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Thread: Which skaters “changed the course of figure skating?”

  1. #16
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Some names I'd add:

    Cecilia Colledge-it was she that changed ladies skating from the choppy, bent knee, tippy toeing that Sonja Henie did to something that a Janet Lynn fan would recognize, including balletic spirals, lovely spread eagles, and footgrabbing spins:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDLVM-Hjzwc

    When they make a rule about you, and when they completely eliminate a jump (the toe walley) from scoring because of you, you've changed skating. Elaine Zayak made multiple triple jumps in an LP required for the ladies.

    In dance, really, the modern style goes back to Pakhamova & Gorshkov, Olympic gold medallists in 1976. They added the Drama to ice dance and created the Russian style, which has been a dominant force in ice dance ever since. A shoutout for the creation of 4 of the compulsory dances goes to the English couple of Wilkie and Wallis, who invented the Quickstep CD, the Foxtrot CD, the Argentine tango CD, & the paso doble CD, .

  2. #17
    Dreaming and dancing Bennett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by koheikun90 View Post
    Mao Asada aside from the triple axels, she might be most known for the WEED (wrong edge entry deduction). Now we see the symbols ! and E on the judges score sheet.
    There are really numerous skaters who have wrong edge entries across disciplines and levels. I think it's just that ISU wanted correct edges to be emphasized.
    Last edited by Bennett; 04-08-2010 at 08:15 AM.

  3. #18
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    In addition to those already listed, Midori Ito, definitely.

    After all, she is (or rather her performances as 1990 Worlds are) the reason why they no longer have compulsories!

  4. #19
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    Phil Hersh made a similar list some yrs ago (just for women skaters). Peggy Fleming was in the list too b/c she was the original ice princess. Since Fleming there were decades of ice princesses (at least in the USA). I thought Arakawa may start a new era of the diva (although she has never behaved like a diva).

  5. #20
    I love you, Jeremy! GiuliaPlum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    Nice list - but 20 years before Bianchetti helped eliminate figures there was Trixie and Janet. One was too good at figures for the good of the sport - and unlike the credit you give totally to Haines - it was Janet who is credited in the modern era with turning the free skate into performance art.

    And speaking of innovators - Midori was the first lady who truly showed us that ladies could jump and spin in the air just like the guys.
    Can I ask you what figures are? Thanks!

  6. #21
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    Doris, thanks so much for the link to that Cecilia Colledge video! I knew about her of course, but I had never seen anything but still photos of her. What a gorgeous spread eagle. I'm sure she would have won the Olympics but for the war-years suspensions in '40 and '44.

    And thanks to the person who mentioned Toller Cranston. Interestingly, though Cranston and John Curry weren't exactly buddies, together they changed men's skating during about the same era. (I think they were even born the same year, which means they both made it to their Olympic glory rather late for men, at the age of 26.) This is because both were mature artists, not just well-trained athletic machines. During the Olympics, Button said that Curry was the dancer of the ice, while Cranston was the artist of the ice. That's a pretty good distinction. Both skated with feeling, command, and meticulous technique.

    John Curry
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z79TMsYRnEc

    Toller Cranston
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZJr7g0C9S0

    Cranston was undone by school figures. He was either seventh or ninth after figures in the '76 Olympics, clawed himself up to fifth after the short program, and ended up in bronze position after this long. Curry developed a ballet-based classical style, while Cranston added all sorts of individual positions--he was famous for the broken-leg sit-spin, for example. I've often thought of them as the Apollo and Dionysus of skating: one celestial, cerebral, and classical, the other emotional and Bohemian. What a pair for the ages!

    And it says something about the breadth and depth of Canada's skating tradition that the same country's pantheon of male skaters could include both Toller Cranston and Elvis Stojko, not to mention the Gene Kelly dynamism of Kurt Browning. What a grand history Canada can boast!

  7. #22
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    No matter who came later, no one but Sonia Henie drew more interest in figure skating as a competitor and an Ice Star. She brought more awareness to the sport and to the public's past time. Love her or hate her, that's the facts. Was she the best skater in the world? Hardly, but rinks begain to open all over the world and professional ice shows now had new glamour. Every mother would allow her daughters to study ice skating.

    If you can not believe this, or do not want to believe this, then by all means tell me who was it then, who got the ball rolling to make it a Big Time spectacle. There was precedence in the sport before Sonia, like Evans, Colledge, and my favorite, Helen Belita Jepson, but they were only for fans already 'in the know' They were not the Babe Ruth of the sport.

    All the other names mentioned in the thread did their thing to asist in promoting figure skating, if this is what the thread is asking. For me, it was Sonia first and all others followed with their contributions. It shouldn't be about revising history.

  8. #23
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    In addition to those already listed, Midori Ito, definitely.

