U.S. Ladies [#27]: A Time to Reboot

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Marco

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I find Alysa's short utterly adorable. I have yet to watch her free but kudos for the record breaking! Looks like there is still room to grow and I can't wait!

HOLD THAT SPIRAL!
 

aftershocks

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I love how when she got off the ice she acted like it was just another day in the rink. She knows she's good and isn't shocked when she skates like this.
Well, it was just another day for Alysa, plus she wasn't happy about falling on the second triple axel attempt. :)

What impresses me most about Alysa is her effervescent manner and the joyfulness that shines through when she's skating. Yes, she's a very quick rotator too, which has made all the difference in her young career. As well, she's obviously being taken under the wing of TBTB and groomed by supplementary sources (including Lori Nichol) to improve her weaknesses. She is young yet, so we shall see how she progresses over the long haul.

IMO, this is a very different era, and nothing to do with Michelle Kwan, aside from the admiration for MK that gave Alysa's dad impetus and inspiration to expose his own daughter to the sport. I'm sure that will not stop the comparisons and constant references to the legendary, groundbreaking icon. Alysa is a precocious contender at this point. She definitely has talent worth grooming and guiding, but hopefully the grooming and guiding will be done with care and caution. I personally side-eye most of the overdone hype which can be excessive and off-putting, albeit that under the circumstances hype tends to be part of the mix in rushing to support golden girl/ golden goose precocity.

If Alysa's bubbly personality and determined competitive focus remain intact, there's every opportunity for her to continue to develop in a beneficial way and to be successful. It's just that at this moment, there's no way of accurately predicting the form or degree of her anticipated success. Plus, it pays to realize there are unavoidable ups-and-downs that happen in every figure skating journey. So relax and enjoy with a large grain of salt, or whichever way that suits individual preferences. :)

This was a good competition for Alysa, and her early season experiences and resultant adjustments helped fine-tune and prepare her to excel in Lake Placid. It's obvious on replays that Alysa has a tendency to slightly under-rotate some of her jumps. She did the same on a few jumps at U.S. Nationals. The bite and twist that completes some rotations on the ice, may not be as visible in real time depending on the angle. But I think it's clear enough to recognize that a closer review is warranted on slo-mo replay. However, the judges have been choosing to give Alysa some leeway at the moment. Still, there is a definite toe bite and quick twist around of the blade on some of her landings.

Hopefully, the slight, but visible UR tendency will be focused on in Alysa's training in order to figure out how to correct it asap. It would be folly for her team to ignore this weakness in the way that for now the judges have been doing with their heads firmly planted in the sand. Even Ted Barton pretended he didn't see the obvious UR on Alysa's quad during the replay. ;)

With growth and maturity, combined with attentive grooming, Alysa may be able to increase her speed and power too, which would be advantageous. Alysa does not have huge height and spring, but she's a fast rotator, similar to many of the Russian phenoms. In today's era, teenyboppers and fast rotations are all the rage.

As to Alysa's competition at Lake Placid, I found Tarakanova to be stressed and wooden. The Korean young lady who placed second, Yeonjeong Park, has very good technical abilities, but at the moment no aesthetic engagement, so her performance left me unmoved. The Korean young lady who placed fourth, Seoyeon Ji, struck me as having well-rounded aesthetic and technical abilities that should be carefully nurtured to fulfill her promising potential.
 

aftershocks

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Though, I think she didn't like to compete. I believe that was a key reason she did not reinstate / stay in until 1994.
What?? Kristi Y, not liking to compete? Unless she has expressed that herself in interviews, please let's not rewrite history. I don't get that at all from Kristi's career, not at all. IMO, Kristi was quite competent, efficient, disciplined, and eager to face and overcome competitive challenges. As to Kristi not continuing to 1994, winning the gold medal in 1992 was obviously enough for her. She decided to move on and leave the field wide open for Nancy Kerrigan and other contemporaries, including Tonya Harding.

