Thanks, gang, for correcting my faulty memory about which year Ito won. I could have sworn Trenary's championship preceded Midori's. That'll learn me to post without verifying first. But I do recall that Jill was happy to be off the scene with her world gold before school figures ended. Was 1991 the year of the American sweep of Yamaguchi, Harding, and Kerrigan? That was some championship! It was in the morning paper before it showed on TV because of the time difference in my locality. Our newspaper wasn't much for articles about skating, but results like this merited a photo of all three ladies. By far Harding's finest hour, though Yamaguchi and Kerrigan went on to even greater accomplishments.
Nice idea for a post! Well, as always favorites start from 1992, as that is the year I first remember watching figure skating:
Michelle vs. Tara.
The quality they brought to the 1998 Olympics is still a gold standard for me. Both in terms of the skating and their graceful attitudes. It was such a great antidote to the Nancy-Tonya thing.
Yagudin vs. Plushenko
Both of them were just so superb. What else do I even need to say? Maybe just that 2002 is my favorite men's Olympic competition since 1992 without a doubt.
Johnny vs. Evan.
Too bad Johnny sort of faded competitively toward the end. They both really made U.S. men's skating more fun than it had been in ages.
Michelle vs. Irina
I love how long these two lasted and how different they were and what fierce competitors they were.
Michelle Kwan vs. Lu Chen
Well, it was short-lived and may sound strange but Lu Chen was Michelle's first international rival and probably the loveliest. That Michelle beat out Lu Chen at age 15 for her first world title makes the accomplishment all the more astonishing. And the Tara-Michelle-Chen Lu 1998 Olympic podium is one of the best ever.
Kristi Yamaguchi vs. Midori Ito
I'm glad Mrs. P mentioned these two. It's the first rivalry I remember and I guess it was only for a short while but it is still emblazoned in my mind. And both are very memorable skaters in their own right and very fierce and fun competitors to watch.
Yuna Kim vs. Mao Asada.
These two are so ahead of the pack when they are on. At their best, they are each other's only competition. I'm so glad Mao Asada brought it on at the Olympics and Worlds to keep that rivalry alive. If only Mao had given herself a better coaching situation, the rivalry would have been even better... But she gave the show over to Yuna too long and it just didn't end on the note on which it began.
I agree with all your points, Layfan. Certainly Kim vs. Asada is a rivalry for the ages even if it doesn't continue past this recent season. To think of a skater like Asada, who is able to do not just one triple axel but three, and also bring musicality and lyrical lightness to the ice, and she's not the top of the heap because there's someone with better jumps than that!--plus equal artistry...that's a feast for any skating fan. Then, to top it off, the two of them skate just about flawlessly (according to their respective strengths) at the Olympics, and they're surrounded by what may be the best final flight in recent memory. If that's not the stuff of legend, then we don't deserve to call ourselves skating fans.
I realized earlier this year (my first one as a poster rather than a lurker on GoldenSkate) that although I generally love all four skating disciplines, I spent most of the season posting almost exclusively on the Ladies' threads. That's when I knew there was something really magnetic going on, and that we were possibly watching history in the making. Now that history has been made, I'm pretty certain that sometime in the dim future, skating fans will envy us because we got to live through this ladies' Olympic final as it happened.