot at international-level skating. I think that training lower-level or recreational skaters and int'l-level skaters is not mutually exclusive in such a system. Raf/other coaches could hold regular auditions, as Eteri does, for skaters who are ambitious. The US benefitted hugely from European coaching after the 1961 (date?) plane crash killed multiple skaters/coaches. It has the chance to benefit from European techniques again.
 

sk9tingfan

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IMO, the fact that Mitch Moyer won't even entertain an interview, stinks of self-protectionism and CYA. I assume I'm not the only one that keeps on wondering what USFSA can do to improve the prospects of US women skaters and is frustrated by the fact that we appear to be going in retrograde.

Another factor in the US is the probability that Title 9 has affected the likelihood that a number of the most athletically inclined girls find their way into sports supported under this law. It may be a matter of economics.
 

overedge

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Part of that more inclusive system is also supporting as many opportunities as possible for skaters to participate, and to keep participating, at all levels. For all of USFS' faults, IMO it is really good at supporting and promoting programs like adult skating, solo dance, theatre on ice, and adaptive skating. Those keep skaters in the sport (which means more $$$$ to support the elite programs) and might also keep competitive skaters involved. IIRC one of the current senior US ice dance teams includes a woman who competed in solo dance after her previous partnership ended, and solo dance gave her a way to keep up her skills until she was able to find another partner.
 

Coco

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I know in other sports, the most difficult level to properly officiate was the youth level. Also, the best officials wanted nothing to do with officiating at that level. I wonder if the same thing might be true in skating. If so, what is the impact of this on parents' frustration levels? Do they pull their kids because they perceive the results of youth / novice competitions aren't fair or don't make sense?
 

Willin

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I think it's entirely possible to develop an Academy like Raf envisions, it just takes the necessary will within the USFS (and Skate Canada also) and the skating culture in North America (both PSA and rink managers). The seeds of it exist with the ice dance schools - we talk all the time about WISA being a good developmental/feeder program for skaters who then move to other academies as the skaters transition to senior elite competition. There isn't any reason why something similar can't happen for singles skating.

Like @Icetalavista, if I were independently wealthy, I'd love to sit down with Raf to discuss implementing his ideas and funding the project. It's a shame that no one was willing to take the risk because our women are falling behind and won't catch up unless there is a big change in US skating.

USFSA has a golden opportunity to take Raf up on his suggestion. Here's a coach who was an insider in the Russian system, clearly knows how to coach jumps and general skating, who is willing to share it all with US coaches. I could envision a system where kids of all levels start skating under either Raf or a coach trained in his technique. The coaches could also learn how to be tactful with skaters and parents - 'you are growing into a lovely tall young lady, but the jumps might be increasingly hard for you - I'm willing to coach you, but want you to have realistic expectations.' Those coaches could also be on the lookout for naturally -small skaters who might have an easier shot at international-level skating. I think that training lower-level or recreational skaters and int'l-level skaters is not mutually exclusive in such a system. Raf/other coaches could hold regular auditions, as Eteri does, for skaters who are ambitious. The US benefitted hugely from European coaching after the 1961 (date?) plane crash killed multiple skaters/coaches. It has the chance to benefit from European techniques again.
I think the biggest barrier to this would be the rinks themselves.

Some clubs, like SC Boston, host a lot of club ice where group lessons and standardized teaching and technique could be implemented in theory, but most clubs (unlike SC Boston that has their own facility) have to rent ice from rinks. USFS could do this in Colorado Springs, but there isn't enough people there to do it - a larger population center with lots of kiddos that skate like the North Side of Chicago or Detroit would be ideal - even LA. And when Kori Ade did successfully start such an academy in CS, her results weren't great - we'll see how her efforts with Scott Hamilton go. LA would be a fantastic place, especially if these academies offered scholarships subsidized by the wealthier students and tuition discounted for group lessons.

But the bigger problem is access to ice in which to do this. In California rinks have realized things like Hockey (growing in popularity here) and private parties make a lot more money than figure skating and have cut down on all figure skating ice - including club ice rentals. Some rinks out here straight up cut freestyles in half or out almost entirely during the Holiday season - the time right before Nationals. Somehow I doubt the rinks here (note a lot of rinks out here are closing, not opening) would love to devote enough ice for an elite skating academy system. And on existing ice like Freestyle sessions rinks ostensibly allow "small group" lessons, but will not allow coaches to coach more than 2 students at a time - otherwise that would be group practice that needs private ice booked (lol).


