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Thread: Compulsory School Figures

  1. #16
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    Personally I felt that many skaters have had beautiful edges and movements that matched the music perfectly. In fact, many skaters are great at musical interpretation when they don't have to do triple jumps
    .

    Certainly many skaters have had great basics and the best of them combine that with a unique personal style. When that happens, we get to watch something that can't be duplicated or surpassed. Curry, Cranston, and the Protopopovs would be other good examples. Janet made her skating her own. Really, how can anyone out "Lynn" Lynn?

    Janet did do a few triples in competition, but it's a bit unfair to judge her technically outside her competitive era.


    [ I have seen a lot of Janet's programs (albeit very grainy video) and I just don't think she's worth the hype that she gets. Michelle has long surpassed Janet Lynne and I would bet that if Janet Lynn had to do a bunch of triple jumps, her programs would start to resemble Michelle's.
    .
    You may not have liked Lynn's style and that's your right. Michelle has developed a style of her own and it's hers and not a thing to be surpassed. However Michelle has been cutting corners for several years now. She's too good to be doing that. It's both frustrating and sad.

    Dorothy Hamill's Olympic program held up great over time and was far better than anything that I've seen Janet skate.
    I enjoyed Dorothy's skating in 1976. I watched her long program again over 25 years later. She had the beautiful carriage and the smooth flowing movements that I had remembered. However, I was a bit shocked that she had won with that empty program. Crossovers were the whole basis to the program. If it weren't for a couple of walleys, split jumps, her camel and scratch the last section of her program would have been pretty empty. I had to do a major memory readjustment when I saw that again.

  2. #17
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    [QUOTE=mememe]I do wish people would stop propigating this myth. You can NOT say who would have won ANY competition that included figures by simply eliminating the results of the figures and counting the results of the other phases. There WERE figures, they were a part of the competition that EVERY competitor knew were a part of the competition.

    Hey,, let's take a tape of a college basketball game back in the early 1980s and draw a 3-point line on the court. And hey, let's also include a 45- (or is it now 35-)second shot clock, too. Now, let's total up the score from that game with all shots taken from 19 feet, 9 inches or more now counting 3 points rather than two, and any shot taken after a non-existent (then) shot clock would have expired, and figure out who would have won the game -- and, just to make it fun, let's take a whole YEAR of games and decide who should have been the NCAA champion "under today's rules."

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Have you finished your sermon? You really need to realize that people have opinions, and yours isn't the only one. What I wrote was that if the school figures were not part of the 1984 Olympic competition, and Orser won both short and long as he did in Sarajevo - he would have won the gold medal.

    I was NOT bashing Hamilton, for Heaven's sakes. However, the media at that time really tore into him for his long program. The "New York Times' labeled it as "subdued, flawed and tentative." Ouch.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by soogar
    I have way more respect for Trixi Schuba's figures than I do for Janet Lynn's free skating. People have long surpassed what Janet Lynn has done on the ice as a free skater, but I don't think anyone had been able to surpass what Trixi had done in school figures. Tracing those things are hard as he!!. I personally feel that even without school figures, Janet Lynn wouldn't have won an Olympic or World title anyway. She couldn't do elements under pressure. Ironically, the only World title Midori Ito ever won was the 1989 title when she had to compete figures. Once they abolished figures, Midori couldn't handle the pressure. She finished 4th in 1991 and second in the Olympics falling on a triple lutz in the SP.
    Shuba's figures were special and in that era, Shuba deserved her win and she showed it in her exhibition as champion. She was a good sport.

    Lynn's skating in the same era, was one of flow over the ice but she didn't start that. It was Tenley Albright who first began to put some lyrical style into figure skating which, of course was followed by Flemming. I give full credit of lyrical skating to Albright and Flemming otherwise we would be doing the cutsey Henie style with dimples or the heavy technical a la Heiss.

    IMO, Lynne falls in with the lyrical Flemming; Tara with the cutsey Henie, and Irina with powerful Heiss.

