I don't have to go to the protocols to look for Yuna's splendid speed she maintains throughout her programs. She is decidedly a unique skater in that field. Other ladies may build up speed for a particular move (e.g. spiral) but they have not shown the constant level of speed throughout their programs.
Laura Lepisto is another great skater who not only maintains her speed throughout the program but her stroking is among the best all time. There is a lack of stroking in todays skating. It could be because of the CoP. Just give me that old time flow across the ice.
Wallylutz, thanks for your thoughtful answers. If I get you right, basically what you're saying is that Yuna is a catalyst for the ladies competition to push the boundaries of technique once again. I think we're already seeing this to a degree, especially with the young Russian girls like Elizaveta Tuktamysheva already performing 3Lz+3T and 2A+3T plus Mishin wants to teach her 3A. I think what is also important is that Yuna has pushed the technical aspects of skating without sacrificing artistry and skating skills. I predict that the young Russian girls are going to be a force to be reckoned with at Sochi.
Just to be honest, let me reiterate that I am not Yuna's fan. However, I do recognize that she deserved her Olympic gold medal, and she's given alot to figure skating. And I think she's a great athlete. And her fortitude and courage is amazing.
In some ways, I regret the fact that ladies and men skating have took such a divergent path in the mid-1990s. When Quad was first landed by Kurt Browning, it took a while for this jump to be popularized among men. First, it led to the emergence of Elvis Stojko who was providing formidable challenge to Browning back home. Even then, it was run like a two men show with the other men kind of fearful about even trying this new trick. Most of them, by then, were well established veterans and nobody had the nerves to learn this big new trick. Then Browning retired / defeated by Stojko, passed the torch to him, Stojko being the "unmusical" / manly skater that he was, focused his career on that jump. He brought it up to the next level, an almost Quad+Triple attempt in the 1994 Worlds, then finally, landed it almost 3 years later, at the 1997 Champion Series Final in Canada or as we know today, the GPF.
It took approximately 10 years, between the time when the first Quad was landed until it becomes a staple in men's skating but there was no doubt that during this period, we had this young generation of men, including Plushenko, Weiss, Goebel and Yagudin who were all challenging themselves because of what Browning and Stojko have done.
Almost 20 years after the era of Yamaguchi and Ito, ladies skating, for the better or the worse, have gone to a different direction that I find almost boring. Sure, Michelle Kwan was a great champion and very respectable athlete but her own legacy is most likely shaped by her own experience in the early part of her career as well. As a 15 year old, she skated flawlessly in the Birmingham World Championship in 1995, yet still finished 4th, even though she outskated everybody else technically. From that experience, we saw a suddenly transformed Michelle Kwan with Frank Carroll immediately gave her heavy makeup the following season, to the point that even Dick Button almost didn't recognize it was Kwan beneath those makeup. Ladies skating has been focusing so much on the precision of the skating but less so on challenging themselves in part because the more subjective 6.0 system really didn't foster an environment where the leading women felt the need to do as much. All Kwan or Slutskaya had to do was go clean with 6 or 7 triples, the 2nd mark will take care of the rest. If Michelle Kwan had not been an American, I don't know how popular this sport would have been in the United States during that time.
I have a lot of respect for Midori Ito because I think she truly was the catalyst that made ladies skating a sport today as we know it. If anyone had the chance to see what the 1988 Olympic was like, it was a zzzzzzzzzzzz fest for the ladies competition - that is if you can call it a competition. Ito and Manley were the only exceptions. So if Ito is compared to Browning, then I think Kim and her rivalry with Asada would best represent the follow up equivalent to Stojko, albeit some 20 years later than the men.
Wallylutz I have another question for you. You posted an interesting analysis on the current trend in ladies figure skating.
