I really had to hunt for my highlight tape from the 1992 World Figure Skating Championships, held in Oakland, California. After watching the action, I have to say that this competition featured some incredibly sloppy performances, as well as some excellent ones. Maybe everybody was tired from the long season and from competing at the Albertville Olympic Games. Anyway, here goes...
Viktor Petrenko of the "Unified Team" (former Soviet Union) had won the gold medal in Albertville, and he won his first and only World title at the 1992 Worlds. He skated two strong programs and convincingly won the title. I thought his skating was acutally better than it was at the Olympics, especially his long program. So many times Viktor ran out of energy in the second half of his long programs, but at the 1992 Worlds, he held things together pretty nicely. He was a very gracious champion. Very handsome, too!
Kurt Browning of Canada came into the 1992 Worlds as the three-time defending World champion. However, he was still recovering from the serious back injury that had plagued him at the Olympics and contributed to his very disappointing six-place finish there.
I still remember his Olympic long program, in which he doubled and/or singled many of his jumps - ouch. At the Worlds, however, Kurt skated well enough to win the silver medal. Clearly, he was on the mend, and he stated his intentions to stay eligible through the 2004 Winter Olympics. I recall reading an article on these Worlds that equated Kurt's silver medal win as "redemption" for him. He seemed clearly happy to be back on the podium again.
Kurt's Canadian teammate, Elvis Stokjo won his first World medal, the bronze, with two powerful performances. What Elvis lacked in artistry he made up with in gutsy jumping.
Olympic silver medalist Paul Wylie had skipped the Worlds. Mark Mitchell, the bronze medalist at Nationals, competed at the Worlds and finished a respectable fifth. Mark was an elegant skater with a long, lean line.
US Champion Christopher Bowman, who had finished fourth at the Olympics, again finished fourth at the Worlds. In his long program, Christopher ran into the boards, and one of his knees was badly jammed. He managed to complete his program, but it was painful to watch him skate, as he was skating in obvious pain.
Todd Eldredge was recovering from a back injury and finished 7th.
Kristi Yamaguchi, the newly-crowned Olympic champion, defended her World title with ease, although she fell on her nemesis jump, the triple salchow. Nancy Kerrigan, the Olympic bronze medalist, won the silver at Worlds with a long program that was, well, terribly sloppy. There were a number of falls and miscues. Even Nancy appeared to be surprised at the relatively high marks she received, given the poor quality of her long program. Her parents were quoted as stating, "This was one competion in which we absolutely could not say the judges were unfair. If anything, they were generous." Frankly, in my opinion, Nancy was given a gift with the silver medal, based upon the mediocre quality of her long program. She looked almost embarrassed to accept the silver medal.
After finishing fourth at the Olympics, Tonya Harding had "soffened" her music and program and tried to present a more feminine look. It wasn't overly successful, however, as it really wasn't vintage Tonya, and she finished sixth at Worlds.
The elegant Lu Chen of China won the bronze medal.
Olympic champions Natalia Mishkutenok/Artur Dmitriev of the Unified Team (former USSR) defended their World title. Radka Kovarikova/Reno Novotny of Czechoslovakia won the silver medal with two very strong performances, and Canadians Isabelle Brasseur/Lloyd Eisler, the Olympic bronze medalists, won the bronze medal at Worlds.
US pair champions Calla Urbanski/Rocky Marval ('"The Waitress and the Truck Driver") placed seventh, with Natashi Kuchiki/Todd Sand eighth, and Jenni Meno/Scott Wendland eleventh.
Olympic champions Marina Klimova/Sergei Ponomrenko (Unified Team) regained their World title. Isabelle and Paul Duchesnay, the Olympic silver medalists, skipped Worlds. Maia Usova/Alexander Zhulin of the Unifed Team won the silver medal, and Oksana Grishuk of the Unified Team won the bronze medal.