    And I agree different eras produce more exceptional skaters later but without a beginning there would not be today's exceptional skaters. And I'm not talking about triple lutzes. That's a trick. If Heiss was in this era I would expect her to be doing a quad.

    Joe
    Last edited by Joesitz; 08-03-2005 at 07:50 PM.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doggygirl
    I'm not sure what year it changed, but I believe there was a time when there was a total point score awarded for figures and free skating so a "huge lead" after figures was represented in actual points like NJS, not ordinals like 6.0. A smarter historian than me will have to fill in the gaps on what year that changed.

    DG
    I'm not smarter nor a historian, but I think the change to ordinals rather than a point system (in which you could build up huge leads in figures) change about the 1981-82 season, after Poetzch won the 1980 Olympic gold despite not winning the short program nor the long program (I can't remember for sure who won the short program, may have been Frantianne, but I do know Denise Biellmann won the long program and both Fratianne and Biellmann did, I think, finish ahead of Poetsch in both the SP and LP, but she had a big lead in figures and held on to win overall). Of course, that change didn't mean you still couldn't build up a big lead in figures (as proven in 1984, when Hamilton did the same thing as Poetzch) -- it just meant that you now needed to win figures by a certain number of places rather than by a certain number of points (which varied as figures became worth a smaller and smaller percentage). And since there continued to be great figures skaters that weren't much on the free skate end, a good-to-excellent free skater who could finish in the top 2-3 in figures could usually build a decent lead over other great free skaters who weren't as good at figures. It simply paid to be good at ALL aspects of the sport.

    I kinda miss figures, too -- they were a unique aspect of the sport.

    Ptichka -- you're right, it's not just in sports where people try to "rewrite" history by changing the rules. It just bugs me particularly in skating! I guess in part because it tends to not only "diminish" the accomplishment of the person who won, but also diminishes the accomplishments of the one who is being "awarded" the victory by the rule change. For example, in the case of Orser, people keep trying to award him the 1984 Olympics and 1984, 86 and 88 World titles (and 1988 Olympics, too) by putting those competitions under different rules. To me, not only does that attempt to "diminish" the accomplishments of Hamilton and Boitano, who won the titles in those years, but it also is basically wiping out the incredible career and accomplishments of Orser, too. WHY does one need to concentrate on the gold medals he DIDN'T win rather than celebrate and appreciate him for the gold medals -- and medals of silver and bronze -- that he DID win? Orser IS an eight-time Canadian champion, world champion, two-time Olympic silver medalist (he went to two Olympics, medaled in both, quite an accomplishment!) and six-time world medalist, and also has a bundle of what would now be considered Grand Prix medals. He doesn't NEED any artificial titles. But rather than being remembered and described as what he IS, he is unfortunately often relegated to being an also-ran who "WOULD BE a two-time Olympic champion and four-number World champion IF THE RULES HAD BEEN yadayadayada."

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by SusanBeth
    Both Janet Lynn and Karen Magnussen have stated that Schuba won her Gold medal fair and square. I miss that kind of sportmanship. I do agree that Schuba was the rightful winner. She played by the rules and won. I, too, remembered her as being very clunky. I recently saw her skate from 67 or 68 worlds.and she was just very, very ordinary and plain.
    Yes, Janet Lynn and Karen Magnussen were wonderful sportsmen, and they said that Trixi won her World and Olympic titles fairly and squarely. Nobody is disputing that fact. However, Trixi was a very mediocre free skater, and the comparison between her, Lynn, Magnussen, and Holmes was glaring in that aspect of the sport.

    It's too bad that the school figures weren't also televised in detail - and explained in detail. Perhaps then some of the fans - myself included -- would have had an easier time accepting Schuba's victories. Trixi was a master at the school figures - perhaps the greatest school figure skater of all time.

    And I certainly admire the years of work and effort it took to develop that mastery.
    All those long hours skating patches, probably at pre-dawn. That kind of dedication is outstanding.

