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Thread: Skaters You Feel Left The Scene Too Soon

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    In my heart, I'm actually Canadian....
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    Skaters You Feel Left The Scene Too Soon

    While posting on MKFS's thread about unrealized potential (titled "cuz it's the off season" or something like that; if it was in front of me I'd state it exactly), I came up with creating a thread about skaters who you would have liked to have seen skate a little longer, long enough to maybe win a Worlds or Nats medal that they never won. These are not skaters who left due to injury, but skaters who just felt it was time to move on, either to a pro career or life in general. (Tho I will allow that some of the skaters on my list MAY have left due to injury, but if so I am unaware of that being the reason.)

    My personal list:
    LADIES:
    Sandy Lenz, the #3 member of the US Ladies team at the Lake Placid Olys (9th place). Very talented lady, would have been interesting to see how she would have done over the next couple of seasons. She went pro because competition made her so nervous she'd be physically ill.

    Denise Biellmann. One of my all time favorites, would have loved to have seen her win another World title or 2, and an Olympic medal. Left for the same reason Sandy did.

    Kristiina Wegelius. From Finland, she was one of those skaters who always seemed to be among the also rans at major competitions; almost always in top 3 after the figures at majors but never won a Euro or World medal. Retired in '83 after finishing 6th at Worlds in Helsinki. I am half convined that had she stayed around one more year, she would have won the bronze in Sarajevo. The bronze winner there, the late Kira Ivanova, was certainly not much in the free skating department and I think Wegelius could have taken her. Certainly, she had better figures than Ivanova.

    Karen Kwan. I always liked her style, and I think it would have been special for her and Michelle to have been on the same podium at Nats just once.

    Kristi Yamaguchi. Seems like just when she became a wonderful, artistic, well-rounded skater, she went pro. Would have been interesting to see what would have happened had she decided to stay around and defend in Lillehammer. Would she have beaten Baiul, pushing her down to silver or bronze? And if so, would Oksana have stayed around a few more years instead of heading right into the high-money instant fame game she didn't handle particularly well at such a young age? Would Tonya & Nancy never have happened? Or would it have been Tonya & Kristi instead? Actually, one could probably do a whole thread on this alone....

    Mikkeline Kierkgaard. I certainly don't blame her for bolting from under the thumb of the Danish federation, but I would have loved to have seen what she could have accomplished had she stayed a solo skater. I'm not sure she would have ever made a Worlds or Euros podium, but I do think she could have at least won a few GP medals.

    MEN

    Brian Pockar. One of the main reasons I wish he'd stayed around for Sarajevo is that I've heard so much great stuff about his skating, but have never actually seen it, despite his World bronze in 82. (TV coverage was rather sketchy back in those days.) Plus, the Pockar-Orser matchups at Canadians in 83 and 84 would have been most interesting. And would they have perhaps both won medals in Sarajevo? Due to politics in those days, probably not, but it is something to wonder.

    Rudi Cerne. 4th at Sarajevo Olymics, 5th at Worlds one month later, then went pro (I believe.) So close.... why not stay around one more year and see what could happen?

    Mark Mitchell. Would have been interesting to see what would have happened on both National and World levels had he stayed around a couple of seasons longer. He did have some pretty good results at his brief time near the top.

    PAIRS

    Gillian Wachsmann & Todd Waggoner. Anyone remember the 1986 National Pairs champions? They finished 4th in the short at the Calgary Olys, and had a wonderful long program that might have given them the bronze -- had mistakes not been made. Also finished 5th in Worlds that year. I was very disappointed when they opted not to continue the next season; I think they could have ended up with a Worlds medal.

    DANCE

    Karen Barber & Nick Slater. #2 in England during T & D's entire reign, they had a shot to come into their own in 1985 and did it with an absolutely dazzling free dance that showed that this couple, too, was capable of some terrific stuff. But a rumor got out that they had stolen the concept from a pro number that T & D were doing at about the same time (tho the basic concept was the same, the dances were entirely different; plus B & S had not even heard about the T & D number until after they had choreographed it) and they were left off the podium at Euros that year, thus killing Karen's desire to compete. They were the last of the great British dance couples of the 50s thru 80s, and ice dancing in England, once its mecca, has never been the same since. And if their 85 Free Dance was any indication, we may have missed a lot of great stuff.

