Flashback - 1988 World Figure Skating Championships - Budapest, Hungary
I dusted off my old video highlights from the 1988 World Figure Skating Championships, held in Budapest, Hungary, and thoroughly enjoyed taking a little trip down memory lane. The 1988 Worlds were a little bittersweet in that they featured the final eligible competitive performances at Worlds from Brian Boitano, Brian Orser, Katarina Witt, Elizabeth Manley, and Debi Thomas - but they were filled with memorable moments and great programs.
Olympic gold medalist Katarina Witt of the German Democratic Republic won her fourth World title, but she did not deliver a particularly impressive performance. Katarina's school figures, always the weakest part of her repertoire, featured some noticeably wobbly figures at this Worlds. One of her competitors, Elizabeth Manley of Canada, saw her last figure, and she and her coach both stated publicly that it was "way off axis". Still, the judges gave Witt first place in the school figures - perhaps giving a clear signal that you can't defeat an Olympic champion unless you really deliver a knock-out punch. Katarina only skated two triples in her "Carmen" long program, but it was good enough to win the gold medal. "Sports Illustrated" stated that it was a "very middling" long program.
Liz Manley had won the Olympic silver medal in Calgary, much to the great delight of her countrymen, and she came into Worlds with a great deal of confidence and the determination to prove that her silver medal wasn't a fluke. Unfortunately, her tape broke just as she took to the ice to begin her short program. A replacement tape was quickly found and started, but Elizabeth's concentration was shattered, and she missed her combination jump. Her long program was strong, but she had to improvise towards the end of it and insert a triple jump that she missed at the beginning. She finished second. Her performance was strong, but it wasn't quite the stunning performance she had delivered at Calgary.
US Champion Debi Thomas had been disappointed at winning "only" the bronze at the Olympics. She skated solid compulsory figures and an excellent short program at the Worlds, and she was in a solid position to win the title. Had she landed all of her triples, she well might have pulled off a major upset. Unfortunately, Debi skated a long program that was on par with Calgary - several missed triples - and she won the bronze medal.
This was the first time that Katarina's parents had been able to attend a World championship. Heretofore, the East German government refused to allow them to leave the country to attend the Worlds held in the western countries, including Denmark,
Finland, Canada, Japan, Switzerland, and the United States, perhaps fearing that Mr. and Mrs. Witt might be tempted to defect. But since Hungary was a socialist country, they were allowed to travel to the competition to see their daughter win her fourth and final World title.
US Champion Brian Boitano had skated the long program of his life at Calgary to win the Olympic gold medal, and while his performance at Budapest was very strong, it wasn't quite as excellent as his Olympic long program. Brian singled his second triple axel and stumbled on an attempted quad, but otherwise, he skated well, and his long program was good enough to win him his second World title.
Canadian Champion Brian Orser, on the other hand, pulled out the long program of his life at the Worlds - the program he would have loved to have skated at Calgary - which featured two triple axels and lots of speed. Orser won the long program at Worlds, but he had to settle for the silver medal, as he had made a major mistake in his short program that had left him in the position of needing help to win the gold medal. Orser could have won only if Boitano had finished third or lower in the long program.
Viktor Petrenko of the Soviet Union won the World bronze medal with a strong "Don Quixote" program. Clearly, he was a skater on the rise, and a champion of the future.
Alexander Fadeev of the Soviet Union had won the school figures, but he withdrew just prior to his short program. His withdrawal forced Brian Orser to skate his short program a few minutes ahead of schedule, and that change of schedule may have contributed to Orser's combination jump mistake.
At the 1988 Worlds, Kurt Browning of Canada, one of the "young guns", became the first skater in history to land a quadruple jump - the quad toe. He did turn around on the landing leg, but the ISU ratified the jump. Kurt finished third in the long program and sixth overall.
