In my opinion, the worst episode of "camera following" occured at the 1972 World Championships. Soviet pair skaters Irina Rodnina and Alexsei Ulanov had competed together and won four straight World titles, plus the 1972 Olympic gold medal -- however, there was trouble in paradise. Ulanov had fallen in love with Ludmila Smirnova, who with partner Andrei Suraikin, had won the World silver medal. Ulanov ended his partnership with Rodnina and teamed with his new love (and future wife) Smirnova. Unfortunately, Rodnina had also fallen in love with Ulanov, and her heart was broken. The 1972 long program was their final skate, and when they exited the ice, Irina rushed to a chair and cried her eyes out. A team official tried to hide her from the prying cameras, but to no avail. The last picture we had of Irina that season was of her crying her heart out. So much for privacy on the world stage.
Originally Posted by attyfan
My memories of the 95 Worlds:
Michelle Kwan-skated beautifully but I agreed with her not medaling. Her jumps were smaller than the other top women, and carried less speed in, and flow out, although they were technicnaly secure and clean. Her presentation was pleasent but lacking in maturity or a true look or character out there. Still she was rightfully thrilled with her performances, and it was a foreshadowing of a great career, and a great 2nd Worlds for her even without the medal.
Nicole Bobek-bombed her only real chance to win a World title. Skated the short with speed, style, confidence, beautiful jumps(except for a huge flutz on the lutz as usual); and opened the long much the same way, looking so regal and poised while also landing a huge triple lutz/triple toe to open up. Lost her concentration and fell on two jumps and fell to third though. I believe she was pretty much a total lock if she had held it together, the judges had already chosen her the definite winner, but she couldnt hold it up.
Elvis Stojko-overscored on presentation scores as usual, although his Christopher Columbus program was atleast better choreographicaly than some of his other efforts. Fell on his quad try and still got a 6.0 for technical merit, I wonder what that judge was reserving for him without a fall. Still deserved to win probably since he did 8 triples to Eldredge's 7, and 2 triple/triples to Eldredge's 1; and it is mostly about the jumps these days, no?
Todd Eldredge-his program was nice, but kind of bland, he seemed to always use the same choreography and concepts, and it grew stale after awhile. Skated pretty well, made a big mistake on first attempt at 2nd triple axel, but thre it in later again. Stojko had thrown in a triple/triple instead of a triple/double late too. The main difference was Eldredge popped his first triple axel/triple toe to a triple axel/double toe and Stojko did his as the triple axel/triple toe, thus giving him the 1 extra triple and 1 extra triple/triple I talked about.
Phillipe Candelero-I am not a big fan of his skating, but he does do his own thing.
Everything about the performance, the gestures, the motions, were all his own, and whether you liked it much or not he pretty much followed his own ideas. I will give him due on one thing, at the Europeans before Worlds he was not in shape to even hope for a medal, but he was far improved in his Worlds shape and performances than at Europeans.
Rahkammo/Kokko-their original dance and free dance were delightful, I thought they should have won, but Gritschuk/Platov would have had to make a huge error for there to be any chance of them giving it to the Finns, and that didnt happen. It was still their best finish ever at Worlds, they retire with this silver, a bronze from 94, and 4th from both the 94 Olympics and 93 Worlds. Still a great note to end their career on, and I hope they saw it that way, although they looked dissapointed to me.
Kovarikova/Novotny-great short program and then a long program with one major error on blown side-by-side triple toes, and alot of smaller ones marring it.
I have no idea what the judges were thinking with their scores, maybe paying them back for past times they were ripped off, like the 92 Olympics where Brasseur/Eisler were awarded the bronze medal that most thought was theirs, and the pre-Worlds Europeans were many were apalled at Woetzel/Steur's win (it was in Germany so naturaly). Perhaps a case of a lifetime achievment award.
Shishkova/Naumov-I found their program lifeless and passionless, but they did all their tricks picture perfect, presentation-wise they did use the music and ice surface well, and because of Kovarikova/Novotny's flawed performance my view was like it or not, this was the performance that had to win the Championship. Obviously the judges had a different view though.
Meno/Sand-wonderful performances in both short and long, no mistakes on any side by sides or throws, their romanctic presence on ice was way too Ken-and-
Barbie for my liking however. Still probably would have won if it was not for lacking side by side triple toes. Funny situation, Woetzel/Stuer were 2nd after short and bombed to long, to be 4th below Meno/Sand's 3rd in the long before final team, 4th placed after short Eltsova/Bushkov skated. Still because of short program factored points, the only way Meno/Sand would get the bronze was Eltsova/Bushkov beating Woetzel/Stuer but being below Meno/Sand, and that is exactly what happened. Must be a funny feeling, "skate well but not too well, something in between this area." is what you are hoping, LOL!
