Thursday, July 31, 2014

Should They Stay or Should They Go? 2014 Olympians Taking "A Break"

So, we’re less than three weeks from the start of the 2014-15 Junior Grand Prix (what I call figure skating’s pre-season)... what better time to look at the list of the elite skaters of the world who are “taking a break”, as has become so common in post-Olympic seasons, and ponder whether or not they should return to competition...?

(I’m looking to do a similar post dealing strictly with U.S. and Canadian skaters, particularly those that didn’t make it to the Olympic or World teams, but I hate the thought of getting *zero* posts up in July! So I’m going to focus on the world list for now.)

Mao Asada, JAPAN
Best Hardware: 2010 Olympic Silver Medal, 3 World Championships
Placement in Sochi Olympics: 6th
Age: 23
Asada says: Her chances of staying competitive beyond last season are 50/50; she’s taking this next year off to rest and focus on other areas of her life.
State of the Skate says: Although she gave some of the best efforts of her whole career this past season, and might very well make it through another Olympic cycle... I’m not sure why she’d want to. If she learned anything this year, it’s that satisfaction and redemption can take many, many forms. She’s competed at the senior international level for NINE years, and won most everything there is to win! Here’s hoping she gets her well-earned rest, and then moves on to all the other areas of greatness that await her.

Carolina Kostner, ITALY
Best Hardware: 2012 World Championship, 2014 Olympic Bronze Medal
Placement in Sochi Olympics: 3rd
Age: 27
Kostner says: She’s sitting out this season (according to social media).
State of the Skate says: Guess who’s been on the senior world scene even longer than Asada? And gone from the highs to the lows and back again even more often? Time to call it, Carolina. Just because you didn’t end with your best performance (2014 Worlds FS) doesn’t mean your stellar Olympic performances won’t live on forever.

Virtue/Moir, CANADA
Best Hardware: 2010 Olympic Gold Medal, 2014 Olympic Silver Medal, 2 World titles
Placement in Sochi Olympics: 2nd
Age: 25/26
V/M say: No GP series for them this year; no further decisions yet.

Davis/White, U.S.A.
Best Hardware: 2014 Olympic Gold Medal, 2010 Olympic Silver Medal,
Placement in Sochi Olympics:
Age: 27/26
D/W say: Taking the entire season off; no further decisions yet.

To both of them, State of the Skate says: Why are we even talking about this? RETIRE. You have nothing left to prove. (And Charlie, my dear, you’ve got a wedding to pretend to help with.)

Patrick Chan, CANADA
Best Hardware: 2014 Olympic Silver Medal, 3 World Championships
Placement in Sochi Olympics: 2nd
Age: 23
Chan says: No GP season this year; unsure about the rest.
State of the Skate says: Plot twist! Despite the way he annoys me whenever he opens his mouth to the press, I wouldn’t mind seeing Chan continue to compete. Despite all his successes, he hasn’t really put it all together yet. And as deftly talented as he is... that’s a shame. Wouldn’t it be nice to see him win at least ONE World title and not feel like Chanflation had anything to do with it?

Coming next: Either the all-North American edition of the above, or a look at the pairs epidemic (self-explanatory, yes?). Got a preference? Mention it in the comments!