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Thread: Top 20 skaters of all time per discipline

  1. #31
    Forever stuck on those steps Li'Kitsu's Avatar
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    I would have Patrick in my personal Top 20 (although not that high, to be honest), but you are giving him a little too much credit...

    Quote Originally Posted by CanadianSkaterGuy
    At his best, he produces some of the best performances of all time (like 2011 Worlds), and he has the world records for the highest SP, the highest FS, and the highest total score.
    Which means absolutly nothing. What exactly does it mean for the Chan Yagudin comparison that Chan received the highest (arguably inflated) scores in a system that Yagudin didnt skate under?

    He also elevated the overall level of competition by incorporating quads after 2010 and forcing all the other men to attempt quads to keep up with him - the same way Yu Na spurred on a higher level of competition.
    Really? I don't think all of those guys are just doing quads because Chan started to do them too. Look at his main competitors: Takahashi did quads, long, long before Chan did. He even tried them after his injury and with a bolt in his knee. Even at the Olympics when he could have played it safe. Fernandez was doing the 4T too before Chan started training them. And Hanyu? He's a quad-maniac, thanKs to his love for Plush. You can argue that Chan plays a part in teh return of the 4T - but the main reason was raising it's base value, and then there would have been enough talented jumpers to go for it if Chan does so or not. Let alone the japanese men would have to have the upper hand in the battle against each other (Kozuka was doing quads too before Chan did).

    With his lack of consistency, he's arguably not worthy of the top 10, but certainly in the top 20...
    Oh, not really. Takahashi is an inconsistent skater too, but I don't think that keeps people from adding him to their lists. Or think of Lambiel. But for Chan inconsistent isn't even the right word - it's more that he's consistently making mistakes. If I call someone one of the greatest of all time I'd at least want to be able to find some clean performances of them without having to search for hours. And yes, being able to skate clean is a huge part in the greatest of all time for quite a few people, me included.

  2. #32
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    Here's what I'd say: it's really difficult to compare today's skaters to Grafstrom/Henjie/Schafer/etc. so most of my list is post-70s (Dick Button probably being the only exception, given his contributions today).

    Ladies:

    1. Yu Na Kim
    2. Michelle Kwan
    3. Midori Ito
    4. Katarina Witt
    5. Peggy Fleming
    6. Dorothy Hamill
    7. Janet Lynn
    8. Mao Asada
    9. Kristi Yamaguchi
    10. Irina Slutskaya
    11. Chen Lu
    12. Shizuka Arakawa

    Regarding Cohen, had she actually been a much more consistent jumper, her overall skating would have easily put her in my top 10. I think her elegance and quality epitomizes what modern figure skating should be, but without the technical chops to back it up she's out of there. It might put her in my top 20 though.

    Men:

    1. Alexei Yagudin
    2. John Curry
    3. Evgeni Plushenko
    4. Dick Button
    5. Brian Boitano
    6. Kurt Browning
    7. Robin Cousins
    8. Elvis Stojko
    9. Toller Cranston
    10. Scott Hamilton
    11. Patrick Chan
    12. Daisuke Takahashi

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Li'Kitsu View Post
    I would have Patrick in my personal Top 20 (although not that high, to be honest), but you are giving him a little too much credit...

    Which means absolutly nothing. What exactly does it mean for the Chan Yagudin comparison that Chan received the highest (arguably inflated) scores in a system that Yagudin didnt skate under?

    Really? I don't think all of those guys are just doing quads because Chan started to do them too. Look at his main competitors: Takahashi did quads, long, long before Chan did. He even tried them after his injury and with a bolt in his knee. Even at the Olympics when he could have played it safe. Fernandez was doing the 4T too before Chan started training them. And Hanyu? He's a quad-maniac, thanKs to his love for Plush. You can argue that Chan plays a part in teh return of the 4T - but the main reason was raising it's base value, and then there would have been enough talented jumpers to go for it if Chan does so or not. Let alone the japanese men would have to have the upper hand in the battle against each other (Kozuka was doing quads too before Chan did).

    Oh, not really. Takahashi is an inconsistent skater too, but I don't think that keeps people from adding him to their lists. Or think of Lambiel. But for Chan inconsistent isn't even the right word - it's more that he's consistently making mistakes. If I call someone one of the greatest of all time I'd at least want to be able to find some clean performances of them without having to search for hours. And yes, being able to skate clean is a huge part in the greatest of all time for quite a few people, me included.
    I think having the highest scores in the IJS - a system which is far more demanding for skaters than 6.0 - is notable. And saying Yagudin never had to compete against that is as negligible as saying Dick Button never had to do triple axels or quads, so why should he rank higher than others? These assessments are based on the the era in which each skater is skating, so I wasn't implying that Yagudin could or couldn't compete against that since we will never know.

