U.S. Men 2019-20 season - news & updates

SkateFanBerlin

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Jason's SP is to "I Can’t Go On Without You" by KALEO, choreo. by Rohene Ward (clip with Rohene's :lol: commentary): FS is to Schindler's List, choreo. by David Wilson (clips):
Choreographer: Alex Johnson
Jason's skating continues to be more beautiful all the time - if that is possible. His lines remind me of the time when men competed figures.
 

SkateFanBerlin

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When I was at US Nationals this year I felt very much like a whole warm-up group was "missing" - which to an extent it was. The massive difference between the other US men - who were all quite nice, pleasant skaters - and the top three or four (Jason, Nathan, Tomoki, Vincent) was significant and evident. Now, I'm sure many of the younger US men are working on this - but the sort of post-Olympic gutting that the US men saw will take time to recover from. It's only natural.
Wrote about this elsewhere. Really it's 2 - Nathan and Vincent with highest scoring multi-quad type programs. Jason has not 1 quad but stays in the upper 10% because he's such a beautiful skater. Tomiko, like many mens' skaters world-wide has 1 reliable quad. Jason and Tomiko just aren't the same scoring bin as Vincent and Nathan.
 

Jammers

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It's ironic that the US Men finally got on the quad bus a few years ago starting with Nathan and now stand on the World podium but in terms of overall depth it's rather bare with the US Man compared to the years 2014-18. For instance in 2015 we had Jason, Jeremy, Max, Adam, Grant, Richard, Josh, Ross and a young upstart at his first Senior Nats Nathan. it will many years before any country has that kind of quality depth again even if they were all lacking quads with maybe the exception of Nathan.
 

olympic

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It's ironic that the US Men finally got on the quad bus a few years ago starting with Nathan and now stand on the World podium but in terms of overall depth it's rather bare with the US Man compared to the years 2014-18. For instance in 2015 we had Jason, Jeremy, Max, Adam, Grant, Richard, Josh, Ross and a young upstart at his first Senior Nats Nathan. it will many years before any country has that kind of quality depth again even if they were all lacking quads with maybe the exception of Nathan.
Nah. I would say that Nathan and Vincent are way above what any US man achieved in the past decade and the newbies are looking to at least equal what all the retirees accomplished on the World scene. The retirees are missed and made Nats interesting but they weren’t world beaters or World medal material
 

Tavi

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Nah. I would say that Nathan and Vincent are way above what any US man achieved in the past decade and the newbies are looking to at least equal what all the retirees accomplished on the World scene. The retirees are missed and made Nats interesting but they weren’t world beaters or World medal material
By achievements are you talking about championship medals? Quads? High scores? Something else? Because frankly, while I agree that what Nathan has done in a short time is pretty amazing, I wouldn’t really put Vincent into the same category yet. I also think you’re overlooking what other US men have achieved in the past decade, and I guess I don’t know why the aspirations of three rising juniors are significant. Jammers is right that we don’t have a huge amount of depth right now.
 

Tahuu

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I have grown to hate the word “Yale.”
Nice dig. But I’d say the more “Yale” the merrier. It might help/inspire some kids. I’ve read parents telling their kids “Don’t slack off in school. If Nathan Chen can do it, you can too.”
 

Tavi

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Nice dig. But I’d say the more “Yale” the merrier. It might help/inspire some kids. I’ve read parents telling their kids “Don’t slack off in school. If Nathan Chen can do it, you can too.”
Do you want to know why I said that? It wasn’t at all a dig at Nathan. It was because of comments ad infinitum needlessly referencing Yale, as in “I wonder what Nathan’s schedule at Yale is” instead of “I wonder what Nathan’s school schedule is this semester.” I graduated from an Ivy League school myself, and neither I nor anyone I know would ever continuously reference the brand names of our schools unless it was particularly relevant. In most of the comments I read here, it’s not.
 

el henry

#WeAllWeGot #WeAllWeNeed
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Do you want to know why I said that? It wasn’t at all a dig at Nathan. It was because of comments ad infinitum needlessly referencing Yale, as in “I wonder what Nathan’s schedule at Yale is” instead of “I wonder what Nathan’s school schedule is this semester.” I graduated from an Ivy League school myself, and neither I nor anyone I know would ever continuously reference the brand names of our schools unless it was particularly relevant. In most of the comments I read here, it’s not.

