Monday, October 25, 2010

What Do You Do With a Problem Like Rachael Flatt? By Margaret Thatcher


The hills are alive with the sound of our most reliable USA competitor. Rachael has yet again come through with a solid performance. She won the NHK Trophy freeskate and the Silver medal. She defeated two of her more serious US rivals soundly. What is a US figure skating fan to do? Her programs were snooze worthy and less polished than the fare of last year. With her new lesbian hairdo and graceless skating, you can almost mistake her for a Canadian lady. Yet she embodies two of the best qualities of the American lady throughout the years: consistent jumps and delivering to win. She has earned the name "The Rock" for her impressive consistency, but this name equally describes her heavyish, hockey mom skating.

Can the fandom of US figure skating ever be reconciled with her? Could Flatt improve her hulkish lines and meager style enough to keep our stomachs from turning?

61 comments:

  1. "Could Flatt improve her hulkish lines and meager style enough to keep our stomachs from turning?"

    Therein lies the problem. It's almost as if she and her coaches refuse to see that she needs to make these improvements. If my sickly, broken ass is more flexible than you are and you've been in figure skating since you were a tiny girl future girl genius (all those AP CLASSES!!!!!! IVY LEAGUE SCHOOLS!!!!!!), then you clearly aren't even bothering to work on your flexibility. I'd call it laziness, but she supposedly works so hard at everything else that it wouldn't make a whole lot of sense.

    Someone needs to locker in a dungeon with a Russian ballet mistress for about 6 months. She'll fucking LEARN to care about that sort of thing. As long as she has these "wins" in major international competition with her fugly skating and nobody smacks her around to get her to look at the video playback and see how vomit worthy she is, she'll never bother.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The only way I'll ever like the skating by someone called Rachel Flatt is if Mirai legally changes her name. Sure, Rachel is consistent, but so are a healthy person's bowel movements. That doesn't make them any less shitty. It's gotten to the point where I simply fast-forward through her programs to see if she falls on her not-so-Flatt ass. Thank God for TiVo (or icenetwork, depending on the event).

    I'm currently on vacation in the southern US, but I live in the Palo Alto area. (With plenty of short trips to SF for gay activities of course.) Supposedly she is coming here for school in a year or so. I certainly hope I never run across her, because if I do, the mere sight of her may bring back my eating disorder. Puke.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I keep hoping somebody will wake up and design a program featuring something like Sousa marches for her - now THAT I think she could sell (and I say this as a sincere fan of Sousa marches).

    It's truly annoying trying to see her attempt to be a a floaty ballerina or a perky pixie - she physically just doesn't have the goods.

    I will say this though - her exhibition program last night was at least not painful to watch.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Criticism is one thing, but enough of the bitching. If you hate her so much, then don't watch.

    ReplyDelete
  5. atleast she got the silver. what is wrong with you?!

    where is yuna kim?

    ReplyDelete
  6. All I can do is laugh. Couldn't help it. You have the best zingers.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I hate when people pick on her weight. Is she the smallest figure skater ever? Obviously not. But she isn't 'flabby' and clearly works on trying to keep her weight low. And you've gotta give a girl props, she is fairly consistent I'd rather watch that than popped jumps all over the place.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I laugh but wow I couldn't say any of these things and I know how to cuss someone out.lol.
    Poor girl. I watched everyone but her so far. I can't bring myself to watch her because I don't enjoy her skating at all. Oh well. I truly hope Mirai becomes that consistent. She has everything.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I don't think any of Tom Zakrajsek's skaters have much speed or flexibility. She might do better with a different coach, but I doubt that Rachael will be making any coaching changes.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I, Margaret Thatcher, agree that sometimes the audience displeasure with Rachel is taken too far. Rachel is the reason why the US had two Olympic ladies spots vs only one. Furthermore, she holds it together more often than everyone else, including Mirai. Some people just want to say she is awful without giving proper due to what makes her a competitor.

    At the same time, it is an honor, not an injury, to be the recipient of scrutiny. It is helpful is to call attention to how clueless and unimproved her skating looked at NHK. Surely, she wants to do better in the world than 7th- 11th. If she is satisfied with merely staying in the mix as part of a weak overall US ladies field, then there is not much hope for her.