The academy system is crazy successful for synchro, but with synchro you have dozens of alumni skaters and older skaters in the program trained to coach using similar techniques and methods (some teams have their Junior/Senior skaters assistant coach for their developmental teams up to Pre-Juv and hire them as full coaches later). This is possible to do for singles - to have Junior and Senior skaters supplement training and training costs by leading classes for younger skaters, making them familiar with their own school's method of coaching - but I feel too many elite singles skaters are scared to take any time out of training to do anything other than train.

To run an academy like this you'd probably need 20+ hours of ice time per week and 10+ coaches all trained in the same teaching methods. While possible, as it stands right now it's definitely a pipe dream. So I think you'd need not only a robust system of training coaches, but also rinks controlled by figure skaters for figure skaters with strong financial backing that allows them to form training academies with enough ice time - which isn't possible right now.


IMO, the fact that Mitch Moyer won't even entertain an interview, stinks of self-protectionism and CYA. I assume I'm not the only one that keeps on wondering what USFSA can do to improve the prospects of US women skaters and is frustrated by the fact that we appear to be going in retrograde.

Another factor in the US is the probability that Title 9 has affected the likelihood that a number of the most athletically inclined girls find their way into sports supported under this law. It may be a matter of economics.

USFS probably doesn't have a canned answer to this question, which is why Mitch Moyer isn't answering. USFS only responds to negative press with canned answers.
 

becca

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USFSA has a golden opportunity to take Raf up on his suggestion. Here's a coach who was an insider in the Russian system, clearly knows how to coach jumps and general skating, who is willing to share it all with US coaches. I could envision a system where kids of all levels start skating under either Raf or a coach trained in his technique. The coaches could also learn how to be tactful with skaters and parents - 'you are growing into a lovely tall young lady, but the jumps might be increasingly hard for you - I'm willing to coach you, but want you to have realistic expectations.' Those coaches could also be on the lookout for naturally -small skaters who might have an easier shot at international-level skating. I think that training lower-level or recreational skaters and int'l-level skaters is not mutually exclusive in such a system. Raf/other coaches could hold regular auditions, as Eteri does, for skaters who are ambitious. The US benefitted hugely from European coaching after the 1961 (date?) plane crash killed multiple skaters/coaches. It has the chance to benefit from European techniques again.

I honestly I think inclusion is good but I actually think it’s immoral to encourage parents to spend thousands upon thousands of their own money if their kid doesn’t have a chance at real success.

I don’t think it’s wrong for Eteri to be like No.
 
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bytheriver

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If the USFS wants to build a competitive program that is capable of being the Russian ladies, they need to invest in skating starting at the lowest levels. It’s great to give money to skaters already at the novice and junior level, but very few skaters make it to that point.

I think of Simone Biles and LeBron James who both got their start in rec programs (in James’ case, subsidized by a sponsor). It’s no surprise that we tend to dominate in sports that can be practiced at a low level at very little cost. Basketball, track and field, swimming, even gymnastics at the club level is way cheaper than skating.

It needs to be about inclusivity, diversity, and financial investment. I can’t even imagine the talented individuals who would have likely thrived in skating if they had the chance.
 

clairecloutier

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If the USFS wants to build a competitive program that is capable of being the Russian ladies, they need to invest in skating starting at the lowest levels. It’s great to give money to skaters already at the novice and junior level, but very few skaters make it to that point.

I think of Simone Biles and LeBron James who both got their start in rec programs (in James’ case, subsidized by a sponsor). It’s no surprise that we tend to dominate in sports that can be practiced at a low level at very little cost. Basketball, track and field, swimming, even gymnastics at the club level is way cheaper than skating.

It needs to be about inclusivity, diversity, and financial investment. I can’t even imagine the talented individuals who would have likely thrived in skating if they had the chance.


This is issue #1, as far as I'm concerned. Cost and convenience are high barriers to participation in this sport in the United States.
 

VGThuy

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38,235
This is issue #1, as far as I'm concerned. Cost and convenience are high barriers to participation in this sport in the United States.
If the USFS wants to build a competitive program that is capable of being the Russian ladies, they need to invest in skating starting at the lowest levels. It’s great to give money to skaters already at the novice and junior level, but very few skaters make it to that point.

