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Reconnoitring at Lake Arrowhead

by George Rossano

Osgood-Schlatter Disease

Osgood-Schlatter disease, really isn't a disease.  It is a not uncommon condition of adolescents (and more common in young athletes) where the leg bones temporarily grow faster than the rest of the structures in the leg and causes the patella tendon to put a great deal of stress on the top of the tibia.  At a minimum this causes a great deal of pain in the knee.  It also can cause micro fractures where the tendon attaches to the top of the tibia, and in extreme cases of overstress, the patella tendon can detach from the tibia.  In most cases this condition resolves itself as the person grows and the growth plates in the tibia close.  Some athletes try and work through the pain while others take time off (often at least a year) to allow their bodies to adjust as they grow.

(1 December 2012)  With a rare weekend at home here in Lake Arrowhead, I had time to check out some of the training sessions at the Ice Castle Training Center.  It was a good weekend for that, with several elite skaters and some of the up-and-coming local skaters on the ice during the sessions I visited.

I was most impressed by Tatsuki Machida who trains here with Anthony Liu.  Machida ended up fourth in the Grand Prix standings and will be off to Sochi for the final in a few days.  Machida was on two of the sessions I observed, and was the hardest working skater on the ice.  He looked like someone truly dedicated to being the best he can be for the final.  He was working all the jumps successfully and also polishing the choreography with Phillip Mills.  He did several run through, leaving none of the  connecting moves out.  I wish more of the American skaters on the ice were training as hard core as he was.

The skater who next most impressed me with his skating and his work ethic was the U.S.'s Nathan Chen.  Chen was first in his Grand Prix assignment in Austria but had to withdraw from the Junior Grand Prix in Croatia.  He also withdrew from at least two local competitions this season as well.  He is dealing with Osgood-Schlatter disease which has complicated his training this season.  He worked some of his jumps but was not flogging them for obvious reason.  Nevertheless, he was all business for the sessions I was there, working spins and choreography.  When it came to attitude and dedication he and Machida were the two "winners" in that department.

Towards the ends of the sessions Chen did a couple of run through of his Short Program.  Because he did not compete locally this year, this was my first chance to see the program.  He left out the jumps but did everything else.  I liked the program -- with good music, nicely laid out, with mature interpretation and presentation.  You know when a program with no jumps holds your attention, the skater is on to something, and Chen held my attention.  He has 7 weeks to get ready for Nationals, and if his body does not betray him, he should give Joshua Farris a run for his money.

Friday night Mirai Nagasu and Adam Rippon were working jumps at the session I visited.  Nagasu's triples are a lot cleaner and more secure than they were earlier in the season.  Rippon was working triple Axels, which were mainly there, though the combination (with double toe loop) was inconsistent.  He was also working triple Lutz - half loop - triple Salchow with success, though this (and all his jumps) really need to be a be higher so he has more time in the air.

On Saturday, Nagasu was working other elements while I was there, mainly spins and her step sequences, which were nicely done.  I hardly noticed what Rippon was doing.  There were so many other skaters working more interesting things that he kind of slipped from my attention.  Neither of these two skaters did full run throughs during the time I was there.  Not a good approach  for getting ready for Nationals in my opinion, but what do I know.

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