    ReplyDelete
  11. It's Rachael, not Rachel. I think Rachael needs better styling, to start. The haircut was a mistake. She should get some extensions, pronto, and wear her hair partially down. Her current look just emphasizes her round shoulders and short neck. Her costumes are fugly, too. Red looks terrible on a strawberry blond and that bright turquoise-y blue only looks good on brunettes. Black would be a good choice, or dark blue. Long sleeves. White boots. No over the boot tights. And then, after the easy stuff, Pilates.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Yeah, her color choices are a mystery.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I don't like the haircut, but I hate the color and bad highlights more. With that hair and the harlot red dresses and the disillusioned channelling of Renee Zellwegger in Chicago, it's like she's an 18-year-old trying to look like a 40-year-old cougar. It's not cute.

    I get that she really likes the fun, flirty, jazzy kind of numbers, but why does nobody around her realize THEY. DON'T. WORK. FOR. HER? I kinda thought her short program this year was OK with "Summertime" until the music changed and she started having hot flashes in her step sequence.

    With the right packaging, I could overlook that her body type isn't the thin-wispy-rectangles like some of the other skaters and that her jumps don't "fly" or "sing." I could actually like her. Just give her some darker, harder-edged music - nothing lyrical or flirtatious - and costumes and quit the knifepoint-butt-raping of catch-foot camel spins.

    ReplyDelete
  14. This blog is just rude. Do I like Flatts skating HELL NO but the personal attacks are just immature. The name calling makes you look petty.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I think the name calling is ENTERTAINING, and that's what this fucking blog is about... it's the reason this blog is as widely read as it is. If you're too fucking stupid or uptight to realize that, then maybe YOU should go somewhere ELSE. You're missing the fucking point, and you are realllllllllllly putting a target on your big fat ass.

    And, once again Ms. Thatcher, you have brought a beautiful silver-tongued post for AJ. I quite enjoy thinking of RACHEL (fuck you, Name Nazi!!!) as a hockey mom who decided enough was enough and sliced that nappy weave into something SENSIBLE and MANAGEABLE. She's an Ivy League student, for christssake! The girl has classes to attend, things to learn, and papers to write! And, by the looks of it, donuts to eat. She needs to go on a diet as soon as possible. I imagine that slimming down would help her artistry tremendously. If you want to win, you have to be thin... whether it be gymnastics OR skating. People that don't subscribe to this mentality don't win.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Calling her "lesbian" because of her haircut? How judgemental of you. You shame the gay community, Aunt Joyce. What an embarrassment.

    ReplyDelete
  17. AJ didn't say that... Margaret Thatcher did. They are, believe it or not, different people.

    Calling someone's haircut a dyke do is hardly bringing shame on the gay community. Ms. Thatcher has managed to shame many of the "gay community" (whatever the fuck THAT is) in a plethora of ways, none of which required name calling. She is more talented than you know.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Oooh...bad pic. Makes her look like a major chubbo.

    ReplyDelete
  19. As much as I dislike Rachel's skating I can't say she's has issues even for a figure skater. She's just shaped different in the legs or something. She just doesn't carve a pretty picture on the ice.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Anon at 12:57 (whoever the fuck you are), I totally feel your pain about the weight thing with Flatt. She can't help that her natural shape is round-ish. I have a feeling she could never eat and still look more or less the same. I try my best not to make fun of that, but at the same time I get pissed off that nothing is done to try to MINIMIZE the round look.

    For fuck's sake, get the kid a gay boy to dress her! She could look a lot better and less "fat" (more like just round) if she didn't do some of the horrible shit she does on the ice and if she also got skating dresses that were a better cut and color for her. It's really not that hard. THESE things bother me. It's like everything she wears and does on the ice accentuates all of the things that are wrong with her body type. Not cool.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I too am bored by Flatt's skating, but I much prefer it to a resurgence of someone like Emily Hughes who was always so "Ta-da! I landed a jump!!!1" Flatt goes out there and works it. Yeah, it looks like work, but she gets the job done in the clutch. Her figure isn't standard, but why hasn't anyone mentioned Kostners peg legs. For *years* that girl's skating has bothered the crap out of me. Some of that was due to the shaky technique and how she hurled herself into the air, but the rest is due to the fact that she has NO CALF MUSCLES. Her legs just taper down into points or something I think. There might not even be feet in those boots! She makes Tanith Belbin's legs look ripped! I'll take Flatt's boxiness over Kostner's peg legs any day.

