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Thread: Exactly just how fast is Michelle's skating?

  1. #1
    ApacheApache
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    Exactly just how fast is Michelle's skating?


    It's very frustrating for me. Initially when I watched a downloaded clip of Song of The Black Swan at 2001 Worlds, it looked awfully slow to me. After a few months, I thought I saw some good speed there, it began to look fast. Now I do know it's not possible to judge the speed by watching it on tv becasue of the camera angles. However, I just find it funny that watching the same video clip over and over can lead to different judgment of the speed. The same thing happened to East of Eden at 1999 Worlds Pro and Aranjuez at Worlds 2003. At first they looked painfully slow but after having watched it countless times, they began to look acceptably fast.

    Do you guys think her "lazy" stroking and expressive arm movement make her appear slow? Also, I have always marvelled at her ability to hold the spirals for so long with just simple and lazy stroking, well that's how it looks to me. Yes, I do know sometimes she does make "hard" strokes.

  2. #2
    Glacierskater
    Guest

    Re: Exactly just how fast is Michelle's skating?


    I never had a true appreciation for the speed until I started to skate then went to COI. Oh my...they seem to fly in person. Sometimes on tape they look slower, but then I watched myself on tape. No THAT is slow skating. Since then, the OLY skaters have never appeared slow. I should have never watched myself...should have remained delusional that I was really flying on the ice <img src=http://www.ezboard.com/intl/aenglish/images/emoticons/embarassed.gif ALT=":o">

  3. #3
    Show 42
    Guest

    Re: Exactly just how fast is Michelle's skating?


    <span style="color:red;font-size:medium;">Apache.........I have seen Michelle skate several times in person, and she is by no means slow. Perhaps it is her seamless stroking that gives the appearance that she isn't moving fast........believe me she does.........42</span>

  4. #4
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    Re: Exactly just how fast is Michelle's skating?


    Yes. I agree with show42. It is her seamless('Lazy') stroking that gives the apperance that she isn't moving. Some skaters like Onda, Elena, would gave the impression they were fast. But really they only stroke 'fast' in frequency but they bearly let the edge run out thus they achieve less speedy with each stroke. But with TV camera you feel like they were fast because their busy stroking.

    The several time I went to COI seeing her skated in person. Not slow at all. And this year since I read so much talking about the edge and speed on the web. I paid special attention on speed on the group number, where all skaters skated together in circel. If you want me to pick a slow one, it was Sasha, she looked having the problem to keep up the rest of the field. And I saw MK, Sasha, Irina(?) did side by side triple jump, neither Michelle was the lowest one.

  5. #5
    BronzeisGolden02
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    Michelle's Speed


    Apache,

    I had and still have the same problem sometimes. Michelle does appear to skate slower than others on television at times. I would have to agree with Show and say that is all in the way she strokes. She holds a great position even during her crossovers (the straight, non-pumping back) and doesn't appear to be exerting much energy. Now, when Irina is setting up and doing crossovers she really digs in and you can see where all of the speed comes from. I also saw most of the top skaters live and Michelle's speed was quite respectable, quashing most of my doubts about that subject. I think it was the 91 Worlds during Yamaguchi's gold medal winning freeskate that one of the announcers made the comment that Kristi's skating was deceptive because she made it appear so easy and effortless, that it might not appear as complicated or demanding as another's routine for the simple fact that she had completely mastered her craft and could do it with such ease. That is something which both Kristi and Michelle have in common. Yet, I will say that I think there have been times where Michelle was sluggish and battled with her speed. Her GP events from 2000 and 2001 come to mind. Overall, I believe Michelle is in the middle of the pack when it comes to speed and most of the criticisms that come her way regarding that issue are not entirely justified. BTW, I knew Irina was fast, but she was extremely impressive speed wise when I saw her live!

  6. #6
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    Re: Michelle's Speed


    <blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>BTW, I knew Irina was fast, but she was extremely impressive speed wise when I saw her live! [/quote]

    I was a little disappoint when I saw Irina in COI this year. It not appears to me as that fast like most posters saying on the web. But I guess this could be because of her lacking training this last season.