I think of Simone Biles and LeBron James who both got their start in rec programs (in James’ case, subsidized by a sponsor). It’s no surprise that we tend to dominate in sports that can be practiced at a low level at very little cost. Basketball, track and field, swimming, even gymnastics at the club level is way cheaper than skating.

It needs to be about inclusivity, diversity, and financial investment. I can’t even imagine the talented individuals who would have likely thrived in skating if they had the chance.
Couldn’t have said it better myself. I just imagine the incredible pool of talent we could have if cost and accessibility and hell, introduction to figure skating weren’t prohibiting much more participation in this wonderful sport.
 

gkelly

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Most skaters in the US start out skating recreationally, and the majority continue to skate with modest amounts of commitments and modest goals.

Some start young, fall in love with the sport early on, show some level of aptitude, and have the resources to increase their commitment and dream big, so they set their sights on elite competition.

It is from that subset of ambitious young starters that a smaller subsubset will become future elite competitors.

It is often not possible early on for the skaters and families themselves, or the coaches, to know which of the skaters who start out with big dreams will end up having what it takes to achieve those dreams.

"What it takes" includes access to ice time and good coaching, physical talent, temperament, financial resources, family support, etc. Any of those things might change a few years down the line, along with body type post-maturation.

USFS or groups of coaches (or fans, on a hypothetical basis) could brainstorm ways to make the ice time and good coaching more readily available across the country.

But there will still be many talented and eager skaters who will start out skating at smaller clubs with less ice time. And not all of them (or their families) will want to relocate to a training center that offers the ideal program even for affordable prices while the kids are still below juvenile level, in single-digit ages, with no guarantee that the kid will end up being able to compete at an elite level after all.

So you can make ideal programs available at 5 or 10 or 20 locations around the country, and that's where the majority of elite skaters may end up by the time they're in their teens. But it will still be the ones who were lucky enough to grow up in easy commuting distance of those programs who will benefit the most.

If more local coaches are well trained in best training practices, that would help skaters who start out with a good coach but less ice time at a smaller program to be well prepared to move to a bigger pond when they get older.

And skaters who don't have the time, money, or physical talent to reach elite levels to learn good technique to apply at lower and middle levels.
 

Willin

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2,375
If more local coaches are well trained in best training practices, that would help skaters who start out with a good coach but less ice time at a smaller program to be well prepared to move to a bigger pond when they get older.

And skaters who don't have the time, money, or physical talent to reach elite levels to learn good technique to apply at lower and middle levels.
It would be really nice if USFS held coach training camps and seminars led by coaches like Artunyan. Like actual week long seminars with on ice or off ice. Promote coaching apprenticeships with top coaches (Raf has trained at least Adam and Ashley). Right now they actually give all their LTS coaches a guide on proper technique for all of the LTS moves (and how to teach them), but how many coaches read it? The only way I see this working is if they need to base accomplishments and coach ratings not on results but rather on their ability to correctly teach technique as USFS wants it - like some sort of test or evaluation of their students' technique - but how realistic is that? We've also seen that USFS has no interest in developing or helping talented coaches like Kori Ade. So would they help coaches learn a single technique?

The bigger issue I see is that a lot of old school coaches have 0 motivation to change their technique. I lost a lot of respect from my coach when I learned she went to coaching seminars to learn the rule changes but had no interest in changing her technique. Then when I went and was coached by world class skaters and tried to bring their world class technique back I was completely shut down by the skating director.


As for skater funding, I think there needs to be seminars on fundraising and finding money to help skaters. For instance, Dinh Tran found a sponsor through his club - someone that just liked his skating - and his club is the bomb.com at finding funding (why they have a lot of skaters like Sierra and Vincent that never trained there; actually most of that club's big name throughout their history have never trained at their rinks but went to them because funding). Alysa, once she started getting some success, got free stuff from promoting places she used to help her training (like the gym she used for conditioning). I've seen local clubs partner with restaurants and do merch sales. Other clubs do show fundraisers. But there's no clear path for funding that works for clubs and maybe USFS needs to find ways to provide tips to skaters.
 

Trillian

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508
This is issue #1, as far as I'm concerned. Cost and convenience are high barriers to participation in this sport in the United States.

