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  1. #31
    Gadfly and Bon Vivant Mafke's Avatar
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    Part of what made Kwan so special is that she kept re-inventing herself, in broad terms her eligible career can be divided into three periods.

    1. little jumping bean
    2. exquisite young artist
    3. mature power skater

    Salome was the bridge between the first two periods and Scherezade was the bridge between the last two. It comes between the ultimate lyricism of Dream of the black swan 98-2001 and the tougher more athletic style she developed 2003-05.

    Pre-Scherezade : She was slower (not slow per se, but not as fast as she got later) and had lots of inbetweens and lots of subdued difficulty. The jumps weren't especially high but they got the job done.

    Scherezade: I think she was getting sick of doing "Michelle Kwan" programs and wanted to shake things up. The single most significant part of Scherezade was the 'beheading' at the end. She was determined to confound people's preconceptions about what she could and couldn't do. I think the choreography was completely up to what the program was designed to do (which was not be a Lori Nichols program).

    Post-Scherezade: She gained speed and attitude at the expense of inbetweens and choreographic intricacy. After working with Artunian she also gained a lot more height on her jumps. Sadly, injury (partly brought about by the loathesome spin requirements of COP?) ended her career before she could morph again...

    Bolero is another story entirely, as the injuries were starting to kick in and she never was able to lay down a definitive performance of the program. If her body had help up a little better it might be remembered a lot differently.

  2. #32
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mafke View Post
    Scherezade: I think she was getting sick of doing "Michelle Kwan" programs and wanted to shake things up. The single most significant part of Scherezade was the 'beheading' at the end. She was determined to confound people's preconceptions about what she could and couldn't do. I think the choreography was completely up to what the program was designed to do (which was not be a Lori Nichols program).
    Very interesting perspective.

    Michelle did say at the time that the entertainer that she admired most was Madonna. For the reason that Madonna was continually reinventing herself -- just when you thought you had her all figured out, she raised the bar and took off in a new direction.

    The only justification Michelle ever offered for parting with Lori Nichol and Frank Carroll was that she "wanted to take control of her own skating." Scheherezade could have been a blockbuster if Michelle had just been able to deliver the technical content that she planned.

    At Skate Canada, for instance (her first competition without Frank), she intended something like 3T+3T, 3Lz+3Lo, 2A, 3F, 3S, 3Lz, and two more jumps (she was doing 8 jumping passes then), probably including solo 3Lo. She did do a solo 3Lo in each of her other performances, Skate America, the Grand Prix Final, and the Olympics. (I'm not sure what the Zayak rules allowed back then.)

    At the time I was disappointed in the choice of music. Left to her own preferences, rather than Nichol's, she went with the standard late-romantic Russian war horse concept (Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Rachmaninov). A stark contrast -- "taking control" -- with the out-of-the-way gems that Nichol had found for her (Lyra Angelica, Red Violin, Song of the Black Swan)

    Looked at as the bridge to the "new Michelle" of Aranjuez and Tosca, however, this all makes sense.

    (BTW, Michelle was ahead of her time. With just a little tweaking that jump layout would be at a maximum under CoP. Somehting like 3F+3T, 3Lz+3Lo, 2A, 3F*, 3S*, 3Lz*, 2A+2Lo+2Lo* = 48.75 base points on jump elements. Only a triple Axel could give her more.)
    Last edited by Mathman; 08-05-2007 at 04:19 PM.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    At Skate Canada, for instance (her first competition without Frank), she intended something like 3T+3T, 3Lz+3Lo
    AFAIK she was planning 3T+3Lo and 3Lz+3Lo.

    I hope she never tries doing 3Loops in combination ever again. Her 3Lo off the 3Lz was horribly underrotated and then of course she fell. It's more important that she get a 3F+3T or 3Lz+3T consistent if she comes back. Those are within her abilities.

  4. #34
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    I wouldn't want her to give up on a jump just because she tried it once and missed.

    But I do want her to give it up because it's bad for her hip.

    Anyway, Public Policy Envoys, college students, corporate spokespeople, and future TV commentators don't need to do triple loops.

  5. #35
    Gadfly and Bon Vivant Mafke's Avatar
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    There's also the Scherezade curse for ladies.

    I can think of three reigning world champions who lost their titles while skating lp's to Scherezade.

    Fratianne (78, lost to Poetzsch)
    Ito (90, lost to Trenary)
    Kwan (02, lost to Slutskaya)

    Has any ladies reigning world champion skated to Scherezade and _not_ lost the title?

    (I think Carmen might be sort of cursed for ladies too, Fratianne and Thomas lost at the olympics with it and Witt held on by the skin of her teeth with her weakest long program since ...1981?)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mafke View Post
    (I think Carmen might be sort of cursed for ladies too, Fratianne and Thomas lost at the olympics with it and Witt held on by the skin of her teeth with her weakest long program since ...1981?)
    Witt's 1988 Olympic performance was better than her 1984 Olympic performance.

    Or do you mean at Worlds, where she doubled one of her Salchows (in addition to doubling the Loop)?

    1988 Worlds really sucked. Witt, Manley, and Ito all dropped down from how well they did at the Olympics and Thomas remained just as Blah.

  7. #37
    Gadfly and Bon Vivant Mafke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldMedalist View Post
    Witt's 1988 Olympic performance was better than her 1984 Olympic performance.
    Or do you mean at Worlds, where she doubled one of her Salchows (in addition to doubling the Loop)?
    In absolute terms, maybe Witt in Calgary was better (more mature) than in Sarajevo, but in relative terms she was worse (in that she lost the lp for the first time in many years). I agree that ladies at 88 worlds was kind of blah (though Witt won the lp there with an even weaker performance than in Calgary because none of the other ladies were able to step up to the plate).

