Waiting for on-ice perfection.
The Top Ten Skaters of this Decade
This decade is now coming to an end. I think it's time for us to list "the skaters of this decade" starting from season 2000-2001 to now. The criteria are up to you, but I hope you do elaborate to make the discussion interesting. My criteria encompass titles, dominance, technical difficulty, impact, legacy and excellence in general.
1. Yagudin: Can anyone dispute his first place? He was the complete package, hands down.
2. Plushenko: Plushenko in 2006 was destined to strut into Torino and just take the medal. Pure dominance, charisma and technical prowess.
3. Lambiel: One of my favorite skaters. He had the quads and the artistry. He's simply breathtaking on ice.
4. Takahashi: If he had not been injured, his quad would have been in shape. He might have...
5. Joubert: I actually like him. I'm sorry he is following Plushenko's footsteps (willowing choreography for hip shakes and big jumps), but raw talent wise he's up here. It's not as though he lacks artistry either. Watch some of his Ex performances. He also has great consistency.
6. Buttle: His skating inspires me. He's lacking in titles, but his skates make up for it.
7. Lysacek: His skating has yet to evoke emotions, but there's no denying his OGM, world gold and genius in milking CoP. I don't know about legacy though.
8. Abott: a little underwhelming in terms of medals and Worlds placing, but he's very close to the whole package. His 2010 Nationals performances alone make me place him here.
9. Abt: One of the most underrated skaters. He had what it takes to win big titles. It's just that he represented the same country as Yagudin and Plushenko.
10. Sorry, really can't think of one. Maybe Chan?
1. Kwan: 2 World titles, OBM and 4 world medals, in addition to being one of the most loved skaters of all time. The greatest lady skater to have not won the OGM, but that matters very little in light of her legacy and grace on ice. What's left are the skates, not the medals.This is also the decade of Tosca, Aranjuez, Song of the Black Swan and the Red Violin.
2. Kim: I would put her here for her Olympic performances alone. Add into that Roxanne, Danse Macabre and Lark Ascending, her gorgeous jumps, dominance and presence/authority on ice? Yes, I would be so brazen as to put her here. She's also the best SP skater of all time.
3. Slutskaya: Two Worlds, two olympic medals, a heartbreaking story and triumphant performances. I have great respect for her. I still believe she should have won gold in 2002.
4. Asada: Two Worlds and an olympic silver. I think she has officially jumped more 3As than Midori Ito. She's gorgeous to behold. Her soft knees make her seem as though she floats on ice.
5. Arakawa: I had great difficulty choosing between Mao and Shizuka. Shizuka did win the best medal ever, the OGM, but she didn't stay on top long enough to change the sport and inspire youngsters. That's a pity since she had no weaknesses. Her donut spin was gorgeous. Her ina bauer, stunning. Her jumps, very impressive. I wish she just had greater consistency.
6. Cohen: She wasn't that big of a nutcase, really. She never put together two clean performances, but it's not as though she pulled a Kostner 2009 all over the place and her international medals attest to that. She has set the standard for spins, had crisp, gorgeous skating. Second best SP skater. Artistically, very strong.
7. Ando: first woman to land a quad, won 2007 worlds. Technically superb. Artistically weaker, but improving with time.
8. Joannie: I would put her higher, but she has only a World silver and an Olympic bronze. Amazing skater, with great maturity, edges and artistry.
9. Kostner: She was doing very difficult triple triple combinations (e.g. 3F-3Lo) with superb speed and precision. I don't know what has happened to her. I love her Canon SP.
10. I really can't think of one. Perhaps Hughes?
I don't follow PARIS or ICE DANCE as carefully, sorry, but I do hope other people include lists for those disciplines.
I'll just do top 5 for men and ladies, because I can't think of ten for each list.
1. Michelle - she won the most world medals during this decade and her artistry is still unparalleled by anyone else.
2. Irina - I had Michelle and Irina more or less tied for 1st, but ultimately gave MK the edge due to her world medals. I felt Michelle gave her best performances in the last decade and she was neck to neck with Irina during the 2000s. Irina was a formidable rival and powerful skater.
3. Yuna - She gave one of the greatest Olympic performances of all time, and many other memorable performances. The one thing she is lacking over the top two is longevity.
