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Thread: Tough Skaters vs. Vulnerable Skaters

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Exclamation Tough Skaters vs. Vulnerable Skaters

    In another thread, it was mentioned that some skaters have "Mental Toughness" under fire while others are "Pyschologically vulnerable" under fire.

    In yur opinion can you name a few skaters in each category. I'll start off:

    Mental Toughness - Evegemu Plushenko; Bebe Liang; Julia Sebastyen

    Psycho Vounerable - Johnny Weir; Angela Nikidinov; Yoshie Onda

    Do you agree" and can you add some names?

    Joe

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    I'd agree with Plushenko on toughness, but not BeBe. I don't think we've seen enough of her yet to put her in any category. I DO know that over the past year, she hasn't been able to put two good skates together in one competition--either she has a great SP but a poor FS, or vice versa.

    For example, at the JGP last season, she won the SP but fell to 4th in the FS to finish 4th overall. At Lalique, she was 7th in the SP and 4th in the FS. But at Cup of Russia, while she finished 2nd in the SP, she dropped to 6th in the FS.

    I think you could add Fumie Suguri, Elena Liashenko and Irina Slutskaya to the "Mental Toughness" group.

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    Re: Tough Skaters vs. Vulnerable Skaters

    Originally posted by Joesitz
    In another thread, it was mentioned that some skaters have "Mental Toughness" under fire while others are "Pyschologically vulnerable" under fire.

    In yur opinion can you name a few skaters in each category. I'll start off:

    Mental Toughness - Evegemu Plushenko; Bebe Liang; Julia Sebastyen

    Psycho Vounerable - Johnny Weir; Angela Nikidinov; Yoshie Onda

    Do you agree" and can you add some names?

    Joe
    I agree with Plushenko, definitely mentally tough.
    I also agree with the vulnerable skaters.

    I do however believe their is a middle ground.
    Those skaters who are totally vulnerable but not mentally tough either. They're in a transitional mental battle. can deliever great programs and are becoming stronger but still have work to do before becoming one of those mentally tough skaters whom you can depend on atleast 95% of the time to deliver.

    I'd put Sebestyen in that middle transitional catagory. As well as Bebe, though you can see she is getting tougher and tougher.
    I think maybe it's her being injury prone that is a great portion of the problem but, looks to have a great future nonetheless, if she can keep the injuries at bay.

    Mine:

    Mental Toughness: Goebel, Kwan

    Transitional: Joubert, Suguri, Cohen, Buttle

    Vulnerable: Sandhu, Abt

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    Sal-Kowabunga!
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    Joe,

    I agree that Bebe is one tough cookie. Just look at last year's Junior World Championship. She skated her free skate injured and in pain. Her coach, Tiffany Chin, urged her to withdraw, but then supported her in skating anyway. And she pulled off a skate that many other young ladies can only dream of skating.

    I'll have to look at the tv broadcast again, but I do remember that much.

    Mental toughness seems the norm for skaters. Why else would they keep getting up and skating on?

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    Re: Re: Tough Skaters vs. Vulnerable Skaters

    Originally posted by Bynx
    I do however believe their is a middle ground.
    Those skaters who are totally vulnerable but not mentally tough either. They're in a transitional mental battle. can deliever great programs and are becoming stronger but still have work to do before becoming one of those mentally tough skaters whom you can depend on atleast 95% of the time to deliver.
    Great observation, Bynx and ITA. I don't think anybody can accurately be pigeonholed as one thing or another. Example: Plush is known for his mental toughness, but let's think back to '99 Worlds. Plush was unfriggingbeatable the whole season, yet with his youthful inexperience and own admittance that he was thinking "too much medal, not enough skating" Plush had that infamous meltdown and Yags won with a pretty poor skate of a brand new program, "Tosca," which replaced "Broken Arrow" a few weeks before Worlds. So even the tough guys have a learning curve. Michelle, one of the toughest of the mentally tough cookie, has had her poor performances at various times during her career. Sasha was on a roll from Campbell's through Lalique, even being shaky at Skate Canada, and then IFSC comes along and SPLAT! I think it's easy for some people to typecast skaters or even just people. Perhaps it gives them a sense of security, the idea that they canpredict what someone is going to do. IMO, people are just too complicated to put them in one category or another. It's fun and all to see what people think, but to me that's all it is, a game.
    Rgirl

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    mental toughness

    No one was mentally tougher than Katarina Witt, or Pasha Grischuk. Those women knew how to win, and used every ANGLE to do so. Funny, I don't really think many of the men were close to these two women when it came to mental toughness, but for some reason, I think Pluschenko, Stojko, and Dmitriev come close...

    The most vulnerable skaters were probably- Maria Butyrskaya, Angela Nikodinov, Janet Lynn, Krisztina Czako, Jeffrey Langdon, Emmanuel Sandhu, Tonya Harding, and Midori Ito. They had the goods, and came away with a win here and there, but didn't have the mental capacity to maintain wins.

    In the middle, I would put Yelena Berezhnaya...

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    Tough skater: Jenny Kirk. BTW, she is skating will the bone chip or whatever loose in her hip

    Pasting from the other thread

    At the young age of 19, I think Jenny Kirk has proven to be one of the toughest competitor of her generation. I have been watching her since she was 14. Jenny may not have the best technique, she may fall, but she does not fall apart. If she falls in the real competition, it is usually on the very same jumps that she falls on during practice and warm up. She falls in practice and warm up because she needs to tweek her jump technique, that is Richard Callaghan job. Other times she falls in practice because of her hip injury. Many times she can raise her game a notch or two, and even land the jumps in the real thing, that she misses in practice.

