From another post one would imagine that only lst place matters in competitions. For me it certainly means that the gold medal winner was the best <strong>that night!</strong> - prior consistency or no prior consistency.
But while gold is certainly an achievement, I would be the last person to put down silver and bronze - or even the top 5 for that matter.
Figure skaters work long hours honing their skills. They deserve respect for even being in a Senior Competition. After an Olympic go-at-it, most skaters disappear into shows or continue their education - others give it another go.
After a Worlds go-at-it, most skaters want to continue competing for the love of it - gold medal or not.
IMO, to truly evaluate the success of a skater would be the same as in any <em>ART Form</em>. One should check out the number of medals as the <strong>Body of Work</strong> of a particular skater.