How would you describe an ELITE skater of today?
I think an elite skater or couples skater of today is one who has been in several competitions and has proven themselves to be podium potential by talent and not by luck.
There are many competitors in each comp but only a few are elite. Those skaters are the ones challenging for podium positions. The others, and the newbies, should be reviewed as potential.
Off the bat, I would say Joubert is still an elite skater, but I would not say Fumie is. Of course, Fumie at one time was an elite skater.
Todays batch who did not retire after the Olys, and still considered to be ELITE: in addition to Joubert, would be Takahashi, Abbott, Chan, Kozuka, Plushenko(?); and for the Ladies: Kostner, Asada, Lepisto, Leonova, Kim.
For Pairs there would be: Pang and Tong, Dube/Davison, Savchenko/Szolkowy, Kavaguti/Smirnov, and maybe Zhang/Zhang.
For Ice Dance, there is Davis/White, Cappelini/LaNotte, the Shibutanis, Pechalat/Borzat, The Kerrs, Virtue/Moir(?)
There are many fine CHALLENGERS not yet Elite. Will there be changes after the Worlds?
I would not consider Leonova elite by any means, or the Shibutanis (they've only just burst onto the senior scene!)
If the part of the equation as stated by the topic is "talent" I might think of several Ladies with more talent than Leonova.
But there are different types of talent.
Even many of Evan's detractors might admit he has a talent for competing. I mention competitive abilty because that along with talent/skill is part of what gets a skater onto podiums.
Miki is one to consider. She has proven again and again that she has the necessary talent and competitive abilty to make GP podiums. She was also World champion and has a WBM.
Consistency - part of competitive abilty - plays a role. Rachael Flatt has shown a degree of consistency and I would also consider her an above average competitor.
An interesting question but depending how one views it not so easy to answer.
Mirai appears to have alot of talent but so far as a senior has not shown the consistency to win Intl senior medals.
What if we look at it this way: is a clean Mirai going to beat a clean Lepisto?
Caro is an interesting skater to consider. Clean she is undoubtably an elite skater judging by talent and skill. As a competitor, her consistency has not been good enough to win medals equal to her talent level.
Alissa is another one - we saw her almost clean at SC and her score was decent. If someone asked me who has more talent, Alena or Alissa I would answer Alissa. But that might just be nationalism or my preference for more lyrical skating.
If I thought about Tomas and Jeremy it would be tougher. Both have terrific qualities and are very talented. They should always be on podiums or challenging for them. But too often they are not. Is it their talent/skill level or is it their abilty to compete?
Wicked Yankee Girl