My ranking and breakdown of the performances:
#1 - Elvis Stojko
The strongest technical performance of the night. He is the only man who does the Triple Axel-Triple Toe and the only man to skate a clean program with all of the different Triple jumps. It's a good program too, although his skating skills and performance ability leave something to be desired. He doesn't have deep or fluid edges and he doesn't move across the ice with enough speed, unless he has already been pumping with back crossovers to gain speed. He doesn't skate with overwhelming emotion or nuance.
Grade: 5.8 Technical, 5.7 Presentation
#2 - Kurt Browning
This is a glorious, masterful program and his skating skills are divine. He skates with heart and clearly understands the music. A few bobbles do detract a bit from the overall effect, so it's not perfect, but for me he still displays the best artistic effort out of anyone in the competition. On the tech side I have to be very critical. First of all, he doesn't have a Triple Lutz in the program. He partially makes up for this with a difficult 3Sal-3Loop combination but, really, without a 3Lutz or a Quad, the most I could possibly give him for technical merit is a 5.8. With that as the base mark, I then have to look at the mistakes he made - a major error on the second crucial Triple Axel (he turns it into an underrotated, double-footed Double Axel), a botched spin, and a couple other small imperfections at the end of the program (just a little shaky on the landing of the toeloop and the first part of the combination spin). Given these problems, my final marking is:
Grade: 5.5 Technical, 5.9 Presentation
#3 - Philippe Candeloro
Interesting, unique choreography and a real sense of showmanship. Not quite as emotional as Browning's program and the skating skills aren't perfect either, but still very good artistry on display. Technically he has some great highlights. His opening Triple Axel is one of the biggest ever, just massive. The Lutz, Loop, and Salchow are all superb as well. He completely fails on his second attempt at the Triple Axel (very difficult trying it so late in the program, though) and the Flip is flawed, but definitely good enough overall technically.
Grade: 5.6 Technical, 5.8 Presentation
#4 - Alexei Urmanov
On a base level, this good program and Urmanov has a boyish charm that reflects the music. There are so many distracting moments, though. A little bit of it is the choreography - a couple of the moves are cheesy or even stupid (that fake movement of him picking up a telephone...ugh, so trite). The main distracting moments, though? His spins! Dear lord, they are a mess. He does a flying spin that never gets into position and drastically travels across the ice and follows it up with an upright catch-foot spin that also travels bit and has a completely ugly position. Later in the program he tries another flying sit that never really gets into position (although this one at least stays centered) and then follows it with a combination spin that has that same ugly catch-foot position from before and ends with a back scratch that has barely any speed. These distractions, aside from taking some energy out of the program, also deserve a .1 deduction in the technical score. Spins weren't a big deal back then but Urmanov's were a blatant shortcoming in this performance. The other mistakes on the tech side are the obvious messy landing on the Triple Flip and also a small problem with the landing of the Triple Loop (he lands on the inside edge).
Grade: 5.6 Technical, 5.7 Presentation
#5 - Viktor Petrenko
Is this a better performance than the ridiculous one he won a Gold Medal with in 1992? Yes, it is. Or at least, he executed the elements better here. I actually think the program itself in 1992 was stronger. Petrenko has always tended to be less interesting in his Long Programs and this is no exception. I find it to be a very dull program with a lot of crossovers and little excitement. Petrenko has great posture and body line and pretty good skating skills, but I don't feel he is truly connected to the music and the program simply never comes together to create a specific mood or any kind of special moment. Technically he does a good job, his only actual mistake is doubling out on a Triple Loop, although he doesn't have a 3-3 combination either.
Grade: 5.7 Technical, 5.6 Presentation
Last edited by Blades of Passion; 06-17-2010 at 08:40 PM.
What fun to contemplate this Olympics again. I love your analysis, and I'll use it to help me as I re-watch these programs. Interesting about Urmanov's spins. I don't recall that at all. I'm glad you ranked Stojko so high, despite shortcomings in his actual skating skills. And how nice to contemplate Candeloro again. The guy simply radiated charisma, and what a jumper. My favorite of the night was Browning. I was so sad that he didn't win, or even medal, but his pro career more than made up for this disappointment.