4. Mao -- My favorite skater of this decade. Still the lightest and most graceful skater of the current squad. If only she were allowed to compete in 2006, she would have been placed much higher on the list.
5. Sasha -- She was never very consistent; however, she had some of the best spirals and spins in the business. Definitely one of the most artistic skaters of this decade.
Shizuka just missed my list. She won the OGM, yet in a weak competition (splatfest), and I felt both Mao and Sasha were better skaters than her.
1. Yagudin - He had the best Olympic performances of the men, and his commanding presence on the ice is unmatched.
2. Plushenko -- Dominant for a long time. He had the jumps and while his artistry is criticized, yet it is hard to ignore his presence on ice.
3. Takahashi- My favorite male skater of this decade! He's the total package.
4. Lambiel -- Another skater who has great artistry. I rate Dai higher because I feel he is technically better than Lambiel.
5. Buttle -- A lovely skater who had a charming presence on the ice.
2) Yu-Na Kim
3) Irina Slutskaya
4) Michelle Kwan
5) Shizuka Arakawa
- * -
1) Yagudin - I have to rate him over Plushenko, even though he won less Olympic medals, because he's more of a complete skater. He could do the quads and actually have interesting programs at the same time.
2) Plushenko - I strongly dislike him, but I have to give him 2nd. Between 2002 - 2006, he was near-perfect technically. I think he was actually a better jumper than Yagudin, but his programs are boring as hell, and he was only a shadow of his former self in 2010.
3) Takahashi - OBM and World title, and amazing programs. One of the first Asian men to actually have artistry in their program, as opposed to just millions of quads. The quad flip he tried at Worlds though was gutsy, and he also battled back from injury to do really well this season.
4) Lambiel - It was a hard choice whether to pick him or Takahashi for 3rd, as there is not much difference in the results they achieved, but I think Takahashi has better skating skills and programs and he was a road-paver for Asian men in a way. Stephane's performances at the 2010 Olympics were also pretty underwhelming, and the fact that he lost motivation after winning worlds in the past makes him seem like less of a competitor than Takahashi.
5) Lysacek - He's an Olympic champion and a world champion, but I have to give him only 5th because he only became a force in the last two years, really. I don't remember anything that great about him before 2009.
6) Joubert - World champion, and has been near the top in almost every competition for the whole decade. If he hadn't struggled so much at the Olympics, he might be placed higher on this list.
7) Buttle - He was world champion and OBM winner, but his stay at the top was not very long before retirement. He also struggled too much with the jumps to be placed any higher on the list. He was really nice to watch, but never had a consistent quad and often fell on other jumps too. I know that Lysacek doesn't have a consistent quad either, but his triples are much more consistent now than Buttle's.
8) Goebel - I kind of have to put him here knowing he won an Olympic bronze, even though I can't even remember much about him. He also was really proficient at the quad.
9) Weir - He never won any world or Olympic titles, or any Olympic medals, but he was a strong contender most years of the decade.
10) Chan - He belongs behind Weir because although he won two Olympic silvers, like Lysacek he only became a force in the last two years and therefore can't be ranked any higher. His good 'decade' will be more like 2005-2015, I think, when all is said and done.
- * -
1) Kwan - Her longevity should give her this, even though she doesn't have as stellar results as Yu-Na Kim. She was much more interesting to watch than Yu-Na, too, and more unique.
2) Slutskaya - Two Olympic medals and multiple world medals, and staying near the top for most of the decade until her retirement. She also showed great fortitude coming back from injury and dealing with her mother's illness problems.
3) Kim - Olympic Gold Medalist and World Champion, but hasn't been at the top long enough to be 1st or 2nd. I also find that she hasn't found her own style yet, and her programs seem a bit unemotional.
4) Asada - Olympic silver medalist, world champion and brought the triple axel back for ladies. Hopefully there will be more good things to come from her, too.
5) Cohen - Olympic silver medalist, and maybe the best skating skills in the world, if only she could have put two clean programs together she might have been Olympic or world champion. She also survived skating in Michelle Kwan's huge shadow, and still having good results when Michelle was still competing.
6) Ando - No Olympic medals, but has been a top contender for most of the decade, even though she sometimes bombed. She also was able to land a quad in the past.
