I'm not getting this point of view. You can't dismiss or downgrade skaters for not following rules and incentives that didn't exist when they were competing. IMO, most of the top lady skaters from the pre-CoP/post-compulsory figures days, certainly had in them the ability to pull off the jumping and spinning the CoP now seems to favor. Of course they would have trained differently, but so what?
Originally Posted by jatale
I'd like to turn this around: how many top CoP skaters are able to skate programs that are as musically and artistically coherent as those of top pre-CoP skaters? If you judge "levels of ladies skating" in terms of how many magical moments that have been produced under CoP, I'd say we're going backwards.
I agree with you. There was such a radiance about Midori's personality--one just had to love her. She was a skater of unprecedented talent and obviously a hard worker, but I got the feeling she wasn't blazingly competitive. That might be part of her appeal: she wasn't out to mow down the competition, she was just miles better than everyone else. It was as if she had dropped in from somewhere in the 22nd century, or from on beyond Neptune where the gravitational pull was different. We were so lucky to see her.
Originally Posted by bebevia
You make a very valid point. That is why it is so difficult to compare skaters that trained under different rules. However, I think it is clear that overall men/women's athletic ability is only getting greater with every passing year. Older records are being broken constantly, the impossible 4-minute mile is ancient history. The problem comes in the "artistic" olympic sports (figure skating and to a lessor extent gymnastics), because art is often in the eye of the beholder, it is not a measurable criteria. So leaving "art" out of the equation, things like jumping and I think overall skating ability has clearly been progressing in men's skating and I think in women's too. All male skaters today need a quad to be competitive at the top. What modern female skater doesn't have at least a couple of triple jumps in her repertoire? I doubt that was the case 20 years ago.
Originally Posted by bigsisjiejie
I am not sure the ladies have really evolved jump wise since 2004 but certainly skating skills, spins, footwork and transitions have really improved. You can't get away with simply stocking jumps and stroking. Sadly though the programs look similar because the jumps and spins and such are so regulated as to points. Some ugly spins and spirals has been a problem due to the increased difficulties or points. Due to GOE we saw some innovation but sadly sometimes it was used over and over like versions of the Biellman. Of course the scoring system has not beeen friendly to the average fan. Too hard to understand.
IMO the lowest level of ladies skating ever was 1996-2006 (and no I dont just say that since that was mostly the Kwan era, I actually like Kwan, and 1997-1998 was more the Tara era, 2001-2002 was more the Slutskaya era, and 2004-2006 more the Slutskaya/Arakawa/Cohen era than the Kwan ones anyway). There were hardly any worthy gold contenders at a given time. 1996 it was only Kwan and Chen, 1997 it was only Kwan and since she kept falling they had to find someone else to give it to by default and since the first default choices (Chen and Slutskaya) were both in major slumps too it went to 14 year old Lipinski to the dread of the skating World, 1998 it was only Kwan and Lipinski, 1999 it was only Kwan and again since she botched up it had to go to someone not champion caliber by default, 2000 to 2002 it was only Kwan and Slutskaya and again a time both faltered by default it went to another unworthy skater as there were no others left, 2003 it was only Kwan, 2004 it was only Arakawa and Cohen, 2005 it was only Slutskaya and Cohen, 2006 it was only Slutskaya and Arakawa and with neither going to Worlds yet another non champion caliber skater had to win (and with the remaining favorites Cohen and Suguri faltering the weakest one yet of this whold period).
I think 2007-2010 was outstanding in general. 2011 to now is not as good as 2007-2010 but atleast better than the all time low non competitive era of 96-2006.
Bona Fide Member
Wel,l the skating is better, but clean jumping is rare. One would have to go back to tapes to see if Elaine Zayak, Kristi, Nancy, Oksana were clean. They all did 3x3's in competition. Tara did, Sarah did two 3x3's-first lady in history. I think there is the same amt of flutzing, urs etc if you go back and just analyze the Olympic jumpers from 92 on. Maybe Tonya was cleaner-I am assuming she did 3x3's if she could land 3A.