Exactly!:40beers:

My spousal unit did graduate from Yale. (I, alas, from a "lesser" Ivy). He never, ever, mentions the name of the school, unless he knows someone. If he feels he must say something, he says "New Haven".

I admire what Nathan is doing greatly, but I doubt that anyone capable of getting into Yale cares what Nathan is doing or not doing as regards their own plans for school, college, and other activities.
 

jlai

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But it is not Nathan who wants to talk about it nonstop. It is the media who do and keep asking about it.

When you have a two time world champ who also succeeds in school in a way past champs rarely succeed, this is going to be talked about a lot unless the Nathan hype winds down—which is gonna be not any time soon
 

Tahuu

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Do you want to know why I said that? It wasn’t at all a dig at Nathan. It was because of comments ad infinitum needlessly referencing Yale, as in “I wonder what Nathan’s schedule at Yale is” instead of “I wonder what Nathan’s school schedule is this semester.” I graduated from an Ivy League school myself, and neither I nor anyone I know would ever continuously reference the brand names of our schools unless it was particularly relevant. In most of the comments I read here, it’s not.
What's that to hate about?
 

el henry

#WeAllWeGot #WeAllWeNeed
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But it is not Nathan who wants to talk about it nonstop. It is the media who do and keep asking about it.

When you have a two time world champ who also succeeds in school in a way past champs rarely succeed, this is going to be talked about a lot unless the Nathan hype winds down—which is gonna be not any time soon
Oh, I know it is not Nathan, and I did not mean to imply (and I don't think I did) that I have any problem with Nathan. I admire his skating much more now that I see his commitment to schooling, particularly since it means he is training on his own.

Of course, Yale is replete with students who are world champions in their field (spousal unit has a very funny story about an Olympic gold medalist back in his day), but Nathan is not responsible for the fact that the skating world doesn't seem to know that;). It is still very odd to me, though, but fully understandable that those responsible for hype latch onto the "easiest" hook.
 

Tahuu

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Exactly!:40beers:

My spousal unit did graduate from Yale. (I, alas, from a "lesser" Ivy). He never, ever, mentions the name of the school, unless he knows someone. If he feels he must say something, he says "New Haven".

I admire what Nathan is doing greatly, but I doubt that anyone capable of getting into Yale cares what Nathan is doing or not doing as regards their own plans for school, college, and other activities.
You have mentioned your spousal unit's Ivy credential numerous times. And now you and Tavi just told us your Ivy brands on skating forums. We don't hate it.

I don't think the media mentioning Yale is to tell anyone capable of getting into Yale to care about what Nathan is doing or not doing. But it could have a positive impact on some kids in and out of skating.
 

Tavi

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You have mentioned your spousal unit's Ivy credential numerous times. And now you and Tavi just told us your Ivy brands on skating forums. We don't hate it.

I don't think the media mentioning Yale is to tell anyone capable of getting into Yale to care about what Nathan is doing or not doing. But it could have a positive impact on some kids in and out of skating.
Tahuu, I mentioned that I went to an Ivy only because I felt it was relevant to this particular conversation. As I’ve done in one or two others. If you want to know my reasoning on that, just ask.

While I’m not gonna say that no kid will ever, ever be inspired by hearing that World Champion Nathan Chen is going to Yale, I don’t think there are a lot of kids posting on FSU, so I don’t find it a very persuasive argument. Mention it once or twice here and on NBC, okay - it’s great he got into Yale, and it should be celebrated. But after that...enough. The brand names we’re associated with may be impressive initially and open doors, but in the end, it’s who we and what we’re capable of that counts, not whether we went to Yale or Triton Community College. JMO.
 

jlai

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Nathan isn't the only one who is skating well while in school. Vincent is an accomplished student too I heard. Max Aaron finished college while competing on a very high Level. Both Alex Johnson and Kevin Shum finished school and continued skating throughout. (And isn't Jimmy Ma a college kid too?)