Regarding earlier references to now 'finally' having a U.S. lady who revels in competing under pressure, that would only be true to a degree since Michelle Kwan's competitive days ended. There are plenty of U.S. ladies who have thrived under pressure. Sure that quality has been a missing ingredient for some time, but there are other factors at play as well. Meanwhile, let's not completely forget that U.S. ladies still hold the record for total podium placements at Worlds and Olympics, even despite being off the senior World and Olympic podiums for ten years (2006 to 2016, and for the three years since 2016). It will still take time for countries like Russia, Japan, and Korea to be able to break the prestigious medal-winning record compiled by U.S. ladies historically.

ETA:
I remember one of Kristi's quotes in which she stated something along the lines of, "I don't question why I skate, but I question why I compete sometimes."
That doesn't mean Kristi disliked competing though... If you can, providing a link for context might be enlightening.
 
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euterpe

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What Kristi didn't like about competing wasn't the competition itself. I recall reading an article about her after she'd gone pro in which she said what she didn't like was the effect competition had on others. She said she could never leave her skates or costumes unguarded for even one minute, because she'd had experiences with bootlaces and/or costumes slashed.
 

olympic

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What Kristi didn't like about competing wasn't the competition itself. I recall reading an article about her after she'd gone pro in which she said what she didn't like was the effect competition had on others. She said she could never leave her skates or costumes unguarded for even one minute, because she'd had experiences with bootlaces and/or costumes slashed.
Thank you.

What?? Kristi Y, not liking to compete? Unless she has expressed that herself in interviews, please let's not rewrite history. I don't get that at all from Kristi's career, not at all. IMO, Kristi was quite competent, efficient, disciplined, and eager to face and overcome competitive challenges. As to Kristi not continuing to 1994, winning the gold medal in 1992 was obviously enough for her. She decided to move on and leave the field wide open for Nancy Kerrigan and other contemporaries, including Tonya Harding.

Regarding earlier references to now 'finally' having a U.S. lady who revels in competing under pressure, that would only be true to a degree since Michelle Kwan's competitive days ended. There are plenty of U.S. ladies who have thrived under pressure. Sure that quality has been a missing ingredient for some time, but there are other factors at play as well. Meanwhile, let's not completely forget that U.S. ladies still hold the record for total podium placements at Worlds and Olympics, even despite being off the senior World and Olympic podiums for ten years (2006 to 2016, and for the three years since 2016). It will still take time for countries like Russia, Japan, and Korea to be able to break the prestigious medal-winning record compiled by U.S. ladies historically.
I'm not trying to rewrite history. See my earlier posts. There was an interview where she stated that she did not want to continue because she found competition draining or something to that effect. I'm not making that up. I apologize for not having a link, but I remember it. And did KY state that the reason why she retired was to allow Nancy and Tonya the opportunity to have a shot?

To your 2nd paragraph, I should clarify: Post-Kwan, there were some US ladies who were fine under pressure but perhaps were missing some of the skills to be a world-beater. Rachael Flatt and Caroline Zhang in the Vancouver cycle come to mind. But, so many others who had serious skills and an 'it' factor could not or did not win Worlds / Olympics or say consistently grab spots on the podium
 
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sk9tingfan

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Well, it was just another day for Alysa, plus she wasn't happy about falling on the second triple axel attempt. :)

What impresses me most about Alysa is her effervescent manner and the joyfulness that shines through when she's skating. Yes, she's a very quick rotator too, which has made all the difference in her young career. As well, she's obviously being taken under the wing of TBTB and groomed by supplementary sources (including Lori Nichol) to improve her weaknesses. She is young yet, so we shall see how she progresses over the long haul.

IMO, this is a very different era, and nothing to do with Michelle Kwan, aside from the admiration for MK that gave Alysa's dad impetus and inspiration to expose his own daughter to the sport. I'm sure that will not stop the comparisons and constant references to the legendary, groundbreaking icon. Alysa is a precocious contender at this point. She definitely has talent worth grooming and guiding, but hopefully the grooming and guiding will be done with care and caution. I personally side-eye most of the overdone hype which can be excessive and off-putting, albeit that under the circumstances hype tends to be part of the mix in rushing to support golden girl/ golden goose precocity.

