Reigning Olympic Medalists
I'm not sure if this is the right forum to discuss the pro's, especially during Olympic season. I just saw the Seattle SOI show. Am I alone in feeling that it will be darn near impossible to match the current crop of Olympic medalists? The pairs in particular continue to improve year by year. S & P, B & S, I & Z - all are riveting and could easily medal again had they stayed eligible. Eldridge is a beautiful skaters-skater who has come into his own in the professional ranks, and Yagudin...well, he took men's figure skating to a new level of skill and artistry that won't soon be matched. SOI will have new cast additions next year...but they should make every effort to keep this utterly unique, talented core group in tact. Listen up, SOI... "Make new friends, keep the old, some are silver, the others gold."
Everyone looks for medallists, but not all champion skaters make the best show skaters. Jennifer Robinson was Canadian champion during some weak years for eligible women there. I thought she was great tonight. There is also the question of what show. I saw Robinson several years ago in Husky Skate the Nation in Kelowna. Maria Butyrskaya and Angela Nikodinov were the other singles ladies. Butyrskaya was the one with the world title and very respectable Olympic results, but it was Nikodinov who was superb in group numbers and very nice in her solos, and Robinson, too, outshone Butyrskaya as a group member. I think Butyrskaya would be best off in a COI type show. Then there's the question of who signed with Tom Collins, because that makes them COI people. Has anyone crossed over? I think the Chinese pairs are on the Collins track.
I certainly think that there are pairs who could match Ina/Zimmerman. Sale/Pelletier have found their place; they are professional skaters to the core. If anyone can match them or Berezhnaia/Sikuharlidze, it's because the routines are, by definition, closer to miniatures on smaller rinks, where speed even can be treacherous, and so much of SOI skating is the distillation of temperament. I found Sato/Dungjen very moving, but they wouldn't have the same impact in competition and in very large rinks in eligible competition. Their strength is creating a sense of intimacy, not explosive technique. I've loved Petrova/Tikhonov in every exhibition and show I've seen them in. I think they could be a fantastic addition to the show. Inoue/Baldwin might have a future with SOI, too, I think. Obertas/Slavnov and Savchenko/Szolkowy are also possibilities in the years ahead, as well as Marcoux/Buntin, and Zagorska/Siudek could slot in immediately after 2007, when they plan to retire from eligible skating. I have a feeling that Totmianina/Marinin are more suited to COI because I suspect they'd like to be home more after spending so many years training in Chicago.
I don't think Weir has the temperament to do the group thing. I would love to see Klimkin in SOI. One cantilever and that smile, and I think he'd be embraced by audiences nationwide. Lambiel could go on either tour; what's not to love about him as a performer? Buttle would be a natural for SOI after he graduated, and if Sandhu would be happy doing it, so would he. Down the road, there are Takahashi and Oda, and I would love to see Chengjiang Li and Stefan Lindemann. Among the women, I think Rochette, Efremenko (Maniachenko) would be great, and Kostner is getting better and better. Czisny would be lovely; she seems to have a cooperative, non-Divaish temperament. I see Arakawa and Ando spending a lot of time in Japan and that might preclude a six-month tour, but I think Suguri would fit right in.
And then there are so many dance teams who could be great assets, although SOI seems to neglect them shamefully.
Actually, most of the skaters who are now with SOI skated with Collins's COI during their days of active, Oly-eligible competition (all three pairs skating teams; Eldredge; Hughes etc.) Even if a skater technically remains Oly-eligible (such as Sarah Hughes), they can't skate with SOI during the same season they are competing.
So, the future SOI cast is currently preparing for Torino. Which skaters will go with which shows depends (IMO) on, not only results, but also what other, non-
skating things are in their lives. For example, even if Irina gets the OGM and retires, I doubt that she will sign with SOI because that tour is usually longer, and will keep her away from home more, than COI, which is long only in Oly years -- and since a long tour goes into summer, Irina's husband can join her after a while (I hear he did this during the post-SLC tour)
i think a skater can do soi if they get usfsa permission. mike weiss did guest skates last year. i saw him in cleveland.
A skater needs to get USFSA permission to avoid losing their Oly eligibility. My point is more scheduling related -- you can't do SOI and compete at the same time, especially since SOI runs during the skating season. For example, Weiss did SOI after Nats, when he did not qualify for Worlds, and, Sarah (who also got USFSA permission) did SOI, but did not compete. The COI tours are after the end of the competitive season, so any skater who wants to compete as well as tour will do COI.
Originally Posted by JOHIO2
I basically agree with Kelly22's original point. In 1992 SOI rejuvinated itself by grabbing Kristi -- and it was the Kristi, Scott and Kurt show for a decade. This year the four 2006 Olympic gold medalists are likely to be Plushenko, Slutskaya, Totmianina and Marinen, and Navka and Kostamorov. Also this might be Michelle's last year competing.
