How will Kwan and/or Kim be viewed in the future?
I'm curious how people think Michelle and Yu-na will be be viewed in the future compared to one another. Although they occupy the position of being the best skater in the world during different generations, I think it's fun to imagine how future figure skating analysts will compare them. Michelle Kwan has obviously garnered the most major gold medals in major international competition and her career lasted a full decade. Yu-na has only swept virtually every award during one major international season but she easily and convincingly won the gold medal at the Olympics. Both are great artists and strong technically. While I believe Michelle Kwan's skating was exceptional in many ways and the duration of her career will likely not be matched, I tend to think that (despite not winning nearly as many gold medals) Yu-na is really the superior all-around skater and may perhaps be remembered as a phenom perfect package. Anyway, how do you think these two ladies will be compared in the future?
There is a special burden upon World and Olympic champions. Yuna Kim is the face that figure skating shows to the world. She is the standard by which the sport is judged. The commitment that she brings to every performance is matched only by the grace with which she conducts her life off ice.
Think about it. Here is a shy young girl who suddenly is thrust into the world spotlight and becomes the most famous celebrity in her country. She could have gone the way of, say, Lindsay Lohan. Instead she chose to follow the path set by Michelle Kwan. They both bring highest honor to the sport of figure skating. As fans, our lives are enriched by their careers and enduring legacies.
Well, the nod goes to Yu Na in terms of difficulty and obviously she has the OGM to boot.
Kwan has a special quality when she skates that is evocative of what good figure skating should be all about. Like Kim, there is an ease and a pleasant aspect to her skating. And more than Kim, she really knows how to interpret music and move with every fibre of her being. She also matured artistically at an astronomical rate compared to Kim, but Kim's overall improvement over the years is astounding. If I ever wanted to introduce someone to figure skating, performance wise, I'd show them Kwan. If I ever wanted to introduce them to figure skating, difficulty-wise, I'd show them Kim.
And Mathman said it well, they both bring the highest honour to figure skating, and have really pushed the boundaries of their sport.
Six Point Zero
I hope this isn't another Kim vs. Kwan thread. The two are not really comparable in general, though of course you can take particular aspects of their skating (jumps, artistry, etc) and compare.
They are among the best ever and history already remembers Kwan for her unparalleled artistry, consistency and longevity. Yuna will likely go down in history for other reasons--not as the "superior" skater, but as the fiercest competitor and most consistent skater of the post-Kwan era. She'll also be remembered for her technical brilliance and fluid gargantuan triple-triples. I feel she also has great musicality and is very expressive--though compared to Kwan she is more subdued and subtle.
Anyways, they are more to be admired than compared to each other. As for post skating careers, that's too soon to tell. Kwan is carving a path in international relations and diplomacy. Kim appears to be establishing a similar career path in addition to philanthropy. Kwan's new career has just begin.
I am a big fan of both women, and a bigger fan of Kwan than Kim (I would call myself a moderate Kim fan and an enormous Kwan fan) but I think at this point Kim will be remembered as the greater and more dominant skater. If she wins the Sochi OGM that will be even more evident. Kim has dominance on every level- Olympics (Vancouver and the most dominant Olympic win ever in the greatest skated Olympic event ever ensured that already), Worlds, and the regular grand prix and Grand Prix finals. Kwan has only dominance at one of those- Worlds. She only won the Grand Prix final once her whole career (vs 4 for her biggest era rival Slutskaya), and sometimes even skipped the grand prix already; and of course never won the Olympics. Kim has also medalled in every competition her whole amateur career, and she might be the only person in skating history to manage that. Also if you somehow transport the two into the same eras, Kim would crush Kwan under COP, and they would be neck and neck and probably split wins under 6.0.
That said Kwan will always be very special to North American skating fans. She is the biggest star this part of the World had for a very long time, probably since the Fleming and Hamill years.
Both are top 7 skaters in history, probably top 5, maybe top 3. If Kim wins her 2nd OGM in Sochi she is undoubtably #1 though even if there are some skaters I prefer to her.
BTW as for duration of careers while Kwan's was amazing, she was even outdone in her own era in that regard. Irina Slutskaya who is 2 years older than Michelle, won her first World junior medal the same year as Michelle, won her first World senior medal the same year as Michelle, competed in her first Olympics and first senior Worlds the same years as Michelle (you get the idea) outlasted her and was a threat past the time Michelle was already semi retired.
Simply the best.