If Alysa's bubbly personality and determined competitive focus remain intact, there's every opportunity for her to continue to develop in a beneficial way and to be successful. It's just that at this moment, there's no way of accurately predicting the form or degree of her anticipated success. Plus, it pays to realize there are unavoidable ups-and-downs that happen in every figure skating journey. So relax and enjoy with a large grain of salt, or whichever way that suits individual preferences. :)

This was a good competition for Alysa, and her early season experiences and resultant adjustments helped fine-tune and prepare her to excel in Lake Placid. It's obvious on replays that Alysa has a tendency to slightly under-rotate some of her jumps. She did the same on a few jumps at U.S. Nationals. The bite and twist that completes some rotations on the ice, may not be as visible in real time depending on the angle. But I think it's clear enough to recognize that a closer review is warranted on slo-mo replay. However, the judges have been choosing to give Alysa some leeway at the moment. Still, there is a definite toe bite and quick twist around of the blade on some of her landings.

Hopefully, the slight, but visible UR tendency will be focused on in Alysa's training in order to figure out how to correct it asap. It would be folly for her team to ignore this weakness in the way that for now the judges have been doing with their heads firmly planted in the sand. Even Ted Barton pretended he didn't see the obvious UR on Alysa's quad during the replay. ;)

With growth and maturity, combined with attentive grooming, Alysa may be able to increase her speed and power too, which would be advantageous. Alysa does not have huge height and spring, but she's a fast rotator, similar to many of the Russian phenoms. In today's era, teenyboppers and fast rotations are all the rage.

As to Alysa's competition at Lake Placid, I found Tarakanova to be stressed and wooden. The Korean young lady who placed second, Yeonjeong Park, has very good technical abilities, but at the moment no aesthetic engagement, so her performance left me unmoved. The Korean young lady who placed fourth, Seoyeon Ji, struck me as having well-rounded aesthetic and technical abilities that should be carefully nurtured to fulfill her promising potential.
I was at both the Aurora Games and JGP Lake Placid. Alysa skated with more abandon at the former and at the former, it appeared that she was being far more careful and tentative at the latter. It was obvious as she was skating into the second triple axel that she did not have enough speed to get around fully. None of us there was surprised when she fell. I'm sure that her coach will be trying to get her not to virtually stop before attempting that jump. That being said, her artistry was the best among the field, IMO.

Tarakanova did not impress me and her skating appeared to be somewhat pedantic. I felt sorry for the Korean girls in that the chosen music for both was not memorable(I wonder where their choreographers found those pieces).
 

natsulian

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I was at both the Aurora Games and JGP Lake Placid. Alysa skated with more abandon at the former and at the former, it appeared that she was being far more careful and tentative at the latter. It was obvious as she was skating into the second triple axel that she did not have enough speed to get around fully. None of us there was surprised when she fell. I'm sure that her coach will be trying to get her not to virtually stop before attempting that jump. That being said, her artistry was the best among the field, IMO.

Tarakanova did not impress me and her skating appeared to be somewhat pedantic. I felt sorry for the Korean girls in that the chosen music for both was not memorable(I wonder where their choreographers found those pieces).
In your opinion, does she skate much faster than her practices? Someone who saw her practice AND perform at Lake Placid said she was very slow during run-throughs, but was shocked when she actually performed because she was so much faster. I was wondering if you noticed the same things.
 

