Suceessful pro careers
Going from eligible to pro can be a difficult transition for some skaters. Some skaters have really blossomed (or became even better skaters) after turning pro. A few others were not so lucky.
Here is my list of who really developed as pros and who did not:
First, the successful ones(not just in terms of winning pro competitions, but those who really came into their own after turning pros):
Yuka Sato- as an amateur she was a skater with great basics but not very exciting. As a pro she is among the very best.
Annenko &Sretenski- ice dancers that never won a world medal. As pros they gave some of the most beautiful performances and won two pro titles.
Surya Bonaly- As a pro she is very exciting and she even won the Goodwill games. As amateur her lack of edging turned judges against her. Her best finish at worlds was -Silver (3 of them actually).
Paul Wylie- It started with his Olympic silver medal, and he carried it much further to become one of the best pro skaters.
Kristi Yamaguchi- The OGM certainly gave her a great start, but she worked hard to maintain her technical mastery, while developing artistry and versatility.
Gordeeva-Grinkov: When they won the OGM in 1988, they were a young pair with superb technique. After turning pro in 1990 their artistry really blossomed.
Bechke & Petrov: As an eligible pair they often suffered from nerves (Elena's). However, their Olympic silver medal was followed by a long and successful pro career.
Underhill & Martini- They did win the world title in 1984, but their real development came after turning pros. They dominated the pro pairs scene for a few years and were always respected even in the twilight of their careers.
Robin Cousins: He established himself as one of the great artists on ice. The pro format of competitions really suited his creativity.
Others- Josef Sabovcek, Josee Chouinard, Maria Butyrskaya, Ina-Zimmerman
Now the not so successful as pros:
Oksana Baiul- Too many problems, on and off the ice
Jill Trenary- Her health problems and later family commitments took her off the ice for good.
Viktor Petrenko- He had some successes, but he really did not expand on his enormous talent as a skater. His numbers were often too easy, choreographically, although they were very entertaining.
Grishchuk & Platov: They split right after their second OGM. What a pity!
Anissina-Peizerat: The storm of the 2002 Olympics seems to have destroyed their career. I saw them at COI, skating in the first half. They were wonderful though.
Bestemianova-Bukin: Considering their status (1988 OGM) they did not fare very well in the pro competitions. They experimented a lot, and perhaps grew a lot as persons, but they did not win many competitions, except in their first year as pros.
That's all I can think of, right now. An OGM is never a guarantee of success.
For me the biggest pro successes were Kurt Browning and Torvill & Dean. The latter were heading several tours and had 14 years of pro career. Kurt's is not yet that long (12 years now) but he is still on his skates and still on top of the game imho. Both have a history of going many different roads with their routines which is a key to success I think. Don't always copy yourself, it gets boring very fast.......
Gotta Have Music
I'm not looking at pro comp results here (wish there were more pro comp opportunities Anyway, here we go: Kurt, Todd, Paul, Kristi, Yuka, Katia (as part of G&G & as a singles skater), Caryn Kadavy, Brian B., Brian O., Roca & Sur (loved seeing them in SOI, and I miss them ), Steven Cousins (a real crowd pleaser in SOI, too). I am impressed with Jen Robinson's pro skating so far, and hope she will continue in that direction.
Last edited by iluvtodd; 06-02-2006 at 06:49 AM.
I have understood that lots of people have mentioned in one or other connection that Ilia Kulik has blossomed as a pro or that they have started to like his skating after he turned pro. He has had lots of interesting and really versatile pro programmes during years, and the newest "Too Darn Hot" (choreographed by Patricia Wilcox) which has not been shown on US TV yet, is the best of all, in my opinion.
In fall Ilia is participating in two Disson shows - Michael Bolton Tribute on Ice and Kristi Yamaguchi Family & Friends -, and I hope that you all will see in either of the shows that particular programme.
Last edited by Jaana; 06-02-2006 at 06:58 AM.
I love Ilia's pro programs, and I know he has choreographed a lot of them himself. Do you know if he is choreographer for any other skaters?
Sorry to go off-topic. I agree with pretty much everyone, although I think the most distinct "growing into themselves" as pros would be Paul Wylie and Caryn Kadavy....although Yuka Sato is up there as well! I think the rest of the pros that I really like had already shined really bright as eligible.
Scott Hamilton, Kurt Browning, Sale & Pelletier, Torvill and Dean all come to mind...
ITA about Kulik. he just keeps getting better.
Originally Posted by Jaana
B&S- they were always versatile, but as pros they have really used that ability to skate any kind of program, from very elegant to a totally crazy one, like Dance Mix.
