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Thread: Flashback to 1995 World Championships

  1. #1
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    Flashback to 1995 World Championships

    I recently viewed my videotape of the 1995 World Championships, which were held in Birmingham, England. What a superb competition!

    The Women:
    14-year-old Michelle Kwan skated two beautiful programs, error-free, and laden with triple jumps. At that stage of her career, Michelle was a skater who looked, and skated, like the young girl she was. She wore a cute pigtail and ingenue costumes. She did not wear makeup at that point, and she was such a young, fresh face on the ice. Michelle's artistry at that point was pretty much an undeveloped entity, and she looked like a young girl skating in a adult competition. The judges awarded her high technical marks, but they held her down in the presentation mark, as they, apparently, considered her to be not mature enough to be on the World podium. Sandra Bezic, commenting, said, "The only thing the judges can mark her down for is being fourteen." I concur with that assessment. Michelle seemed pleased with her marks and was happy with her fourth-place finish. However, it seemed (to me at least) that her coach, Frank Carroll, wasn’t happy with the results. Clearly, Carroll felt as though Michelle should have won a medal. One of the commentators asked Michelle if she thought it was fair that she finished out of the medals, and she graciously said she was very happy with her performance. Good for you, Michelle! You have always been a class act, IMHO.

    US champion Nicole Bobek won the short program and looked poised to win the World title, as she had a beautiful “Doctor Zhivago” program that was loaded with triples, mature choreography, and artistry. Nicole started out strongly but then made two errors in the second half of her program. Her two errors seemed to destroy her concentration, and she finished rather poorly. Poor Nicole. She was so upset, as she realized all too well that she had blown a golden opportunity. At least she received high enough marks to win the bronze medal. The cameras followed Nicole into the back area and filmed her crying her eyes out. Sheesh - enough, already (the cameras, I mean).

    I was really happy to see Chen Lu win her first World title. She skated two beautiful, beautiful (!) programs, and she won convincingly. She was overjoyed with her victory, and she cried tears of joy during the medal ceremony. Well done, Chen!

    France’s Suraya Bonaly won her third consecutive World silver medal. Without being unkind, I think that her skating was an embarrassment, from an artistic point of view. Just a lot of simple stroking to one end of the rink – JUMP – then stroking to the other end of the rink – JUMP – etc. Boring, boring, IMHO. At least this year Suraya did not yank the silver medal off her neck, as she had done the previous year. She told the media she was happy to have won a medal in this competition.

    The Men:
    Canada’s Elvis Stojko successfully defended his World title with some wonderfully strong, masculine skating. Lots of triples and lots of confidence. It appeared that the judges had finally “accepted” Elvis’ brand of skating – not the old school classical style – and gave him marks that reflected his excellence. Great job, Elvis!!

    The silver medal was won by Todd Eldredge, who skated two strong programs. In my opinion, the judges scored this competition just right, with Elvis first and Todd second. Todd looked as though he was very happy to be back on the World podium, after an absence of several years due to injury and illnesses.

    France’s Philippe Candeloro won the bronze medal with his typical flamboyant and somewhat technically flawed programs. Without a doubt, Philippe was a great favorite of the audience, and he certainly showed a lot of showmanship. Scott Davis of the US finished 7th at this Worlds. I always enjoyed Scott’s skating, particularly his terrific “West Side Story” long program that won him the 1993 and 1994 US titles. At Worlds, however, he always made several mistakes and finished out of the medals.

    The Pairs:
    Radka Kovarikova and Renee Novotny won the World title with two strong programs. Evgenia Shikkova and Vadim Naumov of Russia finished second, and Jenni Meno and Todd Sand of the US finished third.

    Ice Dance:
    Russian dancers Oksana Grishuk and Evgency Platov successfully defended their World dance title, with Susanna Rahkamo and Petri Kokko of Finland winning silver, and Sophie Moniotte and Pascal Lavanchy of France winning bronze.

