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 Thoughts on Mao's strategy post-Olympics

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tianrushui
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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on Mao's strategy post-Olympics   Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:02 pm

Mao was also in high school when she trained in US for two years. How did she solve the school problem at that time? Can't she do the same thing? I am not trying to criticize Mao. I am just curious. I DO feel a little bit uncomfortable for her insisting on training Japan, which will largely reduce her selection in coaches. But I don't know how she exactly feels about living abroad. So, I respect her choice.
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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on Mao's strategy post-Olympics   Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:14 pm

tianrushui wrote:
Mao was also in high school when she trained in US for two years. How did she solve the school problem at that time? Can't she do the same thing? I am not trying to criticize Mao. I am just curious. I DO feel a little bit uncomfortable for her insisting on training Japan, which will largely reduce her selection in coaches. But I don't know how she exactly feels about living abroad. So, I respect her choice.
Chukyo High School had online classes, IIRC. Miki was seen taking them alongside having a tutor during the 05-06 season.

I don't see why insisting on remaining in Japan is a bad thing - the Nagoya area has a rich tradition when it comes to skating. Mao can remain in the ease of being at home, and there's numerous world-renowned coaches in the area. And as I already mentioned, the JSF would like to see a Japanese coach so training abroad is out of the question. Mao's current environment is excellent. All she needs is a coach who'll be by her side when she practices. I love you

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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on Mao's strategy post-Olympics   Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:42 pm

clovera wrote:
And as I already mentioned, the JSF would like to see a Japanese coach so training abroad is out of the question. Mao's current environment is excellent. All she needs is a coach who'll be by her side when she practices. I love you

Yes, I agree. She has a great rink, her school, and her home all right there. And on top of the JSP wanting her to get a Japanes coach, she doesn't want to train abroad anyway. So I think we can take a good guess at what she will do Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on Mao's strategy post-Olympics   Thu Mar 04, 2010 7:00 pm

I was wondering about something. I have heard people talk about Mao's speed as not being as fast as Yuna's and that could explain the difference in their respective GOE's. However, I feel while watching Mao from the past, her speed was much faster before than now. I was wondering perhaps it's the stamina issue since she's performing more 3A's?
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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on Mao's strategy post-Olympics   Thu Mar 04, 2010 7:16 pm

aoi88 wrote:
I was wondering about something. I have heard people talk about Mao's speed as not being as fast as Yuna's and that could explain the difference in their respective GOE's. However, I feel while watching Mao from the past, her speed was much faster before than now. I was wondering perhaps it's the stamina issue since she's performing more 3A's?

I have no idea what could be making Mao's speed inconsistant throughout the years. Good point. It could be her 3A's. Could be her stamina, her conditioning, her training... Ins scratch
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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on Mao's strategy post-Olympics   Thu Mar 04, 2010 8:37 pm

clovera wrote:
Er...did people even read the article (and its translations) that Batsuchan and I brought up in the Olympics thread? Sweatdrop It clearly stated that the JSF wants a *Japanese* rinkside coach - the foreign coach idea that some people are bringing up here is a moot point.

THANK YOU CLOVERA!!

About the speed issue--it is also my impression that Mao is faster than before, but certainly not one of the fastest skaters out there.

The judges certainly seem to be rewarding speed (Yu-Na, Carolina), so it does seem like something Mao should try to improve, but I also wonder how much it will affect her jumps and her overall style.

Mao is not an explosive, power skater. Everyone talks about how light and delicate she is; she floats on the ice.

There was an interview/analysis by Shizuka Arakawa once (in 2008?) where she compared their jumps. (Sometime I will try to find the clip.) She said that Yu-Na uses her speed and power to jump, so her jumps have height and distance. However, the downside to that jumping style is that you get tired easily. Mao, on the other hand, uses TIMING to jump. The upside is that she doesn't get tired so easily, but the downside is that if she loses her timing, her jumps get completely messed up (as we have seen).

I'm no expert, so I'm not sure how much increased speed would affect Mao's timing and therefore her jumps.

And I also wonder, rather than try to become super-speedy, why not milk the delicate, light, floating-on-ice style for all she can? Very Happy

Or at least see how far that takes her. Then she can re-evaluate the need for speed.

**
I was thinking a bit about potential jump layouts, and I thought of an ambitious one Mao could try, one that gets her all 6 triples:

3A 8.2
3F-3T 9.5
3Lz 6.0

3S 4.4
3F-3Lo 11.55
3Lo-2Lo-2Lo 8.8
2A 3.85

Total 52.30

This is basically like her 2007-08 layout except the solo 3Lo has been replaced by a 3S, and the 2A-2Lo-2Lo becomes a 3Lo-2Lo-2Lo.