Yes, and I have a hard time imagining how that will change. These days, even moderately competitive school sports are prohibitively expensive for some families. As someone who lived a lot of my childhood and young adulthood on the wrong side of the poverty line - I don’t think a lot of people who are immersed in figure skating realize that there’s a level of privilege involved in even being able to take Learn to Skate classes. The vast majority of the time, families on the lower end of the financial spectrum by skating standards, who are scraping to pay the bills, are middle class - they’re just not as wealthy as many others. Of course there are exceptions every once in a while, but in general, competitive skating (or just consistent lessons) at any level is unfathomably expensive for many, many families.

So this is the reality in the United States - most parents are expected to fund their children’s participation in sports, at least until they reach a relatively high level of competition, and most parents cannot reasonably afford competitive figure skating at all. At any level. Unless that changes - and I don’t see any reason to think that it will, frankly - it will always be a limited talent pool.

Anyway, I just read an article that pretty explicitly covers the eating disorders, injuries, and brief shelf life for the girls who are winning competitions these days. So I do hope anyone involved in trying to implement more “successful” developmental programs for kids in the U.S. is thinking carefully about how to achieve better results while also prioritizing the long-term health of the kids involved.
 

MacMadame

Doing all the things
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This is possible to do for singles - to have Junior and Senior skaters supplement training and training costs by leading classes for younger skaters, making them familiar with their own school's method of coaching - but I feel too many elite singles skaters are scared to take any time out of training to do anything other than train.
Many Senior skaters earn extra money to pay for their skating by coaching. It's very common.
 

tylersf

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From what I have seen in FSU and on TV, there seems to be a preference for the artistic skater, especially for women.
Strong and powerful skaters (male or female) don't get a lot of appreciation from commentators and fans, so it seems like the females focus on being feminine and graceful and may not train the more difficult jump for fear of being called ungraceful or masculine (look at what they say about Tonya Harding (before the incident) and Amber Glenn these days). Training triple axels and quads is also difficult and higher risk.
I also sense a Jason over Nathan/Vincent sentiment as well. There are always those who say "if all the other men who have quads make mistakes, Jason can win". These days, quads are common for the men, so you'll see men in 15th after the short program attempting them in the long program. So for Jason to win, nearly all of the field has to fall on their quads.
The sport is progressing, and the USA Women's Field have fallen behind. If we don't reward our female skaters for throwing quads, it will become difficult to send 2 skaters to a World/Olympic competition. Staying on the same training progression, will leave the American women out of the top 10 in major competitions, and then we will have only 1 skater represented in major competition, then soon, American women will have to qualify to skate at Worlds.
Currently, if the women's field skates to potential, the USA will be lucky if we finish 6-8, it could be 10-12 right now. There are female skaters from other countries besides Russia, Japan and Korea who can challenge American female skaters.
The new norm is the strong and powerful skater for both genders.
 

skatingguy

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From what I have seen in FSU and on TV, there seems to be a preference for the artistic skater, especially for women.
Strong and powerful skaters (male or female) don't get a lot of appreciation from commentators and fans, so it seems like the females focus on being feminine and graceful and may not train the more difficult jump for fear of being called ungraceful or masculine (look at what they say about Tonya Harding (before the incident) and Amber Glenn these days). Training triple axels and quads is also difficult and higher risk.
I also sense a Jason over Nathan/Vincent sentiment as well. There are always those who say "if all the other men who have quads make mistakes, Jason can win". These days, quads are common for the men, so you'll see men in 15th after the short program attempting them in the long program. So for Jason to win, nearly all of the field has to fall on their quads.
The sport is progressing, and the USA Women's Field have fallen behind. If we don't reward our female skaters for throwing quads, it will become difficult to send 2 skaters to a World/Olympic competition. Staying on the same training progression, will leave the American women out of the top 10 in major competitions, and then we will have only 1 skater represented in major competition, then soon, American women will have to qualify to skate at Worlds.
Currently, if the women's field skates to potential, the USA will be lucky if we finish 6-8, it could be 10-12 right now. There are female skaters from other countries besides Russia, Japan and Korea who can challenge American female skaters.
The new norm is the strong and powerful skater for both genders.
Skaters who have more polish, and finish to their presentation may get more appreciation from fans and commentators because those details are important to elevate skating beyond a simple aerobics routine. They also require a great of training, and practice to master, and they require a great deal of energy during the performance. I've never seen any skater or coach talk about not training harder jumps because it would affect the ability to be a complete skater in their presentation. In fact, having good basics in both skating skills, extension, posture, and body control can assist skaters to develop the harder jumps.
 

tylersf

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488
Skaters who have more polish, and finish to their presentation may get more appreciation from fans and commentators because those details are important to elevate skating beyond a simple aerobics routine. They also require a great of training, and practice to master, and they require a great deal of energy during the performance. I've never seen any skater or coach talk about not training harder jumps because it would affect the ability to be a complete skater in their presentation. In fact, having good basics in both skating skills, extension, posture, and body control can assist skaters to develop the harder jumps.
I agree totally.
So how many of our Senior Women have quads now?
What happened to our skaters with triple axels?
 