  6. #21
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    With all due respect to Timothy Goebel, IMHO, if he had trained in the school figures, he would have a far, far better posture, a straight back, and no slouch.

  7. #22
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    I agree! It's amazing how much that combination of skaters helped change the sport. I don't think televising figures would have worked. The people with that kind of interest in it were few. I think you have to be a true fanatic to watch figures and not have your eyes glaze over. It might have wound up costing fans.

    I always thought Magnussen got the short end of the stick. She was probably the best all around skater.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by SusanBeth
    I agree! It's amazing how much that combination of skaters helped change the sport. I don't think televising figures would have worked. The people with that kind of interest in it were few. I think you have to be a true fanatic to watch figures and not have your eyes glaze over. It might have wound up costing fans.

    I always thought Magnussen got the short end of the stick. She was probably the best all around skater.
    Absolutely! You really had to be a die-hard skating fan to watch the school figures competition. Think of the judges - going on their hands and knees to eyeball the tracings.

    Karen Magnussen was an outstanding skater. She had the misfortune of sharing the ice with Trixi. I'm glad she stayed on for another year and won the 1973 World title.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by SusanBeth
    . enjoyed Dorothy's skating in 1976. I watched her long program again over 25 years later. She had the beautiful carriage and the smooth flowing movements that I had remembered. However, I was a bit shocked that she had won with that empty program. Crossovers were the whole basis to the program. If it weren't for a couple of walleys, split jumps, her camel and scratch the last section of her program would have been pretty empty. I had to do a major memory readjustment when I saw that again.
    I've seen countless replays of Dorothy Hamill's 1976 Olympic long program. She started out strongly, but as I saw it, she omitted one or two jumps in the final minute of her program. The final half minute or so was decidedly void of technical content. Hamill really cut back on her long program at the 1976 US Nationals. She had a comfortable lead going into the long program, and she chose to omit several of her key jumps. Her coach, Carlo Fassi, stood at the rink, and he screamed at her "Where's the flip?" At that same competition,
    15-year-old Linda Fratianne won the silver medal with a long program that included two triple jumps, something few women landed at that time. I remember reading press reports of how "Hamill was given the title on a plate by the judges." While that might not be true, it was obvious that the judges wanted Hamill to go into the Olympics as the national champion.

  10. #25
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    [QUOTE=SkateFan4Life]
    Quote Originally Posted by mememe
    I do wish people would stop propigating this myth. You can NOT say who would have won ANY competition that included figures by simply eliminating the results of the figures and counting the results of the other phases. There WERE figures, they were a part of the competition that EVERY competitor knew were a part of the competition.

    Hey,, let's take a tape of a college basketball game back in the early 1980s and draw a 3-point line on the court. And hey, let's also include a 45- (or is it now 35-)second shot clock, too. Now, let's total up the score from that game with all shots taken from 19 feet, 9 inches or more now counting 3 points rather than two, and any shot taken after a non-existent (then) shot clock would have expired, and figure out who would have won the game -- and, just to make it fun, let's take a whole YEAR of games and decide who should have been the NCAA champion "under today's rules."

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Have you finished your sermon? You really need to realize that people have opinions, and yours isn't the only one. What I wrote was that if the school figures were not part of the 1984 Olympic competition, and Orser won both short and long as he did in Sarajevo - he would have won the gold medal.

    I was NOT bashing Hamilton, for Heaven's sakes. However, the media at that time really tore into him for his long program. The "New York Times' labeled it as "subdued, flawed and tentative." Ouch.
    Well, I never felt I was sermonizing -- I figured I was stating my opinion, just as you were stating yours.

