View Full Version : MK Upping the Tech Ante

January 15th, 2000, 09:07 AM
Hmmm. I see a few folks here are starting to agree with what I've been saying for the last month....as good as she is it's time for Michelle to put it into another gear. I've said all along that she's going to need harder triple combinations than the triple toe/triple toe, which I don't believe she did in either of her two LPs here. I have nothing against Irina Slutskaya and with the way she's been skating this year I'm sure it will be hard to quibble with her technical scores (I can still quibble with the artistic scores possibly because I don't necessarily like her presentation all the time) when we see the finals this evening. However, this loss should give Michelle a reality check. If even D. Button is saying aloud that Michelle's skating is stagnant, then it's time for her to take a look around and notice that her competitors aren't just practicing harder jump combinations, they're actually USING them in competition. I think we've been through that 80-or-90%-success-rate-in-practice-before- using-the-jumps-in-competition argument before. It's just time for Michelle to stop being a "mushy cookie" and "playing it safe" in competition and believe that she can do those jumps at crunch time. I just hope this doesn't hinder her self-confidence at Nationals. This is a very tricky period for Michelle where finding that balance between school and skating is going to be even more crucial. Can she really get the quantity of practice time that she needs if she's taking a full load? Can she really still do all the pro-ams and Grand Prix events that she did this year and not compromise here school work? I know our girl is extremely smart and level-headed, so I'm sure she's already thinking these same thoughts. Frank said before she started school that if he thought school was interfering with her progress as a skater that he'd say something to her about it. I'm not being an alarmist here. I just think that a skater of Michelle's magnitude isn't going to be able to have both. For the lesser known skaters still trying to make their name (like Tim Goebel or in the past Tonia Kwiatkowski) it's probably an easier feat. I just hope the right decisions are made for the right reason.

January 15th, 2000, 09:43 AM
H*ck, in my fictional world MK can land the 3 axle as well as throw in a quad. These days she really has to distinguish herself again by landing 7 triples like she used to with the same attack that she did and put in those difficult combos with the consistency that's she's known for. I've always believed she can do it. Honestly though, as an MK fan for a long time, sometimes I do feel that she often holds herself back in major comps. Maybe she'll prove me wrong in the coming months. I still remember that look in her eye when she skated to Salome in '96. Hope it comes back again.

January 15th, 2000, 09:46 AM
I'm so with you!!!!

January 15th, 2000, 09:47 AM
I agree with Mano. When she won with Salome in 1996, Michelle just had this look. I'm not sure what you would call it. But you could tell she was there, not just to land every jump, but to land them superbly. I am sure she is thinking of ways to up her technical side. After all, like she has said, she loves to compete. Kelly

January 15th, 2000, 10:05 AM
I really think that Michelle needs to do more difficult triples... I don't think I can sustain any more losses from her! I think the triple axel is a good jump to show off at worlds and also her triple/triple combos!

January 15th, 2000, 03:26 PM
I've said before that Michelle doesn't have the same "fire" as before the Oly, but I got jumped on a little. It doesn't mean she isn't doing the right thing, but it's true. Her life has changed alot and so has her intensity. I'm not criticizing her, she's awesome as to what she can do. I've also come to realize that Michelle can get a little "tight" in big comp. In '96 she really had nothing to lose because Lulu was the champ. At Nationals, she could attack because if she fell it was o.k. because she had a stress fracture and was not the champ. At Nagano, she had everything to lose and Tara could attack because she had nothing to lose really. Just like Irina, what did she have to lose? She wasn't the favorite, she didn't even makes Worlds last year. Now going into Worlds Irina will be the favorite(to some) and take some pressure off Michelle so she can ATTACK! I believe sincerly, if everybody skates their best, really their best that NOBODY can beat Michelle. I really believe that. Done rambling. Don't worry, she will ante up at the right time.

January 15th, 2000, 03:50 PM
What do you all think Michelle needs? Here is my list of improvements. I'm not saying that all is possible for Michelle (we don't know if she has reached her technical peak)nor am I saying that she has the time nor should she take a break from school. BTW, this is all stream-of-consciousness. 1. More difficult 3/3's. I'm interested in knowing what 3/3's you would all like to see. Ideally, I would like to see Michelle do 2 or all three of these combos 3axel/3toe , 3lutz/3toe, and 3flip/3loop. I really think Michelle's weakest jump is the triple loop. She doesn't get a whole lot of flow out of the 3lutz, nor does she appear to have enough spring to consistently land a 3loop immediately after. I would LOVE to be proved wrong though. Since she gets a lot of flow on the 3flip and it's one of the harder 3 jumps. I would like to seee 3flip/3loop. And I know deep down inside Michelle is capable of consistently landing the 3lutz-3toe. If she masters the 3 axel then...3lutz-3toe, 3flip-3loop, and 3axel[2-toe] 2. More speed. In spins and in traveling across the ice. Her speed is deceptive, but let's make her noticably fast. Also with spins, I would love to see the a fast version of that catchfoot from World Pros 3. More footwork. I would like to see Michelle make up some ground here. She's no Yuka, but she definitely has great footwork when it all comes down to it.