Of course, Nathan has the most decorated skating accomplishments.

I don't think hype is good, but if the media have to hype about something, world title + Yale is not a bad selling point.
 

natsulian

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443
On a slightly off-kilter discussion, Nathan truly changed the trajectory of US men internationally and domestically. After Nathan put forth stunning quad-infested programs, Vincent was inspired to do the same. Then we have the upcoming juniors such as Tomoki, Andrew, Camden, and others all citing Nathan as a source of inspiration as to why they are increasing their technical difficulty. The US men are truly in a different league in terms of depth compared to the rest of the world and I think we can thank Nathan for at least getting the ball rolling. If US Figure Skating actually adequately advertised the men as much as the women, we wouldn’t be having such a rut in public interest in figure skating. However, on a more positive note, viewership for Nationals has been rising quite consistently which can only point to an upward slope AND attendance for Nationals is actually not that bad.
 

Tavi

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On a slightly off-kilter discussion, Nathan truly changed the trajectory of US men internationally and domestically. After Nathan put forth stunning quad-infested programs, Vincent was inspired to do the same. Then we have the upcoming juniors such as Tomoki, Andrew, Camden, and others all citing Nathan as a source of inspiration as to why they are increasing their technical difficulty. The US men are truly in a different league in terms of depth compared to the rest of the world and I think we can thank Nathan for at least getting the ball rolling. If US Figure Skating actually adequately advertised the men as much as the women, we wouldn’t be having such a rut in public interest in figure skating. However, on a more positive note, viewership for Nationals has been rising quite consistently which can only point to an upward slope AND attendance for Nationals is actually not that bad.
Quad infested? 😜

I’ve suspected people now consider Jason irrelevant. Your post has confirmed it.
 

natsulian

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Quad infested? 😜

I’ve suspected people now consider Jason irrelevant. Your post has confirmed it.
And your suspicion was quite incorrect. Jason more than makes up for his less than demanding technical components via his artistry. My post was pointing towards how Nathan began a quad revolution on the home front, thus enabling the US men to take the reins internationally. However, Jason also shows us that exceptional talent coupled with great technique despite an absence of quads can still go head to head with the rest of the world’s best. I think Camden might follow in the footsteps of Jason unless he gets a consistent 4T or 4S.
 

aftershocks

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It's ironic that the US Men finally got on the quad bus a few years ago starting with Nathan and now stand on the World podium but in terms of overall depth it's rather bare with the US Man compared to the years 2014-18. For instance in 2015 we had Jason, Jeremy, Max, Adam, Grant, Richard, Josh, Ross and a young upstart at his first Senior Nats Nathan. it will many years before any country has that kind of quality depth again even if they were all lacking quads with maybe the exception of Nathan.
You forgot about Alex Johnson, Timothy Dolensky, and Sean Rabbitt, et al :p Don't forget either that Armin Mahbahnoozadeh retired too soon because he couldn't catch a breakthrough with all the depth. And Keegan Messing was lucky he could make the move to represent Canada which finally gave him the chance to compete at Worlds and win international recognition. Scott Dyer may have had trouble with 3-axels, but he was no slouch either as a stylish, artistic skater. There was another talented guy named Philip Warren who trained with Richard Dornbush, under coach Tammy Gambill. Warren made the decision to try and represent France, but he hasn't been heard from since. At least, I haven't heard anything about how Warren has fared.

The list of talented skaters from the previous recent generation continues with Douglas Razzano, Brandon Mroz, Jonathan Cassar, and Stephen Carriere. Let's not forget them either. Other former U.S. men circa 2015 with talent include Shotaro Omori, and in the junior ranks, Chase Belmontes. In addition, preceding this past generation, Rohene Ward was brilliantly talented but he didn't have the financial resources to train the way he needed to in order to be able to compete with confidence. He was lucky to have enough stellar genius and chutzpah to transition into choreographing, coaching, and excelling at a few rare pro-comps and shows.