Denise Biellman had a fair amount of success as a long time pro skater. She always maintained her athleticism and her unique style.
On the negative side, Mishkutenok-Dmitriev did not succeed as pros much. They stayed on the scene only a short while, and even that was not anywhere close to the success they had as eligible skaters.
IMO Tara did not have a great pro career either, although she won a few competitions. She developed some artistry, but nothing impressive. JMO.
MY TVC 1 5
Yuka Sato , mot definitely didn't slow down in any way once she hit the pro circuit. I also don't remember her doing any of the pairs that she does with her hubby (where is the jealous yet agreeing with emotincon) until she came onto the pro scene. she is really great at that too.
Kurt Browning, once the guy hit the pros his footwork!!!! WOW!!!
Elvis Stojko, the "ice gliding stuff is a great new "spin" on FS IMO. I love his modo - "It's not about victory or defeat. It's about the challenge to one's self." (had to look it up to make sure I quoted right) That is the voice of someone who is meant to be a pro.
Kristi Yamaguchi , kept it alive. Gave the world a chance to know what a great lady she is.
Scott Hamilton , What a great guy. I think he made the pros even better, he just exudes fun and perseverance to the sport. Plus he is living - at least his main home is - near me. Great state of Colorado!
Jamie Salé and David Pelletier, well they both are still wonderful to watch, but a particular fan of the things that Jamie has done - mainly because she waited until it was more age appropriate and as a pro is is more acceptable to me anyway. And as far as "Olympic Ice" went, they got thrown into a mess with no direction at all. Not that they came out with flying colors or anything. But they stuck it out and tried their best to make something of it.
Oksana Baiul, she had issues out of the gate but seems now to be pulling out of the "16oz curls" zone, and I have to admire that she is sticking in there.
Those are the only ones I feel comfortable in my "knowledge base" commenting about.
Last edited by SeaniBu; 06-10-2006 at 08:48 PM.
I am not sure I agree with you. I think they grew artistically as well. Besides, they are not retired now either - they do the theater on ice, that is not only extremely innovative artistically, but also provides a source of income for many not-well-known skaters.
Originally Posted by Vash01
Do all these names make a decent living? I'm sure they have other employments and their show skating is basically guest appearances.
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Kurt Browing and Salé and Pelletier are the ones that come to mind for me. Kurt has just gotten better and better every year, and as much as both of these examples were charismatic in their amateur programs, they've really brought charisma to a new level in their pro careers.
I think charisma is what many of these skaters have gained in their pro careers. All of the athletes that have been mentioned were very talented and successful athletes during their amateur careers but they really learned how to connect with the audience in their pro careers. Why do you think this is? Is it age? Lyrics? What?
MY TVC 1 5
Freedom of Lyrics in music? Hummm? Maturity does say allot more I think then anything. Could be confidence, lack of pressure.... good points. Does make me wonder why Oksana "went that way though." Glad she's back on a good course now though!
Originally Posted by CDMM1991
I'm not a big Lipinski fan but I thought she grew tremendously as a pro- esp footwork, relating to music and just owning her movements.
Kadavy and Scott Williams are my choices because both stuck with what they did well, kept up certain skills and developped their strengths.
Beillman also comes to mind but she was a WC and Wylie was a Oly Silver Medalist so its not like their success where unnexpected since. I always felt both had done an excellent job maintaining what had already set them apart and adapting but not necessarily growing (which isn't a swipe. I thought she was always a powerful/interesting skater and he had shown th complete artistic package since about 90 so no 'growth' was needed.)
In another vein Kwan has been a pretty exceptional pro in that she changed the nature of the game (endorsements, headlining, tie-ins, etc) without even going pro. I wish they'd laid of the pre Olympic deals in those years but diferent strokes.
Also- Fleming bassically invented the concept of a pro career and Hamilton re-invented it.
Kadavy- fulfilled her potential
Yamaguchi-remained number number one long after her Olympic reign.
Jumping Joe- After it seemed he jumped off the face of the earth. He came back better than his past competitors.
Hough/Ladret- not known to Americans until they turned pro.
Gary Beacom- Never understood him but some people enjoyed him.
Brian Boitano-Like Yamaguchi became a dominant force on the pro scene even after his Olympic reign.
Bielman- strong enough to compete with the youngsters for years.
Yuka- Came into her own, beautiful programs, better than the skaters that beat her in 94.
I have understood that Ilia has not choreographed for any other skaters, not even for Katia. Maybe in future?
Originally Posted by Kasey