But Michelle did win 5 golds and 3 silvers and 1 bronze at Worlds; Heiss 5 golds and one silver.
Last edited by Icey; 12-16-2012 at 09:13 PM.
Peggy Fleming got a big boost in popularity (over Carol Heiss, for instance) because she was the first U.S. skater of the television age.
Michelle is in the same position. She is the first popular U.S. lady of the YouTube era. All of her greatest hits are available at the click of a mouse, and they all have hundreds of thousands of views.
It's hard to compare skaters from different eras technically. But I do agree with the the point about Witt not being technically the best of her own era. It was indeed her determination and coolness under pressure that made her the best, not the advanced quality of her jumps. Everyone crumbled before her laserlike determination. As a result, she looks great on paper, with an amazing record--the only postwar singles lady to win two Olympic gold medals so far. But she's not someone I enjoy going back to see on YouTube.
Someone like YuNa really is technically ahead of her time, as was Midori Ito. There's a wonderful video of Ito and Kurt Browning doing simultaneous jumps, and Ito jumps just about as high as Browning. It's breathtaking. I'm not sure anyone's caught up with her yet, even twenty years later. Maybe YuNa, but that's about it.
This doesn't mean that everyone's going to find Ito more enjoyable to watch than her contemporary, Kristi Yamaguchi, or even more moving to watch than Janet Lynn, who was several skating generations earlier. Some skaters just have a bewitching quality, which they retain because of their silky technique and musicality, and Lynn is one of them. I've noticed that many people (not just me!) still go back and watch her with interest and even awe, despite the fact that forty years have passed. I suspect from viewing YouTube photos that had Laurence Owen survived to dominate her Olympic cycle, she too would have had that quality. Toller Cranston once listed Janet Lynn and Laurence Owen as his two favorite lady skaters.
Of course I count Michelle in that group of forever-interesting skaters. Various of you may or may not agree with me. I suspect that in future generations, we will feel that way about YuNa. (And, I'm hoping, about Mao as well.)
Last edited by Olympia; 12-16-2012 at 11:36 PM.