I would need to think on this one a bit. I honestly do think Stojko deserved to win but now given his horrible attitude to the sport and huge chip on the shoulder he has no business having, I am glad the sport never made him an Olympic Champion, regardless that he probably deserved it that night. I dont think a skater with spins as weak as Urmanov's should be an ultimate Champion unless they skate lights out which he didnt quite that night. There were too many posing spots, and his footwork wasnt exactly stellar either. Candelero has huge jumps but overall technically is lacking in many respects- positions and precision of jumps, spins. His program was by far the most original, best choreographed, and entertaining though I thought.
Petrenko I actually think had the best overall LP probably, him or Browning. The only reason neither won the LP is they werent in the final flight and werent really in contention at that point. If either were amongst the leaders after the SP I am pretty sure they would have finished 1-2 with the same performances.
Thanks for this thread, Blades. I can't comment too much on the technical side. Still, I'd agree with your rankings except that I'd put Urmanov on the bottom. I simply can't believe he won the OGM with that skate. The choreography was definitely the worst of the five (those frog-knee moments - yuck!) and his spins were clearly subpar. I hope he had a hell of a technical program, otherwise his win is enough to convince me of fixed judging.
Stoyko and Candeloro were marvelous, IMO, with Petrenko just a tiny bit behind them. That Browning program is one of my all-time favorites. Watching those four, I thought the judges must have had a tough time doling out the medals... only to find they handed it to Urmanov!
I think the reason Urmanov was because:
Stojko- the judges just werent that big on him at that point. His style was a little too avante garde and new age for them. So they always looked for an alternative.
Candelero- he wasnt that established yet. He hadnt even won a World medal yet. Urmanov only had a World bronze but had been on the scene and hyped as a future Champion since 92. His style was also more unconventional and not neccessary the tried and true look the judges wanted in a mens champion (ridiculous I think but I think that is how they felt). Plus his one mistake was blowing the planned 2nd triple axel which was a must for a mens champion by that point.
Browning- well he wasnt in contention for a medal by that point and the judges marked him as such.
Petrenko- he wasnt really in medal contention at that point either, maybe a tiny shot of a medal being 9th in the short if he won the long, but he wasnt in any contention for a gold medal by that point. Like Browning wasnt skating in the final flight so marks werent going to be huge.
Yeah, Urmanov was seen as the most artistic and complete skater out of those in contention for the Gold medal after the Short Program. Part of the reason for that was because of him being a very, very HANDSOME individual. Nobody would ever turn him down in bed, even if he is not specifically their exact type. Sex appeal is a significant factor in how competitors are evaluated, as there is no denying that physical appearance influences how well a role can be played. Everyone who is out on the ice performing is playing some kind of "role", even though skating is more abstract and the performer is not specifically playing a "character" as an actor would.
In figure skating, exuding a sense of upper-class is the role that judges most often find desirable (certainly during that time, at least). Urmanov represented the sense of wealthy bourgeois better than the other skaters in contention. Stojko projects a working-class image and Candeloro was likely seen as a little weird. Urmanov didn't make any singularly huge mistake technically, and nobody else skated absolutely perfect, so therefore as 'The Chosen One' he did enough to secure 1st place. The French judge placed him 5th in the Long Program, though.
Last edited by janetfan; 06-19-2010 at 05:07 PM.
Thanx for vids, its first time I see them allogether, the best program was Browning's by far, I ve never seen the sp, I guess he did bad there?
Urmanov was Prince Charming
Our new smilies might be a propos here:
(See the skate.)
1) Stojko -
His choreography is interesting and attention grabbing from the start. He skates strongly and with speed. Although he singled the 3A, he rebounded with two more, one in combination with a 3T. His footwork is surely better than everyone but Kurt's, and it seems faster than Kurt's, even though it may not be as complex. He's the only one who hasn't had at least one horrid spin. Urmanov had a couple of good spins, but another was horrible, and the spins of the rest make me cringe.
This was personally my favourite program, but I could not place it over Stojko's because it was technically inferior, regarding both jumps and spins. The spins were pretty.. bleh.. and a lot of the jump landings were awkward, although there were no falls. The footwork was good, and I think he portrayed his character more strongly than Candeloro did. His choreography was also the most interesting of the five (laid out well, and a good variation of movements).
Some of his choreography was a bit hokey, but that was popular back then and did suit the music fine. He was clean, and did two 3As, one in combination with a double, although I think the second 3A was two footed. The spins were just as bleh as Kurt's, if not more so. I preferred his basic skating to Candeloro's though. He just seemed more graceful and smooth.