VGThuy

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38,235
From what I have seen in FSU and on TV, there seems to be a preference for the artistic skater, especially for women.
Strong and powerful skaters (male or female) don't get a lot of appreciation from commentators and fans, so it seems like the females focus on being feminine and graceful and may not train the more difficult jump for fear of being called ungraceful or masculine (look at what they say about Tonya Harding (before the incident) and Amber Glenn these days). Training triple axels and quads is also difficult and higher risk.
I also sense a Jason over Nathan/Vincent sentiment as well. There are always those who say "if all the other men who have quads make mistakes, Jason can win". These days, quads are common for the men, so you'll see men in 15th after the short program attempting them in the long program. So for Jason to win, nearly all of the field has to fall on their quads.
The sport is progressing, and the USA Women's Field have fallen behind. If we don't reward our female skaters for throwing quads, it will become difficult to send 2 skaters to a World/Olympic competition. Staying on the same training progression, will leave the American women out of the top 10 in major competitions, and then we will have only 1 skater represented in major competition, then soon, American women will have to qualify to skate at Worlds.
Currently, if the women's field skates to potential, the USA will be lucky if we finish 6-8, it could be 10-12 right now. There are female skaters from other countries besides Russia, Japan and Korea who can challenge American female skaters.
The new norm is the strong and powerful skater for both genders.

I honestly think that’s a very inaccurate recitation of what happened in US ladies skating. We had the likes of Kimmie Meisner with her 3Axel attempts and any young baby ballerina who could do a 3/3 or two being promoted up the wazoo. Look at 2008 Nationals where it seemed like every skater in the final flight or so completed a 3/3 or two in the LP.

What was ignored was fundamental issues in training that they were not only susceptible to edge and rotation calls, but their glide and power wasn’t up to snuff with the worlds’ best because all people looked at were jumps and spins without actually looking at how the jumps were completed and how those skaters actually skated. That put US ladies in behind the likes of Yuna Kim. Gracie Gold came on the scene and was touted as the next big thing because she had the huge jumps, the great technique and the speed and power to compete internationally. And she almost won Worlds and had she skated cleanly in Sochi, and if the judging was honest, she would have been much more of a medal contender there. But we put so much pressure on her that she was crushed under it. Skaters like Mirai and Karen Chen started out extremely promising because they had the big jumps, the big spins, the 3/3, and great ice coverage. But then rotation calls throughout their career undermined their confidence and that coupled with consistency issues, they didn’t have the career people expected. Ot took a lot of work on their part to overcome them and Mirai did by 2018. Karen still has her work to do since she’s competing at her second Olympics now.

Look at what happened three years ago when Alysa Liu popped into the scene. 3As, multiple 3/3s and promises of quads galore. She was rewarded with two National titles at 13 and 14. Don’t tell me the US wasn’t pushing that. However, many of us skating fans were worried about her actual jumping technique and her lack of strong basics and speed and power to really compete against Eteri, the South Koreans, and the Japanese. She found out at junior worlds that just because she could out-jump the Russians on paper doesn’t mean she was able to actually score as well as them due to those deficiencies. So it wasn’t just about quads and 3A but everything else as well.

Don’t forget that at the last Olympics, the only ladies skater doing an “ultra-C” element was Mirai. But that wasn’t enough obviously as the Eteri skaters had IJS-breaking programs and strategies that the rest of the world including Japan and South Korea wasn’t ready for. The US had ladies like Bradie who worked extremely hard, narrowed the gap, and was capable of near 150 point LPs without a quad or a 3A based on maximizing her scoring potential. However, she’s injured now.

I think people are underselling our ladies by not truly recognizing just how much more competitors there are now. Eteri skaters had quads working from her juniors to now seniors earlier on, but the rest of the world hasn’t caught up yet. A few Japanese skaters are trying and some are landing 3As, and the US is behind there but it’s not as if the US was pushing down these technically brilliant ladies and pushing up technically inferior ladies. They just have what they have and hope for the best. Sometimes it doesn’t work and sometimes it works. It depends on how everyone skates. Look at last year’s Worlds - nobody expected Karen Chen to place fourth in that group but she did. However, even she acknowledged a lot of things had to happen for her to get that and the only thing she can control is how she skates.

