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Thread: The "It Factor"

  1. #31
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Yukina Ota had "it" but never became a champion.

    Chock and Zeurlein may get "it."

  2. #32
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    I’ve never been a big fan of Yagudin’s skating , but when I first saw him, I thought he has charisma and the air changed when he appeared on the ice.
    Plushenko and Yagudin both I felt there is something special air around them.

    The fist time I saw Plushenko, just “ Wow”. He has this aura of an elite skater. And he is one of my top favorite skaters.

    I think Michelle Kwan has “ it factor” , although she has never been one of my favorite skaters but I thought she has impact.

    On the other hand, I like Lambiel and his skating since 2006 worlds, and he is my second favorite skater. But until that worlds 2006 I had never been impressed much with his skating except for only his speedy headless spin. And when I saw his live skating and also saw him in close distance where there were many other skaters , somehow I didn’t feel he has “it” factor at that time. I may have different impression if I saw his live now.

    “It factor” can have many meanings, on ice, depending on the program, off ice and personality, or even not doing anything but already has impact.

    For Joubert, I think he has “It factor” but when I first saw him, he was with Plushenko, so somehow the impact was less. Sorry… but I like Joubert, too.

    Also I have to add Navka/ Kostomorov in my “ it factor” list. For pair skaters, I didn’t feel anyone has it, even though I liked Totmyanina / Marinin and Shen/ Zhou.

  3. #33
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    Observation along with "perfect" programs on the podium.

    I remember Dick Button saying - quite often as a matter of fact - that many times competitions are won by the skater that makes the fewest mistakes. I think that is the norm rather than the exception.

    I'll add Ryan Bradley to my short list of men with "it!" I think he has some sloppy technique, but there's no arguing he can capture a crowd!

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    Yukina Ota had "it" but never became a champion.

    Chock and Zeurlein may get "it."

    The consensus seems to be that you don't have to be a champion to have "it."

    Also, it is more rare but not impossible to "get it." Basically you either have it or you don't. But there are different ways to look at this and "it" can be meant at different levels (on ice only as opposed to off ice commercial success, etc, etc.).

    But it is interesting that you think C & Z have "it" potential. Do you think that with better skating technique they will get it, or through more personality developement?

    Actually, 14 year old Mao already had it. But 14 year old Yuna did not. She grew into it as her confidence grew. Mao probably had it by the time she was 7.

    An interesting observation was that Alissa has a soft "it", a gentle it like her skating.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    Also, it is more rare but not impossible to "get it."
    I agree; Alexei Yagudin is a good example of this. If you watch his skates when he was still with Mishin, he had, well, the "it" factor of a refrigerator on skates. But when he made the switch to Tarasova, he came to have to the "it" factor in spades. Though in the case of Yagudin, I think it was the combination of both the coaching change and him growing up.

  6. #36
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    I think it is possible to get “it” in the sense of some skaters gradually showing the “ it “ that they always had.

    And I think Yukina Ota had that potential. I add her to my list.

    And although I didn't feel Michelle Kwan's " it ", she certainly had a big " it " impact on alot of people, at least in the U.S.

    But I don’t think skaters ( or anyone ) can get “it”, if they didn‘t already have it in the first place.

    With skaters that didn't show it in the beginning, I think what happens is that as a certain amount of confidence grows in a skater, that “ it factor “ ( if they have it ) begins to appear. On the other hand, confidence does not equal “ it factor “. Although it can help it.

    But I think that skaters that have that ‘ it factor “, whether it be charisma, aura, or whatever “ it “ is, was always there, even if it was not always on display.

    I don’t think it’s something that can be manufactured. IMO

    And of course, this is all subjective. Different people have different ideas about who has “ it “ or not.

    Also, “ it factors “ can also be deeply affected by cultural differences, country differences.

    Although some skaters ( and some people in general ) can transcend those differences.

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by DragonPhoenix View Post
    I think it is possible to get “it” in the sense of some skaters gradually showing the “ it “ that they always had.