Katia Gordeeva/Sergi Grinkov had charmed the world with their gold medal win in Calgary. At the Worlds, however, they had to settle for the silver medal. Katia was suffering from the flu, and she fell on their throw triple salchow. They made a few other minor errors. Elena Valova/Oleg Vasiliev of the Soviet Union, the Olympic silver medalists, won the World title with a strong, clean long program. The Soviet skater swept the podium that year, as Larisa Selezneva/Oeg Makarov won the bronze medal.
Jill Watson and Peter Oppegard of the US had won the bronze medal at Calgary. During the long program warmup, they suffered a collision with another pair, with the other man's skate striking Jill's head. Watson/Oppegard were able to skate their long program, but the accident clearly threw off their timing. They made several errors and finished sixth overall.
Olympic champions Natalia Bestemianova/Andrei Bukin of the Soviet Union won their fourth and final World title, with their rather garrish long program. Natalia's costume featured a kind of "bubble" skirt, and some of their moves were, well, not very attractive. Natalia struck a kind of "squatting" pose several times that looked almost vulgar, in my opinion. Marina Klimova/Serei Ponomarenko won the silver medal, and Tracy Wilson and Robert McCall of Canada won the bronze medal. The Olympic podium was repeated at this Worlds.
"Sports Illustrated" published a wonderful article on this World Championship, and the final paragraph (to paraphrase) stated, "This World Championships was like a senior prom. Everybody was all dressed up in their finest outfits, and for many of them, it was the final time for them to socialize at the same place. For many of these skaters, this was the final time they would see each other in a competitive arena, for many of them are moving on to professional careers. It is with a twinge of sadness that we say farewell to this rich, bouyant chapter in the history of figure skating."
Valova/Vassilev are certainly an underrated team. To win every World and Olympic event, except the 84 Worlds, from 83-85; then from 86-88 to still be rivaling Gordeeva/Grinkov even after Gordeeva/Grinkov took over on top, is very impressive. They had long careers, with alot of great rivalries, first with the German pair, then Underhill/Martini, then Gordeeva/Grinkov.
The mens and womens were a bit dissapointing, but Orser's final amateur performance was a highlight for sure. Kurt Browning's performance was also a highlight, and was a sign of things to come.
I honestly believe Wilson/McCall may have deserved a better fate at both the Olympics and Worlds this year, but ice dancer is the hardest event to figure out for me anyway, and I am Canadian so..........
Yes - Valova and Vasiliev were a wonderful pair, and I always enjoyed their performances. They were strong, powerful, and passionate about skating. It was great for them to end their amateur career with their final World title.
In my heart, I'm actually Canadian....
What made Budapest especially special, especially for an Olympic-year Worlds, was the fact that IMO it was the last Worlds we've seen that truly WAS an end of an era. Used to be, careers could be measured in 4- or 8-year incriments between Olys, but ever since they staggered the Olympic years starting with Lillehammer in '94, it threw these periods off and now there doesn't seem to be any "eras" anymore, and if there are, they're all running together. Michelle Kwan, for example, is now into about her third "era", as is Irina Slutskaya, and this has overlapped the Tara Lipinski Period and a few others as well. I rather long for the days when the Olys meant it was going to be the last time you would see, as amateurs, most of the top people; post-Oly years were much more exciting because then THE NEXT WAVE would start to take over. Now the veterans are still in there competing with the next wave and the up-and-comers (and, it seems like, a new crop of juniors every year) and it's a little more muddled. Perhaps this is more exciting in an entirely different way, but I still prefer the old days.
Interesting thoughts, Jonny. I've only known skating under this strange new cycle, but looking back I can see the trend you are talking about. It is far more unpredictable now (in some ways....especially at the Olympics), but I'm not sure which is better either.
Also, I didn't realize the women's event was so sloppy. What is the general concensus? Did Katarina deserve her 4th World title? I need to watch this competition.
Minusaramadad from Arctaroon
Inquery:Krylova & Leliukh
Did Anjelika & Vlad1 compete in this?If so,what were their programs,and how did they rank?
In my heart, I'm actually Canadian....