    Lisa Spitz & Scott Gregory. It's a shame these two broke up; yes, Scott went on to greater success with Suzanne Semanick, but I liked the stuff he did with Lisa better.

    Jamie Silverstein. Jamie, Jamie, come back!! She and Justin Pekerak were great together, she was terrific with Ryan O'Meara -- she's just fabulous and I'd love to see more of her.

    Dominique Yvon & Frederic Palleul. Delightful to watch by all accounts, they were France's #2 behind the Duchesnays, but left the scene after Albertville. Would they have been as succesful in subsequent seasons as the #3 French team at the time, Moniotte & Lavanchy? We'll never know.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Interesting list.

    I think I disagree about Kristi Yamaguchi. In her case, amateur skating's loss was professional skating's gain. I think she accomplished more for the sport, and gave us more memorable performances, once she turned pro than she would have if she had hung around and won more world championships and Olympic medals.

    IMO Jamie Silverstein really didn't have a choice but to leave the sport prematurely. Health considerations forced her out (maybe twice now?)

    I wish Ann Patrice McDonough would have stayed in the game. If she could have fixed her spiral and continued to improve her jump consistency she might have made the world team in the last couple of years. As far as I know she left the sport just because her heart wasn't in it any more.

    Agree about Mikkeline Kierkgaard. But I think she did everything she could to compete as long as possible, so maybe we can't really say that she "left too soon."

    Michelle Kwan, LOL. Maybe she can get a hip replacement and give us 10 more years?

    MM

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    Yamaguchi and Karen Kwan, definitely agree.

    In the men's department I wish Kulick would have stuck around. Although I'm not sure if the World would have been able to handle THREE great Russians at one time.

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    Very nice list, Jonny Coop. Most of those skaters you mentioned, I've never seen, so I am kind of jealous that you did. Those that I did see, I agree whole heartedly with you, and wished they had stayed around longer.

    One gal I did get a glimpse of when the Lipinsky team was getting all the hype they could, was Tara's rival in juniors. I forget her name but I think she went off to Germany or some place. She had a lot of potential but that was it.

    Joe

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    On the Ice paralegalmkfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz
    One gal I did get a glimpse of when the Lipinsky team was getting all the hype they could, was Tara's rival in juniors. I forget her name but I think she went off to Germany or some place. She had a lot of potential but that was it.

    Joe
    Are you thinking about Sydney Vogel?

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paralegalmkfan
    Are you thinking about Sydney Vogel?
    Yeah. that's the one. whatever happened to her? I thought she had some talent.

    Joe

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    Sydne Vogel competed at 2003 German Nationals but didn't place well. She made a comeback in the U.S. in the 2004-05 season and placed 6th in senior ladies at Pacific Coasts Sectionals (2nd alternate to 2005 Nationals). She actually posted at FSU (late last year) and mentioned she had skated for the Royal Caribbean cruise ship line and kept her eligibility, but was recuperating from a back problem. At the time, she hadn't ruled out the possbility of another competitive comeback in the future.
    Last edited by Sylvia; 05-25-2006 at 09:59 AM.

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    MY TVC 1 5 SeaniBu's Avatar
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    I have to say a majority of those skaters I had not seen either. I wonder If I can find them on YouTube - that site has gotten great in just a year. Wish they would host more then 100mbs per vid.

    I completely agree with MM on Kristy - she seems like the type that was made for the pros.

    Jamie, that is a bummer. I wish those things could have been overcome to a degree she could continue. Her presents in the sport meant a lot to a cause that is always on the mind yet constantly overlooked. I still hear people say that shouldn't be an issue and 5 comments later they are saying someone looks "chunky." So I think there is still "work to be done" regarding this.