January 15th, 2000, 07:17 PM
What does Michelle need? God forgive me for saying this, but.....a sports psychologist wouldn't hurt. I don't mean those hanger-on type psychologists that professional athletes seem to have so often, but maybe just someone who's been where's she's at in her career. I don't think exactly that Michelle lacks the fire of her Salome days, but I do think she's more aware of what she has to lose instead of what she has to win. I must say that she didn't seem too upset by her loss today. She seemed to be very philosophical when asked if she wished she'd done her triple/triple. She admitted that she should up her technical ability after watching Slutskaya doing not one, but TWO, triple\triple combos. Acknowledging that she has to do it is a start anyway. The other thing that came to me was that Slutskaya's two triple\triples weren't perfect. The first was okay, but had no flow on the exit. The second one she just barely landed and all but came to a standstill to land it. But....at least she tried them in competition! That stupid Leslie Visser asked her if she knew beforehand that she was going to do those two combos. Uh, no, Les. She just put those in and never practiced them. What a dolt. As for Michelle's footwork? Well, I see a need for more speed in her footwork, but it's otherwise impecible. As D. Button pointed out tonight, Michelle's footwork is very sophisticated. He said Slutskaya's was very simple. The other thing I see that she needs in her footwork is more variety. She's used the same entrances into her jumps for years and judges are starting to mark her down because of it (IMHO). I also think it's time for Michelle to come up with some new spin combinations. Earlier this year she used a foward scratch spin in "Kissing You", but we never see it in competition. And of course she still needs to improve the speed of her spins. I think that's going to be hard for her to do, though, because she doesn't seem to go into them with as much speed and power as the other skaters do. I also think she needs to put the reverse-direction spin back in her programs. Basically it's going to come down to what Peggy Fleming said Michelle's father told her earlier today -- that he'd told Michelle that something's got to give. She couldn't have both school and skating forever. That it was okay for right now, but at some point in the near future she's going to have to choose one or the other. So to my mind that's one other thing Michelle needs to work on to improve her skating. There's nothing wrong with being a part-time college student. Lots of people who've put themselves through college have done it while working a full-time job. And that's basically what Michelle's skating is....a full-time job.

January 15th, 2000, 09:42 PM
Ok. I agree with you on a lot of what you're saying. She needs better combinations. She needs faster spins. She needs better footwork. I'll adress them all one by one but not in order. *She needs better footwork* Yes she has been doing the same type of footwork for years. In fact, this is the first time she's ever done different connecting steps into her solo jump in the SP. The footwork itself, circular, straight-line or serpentine doesn't really need to change. She's always inventive, innovative and quick. It's her connecting steps than need some change. *She needs faster spins/better spins* Her spins do need more speed. When every other skater in the top 10 of the world have fast tight spins and Michelle doesn't, it makes you think. As for better spins, I for one would love to see a new combination spin that isn't the same old camel-sit-y spin-back sit spin-whatever. It's getting kinda old after 5 seasons. *She needs better combinations* Now let's look at this realistically folks. Triple/triple combinations by lady skaters are rare and difficult. Let's look at a list I've compiled of lady skaters and the triple/triple's they've hit. In order of the difficulty of jump combination... Triple Lutz/Triple Loop Irina Slutskaya Triple Lutz/Triple Toe Kristi Yamaguchi Midori Ito Surya Bonaly Nicole Bobek(I have no proof but found it on a jump server) *Note* It's interesting to note than nove of the above ladies have landed this combination since the 1995 eason. No Triple Flip/Triple whatever combination ever landed. (Surya attempted this once but under-rotated the triple toe) Triple Loop/Triple Loop Tara Lipinski Sarah Hughes Triple Loop/Triple Toe-Loop Yelena Sokolova Triple Salchow/Triple Loop Tara Lipinksi Irina Slutskaya Yelena Sokolova Triple Salchow/Triple Toe-Loop Julia Soldatova Triple Toe/Half Loop/Triple Salchow Surya Bonaly Tara Lipinski Triple Toe/Triple Toe Amongst others.... Michelle Kwan, Irina Slutskaya, Amber Corwin, Nancy Kerrigan, Latetia Hubert, Surya Bonaly, Debi Thomas, Surya Bonaly and aproximately 5 others who's names I don't recognize. As you can see, only 3 women have ever landed a 3lutz/3toe...all before 1996. (That's about 4 years ago. The last succesful 3axel was landed in 1992.These jumps are *EXTREMELY* difficult. Or did you think that just cause it's MK she's gonna land them. Oh. And the 3lutz/3toe was only ever consistently landed by Ms. Yamaguchi. Hmmm.... I wonder why? Cause they are very hard to do. That's why. Remember that Michelle has pulled of scores in the 5.9 area without a triple/triple. Technical merit is more than just doing 7 triples and two triple/triples. The skater who does 7 flawless triples without a triple/triple will get better scores than a skater who does 7 triples and 2 triple/triples that aren't that great. P.S. Remember that Michelle beat Tara in the long program at Worlds in 97 with only 6 triples and a triple toe/triple toe where Tara had 7 triples and a triple loop/triple loop and a double axel/half loop/triple salchow. And the presentation marks were about the same. What does that say.... Sorry I'm so long winded but Michelle needs to do what she does best. What she knows she can do. And that is, as D. Button puts it "Why Michelle Kwan is Michelle Kwan"

January 16th, 2000, 05:55 AM
Didn't help Brian Orser or Rosalyn Sumners......But try anything I say....Obviously, the wish I made on one of my birthday cakes didn't work.....

January 16th, 2000, 06:36 AM
If you're looking for proof Nicole landed that triple lutz/triple toe at 1995 Worlds in her LP. I really thought that she was going to win when I saw that combo but then she fell on two easy triples. :(

January 16th, 2000, 06:58 AM
When Michelle is feeling good and skating her best no one can beat her. No one has that presence on the ice like Michelle. But I agree with Rene, she needs to get moving and do more to keep up with everyone else.

January 16th, 2000, 12:13 PM
I think that the only thing Michelle really needs to start doing again is her 3toe/3toe. Michelle has such CLEAN solo triples that she doesnt really need 3/3s. Also, do you noticed how blown up it is when Dick and Peggy talk about Michelle planning a 3toe/3toe??? I think its because she really doesnt need it. Even though Michelle is very well capable of doing more difficult 3/3s, her presentation and creativity within her programs, just helps the marks go up. As a result, everyone expects her to get straight 6.0's across the board. And usually, she does...And usually, she deserves it;) However, do you notice how other skaters do the 3toe/3toe(or any other 3/3), Dick and Peggy dont really say anything because whoever the skater is, NEEDS a 3/3. They need it because all of the rest of their elements are sloppy, or not done well. As a result of that, they STILL get low marks because of there other elements... I hope I made some sense, lol. Its just what I think...