    But I second whoever said for Flatt to lose the boot tights. They are totally the wrong color for her (that sickly milky-gray color wouldn't look good on ANYONE) and they don't extend the legline or whatever it is people think they do. Though Mao and Kanako at least managed to find some that nearly resembled a color that human flesh comes in. Someone needs to put together a raiding team and rid all figure skaters of the things.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I honestly think skaters wear those over the boot tights to hide the fact they're lazy about polishing them.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Over the book tights are a must for Racheal and improve the overall look of almost all skaters.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Your mean spirited commentary on Rachael Flatt is classless and poorly written. What's with you guys obsessing on this young lady? If she's that "boring" why do you devote so much time writing about her? If you are truly a "fan" of skating perhaps you could find something positive to say. OR NOT SAY ANYTHING AT ALL.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Over the boot tights are ugly on almost all skaters (especially on Mao). The classic white boot look is far superior. You would (and will) never see Michelle Kwan wearing over the boot tights and her line and look on the ice was near perfection. Only two skates look good in OTB tights, Yu Na and Sasha Cohen.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Leave her alone. At least she won a silver. You'd better to start to talk about your favorite skater called "Vampire Whore"'s miserable jumps.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Rachael is actually pretty petite looking... She's just shaped differently.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Forgetting performances for a second, I think USFS will regret for the rest of their lives that they ever granted Flatt a US title, in an Olympic year no less.

    Even the great Sasha Cohen and Nicole Bobek only had one US title each. Lipinski also only won one and Hughes didn't even win one.

    When was the last time they had a non-star US title holder?

    ReplyDelete
  29. Rachael's skating is pedestrian in every way. I love how people come here expecting this blog to be saccharine. That is so worthless.

    Emily Hughes was a hot mess, but she at least had excitement to her skating. All Rachael has going for her is that she doesn't make too many grievous errors. She will go down as one of the most forgettable skaters in US history. Frankly, Holly Cook had much more star quality.

    ReplyDelete
  30. "Your mean spirited commentary on Rachael Flatt is classless and poorly written. What's with you guys obsessing on this young lady? If she's that "boring" why do you devote so much time writing about her? If you are truly a "fan" of skating perhaps you could find something positive to say. OR NOT SAY ANYTHING AT ALL."

    Thanks for the laugh. You tubby's mum? Good one. Sounds like a real page turner, old scout.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I agree with so much on this page.

    Rachael is not fat, no where near it, however, she is round, and i wonder if she has ever taken pilates and ballet, and if not, why not?

    Her styling is atrocious. The hair cut makes her face look rounder. she needs some heigh and length (not that pomp she used to were though *shudders* ). She needs flattering dresses. The one shoulder number makes her upper body appear more round. over the boot tights ought to be out lawed.

    Why does no one in her team see this? Her coach needs a stern talking to.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Am a scientist who had an academic schedule as least as rigorous as Rachael's at her age- yet agree with many of the (non-mean-spirited) comments.

    Frankly, she LOOKS like she's been styled by a scientist, and it's really time for Mom/Dad to step back.
    Even though she's been arguably successful to this point, I don't think she'll ever progress to the next level unless she reworks her formula.
    Whether it's Mom or Dad being the issue: TRULY speaking from experience: Even the nicest well-educated scientist tends to have a bit of egoic 'I know best because I'm smart and I've proved it' to their M.O. (and I even see it in myself!).
    They don't/won't realize that they don't necessarily have ultimate insights when it comes to presentation/art/performance. There's an art to science, and a science to art- but they are NOT the same thing, and I don't get any genuine artistic sensibility in her packaging.
    Despite the emotional/financial support which has been vital (and can continue)- they really do need to realize that a fresher viewpoint is now required. Yes, their approach worked- to this point, but she will not progress with it, and they need to love enough to let GO already.
    She's a big girl now, she can handle it, and it's time to cut the cord on that aspect of her career.
    More speed (get thee to another coach, dear- with Tom's training, the glacier always wins the foot race against his skaters!), some boot-camp (or at least Pilates!) conditioning, and packaging/styling that emphasizes her attributes (and she does have them, but they are buried right now on so many levels!).
    With those things, I sincerely believe that she could REALLY shine - she'd be smart enough to see it, it would inspire more confidence (would be a gift to her!), and she'd 'make it work'!

    (NB: Remember well: When Michelle Kwan FIRST came on the scene- she was ultimately repackaged too (oh YES she was...), and if (even the great) Kwan benefited from repackaging....Flatt shouldn't be too proud/stubborn to do so either!)

    ReplyDelete
  33. When Rachael first came on the senior scene, she was thinner and didn't wear the over the boot tights. She still needed help, however. She wore those footless tights that ended at the boot-top and light blue costumes that looked like nightgowns. But her look, while far from perfect, was better than it is now. I agree with the previous poster that her parents must somehow be involved in the trainwreck that is her packaging. Her coach is not doing the job if he can't help her with this. I think she should go train with Jeremy and Yuka, and hire whoever re-styled Michelle in '96 to fix her look.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Look at Rachael here, at age 14: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hvYIYkNjfM
    Her posture was better and while her costume was boring, the white boots looked much better than the OTB tights. I know she can't go back to having a pre-pubescent body, but she needs to work with a trainer to get rid of the soft look and help her to stand up straight again. Rachael actually seems to have gained baby fat instead of losing it as she got older.