    Takahashi would be included because of how artistic superior he is, but he's also been inconsistent (thought not as much as Chan) with error-filled performances too.

  4. #34
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    It's hard to compare across eras, so I look at who was dominant within their era.

    Men - Dick Button 2 OGM, 4 US Titles (I think), 4 WC (I think), even a European Title. Those who are knowledgeable about the sport say he was 20 years ahead of the field.

    Women - Peggy Fleming. Won the OGM by nearly 90 points. 5 Us Titles, 3 WC. (There are other candidates as well...)

    Pairs - Irina Rodnina/Alexander Zaitsev. In Irina's case 3 OGM, Ten WC in a row. Honorable mention to Protopopov. My favorite pairs team ever. Perfection.

    Dance - not too well versed in the history, so will go with Torville/Dean, simply because they transformed the sport and routed the competition.

  5. #35
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    My top ten lists (too lazy to do top 20). I'm ranking by perceived skating quality, technical skills, impact within sport, performance ability, quality of choreography, and a big whopping dose of personal preference.

    PAIRS:
    1. Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze
    2. Protopopovs
    3. Gordeeva/Grinkov
    4. Rodnina/Zaitsev
    5. Mishkutenok/Dmitriev
    6. Valova/Vasiliev
    7. Shen/Zhao
    8. Savchenko/Szolkowy
    9. Totmianina/Marinin
    10. Rodnina/Ulanov

    DANCE:
    1. Torvill/Dean
    2. Klimova/Ponomarenko
    3. Pakhomova/Gorshkov
    4. Grishuk/Platov
    5. Anissina/Peizerat
    6. Bestemianova/Bukin
    7. Krylova/Ovsiannikov
    8. Virtue/Moir
    9. Usova/Zhulin
    10. Denkova/Staviski

    MEN:
    1. Alexei Yagudin
    2. Dick Button
    3. John Curry
    4. Toller Cranston
    5. Kurt Browning
    6. Stephane Lambiel
    7. Robin Cousins
    8. Brian Boitano
    9. Evgeni Plushenko
    10. Daisuke Takahashi

    LADIES:
    1. Michelle Kwan
    2. Peggy Fleming
    3. Yu-Na Kim
    4. Janet Lynn
    5. Sonja Henie
    6. Midori Ito
    7. Cecilia Colledge
    8. Dorothy Hamill
    9. Katarina Witt
    10. Mao Asada


    I will add the caveat that the order of the lists is likely to change with my mood.

  6. #36
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    IMHO the ultimate criterion is body of work.

    For each candidate, selected their fifteen best programs and then select the best performance of each. Which skater's full portfolio would you want to put in a time capsule to be discovered a million years after the earth is destroyed? To me, Michelle Kwan is without peer or rival by this measure. (kurt Browning for the men, counting pro programs.)

    On a different note: Trixie Schuba deserves some love on these lists. She was the greatest figure skater of all time.

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    That is always the most interesting question. What are the criteria? There is a difference between an "I won lots of medals" all-star and a "I gave exquisite performances" all-star. I am sure that pangtongfan would concede that Patrick Chan is the all-time "read the protocols" champion, but not so much the all-time "look at my on-ice performances" champion.

    For me, I would give heavy weight to what the skaters accomplished after their days of amateur competitions were over.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    IMHO the ultimate criterion is body of work.

    For each candidate, selected their fifteen best programs and then select the best performance of each. Which skater's full portfolio would you want to put in a time capsule to be discovered a million years after the earth is destroyed? To me, Michelle Kwan is without peer or rival by this measure. (kurt Browning for the men, counting pro programs.)
    I actually think that the criteria for choosing the skaters for the lists is an interesting topic to debate, more so than comparing the lists themselves. Body of work/programs? Achievements as professionals? Achievements as amateurs? Medal count/color of the medal?

    In no particular order, here's my criteria: Olympic titles/medals, world titles/medals, and non-world titles/medals (i.e. Grand Prix, Four CCs, Europeans, Nationals); longevity and consistency; unique artistic and technical ability/achievements; memorable performances/programs/body of work; what a skater has accomplished in representing for their country; and what a skater has contributed to the sport.

    Some of the great all-time skaters mentioned in this thread tick more of these boxes than others, while the greatest pretty much ticked them all. But not having an Olympic title doesn't preclude a skater from being considered great according to my criteria, if their contributions in other areas outweigh the ones that they did not fulfill.

  8. #38
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    You left off Jackson Haines, the founder of modern figure skating.

