Actually there was a frenzy with Lipinski and even Kwan in the post-compulsories era where 13-15 year old girls started doing 7 triple programs at senior worlds so they actually changed the rules to make it 15 or 16 by whatever date right before 1997 Worlds, but Tara was grandfathered in since she had competed at 1996 Worlds. Then there were no exceptions unless you medaled are Junior Worlds, which helped Sarah Hughes out and allows her to compete at 1999 Worlds and thus every other World she qualified for before she turned 16, but Sasha Cohen wasn’t able to take advantage placing 7th at her junior Worlds and then got injured and missed the following season, so she had to debut as a senior internationally during the Olympic year at 17. After that, they stopped making an exception for junior world medalists. So it’s false that there wasn’t talk and debate with the American girls, especially right in the era directly following the elimination of compulsory figures. You had Jill Trenary talking about ladies skating being over or whatever (even though Nancy, Kristi, and Tonya were no teen waifs); you had Lu Chen saying “that little girl has my gold medal” about Kwan (they’re friends now), you had Bobek and Butyrskaya going on about offering something Different and more mature than a jumping bean, you had Slutskaya go up to Lipinski at 1996 Worlds and say “you don’t belong here” with Tara responding with“oh yes, I do...” etc.That's true, and I don't recall the same frenzy after Lipinski's or Hughes' win, and they were both of tender age but a different nationality.