Outdoor Nationals is over. Well it came and went. Congratulations to everyone that made the US World Team. Like last year I must stress that making the world team should not be the end of it, it's simply a formality the goal should have been and be the entire time the World Championships. What that means is after Indoor Nationals, almost everyone in the skating community will be taking it easier maybe going on vacation or returning to technical work with their skating but there should still be 24 skaters working harder then they did prior to Outdoor and Indoor Nationals! If you normally practice with one or more of these skaters after Indoor Nationals skate some extra practice to give them motivation and make sure they are training harder then before! This year more then others we have six people for every team but after watching ODN every division was dominated by 2-4 skaters which means there are a few world team members that need to work even harder.
Here's a quick run-down of some good thing/ bad thing for each division at ODN:
Good Thing: Erin Jackson may be one of the best competitors in a long time. She'll skate any distance or race with the intent set on winning which should rub off on some of the other girls and definitely the team as a whole. The team members from last year look to be in great shape this year and if they keep training then that could spell great things for them. Just about all six of the girls are capable of skating every distance and there are no true specialist which allows six women to push each other during every aspect of racing.
Bad Thing: Watching ODN the junior ladies division (and senior ladies division for that matter) did not seem like the competitors really needed to be aggressive but at worlds everyone needs to be capable of being aggressive so it will be interesting to see which girls can be when the appropriate time comes.
Good Thing: four men showed up in phenomenal shape capable of winning every single race.. if they keep the training up it will only make everyone stronger and allow them to have the absolute strongest two competitors in every race. If they keep the training intensity up then they will make life way easier for each other. The other two competitors have a little extra work to do because they are more of specialist but if they keep training harder then they are capable of it.
Bad Thing: It seems like everyone likes about one person on the team and is content with not getting along with the others. There is not one person on the team that will not need the help of the other five. If they learn to work together they can be very dangerous when paired but getting to that point could give the coaches some work.
Good Thing: They have strong competitors on their team and two medalist in Sara and Bri they not only went to Outdoor Nationals with the idea of making the world team but did not settle for anything less then breaking records which shows they want to be the very best.
Bad Thing: Ten competitors as a field for a world team is so poor. 80% of the participants get to say they are part of the World Team.. the senior ladies division needs more competitors plain and simple. Even if we have the top six (eight with alternates) senior ladies they still need to be used to racing against a pack or a field instead of a group of 2-3 skaters.
Good Thing: Any time you have the best athlete on your world team, it's a good thing. You have five out of six skaters have won a world medal and 3 of them have been individually which allows you to be confident everyone knows exactly what it takes to be the best.
Bad Thing: Three of the six athletes will be competing in their first senior world championship which makes the team as a whole a bit younger. Again, not quite the numbers you would wish for, in the cream of the crop division (world class).