  7. #7
    Glacierskater
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    Re: Michelle's Speed


    <span style="color:fuchsia;font-size:medium;">MZHENG:</span>
    You bring up an excellent point that I came back to this topic to mention: Irina's skating in COI this past season. I went to see it in Little Rock, AR and I noticed that Irina's skating was slower than usual. I went to see her again 3 days later in Denver (no, I'm not a roadie, just happened that we were going to the same places ), and Irina's skating was slower than usual there too. My theory is that she took time off to be with her mom when she was sick, and I figured that she was just out of top shape because of it. She was still delightful. In fact, she gained a new level of respect from me when she bowed out of Worlds to be with her ailing mother.

  8. #8
    maxell1313
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    Re: Michelle's Speed


    I saw the Little Rock COI too, and really didn't enjoy Irina's number. I like her, just didn't care for her program. Her jumps were *wonderful* though.



  9. #9
    Joesitz
    Guest

    Re: Michelle's Speed


    I saw her once at the Garden, live and thought she held back but not in the speed department.

    At DC World's, it was clear she was the fastest lady competitor. Fumie was flapping her wings and Elena was being ever so caustious. Sasha was just not with it.

    Michelle is faster than a speeding bullet.

    Joe

  10. #10
    Excidra2001
    Guest

    Re: Michelle's Speed


    I have never seen Michelle live but I always use to hear how slow her skating was before 2001 and after that everyone including commentators were talking about how she has improved her speed and I tend to agree with them.
    As a poster above said, Michelle is in about the middle when it comes to speed.

    As for Irina's speed, almost everyone including commentators always talk about her speed. If you have a tape of 2002 worlds(canadian style) you'll hear that Tracy talks about how fast Irina is many times during her programs.

  11. #11
    rgirl181
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    Re: Michelle's Speed


    I've seen Michelle skate live nine times, one in competition, and I agree with BronzeisGolden's post word-for-word. (Well said, BG.) My theory is that prior to this past season, Michelle didn't really get a deep kneebend and a wide stance on her stroking, whether front or back. The fastest female skaters I ever saw were Irina Slutskaya, Elena Berezhnaya, Xue Shen, and in their prime, Katia Gordeeva and Elena Bechke (I could name ice dancers too, but pairs is more like singles). The commonality in their stroking and maintaining speed throughout the program were getting deep down into soft knees and having a wide stance. The deep knees allows the extension (straightening) of the knee to push the skater across the ice at a high speed and the wide stance (the distance between the legs) allows the skater to cover a great deal of ice. I've seen all of the above skaters between three and six times; sat in on-ice seats watching most of them; and their speed is not only breathtaking, it separates them from the rest of the female skaters.

    I think the common action that allows them to build such great speed is deep-kneed, long strokes, much like a horse or runner with a long stride. The problem I saw Michelle having until this past season was not enough knee bend and a relatively narrow stance. Some of this is anatomical. Michelle has a relatively long torso and her legs are not especially long. Her stroking to me looked as if it could use more knee bend and a wider stance. This of course, takes strength, flexibility, and power. With the addition of working with the off-ice trainer and other changes, I feel this past year she came close to achieving what I call "deep, smooth speed" across the ice. Prior to this season, I would have put her in the middle of the pack of the top skaters in terms of speed. This year I put Michelle in the top 1/4 of the top skaters in terms of speed.

    IMO, Michelle still achieves a lot of her speed by rapid short stroking, but it's 100% improved to be more like long deep stroking. I also feel the deep knee, wide stance stroking is more effecient than the rapid short stroking.

    In any case, I hope Michelle keeps working in the direction she has started this year. Not only is she faster, but I also think she is more efficient. I think some of the disagreements among people as to how fast she is comes from personal preference, how many skaters you've seen skate live, and also the illusion of that a skater stroking with fast feet is really going fast. As I've said before, the only way to really answer this question is to get the top skaters out there on their best days and measure their speed with a radar gun. No speeding tickets allowed:D
    Rgirl

    PS Apache: I'm working on my response to you. BTW, I wanted to send you a Private Message about it but I see it's not set up on your edit board. If you click on your name, go to "Edit Information," and then go to where it says "Receive private messages" or something like that, check yes. No one can get your personal email because it all goes through GS and GS only. It's not only helpful for people like me, but it is especially helpful for the moderators if they need to get in touch with you.