7) Arakawa - I know she was Olympic gold medalist and world champion, but that seems like kind of a blip in the radar. She rose to the top quickly and retired just as quickly. I only recall her being a serious contender for like three seasons, and IIRC, after winning Worlds she dropped to like 6th or 9th the next year.
8) Kostner - although she has struggled in recent years, she was wonderful through the middle of the decade, landing many triple triples as someone else mentioned, and wow, the speed.
9) Rochette - I know she has an Olympic medal and Kostner doesn't, but I can't place her any higher because of how inconsistent she was until the last three years or so. She still has a huge bomb factor and her jumps are not always clean, although her artistry is stellar.
10) Hughes - Another blip in the radar OGM winner, more so than Arakawa. I can't really remember much else about her and she seemed to quickly disappear.
- * -
1) Shen and Zhao - Two Olympic bronze medals and one Olympic gold. Medalling at three Olympics is a huge feat, especially when you get the gold when you're 36 like Hongbo. Oh yeah, and there were also those world championships that they won, and they were contenders for the podium since like 1999.
2) Totmianina and Marinin - They were a bit dull, but they were relatively unbeatable during their peak and got the OGM. Their OGM free skate in 2006 was boring, but technically flawless.
3) Berezhnaya and Sikharulidze - It was a toss up between them and a couple of others for this, but they should get this over Sale and Pelletier because they have more world titles (I think?) and over Savchenko and Szolkowy since they are OGM winners and S&S are only OBM winners.
4) Sale and Pelletier - The other gold medalists. Lol. Not that they aren't good.
5) Savchenko and Szolkowy - Two world titles, and Olympic bronze medal, plus hopefully more good things to come.
6) Pang and Tong - Olympic silver medalists with an amazing program in 2010. Should have got silver in 2006 as well. World champions in 2010. Major contenders throughout most of the decade.
7) Petrova and Tikhonov - World champions and major contenders through most of the decade as well. Should have been ranked higher at 2002 Olympics, technically perfect in the FS, but maybe suffered from a boredom factor and being the 2nd Russian team. They skated until they were quite 'old' for figure skating too.
8) Zhangs - Behind Petrova and Tikhonov because they never won a world title and their Olympic silver medals in 2006 were a gift, IMO. They also fell off the podium completely in the last couple of years, not winning world medals even with clean programs because of their boredom factor.
9) Kavaguti and Smirnov - no explanation really for the last two.. neither is extremely impressive but had good results
10) Mukhortova and Trankov
- * -
1) Belbin and Agosto - Yeah, they dropped back a little in the last year or so, but for most of the decade they consistently were in the top 5 in the world, and won an Olympic silver medal too. The teams who beat them for the world title or the Olympics didn't have the longevity of goodness that they did.
2) Navka and Kostomarov - They were better than Belbin and Agosto at their peak, but didn't have the longevity and I didn't think they had as much passion, which made them kind of boring.
3) Virtue and Moir - rocketed up the world standings basically since first attending the world championships, and their rise was especially meteoric since they weren't even Russian. lol. OGM, World Championship, two other world medals and maybe more to come.
4) Anissina and Peizerat - OGM winners in 2002 and beautiful dancers but weren't competing anymore for the last years of the decade, so I can't really place them any higher.
5) Lobacheva and Averbukh - kind of the same thing as A&P, good results, good team but left early in the decade.
6) Denkova and Staviyski - World champions and personal favourites of mine. Maybe should have won an Olympic medal, and more world titles, but it seemed like they were getting shafted by the judges a lot.
7) Delobel and Schoenfelder - World champions, no Olympic medals but consistent top contenders through most of the decade and maybe also should have won an Olympic medal and more world medals. It seemed like they were always relegated to 4th.
8) Davis and White - OSM winners, but they can't be put any higher than this because they don't have a world title yet and have only been a major force the last 1-2 years. However, they are put ahead of Bourne and Kraatz because along with Virtue and Moir, they are miles ahead of the rest of the field, in a different league and Bourne and Kraatz were never liked that (or if they were, that wasn't reflected in the results..).
9) Bourne and Kraatz - World champions and arguably should have won more world championships and/or Olympic medals if it weren't for bad judging. Like Delobel and Schoenfelder and Denkova and Staviyski, it seemed like they were shafted a lot (I feel like that's kind of an understatement!). They didn't stay around after 2003 though so that's one reason I can't place them any higher than this.
