It's amazing to think of it now, but I disliked both Yagudin and Plushenko when they first came on the scene. At the time, I felt both of them had little to offer but jumps and that both of them made it onto the podium at Worlds far too quickly.
With Yagudin, I changed my mind pretty fast. I became a fan of his during the Nagano Olympics, when he skated so well despite having the flu. I admired his courage and competitive spirit. Then the next year at Worlds, I was blown away by his brilliant Lawrence of Arabia program. Now, of course, I think he's one of the all-time greats.
With Plushenko, it took a little longer. The turning point was actually his Sex Bomb program! That number was just so outrageous, yet he managed to pull it off and make you laugh. I had to admire a guy with the confidence and sense of humor to do a number like that. Once I started to appreciate Plush's style, I became a big fan. Also, seeing Plush skate live, in person, made a big difference. When I saw him live, I was able to fully appreciate the power, flair, and charisma he has on the ice.
Other skaters whom I didn't like initially, but grew to appreciate very, very much over the years, include Todd Eldredge, Klimova & Ponomarenko, Yuka Sato, and Ilia Kulik.
There are also, unfortunately, a number of skaters whom I disliked from the beginning and never was able to warm up to. Even though I know they're very talented, I just didn't personally like their skating. In this group would be Irina Slutskaya, Tara Lipinski, Maria Butyrskaya, Grishuk & Platov, Krylova & Ovsiannikov, Fusar-Poli & Margaglio, and Moniotte & Lavanchy, among others.