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Thread: Recent Champions v.s Former Champions

  1. #1
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    Recent Champions v.s Former Champions

    I just started to think about it:
    In most sports, the recent champions are better than the previous one's, which means, the improvement is significant.
    Can we tell the same about figure skating???
    I watched some of the videos in youtube,,,,,,,
    Let's talk about our recent Olympic Champions:

    1. Totmianina/Marinin . Compare to Gordeeva/Grinkov (?) Shen/Zhao in top form (?), Mishkutionok/Dmitriev (?), Kazakova/Dmitriev (?), Berezhnaya/Sikh.(?), Sale/Pelletier(?) even Valova/Vasiliev (?) or Rodnina with any of her partners? I THINK THERE IS NO QUESTION!!!
    It is sad, because they won this competition fairly.

    2.Navka/Kostomarov: I think, I don't need to list all the previous Olympic Champions. Except Linnichuk/Karponosov( who even fall, winning the gold instead of the Hungarian Regöczy-Sallay) they all has been better.
    It is sad.

    3. Plushenko. Brilliant technical skater, but what an emotionless program, completely without any passion. Just" waiting -for-that-well-deserved-gold-medal"
    for 5 minutes. Even thought he is a historical skater compare with the above mentioned one's. The worst thing is: he was head-and shoulders with the rest of the field with this (almost unsporty) appearence.
    I think, we all cried back Yagudin, Kulik, Curry or Cousins, Browning, Orser, Boitano.
    But technically he is really a great improvement for the sport, jumping-technic wise.

    4. Arakawa: I think the best Champion during this Olympic Games, if we count what exactly happaned in the ice-rink. But I watched Lu Chen free skate on youtube.....(who never won an Olympic Gold, just 2 bronzes, but she could win this competition with ease). Also Kwan in top form, Ito or Yamaguchi, Baiul,Kerrigan should win. The absolutely not memorable Hughes should also win this competition.
    What about the Quality of Witt, Hamill, Lynn etc. We discussed so much about different lady-skaters in this forum in the last 3-4 years. Just because the timeless quality was NOT there in theese years. The ladies competition lacked the quality and technic the most of all disciplines. See what is happening now. Theese new talents can stop this sad tendency if they have time to reach their best form and not burned out too early...
    With all of that, Arakawa was a "spring-breeze" out of all of this Olympic Champions.

    Do you think, our favourite sport is in its right road now???

  2. #2
    Gadfly and Bon Vivant Mafke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigdeal View Post

    Do you think, our favourite sport is in its right road now???
    No.

    All human endeavours go through peaks and valleys, so the question is "is this downturn temporary or part of a longterm trend?"

    I'm afraid I'm thinking it's the latter.

    There's too much emphasis on non-skating skills and COP friendly programs are mostly a bore (while even brilliant non-COP friendly programs won't get on the podium).

    FS isn't a sport, it's an athletic discipline in which elements are supposed to be done in particular ways.

    As someone else here put it the primary _skating_ skill in a quad jump is landing on a back outside edge and holding it for a few feet which COP doesn't really care about. Similarly the primary skating skills of a triple lutz are maintaining the back outside edge until take off and landing on the back outside edge. Again COP doesn't seem to emphasize or care about either. With both of those jumps, rotating in the air (a non-skating skill) is more important than what the competitor does with their blades...

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    Rabbit Tycoon dutchherder's Avatar
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    I think it's just the natural ebb and flow of things. It's not a long-term situation. There's always a drought after someone who's really good leaves the competitive scene. Let's just take the ladies for a moment. After Peggy Fleming left competition, there was a bit of a drought before Dorothy Hamill. That's when Trixie Schuba was skating, which most people agree that she was a dreadful free skater, though she was good at school figures. After Dorothy Hamill, there were some *good* skaters, such as Linda Fratianne, Elaine Zayak, Roz Sumners, and Denise Biellmann-- but no one who could set the world on its ear. Then, we have Katarina Witt and the "Battle of the Carmens," which got everyone all a-flutter. After that, we have Jill Trenary, whom I like, but... Then, Kristi Yamaguchi showed up and dominated for a long time until she won the OGM. After that, we were watching (shock, horror) Oksana Baiul, Nicole Bobek, Nancy Kerrigan and Surya Bonaly. How many of those ladies would you consider to be figure skating "greats"? Sure, Oksana won the OGM, but how much longevity has she had, and how has she contributed to the sport? Then, we had some intense rivalries among Kwan, Cohen, Slutskaya, Lipinski, and Arakawa which were thrilling to watch, but... now they're over. Team sports have this too-- they call it a "rebuilding year".

