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Thread: most Underrated Skater is...?

  1. #31
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    Piel,
    The very lack of response by RG1&RG2's former fans on this thread simply proves that you are absoratinglutely right. But like Rgal, I'm simply overwhelmed to even be mentioned on the same thread as Ilia Kulik (screw the rest of them). We definitely haven't had enough good joke threads lately if people missed that one

    Back on topic:
    Originally posted by lulu
    Not trying to sound snarky-
    :o :D but what is everyone's defenition of 'underrated'-obviously it might be different for different posters. Do you mean not get the scores they deserve by the judges, not get the "attention" or respect by the fans? -Just curious to know.

    For me a skater can be underrated by the judges: they don't give the marks that the skater deserves.
    Then a skater can be underrated by the fans: doesn't get the appreciation and acknowledgement for their skills and talent as much as they should.
    Excellent point, Lulu, plus I think there are other ways skaters can be underappreciated besides the ones you mentioned. I have the feeling that people are nominating different skaters based on different criteria. For example, I chose Kristi because I think her skating was always underrated relative to World and/or Olympic champions before and after her. Her technical abiliities in every aspect of skating were superior, she was amazingly consistent, she had great versatility as a performer both as an eligible and especially as a pro, and kept up her technical abilities and improving her performing ones for a full decade after she won the OGM. Whereas various World or Olympic champions since Kristi have had some technical weak spots (weak edges, slow spins, inconsistency, lack of versatility), Kristi had none. That's how I see Kristi as being underrated, that she should be mentioned every single time great ladies skaters are discussed and not only is she not, but weaker skaters are talked about instead of or before her.

    BTW to Joe: Kristi actually only "reigned" for two years as OGM. She won the gold in '92, which was right before they staggered the winter and summer games, which caused the next winter Olympics to occur in '94 when Oksana Baiul won. Kristi also turned pro and started skating with SOI right after she won the OGM--at age 20, for anyone who's interested. But I agree with you that Kristi has a great fan base and was featured in plenty of shows and continues to be. I just don't think she was ever appreciated in a way that was comensurate with her talent and abilities as a skater. JMO.

    Also re Sarah and underrotating her jumps: It seems to me that the big brouhaha over Sarah and underrotation was with regard to her 3/3s. True, some people claimed she underrotated her regular triple jumps, like her 3Lutz, which I think is what was actually going on with her flutz, ie, that it was actually due to her Lutz being prerotated. But Sarah is hardly the only top lady to do that and she did improve it. Where I read serious criticism from serious critics was about the underrotation on her 3/3s. Some people claimed she underrotated her 3/3s by as much as 3/4s (and I'm don't mean You-Know-Who as the critic, although she did say that).

    But I'm changing my vote from Kristi to ME and Rgal! Compared to Penn and Teller, we don't get no respect
    Rgirl

  2. #32
    GOLDEN DREAMS RealtorGal's Avatar
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    Lightbulb

    The amazing thing about Kristi was that not only was she the OGM and U.S. Ladies champ, she was the U.S. Pairs champ as well! Not too many skaters can make such a claim.

    However, as impressed as I am with her stats, I was never blown away by her skating. Perhaps others felt that way as well. Yes, her consistency was incredible, but she lacked fire and pizzazz. I enjoyed watching her skate because she always "did the job". But as far as passion and inspiration goes, I never got that from her in all the times I've seen her skate. I think It's easier to remember someone as explosive as Oksana, especially under the circumstances she won her OGM (right in the middle of Tonya and Nancy)... plus there is her own personal drama.

    Interestingly enough, I heard Kristi say in an interview once that she loved to jump so much that she, herself, thought her focus on that aspect of skating took away from other aspects. (Her implication was that it detracted from her artistic presentation.)
    Last edited by RealtorGal; 11-02-2003 at 09:25 AM.

  3. #33
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    How many years did Kristi compete as a singles skater before going pro? She and Rudi were so loved as a pair team. Do you think that fans held it against her for ending their pairs career?

    Piel

  4. #34
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    Originally posted by Joesitz
    I was at Worlds DC and saw her in practice and in competition, Sarah does not underrotate her jumps. There is never any extra pull on the ice. It's a long curved beautifully executed landing. I couldn't have been any closer to her. Someone started this nonsense when she became a threat to Sasha and Irina.
    There is no "nonsense." Sarah does underrotate (and sometimes prerotate) her jumps - they have shown her feet in slow-motion on TV many times, showing a clear 1/4-1/2 of a turn on the ice before the actual landing curve materializes. I have seen her cheat the 2nd triple of a 3/3 more than 1/2 (closer to 3/4) when the prerotation is taken into account.