January 16th, 2000, 03:02 PM
I must agree with Kwanboy23 (?). 3/3 triples are very difficult to do. How can any land a 3axel/3toe when none today have landed the 3axel as a solo jump consistently. Plus, I’d hate to see figure skating turning into battles of the jumps, like for the men. A skater still has to land the other jumps clean. Michelle should keep her 3toe/3toe and maybe add another 3/3 if she can land them consistently. She shouldn't take the risk by putting in the 3flip. You only need to be in the top 3. I think MK need to chose between school and skating. You can't have it all as evident by the grand prix events and the finals. One needs time to relax and rest. Skating is a full time job in itself (someone said that). Maybe she will take school off when the Olympic time comes. I think she will regret it if she doesn't take school off so she can give her best effort to skating (no matter what her placements will be). Some think they can do it all but there are only so many hours in a day. MK even said it herself during last year US Nat.(?) that she was thinking about school during her performances. Also, when the camera shows her getting ready to take the ice, MK has such a tense and worried look on her face. Too much worries and not enough time? Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of MK. I was disappointed to see MK taking second, but Irina deserved it. MK scores for technical and presentation were low though. And yes, what’s up with that French judge? Irina loop jumps after both of the 3/3 combo came to a stand still. I thought jumps were supposed to flow out. Yet, the French judge gave her 6.0! A bit excessive. Yes, MK should have done her 3toe/toe and not double on her 3loop. I hope she will be more agressive at Worlds. Also, the chance of repeating 2 3/3 again for Irina, I don't think is very high. Another Tara by the 2002? Maybe, but Tara wasn't just another skater and a Tara is not easy to find (remember that Tara was able to land her 3loop/3loop very consistenly). We haven’t seen too many women skaters that can land the 3/3 (difficult ones) at every competition yet. So yes, MK has some work, but I wouldn’t worry too much of another Tara (hee hee).

January 16th, 2000, 08:59 PM
Finally! Someone makes a response of something I've said. Yes they are difficult. (3's/3's). Also I need to make a correction. Amber Corwin recently landed a Triple Loop/Triple Toe-Loop Combination at one of the Grand Prix Events. Sorry but I forgot which one. On the Tara note I would like to say that she really wasn't all that consistent with the Triple Loop/Triple Loop. She landed it cleanly from what I know at the 97 Nationals, 97 worlds (In which she under-roated the second triple loop), 98 Nationals (The second triple was landed with a turnout/jerk) and the 98 Olympics(The only time I EVER saw her land it beautifully). At 97 Skate America she fell on the second Triple Loop and at Trophie Lalique turned the second triple into a single and put her hand down on in for that matter. That is not consistency. That's luck. To make matters worse she lost to Latetia Hubert at Lalique, who didn't even attempt a 3/3 combination. To help signify just how difficult a 3axel is, let me point this out. Surya Bonaly, I have seen on many occasions hit a 2axel with almost no momentum going into the jump. I've also seen her land one with no movement prior to take-off. Her 2axel (During her eligeble skating years) was the best of any of the ladies. However, she attempted quad toe-loops and salchows but never attempted a 3axel. The reason behind this is simple. From a technical standpoint a 3toe is EASIER to do than a 2axel. In fact, a 3toe is only TRULY 2 and 1/2 rotations in the air. The first 1/2 rotation is performed on the ground. (For all you tape buffs out there, look at the jump in slow-motion) The 3axel requires a great deal of strength. Most women simply don't have the leg stregth to do it. Those who do have the strength to do it need to use much more technique in the jump than their male counterparts. Men just have stronger legs genetically. And, so you don't all think I've fallen from the bandwagon, I don't say all this in haste as just a fan. I also skate about 3 to 4 times a week. While the most difficult move I've ever hit is a single axel, it is a pain in the butt to do these jumps. In fact, they say that there are around 20-25 different factors to executing a jump. I won't go into detail, but it is a very precise science. Michelle probably could hit a 3 lutz/3 toe or 3 flip/3 toe because of her leg stregth. The 3 flip/3 toe seems more likely since she has better flow coming out of the 3 flip(Which is really needed for the ladies to hit a second triple). But some of these other jump combinations are just TOO hard for her. She just doesn't have the height of, say Irina Slutskaya or Anna Rechnio. And she needs that to pull off the more difficult 3/3 combinations. Or a small body for fast rotation and no height like Tara :P Sorry. I don't mean to bag but have you ever seen her height on her jumps. My roomate has stated 'What Height?"' and I tend to agree. :)

January 16th, 2000, 09:11 PM
...that Michelle doesn't need 3/3s. She needs it. She didn't lose to Tara at the Olympics because of inferior presentation. She lost it because of lack of 3-3 combo. She lost it to Irina yesterday for the same reason. ISU judges have been tying the presentation marks with the technical marks for some time because number of triples is one fact easiest to defend if they're called upon to explain their marks to the referee. I don't like the trend, but Michelle will be fooling herself if she believes otherwise. I've been hoping for a more difficult 3-3 combo, e.g. 3Z-3T, from her for a year now. She needs to do it in competition now while she still has some time before the Olympics and she still can win even she fails on attempts since her competitors are as consisten in triples or as good in presentation as she is. Now she's under the gun to put them in since Irina has done it first. Look Todd Eldredge. No matter how good his other skating elements are, he simply can't win anymore without a quad. I think Frank and Michelle has been playing it too save. She has been practicing other combos. She hasn't put them in because she probably hasn't reached the consistent level Frank thinks acceptable, which I guess is in the 80% to 90% range. I think they need to put them in even though she can only land them 60% to 70% at the time. Because now the stakes are still not that high and she needs to get used to doing them in competitions. She'll never feel confident about them if she doesn't try them in competitions. Mark my words: She NEED them for 2002 Olympics.

