Update: Frank Carroll has stated that Mirai Nagasu was ready for worlds and would have earned the U.S. a third spot in the women's competition. In an interview with Phil Hersh, Carroll has some fightin' words!
I asked Carroll Monday by telephone if Nagasu would have been ready to skate had she been told she was going April 22 -- the day Flatt said learned she had a stress fracture in the right leg. That was three days before Flatt left for Moscow and a week before the women's event began at worlds.
``Of course,'' Carroll said. ``Mirai is in great shape - better than she has been her whole life. She took the responsibility of being ready as the alternate very seriously.
``This cost us three spots.''
When I pointed out there was no guarantee Nagasu would have skated well enough to help get the third spot, Carroll didn't buy it.
``She blew those other American girls (Flatt and Czisny) out of the water at Four Continents,'' he said.
From Earlier Post:
So, Rachael Flatt found out shortly before the world championships began that she had a stress fracture in her right foot. It became obvious through her competition (she came in 12th at worlds) that the problem affected her ability to do the jumps that use the right toe pick (for her, since she lands on the right foot), flip and lutz, based on how she was mostly unable to do those jumps cleanly at worlds.
Since then, Flatt and her coach, Tom Zakrajsek, have been under fire for having her compete when it seems clear she was unable to skate well due to injury. Phil Hersh has some updates on the situation.
Among the quotes in the article from Flatt and her coach:
Zakrajsek: ``Rachael has been treated by Dr. (Bill) Moreau at the OTC (Olympic Training Center) in Colorado Springs this whole season. She skated because she was able to do both clean SP and LP programs and all of her elements necessary in order to compete well and help the US women earn 3 spots. Rachael decided to compete after consulting with her parents, myself and her doctor.''
And this is what Flatt had said about the injury and her conditions after both the short and long programs, as transcribed from audio recordings by U.S. Figure Skating:
Saturday's long program: ``I was in a lot of pain. I have a stress fracture in my tibia. That was not too much fun. I tried to do the best I could at this point with how I was feeling. Unfortunately, it wasn’t very good and certainly wasn’t close to my best. I tried to push through it. I didn’t find out what it was until last Friday so there wasn’t really much time to do much. I came here and tried to do what I could. . .I’ll take a month off to let this thing heal.''
Perhaps they thought she could power through and the adrenaline would take her where she needed to be? It's pretty unfortunate since several of our other options (even an erratic Mirai Nagasu) would have likely placed low enough for the U.S. to finally get back a third world championships spot. Although, come to think of it, all of our other ladies would have been in off-season mode for at least a couple of months now and maybe they wouldn't have been prepared at all.
There is also the timing of Flatt realizing this only a few days before worlds began. I guess it was not too late to pull out and allow the USFSA to send Nagasu, but it was probably a whirlwind - I wonder if the decision to drop out was ever considered?
It's hard to say what should have happened since I'm looking at this in the hindsight of seeing Flatt do incredibly poorly at the worlds. And hey, in her defense, our healthy skaters have often finished far worse than she did. BUT, she was seemingly physically unable to perform well, although her coach contends otherwise. If she knew that going in, then she shouldn't have competed. And we can't know what the real truth is because we weren't there with her as she practiced in the week or two before the event. Sad turn of events for Flatt and unfortunate ending of the U.S. ladies season.