    And I think Yukina Ota had that potential. I add her to my list.
    And although I didn't feel Michelle Kwan's " it ", she certainly had a big " it " impact on alot of people, at least in the U.S.
    But I don’t think skaters ( or anyone ) can get “it”, if they didn‘t already have it in the first place.
    With skaters that didn't show it in the beginning, I think what happens is that as a certain amount of confidence grows in a skater, that “ it factor “ ( if they have it ) begins to appear. On the other hand, confidence does not equal “ it factor “. Although it can help it.
    But I think that skaters that have that ‘ it factor “, whether it be charisma, aura, or whatever “ it “ is, was always there, even if it was not always on display.
    I don’t think it’s something that can be manufactured. IMO
    And of course, this is all subjective. Different people have different ideas about who has “ it “ or not.
    Also, “ it factors “ can also be deeply affected by cultural differences, country differences.
    Although some skaters ( and some people in general ) can transcend those differences.

    Thanks for that excellent post Dragon. I pretty much agree with you. Perhaps as was said earlier Yagudin and Yuna always had it - but it was not always on display in their formative years.

    For me, Michelle always had it. She had it for me when she was only 12 - and she certainly showed me she still has it at this year's Worlds. As a matter of fact Michelle appeared to be glowing.
    It can be odd coz for me Sasha has as much or more of "it" on the ice than Michelle does at times. But just as odd - Sasha doesn't have much "it" for me off the ice. Atleast I have never seen it yet.
    Last edited by janetfan; 05-23-2009 at 07:09 PM.

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    But it is interesting that you think C & Z have "it" potential. Do you think that with better skating technique they will get it, or through more personality developement?
    I think ice dancing is different from singles skating in this regard. In singles, a 13-year-old jumping bean like Michelle or Mao can be WOW! Dancers, I think, need more time to grow into their craft (although I might have to make an exception for the young Jamie Silverstein. )

    Madison Chock’s middle name is La’akea (sacred light from heaven) Te-Lan (one-of-a-kind orchid). I think it takes a little seasoning to grow into all that.

    http://www.goldenskate.com/articles/2008/030809.shtml

    OT – By the way, Madison’s biography states that she won the International Family Film Festival sceenplay award in 2003 (she was 10.) Considering that the 2004 award went to the creators of Shrek, I am curious about what this award was for. Does anybody know?

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    Quote Originally Posted by feraina View Post
    More seriously, I think Western and Eastern tastes are a little different. In the East, they often prefer men with delicate features, pale complexion, tender gestures, etc. That's why they especially love Johnny, and also Adam. Whereas in the West, there's this perpetual discussion of whether certain males make figure skating look less masculine to the general public.

    A slight generalization, but I do think that the relative amount of "it" factor for the same skater is different in different countries due to cultural reasons, it's not like there's an absolute scale or anything.
    I don't think Western and Eastern tastes are hugely different given Yagudin and Joubert are also very popular in Eastern countries. But I agree male skaters with delicate features are better received in Eastern countries.

    Quote Originally Posted by feraina View Post
    As far as ladies go, I think Yu-na and Mao both have the "it" factor, Yu-na has more passion, Mao has more balletic elegance. Yu-na for me is like Stephane Lambiel among men, they may not hit the most elegant, balletic positions, but they skate with such intensity and commitment/belief in their program/choreography (Johnny made some statement like this about Lambiel in an interview, he said he admired Lambiel for that reason). I wish Yu-na would pick better music for this season, though, I liked her programs from 3 seasons ago much better, before she started working with Brian Orser (even though it's obvious that her jumps, skating skills, athleticism have all improved tremendously since then). The way she skates her programs, since Brian Orser, now seems so completely over-practiced to me, like every single gesture, facial expression is completely pre-programmed, and as such takes away from her emotional connection with the program and the audience. But that's just my opinion!
    The way skaters executes thier programs is usually planned in detail by a choreographer including positions of the head & hands and facial expression. But few skaters can sustain their original choreography until the end of the season.
    FYI, do you remember Yu-na's gesture like brushing her hair after 2nd triple Lutz at Worlds? It's her impromptu gesture, not pre-programmed.

    For me skaters with IT factors are

    men: Kurt Browning, Yagudin, Plushenko

    ladies: Katarina Witt, O. Baiul, Yamaguchi, Kwan, Yu-na

    pair: G&G

    dance: V&M
    Last edited by szidon; 05-24-2009 at 11:49 AM.