Michelle won't leave COI, and as Attyfan mentions, I don't think Irina will either, or Plushenko. T&M were much more appealing on tour with COI last year than I would have guessed, based on their competitive programs, but they are not in the class with S&P and B&S as professional entertainers. N&K would have to do a complete makeover to catch on with North American audiences.
So, to paraphrase Kelly, what SOI has now is silver, what's available in next year's draft is bronze.
(Kristi and Kurt are gold.)
I agree with you about the greatness of the current reigning Olympic medalists. They are all wonderful skaters, and with few exceptions (most notably gold medalist Sarah Hughes) they are still in top shape and could probably compete at the Olympic level. And some, of course, are still competing, and we will enjoy seeing them at Torino.
However, every "Olympic class" includes an assortment of interesting, varied, and excellent skaters, most of whom go on to lucrative professional skating careers. I'm sure some of the Torino medalists will eventually skate with SOI and/or other skating shows, tours, and television specials.
In pairs, SOI definitely has a great cast. However, I would say that the cast of Yamaguchi, Hamilton, Browning and Wylie were the best shows in SOI history. I feel that these 4 presented a much more diverse range than the current cast.
Yamaguchi, Hamilton, Browning, and Wylie are definitely in classes by themselves. It's hard to believe they are 34, 47, 39, and 41, respectively!
Originally Posted by heyang
Yeah, the current pairs (including I & Z) are awesome technically and are charismatic entertainers. I agree that the women's contribution has been very weak. Baiul, Lipinski, Butyrskaya, Hughes - none of them panned out as pro skaters. Jennifer Robinson has filled in very nicely, they just need a bigger name - but who?
Originally Posted by heyang
I have been a huge Yagudin fan since the first time I saw him skate many years ago. But don't think his professional showmanship has come close to what he did in eligible skating. I sense that he is getting bored and I don't see that spark anymore. He is probably one of those people that requires competition, not repetition and his hip forced him out of eligible's. His contribution to the sport can't be denied, he is one of a kind. That doesn't diminish my respect for Yamaguchi, Scott, Wylie, Kurt, they were, indeed, in a class of their own, but I honestly got tired of them after a while, they had a long run....maybe 8 years is optimal for a professional skater.
Lambiel would fit in great, Buttle & Sandhu skated in CSOI last season, I prefer Buttle and Lambiel because they both have that sparkle in their eyes. What about Joubert - he may not medal but would be fun on tour. I agree, it will be a bronze draft, but I have to disagree somewhat about Mathman's silver/gold take on it .
Does anyone know why Christopher Dean wasn't involved in the show this year?
Last edited by Kelly22; 01-10-2006 at 12:46 AM.
I don't think Yagudin has lost his spark,just see him when he's well rested and feels well.I think what you consider to be his.."lack of spark" is pain and exhaustion....as has been mentioned already about the European shows...he's in quite alot of pain lately.
You are probably right, I shouldn't have made the comment. I'm such a huge fan that I probably expect too much. IMO, Alexei is the strongest, most gifted and dynamic male skater - ever.
Originally Posted by skatergirlaj
...so I am going to quietly go away now.
Last edited by Kelly22; 01-10-2006 at 01:51 AM.
Not only are Ina / Zimmerman and Todd Eldredge not reigning Olympic medalists, they are not former Olympic medalists.
Originally Posted by Kelly22
I think you underestimate the potential of the current crop of skaters as show skaters and professionals. While Browning and Boitano weren't only jumping beans when they competed, they turned into completely different skaters when they went professional, and Browning took skating to a different level. And while there's no living visionary like John Curry, I've seen a lot of choreography that I've liked recently, and the rise of dance choreographers like Tchernyshev for singles skaters is a good trend, in my opinion. I think Totmianina/Marinin could break out in a team environment like SOI, but I'm not sure they want to commit to a US tour for six months per year.
Originally Posted by Mathman
Jennifer Robinson, with a 3Lz, performed the hardest jump on SOI in Seattle last night. It's not about jumps in pro and show skating. That means that some beautiful young skaters from Europe, like Berntsson, Othman, and Verner, for example, can jump well enough. (And none of them has peaked yet.) Chiper could rock the house, if someone would hire him. There are a lot of skaters out there, and I'm glad they're getting opportunities in Europe, Japan, and Russia, while they are ignored by SOI and, to some extent, COI.
The SOI website has a poll asking people who they would like to see in SOI in the future. http://www.starsonice.com/home/us.asp
The list -- ladies and pairs -- is:
Ando, Arakawa, Cohen, Kirk, Kostner, Kwan, Slutskaya, Sokolova, Suguri
Inoue/Baldwin, Pang/Tong, Petrova/Tikhonov, Shen/Zhao, Totmianina/Marinin, Zhang/Zhang.
and your point?
Originally Posted by jonesgirl