Personaly I must say the Todd Eldredge vs Elvis Stojko rivalry bored me too tears, it is about as much a rivalry as something like Kwan vs Butyrskaya; Elvis was pretty safe to win every time, the only time I recall him losing to Todd was the 96 Worlds where he self-destructed in the short program. The Kulik vs Stojko, and Urmanov vs Stojko rivalries were the real rivalries of that era, atleast those two were threats to beat Stojko in a competition without him falling in the short program. I guess it depends what one considers a rivarly, when I feel no suspense to who might win, that is not a rivalry for me.
I certainly agree with the posters who wrote that Nicole Bobek missed a golden opportunity to win the World title iin 1995. She looked like the champion when she started her long program, but two mistakes completely destroyed her confidence and concentration, and she finished third overall.
It has to be devastating to have such a great opportunity right in front of you just slip out of your hands!
I agree, although she did not state it so directly, I think she knew it was completely hers to win or lose, she had the skating and programs that were sure to do it, the judges had already chosen her in their minds, but that middle 40 seconds ruined it all. Due to injuries, questionable training choices, and even moreso the emergence of Kwan as a historic legend who became near invincable, and Tara Lipinski bursting onto the scene with an array of textbook triple/triples and other tricks, she never got another opportunity anything near that again.
I was there in Birmingham for this and I can remember everything like it was yesterday!!.... I practically LIVED at NEC for the whole week... so many memories, the victory of Rene & Radka was really sweet!! I also got to meet many of the skaters, the best of all was that I got a double cheeker from my darling Alexei Urmanov!!
And Nicole Bobek never really had such a golden opportunity again. The next year, she failed to make the US World team, as she withdrew from the US Nationals just prior to the long program, and that's the year (1996) that Michelle Kwan won her first US and World title, and Tara Lipinski finished 3rd at Nationals and made her World debut.
In 1997, Bobek was devastated over the sudden death of her coach, Carlo Fassi, and she competed at Worlds with a heavy heart. At the 1998 Nationals, she finished third, behind Kwan and Lipinski, and then skated one of the most horrendous short programs of her life at the Olympics. She skated a very tentative long program at Nagano and finished 17th overall - hardly the finish she would have wanted.
Who knows what might have happened had Bobek skated a clean long at the 1995 Worlds and won the title? Perhaps she would have turned pro immediately, but perhaps that victory would have propelled and inspired her to train hard and be well prepared for the next two seasons. Of course, this is just speculation, because that's not what happened.
I dont think she was ever considered a serious contender for the 96 World title, 97 World, or 98 Olympic titles anyway to be honest. She did some unfortunate obstacles, major injury in 96(party by her own poor decising making though), personal tragedy in 97, injury going into 98 Olympics(again partly self-
inflicted); but even had all those unfortunate roadblocks not been there, I dont think she ever went into a major event with the same chance. You have to keep your stature high by skating consistently and making an impression throughout the season once you had superstars hitting their peak; and you have to show the judges you are improving and developing new facets to your skating, the best she did since she was so in and out in her commitment level, was simply "get back" to where she reasonably was before, she never really gave herself much chance to improve or create any real buzz around herself. While Chen and Bonaly were probably favorites for gold going into 95, neither seemed insurmountable barriers at the time, Lu Chen was not viewed going into 95 even the way she was viewed going into 96 and 97(before going down with injuries) because she had been such a perennial 3rd place finisher in her career at global events to that point, while Bonaly had missed the podium at the 94 Olympics while failing to win the very watered-down 94 Worlds, they were still the top picks going in, both had payed their dues to win a global event, but were also there to be potentialy knocked off, something Bobek set herself up to do with her stunning short. Basicaly it was not as neccessary that year to keep yourself in the forefront all year, and have a pre-imenent perch in the judges minds, to shoot for the win if you were good enough.
Even if she had skated her best performances of the year at the 96 Worlds they would not have touched either Kwan or Chen, maybe she would have had a shot at the bronze, but Slutskaya(yes I am a fan) had already become a favorite of the judges and European skating community that year. Going into the 97 Worlds the talk was about Kwan vs Lipinski for the gold, with Slutskaya an outside shot at gold and the favorite to fill out the podium, Bobek went in as a bit player alongside somebody like Butyrskaya at best. Going into the 98 Olympics, a gold was almost out of the question despite her best competitive performances in years at U.S nationals, there was hype of a U.S sweep, but she would have had to fire on all cylinders to sneak onto the podium with Kwan, Lipinski, favored for the top 2 spots, and Slutskaya, Butyrskaya, Szewcenko, Chen, all armed with more technical content than she, and mostly with very good presentation skills to boot. Basicaly she had to keep making comeback after comeback, to revive her old form continously, while others were improving, and the bar was being raised as it always does as an Olympic skating quadrennial moves along, always at its peak point of opportunity early, then openings harder to find as it moves along.