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by szidon View Post
    But I agree male skaters with delicate features are better received in Eastern countries.
    In the case of China, though, this does not apply to any of the most famous male skaters: Chengjiang Li, Hongbo Zhou, Jian Tong, Han Zhang.

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post

    Actually, 14 year old Mao already had it. But 14 year old Yuna did not. She grew into it as her confidence grew. Mao probably had it by the time she was 7.
    I haven't seen any of them skate when they were 14, but I saw them both skate when they were 15, and I'd say that Mao have the "it" factor at fist, gradually came the next season, whereas Yu-Na has always had the "it" factor as far as I can remember. It just goes to show how subjective the "it" factor is.

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by NatachaHatawa View Post
    I haven't seen any of them skate when they were 14, but I saw them both skate when they were 15, and I'd say that Mao have the "it" factor at fist, gradually came the next season, whereas Yu-Na has always had the "it" factor as far as I can remember. It just goes to show how subjective the "it" factor is.

    Yes, I agree this can be very subjective. And Dragon is probably correct when stating the "it" factor can be suppressed - but not learned.
    Here is Yuna at 15 and still quite introverted.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVSpow1HEBQ&NR=1

    Very nice skating, but this performance lacks true emotion to me with not much "it factor showing.

    At 14, Yuna was very shy showing no personality and making no attempt to connect with the audience. To see her in the K &C looks almost tragic!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnAjs1k2eEw

    But the "it" factor was always there and I think we first saw it with her great "Tango" program.
    Flash forward to '09 Worlds and Yuna showed skating fans a dose of "it" factor rarely seen in the skating world.
    Last edited by janetfan; 05-24-2009 at 11:17 AM.

  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    Yes, I agree this can be very subjective. And Dragon is probably correct when stating the "it" factor can be suppressed - but not learned.
    Here is Yuna at 15 and still quite introverted.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVSpow1HEBQ&NR=1
    Just to correct, YuNa was 14. (She was born Sep. 1990).

    YuNa' best performance at 15 was

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N00zw...eature=related
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhNms...eature=related

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    Here is Yuna at 15 and still quite introverted.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVSpow1HEBQ&NR=1

    Very nice skating, but this performance lacks true emotion to me with not much "it factor showing.
    Well, just to add some infos about Yuna,(since I think this is not published online yet) Ms.Park said in the book she wrote on her daughter Yuna's education that "Everything changed after experiencing several international events. Seeing for herself that Western skaters skate with full of expressions, Yuna started to change." "Back then, Korean skaters tended to feel awkward expressing something with their bodies." (but now it's been changing a lot since Yuna started to stand out among senior international events.)

    So, it is said that Yuna couldn't understand what the connecting with the audience exactly means back then, for she had been skating in the empty rink until she experienced several international events as stated above. The book also writes that she started to learn what "expressions" is from her coaches while preparing for 2004/2005 season, when she was in 2nd year of middle school.

    This is when she was 15, same program with what you linked.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xf6msOQKXs

    Sometimes I hear news when she mentions 'skating', she always emphasizes the importance of connecting with the audience, as many other skaters also do. I guess in her case, that's probably because she felt 'something' inside her while going through the environmental change in her younger years, and knows the importance as well.
    Last edited by common; 05-24-2009 at 12:03 PM.

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by common View Post
    Well, just to add some infos about Yuna,(since I think this is not published online yet) Ms.Park said in the book she wrote on her daughter Yuna's education that "Everything changed after experiencing several international events. Seeing for herself that Western skaters skate with full of expressions, Yuna started to change." "Back then, Korean skaters tended to feel awkward expressing something with their bodies." (but now it's been changing a lot since Yuna started to stand out among senior international events.)

    .

    Thanks for pointing that out. And sorry if I got the age wrong on the one clip. I was trying only to show how a younger Yuna was not letting out her full personality on the ice. It has already been mentioned that there are cultural differences and I think Yuna is an example of that. BTW, I am a big Yuna fan and think she has a huge dose of the "it" factor. We were previously discussing how certain skaters - Yagudin was one - didn't show as much "star" power on the ice when they were younger. That is my point about Yuna. Even to see her "Tango" at 15 and then a year later at 16 there is a big difference to me. To see Yuna now leaves no doubt that she has "it" and I think she will show even more next season.

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