Spiralgraph

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I also recall Kristi saying something about not enjoying competition as much as she just enjoyed the actual skating. But since that was many years ago does it really matter now? Alysa my thrive on competition now but she's only beginning her career on the "junior" world stage. I think like any skater she'll have some highs and lows, hopefully a lot more high points.
 

sk9tingfan

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In your opinion, does she skate much faster than her practices? Someone who saw her practice AND perform at Lake Placid said she was very slow during run-throughs, but was shocked when she actually performed because she was so much faster. I was wondering if you noticed the same things.
Unfortunately, I did not get to watch her practices at either event, so I cannot give you a reaction. Sorry.
 

kwanatic

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Ting's Free w/o combos - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ne96okZwl3Q&t=25s

Ting has been working very hard on a 3A, 4T, and 4S. Best of luck to her in the new season.
STUNNING program!:encore: Wow, that is gorgeous in the way skating used to be gorgeous. So many beautiful moments in the choreography, and the fact that Ting allows the moments to breathe really lets you see it. Lovely music choice, beautiful/thoughtful/nuanced choreography, and wonderful presentation. I love it!

Ting is immensely talented and could totally challenge for podium internationally if she gets her jumps consistent. She's such a jittery competitor though... I really hope she's able to have a breakout year this season.
 

aftershocks

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I'm not trying to rewrite history. See my earlier posts. There was an interview where she stated that she did not want to continue because she found competition draining or something to that effect. I'm not making that up. I apologize for not having a link, but I remember it. And did KY state that the reason why she retired was to allow Nancy and Tonya the opportunity to have a shot?

To your 2nd paragraph, I should clarify: Post-Kwan, there were some US ladies who were fine under pressure but perhaps were missing some of the skills to be a world-beater. Rachael Flatt and Caroline Zhang in the Vancouver cycle come to mind. But, so many others who had serious skills and an 'it' factor could not or did not win Worlds / Olympics or say consistently grab spots on the podium
From what I know of Kristi, she's a very sweet, positive person. Her mother was the driving force behind her career. Thanks to @euterpe for citing the quote where Kristi describes what it was about competition that lessened her enjoyment: i.e, the terrible effect cut-throat competition could have on the behavior of others. How appalling to have to take preventative measures to avoid having your boots and costumes slashed. :( The revelation of Kristi's feelings is all the more understandable and relevant in light of what happened in 1994. Surely the Tonya vs Nancy brouhaha, which adversely colored how the sport was viewed and that went down in cultural history in an epic way, confirmed to Kristi how right she was to have retired when she did and to have moved on to what turned out to be a memorable and fruitful period of growth for her, professionally, personally, socially and financially.

I base my view of Kristi leaving the field for her U.S. compadres on the fact that Kristi was very friendly with Nancy Kerrigan, and that Kristi knew how talented Tonya Harding was athletically with her renowned 3-axel feats. Kristi had not yet been able to master that jump and so part of her decision likely had to do with the direction she perceived the sport was heading in technically. In addition, that was a transitional era in which Kristi had been used to seeing older competitors take their shot and move on to professional careers. It was very different from today. There were actually lucrative opportunities available for Kristi to make money as an Olympic champion. In essence, it was a no-brainer for her to move on. Had Kristi lost to Midori Ito in 1992, as was an expected possibility, she had the fall back option of waiting only two more years to try again. What an embarrassment of riches, in terms of options, eh. As it turned out, Kristi won the OGM in 1992, and so with having her icing on the cake already, there was really no need for her to return to the competitive fray. None of this is exactly about Kristi not liking to compete though.

Yep it's a mixed bag post Michelle Kwan in the U.S. ladies discipline, thus inaccurate to generalize that 'no U.S. lady has been able to compete under pressure in recent years.' In fact, Kimmie Meissner competed under pressure and won the 2006 World figure skating championships ahead of Fumie Suguri and Sasha Cohen (who had been favored to win in the absence of Kwan, et al). And that was the last victory and podium medals at Worlds as we know, until 2016. But it was not for lack of trying that the U.S. ladies didn't get on the podium for 10 years. Politics to a large degree has not been in U.S. ladies favor, which is an added conundrum.