It may be true had she won in 95 it could have been very different for her.
Or perhaps not too much. Either way I doubt she would have turned pro, she always said her dream was the Olympics, so I think she would have stuck it out until 98 in pursuit of that.
Last edited by slutskayafan21; 09-30-2005 at 10:43 PM.
In my heart, I'm actually Canadian....
Re. Bobek: I could never understand for the life of me where on earth people were getting the impression that we could actually SWEEP THE PODIUM in Ladies in Nagano. Kwan and Lipinski, 1st and 2nd, in whichever order, sure. Makes logical sense. But Bobek for the bronze? (SI picked her, so did quite a few others) Based on what?? With Slutskaya, Butrskaya, Gusmeroli, Chen, and a few others out there?? Granted, I expected her to do quite a bit better than 17th, but given her rather -- er -- erratic training habits and lack of consistency for most of her career, I thought picking her for the podium was just a bit much.
I believe Nicole Bobek landed 6 triple jumps at the 98 Nationals. Although she did not have the reputation of Kwan and Lipinski at the time, this made her a major contender for the podium at the Olympics. After Nationals Bobek also upgraded her program, adding a 2nd triple lutz, making her even more competitive.
It would have been a very close competition with Chen had Bobek repeated her performance at Nationals. Chen had a gorgeous free program, but she had a few shaky moments, stepping out on the triple flip, cheating a triple toe-triple toe combination. In other words, she was beatable.
The height in Bobek's triple jumps and her extension, which was the best in the world at the time (pre-Sasha), made her stand out. With a clean short program, she could have easily been in the top 5, setting herself up for a medal.
Actually Bobek landed 5 clean triples at Nationals 98, not 6, two of the 5 were triple toes the easiest triple, she did not do a triple loop and everytime she does a 5 triple performance, which was the best she could ever manage post-95, it did not include either the flip or loop, the 2nd and 3rd most important triples.
She also did not do even a triple-double combination, and her triple lutz went beyond being a flutz, it was really a triple flip given credit for being a triple lutz because of the entry and the judges leaniency.
A 2nd triple lutz before Nagano? I am sorry but I was never aware of that, I certainly did not read a single thing about her practicing one there. In fact that she barely practiced at all after U.S nationals, seems to be what everybody claims, so how on earth would she be realistically adding technical content to her program? If she was really expecting that she would have practiced her butt off after nationals, I bet it was alot of bravado to increase media hype around her chances.
Even Bobek's performances from U.S nationals would have only placed her 6h at the Olympics I bet, behind Lipinski, Kwan, Chen, Butyrskaya, and Slutskaya. Keep in mind Butyrskaya missed the bronze by only 1 judge, despite two-footing both the triple lutz and triple flip, doubling her second triple toe, giving her a total of 5 stood up triples, and 3 clean triples, had she landed one more triple clean she would have won the bronze for sure. Slutskaya who did 5 triples, included a triple-triple, and 3 triple combinations of some sort, she lost the bronze by 2 judges only, her tech scores beat Chen and But. but her presentation fell short, she probably would have gotten it had she given a better impression by doing a triple lutz combo in the short(some judges were probably scared they would be accused of holding her up again after keeping her in medal range with 5th in the short with only a double lutz combo), or had she not stumbled out of her triple flip. I couldnt see the judges having Bobek ahead of any of those with her U.S nationals performances, she would have had to take it up another notch, since however the U.S may have perceived her, externaly she was viewed as a long shot.
Last edited by slutskayafan21; 10-01-2005 at 11:25 AM.
"Sports Illustrated's| 1998 Winter Olympic preview issue contained color photos of the US women's figure skating team - Kwan, Lipinski, and Bobek, under the banner headline - "You Go Girls!"
Kwan was labeled "the veteran", Lipinski "the kid", and Bobek "the rebel".
I also believe it was a case of wishful thinking to assume that the three US women could and would sweep the Olympic podium. Kwan and Lipinski were certainly medal contenders, as former and current World champions, and a resume of solid consistency, but Bobek was a wildcard, at best. Granted, she was the US champion in 1995 and won the World bronze that year, but her inconsistent training methods, injuries, and personal issues simply put her out of serious contention to medal at Nagano.
She also pretty much stopped practicing during the month between the Nationals and Olympics, and she arrived in Nagano in questionable shape, at best. She just wasn't ready to compete at the Olympics, plain and simple.
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Haha! What I find so funny is that 7 1/2 years ago, Michelle was considered the veteran
In my heart, I'm actually Canadian....
Originally Posted by JonnyCoop
Whoops! Right cover page, wrong magazine. It was "People" magazine, not
"Sports Illustrated". I have my mind ingrained with "SI" and their Olympic previews. Sorry about that!