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Thread: What makes a "great" skater?

  1. #1

    What makes a "great" skater?

    Dick Button has shared his views as to what makes a "great" figure skater -- "A great skater is one who has made the sport better just because he, she, or they have participated in the sport." :D

    That being the case, I nominate the following to be designated
    as "great" skaters".

    Dick Button
    Barbara Ann Scott
    Sonja Henie
    Carol Heiss
    David Jenkins
    Haynes Jenkins
    Ludmila and Oleg Protopopov
    Peggy Fleming
    Janet Lynn
    Toller Cranston
    John Curry
    Dorothy Hamill
    Barbara Underhill and Paul Martini
    Irina Rodnina and Alexandr Zaitsev
    Scott Hamilton
    Brian Orser
    Brian Boitano
    Tracy Wilson and Robert McCall
    Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean
    Paul Wylie
    Todd Eldredge
    Oksana Baiul
    Kristi Yamaguchi
    Elvis Stokjo
    Kurt Browning
    Michelle Kwan
    Alexi Yagudin
    Katia Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov
    Judy Blumberg and Michael Siebert
    Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner
    Natalia Mishkutenok and Artur Dmitriev
    Yuka Sato

    and the list goes on and on..........


  2. #2

    Re: What makes a "great" skater?

    To me, a skater is great if the mere mention of his or her name brings a smile to our faces:

    Midori Ito
    Rudi Galindo
    Surya Bonaly

  3. #3
    sk8ing lady2001

    Re: What makes a "great" skater?

    A skater is great, according to me, in that he/she has great footwork, spins, and artistry.

    Paul Wylie
    Michelle Kwan

  4. #4

    The list is long

    I think a skater with a resume full of memorable programs an performances. is what makes them great. They could be pro or amateur.

  5. #5

    Re: What makes a "great" skater?

    Skatefan4life - That's quite a list and no Tenley Albright. She was the first to bring a bit of elegance and balletic style to figure skating after Sonia's dimple style and Scott's wooden style(although Scott proved that one could retrace figures). Ms Fleming picked up and nurtured Albright's style, imo.

    And by the way, I don't necessarily buy Dick's view of a 'great skater' based on contribution to the sport. I can't help but think of Brahms as a great composer. He contributed nothing new to music but he wrote such beautiful music. That satisfies me as well as beautiful skating.


  6. #6

    Re: What makes a "great" skater?

    Yes, I wrote that "the list goes on and on". I know I did not include every skater - Tenley Albright, with her light-footed elegance, Midori Ito, with her high-flying triple axels, Rudy Galindo, with his superb elegance, etc.

    The list is very extensive, indeed! :D

  7. #7

    Re: What makes a "great" skater?


    BTW, that's a cute Tara gif, Skating Lady!


  8. #8

    Re: What makes a "great" skater?

    I'd add a few who IMHO meet Dick Button's criteria, though some had more opportunities and fame than others:

    Robin Cousins
    Robert Wagenhoffer
    Denise Biellmann
    Nathalie Krieg
    Lucinda Ruh
    David Liu
    Katherine Healy
    Bechke & Petrov
    Midori Ito
    Rudy Galindo
    Tiffany Chin
    Michael Chack
    Kay Thomson

    The list could go on...


  9. #9

    What makes a "great" skater?

    WHAT??? No Witt so far???

    Blumberg/Siebert? Wilson/McCall? Naaaa, not really!
    Gritschuk/Platov!!! Usova/Shulin!!! Anissina/Peizerat!!!

    Further nominations:
    - Evgeny Plushenko
    - Ilia Kulik
    - Viktor Petrenko
    - Elena Berezhnaya/Anton Sikharulidze


  10. #10

    Re: What makes a "great" skater?

    In my opinion, Blumberg/Siebert and Wilson/McCall were outstanding ice dance teams - they were great skaters in my book. You're entitled to your opinion, and I'm entitled to mine.

    I'm not basing my list solely on the possession of World and/or Olympic gold medals, although that, of course, is one of the yardsticks for measuring greatness for any athlete.

    Blumberg/Siebert were the Ginger Rodgers and Fred Astaire of the American ice dancing scene in the early 1980s. They won five US titles and two World bronze medals. Frankly, they should have won the Olympic bronze medal in 1984 but were snookered out of that by some questionable judging. It wasn't on the level of Salt Lake City/pairs, but it was clearly a case of certain judges "favoring" certain skaters, in this case the Russians. Siebert has become a very accomplished ice skating choregrapher, and he has worked with Sandra Bezic on the Stars on Ice shows, as well as on other shows.

    Wilson/McCall were one of the most charming ice dance teams
    to ever compete, in my opinion. They were Canadian champions for a number of years, and they won several World bronze medals and the 1988 Olympic bronze medal. Wilson went on to become an articulate, fair-minded figure skating commentator. McCall was an innovative choregrapher who, very sadly, passed away from Aids a number of years ago.

  11. #11

    Re: What makes a "great" skater?

    Dance is my least favorite event, but I will strongly 2nd Wilson & McCall, who were one of my all-time top three dance teams. People I know who know a lot more than I do about dance agree with me that W&M ought to have won gold, not bronze, in 1988 (Bestemianova & Bukin's win was a joke, IMHO, thanks to dance's rigid pecking order at that time--Klimova & Ponomarenko, skaters I admire who had a weak Beatles free dance in 1988, methodically moved from bronze to silver to gold over 3 Olympiads).

    W&M had a wonderful Scott Joplin free dance in 1988, one of my favorite dance programs, and deservedly won the World Pros in 1989 with a fantastic Billion Dollar Baby program. A couple of their distinguishing features were that Rob McCall was a strong skater who choreographed their programs to give himself a chance to show off as well--he wasn't one of the dance men who lets his partner do most of the difficult skating--and before his untimely early death Rob was showing great potential as a choreographer for others. Their repution could only have grwn had Rob lived longer.


  12. #12
    On the Ice
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Oakland, California, USA
    Michelle Kwan should be #1 on that list! What that girl has accomplished is absolutely mindboggling!

  13. #13
    ~ Figure Skating Is My Passion ~ Ladskater's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003

    What makes a "great" skater?


    Karen Magnussen. She was a wonderful skater and was my "skating icon." She was my Michelle Kwan.

    There have been a lot of great skaters over the years.

    I think what makes a skater "great" is their love for the sport of figure skating and how they translate that love to us. Karen inspired me to skate.


  14. #14

    What makes a "great" skater?

    Ladskater, from your many posts I take it that you are Canadian, so naturally, you would list some of your favorite Canadian skaters. As an American, I often list my favorite American skaters, and so it goes.

    There are so many other skaters who, while perhaps not "great" skaters, certainly distinguished themselves with their talent, hard work, and determination.

    Any skater who takes the time to become a competent figure skater deserves a huge round of applause, in my opinion.

  15. #15
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Congratulations on getting your custom photo back!

    I don't feel very qualified to give my opinion on who a "great" skater is. Reading these lists made me realize how very young I am. I've never seen many of these "greats" skate, but I really wish I could!

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