No, this was about 4 or 5 years before they made their first Worlds appearance
Originally Posted by John King
Yes, the 1988 Worlds truly marked the end of a magical era of competitive figure skating, as I wrote, as it was the last time that Witt, Manley, and Thomas competed against each other, and it was also the last time that Boitano and Orser competed against each other -- as amateurs, that is.
I, too, miss those days when the end of the Olympic cycle year marked the end of an era and the dawn of a new era. Some of today's skaters have an incredibly long run at eligible competition, and of course they are to be commended for their perserverence and dedication.
Valova-Vasiliev are a very underrated pair, and they are often ignored when the great pairs of the 1980's are mentioned. They were wonderful in 1984 and 1988. They were the first pair to do sbs triple toes, and I think (not sure) throw triple toe loop. They introduced innovative choreography in pairs, thanks to their coach Tamara Moskvina. Their LP performance at the 1988 worlds was slightly undermarked, IMO but it was good enough to win. It was their final amateur performance so it was nice to end their career on a high note.
Originally Posted by slutskayafan21
In the mens discipline Orser's LP performance was great; unfortunately he was not in a position to win the gold. Petrenko made several mistakes but there was no challenger for the bronze. However, I loved his Don Quixote program in the 1988 season, perhaps more than his later programs. At age 18 he had a natural grace and elegance that very few men have. We see shades of it now if he skates to certain kinds of music.
The ladies competition was touted as a rematch between Witt and Thomas but once again the performances and the results were very similar to those in Calgary. Same with ice dancing. However, unlike many people, I agreed with the results. B&B had the most speed, which is very important in ice dance. Their so called vulgar positions don't come even close in vulgarity to what we are seeing in ice dance these days. I have seen worse outfits than their black & gold outfits. The ice dance field was very strong in 1988. Even the 4th and 5th place couples were outstanding. I miss that kind of ice dance, which ended after perhaps the 1992 Olympics.
Last edited by Vash01; 10-23-2005 at 10:28 AM.
In my heart, I'm actually Canadian....
ITA with a lot of this. First off, Valova & Vasiliev are definitely one of the forgotten great Soviet pairs, perhaps THE most forgotten (considering what all they acheived), in part because they skated the later part of their amateur career in the shadow of Gordeeva & Grinkov, and it's pretty hard to compete with what G & G brought to the table. V & V really had some interesting choreography, which is more than can be said for a lot of the "great" Soviet pairs that came before them.
Originally Posted by Vash01
I, too, was a big fan of Petrenko's Don Quixote program from '88; and IMHO nothing he ever did after that even came close. I really thought him to be an exciting prospect in '88, but I was never that enthralled with him in the years to come. I think he went into a different style that did not emphasize what made him so different from so many male skaters of the time.
I, too, miss, as you call it "that type of ice dance"; there were so many terrific, innovative, interesting free dances in the post Torvill & Dean era until the 92-93 season when they brought in a bunch of rule changes that set the genre back a good 10 years (subsequent rule changes a few laters later set it back even further than that, IMO). I enjoyed the free dances of about 80% of the field at Calgary (among those shown on TV); nowadays, if I can find ONE free dance per SEASON that I especially like, it's a miracle, tho I will say things are getting a little bit better the past couple of seasons. Regarding B & B, I always thought they were a terrific team and always enjoyed watching them skate. I, too, have seen that 88 free dance referred to as "vulgar" but if any of the people using that term could see into the future and see some of the stuff that, especially, Lobacheva & Averbukh, have gotten away with, I think they would have witheld that particular criticism. And as far as ugly costuming is concerned, nothing they ever wore (with a possible exception of a red and gold number with bows on the skirt) even makes it out of the Qualifying Round for Hideous Costuming, IMO, considering the atrocities we've seen in that area since. What was especially interesting about B & B was the fact that a lot of the criticisms that were applied to the Duchesnays ("poor stroking" "excessive cutting into the ice instead of gliding" "too much upper body movement") could also be applied to B & B, yet few people made much of that with them.
