Off the ice
AFAIK, Brian Joubert has said the opposite - something to the effect that Plushenko is a great guy behind the scenes but can be annoying when the cameras are on. I'm inclined to believe his assessment, considering he's known Plushy for many years.
Originally Posted by Dragonlady
As for the list, it's much better than the ladies' one.
I find the top ten thing is a joke. I mean, how can you compare today's skaters vs yesterday's skaters? I didn't know who Dick Button nor John Curry were. So as I was watching some skates on Youtube, I mean seriously, their skates were "easy" compare to today's standard. Could they do what the men are doing today? Do you think John Curry's 1976 skate would win him gold in today's standard? No way. So how can you rank them who's better?
can't come down to Earth
^ but that is jettasian's point, heh. How does one compare cross-generationally?
Edit: And to answer my own question, you just state what sorts of things you value in figure skating and then on those criteria you can list who the skaters are that you think are the best.
Maybe. It's just that I interpreted that post as dismissing people like Button and Curry (their skates were "easy"), stating that they don't deserve the spot because their accomplishments were not as impressive as what's done today. It didn't help that they admitted that they didn't even know these two skating legends (Dick Button only stopped commentating in 2009!)
Originally Posted by prettykeys
I think in all sports no matter the generation the innovators, tradition-breakers, and leaders are at the top.
Please don't take this the wrong way, but based on your comment, I'm assuming you are fairly young ans that's why you had not heard of Dick Button or John Curry. They are gods in the skating world.
Do you really think that Yagudin or Chan would have been doing quads in the 40s or 70s simply because they are doing them in the 2000s? Anyway, there are more criteria than jumping or spinning difficulty to be considered when putting lists like this together. Other factors include innovation, impact on the sport, depth of competition, margin of victory, longevity of career etc.
No man has had more of an impact on figure skating than Dick Button. What he did was incredible and, given the circumstance he grew up in, astonishing. He was born and grew up during the Depression and his formative skating years took place during WWII. Skating was a luxury for most people, and given the national level of poverty and then the temporary absence of two generations of the country's men to fight a war, there were few resources available to allow him to train well. No video clips for inspiration. No harnesses for practicing jumps. No ISU regulations with pages and pages of notes defining correct positions, edges, etc. No army of coaches in rinks across the country. Luckily for him he lived in a part of NJ where the lakes and ponds froze, so ice was more readily available. The US had no great role models for Dick to model himself after among its male skaters. So he had to forge his own path and make it all up as he went along. He created a slew of new technical moves which are now standards in the sport (flying camel, double axel, triple loop, etc.). No one had ever even been been able to imagine doing those moves before him. Jumping technique was vastly different before WWII because the then dominant Europeans had very different technique. Dick, under the eye of Gus Lussi, radically updated and refined jumping technique, which allowed him to achieve multi-revolution jumps. Things like crossing one's arms over the chest to increase centrifugal force were not common in jumps before Dick's time. Dick's success led to a further decade of complete American dominance of the singles events. With only Jeannette Altweg preventing the US from sweeping the OGMs in men's and ladies single for three straight Olympics (the men won 4 straight). Virtually every male skater, American or otherwise, modeled himself after Button for more than 20 years. Dick's generation were also superb spinners (fast, centered, dynamic) who were much better at that skill than many of the great triple jumpers who would follow them.
John Curry, as I've written many times, was the father of modern artistic skating. But aside from his choreographic vision, John had absolutely pure technique. His positions in his spins could be used as textbook examples. His posture was excellent; legs and feet had superb turn-out; line and stretch to die for; and his edges were sublime. Also, just because he only did three triples, does not mean he could not have done others. He jumped to the standard of his time. Had the standard been higher, I feel certain he could have done harder jumps. So could Cranston. The standard of the field often raises performance levels of whatever athletes are competing at the time.
I'd give anything to see what he or Button would have done with the benefit modern training techniques and video software like dartfish. I think both would be phenomenal.
can't come down to Earth
...and that's an amazing post that gives perspective in defense of Dick Button and John Curry.
Off the ice
What jcoates said - all of it.
Also, how does one compare cross-generationally? I think what you do is look at skaters compared to their contemporaries (achievement) and consider what kind of impact they have had on skating (contribution). The latter is why someone like Janet Lynn, whose record in major events wasn't great, should always be on skating top ten lists. When you look at the Yags-Plush rivalry, they were well ahead of the field and helped push skating forward (not to mention they won loads of medals). As for John Curry and Dick Button, if someone looks at their performances and can only complain that they couldn't beat today's CoP-driven skates so they're clearly not that special, that's very sad for that person. Just like Cecilia Colledge should be admired for her contributions to skating despite not having hard jumps by today's standards, and why T/D's Bolero is important even though it probably wouldn't score as high as whatever D/W are using these days.
What JCoates said.
I can't say it any better. I can just applaud.
The crucial piece of equation you are missing is context. Just watch John Curry's and Dick Button's (and Toller Cranston's, for that matter) contemporaries and you will understand why Curry and Button were so groundbreaking and rightfully deserve a spot on top 10 lists. What you appreciate as the gold standard in skating today is directly built upon the innovations of skaters like Curry and Button. Think about it this way: you could say that every single one of today's commercial airplanes puts the Wright brothers' first airplane to utter shame. The Wright brothers' airplane could not go very high at all, and it only flew for a few minutes. But put into proper context, that first airplane was an enormous breakthrough and has a significance that no commercial airplane existing today can ever touch. Sure, any Airbus today can fly farther, higher and faster than the Wright brothers' plane. But only a fool will say that the Wright brothers had an easier time getting their plane to fly than any engineer working on today's planes, given the vast differences in context and the generations of modifying and building upon the Wright brothers' innovations that today's engineers benefit from.
Originally Posted by jettasian
ETA: just read jcoates' excellent post....basically, everything I wanted to say. And more. I should definitely read the entire thread before I post.
Also: John Curry, I can perhaps understand, but how can you not know who Dick Button is?
Skating is art, if you let it be.
01. Alexei Yagudin
02. Kurt Browning
03. Dick Button
04. John Curry
05. Gillis Grafstrom
06. Stephane Lambiel
07. Daisuke Takahashi
08. Evgeni Plushenko
09. David Jenkins
10. Ulrich Salchow
I'm curious, Blades. Why David Jenkins instead of Hayes? I'm not really knowledgeable about either of the Jenkins brothers. I only know (from what Dick Button has sometimes said) that the man they shared the 1956 American-sweep Olympics podium with, Ronnie Robertson, was a great spinner.
Of course I love your list. Any list with Yagudin, Browning, Curry, Takahashi, and Lambiel on it is grand in my book. I'd put Cranston in there somewhere, but I have no idea where.
Last edited by Olympia; 11-12-2011 at 07:44 AM.
Skating is art, if you let it be.
In the footage I've seen, David Jenkins was a little stronger of a freeskater. He was also landing Triple Axels in exhibitions during the 1950's, which is quite remarkable.
Originally Posted by Olympia
Thanks for the info. Wow, triple Axels in the 1950s? That's pretty impressive, way before Vern Taylor.