**
On a somewhat random note, I found out that my favorite ballerina was in a ballet called 'La Peri' - basically a Peri is like a fairy spirit.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peri
They comissioned a new score for it, and I'm curious to hear what that sounds like! Like I said earlier, I'd love to see Mao playing a super-ethereal spirit!

If anyone is interested in reading about the ballet, here's an English review:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/dde7cc4c-261f-11df-aff3-00144feabdc0.html
..and a German one:
http://tanznetz.de/kritiken.phtml?page=showthread&aid=184&tid=16880

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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on Mao's strategy post-Olympics   Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:25 am

aoi88 wrote:
I was wondering about something. I have heard people talk about Mao's speed as not being as fast as Yuna's and that could explain the difference in their respective GOE's. However, I feel while watching Mao from the past, her speed was much faster before than now. I was wondering perhaps it's the stamina issue since she's performing more 3A's?

How fast the skater is depends (mostly) on 4 factors:
1) The edge quality (i.e. skating skills and the ability to skate on deep edges with deep knee bend, therefore generating greater speed)
2) How well the elements are mastered (if a skater doesn't feel confident in his jumps/the ability to execute steps well, he/she will approach them with little speed)
3) Stamina (not only because it directly affects the skating speed, but also because it decreases the skater's ability to perform the elements perfectly (see no.2)).
4) Physical condition (injuries, sickness, age).
And then there are outside factors, like the quality of ice, altitude, the audience spooking the skater, costume malfunctions, boot problems, etc., but let's skip those, because they usually do not appear often (unless the skater has particularly rotten luck).

I don't think that Mao has problems with stamina. I'd say she's one of the most resilient skaters I've ever seen. I don't remember her ever "loosing steam" in the second half of the performance. On the contrary, she is able to execute her extremely challenging step sequences perfectly and doesn't loose speed on final steps/spins. She was also able to execute very difficult jumps in the 2nd half of the program in previous seasons (3F-3L in 07-08 season), a feat that (IIRC) no other female skater was able to accomplish under CoP.

I don't think physical condition is an issue, either. I suspected that something might be wrong earlier in the season, but if physical condition was the problem, 3A would be the first to go, and steps/spins would be affected as well.

As for skating skills, I actually think Mao has improved a lot in the recent years. She had excellent skills as a junior skater: deep knees, deep edges, the ability to generate speed with no effort. Then, when Mao had her biggest growth spurt (2nd half of 2006) her skating skills became much worse. A program like Nocturne masked this weakness extremely well, but the decrease of speed and shallow edges were very visible in Czardas and Habanera. Most of those programs were skated on flats.
Then Mao started improving again, in huge leaps. It is especially visible in her spiral sequence and in her Exhibition/show programs. If you watch Habanera - and then So Deep is the Night, Tango or Caprices from The Ice - there's a world of difference.

In my opinion, it's the lack of confidence in jumps that is the problem. The jumps are all about muscle memory. Because Mao tweaked with her jumping technique, her jumps just aren't 100% stable in competition. She might be able to execute some of them perfectly while practicing, but when she attempts them in a program, with the audience looking, her body just gets confused and instinctively tries to go back to older, "safer" technique... Getting rid of old habits isn't easy. Most of the skaters who re-learn their jumps struggle with it for seasons.

And then there's the fact that Mao occasionally underrotates her jumps. If she approached those jumps with great speed, she would most likely end up with a nasty fall. The greater the speed on the landing, the more difficult it is to control the landing edge if something goes wrong with the jump.

There's one more thing that is disadvantageous for Mao: her music choices and choreo. The monotoneous, repetetive music creates an illusion of the programs being very static. The music lacks nuances that could be highlighted by choreo. At the same time the music is rather fast, so it takes a lot of effort from the skater not to get lost in it.
The genius of the Nocturne SP was not only the fact that it was gorgeous, but also perfectly highlighted Mao's strengths while hiding her weaknesses (at that time). It was a slow piece, but had many nuances that were perfectly highlighted by various elements (like outside and inside spreadeagles, steps before 2A and gorgeous headless twizzle). Although Mao's skating skills weren't at her very best then, it didn't show; on the contrary, the spectators ended up being wowed by Mao's perfect mastery of moves in the field. Nocturne had very little crossovers, which was a good thing, because it was during crossovers that Mao's shallow edges were the most visible.