  9. #39
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CanadianSkaterGuy View Post
    I'm curious as to why people have ranked Lynn so high? Her technical ability was great, but she was poor at figures and never won a Worlds (silver and a bronze) or Olympics (bronze).
    Here is an example of a Janet Lynn performance. Sandra Bezik said, in her recent interview with Jennifer and David, that once you've seen Janet Lynn you realize that skating has not progressed in the last thirty years -- quite the opposite. There is no one skating today who can skate like this. Notice the variation in speed, the attention to detail, and how she weaves the jumps into the choreograohy.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7kTnyOcPy4

  10. #40
    Six Point Zero Krislite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    Here is an example of a Janet Lynn performance. Sandra Bezik said, in her recent interview with Jennifer and David, that once you've seen Janet Lynn you realize that skating has not progressed in the last thirty years -- quite the opposite. There is no one skating today who can skate like this. Notice the variation in speed, the attention to detail, and how she weaves the jumps into the choreograohy.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7kTnyOcPy4
    To be fair, couldn't it be because skaters are all doing triples and quads nowadays, which take a bit more time and energy to set-up? Isn't it "easier" to weave doubles into choreography? I'm not denying Lynn's unparalleled musicality, but she could afford to pay attention to detail and choreography when all she had to jump were doubles.

    Moreover, while it may be true that skating has gone nowhere artistically since Lynn, it is true that it has progressed technically. This is actually the direction it has taken since Lynn, with greater and greater emphasis on jumps. Ironically enough, the elimination of figures which was supposed to bring advantage to skaters like Lynn probably accelerated this move towards the athletic side.

  11. #41
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    ^ Yes. It's all those triples and quads that have caused figure skating to regress into a caricature of its former splendor.

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    Here is an example of a Janet Lynn performance. Sandra Bezik said, in her recent interview with Jennifer and David, that once you've seen Janet Lynn you realize that skating has not progressed in the last thirty years -- quite the opposite. There is no one skating today who can skate like this. Notice the variation in speed, the attention to detail, and how she weaves the jumps into the choreograohy.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7kTnyOcPy4
    And beautiful flow over the ice, with no extraneous arm movements. If pure blade to ice is the standard, no one is as good as Janet.

  13. #43
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    And here's the men's version. This is John Curry, 1976. (I have to smile when people mention Yagudin, etc. )

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djadlQLK_ow

  14. #44
    I'm out. aftertherain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CanadianSkaterGuy View Post
    No Patrick Chan? *is utterly shocked*

    What are your criteria? Some of these skaters never won a Worlds or Olympics.
    Janet Lynn never won a Worlds or Olympics. Doesn't stop hordes of skaters, journalists, commentators, and fans from calling her a legend and in a league of her own.

    ETA: What Mathman said about Jenny&Dave's interview with Sandra Bezic.

    Also, an article by Christine Brennan, an American journalist who has written a number of books on figure skating:
    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2...-michelle-kwan
    Lynn won a bronze medal at the 1972 Olympics in Sapporo, Japan, and five consecutive national championships, but, like Kwan, she was a skater whose achievements surpassed her career statistics.

    Repeatedly stymied by the dull but demanding compulsory figures competition, which has since been phased out, she brought crowds to their feet during the free skate with her feather-light landings and athletic jumps, her feel for the music, and the joy she was able to communicate on ice.

    "She was an artist and an athlete, both," says David Santee, who skated in the 1976 and 1980 Olympics.

    "I remember her skating to 'Afternoon of a Faun,' and she would get so lost in the music that it would be hard not to watch and feel the same way. Yet, she could jump, she could spin, she could just do everything. . . . If I had one person to take with me [into competition] as the ultimate skater, I'd take Janet for sure."

    After Lynn didn't win a gold at Sapporo because of the compulsories, the sport itself was revised, with international competitions placing less emphasis on the painstaking ice tracings that had tripped up the great free skater.

    When Lynn left skating to raise her five sons, the sport's insiders -- judges, coaches, commentators and athletes -- kept her legend alive with grainy videotapes, locker room discussions and frequent references.

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    On a different note: Trixie Schuba deserves some love on these lists. She was the greatest figure skater of all time.
    The 1972 Olympics was a special field. Arguably the greatest ever free skater Janet Lynn, the greatest ever compulsory figures performer Trixi Schuba, Karen Magnussen who was a very innovative and consistently strong free skater with many elements she invented and who was also strong in figures, Julie Holmes who was an excellent compulsory figures skater who was a strong Fleming mold style free skater. You also had a young Sonja Morgenstram who placed 3rd in free skating, taking two 1st place ordinals off of Lynn, who back then showed huge promise and could do triple jumps, rare at the time, with ease; a shame though that injury ended her career a year later as she looked like a potential 76 OGM winner. A number of other interesting skaters.

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