January 16th, 2000, 10:12 PM
I am definitely leader of the Kwan Camp, but lately, Michelle's skating has taken a toll for the worst. It's kinda like the old saying, "one step forward, two steps back." Michelle's positions have improved so much since last year like her new and proved layback spin position. Now the leg is so much prettier than before, but now her back is not as stretched and her spin is a lot slower. Overall, her speed is lacking greatly, especially in the spins. Another thing, her spirals aren't as highlighted as they used to be in previous programs like Lyra Angelica, Rachmanninov, and Carmen, but the position is still great, the edges are clean, the line is superb, and the spiral is steady. What I would like to see is Michelle improving her skating, but not at the cost of other elements in her skating. Michelle is definitely going to add the 3/3 into her program, that's a sure thing if you listened to her interview at the GPF, but the point is if she will risk something and try some new combinations and moves. I think if she played a little on originality, something might work.

January 17th, 2000, 06:51 PM
TripleLutz, I agree with your assessment that Michelle's overall skating has lost something this year due to improvements to individual elements. Her spins are defintely not as fast as last year. But at the same time I can't help but think to myself that if she was going to improve the leg position, why not improve other aspects of the spin as well? Why keep the same arm postions? Why not make wholesale changes in the element and totally revise the spin? That's what I think Michelle needs to do. Just come up with some new positions and attitudes. I love the ADITL program, but she's got a flirty little shrugging move in it that she used in last year's Carmen. Is it Lori Nichol or Michelle herself who keeps re-using these moves? I can't help but wonder about that. It's starting to make her choreography less distictive than it should be. I realize that there are certain signature moves that do get repeated, but when it comes down to little choreographic moves like that shrug...well, that's just lazy choreography. It just seems that Michelle's skating isn't as challenging for her as it used to be. That happens to everyone eventually. I just assumed that Michelle and Frank were too smart to fall into that trap. Kwanboy & Pbluu -- As for the 3/3 combos? I know they're difficult, but they're also a neccesity. I think it's detrimental to women's skating that more women aren't athletic enough to try them. Maybe it's not atheletism that's the issue, but guts. Look at men's skating. Personally I think the emphasis on quads is a bit excessive. Now Tim Goeble is talking about working on his quintuple jump! All that testosterone makes for poorly constructed and choreographed routines. At the same time, the women aren't trying enough technical difficulty and they're choreography and style is no better than most of the men! Skating has to make up it's mind if it's sport or entertainment. If it's sport, then make it a requirement for women to do at least one triple/triple in their long program. If it's entertainment, then stop giving out better technical scores to the big jumpers (men and women)! They want skaters to have both presentation and great jumps and the two seem to be impossible for most skaters to meld together. Michelle is one of the few female skaters out there who has the technical ability, the athletism to do these difficult 3/3 combos. She's also one of the purist artistic skaters to come along in a long, long time. I just think she's the perfect skater to meld the two together and take the sport to another level.

January 17th, 2000, 07:18 PM
I am a huge Michelle fan, but I am very disappointed lately. Michelle lost to Tara Lipinski at Nagano because Tara skated clean, and had the triple/triple combination, and Michelle did NOT have any triple/triple combo. Didn't Michelle learn from that? If so, what is she waiting for? Enter Irina...she can do not only one, but TWO triple/triple combinations, plus she is better in presentation than Tara ever was. Who do you think the judges will reward? Michelle who has beautiful presentation that can't be beat? Or Irina that has good presentation, and two triple/triple combinations to add to it? Again, what is Michelle waiting for? On the flip side...will we ever see Irina land those combinations cleanly again? Only time will tell. If it weren't for the STUPID format of the GP Finals, then she probably wouldn't have attempted them anyhow. She knew she had nothing to lose and would place 2nd if she fell, and 1st if she didn't. Was it just luck that she landed them? Or does she have these consistently? Only time will tell. (I thought the landings were shakey on both, and that the 6.0 was a bit too high, however she DID deserve to win) My hope is for Michelle to get those triple/triple combinations consistently. Maybe she won't be the first to land them, but she needs to start trying!! I hope you don't think I am bashing Michelle, because I am NOT.

January 18th, 2000, 05:53 AM
My view of this is somewhere in between the extremity of views that have been presented. While I believe MK does need to start performing triple-triples again and probably of a higher difficulty than the triple toe-triple toe, I don't believe she necessarily needs to try to match Irina Slutskaya jump for jump or to bring out the triple axle alone or in combination, at least not at this year's World's. As has been observed, Irina just barely held onto the landings of those jumps. While I think that we can count on Irina attempting to repeat those triple-triple combos at worlds, the odds are that she will fall on at least one. Strategically what Michelle will need therefore is a triple-triple combo that will show the judges that she is indeed pushing upward technically but that she can land with consistency and with good flow out (perhaps a triple salchow-triple toe combo might be the answer). A clean performance from Michelle with such a combo matched against a performance from Irina with one fall and some ragged edges, would probably give Michelle a tie if not a win on the technical mark. I hope that Michelle will get a draw that will allow her to skate after Irina, so she can see what she must do for the win. Re: the 6.0 from the French judge was perhaps a bit high, considering that Irina was not perfect, but on the other hand, Michelle has received some 6.0s in the past when she has not really been perfect, such as the 6.0 artistic mark this season awarded for a performance that was marred by a fall. It was also not inconsistent with how the judges as a whole were marking in other disciplines. It was obvious in this competition that the judges were looking for skaters to push the envelope technically. Tim Goebel benefited from that in his program. Obviously, among the men the judges are now expecting quad-triples and they were inclined to start programs containing a clean quad-triple from a 6.0 and to forgive all but mandatory deductions as an added bonus. Otherwise, Tim would not have been able to fall twice and still post technical marks in the 5.6-5.7 range. One final observation about the ineqitability of this competition. It's bad enough that a skater can win 2 out of 3 programs, then lose the gold or bronze to the skater entering the final program below them and Michelle was not the only skater to become a victim of that, but I noticed that Michelle's situation was the most unfair of all. One would think that they could at least reward the skater higher in the standings with the more advantageous draw in the final match-up, but I noticed that Michelle was the only skater who was compelled to skate before the skater ranked below her.