Yes. Katarina deserved her her 4th world title. She skated a technically less challenging but clean LP, and had sufficient lead going into the LP, so Manley placed 2nd. Thomas, once again, could not take advantage of the opportunity and finished 3rd. It was almost a carbon copy of the 88 Olympics.
Originally Posted by BronzeisGolden
V&V should have been viewed as an evolution in pairs skating, which continued through 2002 (I am not sure anymore where this discipline is going). No one pair brought 'everything', including G&G. The innovative choreography brought in by V&V (mainly due to their coach) gave us pairs like M&D, B&P, K&D and B&S. Between the athleticism of R&Z (76, 80) and the youthfulness of G&G (in 88) somehow V&V were forgotten. They had their unique style. I think they were simply overshadowed by G&G.
Originally Posted by JonnyCoop
About Petrenko- I think he got too much into the jumps after his failure to win the 1989 world title (he had disastrous skates in the SP & LP). He was still a very good artistic and a complete skater, but I miss the natural grace that he had in 1988- something that was never developed.
I have to disagree about L&A and B&B.
When I mentioned vulgar positions, I was thinking more about Denkova-Staviski and some of the more recent ice dance couples. However, by 2002 I had lost interest in ice dance. Since last year I have gained some of it back, but it still cannot compare with the 1988-1992 era. The exceptions to this were K&O and G&P (I know many people hate them but I did enjoy their skating).
I don't think B&B and the Dushenays can be compared in their stroking. B&B really went for the speed and power (as pros they became overly creative, IMO). The Dushenays won medals mainly due to their performance ability, emotion, and creativity (they parted with the creativity in the 1992 Olympics).
In my heart, I'm actually Canadian....
Well, I've never seen Denkova & Staviysky start an OD by having Maxim unzip Albena's skirt, and I've also never seen them complete a dance with Maxim having to flip her skirt off his head so you could see his face, both of which I have seen in Lobacheva & Averbukh's programs.
Natalia B's "vulgar" positions were the sqatting positions she held throughout the free dance. Frankly, they were ugly to look at, and the press bounced on this pair for incorporating this type of move (so often) in the program.
Personally, while I always admired Katarina Witt and felt she was by far the best competitor of her era, she really skated a sub-par long program at the 1988 Worlds, with only two triple jumps. Can you imagine any woman winning a World title today with a program that contains only two triples? Of course, none of the other women were able to best Kat, and she won fairly and squarely, according to the rules of the day. The judges, certainly, weren't about to mark down the defending Olympic (2 times) and World champion, and her last World title was more or less a done deal before the competition even started.
Actually in Elizabeth Manley's book she mentions that she believes her efforts to win the 1988 World title, after many believed she was robbed of the Olympic Gold in Calgary were sabatoged. She mentions that the results of the compulsory figures were Manley: first figure-1st, second figure-1st, third figure-2nd; Witt: first figure-2nd, second figure-2nd, third figure-1st. According to her anyway, the rules at the time would dictate that by her having finished 1st in two figures and 2nd in the other, she should have been ranked 1st in the compulsory figures; and Witt with a 2nd in two figures, and 1st in the other should have been ranked 2nd in the compulsory figures. In fact even after the first two figures in which Manley was 1st in both, and Witt 2nd in both, the official results listed Witt 1st overall, even before Witt's win in the 3rd figure. To me that sounds fishy, and according to her she was told it would be fixed, and that it was a computer glitch, and her coach tried to track the situation, but it was never resolved. She also disagrees with losing the 3rd figure to Witt, which she saw Witt do right before her, and clearly feels she performed superiorily, but that is a judging issue, something different alotgether, even with the way the judges marked it, the official results, according to Manley anyway, was her winning the figures, yet it was not recognized that way for some reason. Also early in her short program, the music stopped, and she believes this was a sabatoge as well. She believes the powers-that-be simply did not want the Olympic Champion to be dethroned at the following Worlds.
Originally Posted by SkateFan4Life