    At nationals 2003, she was falling all over the place in warm up and practice. Jenny has the fortune or misfortune of skating immediately after Michelle's free program. She landed 5 triple jumps including 3t/3t. The same thing happened at Reading PA, she had a bad warm up, and was falling on the triple flutz. She skates after Cohen (who received a standing ovation), but at the real competition, Jenny pulled out a 7 triple program with 3t/3t to boot, and created her own memory of a huge standing ovation.

    At junior worlds 2000, no one gave her the time of the day, Cohen was supposed to win it, and Stellato was supposed to get a silver, Jenny was supposed to be fighting for a bronze.

    Bebe is another tough competitor IMO, just watch her gutsy performance in jr world 03. In her very first trip to senior nationals at 12, she went through an entire practice session without her coach, b/c Tiffany Chin arrived a day late.

    Tara, and Sarah are tough and their young age has nothing to do with it.
    Last edited by rtureck; 12-10-2003 at 01:45 AM.

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    "Tara, and Sarah are tough and their young age has nothing to do with it."

    I think Tara is tough even under pressure but I don't think Sarah's really that anymore. When Sarah has expectations she skates extra bad.

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    Originally posted by lavender
    When Sarah has expectations she skates extra bad.
    I know you don't like Sarah and so you're generalizing. Specifics IYO please.

    She had a subpar year last year and IMO was struggling with a body that had matured even more. But even so, she did finish 2nd ahead of Sasha at Nats, for instance. (When the "expectation" would have been that she'd finish lower.)

    And I always luuurve the comment that Sarah skated "without pressure" in the Oly freeskate. As if anyone in the world could not feel pressure at the Ladies Final, with umpty gazillion people watching. And she was in *fourth* when many people had expected her to medal. That is it's own kind of pressure.

    As I'm the one whose comment inspired the thread, I'll post my .02 -
    RECENT US LADIES
    Tough: Michelle, Sarah, Jenny
    Vulnerable: Angela, AP
    Question Mark (vulnerable in big events or while skating with Kwan :P): Sasha
    Then you had Nicole, who could be tough when she wanted to be - but would rather perform than compete.

    RSN LADIES
    I'm not sure if I'd put Irina in the tough category. I feel she's gotten a lot of breaks from judges when her skates have been subpar.
    I think of Maria and VV as vulnerable.
    Not certain about Sokolova, but probably somewhat vulnerable.

    US MEN
    I think Todd E. was vulnerable to a certain extent at big events. (Like Kurt, Olympic-cursed, eh?)

    To this point, Tim's been tough. As is Matt, I think, when not injured. Not sure where I'd put Mikey. And to this point, Weir's seemed vulnerable.

    CDN MEN
    Eman def belongs in the vulnerable category. I think all the Canadian guys (except perhaps Buttle) are a little psyched out by the Next One expectations.

    I'll think about the Japanese ladies and other disciplines later. (Brings up another question - are there often cases in pairs/dance where one partner is much tougher than the other?)

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    Tough Skaters vs. Vulnerable Skaters

    When I think of tough skaters, Katarina Witt immediately comes to mind. I agree with the poster who said, Katarina not only leads the ladies in this category but the men as well. She was one tough competitor who stopped at nothing to win. I'm convinced that Katarina is one of those people who would succeed in anything she attempted. Such determination and drive is to be admired. But I believe this is entirely a personality trait and has nothing whatsoever to do her training, etc.

    Other skaters, who lack this drive, determination and motivation are at a real disadvantage, in my opinion. The list would be long of those skaters who were far more talented than Katarina who were unable to win the gold. It just takes the whole package with an emphasis on "tough" to be the victor.

    Dizzy

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    Originally posted by NorthernLite
    I know you don't like Sarah and so you're generalizing. Specifics IYO please.

    She had a subpar year last year and IMO was struggling with a body that had matured even more. But even so, she did finish 2nd ahead of Sasha at Nats, for instance. (When the "expectation" would have been that she'd finish lower.)

    I actually like Sarah but not so much as a skater. Last season Sarah's jumps did not look so great. It was mostly her lutz and flip. They look even worst last season so I guess that’s why I said extra bad. Sarah’s lutz and flip aren’t so great to begin with.

    I think Sarah had a lot of pressure in the short program at the Olympics. I mean that was one of the worst shorts I’ve ever seen from her and I guess that’s why so many feel she should have been even lower than 4th place after that. When there expectations for Sarah I just see a difference in her skating. Her skating has such a different, tight feeling to it.

    Let me just say that her 2nd free skate at Worlds ’03 was scored bad by the judges but I found myself actually enjoying her skating even though she fell. She seemed less awkward.

    Another ex: Sarah was touted as the favorite at Nationals 2002 after her skate at SA where some thought she should have won over Michelle. She didn’t skate bad but she tighten up and that’s what she does when she’s considered the favorite or has expectations which is rare.
    Last edited by lavender; 12-10-2003 at 11:46 AM.

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    Joesitz:

    You forgot Elvis in the mental toughness category. His motto is: "be your own best friend." Probably, the most focused competitor I have ever seen.

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    From the past skaters I think that Irina Rodnina was the toughest, even tougher than Katarina Witt. Elvis Stojko I see as the toughest of the male skaters.

    Marjaana

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    I'd like to add Josee Choinard in the vulnerable category. Too bad, because her skating was really terrific.

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    Keeper of Michelle's Nose berthes ghost's Avatar
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    I think Tara is tough even under pressure but I don't think Sarah's really that anymore. When Sarah has expectations she skates extra bad.
    Well, we'll never know how Tara would have performed if she skated after her Oly gold, so comparing her to how Sarah skated after Oly Gold is unfair IMHO.

    Right after her big nats and worlds wins, Tara had 3 subpar skates: SA, Lalique and nats. Falls, missed jumps, lack of spark and second place finishes. So, I wouldn't build her up to be the invincible toughie.

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