January 18th, 2000, 06:06 AM
Well, onya, yes I do think that you're bashing Michelle a little. To say "Didn't she learn from that? What is she waiting for?" presumes that, of course, Michelle can do any of these 3/3's, or a 3 axel, successfully anytime she puts her mind to it, and she's just being lazy or stupid not to go right out and do it. First she was injured, in such a way that it cut out the only 3/3 she was really secure with, and the only one she could possibly have tried in the Olympics. She's also been in college--she knew that it would cut into her skating time, but that was her choice, and I've not heard any regrets from her about it. Tara was gone after 98, no other extremely strong jumpers were on the scene, and we could not expect MK to know by ESP that Irina would re-emerge, not only with her usual great jumps, but with her presentation suddenly put together. But there's one point that's really not being faced here, I think--that Michelle can do any of these 3/3's successfully anytime she wants to. I think it very unfair to assume that she can automatically and quickly pull off such difficult jumps, and that she's just holding back or playing safe. For all we know, she can't do any other 3/3 with even 10% accuracy. For all we know, she may never be able to, no matter how hard she tries. Just because she practices them doesn't mean that she can do them in competition. For the most part, the ladies that have done the more difficult 3/3s are the extremely strong jumpers--Midori, Surya, etc. Kristi and Tara both have extraordinarily fast rotation speed, and therefore don't need and don't get a lot of height on their jumps, but can still get multiple revolutions done. Irina and Nicole Bobek both have natural jumping talent, with big, high jumps in all their triples. Michelle's jumping talent has been more remarkable for excellent mechanics and technique, and perfect mastery and control of her movements both into and out of her jumps, and has not been so much based on extremely high jumps or fast rotation. Michelle and Frank know, and we do not, what Michelle can realistically do, considering both the level of her natural ability and the time and energy she has available and would need to incorporate new elements. Their strategic decisions can be trusted, while ours are not based on knowledge of all the facts, and cannot. Our frantic wishes for Michelle to be the best in the world at everything are possibly not realistic, and our repeating "I've been wishing she would up her technical difficulty, she needs it to win gold, and I want her always to win gold, at every competition from now until the end of her career, no matter what other talent emerges" is not going to change anything. Wishing for something does not make it so. So go ahead and wish, but don't blame Michelle if your wishes don't come true.

January 18th, 2000, 09:02 AM
SJB, I don't think any of us are assuming that Michelle can just pull off a 3/3 at the drop of a hat. I don't think anyone has suggested that she just drop that little ole triple lutz/triple loop into her program the next time she skates. What I've been saying, and others as well, is that she needs to have at least one 3/3 in her routine these days. And if that happens to be the triple toe/triple toe, then fine...but use it consistently so that when she does have a big event she can have confidence in knowing she can do that combo whenever she wants. I still say she needs to be perfecting harder 3/3 combos, but she's got the triple toe/triple toe now and has had since 96. Yes, she was injured in Nagano and although I think people tend to forget that, I don't think it accounts for why Michelle has been so reluctant to use that 3/3 since her foot healed. It's not really a question of whether or not she NEEDED it at the lesser events, but it is a question of whether doing it at lesser events prepares her more for the big events. And if it's true that skaters rely a lot on muscle memory, then surely she's better off doing that combo when nothing much is at stake. I don't think that Onya was bashing Michelle either. I just thought s/he didn't understand why Michelle isn't consistent in using her 3/3 combos. The other thing I think s/he was trying to point out is that whenever Michelle skates first....and it's happened a lot lately!....and she doesn't do her 3/3 combo, then another skater later on comes out and says, "What the heck, why not go for it? I'm not going to beat her unless I outjump her." And that's an excellent strategy as long as Michelle doesn't do the 3/3 and the judges have to leave room in their marks for other skaters. I noticed that Slutskaya's presentation marks were as much as .2 more than in the other two rounds. Was it because she'd gotten so much better in her presentation between the second and third rounds? Nope. I think the judges are rewarding the skater who throws caution to the wind and goes for it all. Slutskaya's 3/3s weren't perfect, but they were better than not trying any at all. I didn't think it necessarily helped the overall presentation of her program, but clearly the judges did. And that's something I think both Frank and Michelle are aware of. Slutskaya is NOT a "5.9/6.0" artistic skater. She's a "5.7/5.8" (even WITH her improvement!) skater who got rewarded for not looking scared of losing to Michelle and taking the initiative to WIN the championship rather than lose it. Just MHO, though.

January 18th, 2000, 09:11 AM
First off, let me admit, I was wrong and others were right when I said that Michelle could afford to wait until next season before upgrading technically. I, too, was very surprised that Irina landed a 3z-3l combo, given what a hard time she's been having with just straight 3lutzes. But again, perhaps the reason she was having trouble was because of changing her jump mechanics for the combo. But folks, I don't think she needs a 3 axel and a 3z-3t combo necessarily to beat Irina. For one thing, while Irina's 3z-3l combo was a magnificent achievement, the impressiveness of pulling it off for the first time may have jacked her scores up a little higher than they should have or otherwise would have been. I'm not saying she didn't deserve the win, but given that neither of the 3-3 combos were perfect, and that every time she lands that 3z-3l combo from now on, it won't have the kind of emotional and visceral impact that the first one had, she's unlikely to pull quite the scores that she did. Also, she had absolutely nothing to lose in the head to head competition: even if she fell three times, she still would have come in second. She won't have that luxury at worlds, she could fall right off the podium, and the extra nerves and anxiety from that fact could make the difference. Also, the 3 loop as your second combo adds an incredible amount of potential risk to a jump -- unlike the 3 toe, where you may recover from a slightly off jump, if you aren't placed just so and you're timing is perfect on landing the first jump, the second jump may be executed badly, doubled, or worse yet, not happen at all. I agree that Kwan should at least plan for two 3-3 combos in her program, just not necessarily a 3z-3t. The difference between Michelle's marks and Irina's was not merely because of the absence of a 3-3 combo, but also because she doubled her 3loop, two footed her salchow, and was leaning on her last 3toe. She knew immediately after she finished that she hadn't skated as well as she should have, and therefore the muted response. A couple of judges had several tenths difference between the two skaters, but a number of them had only a .1 difference on both marks. If Michelle had executed those elements cleanly and properly, it would have been much closer. If she had a single 3-3 combo, it would have been much more competitive, and a second, regardless of which type, would probably have put her ahead with enough of the judges. My recommendation would be to do a 3loop 2 toe where her 3-3 toe currently is, and do a 3flip 3toe and a 3 salchow half loop 3 toe. If she can do the 3 lutz, 3 toe combo consistently enough in practice, fine, but otherwise, I think two of any kind of 3-3 combos would do fine.