    As for the most underrated skater, I would have to agree with Todd Eldredge and possibly Nicole Bobek.
    Last edited by Dustin; 11-02-2003 at 12:45 PM.

  5. #35
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    My nominees are...

    Brian Orser, though lauded as a great skater, he never got the adulation that either Boitano or Hamilon did. His edges and flow were unsurpassed for consistency in the mens field for a long time in both amature or pro ranks. Twice Oly Silver, numerous World medals including gold and supurb and inventive professional.

    Denise Beilmann, though only one Worlds and a Pro title to her, she elevated the bar for women skaters and also kept her techinical skills until her LATE thirties. Her salcow with apache takeoff is a thing of beauty and her flexiblity and spins raised the bar for generations to come.

    Bourne and Kratz, though highly decorated and respected, still underated for what they did and how they did it. Should have AT LEAST Two olympic medals and 3-4 World championships. Gave the world a look at what North American Ice Dancing Style could be.

    Punsilin and Swallow, great American ice dancers that NEVER got their due until the pro ranks. Great quality and heart to their skating and one of the most undermarked ID pairs in the last 20 years.

  6. #36
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Hi Dustin - We'll agree to disagree. From my view, Sarah does not underrotate jumps anymore than a zillion other skaters and in my opinion, Tara won the underrotated title, but nobody said boo about it because she was branded as the Flutz Queen.

    What's sad about the few times Sarah did underrotate she was branded in the sense as the only one who has underrotated jumps.:(

    You wouldn't want to talk about flutzes?

    Joe

  7. #37
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    well going off topic from the Sarah Flutz conversation

    I agree Rgirl that Kristi has not recieved the same acolades that other US olympic and world medalists have recieved...

    and since I'm too lazy to write anymore, and the computer I'm typing at is very slow I'll just add my post here (It is the first post in the thread)

    underrated skaters

    and obviously some "underrated skaters" are more underrated than others...
    Last edited by lulu; 11-02-2003 at 05:59 PM.

  8. #38
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    I'll agree that Kristi never got all of the praise she deserved. She was so consistent and such a wonderful role model...I really think that her timing was just a bit off. The explosion of interest during the 1994 Olympics really helped to recharge the aura of glory that usually surrounds Olympic champions. Before then, I think there was still a big fan base, but Tonya, Nancy and Lillehammer brought so much attention and many new fans. (Me included!).

    As for Sarah and the jumps, I think it is obvious that she often had cheated landings. As for SLC, I've watched both 3/3 combinations in slow-mo several times and can't see that either was underrotated. The 3s/3l was close, but that was the cleanest I had ever seen her complete that combination. The point is really moot. She outskated everyone that night not only with 3/3s but with a fiery charge that no one else could muster.
    But honestly, I wouldn't say she is underrated. She was given considerable attention after her Olympic victory. She just didn't have other titles to go with the Olympic Gold to do away with the whole "fluke" debate.

    I wouldn't say Nicole Bobek was underrated either. (LOL, in my opinion!). She stole the show at the 1995 Nationals and was the talk of the Worlds in Birmingham. She was given enormous praise for her spiral, dramatic flare, etc. even when she was falling all over the ice in 97 and 98. She was highly respected for her skill and talent...but everyone knew she didn't have the consistent work ethic that was essential. Such a waste! She could have been legendary!

    I will say I think that Shizuka Arakawa has been underrated thus far. This season is producing different results...her solid performances are leading to better scores and placements so far. But last year, she really put a lot of heart and work into her skating and it showed. The judges just weren't ready to recognize that. The move to Callaghan was a great idea. She seems to be much more streamlined and better packaged this year. I hope she can dig deep and bring back some of that fire from last year...then the judges (hopefully) will have to take notice.

  9. #39
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Kristi, amateur and pro, gave me the most pleasure of any skater ever, even Michelle.

    Mathman

  10. #40
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    Originally posted by Mathman
    Kristi, amateur and pro, gave me the most pleasure of any skater ever, even Michelle.

    Mathman
    WHAT?! Did I hear you correctly? I thought that as far as you were concerned, the sun rose and set with Michelle! Geesh! Just when you think you know someone... they SHOCK you!

  11. #41
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    First the Yuka avatar and now this! Hmmmm.

    Piel

  12. #42
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    I agree with everyone that Kristi Yamaguchi is one of the most underrated skaters around. It seems strange to think of an Olympic and World champion as underrated, yet it's true. As I believe Rgirl said previously, Kristi should be mentioned in the same breath with Dorothy Hamill and Peggy Fleming as one of the greatest American women skaters ever, but too often, she's not.