    Towards the end of this Olympic cycle, we'll start seeing some good stuff again. I truly believe that by 2010, there will be someone really exciting. I mean, if I didn't believe that, I wouldn't keep watching.

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    MY TVC 1 5 SeaniBu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dutchherder View Post
    I think it's just the natural ebb and flow of things.

    ....

    I truly believe that by 2010, there will be someone really exciting. I mean, if I didn't believe that, I wouldn't keep watching.
    I love those kinds of posts. Those looks back help the "visions in my memory" have a degree of knowledge I didn't equate at the time I saw them. This is the kind of thought that gets me looking back at old black n white video of say Peggy, that I never have seen, and with the conversations like that above really bring out the qualities that may have been overlooked - possibly not appreciating something from the past as much as it should be.

    I agree with the "natural ebb and flow." I feel that there are a number of "situations" that seem to start out on the "wrong path" but after going down the path a little ways, it turns out to be the best thing possible. I am also keeping a positive attitude toward the future of FS and feel it will work out in the long run - and I don't think that long either. Even if a few of the new aspects are thrown out, there should still be something to learn from said experience that might not have been experienced without the course it is on now.

    I don't allow myself to feel that there is any aspect that is damaging the sport permanently per-say that has been instigated by the ISU. Just trying to make it better. The attempt is reminiscent of the old saying "the road to hell is paved with good intent," but at the same time the saying that "doing the same process but expecting different results" is much more unproductive than "tweaking" to attempt to improve.

    Is Speedy looking at retirement soon?

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dutchherder View Post
    ...Then, Kristi Yamaguchi showed up and dominated for a long time until she won the OGM.
    Strangly enough, Kristi's "domination" lasted only one year, 1991-92. In 1992 she finished second to Tonya Harding at U.S. Nationals, her third straight silver.

    But she won worlds that year, then the Olympics and Worlds in 1992.

    I think the reason Kristi's reign seemed so much longer is that she went on to dominate professional skating, at a time when professional competitions were riding high. She won the World Pro many times and earned praise for keeping her technical skills at a peak for many years. She was still doing triple Lutzes at 29.

  6. #6
    At the rink. Again. mskater93's Avatar
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    Actually, you got Kristi's medals reversed at Nationals, In 1991 she was 2nd at Nationals behind Tonya with her one and only 3A at Nationals. It was close at Worlds and Kristi pulled the "upset". In 1992 at Nationals, Kristi won her one and only National title along with Olympics and Worlds.

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    Custom Title heyang's Avatar
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    I tend to agree that Kristi is probably remembered more because of her pro career. Trenary was supposed to be the dominate skater after 1988, but I think she got injured. Also, Trenary usually won competitions because of the strength of her figures. These 2 factors allowed Kristi to rise.

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    Gadfly and Bon Vivant Mafke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heyang View Post
    I tend to agree that Kristi is probably remembered more because of her pro career. Trenary was supposed to be the dominate skater after 1988, but I think she got injured. Also, Trenary usually won competitions because of the strength of her figures. These 2 factors allowed Kristi to rise.
    Trenary was a beautiful free skater but had problems with mental toughness (I don't know if she ever had a major competition where she didn't struggle in one section or another) and she only had three triples just as Ito was upping the jump content.

    Yamaguchi had one of the toughest mental games ever and five triples.

    Figures helped Trenary usually (though even there she could bomb) and Yamaguchi was never great at figures. In the early years of her seniors eligible career she also did doubles of course and that probably hurt her figures too (in terms of time she was able to devote to them). Once she stopped doubles, I'm sure she would have gotten her figures under control if she had had to, but they were about to be dumped because the powers that be felt they were hampering the commercial viability of skating so she didn't have to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dutchherder View Post
    Then, Kristi Yamaguchi showed up and dominated for a long time until she won the OGM. After that, we were watching (shock, horror) Oksana Baiul, Nicole Bobek, Nancy Kerrigan and Surya Bonaly. How many of those ladies would you consider to be figure skating "greats"?
    MIDORI ITO!!!!!

    I consider her a figure skating GREAT after Kwan.

    Probably my ranking will be

    1.Kwan
    2.Ito
    3.Witt

    But Henie is also the first figure skating GREAT.
    Last edited by gio; 12-25-2006 at 01:00 PM.