January 18th, 2000, 10:29 AM
But Chica, Michelle *has* put her 3 toe/3 toe into every program that she could since she got over her injury (i.e., after the 98 season was over). She missed it at World Pros 99 (I think--it may in fact have been left out because it was her first performance of the program), but had it in at Nationals, and missed it/left it out at Worlds because she was sick. That's the only three performances last year that she was even able to try a 3/3 in. This year she's tried it in every LP she's skated where it was possible--she hit it at SA, missed it at SC (she didn't leave it out, she just missed it), and left it out at GPF because she was trying not to burn out (TRV), or was already exhausted (Ariane). What competition can you point to that she hasn't tried the 3/3, if it was physically possible? So I don't think that it's at all valid to say that Michelle's been reluctant to use the 3/3 she's got, or not consistent in using it. "The other thing I think s/he was trying to point out is that whenever Michelle skates first....and it's happened a lot lately!....and she doesn't do her 3/3 combo, then another skater later on comes out and says, "What the heck, why not go for it? I'm not going to beat her unless I outjump her." What competition has this *ever* happened in, except the last LP at the GPF? Let's see, she skated first at the 98 Worlds, didn't try the 3/3 because of her injury, and she still won. Same at GWG 98. She skated near the beginning of World Pros 99, didn't hit the 3/3 and still won---no one else tried one. She didn't hit it at SC, and that certainly did not inspire anyone else to even attempt one, even though Soldatova (supposedly) has one. She didn't try it during the first LP at the GPF, and no one else tried one (even though Irina skated right after her, and certainly could have tried one) and MK still won. So, I don't think that you or onya can reasonably say that the scenario you outline has even happened more than once, and that within the last few days. And, nearly all the commentary I've seen on this topic has been to the point that Michelle "needs" to do more difficult 3/3's and more than one of them: "I've been hoping for a more difficult 3-3 combo, e.g. 3Z-3T, from her for a year now.She needs to do it in competition now while she still has some time before the Olympics.." "I think Frank and Michelle has been playing it too save. She has been practicing other combos. She hasn't put them in because she probably hasn't reached the consistent level Frank thinks acceptable, which I guess is in the 80% to 90% range. I think they need to put them in even though she can only land them 60% to 70% at the time." (My aside--what makes any of us think that Michelle's reached even 10 or 20% consistency?) "What do you all think Michelle needs? More difficult 3/3's. Ideally, I would like to see Michelle do 2 or all three of these combos 3axel/3toe, 3lutz/3toe, and 3flip/3loop. I would like to seee 3flip/3loop. And I know deep down inside Michelle is capable of consistently landing the 3lutz-3toe. If she masters the 3 axel then...3lutz-3toe, 3flip-3loop, and 3axel[2-toe]" "I really think that Michelle needs to do more difficult triples... I don't think I can sustain any more losses from her! I think the triple axel is a good jump to show off at worlds and also her triple/triple combos!" "These days she really has to distinguish herself again... and put in those difficult combos with the consistency that's she's known for. I've always believed she can do it." "I've said all along that she's going to need harder triple combinations than the triple toe/triple toe...I think we've been through that 80-or-90%-success-rate-in-practice-before-using-the-jumps-in-competition argument before. It's just time for Michelle to stop being a "mushy cookie" and "playing it safe" in competition and believe that she can do those jumps at crunch time." "I agree that Kwan should at least plan for two 3-3 combos in her program... My recommendation would be to..do a 3flip 3toe and a 3 salchow half loop 3 toe." And, of course, there's a whole other thread on right now about which four or five new 3/3's Michelle should be trying, along with the 3 axel (both singly AND in combination). So, no, I don't think that the main comment here is that Michelle should be more consistent in using the 3 toe/3 toe, but that many here are expecting Michelle to pull off new and more difficult 3/3's and a 3 axel at the drop of a hat. As I say, she may not be up to that physically, she may not have the time and energy to pull it off immediately, and there may be other reasons of which we know nothing that prevent Michelle from fulfilling everyone's wishes that she be the best in the world at everything. Now, Michelle may in fact be able to do all these difficult jumps, combos and improvements that everyone would like to see, so that she can win every competition she enters for the rest of her life. She's quite extraordinary, and this may be yet another extraordinary thing that she accomplishes. But there should be no EXPECTATION that, because she's so extraordinary at so many things, that she *should* also be one of the few ladies who can consistently do such difficult technical elements, and that she OWES it to us to a) be the best in the world at every aspect of skating, always, and b) win gold at every competition she ever enters. And those are the sort of expectations I'm seeing in many peoples comments. JMO, or course!

January 18th, 2000, 06:51 PM
A couple of things -- SW -- I agree about the surprise factor being gone for Irina now. As a matter of fact she may have complicated things because the judges are looking for MORE from her now than before. And that's similar to the situation Michelle finds herself in whenever she doesn't skate her best. They know she's capable of more and to my mind her marks often reflect the fact that she can do better on those days when things just are clicking. No, it's not Michelle's fault, it's the judging that's skewed. Now the judges are going to be expecting Irina to repeat those elements in other competitions, and you're right, the pressure and stress of those situations will be the thing that makes or breaks Slutskaya's comeback. SJB -- We'll just have to agree to differ on Michelle's use of the 3/3 combo. What you see as an inability to perform the move do to certain circumstances I see as an unwillingness to use the 3/3 at the outset and not have planned to use it when she stepped on the ice. I also disagree about the number of opportunities Michelle has had to use the 3/3. Did those pro-am events did not prevent the women from trying 3/3 combos? Help me out with this one -- I thought the rules stated they could only do 3 or 4 triples, but it never said they couldn't be in combination, and if fact Michelle did her 3L/2T in quite a few competitions. In 1998/99 Michelle skated in tons of pro-ams and didn't use the 3/3 combo and World Pros was her last chance to test the program before Nationals. If you look at that program I think you can tell that a 3/3 was never planned just from the speed she's skating at. I may concede that sometimes Michelle doesn't use the 3/3 if her speed going into it isnt' great, but IMHO there are just as many times where she's deliberately chosen to omit it. And in fact when she did hit her 3/3 at Nationals, she later fell on another jump. I think it was just a coincidence, but you never know. Let's just agree to split that hair and move on to the next head.

