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Thread: Why is flexibility so appreciated?

  1. #16
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medusa View Post
    I don't mind if girls can't do the layback spin with the "American"-leg position - but then they shouldn't try that and have the freeleg so ugly bent in the knee. Arakawa simply went for the an easier, but still beautiful, position. Lepistö too. Hah! Found a picture - here. It's easier but not ugly. In contrast to this, which is simply not pleasing to my eye.
    This is what they are trying for.

    "Attitude en point"

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...aja.jpg/120px-

    I think in the picture of Alissa Czisny her leg is bent more than it appears from that angle.

    Michelle Kwan did not have a very flexible back. It was hard for her to "lay back" and at the same time maintain the classic "attitude position."

    http://www.iceskatingintnl.com/image...005%20kwan.jpg

    Later in her career she went with the lowered leg position ("heart spin"), like Lepisto's.

    http://www.tribolum.com/images/posts/michelle_kwan.jpg.

    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    Nicole did have a beautiful spiral. What is it about American skaters and spirals?

    Kristi had nice spirals and so did Nancy.
    Kristi's spiral was only so-so.

    http://www.usfigureskating.org/content/yamaguchi3.jpg

    I didn't like Nancy Kerrigan's hand-assisted spiral at all (although many did.)

    http://www.frogsonice.com/skateweb/p...c/kerrigan.jpg

    I think Michelle (again consciously following Bobek) was the skater who made the spiral into a show-stopping highlight. Before Michelle's time it was just one of several moves in the field that the ladies fleshed out their programs with..
    Last edited by Mathman; 06-16-2009 at 08:07 PM.

  2. #17
    Banned janetfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    Kristi's spiral was only so-so.

    http://www.usfigureskating.org/content/yamaguchi3.jpg

    I didn't like Nancy Kerrigan's hand-assisted spiral at all (although many did.)

    http://www.frogsonice.com/skateweb/p...c/kerrigan.jpg

    ..
    I thought Bobek used her spiral to good effect and so did Nancy. I don't remember Kristi's so well from her competitive days but remember seeing her skating as a pro and she did this whole segment sort of yawning while she was doing a spiral sequence. Havent seen that for a while maybe 10 years or so - but I seem to recall her spirals and extentions as being good. Might be a case of my ancient memory failimg me again

  3. #18
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    I love Nancy's handassist spiral... Nicole Bobek and Tara Lipinski used it very well, too! and Angela Nikdinov....

  4. #19
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Flexibility by definition simply means ability to bend

    All players in all Sports must have flexibility. That being said, female figure skaters in their quest to be balllerinas on ice learn to turn out the knee out and point their toes. That is what is needed to have a ballet-like spiral and attitude spin (layback or not).

    Sasha's Split Jump is of the Ukrainian Folk Dance kind. One throws up his divided legs and sticks out his butt. The Can-Can ladies at the Moulin Rouge would not do the Ukrainian split on the floor, but do the Classic split with body totally perpendicular to the floor with no butt sticking out. (ouch one feels it) It's the same when in the air. Kwan's Falling Leaf Split was of the classic kind.

    Shizuka, btw, approximated the 'a la seconde' movement in ballet when she let go of her hand in a 'fan' and continued skating. Beautiful and very difficult.

  5. #20
    L'art pour l'art Medusa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    Shizuka, btw, approximated the 'a la seconde' movement in ballet when she let go of her hand in a 'fan' and continued skating. Beautiful and very difficult.
    That move is so impressive.

    Elene G. can do it too. And I think a few other female skaters - and they all had/have one thing in common: they are not thin sticks and have powerful tighs and rather womanly hips. I would really love to know if you need more muscle mass or broader bone structure to pull that move off.

  6. #21
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    I don't remember Kristi's so well from her competitive days but remember seeing her skating as a pro and she did this whole segment sort of yawning while she was doing a spiral sequence.
    The coolest show program of all time!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-QNtxwpTSE

    Yes, I agree that Kristi used her spiral to much grester effect as a pro than when she was competing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    That being said, female figure skaters in their quest to be balllerinas on ice learn to turn out the knee out and point their toes. That is what is needed to have a ballet-like spiral and attitude spin (layback or not).
    I think it's that "turning the knee out" thing that distinguishes the really good layback positions (Alissa Czisny, Angela Nickodinov) from the ones that are not so good, like the Yu-na Kim and Michelle Kwan pictures posted in this thread.

