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Thread: Great Competitive Programs

  1. #1
    SkateFan4Life
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    Great Competitive Programs

    There have been numerous outstanding, memorable, top-notch competitive programs that our favorite skaters have delivered over the years, much to our delight. A few of these, in my view, are:

    1996 US Nationals - Rudy Galindo's glorious long program that won him the title. Rudy's triple axel/triple toe and triple lutz/triple toe combinations were the class of the field, as was his superb line, edge, flow, and choregraphy. His spins were gorgeous - a layback spin, a "shotgun" spin, spread eagles, extensions, etc. Dick Button practically gushed throughout the program, and even he was impressed at Rudy's skating. To skate so well in your home town, before your friends, fans, and neighbors was such a thrill, and it was made even more sweet because so many folks had written Rudy off as a lost cause, as far as a singles skater is concerned. While Rudy and Kristi Yamaguchi won two US pairs titles, he floundered as a singles skater after Yamaguchi broke up their partnership in 1990. Rudy was close to calling it quits, but decided to compete for one more year. And what a performance at the Nationals! The crowd was going crazy, as was Rudy's sister/coach. When they sat in the kiss 'n cry area, the crowd screamed and chanted, "Six! Six! Six!". And, indeed, Rudy did receive several 6.0s for presentation. What a triumph!!! What wonderful interpretation of "Swan Lake"!!

    1996 US Nationals - Michelle Kwan's long program, skated to "Salome", was a breakthrough routine for her, as it marked the dawn of her emergence as a beautiful artist as well as a gifted technical skater. Michelle's blossoming into a lovely young woman, and her interpretive skill was amazing. She soared through her jumps, she played the role of "Salome" to the max, and she left no doubt in anyone's minds that she was going to become the next US champion. She skated the same great routine at the Worlds and won her first World title. A fantastic skate for an extraordinary then-15-year-old!!!

    1988 Winter Olympics - Elizabeth Manley's terrific long program, skated to lively selections including "Canadian Concerto". She soared through her five clean, right-on-the-money triple jumps, including a triple lutz, and she won the long program. Liz should have won the gold medal with that skate, in my opinion, but the combined scores of school figures, short and long programs left her in second place. The crowd went crazy, and celebrated her wonderful long program and excellent placement. Liz was another skater who had so much talent but who had never quite managed to put it all together until 1988 - and what a moment to put it all together!! I get goosebumps whenever I watch a reply of Elizabeth's long program. You go, girl!!


    The "Battle of the Brians" at the 1988 Winter Olympics was, in my opinion, one of the finest competitions ever in the history of men's Olympic figure skating. Brian Boitano skated the long program of his life, with two clean triple axels, one in combination, his towering 'Tano Lutz, a neat triple flip/triple toe combination, a huge death drop spin, and a spread eagle on a harrowing outside edge. What a moment to skate the best competitive program of your life!! It won Brian the gold medal, fairly and squarely. That year Boitano emerged with greatly improved artistic skills to enhance his already solid technical skills. He was a complete skater, and it showed with that performance.

    Brian Orser also skated a fantastic long program and won the silver medal. Brian's program had two minor flaws - a stumble on a triple flip and a triple axel that was reduced to a double axel. Artistically, it was excellent, but not quite up to the technical standard of Boitano, and as the technical mark was the tiebreaker in those days, Boitano won the gold medal.

    Boitano and Orser were shining examples of class, talent, and good sportsmanship. I'm sure Orser was devastated at losing the gold medal by such a narrow margin, but he graciously congratulated Boitano on the podium. And for his part, Boitano was a gracious winner - no showboating or patting himself on the back.

    Thanks for the memories, Brians!!

    1989 Worlds - Midori Ito's long program. Midori Ito became the first woman to land a triple axel at Worlds, and it was a bravado performance. Bold and brilliant, all the way. Triple lutz, axel, flip, triple toe/triple toe, loop, etc. Midori had made noticeable strides on her presentation skills, and she skated with a lot of expression and personality to go masterfully with her powerful jumping.

    Midori received five 6.0s for technical merit. I remember that the crowd in Paris screamed an cheered when the marks were announced. She received all 5.8s and 5.9s for presentation, and she won the gold medal convincingly. When Midori left the rink after her performance, she was crying tears of happiness.
    What a lovely moment!!

  2. #2
    SkateFan4Life
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    Come on, guys, I just barely tipped the iceberg in writing about great competitive programs. Surely you have a few to share with all of us!

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    Michelle Kwan-1998 Nationals Long: Lyra Angelica. She skated so alive so free. It's hard to discribe how wonderful Michelle made me feel when I was watching her skate that day. It was like she was my guardian angel lifting my spirits from years of deep depression even if I didn't know I needed her until the moment she began to skate. Michelle was never my favorite skater (She's my 5th favorite in history actually) so It wasn't the fact that I'm an obsess Michelle fan even if it sounds like it . This was real for me. The only time I've ever felt that way watching someone perform. Even from watching Kristi or Katia&Sergi.