January 19th, 2000, 05:26 AM
OK Chica (love that move-on-to-the-next-head line, I've never heard it before!) I don't know at all the rules of pro-ams, as to what combos are allowed or encouraged. Well, here's my next head:): I think it quite likely that Michelle may indeed be capable of pulling off 3/3's consistently, even more difficult ones, so I hope that we'll be able to see such jumps in the future! Anyway, if that should happen, my guess is the 3 lutz/3 toe where she does the 3/2 in her programs now, and the 3 flip/ 3toe in the place of her current 3/3. Then if she misses one, she can still do the 3 toe at the end, like she does now.

January 19th, 2000, 06:17 AM
But, I still think that, unless she's REALLY ready, MK should stick to TRV with the current one 3/3, for Nationals certainly and probably Worlds too. I think that if she pulls this off well, she'll be competitive (not a guaranteed win, but definitely competitive) even with Irina.

January 19th, 2000, 07:24 AM
Chica, you've made a good elaboration on my point about the newness of Irina's combos. When I wrote about that, I was thinking about Stojko, who did the first ever 4-3 combo, and while initially it was very impressive and garnered him great marks, every successive time he did that combo it became more commonplace, more ordinary, less spectacular, and didn't get the kind of credit it should have as time went on. But you're right, because of the extreme difficulty and risk of the 3z-3l combo, Irina could end up like Tonya Harding, where the 3 axel was a very hit and miss affair, but the judges came to *expect* her to at least try it and the press hounded her relentlessly about when she was next going to do it and why she was no longer doing it and when she was going to start doing it again. It could end up being a big albatross around her neck. The other point to realize is with all the practicing of these 3-3 combos, and thinking of doing another 3-3 combo, Irina is greatly increasing her risk of injury. I'm not saying Michelle wouldn't be as well by trying these combos, however, Michelle's jumping technique is far better, more consistent, whereas, although Irina has much better spring and height, her technique is not nearly as good. Sloppier technique can well make the difference between just blowing a jump and blowing it in a way that one seriously injures oneself. I hope this won't happen, but Irina is putting herself at greatly increased risk in this krap shoot. (Misspelled intentionally to get past the censorship program).

January 19th, 2000, 06:42 PM
SJB said: >>>Well, here's my next head:): I think it quite likely that Michelle may indeed be capable of pulling off 3/3's consistently, even more difficult ones, so I hope that we'll be able to see such jumps in the future!<<< I know you're going to be upset, but I quite agree on this head! LOL. You know, it's not that I think Michelle is being a weenie when it comes to her 3/3 combo...but, but, dangit....she is being a bit of a weenie. Could it be that we all have more confidence in her jumping ability and jump technique that she does herself? Naaaaahhhhhhh. We're just gluttons, that's all. We want her to be the best ever and sometimes I don't think we stop to think about how much she's given up to get where she is right now. Lots of skaters would love to have her triple toe/triple toe combo and here we are begging for a triple axel/triple lutz combo! (Which, btw, I think is not technically possible, but that's just how we are!) SW, I quite agree about Stojko, too. I think that's one reason why the judges are so hard on his presentation and style marks. They look at Stojko and see the jumper and when he doesn't outjump everyone, then they take it out on his presentation marks. Now, personally, I hate Elvis's "style", but you have to admit that it's uniquely his. To my mind that's worth throwing the guy a bone and giving him an extra .10. Who's gonna come along and steal Elvis's style? It's not like Michelle where all the younger skaters are copying her elements. You're just not going to see a whole herd of male skaters doing quad-toe-loops and then shaking their leg like a dog peeing on a tree. Not gonna happen. Still, I gotta give him brownie points for sticking to his guns.

January 20th, 2000, 09:10 AM
ChicaRealidad, I should just leave this alone, but I just had to come back to this thread after you described Elvis' landing style as "shaking his leg like a dog peeing on a tree". I personally don't think it's that bad but I love the rhetoric. If that's what you think of Elvis' landings, I'm dying to hear your description of MB's landing style. I'm not trying to get a flame war started, but it's tempting to start a separate thread on MB's landings--a sort of rhetoric contest. It could get very amusing.

January 20th, 2000, 01:19 PM
LOL armchairskater! IA.....It could get VERY amusing!

January 20th, 2000, 07:02 PM
Hey Armchair, LOL! I wasn't talking about Elvis's jump landings. I was referring to that odd habit he has of shaking his leg every couple of steps during his footwork. Don't tell me I'm the only one who's noticed it? He'll be skating along moving his arms to the music and then suddenly for no reason he'll stick one foot out to the side and kind of shake it like he's doing the Hokey Pokey. I'm serious now. Hasn't anyone else noticed this? He's been doing it for years.

January 20th, 2000, 07:08 PM
I said in another post.... >>>You're just not going to see a whole herd of male skaters doing quad-toe-loops and then shaking their leg like a dog peeing on a tree.<<< Armchair was laughing at my description and after I posted my response I re-read this and realized that it does sound like I'm talking about Elvis's jump landings! Ah, heck, Elvis fans. I wasn't talking about his landings, but you're probably not going to cut me much slack since I actually meant the comment about his "in-betweens" choreography! I should probably just shut up now because I know the hole is getting deeper and I see a backhoe looming over my left shoulder.........