10) Fusar-Poli and Margaglio - I know they won an Olympic silver medal, but their Olympic comeback in 06 bombed and I thought they were overrated. They didn't really deserve a lot of the medals they got, IMO. I will never forget when Maurizio fell flat on his face in the middle of footwork and they still won a medal (2002 Olympics, I think?). He was not a good dancer..
"Hold an edge and look sexy!"
My Short List (in no particular order):
Last edited by museksk8r; 04-10-2010 at 11:11 AM.
I agree with most, but not necessarily the order. Definitely Kwan #1, other fans may think Yuna when they hear James Bond music. I think of Kwan in her black unitard cat suit when I hear James Bond.
Originally Posted by dlgpffps
I definitely won't put Cohen ahead of Hughes, Ando, or Joannie. Actually I don't think she is that much of a nut case, she messed up practically in all lps, not due to inability to perform under stress. I think she messed up by not training hard enough. Tat very publically talked about her lack of discipline to work hard. In all the comps where Hughes and Cohen both competed, Hughes beat Cohen 99% of the time. I think Hughes only lost to Cohen once and that was post olys. 2002. Since so many fans are making excuses of OGM not being well prepared or psychologically prepared for comps after olys, I think Hughes maybe excused for the one time loss to Cohen post olys 2002, lOL.
Hughes in my book is highef than Kostner, and Joannie. She maybe tie with Ando in my book.
Last edited by rtureck; 04-10-2010 at 05:06 PM.
So... I only have five....
1). Michelle Kwan: The Kween. What's more to be said? Gave some of the most spectacular performances in figure skating; Salome (yes, I know that was before 2000 but still), Lyra Angelica, Tosca, East of Eden, Song of the Black Swan.. the list could go on and on.
2). Yu-na: Girl delivered two spectacular OGM performances, skated lights-out Worlds 2009, and has given amazing performances that prove yes, a program can be technically difficult and still artistic (Bond, Danse Macabre, Tango de Roxanne, Gershwin come to mind.
3). Mao Asada- I adore this girl's skating. She might have hit a slump this year, but wow, just look at her 2008 Worlds perfs! I got chills from watching her 2008 Worlds SP and LP. She truly just floats across the ice like a dream and her spins and positions are gorgeous.
4). Irina Slutskaya: Wow... what a skater! Her technical skills were just amazing; doing triple lutz-triple loop, wowzers. Triple axels too. Effortless, fast spins and a joy in her skating! :3
5). Shizuka Arakawa: Not a spectacular Olympic performance, but technically, so strong and her ina bauer is just Plus, she skates with such maturity and elegance and grace, it's just gorgeous.
Men...Yagudin, Plushenko, Lysacek, Weir, Lambiel, Goebel, Buttle
Women...Kwan, Cohen, Slutskaya, Asada, Kim, Hughes, Arakawa
Pairs...Xue Shen and Hongo Zhao...then big gap...Sale /Pelletier And B/S
Ice Dance...Tan/Ben, Navka/Kostamarov, Davis/White, Virtue/ Moir
Last edited by Bijoux; 04-11-2010 at 12:40 AM.
1. MICHELLE KWAN- The greatest skater of all time!
2. YU-NA KIM
3. SHIZUKA ARAKAWA
4. MAO ASADA
5. IRINA SLUTSKAYA
6. SARAH HUGHES
7. MIKI ANDO
8. SASHA COHEN
9. FUMIE SUGURI
10. KIMMIE MEISSNER
1. Alexei Yagudin
2. Evgeni Plushenko
3. Stephane Lambiel
4. Jeffrey Buttle
5. Daisuke Takahashi
6. Brian Joubert
7. Evan Lysacek
8. Johnny Weir
9. Patrick Chan
10. Nobunari Oda
1. Michelle Kwan (were there any doubts?)
2. Irina Slutskaya
3. Yuna Kim
4. Sasha Cohen
5. Mao Asada
6. Shizuka Arakawa
7. Joannie Rochette
8. Miki Ando
9. Carolina Kostner
10. Fumie Suguri
I agree with about Alexander Abt. I think he wins the award for "Most Underrated Men's Skater of the Decade". He had World Champion potential, but he never fulfilled that potential. Some of it was because of political judging, his inability to stay 100% healthy. Also, he had the misfortune of peaking during the era of Plushenko and Yagudin--that must have been in awkward position. He basically the underdog of the Russian, the forgotten one. But he was always a delight for me to watch. He had an excellent ability to get into character and interpret the music. Also, I think Sasha Zhulin was a good coaching match for him.