Ashley Wagner persevered under pressure and won numerous medals on the GP before breaking the major Worlds podium drought for U.S. ladies in 2016, winning silver ahead of Gracie Gold in 4th (who of course had been in position to win it all after the sp). Despite the challenges of their personal competition nerves, Wagner and Gold kept the U.S. ladies hopes alive during a difficult period politically. Even Mirai Nagasu achieved some notable personal victories under pressure. It's just that rattled confidence has been a notable factor in the lack of major international podium successes in recent years for many U.S. ladies, coupled with the rise of Russian, Japanese and South Korean ladies competitors, among other stars from Canada, Italy, and Kazakhstan. Right now, it's simply harder to win even with prodigious talent. Reputation, steady competitive opportunities, youth, p.r., quick rotations and fed politics are all part of being in position to amass the necessary points, with PCS scores hugely manipulated.

It's no wonder that in this environment, U.S. powers-that-be are latching onto Alysa Liu like a hungry and thirst-starved lost wanderer in the Sahara desert. ;)
 

aftershocks

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^^ All things considered @olympic, Kristi appears to have truly enjoyed skating, but maybe it was her mother's overriding ambitions that fueled her competitive drive. After winning Olympic gold earlier than anticipated, Kristi was in a position to move on to a lucrative career with SOI. Kristi really grew as an artist during her tenure with SOI. Perhaps she thrived so much in her pro career because it did not involve the backbiting stresses of eligible competition. So maybe she didn't like to compete as much as she liked to skate. But not enjoying competition, didn't keep her from being a successful competitor.

STUNNING program!:encore: Wow, that is gorgeous in the way skating used to be gorgeous. So many beautiful moments in the choreography, and the fact that Ting allows the moments to breathe really lets you see it. Lovely music choice, beautiful/thoughtful/nuanced choreography, and wonderful presentation. I love it!

Ting is immensely talented and could totally challenge for podium internationally if she gets her jumps consistent. She's such a jittery competitor though... I really hope she's able to have a breakout year this season.
The camera's view of her skating is obstructed, but it looks like Ting went clean. Her skating is very lovely. Ting is another promising competitor whom U.S. fed should be grooming with great care instead of placing all their eggs in one basket. ;)

For both Ting and Alysa, it's batten down the hatches, full steam ahead, beware of unseen icebergs, and steady as they go. :)
 
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Finsta

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The only skater to really consistent with wins For more than one season has been Medvedeva, so I’m unsure why the doom and gloom for US ladies. Even Zagitova hasn’t been the clear one to beat. I never understand why the doom for US
 

Willin

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Kristi still really loves skating and skates regularly. She also coaches her daughter, although her daughter is doing it more for fun than anything else.
 

Maximillian

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Also just to add regarding Yama, she was training in Edmonton from 1990 onward because Christy Ness had gotten married and moved there (this move, along with the death of her pairs coach is the primary reason why she quit pairs after the '89-'90 season, I wonder had Ness stayed in the Bay area if Kristi and Rudi might have stayed together and worked with a different coach), and I know she didn't want to stay living up there but wanted to go back to the Bay area.
 

aftershocks

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Also just to add regarding Yama, she was training in Edmonton from 1990 onward because Christy Ness had gotten married and moved there (this move, along with the death of her pairs coach is the primary reason why she quit pairs after the '89-'90 season, I wonder had Ness stayed in the Bay area if Kristi and Rudi might have stayed together and worked with a different coach), and I know she didn't want to stay living up there but wanted to go back to the Bay area.
I remember that their pairs coach died. But what I'd heard as the main reason for the split is that both Kristi's mother and coach Ness wanted Kristi to focus on her singles skating. They felt her focus and energies were too divided and that in order for her to beat her toughest singles competitors (i.e., Midori Ito, and later Tonya Harding) she needed to give up pairs. Kristi was not allowed to speak to Rudy directly either, which was probably painful for both of them. It's nice that they reconciled in later years.