    Why is this? Well, I agree with the suggestion that Kristi's timing was a little off, coming as she did just before the whole Tonya/Nancy/Oksana thing.

    Another factor, I believe, is that even though Kristi clearly won the gold in 1992, her long program in Albertville was not one of her best. Even though she was the clear winner, she didn't have the kind of thrilling, triumphant Olympic performance that Brian Boitano did in 1988 or Sarah Hughes did in 2002--the kind of performance that people remember.

    Yet a third factor, and a more dicey one, is that Kristi had the misfortune of reaching her peak during a time period in the early 90s when the U.S. was in a recession and was paranoid about the idea that Japan might be economically surpassing America. Ridiculous though it seems now, I do believe that the anti-Japanese sentiment at that time affected how the general public did (or did not) embrace Kristi. I distinctly remember a rather incredible Newsweek cover story prior to Albertville, in which the reporter directly pointed out Kristi's Japanese heritage and said, in almost these exact words, "Can an average American root for a skating champion with Japanese roots?" The topic was discussed or mentioned in other media news outlets at the time, including The New York Times, and there was much speculation that Kristi's heritage cost her valuable endorsement deals that might otherwise have come her way as the Olympic champion. As might be expected, Kristi ignored all the absurd, racist, and anti-American sentiments and rose above the whole issue with her usual class and grace. After a year or two the whole Japanese issue died down and now you hardly ever hear about it, but I do think it affected Kristi's general popularity and in particular her endorsement opportunities, which is extremely unfortunate and unfair. (Hopefully it's a measure of how far we've come in the last 10 years that Michelle Kwan has never been the victim of similar racist and disgraceful attitudes.)

    Anyhow, sorry for the long digression, but to sum up, I do agree that Kristi is one of the most underrated skaters of the last 15 years or so.

    In terms of actual achievement, you would have to say that Carol Heiss Jenkins is the other underrated American Olympic champion. Carol still possesses the best competitive record of any American woman (Olympic gold *and* silver medals, plus 4 or 5 world championships), yet she is nearly forgotten as far as the general public is concerned (which I assume is because she skated before the era of widespread TV coverage).

    Another underrated skater, I feel, is Lu Chen. When you look back on it, Lulu's competitive record is really very impressive. She won either a World or Olympic medal every year from 1992 to 1996, and then won an Olympic medal in 1998 as well. Few other skaters have been able to maintain such a consistently high level of skating in the 90s and 00s.

  13. #43
    Keeper of Michelle's Nose berthes ghost's Avatar
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    Joesite: Kristi reigned for 2 years, not 4. This probably was another reason that many see her as underexposed.

    GardenKity: I too would like clarification on your Urmanov comment. From 95 to 99 he was heavily featured on US televised skating. It was particularly frustrating for him that he missed the 98 season and the added Oly press coverage that came with it, due to injury.

  14. #44
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    Forgotten...

    In the non-skating world, it would be Kulik. He is essentially unknown among non-skating fans and never capitalized on his Olympic gold medal. Now that he's lost SOI, even being married to Katia, surprisingly, has not generated publicity among non-skating folks.

    Additionally, he's a much better skater - then and now - than many of the skaters listed on this thread.

    So, when I think of highly-rated versus under-rated, I'm thinking in terms of fame and respect by the masses, which are after all, the ticket buyers and television viewers.

  15. #45
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    Underrated

    Kristi is an interesting case. While I do not think that she was underrated by the judges, I do agree that for an Olympics and 2 time World Champion (the only woman other than Kwan to win back-to-back titles in the post-figures era) she seemed underrated by the general skating viewing populace. People have offered some good explanations as to why.

    I think part of the reason Kristi was underrated as an amateur lies in what was happening in women's skating at the time. Everyone was talking about the 3axel. Midori and Tonya had it, Kristi didn't. Many casual fans (foolishly) wrote Kristi off for this reason. Even some skating insiders noted Kristi's difficulty with the 3salchow and wondered -- if she struggles with that jump, how is she going to beat the 3axel ladies?

    When you look back historically at the difficulty of her programs (she attempted 7 triple programs and landed 3lutz/3toe and 3flip/hop/3toe combinations as an amateur back in the early 1990s), the fact she was solid artistically (much moreso than some recent Olympic champions) and her longevity (attempting 3lutz and 3flip nearly ten years after winning in Albertville) it's odd that she generally isn't considered to be a "legend."

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