Here's what you wrote:
"oh yeah, there are many young girls who are doing it but not seriously though. Joannie even tried to do quads in practice, but that doesn't mean anything. I have seen plenty of talented young girls doing all kinds of crazy jumps, doesn't mean they are anywhere close to put them in competition. But I do think we will eventually see more girls trying the Triple Axel, maybe in another 5~7 years is my guess. When Quad was first landed by Browning, it was like that fancy toy that most men liked to watch but didn't want to touch. It took Stojko to make it a staple of men's skating and standardize it. Between the time of Browning and Quad becoming a staple, it took approximately 10 years. Midori Ito introduced us to Triple Axel for women but nobody really followed her to make it a staple for women, by & large, because it was unnecessary. After Ito, ladies' skating sort of took a slightly different path vs. the Men's - whereas the men have followed the lead of their World Champions (aka. Stojko) and emphasized on jumps, the post Yamaguchi/Ito era, ladies have evolved to emulate Baiul, Chen and Kwan where they were known for their elegance and artistic impression. Tara Lipinski's brief surge didn't really interrupt that trend because she was on the world scene for barely 1 year before she suddenly retired. Even till today, the emphasis of ladies skating is still somewhat different to men's. In ladies, the emphasis is still on precision, hence someone like Yu-Na Kim who is a great precision skater excels in the SP and usually overwhelm her competitions before the LP even takes place. Asada on the other hand is a so so precision skater, hence her lower GOE and etc. She is trying to buck the trend, which you have to give her credit for that so eventually, there should be more women who will look like her but there will still be plenty who will follow Kim's style. We may be living a very interesting time in ladies' skating where there is a bi-polar trend so I am very curious as to what the future holds. My 6th sense is telling me Asada and Kim have introduced something to ladies skating that will have profound change in this sport beyond what we see today. "
My question is do you think the bi-polar trend will continue in the future or do you think it will eventually lean towards one style?
Originally Posted by Imaginary Pogue
Originally Posted by Wallylutz
As i recall, the scuttlebutt at the time went something like this. Shizuka had been "winning the practices" all week, and planned 3Lz+3Lo and 3S+3T combos in her long program. When Sasha fell, and Arakawa skated with only two skaters left to go afterward, Shizuka's extensive coaching team and brain-trust decided to play it safe, ensuring at least a medal. (Japan had won 0 medals up to that point.)Originally Posted by prettykeys
So they took out the 3Lz+3Lo and went with 3Lz+2Lo, but still planned the 3S+3T. However, in the actual skate, Shizuka did not land the 3S well enough and had to bail with 3S+2T.
When Slutskaya, the last to skate, came up short, Shiz won in a walk.
Yuna has speed and she has consistent speed through out her program, and before and after her jumps. I think that is underestimated.
For most ladies skaters, they may have speed or may not, but most of them telegraph the jumps. Which is a normal thing I believe. But that is not what makes an Olympic champion.
IMO, what is most significant about her skating technically and often downplayed in discussions like this is her speed across the ice; executing each element in a blazing speed. Her speed is the engine of her skating. She gets her huge jumps from the momentum out of her speed. The grand scale of her dynamic skating also comes from her vast ice coverage during the performances. Besides her astounding jumps and excellent edge quality, this is another area Yuna clearly has competitive advantage over other skaters and where others have so much difficulty emulating. I am sure coaches and skating mums around the world hoping to raise a next Yuna will emphasize this to their kids in their training as much as jumps and other elements.
I think her biggest contribution to the sport so far in her rather short career is that she has shown the skating world how you can construct and perform a program in which you seamlessly blend the top notch technicality and artistry together; how you connect each technically demanding element with fluent transitions and movements and present the whole program as one body. Choreographers certainly plays a part in coming up with such programs, but it is the skater who actually puts everything together through her performance. No one in my memory has shown this possibility as bluntly as Yuna did.
She showed the young skaters how important it is to focus on improving quality of execution. Besides all the GOE's she garners from her jumps, she executes every other element very well; she doesn't have the best spins and spirals in the business, but she makes sure her quality in these elements are up there in the high rank so that she stays even-leveled with other skaters who are the best in these areas.
Last edited by parma; 04-07-2010 at 01:41 PM.