Fantasie Impromptu was a good choice as well, because the music was quite dynamic: the frenzied part melted into a soft, dreamy one, only to burst into another feverish section and gentle finish... I loved that part when the music sped up just before 3F-3L. It's like the music was screaming: something awesome is about to happen! And the few 'rolling' notes perfectly matched with the steps section before 2A-2L-2L... Swoon

Batsuchan wrote:

Mao is not an explosive, power skater. Everyone talks about how light and delicate she is; she floats on the ice.

I don't think there's a direct connection between skating style and speed. Jeff, Elena Berezhnaya, Virtue-Moir have very light, airy style as well, but are extremely fast skaters (not to mention Mao herself had many performances where her speed was excellent).
...OTOH many "power" skaters are not that fast. Back in 2006 a CBC commentator compared Nobunari to Brian J: "There's such lightness about him. Joubert is powerful, but he gets the speed, Oda gets the speed, and he's not even looking like he's working very hard out there".
Furthermore, during the Jr.GPF the lady commentator (Tracy Wilson..?) mentioned that Mao was "as graceful, lyrical and light as any skater she's ever seen", but also mentioned that she has a knee bend that allows her to jump the way she does, but also to skate "with effortless speed".
I think it's absolutely possible for Mao to match and surpass the other skaters' speed, as long as she regains her confidence in her jumps. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on Mao's strategy post-Olympics   Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:48 am

aoi88 wrote:
I was wondering about something. I have heard people talk about Mao's speed as not being as fast as Yuna's and that could explain the difference in their respective GOE's. However, I feel while watching Mao from the past, her speed was much faster before than now. I was wondering perhaps it's the stamina issue since she's performing more 3A's?

i think because mao is also older and heavier. (as thin as she is) which can attribute to slower speeds.
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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on Mao's strategy post-Olympics   Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:57 am

dlnnyc wrote:

i think because mao is also older and heavier. (as thin as she is) which can attribute to slower speeds.

Mao and YuNa are the same age and Mao actually looked thinner in the practice photos from the Olympics when she stood next to YuNa.

Having said that, age and physical size (up to a certain point) has little to do with the skater's speed. Shizuka is much older than the current elite ladies, and she always had more "womanly" figure, but even after her retirement she is still one of the fastest skaters.

(Not to mention skaters like Emily Hughes, was significantly taller/heavier than Mao, but she had almost thundering speed.)
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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on Mao's strategy post-Olympics   Fri Mar 05, 2010 6:32 am

It seems that the skaters usually are faster when they are yougner. Maybe because when they are young, they use the speed to execute their jump, but as they grow up, they have already mastered the jump and they feel like they don't need the speed anymore (they do not mean that but maybe their body do it without any reasons). Here are a few Videos:

Cynthia Phaneuf
Younger: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WShmeCYEyk
Older: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhKl1skVoG0

Sasha Cohen:
younger: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-loMk4Zrko
Older: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNweTvOwfAM

Or maybe its just an illusion because they are smaller Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on Mao's strategy post-Olympics   Fri Mar 05, 2010 6:56 am

Thank you Oscilla for your detailed analysis! I agree that music selection and choreography are really important. I think many people think Nocturne Mao is better because of how perfect the music matches Mao's style of skating, even though if you look at closely, Mao has actually improved a lot from then. cat
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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on Mao's strategy post-Olympics   Fri Mar 05, 2010 8:14 am

Thanks for opening this thread, Batsuchan! Thumbs up! Mao does make her decisions fast!

I believe that a Japanese technical coach would actually be a better idea for Mao at this stage. If we were to have this discussion 3-4 years ago, I would have insisted that going overseas to train is the road for Mao. It would have been easier to adapt to a new environment; easier to perfect a new language; easier to embrace new aesthetics. Now - one of the most important thing for Mao is to have a stable, positive, supportive coaching. Being able to communicate her opinions/needs to her coach is vital. SO- I'd say so far, so good. Razz

-------------------------------------

Love your detailed analysis, Oscilla! Razz I've always wondered about Mao's speed as well and her edge quality. Thanks for bring it up, aoi88~~

I've heard Scott Hamilton(?) and Kurt Browning praise Mao for her good skating skills and deep edges. But some skating fans mentioned that Mao tend to 'drag her skates' when doing crossovers and her edging is not as good. Any insights, Oscilla? Everyone?
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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on Mao's strategy post-Olympics   Fri Mar 05, 2010 8:36 pm

Mao wants to skate to calm and soft music, so today I was listening to Karen Carpenter's version of "The Rainbow Connection". It's so calm and soothing; the perfect type of music for Mao. And I also couldn't help but feel that Mao has a special connection with rainbow since she skated to "Over the Rainbow" several times in the past. cat
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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on Mao's strategy post-Olympics   Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:06 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qx31mJfhyeY
her best 3A imo.
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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on Mao's strategy post-Olympics   Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:17 pm

☆Genie wrote:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qx31mJfhyeY
her best 3A imo.

