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?