Last edited by dlgpffps; 04-11-2010 at 10:25 AM.
Lots of good rivalries listed here. A great one was back in the 50's between Tenley Albight and Carol Heiss.
For me a great skating rivalry needs good sportsmanship and for the skaters to show true sporting character.
Yuna and Mao show this - so did Michelle and Irina as well as Kristi and Midori. The "Brians" epitomized great sporting character.
I would have to rule out Plushy as he has this very unsporting attitude that we saw in 2002 and again in 2010. His feeling that "enemies" are out to get him removes him from my list as he does not feel like a fair minded sportsman. Certainly he has been a great skater but IMO never a great sportsman.
Battle of the Brians
and in the professional ranks
Browning/Boitano - probably my absolute favorite, they both pushed each other to stay as technically sound as possible and they were pretty much untouchable.
For the men, Plushenko vs. Yagudin, because both of them were so technically proficient and technically ahead of everyone else at their time. There was also interesting drama added because they didn't like each other. Honourable mentions: Boitano and Orser (although I was too young to remember much of it), Browning and Stojko, and Lysacek and Weir.
For the ladies, I think I'll go with Michelle vs. Tara. Both were so close to perfection at the 1998 Olympics that it made it more interesting than say, Yu-Na vs. Mao in 2010 when Mao made some major errors. Honourable mentions: Yu-Na vs. Mao, Michelle vs. Irina.
For pairs, Berezhnaya and Sikharulidze vs. Jamie Sale and David Pelletier was the most INTERESTING, but it had a somewhat bad ending for both pairs so I'll say my favourite was Gordeeva and Grinkov vs. Mishkutienok and Dmitriev. Both ended pretty well with two Olympic medals for each team (although G&G won their first before the rivalry really started). It sounds like the G&G vs. Valova and Vasiliev rivalry was interesting too but I was too young to remember.
For ice dance I have to go with Davis and White vs. Belbin Agosto in the US. I don't remember ever before there being two ice dance teams from the United States that were so close and both so good. Honourable mentions: Grishuk and Platov vs. Usova and Zhulin (although G&P were established as the frontrunners), and Virtue and Moir vs. Davis and White (although I would say there is not really a contest as there is with B&A, V&M are the better team).
Rivalry -- I don't know many of them in real time except for Mao/Yuna, which has been great for these two talented athletes, but unfortunately has tended to be often ugly outside the rink.
I would definitely list Browning v Stojko. l liked both skaters ( but Browning more ) and they genuinely seemed to respect and like one another, which made the whole of their rivalry that much more accessible. Since they were pleasant in their jousting, their fans tended to follow suit.
In terms of fierceness it would be hard to outdo Yagudin/Plushenko, as it was clearly a grudge match between competitors that did not like another. Fortunately I was never an enthusiastic fan of either skater, so I could happily avoid taking sides.
How about Arakawa vs. Fumie?
I heard that was one fierce rivalry.
Always found the irony that Elvis held on so far 'past his prime' in skating after his crap about Kurt.
I hadn't remembered any snappish remarks from Elivis about Kurt. Interesting. Elvis was snappish about Ilia, too, up through the 1998 Olympic cycle--the artistry thing again. I think Elvis was just a defensive sort of guy, which is too bad considering his talent. He should have let it speak for itself. I think he felt devalued by the skating establishment for his style, but that's not the fault of other skaters. They're all doing their best to win, too, which is kind of the point. There are moments when his sheer guts on the ice have brought me to tears, and when he shoots off at the mouth, it just spoils things. I'm glad Kurt didn't respond in kind. But then, Kurt seems to be a gentleman--a trait I'm valuing more and more as time goes on.
I guess if I had to choose a favorite rivalry of all time, though, I'd choose Michelle/Irina...because when it was going on, it meant they were both still skating! I miss them.
Last edited by Olympia; 04-11-2010 at 05:29 PM.
The Battle of the Brians
Here's a nice feature about one of the most compelling rivalries in sports.
'Battle of Brians' still a classic, 22 years later
I don't think I'd consider Kwan vs Hughes a rivalry. They never really battled it out consistently for any title - as in Hughes was never really considered a true consistent threat to Kwan's or Slutskaya's dominence at the time. The only reason for this consideration is due to Hughes's surprise Olympic medal.
Roca/Sur and Punsalen/Swallow was a friendly rivalry that ended unwell. The 2 US dance teams were very friendly until P/S objected to the expediting of Sur's citizenship for the 1994Olympics.
Yags/Plushenko was definitely not a friendly rivalry, as well, but defintiely pushed Men's skating, as did the friendlier Battle of the Brian's.