I think one thing lots of folks hate re CoP is the amt of footwork required that has not much to do with the music, and ugly spins instead of nice easier spins more pleasing to watch or spirals and layback spins where the upper body arm changes were beautiful to watch. I notice very few women can do the jumps and all else. It seems the judges recognize this and at least in ladies, prefer the artists to the jumpers. Yuna Kim was enough of both to beat most, though I see her as an athlete, more than an artist. I have no idea what we will see if she comes back, but it was her jumping ability that landed her on podiums first and foremost. I guess it depends what you grew up with. I know that MK was a 6.0 skater, but her consistency with single triples or triple double let one relax and enjoy her spirals, spins, smiles, etc. I see her as an athlete with enough elegance and beauty, like Kim to be on top. Consistency rules. But then look at Carolina's two programs last year, and can either skater be that majestic with the lines? It is so nice when we have time to see what a skater can become, and 6.0 made that easier to see. I know MK could not have pulled jumps out of nowhere like Patrick Chan does. Her turns and telegraphing would be downgraded today, but under CoP, I have seen few ladies skate a program like Lyra Angelica. The CoP skaters, except for a few can't afford to hang around unless they are on the podium, or have the money.
I think that CoP seems to have improved ice dancing a lot. I am not sure if I could say that about pairs, as I can point to better pairs in the past-far distant past. The cookie cutter aspect of CoP is what is too bad. I am not sure how to fix the judging to encourage creativity in many elements of singles and pairs. Ice dance is surely where one sees the best skaters now, blade to ice, and quite athletic lifts and spins. Strangely, one sees the same people on the scene a long time, occupyinging same medals, as in 6.0 era ? Why?
Last edited by skateluvr; 11-23-2012 at 10:39 PM.
What do you mean by "were clean" -- and on which occasion(s)?
Originally Posted by skateluvr
I don't believe Zayak ever did triple-triple combination in competition. She did do triple toe in combination after double axel or double lutz, so that's the next best thing.
Baiul definitely never did -- she had troubles even doing a clean triple-double combination.
There is, of course, much more to the "level of ladies skating" than which jumps they're doing and whether all were landed perfectly on the biggest occasions.
Bona Fide Member
I think all the top ladies had a couple of triple jumps in their repertoires in 1992. Midori Ito had a triple Axel. Kristi Yamaguchi had a triple Lutz-triple toe.
Originally Posted by jatale
Are we defining "level of skating" = "level of jumping"?
If so, how deep into the field do we want to look for the average level?
At any time there might be one or two skaters who are doing jumps that no one else is able to attempt. Does the fact that they were doing them define the level for the whole field, or should they be considered outliers and ignored entirely? Or somewhere in between?
Should we look at what the 10th place skater in the world is doing? The 24th place skater?
And Surya Bonaly had a quad toe, or so she believed and tried to demonstrate.
Originally Posted by Mathman
But does that represent the level of jumping across the field at the time? Or the way that a handful of the top jumpers tried to set themselves apart from the other good jumpers, while meanwhile the average jumpers were still making do with only 2-4 different kinds of triples?
Should we look at the short program requirements as an indication of what the minimum expectations are on the bottom end for senior ladies, and what is considered normal enough at the top end to allow in SP?
For example, in 1992 the senior ladies' short program jump requirements were
*double jump out of steps
*combination of double and triple jump
There were at the time two women who were capable of landing triple axels; if they wanted to do it in the short program they had to do 3A+2T as the jump combination.
Only one triple jump was allowed in the SP. The competitive skaters usually did 3Lz combination, and the choice of combination as well as the quality/success often ended up being a determining factor in the SP results.
But it was possible for a senior lady with only one triple in her repertoire to skate a clean legal short program, and the ones who had five different triples only had one element advantage over her in the short program, assuming the quality was comparable. It was in the long program that having lots of triples became a big advantage.
By my estimate there were fewer than 20 women ever who had landed 5 different triples in competition as of the end of the 1992 season. In 1993 it seemed to become the new norm, but there were still some exceptions.
In 2012, the SP requirements are
*double or triple axel
*triple jump out of steps
*combination of one double and one triple or two triples
So it's required to attempt at least two different triples (and the weakest seniors who can't do so suffer GOE reductions even if they perform great doubles) and it's allowed to attempt up to four triples in the SP. At the moment there's actually only one active skater who might perform the triple axel as the solo axel jump, so that's still just as much an anomaly as it was in 1992. But triple-triple combinations have become much more common.
And the number of ladies who can do triple lutzes is much larger than in 1992, when that jump was still considered somewhat cutting edge.
However, in the later 1990s/early 2000s when jump count seemed to be the most important thing in long program results, there were more women attempting five different triples.
With IJS, there are probably more women who would have attempted five plus double axel under 6.0 norms but now, for several possible reasons, find it strategically wiser to attempt only four different kinds plus the double axel.
Last edited by gkelly; 11-24-2012 at 09:00 AM.
Wicked Yankee Girl