His choreography I found a little weird, but it suited the music, and he skated with some expression. Some of his spins were great compared with the other guys, but there was one that was just awful, and made me cringe a LOT. Most of his jumps were alright, but the one almost-fall made me cringe even more so than after the bad spin. Overall it was a good program, but there were a couple of glaring flaws (the ones that I mentioned) which make me unable to place it higher than 4th.
5) Ok, I'll start with the strengths - the 3A and the triple-triple, and his speed and fluidity. He also had good footwork. BUT I do not think he played his character very strongly, and his spins were AWFUL! That single AND fall on the 3A must have been just.. humiliating. I have to admit that I do not like Candeloro, and therefore may be judging him a little harshly, but even if I did like him there is no way he could have been seen as better than Stojko or Browning in that particular program - I don't remember if he did place ahead of Browning in the LP or not, although I remember that he placed ahead of him overall and behind Stojko overall.
Urmanov has to be my least favorite men's Oly champion and I hated his costumes and his awful pro skates, too, Definitely it must have been fixed. Elvis should have won. Too bad Browning messed up the SP, otherwise he should have won. Great LP and arguably the most gifted male skater of the last two decades. The complete package. I became a Viktor fan when he gave some great pro skates with good technical content. Really like this guy, good man. but not a fan of the Russian princes on ice and that was him in 92, 94.
Philippe? Never liked his legs, wonky landings but give him credit for being original and trying to get the crowd as an eligible. I'd hate to be a judge but I think he was entertaining.
I'd like to say that all four guys went on to become great entertainers, except Urmanov who really turns me off.
That was such an odd year, because several blockbuster pro skaters had returned to "eligible" skating to compete, plus it was just two years after the previous Olympics, right smack in the Browning era--he'd won four world championships in the last five years. Then Browning, Boitano, and Petrenko all crashed and burned in the SP. This left Candeloro, Stojko, and the complete dark horse Urmanov in the running. Since I was rooting so strongly for Browning (as you say, Princess, arguably the most gifted skater of the past two decades) once he was out of the picture, I wasn't devoted to anyone. The two things I noticed about Urmanov that night and in his subsequent, rather short career were that he was always gracious in the spotlight and had a very pure, correct style--not inspiring but meticulous. "Russian prince on ice" just about describes him. His overly theatrical costumes probably went over better in Eastern Europe.
What one of you said about Urmanov's good looks being an advantage was plainly flashing before Stojko's eyes. Poor Elvis. In 1998, he faced another Russian prince on ice, the even more gorgeous Ilia Kulik. Again a clash of styles, and this time Stojko was injured as well. But he certainly gave it all he had, both in 1994 and 1998.
Last edited by Olympia; 06-19-2010 at 11:35 PM.
1. Lysacek didn't badly screw up his second Triple Axel, Browning and Candeloro did. Lysacek also didn't bomb in the SP, whereas Browning did.
2. As you can see by my marks, I don't think Urmanov or Petrenko displayed better artistry than Stojko.
3. You can't say Plushenko's technical content was the best of the field in 2010 simply because he did a Quad. The program was frontloaded, the jumps actually weren't great quality, he left out a combination jump, he didn't do a Triple Flip, his footwork was mediocre, and his spins sucked.
4. Artistically I prefer Plushenko's LP to Lysacek's. For Plushenko it's definitely one of his weakest Long Programs but he still shows greater personality and originality of movement and relation to the music than Lysacek, who literally skated like a robot. It's sad that someone with such beautiful body line has no soul. Everything he did was completely predictable and there was no sense of personal involvement with the music (notice how he finishes the program ahead of the music).
5. For me, Plushenko lost the Olympics to Lysacek in the Short Program. Lysacek may have been generic in the LP and done nothing with his music, but Plushenko worked against the music in the Short Program. The first two jumping passes were astounding but the performance borders on disgusting. It's a complete miss in terms of musical intepretation; he skates as if an entirely different soundtrack is playing.
6. Daisuke Takahashi should have the title of 2010 Olympic Champion. I don't care if he fell (on a Quad, which shouldn't have been downgraded; his Triple Toe was also unfairly downgraded) - it was a more difficult program than Evan's, his skating skills are better, and his artistry is better. Falling on a Quad isn't any less valuable than doing a weak Double Axel. Evan got some ridiculous +GOE and Program Component scores and Takahashi got unfair downgrades. Lovely.