This is pretty telling, considering Frank Carroll is one of the top ice skating coaches in the US, including coaching the one and only Michelle Kwan!
Mirai Nagasu, who is about to turn 19 was the 2008 U.S. champion and the highest U.S. women’s finisher at the 2010 Olympics (fourth). Since the Olympics, her skating has progressively deteriorated: last season, she lost a spot on the world team by utterly botching a simple element in her free skate and finishing third at the U.S. Championships; this season, she was a non-competitive seventh at nationals, a whopping 24 points behind winner Ashley Wagner.
“Last year, she was devastated by not qualifying for worlds,” Yuki Saegusa, her manager, said. “This year, she was just mad.
When Carroll stopped coaching at the Toyota Sports Center near Los Angeles airport and moved to a rink in Cathedral City so he could be closer to his home in Palm Springs, it left Nagasu (and her mother, who drove) with a four-hour commute two days a week. She worked with a variety of other coaches (and trained some days on her own) at rinks closer to her home in Arcadia the other days.
“I asked her recently if she still loved to skate and told her there was no reason to continue if she didn’t. She said she still loved it and wanted to do it – but closer to home. Now I want her to prove it.”
Carroll became increasingly frustrated with Nagasu’s work habits the last two years.
“Because I have been raised by Asian parents in an American culture, I struggle a little bit with balancing the two,” she said.
“Sometimes my parents want to push me harder and want me to work harder. They will say something is not good enough, and it gets into my mind that it is not good enough, and it does bother me. But my emotions also make me the passionate skater I am.”
Well we hope to see her at the next Winter Olympics!