    I never said you were "bashing" Scott Hamilton. Scott's short and long programs in 1984 were both sub-par, no argument there, and Orser deservingly beat him in both of those phases of the competition. My opinion, which I guess I have a right to, is differed from yours when you said, [QUOTE] Had there not been school figures, Orser would have won the title. [UNQUOTE]

    That seemed a pretty straightforward opinion that Orser lost because of figures and that he absolutely he would have won that particular competition without them. That's your opinion, and that's fine. My opinion is simply different. I believe that Orser lost because of how he and Hamilton skated all three phases of the competition, and there's no guarantee the final two phases would have happened the same without the first phase as a part of that. He might have won, he might not have, but I don't think it's a given Orser "would have won" the 1984 Olympic gold medal if there hadn't been figures.

    If all you were going for was to say that in any SP-LP only competition, the person who wins the SP and the LP would win overall -- well, I agree with that.

    Sorry if I ruffled your feathers. I wasn't trying to do that -- I have enjoyed your reminisces and looks back. I have simply gotten very tired of the "so-and-so would have won" under whatever
    different circumstances people can come up with. And I guess I think it's still more accurate and correct to observe that figures affected the outcome of every event in which they were a part of the competition, rather than using the what has become to me very tired mantra of "Orser would have won without figures."

    You chose to state your opinion one way, I chose to state mine in another way. Sorry mine offended you. I'll try to think twice or three times before I hit the send button next time.

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkateFan4Life
    I've seen countless replays of Dorothy Hamill's 1976 Olympic long program. She started out strongly, but as I saw it, she omitted one or two jumps in the final minute of her program. The final half minute or so was decidedly void of technical content. Hamill really cut back on her long program at the 1976 US Nationals. She had a comfortable lead going into the long program, and she chose to omit several of her key jumps. Her coach, Carlo Fassi, stood at the rink, and he screamed at her "Where's the flip?" At that same competition,
    15-year-old Linda Fratianne won the silver medal with a long program that included two triple jumps, something few women landed at that time. I remember reading press reports of how "Hamill was given the title on a plate by the judges." While that might not be true, it was obvious that the judges wanted Hamill to go into the Olympics as the national champion.

    The main thing I remembered from 1976 Nationals was seeing Fratianne for the first time. I was very impressed by her triple jumps! Button kept calling her a firecracker, but her jumps did seem to pop into the air. I don't recall ever being as impressed by her skating again.

    I also remember being stunned by her costume. If memory serves and sometimes it doesn't, she was definitely well feathered! She was the one who started the Going-to-the-Olympics-via-Vegas fashion trend. The sequin industry must have loved her.

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by SusanBeth
    The main thing I remembered from 1976 Nationals was seeing Fratianne for the first time. I was very impressed by her triple jumps! Button kept calling her a firecracker, but her jumps did seem to pop into the air. I don't recall ever being as impressed by her skating again.

    I also remember being stunned by her costume. If memory serves and sometimes it doesn't, she was definitely well feathered! She was the one who started the Going-to-the-Olympics-via-Vegas fashion trend. The sequin industry must have loved her.
    Yes, I remember Dick Button referring to Linda Fratianne as a "firecracker". She was just that when she burst into the scene, as she performed two triples in her long program. Hamill never had triples in her programs, and most of the women of her era had few, if any triples as well.

    Fratianne's costumes were definitely fashion statements. She was from southern California, and her dresses had "Hollywood" all over them - flashy colors, sequins, feathers, etc. She wore them beautifully, IMHO.

  13. #28
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    Didn't Bob Mackie design Linda's costumes?

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eeyora
    Didn't Bob Mackie design Linda's costumes?
    Good question. I think you may be right on that one. Linda's costumes definitely had the "Hollywood look".

  15. #30
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    I really admire the wonderful skaters of past days who worked for years to perfect - or at least become proficient - in the school figures. It took years to master the intricate patterns, and it must have taken an incredible amount of dedication and concentration to spend those umpteen hours skating patches i the pre-dawn hours.

    I recall seeing footage of Midori Ito practicing the school figures - one of those bio pieces aired at the 1990 Worlds broadcast - the last Worlds in which the figures were contested. Her face was a picture of concentration, and although the figures were the least favorite aspect of skating for Ito, she practiced and practiced and practiced to master them.

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