Wow. The speed and flow were amazing in this program. Also, the transitions were nice too. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on Mao's strategy post-Olympics   Sat Mar 06, 2010 2:20 am

I would like to put in my two cents regarding Asada's speed and skating skills. I've only seen Mao Asada live twice in my life but both experiences have left me with starkingly different perceptions of her skating ability. The first time I saw her was at Worlds 08 (we all know how that competition turned out Smile). IMHO her skating at that event held more beauty and grace than anyone else's (her short program alone was enough to mesmerize the audience and leave me with a memory etched in my mind forever). Back then, she wasn't as fast as Kim or Kostner but she still held her own against anyone else in that department so speed wasn't really an issue.

The second time was at TEB where she faced off against Kim and others. However, this Mao Asada had few things in common with the beautiful skater from my memory. The most striking difference lay in the remarkable loss of speed - I actually mistook her for Caroline Zhang in the warmups. Throughout the competiton she was slow, looked tired and her jumps seemed hesitant. Her skating didn't seem as light and effortless as in earlier seasons either. There was just no comparison to Kim (who btw was just outstanding) in the skating or technical department. Even Nakano was faster and seemed lighter on her feet. Note: I'm not really comparing her to the rest of the field (except perhaps the medallists but to my perception of her former self - of course memory is fickle though).

I don't know if she improved her speed and stroking up until the Olympics (although she must have since her scores dramatically went up) because it is difficult for me to judge a skater's speed purely from a screen broadcast. However, despite the often repeated claim that Kim surpasses her because of her greater artistry and performance factor, I think it is in the technical department that Kim has Asada beat. If it is true that Asada has trained by and large by herself this season with Tarasova only as a technical "consultant" it is small wonder that her skills have declined (and if she is still skating the way she did in Paris then I'm sorry to have to say they have). Even the best skater needs someone who constantly monitors progress and continuity.

I am really more of a casual fan so I don't get overly attached to particular skaters (except perhaps Chinese pairs skaters). I wish everyone to do well. But I really, really don't want someone so talented like Asada go down the route of Caroline Zhang just because of lack of proper coaching. I want to see her commit to a coach who has regular contact with her (and by that I don't mean contact as in every two months). I think Asada needs a strong technical coach who will set her back again on the road to glory. And I really don't want to see anymore monotonous programs from Tarasova (though I liked the original version of the Bells of Moscow, ultimately I believe it wasn't the right music for Asada - what female skaters could pull off such a piece?). And if there are any Tarasova admirers, than I'm sorry, but I will probably jump from joy if I learn she'll replace Tarasova with someone else!

PS: Sorry for my less than adequate English... Embarassed
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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on Mao's strategy post-Olympics   Sat Mar 06, 2010 4:57 am

aoi88 wrote:
Mao wants to skate to calm and soft music, so today I was listening to Karen Carpenter's version of "The Rainbow Connection". It's so calm and soothing; the perfect type of music for Mao. And I also couldn't help but feel that Mao has a special connection with rainbow since she skated to "Over the Rainbow" several times in the past. cat

i think that song is too young for her now.. seems too junior-ish
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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on Mao's strategy post-Olympics   Sat Mar 06, 2010 6:58 am

I was watching old performances of Mao yesterday, and I was wondering if two factors makes us feel she had better speed and flow in the past. One is that Mao's past programs used to have A Lot of transitions (esp Fantasie-Imromptu). It seems Mao never stops for a second in that program. And the second thing is that the music was softer and ligher. So does a heavy piece like "Bells" and fewer transitions create the illusion that Mao seems to have less flow and speed than in the past? Especially at the beginning of Bells, she merely sets up for her axels, so perhaps one may feel that she's taking more time going into her jumps. What do you guys think?
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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on Mao's strategy post-Olympics   Sat Mar 06, 2010 8:55 am

It really is interesting how we all can see things differently. Bells for me is very technically difficult because it requires expression and sometype of artistic movement through out. In the beginning of bells she begins with a pose and then moves into arm movements to express the mood. In Bells the sad, ominous mood is maintained almost every minute which gives her no time to just caress the ice just simply to gain speed like Yuna does. Yuna long program has plenty of time for rest where Yuna is not telling the story or doing anything but gaining speed. Bell is not that kind of program and that is why I think Mao said next program calm and has rest. Bells requires the story to be told almost every moment and that is good drama but it does not give the skater rest period to have energy for the last half.
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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on Mao's strategy post-Olympics   Sat Mar 06, 2010 10:44 am

I'd love to see Mao skate to Joe Hisaishi music!

