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dirac

AP link: Yagudin will go to Worlds

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I'm not sure I buy the excuse that there isn't enough time for the others to prepare since they took a little break after the Olympics. If they've been training all season, taking 1-2 wks off before World's seems like a good idea. Then they'd be fresh and ready to train hard again for the next couple weeks. I'm sure a dancer could learn a new role pretty decently in two weeks, so why can't skaters rehearse old programs in two weeks?

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I think you have to take it the way you take a politician saying he's retiring "to spend more time with my family." It may be partially true, but it functions mostly as a fig leaf for a variety of other less politic reasons. For capitalistic reasons, you don't want to risk taking the shine off an Olympic win by promptly losing to a defeated rival. An understandable though not admirable motive. In Sarah Hughes' case, I'm sure she really hasn't had much time -- she opened the Stock Exchange, she met the Mayor, she's talking to Katie Couric.....to win the ladies' gold is a Very Big Deal Indeed now. Then she'd have to go face Kwan, Slutskaya, and Cohen, all thirsting for revenge. (Kristi Yamaguchi went, true, but she could have beaten Kerrigan, Harding, et al., in her sleep, so maybe it's a little different.) This skipping-the-Worlds in an Olympic year seems to be a fairly recent phenomenon, though.

As for the others, I agree, it's a much more flimsy excuse. I realize it must be hard to work up enthusiasm for it after the Olympics, but you shouldn't treat the world championship as just another competition.

[ March 14, 2002, 07:55 PM: Message edited by: dirac ]

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I love it that Yagudin is willing to put himself out there against Pluschenko yet again (I'm assuming Pluschenko's going?) mostly because I so love to see him compete. But I wouldn't hold it against the others for deciding not to compete at the World's. Hey, they spend their lives focused on the goal of winning the Olympics; there's nothing wrong with retiring from competition while you're on top.

They may simply be delighted that they no longer have anything to prove after winning the Olympics. Maybe they can lead a regular life for a time. We all know what it's like to focus on something to the exclusion of everything else in your life (even if it's just post-holiday blues) and then to experience that exhaustion afterwards. I can imagine it much more intense following the Olympics. There's no harm in sitting back and just basking.

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Plushenko's giving this one a miss because of a knee injury. Russia's only sending 2 men because Klimkin is also injured and Serov couldn't arrange a visa in time - so I'm disappointed.

Which is great news for Yagudin - he needs a 'fairly' clean skate to win back his title, his presentation being so far above everyone else's. I'm actually thinking it's Honda rather than Goebel who will be his biggest threat (provided he holds his nerve.)

I'm fine with skaters not attending Worlds after the Olympics which are mentally very draining. It may not present the best skaters in the world but it does give attention to the skaters lower down the ranks. Shen & Zhao and Lobecheva & Averbukh will probably win their first World titles in pairs and dance respectively and I'm hoping Abt and Honda end up on the podium - I still think the men's competition is going to be wonderful.

[ March 17, 2002, 12:08 AM: Message edited by: sylvia ]

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It's not that I don't think the lower ranked skaters should get attention, but what I dislike about this exact situation is that the best in the world will not be there. And I feel one should win a competition, especially the World Championsips, because one is the best not by default because the top skaters aren't there. I find it a shallow victory to win not because your skating, or in the case of a ballet competition your dancing, is top notch but because the level of competition wasn't really high. I would like (or would have liked) to see Shen and Zhao BEAT their two main rivals to win the World's. In this situation if/when they do win I will always think that their victory isn't as golden (and not as deserved) as for example Sale and Pelletier's the year before when they really had to compete to earn their victory (then again at the time I was thinking in my head that had Elena and Anton been there...who knows wink.gif ).

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Colleen, I agree with a lot of what you say. But the Worlds after the Olympics are so much to do with moving on to the next generation so I wouldn't describe a S&Z win as shallow. Many skaters turn pro after the Olympics at their peak and I do wonder if S&Z will ever have a chance to compete with S&P and B&S again. S&P said they'll decide this month and B&S are taking the next couple years off to tour. They say they may come back for Turin but I suspect like a lot of amateur skaters toeing the line they may end up turning professional.

And back to Yagudin, the qualifiers haven't been shown on tv here but he seems to have done well, 5.8s and 5.9s, joing first with Goebel (who's in the other group). He's the last skater in the start order for the SP so I'm hoping for 6.0s across the board for presentation!

[ March 18, 2002, 09:34 PM: Message edited by: sylvia ]

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Yagudin was fantastic! Very relaxed and much faster than SLC with more oomph in his program. He actually skated it like a victory skate, fists pumping and all. He deserved the 6.0s.

The men's SP was excellent. The last group was nearly flawless, the ONLY mistake being a double-footed quad attempt by Weiss. Alexander Abt was wonderful, full of joy and very passionate and he deserves silver if he's clean in the LP. He really got the Japanese crowd screaming with his step sequence. Honda was near perfect - amazing that a SP that good would only get 4th place. And I felt so sorry for Goebel who was a bit undermarked (a 5.5 for tech!)but was placed correctly. Jeffrey Buttle from Canada was also quite a discovery. Probably the best SP I've ever seen in any discipline.

I think I got my biggest laugh of the day when they showed all these Japanese women moving en masse to the front at the end of the programs to throw flowers to Abt, Yagudin and Honda. I think something like 80% of the audience must be female.

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Well...since we're still allowed to talk about figure skating...Yagudin's long program did not disappoint either. I thought that it, too, was still better than SLC -- faster and more energetic at the close. The whole competition has been a "victory skate" for him.

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I had taped Yagudin's Olympic long program (where I thought he didn't skate it very well - I'd seen it earlier in the year skated with more passion). I also taped the same program from this week's Worlds. Same program, very different energy. This time was a thrill from start to finish. I love that long program - the choreography is superb and really shows off his strengths.

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I agree, I enjoyed Yagudin's skating so much more in SLC. He was so focused there, so intent on not making any mistakes. But in Nagano he has much more passion and looked like he was really enjoying both programs. In that last step sequence in his LP it was wonderful to see that sudden burst of energy and really attack those steps. I agree about both being 'victory' skates. Great that he's on the up again.

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