    After all, she is (or rather her performances as 1990 Worlds are) the reason why they no longer have compulsories!
    Well, no, her 1990 performances obviously were not the reason why they no longer have compulsories. The process of devaluing and eliminating compulsory figures had started long before 1990, as mentioned in this thread -- even before the early 1970s and the Trixi Schuba-Janet Lynn contrast, although that certainly galvanized the development of major changes.

    The decision to eliminate figures entirely was voted on at the 1988 ISU Congress, to take effect 2 years later. So by the time Ito gave her 1990 performances, everyone already knew that was the last competition with figures. It wasn't the catalyst for those changes.

    Quite likely Ito's facility with all the different triple jumps, even before she landed triple axel in competition, was part of the context for the decision to finalize the end of figures at the 1988 vote. Of all the strong freestylers, especially strong jumpers, of the 1980s and early 90s, she was probably the most iconic of the increased importance of jumps in women's freestyle that coincided with the end of figures.

    I agree with most of the names mentioned before Ito and probably none of the names from the past 20 years. There have certainly been influential skaters during that period on smaller points, but I don't think we've seen an individual skater responsible for a major paradigm change in that time. The biggest change of the last few years has been the change in judging system, and if we have to single out one individual responsible for making that happen it would have to be Ottavio Cinquanta. (He's not the source of every major decision the ISU makes, but my understanding is that he really was pushing for this kind of change at least since 1997.)


    P.S. Oh, and I'd also add Axel Paulsen.
    Last edited by gkelly; 04-08-2010 at 08:58 AM.

  9. #24
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    If we are talkin about LEGACY, I'm happy how many times I've read the name of Toller Cranston and John Curry. I totally agree that they changed the men skating.

    In pairs:
    Protapopovs (art, edges, synchron, beauty)
    Shen-Zhao ( acrobaticism)

    Dance:
    Pahomova-Gorshkov : they have been the reason, why the sport became Olympic eligible.
    Torvil-Dean : total change of the sport
    ( in some way Virtue/Moir and Davis/White, because they madi it again enjoyable by a mass of people)

    Ladies:
    Sonia Henie (brought the glamour and the "celeb" business )
    Janet Lynn (never won, but the rules changed because of her talent)
    Denise Bielmann( needless to say why. also had the longest carrier-mainly as a professional skater)
    Michelle Kwan (capable to re-bring a mass attention)
    Yu-Na Kim ( a never seen technique, gracefulness and quality made again millions of die-hard fans all over the World)
    Last edited by bigdeal; 04-08-2010 at 09:47 AM.

  10. #25
    Figure Skating Is A Dangerous Sport Dee4707's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinymavy15 View Post
    maybe Plushenko for making the quad a "must-have" there for a while
    I would have to say Alexei before Plushenko only because Alexei is older. I don't know if any of you ever saw a competition called Top Jump. The competition was based on just jumps and of course Alexei won it. I also think that Alexei changed men's skating by showing passion, artistry, footwork and great jump technique. He was a man's man skater.

  11. #26
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    I'd like to add a contemporary skater who I predict will change the course of figure skating:

    Laura Lepisto.

    Watch upper level triples vanish from Ladies' skating! I'm being a little cheeky, but it doesn't hurt to make a prediction.

  12. #27
    Dedicated follower of the black line Wicked's Avatar
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    Yao Bin. His experience as a skater led him to become a pairs coach and then China to become the pairs powerhouse it is today.

  13. #28
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    Tara Lipinski, after she won US and Worlds, the age limit was changed, they were afraid we would have twelve year olds trying to do very difficult jumps, and probably winning

  14. #29
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    Tara Lipinski, after she won US and Worlds, the age limit was changed, they were afraid we would have twelve year olds trying to do very difficult jumps, and probably winning
    Again, you have to be aware of when these decisions were made.

    The age rules were changed at the 1996 ISU Congress.

    Lipinski won Worlds at 1997 Worlds after the rules had been changed. The reason she was allowed to compete there was because the rule included a "grandfather clause" so that skaters who had already competed internationally as seniors before the rule change, and who were still too young after the rule change, would not be excluded from continuing as seniors.

    Winning US Nationals has nothing to do with international age requirements. Just ask Mirai Nagasu and Keauna McLaughlin.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    I agree with most of the names mentioned before Ito and probably none of the names from the past 20 years. There have certainly been influential skaters during that period on smaller points, but I don't think we've seen an individual skater responsible for a major paradigm change in that time. The biggest change of the last few years has been the change in judging system, and if we have to single out one individual responsible for making that happen it would have to be Ottavio Cinquanta. (He's not the source of every major decision the ISU makes, but my understanding is that he really was pushing for this kind of change at least since 1997.)
    Except that this thread asks for (figure) skater, not speed skater. Cinquanta was never a figure skater as far as I know.

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