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:
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.
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.
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.
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.