Everything transpires in cycles, which is to be expected. Also, I'm not sure why there's this urge to complain about the current crop of U.S. men skaters, simply because many guys who were talented and around for awhile decided to retire. Every good thing always comes to an end. And there's really nothing to complain about now in view of the top talent that remains, and the less experienced talent that is on the rise. And when we mention the current players, too often we forget to cite Jimmy Ma and Emmanuel Savary. There are plenty of talented U.S. men skaters who will be trying to seize opportunities over the next several years. When there exists an over-abundant depth of talent, it's harder to move up because of the sport's antiquated competitive structure.

Besides, in the heyday of the previous generation, U.S. men were always being trashed and looked down on for not having quads, or for not competing them consistently, regardless of how much artistry, style and competitiveness they possessed. Some fs sideline observers are never happy apparently.
 

RoseRed

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1,543
On a slightly off-kilter discussion, Nathan truly changed the trajectory of US men internationally and domestically. After Nathan put forth stunning quad-infested programs, Vincent was inspired to do the same. Then we have the upcoming juniors such as Tomoki, Andrew, Camden, and others all citing Nathan as a source of inspiration as to why they are increasing their technical difficulty. The US men are truly in a different league in terms of depth compared to the rest of the world and I think we can thank Nathan for at least getting the ball rolling. If US Figure Skating actually adequately advertised the men as much as the women, we wouldn’t be having such a rut in public interest in figure skating. However, on a more positive note, viewership for Nationals has been rising quite consistently which can only point to an upward slope AND attendance for Nationals is actually not that bad.
Depends on how you define depth. For example, if you define it by GP assignments, Russia wins that with 8 men getting 14 total spots (+TBD), compared to 6 men getting 11 spots (+TBD) for the US men.

If you look at the top 24 SB list, we have 4 US men (1/3/11/23), 4 Japanese men (2/4/13/22), and 6* Russian men (5/8/15/17/18/20*). *Is for Maxim Kovtun who has now retired, so it's really more like 5.

If you go further down the SB list, top 50 gives you 2 more US guys (36/49), 3 more Japanese guys (41/47/50) and 7 more Russian guys (29/32/34/38/42/45/46). Total men in the top 50 SB for each country are 6 US, 7 Japanese and 12 Russian (not counting Kovtun). Looking at the top 50 also gives 6 Canadian men (8/16/25/26/33/48).

If you look at the top 24 WS list, there a 5 US men (1/5/6/21/24) and 5 Russian men (3/7/15/17/23).

By everything I've looked at, purely in terms of depth, the Russian men are even to better than the US men. I'm not saying the Russian men are better, but if you want to talk about depth, I'd say they certainly have it.

You can argue that the US has the best depth in men's skating, but it's not clear cut and saying they're in a different league really feels like an exaggeration to me. Which is not to say that the US men aren't doing really well - they obviously are.
 

misskarne

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On a slightly off-kilter discussion, Nathan truly changed the trajectory of US men internationally and domestically. After Nathan put forth stunning quad-infested programs, Vincent was inspired to do the same.
And who inspired Nathan? Because it didn't just come out of nowhere.

I think we can thank Nathan for at least getting the ball rolling.
No, we can't, because it wasn't him. It just wasn't until him that USFS finally pulled their heads out of their asses and realised that yes, multiple quads were the way to go, and oh, maybe we shouldn't have squashed that one guy who could before now.
 

olympic

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By achievements are you talking about championship medals? Quads? High scores? Something else? Because frankly, while I agree that what Nathan has done in a short time is pretty amazing, I wouldn’t really put Vincent into the same category yet. I also think you’re overlooking what other US men have achieved in the past decade, and I guess I don’t know why the aspirations of three rising juniors are significant. Jammers is right that we don’t have a huge amount of depth right now.
I was speaking chiefly about world medals, tech content and high scores.

