It was sad to watch...Rachael Flatt totally tanking in the free skate after a less than great short program. Then we learn after the fact that she had a stress fracture...diagnosed on April 22nd.
The question is...should Rachael Flatt have immediately decided at that moment to quick call Mirai Nagasu and say "I'm under the weather...get thee to Moscow!" A conundrum indeed...
To add to the intrigue, Frank Caroll piped up yesterday and said of his student "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. She was doing triple axels and triple lutz - triple loop in practice. She was ready to go." He continued "This cost us three spots." He even went further when Phil Hersh pressed him on the fact that Nagasu's presence at the competition couldn't necessarily guarantee three U.S. berths next season "She blew those other American girls (Flatt and Czisny) out of the water at Four Continents."
Tom Zakrajsek contends that Rachael was capable of doing all the elements in both her short and free and that is why they made the decision to come to Moscow. Over the course of two shoddy skates and and a couple press conferences the news slowly came out that she was injured and then eye brows were raised.
From my perspective, Rachael, injured or not, had the right to skate in Moscow. She outskated Mirai in Greensboro and earned her spot fair and square. I personally think she shouldn't have gone to Moscow but there is no rule in place that says she has to withdraw so I guess that's where it is. She could of been the bigger person here and put U.S. Figure Skating ahead of her wants/hopes...sad she didn't.
It brings up the bigger question however, should U.S. Figure Skating have a mechanism in place that automatically forces the withdrawal of a skater from major championships if there is a known injury that could affect performance? Food for thought...