  12. #12
    ApacheApache
    Guest

    Re: Michelle's Speed


    Thanks so much for your time Rgirl, I really appreciate it. By the way, I have activated my inbox. I had been having it off before because I thought it would be rude not to read my PM and respond as I wouldn't have time for that. Now I feel perhaps it's better to have it on.

    Thanks to all of you for sharing your thoughts on Michelle's speed. Excidra, I have to say Irina is very fast, yes even on downloaded video clips. I have never watched skating live but I guess there's not much the clips can fool me regarding Irina's speed. Also, with the stuff I've read about her great speed everywhere, how can I doubt that.

    As for Michelle, as long as she's isn't slow, I'm happy even if it means her speed is average on the whole. Actually, although I enjoy watching Michelle's smooth and seamless skating, sometimes I would like to watch her stroke hard to gather speed. One more thing, Michelle's stroking before launching into a spiral sequence is very deceptively slow. It appears like she can suddenly go into a spiral with speed and edges just like that. Prime example is her inside-outside edge spirals in Aranjuez. The first time I saw it at 2002 Campbells, I had no idea she would go into a spiral sequence.

  13. #13
    Lucy25
    Guest

    Re: Michelle's Speed


    So many people have commented on how much faster Michelle seems to skate live. I remember being shocked myself the first time I saw her live because I had listened to too many criticisms of her speed. She seems to skate just fine, speed-wise. There must be something in the stroking theory. Michelle is no Fumie (who just flies over the ice), but she is so incredibly smooth.

  14. #14
    Lois
    Guest

    Re: Michelle's Speed


    I've seen Michelle skate in person a number of times over the years. At '95 Worlds, she was just painfully slow in person, and I think that people who only saw that competition on TV and saw Michelle landing multiple triples and finishing 4th didn't realize the contrast in speed and height between Michele and Nicole Bobek live (Nicole was flying that year).

    I think that Michelle improved her speed gradually over the years, though she wasn't ever outstandingly fast IMHO, but around 2001 or so I remember thinking that she was much faster than she used to be when I saw her in the Tom Collins tour or somewhere. Then in 2002 at US Nationals I thought that she had regressed in her skating, and this year at the Collins tour she was both relatively slow and off in my city, but since I don't see her live often I don't know if that was atypical or not. I've found that you really can't judge speed accurately on TV, though sometimes there are enough reference points to get a rough idea.

    A few other skaters who I've found to be very slow in person were Michael Weiss (a surprise when I first saw him live at '96 Nationals, as I'd expected him to be fast because of the quad attempts, but he sure wasn't...) and Kristi Yamaguchi, who was totally blown away speed-wise when I could compare her in warmups and practice to Tonya Harding at her peak in '91 Skate America and Midori Ito at the '93 World Pros (especially impressive because Midori is significantly shorter than Kristi, yet Midori could tear around the rink and jump higher than the boards). I think that both Midori and Tonya's extremely high triple jumps required high speed, while Kristi always did very low triples, but could rotate much faster than Midori or Tonya due to her body type, so Kristi didn't need their speed and height.

    Lois

  15. #15
    realistic51
    Guest

    Re: Michelle's Speed


    After seeing Michelle skate in Portland, I can honestly say that woman speeds around the ice.

    She takes long deep strokes that seem to push her from one end to the other. And she was just warming up too. Lexi and I were both amazed at how fast she truly is in person as opposed to television. It just doesn't do it justice.

    We saw COI that night also and her rhythm to the music is outstanding. I didn't realize how fast they skated until I tried to take a picture.:lol:

    I don't like the term "lazy" stroking. That implies that she isn't working hard. After having watched her just skate around the rink 3-4 times, I didn't see anything "lazy" about it.

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