    Jenny Kirk really seemed to be right on the edge of winning something big. And her smile and presents in comp. gave that "show quality" with the "quiet reserve" I personally love about FS. I know this sounds rather unimportant, but her voice was so nice to listen to after her routines - I guess she had a lot of qualities that I feel were the things that set FS apart from other sports. Not that there aren't others with these qualities still, but she will be missed. Pros gain though.

    Katie and Garrett, I am still in denial over this one. They really had something special for me and I thought that this coming season was going to be something great for them - yet "Thinkibu" is wrong again. I was hoping for that "Tri-American Pairs powerhouse." But it seems that .66 was just to much of off the qualifying to keep going.

    I wonder if Laura Handy had anything left? That was a pretty "eventful ride." -JAT
    Last edited by SeaniBu; 05-25-2006 at 12:24 PM.

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    Stephanie Stiegler. I really loved the Sorcerer's Apprentice program that Peter Oppegard did for her and John Zimmerman in 1997. I know she had shoulder surgery, which knocked her out the following season -- there was an audience shot of her watching her brother and sister skate pairs during the US Nationals broadcast, and the commentator mentioned this -- but I don't know if this was career-ending, or if she decided she didn't want to continue after she recovered from surgery.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seanibu
    Jenny Kirk really seemed to be right on the edge of winning something big...
    I think Jenny's dilemma was that she was on that same "edge" for about four years and couldn't quite get over the top. With Michelle and Sasha ahead of her, the best she could do was compete for that third spot on the U.S. podium. She did go to worlds twice, with unencouraging results (once she was sick and the other time she was thrown into it at the last minute, IIRC).

    To me, her heart did not seem to be in it after the untimely death of her mother. All of her subsequent coaching changes, and moving from Boston to Detroit then to Los Angeles, did not seem to kindle a spark. I think she just decided it was time to move on.

    I know this sounds rather unimportant, but her voice was so nice to listen to after her routines - I guess she had a lot of qualities that I feel were the things that set FS apart from other sports.
    OK, that makes the vote 99,000 to 2 (you and me) about Jenny's voice. Most people thought she sounded too squeeky-little girly. What a sweetie.

    (OT -- Do you think Jenny is pretty? You should see her sister!)

    Katie and Garrett, I am still in denial over this one. They really had something special for me and I thought that this coming season was going to be something great for them
    I feel a little bit like a traitor to have to cheer for Katie and Garrett over Marcy and Aaron , but I think they might have stayed in if they had won the U.S. title (or finished second) and had gone to the Olympics and Worlds.

    From what I have read, the lack of financial support was a big reason why they called it quits. As Olympians they might have found it easier to attract sponsorship and opportunities to skate in shows.

    MM

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    Custom Title 76olympics's Avatar
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    What about Robert Wagenhoffer?

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    When I started reading this thread, AP immediately came to mind. I really liked her, and I think she would have done well under COP. I also think tonya Harding left too soon before she could realize her potential, but with the whole whack situation, she had to go.

    Everyone else I can think of left due to injury, so I guess they don't count!

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    Skating Freak Barbie
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    Not that he had any choice in the matter, but Yagudin. I would have liked to see him compete under CoP (other than a Japanese cheesefest that he's the only one who's never done CoP before), and I think without his injury, he could have remained a strong competitor.

  14. #14
    In my heart, I'm actually Canadian....
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    Quote Originally Posted by 76olympics
    What about Robert Wagenhoffer?
    TOTALLY forgot about him!! Yes, he's definitely another one. Terrific skater!

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    In my heart, I'm actually Canadian....
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    Quote Originally Posted by hockeyfan228
    Stephanie Stiegler. I really loved the Sorcerer's Apprentice program that Peter Oppegard did for her and John Zimmerman in 1997. I know she had shoulder surgery, which knocked her out the following season -- there was an audience shot of her watching her brother and sister skate pairs during the US Nationals broadcast, and the commentator mentioned this -- but I don't know if this was career-ending, or if she decided she didn't want to continue after she recovered from surgery.
    That was an interesting program, but I never cared much for the partnership; I thought that Stephanie and her first partner, Lance Travis, were a much better match than her and Zimmerman. JMHO.

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