January 20th, 2000, 07:21 PM
Chica, &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I quite agree that Michelle could focus more on putting a 3/3 into every possible program, and if she & Frank think that that's a wise decision (and there may be reasons of which we are unaware that they might decide it's not), then go for it! Also, as I say, she may be capable of more difficult 3/3's, and, if she and Frank think it's a good strategy (see above), do them! I just don't think that we, as fans, should develop the expectation that Michelle will be able to be the best in the world at all aspects of skating, and that there might not be other skaters whose talents sometimes win over MK's. It's good for us to anticipate improvements and new technical elements, but not expect or demand them, and not be down on Michelle if she can't produce them, and can't keep up her winning record where we'd all like it to be. So, no, your post didn't upset me at all! And I don't think it's you who are expecting or demanding anything, it just seemed to be the tone of some of the comments I was seeing. Like you, I'm behind our girl no matter what.

January 29th, 2000, 11:47 AM
Just like everyone else, after watcing the GPF I thought immediately that Michelle needed a triple triple combination. But after considering here past performances without the triple combo, I think she really only needs to up the techinal difficultly of her program by substitiuing some of her easier triples for more difficult ones, similar to the way she did in the 98 Nationals when she was forced to by the stress fracture. I think the other improvements such as footwork, spins, and speed will come with time. As will the triple/triple combinations. If you look at Maria B. sloppy performance at the 99 Worlds, and Irina lack of flow coming out of the GPF triple combos, its easy to see that Michelle and Frank seemed to be more concerned with perfoming single triples cleanly opposed to trying incredible combos and performing them badly. No skater is perfect, and every skater in the world needs to work on their speed, footwork, presentation, positioning, etc; if Michelle just performs some of the more difficult jumps, like the triple salchow, and triple flip cleanly, than she can take her time practicing and perfecting her triple triple combinations for when she really would need them like in Worlds. I have faith in that Michelle and Frank will do work on what is necessary to Michelle's success at this time, and not try to hurriedly attempt Triple axels and other triple combo's that would really not make sense for Michelle to work on at this time. Let's remember people, its only 2000, our girl's still got two more years to complete dazzle us with the goods....lets give her some time, and credit for beening the superburb athelte she is, handling all that she is handling.

January 29th, 2000, 12:41 PM
MKALLTHEWAY -- It's my understanding that the salchow is an easier jump, not a more difficult jump one than the 3t. I've heard D. Button say that so often through the years that I've got his "jump difficulty levels" speech memorized. Heck, in my mind I can even see the skater demoing the jumps as D. describes the edges into and out of them. Easiest to hardest, it's salchow, toe loop/toe walley, loop, flip, lutz, axel. If you're talking about the women, they usually put the 2axel behind the 3lutz; and for the men it's 3lutz, then 3axel.

January 29th, 2000, 02:03 PM
Actually in order of difficulty (For the ladies that is and on a purely technical level) for the jumps most women perform is as follows from easiest to hardest... Triple Toe-Loop Double Axel Triple Salchow Triple Loop Triple Flip Triple Lutz I've mentioned in a previous post that a triple toe is really only 2 1/2 revolutions in the air. The first 1/2 is performed on the ground. And if you remember worlds 99 Peggy Flemming said the Triple Sal is HARDER than the Triple Toe...

February 2nd, 2000, 09:18 AM
I have to agree with Kwanboy23. 3/3 jumps are not easy to perform. A skater needs to be able to land them consistently in order to put it in. It would be foolish to attempt them if you can't land them consistently enough in practice. If you can't land them during practice what is the chance of landing them during competition. People are getting all riled up because Irina won. Part of the reason that Irina won is because of the format. Even if she fell on all of her jumps she would still get the silver medal and like she said, nothing to lose. Irina was very surprised to land those combinations. she might be able to land the 3sal/3loop again but I'm not sure about the 3lutz/loop. The axel? Please, MK doesn't get enough speed and height from her 2 axel so i don't think she will be able to land the 3 axel anytime soon. MK should keeping on doing the 3toe/3toe, 3Lutz/2toe and maybe one more 3/2 combination? I remember reading somewhere that her nemesis jump is the 3 Flip. Her other weak jump is also the 3Loop. Howcome no women have landed a 3flip 3 whatever? I thought the lutz is the hardest?

February 2nd, 2000, 11:07 AM
The toe loop and walley are not equal. It is generally recognized that the toe loop is harder than the toe walley. The take-off of a toe walley is from an inside edge, whereas the toe loop is from an outside edge. I've heard it both ways that the salchow is harder and easier than the toe loop. Either way they're both at the bottom.

February 2nd, 2000, 11:10 AM
I forgot to add that therefore if Michelle is going to stick with a 3toe/3toe, then she should go with a toe loop instead of a toe walley. I'm not sure which she did at Skate America. At 99 Worlds when she attempted the 3/3 it was a toe walley.

February 2nd, 2000, 01:15 PM
Yes, at nationals last year she did a 3/3 toe walley. At SA she did the actual toe. :)

February 2nd, 2000, 01:28 PM
how come the toe walley is easier? the natural rotation of a toe loop is to take off from an outside edge? So if a skater is taking off from an inside edge it would be opposite the rotational of the jump? Which would make it harder? Anyone?

February 3rd, 2000, 06:38 AM
I don't know why it's harder from the outside edge. I'm just going by what Buttons said, and that's what he said. I figure at least as far as jumps are concerned he knows what he's talking about.

February 3rd, 2000, 11:56 AM
In a pre-1996 interview on Cherie's Best of Michelle tape, Michelle claimed that she could do the triple axle in practice. However, she was much smaller and lighter then and got more air on her jumps. I would therefore doubt that she is able to do the triple axle at present.

February 4th, 2000, 12:53 PM
Armchairskater, I believe that one of our posters, jkovner, actually saw (in person!) Michelle land the 3axel more than once in practice earlier this season.

February 6th, 2000, 02:49 AM
talking about technical contents, i noticed that Michelle slightly flutzed in Skate Canada exhibition, does that worry anyone here?