  10. #10
    ~ Figure Skating Is My Passion ~ Ladskater's Avatar
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    Actually, to make a long story short - Paul Martini commented during the recent GP event from Japan - "Many people thought the heart and soul of figure skating was missing with the new judging system, but with the quality of skating we saw at the Japan GP, it has returned."

    So in answer to your question ; "Is figure skating in it's right road now?" I would say yes.

  11. #11
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    is figure skating in its right road right now? Well I could say both yes and no to this.

    Former Champions could've definately won the 2006 Olympics.

    Shizuka Arakawa won, but her performance didn't include a triple-triple or triple axel or anything, so any other former champion that would've had everything of their time clean could've won it.

    Evgeny Plushenko--well, nobody was going to beat him that night, but I think that if Yagudin would've come into this with two quads he could've beaten Plushenko.

    Totmianana/Marinin-- If you would get the Protopopovs here in their top form, artistically they could've beaten them.

    Navka and Kostomarov--I think that Ice Dance now is more advanced than its ever been, so even Anissina and Piezrat who won in '02 wouldn't've even come close this year, since now Ice Dance has so much more to it, so ice dancing is on the right road right now.

    Everything else, again yes and no. However, I think that all of these disciplines right now are approaching a new road.

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    Was the generally poor skating at the 2006 Olys a sign of permanent decline, or merely one bad competition? Many of the skaters who ended up playing the zamboni at Olys did much better at Worlds, for example. I can't help thinking that one reason for skating's low popularity is due to people watching Olys, seeing so many skaters in all disciplines on their butts, and thinking "who wants to watch this?"

  13. #13
    Gadfly and Bon Vivant Mafke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by attyfan View Post
    Was the generally poor skating at the 2006 Olys a sign of permanent decline, or merely one bad competition? Many of the skaters who ended up playing the zamboni at Olys did much better at Worlds, for example. I can't help thinking that one reason for skating's low popularity is due to people watching Olys, seeing so many skaters in all disciplines on their butts, and thinking "who wants to watch this?"
    If the skating establishment is bound and determined to keep skating in the olympic ghetto then the olympics damned well better be a pretty special competition, but usually they're not due to hype, enhanced nerves and stress and odd practice schedules.
    Also, the job of the olympics is to produce _stars_ and by stars I mean personalities that non-skating fans can recognize and care about. A skater doesn't even necessarily have to win to attain star status (see Michelle Kwan) but you need to make a conspicuous splash and be media friendly.
    Unfortunately the last olympics was kind of a non-starter in that department. Three of the winners were established skaters that NAmerican non-skating fans weren't inspired to care much about.

    Pairs: T&M were technically accomplished and cold as the ice they skated on. Nothing new there, but who's going to look at them and be inspired? The nerve shown by Zhang was undermined by them actually getting a medal (and silver at that). If Z&S could have had more practice time, their natural charisma would have wiped the ice with T&M but ...

    Men: Plushenko had the least interesting freeskate of a men's goldmedalist since ... Hamilton (who at least was sick). Again, who could watch that performance and be inspired? The real potential media breakout star was Johnny Weir, I was hoping he'd win a medal because he's made for the media and is actually, you know, interesting.

    Dance: Remember that old Disney documentary about the desert when a tortoise gets turned over on his back and can't right himself and the narrator talks about how he'll die if he can't turn himself over? That's what the OD reminded me, of a horrible spectacle of helplessness in the uncaring face of pitiless nature. But still, as awful as it was, it was better than the FD which was ... meh And Dance is the hardest discipline to create stars in, the Duchesnays came close as did Grishuk but essentially there haven't been crossover stars in Dance since T&D.

    Ladies: Most interesting competition there but as much as I love Arakawa (a _lot_) her manner isn't exactly NAmerican media friendly (for language and maybe other reasons). Still I'm glad that she's so huge in Japan now (I think her destiny is to be the Fleming/Hammil there).
    Cohen was the closest to a crossover star in the field and we had the great spectacle of her comeback from the disastrous opening (really after the first two jumping passes it was by far the best I've seen her skate) Slutskaya was just too exhausted and Emily Hughes is not an LP skater.

    Number of crossover stars created outside of Japan? As far as I can tell maybe Cohen who's probably not going to compete again in the eligible ranks or skate in shows much either. If Weir had gotten on the podium he'd have a claim, but all in all there wasn't much marketability in the Turin podiums.

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