Now, I'm not sure what you mean by what other US men have achieved over the past decade [I assume you mean pre-Nathan Chen]. After Lysacek's retirement, I think the highest ranking by any of the retirees was a 5th place by Abbott at a post-Olympic Worlds in 2014, but long gone since then [I don't include Brown's finish at 2015 Worlds because he's still alive and kicking on the competitive circuit], and Rippon was 6th at 2016 Worlds w/ the performance of his life. Aaron was also 7th at 2013 Worlds and 8th at 2014 and 2016 Worlds. It is commendable but my argument is I personally believe that it is w/in th grasp of Hiwatashi, Pulkinen and Kranozhon to achieve that after a year or two in the future.

IF you are talking about sheer numbers of U.S. men capable of being 6th-12th at Worlds, then yes, there are fewer men by about 2-3, but I don't think it's anything to wring one's hands over.
 

Tavi

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I was speaking chiefly about world medals, tech content and high scores.

Now, I'm not sure what you mean by what other US men have achieved over the past decade [I assume you mean pre-Nathan Chen]. After Lysacek's retirement, I think the highest ranking by any of the retirees was a 5th place by Abbott at a post-Olympic Worlds in 2014, but long gone since then [I don't include Brown's finish at 2015 Worlds because he's still alive and kicking on the competitive circuit], and Rippon was 6th at 2016 Worlds w/ the performance of his life. Aaron was also 7th at 2013 Worlds and 8th at 2014 and 2016 Worlds. It is commendable but my argument is I personally believe that it is w/in th grasp of Hiwatashi, Pulkinen and Kranozhon to achieve that after a year or two in the future.

IF you are talking about sheer numbers of U.S. men capable of being 6th-12th at Worlds, then yes, there are fewer men by about 2-3, but I don't think it's anything to wring one's hands over.
I was actually just trying to follow your argument, and I’m still not clear what it is or why you would exclude medalling at the GPF or 4 Continents, which several US men, including Jason, have done.

Vincent seems to be training hard and we’ll see what he does next season, but in my personal opinion, the nearly 30 point jump in his total score between 4 Continents and World Team Trophy - his season’s best is one point behind Hanyu’s - far outstrips the improvements he made during that time.

As to the three juniors you mentioned, I do agree Tomoki is one to watch. But he’s the only one of them who landed clean quads in international competition last year. Neither Alexei or Camden showed much this season, and their SB scores were quite low.
 

Dobre

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And who inspired Nathan?
I'm sure many people. I know he has named Plushenko and Hanyu, for certain. Also, he has talked about Jin bringing that quad lutz onto the table and pushing all the junior guys. And I remember him specifically cheering on Shoma at the GPF during Nathan's final junior season and saying that he believed Shoma could medal. Plus, he trained with Patrick for a while under Marina and talked about trying to master that side of his training. Nathan seems to respect a lot of athletes and the strengths they bring to the table, Jason's among them.
 

aftershocks

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Depends on how you define depth. For example, if you define it by GP assignments, Russia wins that with 8 men getting 14 total spots (+TBD), compared to 6 men getting 11 spots (+TBD) for the US men. If you look at the top 24 SB list, we have 4 US men (1/3/11/23), 4 Japanese men (2/4/13/22), and 6* Russian men (5/8/15/17/18/20*). *Is for Maxim Kovtun who has now retired, so it's really more like 5...
So you define depth on the basis of GP slots, SB points and World placement stats? First of all, the GP series is an antiquated competitive structure, largely based on politics and other factors that don't always involve transparency. With the talent the U.S. actually has in the men's division, more spots could be filled by U.S. men. The fact is, the antiquated system, politics and questionable decision making by U.S. fed hasn't allowed for more assignments to be given to U.S. men. The same is true for all the other U.S. disciplines!

The other part about this is, the more GP assignments that are given to up-and-coming skaters simply provides those skaters with competitive opportunities and experience that all developing skaters need in order to improve. So it could be said that by being given those GP opportunities, such skaters may have a jump start and an advantage in developing their careers and being recognized by ISU judges. Still, that doesn't mean their talent and potential will automatically pan out. Scoring tends to be based heavily on politics, rep, and how skaters are expected to perform. Injuries and every manner of other unfortunate or challenging circumstance could also arise over the course of careers. Figure skating is a tough sport and then some. :kickass: Ding! As if we all shouldn't know that by now.