Summer :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjXvptz3pW8
The rain :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3u0hfmD0Qk
Silent love :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBXqfdDZlGI
One summer's day :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeOqYR1fXPg
Ashitaka to San :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdHIb5eVcEU
Green requiem :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eFNNYcLGuw
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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on Mao's strategy post-Olympics   Sat Mar 06, 2010 11:26 am

dangerous_angel_face wrote:
I'd love to see Mao skate to Joe Hisaishi music!

Summer :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjXvptz3pW8
Silent love :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBXqfdDZlGI
One summer's day :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeOqYR1fXPg
Ashitaka to San :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdHIb5eVcEU
Green requiem :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eFNNYcLGuw

Thanks! I like all of his pieces, especially One Summer's Day (Spirited Away flower ) and Ashitaka to San (Princess Mononoke Many Hearts ).

I also like works by Yoko Kanno, who has also composed a lot for anime soundtracks.

Here are some of my favorites of hers. cat

Power of the Light.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EGvt7oGPyQ&feature=related

Flying Dragon
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZ4jyFdsG-Q&feature=related

Romance
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTQ3asOb4wU&feature=related

Flying Dragon and Romance are both from Escaflowne, which in my opinion had the best anime sountrack of all time. Yoko Kanno composed all of the music for that soundtrack. It's worth checking out if you have the time.


Last edited by aoi88 on Sat Mar 06, 2010 12:10 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on Mao's strategy post-Olympics   Sat Mar 06, 2010 11:43 am

So Mao should follow ISU crazy policy :
SP
2A-3L <-- Is it possible? Why I saw only 2A-3T
3F
2A

FS
3A <-- One time enough and steady
3Lz <-- Fix it for next Olympic
2A-3L <-- Fix Flip too
3L <-- Maintain it steadily
3F-3T* <-- Make it clean to make it weapon in long term
3F-2L-2L * <-- Just to imitate to SP so she can practice for SP and FS
2A* <-- It's time ISU should change rule to be any Axel.

And please has one program by Tarasova and the other by Nichol
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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on Mao's strategy post-Olympics   Sat Mar 06, 2010 7:41 pm

Aww!
I heard that there will be new score system to score UR or DG triple not to be a double
but to be half way, if it is true, Mao still should go for 3A-2T to make 3A-3T in the
future.

SP
3A-2T
3F
2A

FS
3A
3A-2T
3Lz
3L
3F-3T <-- Isn't it better and more secure than 3F-3L?
3F-2L-2L
2A

And ISU should change score as 3F+2L and 2L should not equal to 3F+2L+2L.
I think to make it in combination is harder than just plus each jump score together
especially Loop jump seems to be targeted for downgrade easily, so first Loop and
next Loop jump should not equal.
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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on Mao's strategy post-Olympics   Sat Mar 06, 2010 11:16 pm

BowbowDaijin wrote:
Aww!
I heard that there will be new score system to score UR or DG triple not to be a double
but to be half way, if it is true, Mao still should go for 3A-2T to make 3A-3T in the
future.

If that's true, that would be wonderful! - Although I guess we'll have to wait and see just how much one of these "half" jumps will be worth before we get too excited.

And I think you guys are on to some really great points about Mao's speed btw.
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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on Mao's strategy post-Olympics   Sun Mar 07, 2010 12:45 am

Oscilla!! Thanks so much for the very insightful and detailed analysis!! Worship Worship

I think you make a very good point about the ability of music to cover one's weaknesses (and bring out one's strengths). Yep!

When I watch some of Mao's old programs, I realize that she's not doing that much more choreo than she is doing now, but the music is pretty and lyrical, so I never feel that the program is "empty."

If Mao really wants to win, I think she has to realize that her strengths lie not only in her triple axel, but also in the pure beauty of her skating--and that is something she definitely needs to highlight. Love Hearts

In my opinion, there are 4 classes of music that would fit Mao very well:

1) Light and pretty -- like "Nocturne" or "Clair de Lune"
2) Charming and cute -- like "Por Una Cabeza" or "Caprice," something that would allow Mao to show off that Mao smile!
3) Melancholy and beautiful -- like "Fantasy for Violin & Orchestra" or "So deep is the night"
4) Anything from the classical full length ballets -- because Mao is the ballerina on ice!

I think picking Mao-like music would really help her--I just hope Mao realizes that!

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