The fact that their pairs coach died likely gave more resolve to the decision made by Kristi's mother and coach. Since they wanted Kristi to focus on singles competition, the split was apparently going to happen regardless of Ness' move, and the pairs coach, Jim Hulick's death.
 

BittyBug

And the band played on
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Ting Cui has exquisite lines and jump technique. Let's hope she can compete at her best.

Liu appears to be fearless but her lutz technique is :yikes:. She is certainly ambitious going for the quad but I'm surprised it was ratified.
 

Tinami Amori

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I find Alysa's short utterly adorable. I have yet to watch her free but kudos for the record breaking! Looks like there is still room to grow and I can't wait!

HOLD THAT SPIRAL!
imo - if she has an "extra second" for a spiral, i'd rather she uses it for a preparation for 3A or a quad... :lol:. I am big fan of great spirals with pointed toes and flexed back, but so many ladies can do a "great spiral" and so few can do 3A or a quad... ;)
 

BittyBug

And the band played on
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Love Ting's FS and excited to see how it develops. What's the music?
As @Debbie S said, it's from the soundtrack to Nocturnal Animals by Abel Korzeniowski. Korzeniowski also composed the soundtracks to the most recent Romeo & Juliet film and W.E., both of which have proven quite popular with skaters.

 

CarolineBingley

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Ting Cui has exquisite lines and jump technique. Let's hope she can compete at her best.

Liu appears to be fearless but her lutz technique is :yikes:. She is certainly ambitious going for the quad but I'm surprised it was ratified.
What do you find is flawed with her lutz technique? I think she gets to the jump quickly, but it goes off the outside edge, she doesn't have a high kick or an overly stretched reach back, giving her good spring into the air. I'll need to look at the slo-mo's for her upper body movement, but overall, IMHO she has good basics.

Also, thanks to the poster who provided the vid of Ting. Hope all of our ladies go into this new season with confidence!!
 

BittyBug

And the band played on
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What do you find is flawed with her lutz technique? I think she gets to the jump quickly, but it goes off the outside edge, she doesn't have a high kick or an overly stretched reach back, giving her good spring into the air. I'll need to look at the slo-mo's for her upper body movement, but overall, IMHO she has good basics.
I am not a technician by any means, and there are certainly different techniques that are acceptable, but my concerns are the following:

Edge - yes, she's on a solid outside edge but she doesn't really counter rotate, i.e., lean into that edge as she's taking off to give her thrust, instead she gets on the edge through ankle flexion

Vault - she doesn't reach straight back with a straight leg and pick in straight, instead toeing in with a bent leg and pre-rotated boot

Pre-rotation - you're allowed at most 1/4 turn on the ice before lift off - Liu completes at least a 1/2 rotation before her blade leaves the ice - in other words, her skate is facing forwards when she leaves the ice

Body position at launch - instead of maintaining an upright posture and reaching back with her free leg, her upper torso gets almost parallel to the ice

Again, there are certainly different techniques but contrast Liu's jump with Polina Tsurskaya:


The sum total of Liu's practices lead to a jump that IMO is muscled rather than one that uses lean, edge, and reach back to launch the jump. It works now because she is so tiny but may not hold up well as she grows.
 

AxelAnnie

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Well, hopefully Liu will continue to work on her technique as she goes along.
 

BittyBug

And the band played on
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Agree, but it is a tall order to re-learn technique, especially when one has already progressed to triples and in her case, quads. Muscle memory is very powerful.
 

Vagabond

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Wow! I thought I was watching a young Michelle Kwan. Good, solid and strong technique. How old is she? Is Audrey still skating for the U.S? She hasn’t been recruited by China right? :drama:
You could look her age up here.

Shin is a Korean surname. While there are ethnic Koreans in China, I would be surprised if her father's family was from China, and I would be even more surprised if the Chinese Federation wanted to recruit an ethnic Korean, even one with family ties to China.

ETA: On her Instagram account, she has her name in both English, Korean, and Chinese: Audrey Shin 신수민 愼秀慜. So maybe she does have a connection to China.
 
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