    ReplyDelete
  35. But what about the fact that Flatt can land triple jumps?!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Michelle had the look so it wouldn't be hard to restyle her...Rachael does not. They can't make her look like Kiira Korpi. Michelle also didn't have the money in the beginning...Rachael's family has money so maybe they have been trying to help but there's nothing has worked to please the majority.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Rachael, listen.... QUIT. You dont skate because you love to, you skate because you were raised to think you love it. If you really loved this sport, you would work your ass off for it. You don't. You have someone (most likely your "mother") in your ear, forcing you into this. Honey, if you want it, fucking man up and DO IT!! Enough with this safe "my mom cant yell at me" crap. Fucking go to the gym, do some situps, and get out there and rock the world, because you know what, we ALL know you can.

    ReplyDelete
  38. It is true that Rachael can land triple jumps but, for better or worse, looks matter in skating. Michelle landed seven triples at 1995 Worlds and skated two clean programs (unlike the top ladies at that competition). She didn't even get a medal. The judges told her coach that she looked too "juniorish," so they re-worked her look. The next year she won Worlds. Granted, she had more to work with, but there is so, so much room for improvement with Rachael. Having money is no guarantee of style.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Jody Flatt......WOOOOF

    Sorry Rachael.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Rachael is in her Angela Nikodinov stage right now. Remember Angie? She was a boring and stale as month old bread for quite a while, so much in fact that Dick Button said on the air that she was basically a refrigerator break skater (ouch Uncle Dick!). She had the horrible Dorothy Hamil haircut and shitacular costumes...it was all wrong.

    Then one year she showed up looking 100% different. She had gorgeous costumes that looked fabulous on her, a different hair style, a different kind of music and style that was suited to her skating...and suddenly she started getting noticed, the judges started rewarding her...she was no longer a boring eyesore.

    That's what Rachael needs right now: a styling overhaul. Throw some color in her hair and toss that bitch in a tanning bed for a good 30 mins to get rid of that ghost color she's been rocking. Long sleeve costumes made of darker colors (ie. black, dark blues and purples) would do well on her. Burn those fucking OTB tights. Hire someone to work on her flexibility and her god-awful posture.

    Let go of the lyrical shit and the jazzy shit while you're at it. FYI, watching Rachael wink and blow kisses at the judges, shake her pudgy hips and mime taking off her shirt made me more uncomfortable than I thought was possible; I might seriously never watch her short program again! Who the hell told her she was sexy?! Um, no sweetheart...that one totally missed the mark.

    She needs character music a la Kween Kwan in 1996; something not light and fluffy but not too too heavy either. Middle Eastern/Indian theme would be good. Fire Lori! The fact she has Rachael basically shaking her ass for the judges is enough to have her scrapped from the Rachael Flatt Project; she's not allowed to participate.

    It can be done and what's better, it can be done in one summer. She has enough to be the skater some people want her to be but she's stuck in this really bad comfort zone right now.

    ReplyDelete
  41. This is purely speculative, but maybe Flatt has a medical condition that explains her body fat? Even with proper medication, diet, and exercise, it can be very difficult to lose fat. Of course, digging for the medication disclosure records for athletes would probably put my wild theory to rest.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Rachael is not fat. she is muscular, and will never be a stick like yu-na kim unless she starves herself. I can't imagine anybody wants that. What she needs, as so many have already said is a new approach to choreography, a new hairstyle (this is better, but not good enough. I am thinking dying it darker) and certainly new flattering costumes. Think Caroline Zhang. I think she has been trying to imrove her flexiblity now that she has more freetime, but without spiral sequences i don't see much of an incentive for her to do that.

    ReplyDelete
  43. I like her hair and could care less about her body type. I do mind that she keeps doing that God awful catch foot spin for points when she can't manage any arch in her back. That thing gives me nightmares and is definitely something she should work on.

    ReplyDelete
  44. I've seen carousels that spin faster then Rachael. I agree, with anonymous 12:19pm, she needs to take a risk. Stop playing it so safe. She is a sweet as a kitten, but kinda needs to act like a lion right now.

    ReplyDelete
  45. "Rachael is not fat. she is muscular, "

    I agree, chief. All muscle. And by the way, I've got some stellar ocean front property in Vegas to sell you.