    And after all these years, Michelle Kwan is still in the game. Everybody else mentioned above has either retired & left the sport, turned pro, or is coaching. Michelle carries the torch.....

    P.S. - The media had a field day over Nicole Bobek's brush with the law that occurred a few weeks prior to the US Nationals of 1995. Since it was just a year following the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan saga, the press was primed and ready to pounce on this story. The British tabloid newspapers had a field day with the story, but, thankfully, the story played out quickly, and the skating became the real news of the day.

  2. #2
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    "The cameras followed Nicole into the back area and filmed her crying her eyes out. Sheesh - enough, already (the cameras, I mean)"

    ITA, the cameras are always doing something like that. They did it to Irina after Worlds in '00 and '01; Angela after Nats '02, etc. I wish something could be done about it.

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    I actually saw this one, lol. This was a great Worlds, but it was such a shame for Nicole. Her SP was one of her best performances, and she started out so strongly in the LP with that 3flz/3t. I thought she might have it. But, then came the falls on the 3l and the 3s. What a missed opportunity!
    Chen Lu was in top form in the LP and certainly deserved the World title. Surya was great technically, but I thought this LP was actually a step (or a few steps) backwards from the season before. The music was so jarring and frantic. Michelle was brilliant, but still so young. I agree with her 3rd place finish in the LP. I did, however, have a problem with her finishing behind Surya Bonaly in the SP. Michelle completed the 3lz/2t and a 3f, while Surya had a touch down on the 3lz/2t. At any rate, it probably wouldn't have made a difference in the overall rankings. This was a good competition, though. All of the top 3 ladies in the LP skated very well.

  4. #4
    In my heart, I'm actually Canadian....
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    Michelle's free skate here may still be my all-time favorite Kwan performance, actually; naturally in the years since she has shown so much more artistry and maturity, but there is just something so carefree and fun about that performance in Birmingham, on top of the fact she just skated so flawlessly. What I loved about it especially was when she was on her way off the ice right after she was done and said to Frank Carroll "I was so nervous!!" . If only in ensuing years she was able to continue skating like that when she was nervous -- but then again, that's the difference between being a 14 year old on your way up and a 17 year old expected to win the OGM.

    As for Nicole, I was amazed at the brilliance of her short program and couldn't believe this was the same young lady who couldn't even get out of qualifying at the previous Worlds. And I'm so glad that Lulu, one of my all time favorites, won here, since it was sort of all downhill from there for her and I'm glad that she was able to get to the top of the podium at least once in her career.

    As to the men, pretty good faceoff between Elvis and Todd; I remember being a bit annoyed at the 6 that Elvis received for TM in his long. He FELL on the quad attempt, after all; there should have been a rule in place that if you fall, you don't get a 6.

    It was good to see Kovarikova & Novotny win Pairs; I'm always in favor of, at least every now and then, having someone from a country other than the Usual Suspects get to the top.

    The dance competition I have tried to block out of my memory for the most part. This was one of those seasons where there were so many ISU regulations against doing anything even remotely interesting that the free dances were just a major snore. Except for one couple. This was the first time I ever saw Shae-Lynn and Vic skate, and I was absolutely completely blown away. They were absolutely fantastic; I truly thought (it's even written down in my "performance critique noteook" that I am referring to at the moment) I was watching the next Torvill & Dean. Well, they never quite made it that far, but.... I also remember, the following year, when the free dances overall were even WORSE, when Shae-Lynn & Vic took the ice (last) I was like, Oh, my God, I am SO glad to see you two!!

  5. #5
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    I was so happy with Lu Lu I wanted her to win so bad after she withdrew the previous year.

    Michelle was awsome!! It was the first time she made me cry. She landed jump after jump. I would have definitely had her in front of Bonaly but her best was yet to come. After all. It was the low marks that motivated Frank Carroll to choose Salome which transformed Michelle into one of the greats.

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    Great review!