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mafke View Post
    Part of what made Kwan so special is that she kept re-inventing herself, in broad terms her eligible career can be divided into three periods.

    1. little jumping bean
    2. exquisite young artist
    3. mature power skater
    Nice analysis. I think MK's reinventing herself is secondary in part to how the judges were treating her. She started as a little jumping bean, just skated for the sheer joy of it. In 95, she landed 7 triples + 2 double axels, received the only standing O, and the judges left her off the podiuim. When she had the jumps the judges wanted art.

    Her 97 programs, both sp and lp were probably the most packed with inbetweens among all Kwan programs. Unfortunately, she sacrificed the jump accuracy for that. So she had to invent herself for the artistry/ presentation for the olympic year 98. By 98, she had the art, the judges wanted jumps. So she had to invent herself with jumps, sacrifice the inbetweens, and added nuiances of a head roll here and a flick of the wrist there. (Song of Black Swan showed her off nicely in those areas). Then she had to invent herself again, because the judges loved Irina's power. (WAs it GPF 00 or 01? MK landed more triple jumps and presented her programs in a more sophisticated way, but the judges rewarded Irina for her power?). Then MK invent herself with power.

    I am most definitely not saying that MK WUZ robbed. (maybe in 95). But that is the world of sport, and a skater does not stay on top for 10 years without having the discipline to reinvent herself.

    Bolero is impossible to skate to. I wish she had stayed with Lori. Lori is good at finding obscure classical pieces (at least for MK). Skating to obscure pieces is not risk free, but IMO carries less risk and potentially may gain more reward than skating to overused top 100 classical. Bolero is a piece that is impossible to skate to.
    Last edited by rtureck; 08-05-2007 at 05:46 PM.

  9. #39
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mafke View Post
    Part of what made Kwan so special is that she kept re-inventing herself, in broad terms her eligible career can be divided into three periods.

    1. little jumping bean
    2. exquisite young artist
    3. mature power skater
    I can't argue with your grouping. I do believe artists get better as they age if they stay with their art.

    However, imo, Kwan had a problem in the era just before Nagano. We were told it was a bruised toe but I believe now, that it was the beginning of the hip problem. She took the chance of leaving out her 3Tx3T but Tara with her 3Rx3R took over. She then left out her 3x3 combo in all future competitions, I believe (to save the hip from getting worse)., and then she disappeared from the GP series. Later, of course, elements began to disappear at Worlds.

    Kwan's maturity was super and imo, the best ever of a female skater but as a competitor she faltered badly and without Tara and Irina, got through the 2003 Worlds with a brilliant performance but not much in the Technical. The CoP was going to get her!!!

    Joe
    Last edited by Joesitz; 08-05-2007 at 05:49 PM.

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    Kwan's maturity was super and imo, the best ever of a female skater but as a competitor she faltered badly and without Tara and Irina, got through the 2003 Worlds with a brilliant performance but not much in the Technical.
    6 Triples, a gorgeous Spiral, and a gorgeous Footwork sequence is "not much in the Technical"???

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by rtureck View Post
    (WAs it GPF 00 or 01? MK landed more triple jumps and presented her programs in a more sophisticated way, but the judges rewarded Irina for her power?). Then MK invent herself with power.
    In GPF 00 Slutskaya did a 3Lutz/3Loop and a 3Sal/3Loop (along with 4 more Triples) in her LP to beat MK. Slutskaya has never beat Michelle at a competition where Michelle landed more Triples.

  12. #42
    Gadfly and Bon Vivant Mafke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    However, imo, Kwan had a problem in the era just before Nagano. We were told it was a bruised toe but I believe now, that it was the beginning of the hip problem. She took the chance of leaving out her 3Tx3T but Tara with her 3Rx3R took over. She then left out her 3x3 combo in all future competitions, I believe (to save the hip from getting worse).
    She did the 3t/3t in both 2000 and 2001 worlds (wouldn't have won without them probably).

    I'm sure that part of the disappearing inbetweens was age and taking care of real injuries and fretting about possible ones; elite eligible skating now is not kind at all to the bodies of young adults (which gives you an idea of just how brutal it is).

    But I think part of it was informed choice as to the kind of skater she wanted to be, which was to focus more on basic movements and power, getting more bang for the buck (or skating smarter rather than harder).

  13. #43
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldMedalist View Post
    In GPF 00 Slutskaya did a 3Lutz/3Loop and a 3Sal/3Loop (along with 4 more Triples) in her LP to beat MK. Slutskaya has never beat Michelle at a competition where Michelle landed more Triples.
    Would that go over in the CoP?
    It certainly didn't when the hip got to her. Did it?

    Joe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    Would that go over in the CoP?
    It certainly didn't when the hip got to her. Did it?
    I'm not sure what you mean?

  15. #45
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    We can't really say that MK was a CoP skater. At least I will never say that.

    No bielmans, no real fans, no 3x3, no loop jump, etc. That's what Irina and Shizuka were all about and we can throw in Carolina Kostner. However, Kwan was a superior interpreter of music without resorting to a dumb story which I appreciated whole heartedly. If you haven't noticed, the PCS scores are valued less than the Technial scores even in the arithmetics.

    Joe

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