Now that quads and 3A are going to mainstays, you bet a bunch of coaches now are training their young skaters to try to get them but I hope they don’t fall into the same trap they’ve been falling into for the past ten or so years where they forget to teach proper jump technique to survive callers and teach proper basics to give US skaters the look, power, and glide it takes to really move across the rink and do those IJS busy programs properly while landing that hard content.
 
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Primorskaya

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2,353
The only way to consistently produce elite skaters in a way that works for a country (wave after wave of top level skaters) and for the skaters themselves (everyone rich or poor, in any part of the country has a chance) is through a centralised, at least partly state-funded programme. You don't have to be the USSR for that to happen.
Arutunyan has a the right idea, but somehow I can't see the whole skating establishment in the USA falling into line behind him. At minimum every top coach should bring their knowledge, and that would be streamlined into one common programme applied across the land. Too many egos, too much money at stake for that to happen I think...
 

Frau Muller

From Puerto Rico…With Love!
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17,118
From what I have seen in FSU and on TV, there seems to be a preference for the artistic skater, especially for women.
Strong and powerful skaters (male or female) don't get a lot of appreciation from commentators and fans, ….

LOL, I just pulled out old “tapes” (now DVDs) from my collection and binge-watched the 1960s Euros and Worlds all-day yesterday. I wouldn’t say the same thing about today but it certainly was the case back then.

Exhibit A: the very great champion Djikstra (‘64 Oly gold). My goodness, what commentators in various languages said…eg, a British-accented commentator: “She may not have the biological make-up to be graceful but she’s strong.”

Then, looking back on her experience in 1964, for the “Reflections” documentary, Peggy F talked about looking at Djikstra’s physique (about being solidly built - paraphrase), and being inspired to continue skating through the next quad to show the public a more delicate style; she (Peggy) knew that she could be more graceful. No blow on Peggy…that was acceptable thinking and talking a few years ago.

p.s. My own take: How MUSICALLY GRACEFUL Sjoukje Djikstra was! She really balanced tech & artistic content, IMO…showing JOY in her face…never worries…and always to sweeping orchestral classical music…but my admiration now (in 2022) is for Djikstra herself. Deep edging and gliding to match & even enhance the music. Do we really need to enhance Eilish nowadays? Just look at the top seven or eight at ‘67 Worlds…Jennie Walsh (US) or Hana Maskova (Cze)…Carbonetto (Can) in ‘69. OMG. How things were back then. Beauty in edges and musicality, by women of all healthy physiques. Wow!!!
 
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soogar

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,082
What Raf wants to do is not much different than what Bikram or other yoga schools do. They form a teaching program and people pay to take courses and get certified to teach. I'm not sure why he can't go through the PSA or just do it on his own. I think this would involve more organization than what he's capable of.

I also think that in general, the Russians start the kids with harnesses much younger than here. Not every rink has a harness or off ice equipment to train multiple revolutions.
 

her grace

standing with Mariah
Messages
4,783
The jury is still out on whether Raf can teach 3as or quads to female skaters. Perhaps it's true that bad technique is too ingrained to be fixed in older skaters, but Wagner and Bell's jumps didn't improve that significantly when they went to him. Wagner still underrotated. Bell's 3-3 never became reliably consistent (or at least it didn't last beyond 1 season). Serafina and Vivian Le moved to him as top junior skaters and disappeared. So I'm not convinced that Raf would be the savior of American ladies skating even if skaters started with him at much younger ages.
 

soogar

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3,082
@Frau Muller I cringe at Peggy Fleming's commentary and I wonder if views like hers lead Tonya to club Nancy. I wonder what she would say about Eteri's students. Kami and Sasha look so strong out there with those shoulders and legs. They are not dainty little princesses but real athletes.

I bet Sasha will keep her quads after 18. Valieva can as well provided she doesn't retire right away.
 

Japanfan

Well-Known Member
Messages
25,182
I'm sure we'll see more women doing quads and 3As as the next generation comes up.

Women have always lagged behind the men in terms of difficulty, but they do get there.

And as more girls/young ladies show interest in learning those jumps, training techniques will evolve that are suited to them.
 

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