    ReplyDelete
  46. The last time the USA had a non-star title holder was after the entire USA Worlds skating team died in a plane crash in 1961. Lorraine Hanlon in 1963. Her best finish at Worlds was 10th. It has been 48 years. Peggy Flemming was only 14 in 1964, but she won the national title that year and went on to well known glory as she matured.

    ReplyDelete
  47. I think Flatt, while not a star or even potential World medalist (under normal circumstances), still carries a vague hint of international distinction because she was the 2008 Jr. World Champion. It's not much, and it's fading fast as her senior reputation takes over, but it's a little.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Is Alissa Czisny a star?

    ReplyDelete
  49. Like anon 4:18 pointed out, Rachael is hardly the only US lady with a national title who lacks star quality. Alissa has always had lackluster results. Kimmie was World Champion, but she lucked out. Mirai has potential, but she still hasn't proven herself. Rachael gets criticized for being a US champ without star quality, but it seems like none of the past few winners have been amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Rachel doesn't really have that potential to have that star like quality. Mirai and Alissa have the potential but only Mirai has the time to make that happen now. Hey I don't think Sarah has star quality. What gave her a brief moment was her lucky OG but even that couldn't work miracles. Rachel could win worlds or a OG medal and still she wouldn't have that "star" quality. It's weird because when Rachel was a little girl it look like she had a star quality although even then she wasn't my cup of tea. It's like Caroline Z. She had big star quality ...now that's all pretty much gone now.

    ReplyDelete
  51. “This sport isn’t a beauty pageant, it’s a numbers game, and Rachael is one of the most reliable and athletic skaters in the world,” Tom Zakrajsek, her coach, said. “She is the kind of skater who can have that amazing performance [like Sarah Hughes] at the Olympics. She’s just that solid.”

    This quote from Tom makes me puke. The thing about skaters like Midori Ito and Tonya Harding was that they never took the attitide that it should only be about jumps and spins. Both of them, even Harding, tried to improve their style. They took the attitide that going above and beyond the call of duty in the jumps should earn them prizes. Flatt's coach is suggesting it's all about steady execution of tricks, no matter how janky they look.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Czisny is famous for her grace and her spins. Not at all consistent or accomplished internationally, but she could at least deliver a mesmerising performance once in a while (2009 Nationals short program, 2007 National long program etc). People always say - I can watch her spin and skate all day (as long as she doesn't jump...). How many have said that about Flatt?

    Nagasu has the word star quality written all over her. She is charismatic and captures people's attention, plus she has (or has the potential to have) everything a skating star and champion is supposed to have. She is getting there.

    Meissner was a tough one. At least she was World Champion and Skate America champion before she got to win Nationals. By that time she was the only legit choice as National champion and she backed it up by winning 4CCs a month later. She was also a solid skater and was on her way to become a mini star if her body and jumps had just held up. At least she got a name for herself during the era of Kwan and Cohen.

    What is there to admire about Flatt? What is there for little girls to look up to or learn from? She is the least talented US champion since a long time ago, and although she probably is one of the best competitiors, she is also the worst skater in a long time to be named US champion. Eww.

    ReplyDelete
  53. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  54. "What is there to admire about Flatt? What is there for little girls to look up to or learn from? She is the least talented US champion since a long time ago, and although she probably is one of the best competitiors, she is also the worst skater in a long time to be named US champion. Eww"

    There is so much a young girl can learn from Rachel than from any other female athletes out there. For one thing Rachel has amazed us by going full time school gaining good grades while maintaining as a world class figure skater. I don't know any other skater in this country and in other country can do that. Almost all or them at this level either quit school or go to so-called on line school (which don't learn much).
    Rachel has also proved to us that even one is not naturally talented, as long as she believes herself and work hard and right, dream big, she will be successful.
    I personally think we American should be very proud of having an athlete like Rachel to represent our country.
    My daughter is a beautiful and talented skater, but Rachel is definitely her role model.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Who has Rachael amazed?

    ReplyDelete
  56. See, that just PROVES AJ's original point. You (Anon 6:48) can't point to anything about her skating that's really commendable. Instead, you fall into the tired, old "Rachael is oh-so-smart and a skater, too!" trap. Figure skating is not an academic quiz bowl, it's a sport. One where style and artistry are important. Rachael, um, kinda lacks those things. If she knew she lacked them, she might be able to make some fixes. But for now, her skating remains boring and tired. Intelligence is great, but honestly, nobody really cares about that when you look like a hot mess out there on the ice.

    ReplyDelete
  57. brg09 - come on now - be nice to Jody

    ReplyDelete