    Rondo is also one of my favorite MK programs. My favorite part is when she lands her 2nd 3z and has the biggest smile on her face and goes into a spread eagle and you can just see her shoulders slowly relaxing. Aww, such a sweet performance. From as early as 14, one could see she'd be a champion.

  7. #7
    Tripping on the Podium
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    This is the year that I became a die hard Todd Eldredge fan. He had fallen on his second triple axel in the long program, but added it back in at the very end of his program. That took guts! What gets me is, he landed it better than he did the first one that he put in combination. Awesome performance after all the problems that he had, but he was finally back on the world podium again, and he remained there every year he competed, until he retired from eligible competition.

  8. #8
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    ITA, the cameras are always doing something like that. They did it to Irina after Worlds in '00 and '01; Angela after Nats '02, etc. I wish something could be done about it.[/QUOTE]

    I never saw Irina crying.. Do you it was only on the american TV and not on the european ones. Because I dont remember this, neither in Nice nor in Vancouver..

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    I was delighted that Rakhamo&Kokko finally medalled at World's that year. It was a nice way for them to go out. Wasn't there the usual stink that Bourne&Kraatz shoould have medalled, but didn't? Maybe it was just a Canadian media craze.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lillyfore
    ITA, the cameras are always doing something like that. They did it to Irina after Worlds in '00 and '01; Angela after Nats '02, etc. I wish something could be done about it.
    I never saw Irina crying.. Do you it was only on the american TV and not on the european ones. Because I dont remember this, neither in Nice nor in Vancouver.. [/QUOTE]

    Irina's crying after Nice and Vancouver was definitely shown on American TV. Maybe, the Europeans have better manners, so they didn't show it.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdreampixie
    Great review!

    Rondo is also one of my favorite MK programs. My favorite part is when she lands her 2nd 3z and has the biggest smile on her face and goes into a spread eagle and you can just see her shoulders slowly relaxing. Aww, such a sweet performance. From as early as 14, one could see she'd be a champion.
    Yes! Michelle's triumphant smile after landing her second triple lutz was a joy to see. She skated such a joyous, superb program! It was obvious that this young lady would be a champion - and did she ever live up to the high expectations when in the next year she won both the US and World titles for the first time.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Antilles
    I was delighted that Rakhamo&Kokko finally medalled at World's that year. It was a nice way for them to go out.
    Rahkomo/Kokko had also won bronze at 1994 Worlds.

  13. #13
    GOLDEN DREAMS RealtorGal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eeyora
    It was the low marks that motivated Frank Carroll to choose Salome which transformed Michelle into one of the greats.
    That transformation was indeed stunning. I keep waiting for a similar transformation from Carolina Kostner, but it is going to take someone special to pull that out of her and turn what I believe to be a similar potential into something amazing.

  14. #14
    Gotta Have Music iluvtodd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldredgefan2001
    This is the year that I became a die hard Todd Eldredge fan. He had fallen on his second triple axel in the long program, but added it back in at the very end of his program. That took guts! What gets me is, he landed it better than he did the first one that he put in combination. Awesome performance after all the problems that he had, but he was finally back on the world podium again, and he remained there every year he competed, until he retired from eligible competition.
    I was so thrilled for Todd at 1995 Worlds. The 1994/1995 season was a great season for him, after three seasons of disappointment (back injury, self-doubt, flu & high fever at 1994 US nationals). It was just so heartening to see him back on the international scene. I read somewhere that he put his silver medal on his dad at these Worlds, a precursor to what he did the following year for his mom . I wish I also had that moment (putting the medal on his dad) on video. I was
    also very happy for Elvis. I had always enjoyed the Elvis/Todd rivalry as I had the Brian B./Brian O. rivalry. To me, both were classy, friendly rivalries.
    Last edited by iluvtodd; 09-26-2005 at 08:15 AM.

  15. #15
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    I, too, was delighted to see Todd back on the World podium. He earned his silver medal, and it was a tremendous comeback for him, after several seasons of illnesses and injury.

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