    Sasha Cohen-2004 Worlds short: Malaguena. Dazzlingly, exquisite and powerful. It was Sasha screaming I can skate a clean powerful program at words even if it's just damn short program! (Sasha is my favorite current skater.).
    Last edited by tarotx; 09-01-2005 at 08:56 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkateFan4Life
    Come on, guys, I just barely tipped the iceberg in writing about great competitive programs. Surely you have a few to share with all of us!
    OK, here's my 3 cents

    1996 Worlds, Lu Chen, LP - Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto #2, Second Movement: To this day I think she should have won over Michelle. This program had everything - beautiful choreography, difficult jumps, great music, etc. This is one program I coudl watch over and over again.

    1995 Nationals, Nicole Bobek, LP - Doctor Zhivago: If Nicole could have maintined the focus she had here until 98, she might have been the Olympic champion. Another program with great music, magnificent choreography, and difficult jumps.

    1998 Olympics, Ilia Kulik, LP - Rhapsody In Blue: Forget the giraffe shirt - he had 8 triples and a quad.

    1999 Worlds, Alexei Yagudin, LP - Lawrence of Arabia: Another masterpiece from Tarasova.

    1987 Worlds, Katarina Witt, LP - West Side Story: She had to skate right after defending champion Debi Thomas, who gave her best performance in over a year, in Cincinnati. Katarina delivered and won her title back along with the crowd.

    1992 Nationals, Kristi Yamaguchi, LP - Malaguena: She was the reigning World Champion, yet still had not won Nationals. Her performance here, which included a great triple salchow (her nemesis) along with 6 other triples, ensured it was now a part of her resume.

    1990 Europeans, Gordeeva/Grinkov, LP - Romeo & Juliet: They had to come from behind because of a mistake in the short. They landed SBS triple toes - the only time I know of they ever did this move.

    Herm (sk8ngnutt)

  5. #5
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    Kurt Browning's Casablanca Worlds 93, Olympics 94. Nothing compares IMHO.

  6. #6
    Shen & Zhao's Nutcracker. That has to be the most perfect Pairs program I have ever seen.

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    Matt Savoie~Soul Skater CzarinaAnya's Avatar
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    Anytime Alexei Yagudin performed his, "Winter", SP in the 2001/02 season.

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    Michelle Kwan's "Red Violin", Worlds '00

    Irina's free skate, Worlds '05/Rudy Galindo's '96 Nats FS -- great skates capping off the great "feel good story" of the year.

  9. #9
    bugs are smarter than we are bronxgirl's Avatar
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    Torville and Dean's Bolero from the 84 Olympics (The only Dance pair I can say I have truly loved)

  10. #10
    SkateFan4Life
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    I have to add Tonya Harding's winning long program at the 1991 US Nationals, in which she became the first American woman to land a triple axel. Her long was bold, brilliant, and powerful. Seven gorgeous triple jumps, landed with confidence and conviction, and good choreography, too.

    This program was a loud slam-dunk in the faces of people who then criticized her - at that time only for the fact that she was raised on the wrong side of the tracks, that she was a bit of a rebel and not the typical goody-two-shoes that US champions are supposed to be.

    With all the bad things Harding did in the years following 1991, she certainly did have a few moments in the sun.

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    Gritchuk/Platov's "Memorial Requiem" - 1998 Olympics. Amazing performance.

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    Berezhnaya-Sikharulidze:

    Lady Caliph SP at the 2002 Olympics
    Citylights (Chaplin) at 2001 COR
    Dark Eyes at 1998 GPF was spectacular.

    Also Mishkutenok-Dmitriev's Rachmaninoff LP at the 1994 Olympics

    G&G- 1988 Oly & 1989 worlds

    Yagudin MITIM at 2002 Oly
    Plushenko 2003 GPF (St.Petersburg300) and 2001 worlds (Once upon a time in America)
    Kulik's Rhapsody in blue- 1998 Oly
    Weir at NHK 2004 (Otonal)

    K&P's Bach FD at 1992 Oly
    G&P's Arabian in 1997 and Memorial in 1998

    Irina's LP at 2005 worlds
    Michelle at 2001 worlds (SOFBS)

    There are lots more.
    Last edited by Vash01; 09-07-2005 at 12:30 AM.

  13. #13
    Figure Skating Is A Dangerous Sport Dee4707's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CzarinaAnya
    Anytime Alexei Yagudin performed his, "Winter", SP in the 2001/02 season.
    ITA, and also his Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator and Man in the Iron Mask.

    Dee

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    Tara Lipinski, "Sense & Sensibility" (1996-1997) - Whether you really liked this program or Tara's style, you have to admit that she had one terrific 96-97 season with this LP. She performed the heck out of it! She skated it flawlessly countless times and won Nationals, the Champion's Series Final, and Worlds with it.

    Maria Butirskaya, "Otonal" (1997-1999) - For Maria, this was a spectacular competitive program and it seemed to bring out the best in her. It allowed her (or helped anyway) to finally break through that barrier and start winning titles and medals at big events. She won two of her three European titles with this LP, not to mention World Gold and Bronze!

    More later when I have time..............

  15. #15
    Mr. Michelle Kwan Spirit's Avatar
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    Although I have never seen it (I'd like to), I have heard that Peggy Fleming's LP at 1968 Nationals in Philadelphia was one for the ages. In her autobiography, her description of performing this program is lovely; she said that the audience did not make a single sound until the final note of music had passed.

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