Sunday, February 10

Doldrums or Unpredictable? Why Four Continents Isn't the End of the World for Americans

If you want the reference to 'doldrums', read Phil Hersh's article, re-iterating for the 200th time how he feels about the state of US figure skating.

The Four Continents Championship has come and gone. In the end, American skaters earned three medals: a bronze by Castelli/Shnapir in the pairs event, a gold by Davis/White and a bronze by Chock/Bates in ice dancing. Three of the four members of the ladies and mens World teams were here, finishing 4th, 6th, and 9th respectively.

The old saying goes 'the ice is slippery', does it not? If Kevin Reynolds winning the mens title in a field that included two of the three World Championship medalists from 2012 isn't enough of an indicator of that, please tell me what is. The beauty of the state of skating in the last three or four years is that there are many skaters capable of reaching the top levels.

I am disgusted by Phil Hersh. Do you think that the Japanese media is reporting that Daisuke Takahashi should just give it up after finishing 7th in this field (behind two of the three Americans) or that the state of Japanese mens skating is just awful because Yuzuru Hanyu had an off day and was only able to finish 2nd behind a skater that has never made the top ten at Worlds?

No, I don't think so.

The hilarious thing about the Hersh articles is that he always seems to mention 'in case you need a reminder' or 'just like I said...' as if he knows American skaters are always going to be oh-so horrible. I am pretty sure all of the focus on a certain National silver medalist, even following her troubles in the short program at this very event, point 180 degrees in the opposite direction.

Christina Gao has been one of the most consistent US ladies skaters-- if not the most-- this season. She finished fourth behind the strong Japanese contingency here and she gets one line in the aforementioned article:
The two U.S. women, Christina Gao and Gracie Gold, fourth and sixth - which seems promising but is not for a number of reasons.
Yeah, just like her solid Grand Prix showing, which earned her first alternate to the Grand Prix Final and eventually a trip to the event, as well as her Nationals showing where many people think she received no favors is not promising AT ALL.

I know Gao isn't going to Worlds and the focus is on Gracie Gold and Ashley Wagner to get that magic number 13 or lower in their combined placements so that three US ladies can be sent to the Sochi Olympics. However, I am willing to bet that if Gold was able to finish in 4th place behind the three Japanese, Hersh would have seen it as a great accomplishment for Gracie, and remind everyone that this is her first major senior international competition. After all, one is an Olympic silver medalist and World Champion, another is the current World bronze medalist, and the third was in the top 5 at the World Championships last season.

Here's the thing, Phil. You cannot hype someone to no end and then write an article a few days or weeks later talking about how miserable everything is and how, apparently, the fourth wall has just crumbled in front of you. I am pretty sure that wall has been crumbled for about five years now in your eyes, and I don't know why you keep trying to put it back up, honestly.

Richard Dornbush finished just under a point off the podium in the mens event, in 5th place overall. He didn't even get a mention by Hersh, because he isn't going to Worlds and therefore he also has no importance to the doom and gloom.

And then comes Ross Miner. This kid cannot get a break. Phil Hersh found his results to simply be "So what?" a few months ago. All the while, he has the eighth-highest seasons best score this year when you factor in the men competing at the World Championships.

Once again, the ice is slippery.

[Edited to Add]

How could I forget to address the glorious final two paragraphs of Hersh's article? So, when the American skaters actually are delivering, he is already screaming out that they are robbed a month before the event happens. Does anything make Phil Hersh happy?


Anonymous said...

Wow! Read the article.
I'm SO glad this guy isn't a Japanese journalist. What could he have said about the Japanese men if he was one is beyond me. He probably would have said that Dai should just retire, Yuzuru is falling under pressure, and that the whole Japanese mens skating is on the decline.
Well, I'd say, just ignore him. He's just a born pessimist.

Anonymous said...

Phil Hersh is the worst. He wrote the nastiest stuff about Rachael Flatt while praising Mirai Nagasu to no end. I love Mirai and granted, Rachael was never spectacular but she always tried and was consistent enough and was dedicated enough to earn the awards that she got but Hersh essentially said that because she was fat and not 1st anymore she should give up skating. Not to mention his absolute venom towards her when she was injured at Worlds when really he should have questioned Tom Z for not pulling her when Tom Z has a history of having injured skaters skate.

This guy is just a douche who places too much importance on who should be first instead of enjoying skating. Oh and his head is permanently attached to kissing Frank Carroll's ass

professordeb said...

Thank you Tony for some voice of reason to try and counter the ugliness that is Phil.

Anonymous said...

I'm not American, but I agree with all that you've written. Phil is one arrogant 'journalist' who has no respect for his country's skaters. Who is he to conclude what the US skaters are and are not capable of in the near future?

You're totally right about the Jpnse media not writing articles like his about Dai and Yuzu. As far as I know (I'm Jpnse), all sport journalists in my country analyze where and why things went wrong when our skaters do not do well, encouraging them to overcome their weak points for future competitions. Jpnse journalists harshly criticize professional athletes only at times, since in their cases it's an entertainment business afterall. There's a visible line drawn between ways of writing articles on professional and amateur sport. Figure skaters do not make tons of money like professional baseball or soccer players. Even when Olys is concerned, no journalist would dare write ill of an athlete as they understand the pressure they're under, and trust them in doing their best.

I've read several of Phil's articles on skating in the past, and I cannot remember how many times they've made me sick. I wonder sometimes if he ever really watches the performances or only peeks at the protocols before he writes. I absolutely cannot see any respect to the skaters in his attitude, and articles such as his will do no good for the sport in any way either.

Tony said...

Thanks everyone for your input!

To the last poster, I am glad to hear that, as I expected, the Japanese media would never go attack the performances of Hanyu or Takahashi (or even Mura here).

As far as Phil-- I really think he doesn't watch most of the skating, either. I have a feeling he reads the message boards and/or Twitter for his source of information and just goes with it, because he doesn't want to admit that he hasn't read the rules of IJS and more importantly-- he just doesn't want to.

I remember one time he was talking about how unfair it was that D/W were placed behind V/M.. I forget which competition it was. But he had absolutely NO basis for the claim and then went on to say that "ice dancing is subjective." LOL

I just don't think it's fair, at all, that someone like Phil can probably easily get press passes to international competitions, yet bloggers who put more effort into understanding the sport and encouraging the skaters get absolutely nothing.