  7. #22
    Banned janetfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    The coolest show program of all time!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-QNtxwpTSE

    Yes, I agree that Kristi used her spiral to much grester effect as a pro than when she was competing. .

    Thanks mathman, I haven't seen that program for years.
    Kristi was such an entertaining show skater.
    I had forgotten how she looks at her watch during the spiral

  8. #23
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    I think flexibility makes a skater stand out. If Rachael had exactly what she has now, but with Caroline's super-bendy moves thrown in, people probably wouldn't be complaining about how boring she is. I also think that flexibility is sometimes mistaken for artistry. When good to excellent flexibility is paired with musical expression and feeling (some of Caroline's exhibitions, Michelle's many programs) - that's what appeals to me most.

    OTOH, good artistry coupled with flexibility sub-standard enough that it promotes an unfinished quality and poor line - that I find distracting (case in point: Yu-Na).

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andalusia View Post
    OTOH, good artistry coupled with flexibility sub-standard enough that it promotes an unfinished quality and poor line - that I find distracting (case in point: Yu-Na).
    Do you feel the same way about male skaters?

    How about skaters with good artistry from the 1990s or 80s or earlier, before extreme flexibility was in vogue?

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    Do you feel the same way about male skaters?

    How about skaters with good artistry from the 1990s or 80s or earlier, before extreme flexibility was in vogue?
    I'm not an avid follower of men's skating, so perhaps I'm not the best person to ask that question.

    However, I have seen John Curry, and I thought he was wonderful to watch. He didn't have extreme flexibility, but he was expressive, had excellent line, and every movement was precise and finished. That's good enough for me. Hyper-flexibility is just a bonus if the skater has it.

  11. #26
    L'art pour l'art Medusa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andalusia View Post
    OTOH, good artistry coupled with flexibility sub-standard enough that it promotes an unfinished quality and poor line - that I find distracting (case in point: Yu-Na).
    There are really graceful and artistic lady skaters who are not very flexible - Lepistö comes to my mind, Cynthia Phaneuf...

    And among the men we don't have that many overly flexible guys, they all seem to be at pretty much the same level.

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medusa View Post
    There are really graceful and artistic lady skaters who are not very flexible - Lepistö comes to my mind, Cynthia Phaneuf...

    And among the men we don't have that many overly flexible guys, they all seem to be at pretty much the same level.
    Yes, and I think Lepistö and Phaneuf are artistic. Same goes for Meier and Yu-Na. If they had better flexibility (I'm thinking about Lepistö and Yu-Na in particular), they would be even more aesthetically pleasing to watch.

    Extreme flexibility does induce 'Wow!' moments, but it isn't an absolute must for me. As long as the flexibility isn't poor enough that it impedes the promotion of elegance (and everything else is taken care of, too), I'll watch.

  13. #28
    Sitting Here on Blue Jay Way silver.blades's Avatar
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    A good line is very important in figure skating IMO and flexibility, in general leads to a good line. However, there are skaters with good lines and weaker flexibility, like Lepisto and Phaneuf as have been mentioned and skater with good flexibility and weak lines, Mira Leung comes to mind. She has excellent flexibility, but she doesn't hit many nice positions.

  14. #29
    leave no stone unturned seniorita's Avatar
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    I dont mind much if ladies dont have super flexibility, but if i feel they struggle in bielman or I spins or spirals it takes away some of their elegance. On the other hand I dont know if excellent flexibility can help the image of an average skater.
    In case of a top skater, flexibility like sasha's is always a wow. At her first international years when her name was mentioned her flexibility was the first that came in mind, before I could remember any program of hers.
    In men it is always a plus as long as it looks effortless, I loved plush's donut spin before he got injured, and I like Johnny's flexibility in any of his spins, they look very 'soft' , and I enjoyed alot Sawyer's Y spin and arab. spiral. If they are not flexible at all it bothers me in mostly in shotgun spin. But I can think of a skater who was sort of flexible and it didnt add to his skate, Othman.

  15. #30
    Tanguera feraina's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andalusia View Post
    OTOH, good artistry coupled with flexibility sub-standard enough that it promotes an unfinished quality and poor line - that I find distracting (case in point: Yu-Na).
    I feel the exact same way as you! Yu-na can lapse into a poor line at times, and it's very distracting for me -- it takes me right out of the moment.

    Same is true for me with male skaters. When it's especially poor line, and the skater looks like he doesn't even care, it makes me cringe while watching his program.

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