Just one thing to say: You don't hear people comparing Katarina Witt, Dorothy Hamil, Peggy Fleming, and Michelle Kwan with each other. They are recognized just as the greatests of all time, in their own rights.
Peggy and Dorothy are not compared to Michelle since they were in a whole other era. The compulsory figures and no triples one. There is simply no way to even try to begin to rationalize which was better than which. However Fleming, Hamill, Lynn, are compared to each other often (even though none ever competed at all in their primes vs one another), and while all are revered people often try and discuss which one they prefered. Now in more recent times you do hear people trying to compare Kwan to say Yamaguchi and even Witt all the time, despite that she never competed against them (except for 1 or 2 cheese pro ams against an old Kristi). Maybe it isnt right, but it is still done.
Originally Posted by l'etoile
I see it as gathering pearls to make a necklace. When the pearls are of such superior quality, you don't compare one pearl to the other. You're just glad you get to have more pearls as time goes on.
I'm a fan of both Kwan and Kim, and the fact that Kim has better jumps than Kwan (or almost anyone) doesn't make me love Kwan's skating any less. I think that point for point, Kim might be thus far the greatest skater of all time. But skating can't be measured quantitatively in every regard. Babe Ruth might be statistically the best baseball player of all time, but Jackie Robinson is great in another way. Not that I'm comparing Kwan to Jackie Robinson in terms of world achievements, but I'm saying that some people have an incomparable quality not outweighed by anything else. Her poetry on the ice does not diminish in power because someone else does a better triple-triple. Likewise, Kim's excellence isn't overshadowed by Midori Ito, nor Ito's by Kim.
Tripping on the Podium
Are you out of your mind or something Lumpy? michelle kwan to compare to Queen Yuna Kim? michelle kwan NEVER has OGM. michelle NEVER make the podium under new judging system. Queen Yuna already IS OGM and possibly a TWO-TIMES OGM next year. Queen Yuna Kim never finished off podium in competition. To compare michelle kwan to Queen Yuna LOL. I really has no ideas how to compare them XD
I'm almost certain that you're yuna's clever anti-fan.
Originally Posted by Enidan
One dimensional comparing is meaningless and ridiculous.
MK lit up the Old System Age.
YK sets up new Standards for New System Age.
They are good members of Figure Skating relay team.
Well, Who will be Next?
Six Point Zero
That post sounds like a joke: "I really has..." followed by "XD", Michelle's name in lower case compared to Yuna (whom the poster always refers to as "Queen"), the odd grammatical errors. All point to a purposefully idiot-sounding disparagement of Michelle Kwan. It's not even clever. I can smell a fake Yunabot from a mile away.
Originally Posted by venlac
We can argue 'til the cows come home about specific skaters' technical weaknesses and strengths, but ultimately that magic "spark" that makes a fan connect with a certain skater often goes beyond the technical details. It's an emotional reaction that's so variable and impossible to pinpoint because it's different for each individual. But I digress..
I'll admit there were times when I was a bit jealous or bitter as Yuna rose up the ranks with her phenomenal jumping prowess and then ultimately won the 2010 Olympics. It's really petty, I know, but I felt almost threatened as a fan that Michelle's legacy was supposedly being diminished.
But then I grew up (figuratively, it happened in quite short a time span :P). Everyone knows that sports are meant to progress.
Putting aside how impossible it is to definitively declare someone as the single greatest skater of all time , I can live with the fact that Michelle might only be considered one of the top 10 greatest ladies skaters of all time. Come on, that at least is indisputable, right?
I love that metaphor of these great skaters from different eras being "pearls in a necklace". I'd expand on that by describing them as a line of great skaters throughout the ages. It may be difficult to compare skaters from different eras, but it's much more easy to decide the greatest skater of a specific generation. In that vein, I see Yuna as a descendant of Michelle in the same way that Michelle is a descendant of Janet Lynn.
And you know what? I can also be proud that the greatest skater of this generation, Yuna Kim, also happens to idolize my favorite skater above all other skaters. Looking at it from this perspective has allowed me to lift my veil of bitterness towards Yuna and appreciate her skating so much more.
There's this skating fan named "Floskate" who is active on several skating forums and youtube. They are very knowledgeable about different eras of skating and so have a very well-rounded perspective on the sport. They made this BEAUTIFUL tribute video chronicling the line of great American ladies national champions throughout the decades (I strongly recommend it!):
I think it would be amazing if someone made a similar video for WORLD skaters.