Originally Posted by dlgpffps
1. Yagudin--He was the total package, he had it all and skated with passion.
2. Plushenko--He dominated the sport for most of the decade.
3. Lambiel--He was beautiful when he was on.
4. Weir--My all time favorite. Johnny's skating is so pure--I think thats what skating should look like. His skating is so breathtaking and stunning, especially live.
5. Lysacek--I find his skating enjoyable and his love for skating really comes through in his programs. Also for proving hardwork can trump pure talent. He made a MAJOR comeback at the 2006 Olympics, from 10th to 4th!! Impressive.
6. Joubert--When he was clean, he was amazing. He has such a natural talent for skating, so I think that makes it even more heartbreaking when he messes up.
7. Abt--He may never have won at the big competitions (Worlds, Olympics) but his overall skating ability made him enjoyable to watch.
8. Goebel--For pushing the technicality of mens skating. It's a shame he was forced into retirement by injuries.
Sorry I only have 8, I couldn't think of who else to include from this decade.
1. Kwan--How can anyone dispute that? If nothing else, simply for her longevity--she dominated for nearly a decade and I don't think that will ever be seen again.
2. Slutskaya--I thought of her mostly as a technical skater from the 90s-2002. In the last few years of her career, she gained the artistry to go along with the jumps. I believe she was a total package. It's a shame she never could hold it together at the Olympics. Like Michelle, she has proven the Olympic gold medal doesn't make a skater great.
3. Yuna--She will be remember as one of the all time greatest. Those Olympic performances were stunning. She really lived up to all the pressure and hype. Her Olympic LP was perfection.
4. Mao--She can land 3 triple axels at one event! Not even some men can do that.
5. Shizuka--Her skating was beautiful when she was clean. She rose to the occassion at Torino when others faltered and ended up as the suprise gold medalist.
6. Sasha--I've never been a big Sasha fan, but she did have a longevity factor. I've never seen her put two clean programs together at one competition, but she was the face of American figure skating for several years.
7.Rochette--With her courage at Vancouver, it became impossible for me to not include her on this list.
1. Shen/Zhao--Their longevity alone is enough to put them on the top of this list. Their fearless technicality and beautiful artistry is undeniable. Also for sticking around after Hongbo's injury and finally getting their happy ending. Perseverance personified.
2. Tatiana/Max--They may not have been the most exciting skaters, but they were basically unbeatable leading up the 2006 Olympics. And to come back after that horrific accident in 2004....
3. Elena/Anton--I believe they were the last of truly great Russian pairs. They were classical Soviet/Russian skaters. I always thought they were better artistically than technically.
4. Jamie/David--They basically changed figure skating forever....
5. Aliona/Robin--They are beautiful when they're clean and I enjoy watching them. They were basically one of the few non-Russian and non-Chinese pairs to dominate the field.
6. The Zhangs--Again, not the most exciting pair, but they are technically amazing.
7. Pang/Tong--After that joyful Olympic LP, it was impossible for me not to include them on this list.
1. Tanith/Ben--They were the trailblazers of North American ice dancing. They paved the way for all other NA ice dancers and are the reason why the US is now a force in the international ice dancing community.
2. Tatiana/Roman--I loved this couple! They were again, basically unbeatable leading up the 2006 Olympics.
3. Bourne/Kraatz--They were truly victims of political judging. They should have had more World titles and least one Olympic medal.
4. Tessa/Scott--Simply beautiful. I hope they stick around for a few more years.
5. Meryl/Charlie--I don't think we have seen the best of what they have to offer.
I am just in shock that Daisuke Takahashi isn't on every one of these top men's lists. He holds the top score in IJS history, as well as the 3rd highest score in IJS history (from last month's World Championships, where he didn't even have his quad back!). Before his knee injury, he was landing two quads in a program, and both before and after his injury, he has had unrivaled artistry and level 4 step sequences that brought audiences to their feet. I think he's the best all-around male skater we've had this decade!