It's not simply about perceived depth in whatever country, nor is it only about talent, GP assignments, and working hard. It's also about resources, advantageous training, politics, luck, picking the right music and choreography for programs at the right time, and how one is able to grow their talent and mature with experience, etc. etc.
 

Tavi

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Who are the many US men who were denied spots on the Grand Prix this season and last because of the “antiquated competitive structure, largely based on politics and other factors that don't always involve transparency”?
 

Dobre

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I think there's plenty of depth among the Russian & Canadian men. Currently, they are pretty much all a hot mess. But the bar is reachable for a lot of guys so they're all in it. (Quite similar to the U.S. men's field heading up toward 2016).
 

aftershocks

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Who are the many US men who were denied spots on the Grand Prix this season and last because of the “antiquated competitive structure, largely based on politics and other factors that don't always involve transparency”?
I'm not saying anyone was specifically 'denied' a spot, just that the competitive structure doesn't allow for skaters' competitive growth, and that picks and scoring are often based on politics, rep, and performance expectations. If the rules allowed for it, more GP spots could certainly be filled by countries who do have great depth.

Mainly, I'm saying that GP slots, SB scores, and World placements are no indicator of depth for Russian men vs U.S. men. In fact, the main countries with talent in all disciplines, as we know, are U.S., Russia, and Canada, while Japan has humongous depth in singles, and China has had great depth in pairs, but their pairs talent pipeline may be drying up.

Both China and Japan are trying to make a push to improve in ice dance. And China is trying to infuse their ladies singles with U.S. ladies lower level talent to complement their top guys, Boyang and Han. We've already learned that Chelsea Liu of the U.S. has paired with Xie Zhong of China. Chinese fed is making a huge push to be competitive in all disciplines for the Beijing Olympics, in order to battle for a medal in the team competition.
 
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aftershocks

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I think there's plenty of depth among the Russian & Canadian men. Currently, they are pretty much all a hot mess.
:p Does that mean you think they aren't consistent? ;)

So what does depth mean then? Quantity? I'm just being conversational, not confrontational because I do think we are all probably generally in agreement, but are saying different things and basing our observations on variant understandings of what we think depth means. Quantity doesn't always equal quality.

Clearly, U.S., Russia, and Canada have a pool of talented skaters in all disciplines. Canada does have to rebuild in pairs and strengthen their ladies division which has always been relatively weak. There are a number of very talented Canadian men, but none of them have shown signs of breaking through yet to consistent championship level clout on the order of Patrick Chan (maybe that's what you meant by them being 'a hot mess.' ;) ) Stephen Gogolev has a lot of potential. We'll see how he fares under Raf in California.

China has been excellent in pairs, but they are trying to shore up that discipline, and attempting to add strong singles ladies. Han and Boyang are probably their only viable competitive guys. But that's enough to make a push in Beijing. I believe China has a couple of very good ice dance teams already. Japan is uber strong with a quantity of great singles skaters, but lacking in depth and talent (quantity and quality) in both pairs and ice dance.

Russia has great technical feat assembly-line ladies, but they have usually all been over-scored on PCS because of the hype. Kolyada could be slaying and carting home medals with his talent, but he's still trying to get his competitive mojo in order. Samarin is technically excellent, but not well-rounded aesthetically, despite judges often over-scoring him on PCS. The other up-and-coming Russian guys are generally ho-hum and not always consistent, but that doesn't mean they don't score well. Russia's recent top pairs are boring, but they are always scored well. Let's hope that Boikova/Koslovskii and Stolbova/Noselov can inject more excitement at least...

Italy has two brilliant men in singles, but lack depth in other disciplines. The thing about it though is that with counties like Italy having one or two talented or at least competitive skaters/teams in pairs, ice dance and singles, those skaters don't have to worry about going to Worlds every year. In contrast, countries with depth (quality and quantity) in all disciplines end up wasting the talent that can not be fully developed because so many good skaters have to languish at home and miss out on competing at Worlds. That's because it's highly difficult to practically impossible for most skaters to break through the depth of talent.
 
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