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Thread: Top 20 skaters of all time per discipline

  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krislite View Post
    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.
    Normally in the figures era it was balletic and beautiful free skaters that were also very strong at figures. People like Peggy Fleming, Tenley Albright, Carol Heiss were exceptional and dominant at figures. Lynn was a rare case, and Sjouke Dikstra who was a powerhouse and excellent jumping and technician free skater who also lacked grace was another exception. I think it was faulty to just assume eliminating figures would lead to more artistic skating.

    I actually wish skating had stuck with a 1989 and 1990 formula with figures worth 20%. That is the perfect amount. Having skaters have to train figures would have helped skating today in many ways. Some talk of the horror of Trenary winning the 1990 Worlds over Ito, but in truth Itos loop figure at those Worlds was disgustingly bad and not worthy of a World title, it was one of the worst figures I ever saw; and she STILL would have caught Trenary if the free skating field at those Worlds wasnt so abysmal that Trenary could get away with placing 5th in the original with a double toe-double toe combo, and place 2nd in the free skating with a still technically lacking program.

  2. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    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
    Actually, I think Toller Cranston is more like the men's version of Janet Lynn. Both Lynn and Cranston were not that great at figures (which prevented them from winning a world or Olympic title) but were incredible, ground-breaking freeskaters who revolutionized the way skaters moved on the ice for their respective disciplines. Curry had lovely, very proper ballet training and a wonderful classical style but Cranston moved his body and emoted on the ice in a way that was unprecedented for male skaters and was just totally original.

    To fully understand how exceptional Cranston and Lynn were, you have to watch their contemporaries, how skaters skated before and during their careers. Cranston and Lynn both skated with a freedom, fluidity and expressiveness that was ground-breaking and has proved to be extremely influential, and that's why I ranked both of them fourth on my "top 10 of all time" lists despite their lack of big titles.

  3. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krislite View Post
    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.
    That is a very cool observation. The ISU thought it was eliminating figures in order to elevate free skating. In the event, it eliminated both figures and free skating and gave us what we have now: a check-off-the-boxes obstacle course.

    This is not all bad, though. Times change; you can't go home again. The modern sport is participatory. The rules are designed for the bread and butter of the skating enterprise: kids in learn-to-skate and testing programs, teenagers aspiring to compete at national championships and international events, and adult and recreational skaters. These clients want to learn new tricks, to develop cool blade skills, to jump ever higher.

    As for the fans, maybe we don't oh and ah as much as we used to, but we can still appreciate the display of skills that modern champions exhibit.

  4. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by venlac View Post
    if yagudin is not the Best of all Time
    Then, who do you think is the best of all time??
    For men? Dick Button

  5. #50
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    Ooh, I'll play (I'm a sucker for making lists). I started watching skating in '88, so I'll start there, and I'll use free skating (figures, schmigures) and the "Wow!" factor as my criteria. And I've only followed the women with real passion, so I don't feel like I can judge the other disciplines. Finally, I didn't want to compare achievements or medals, so I ranked my favorite long programs from the ladies instead:

    1) Midori Ito ('88 Olympics): She didn't have the triple axel yet, but her jumps were still awesome. What I love about this program is the absolute joy Midori had throughout, which in my opinion was an artistic achievement in itself.

    2) Michelle Kwan ('98 Nationals): Everything just flowed, and again, there was that joy (which, sadly wasn't quite there in the Olympics a few months later).

    3) Yu-na Kim ('10 Olympics): The best balance of huge jumps and artistic beauty ever. I placed her just below Midori and Michelle because Yu-na doesn't QUITE make the same emotional connection with the audience.

    4) Liz Manley ('88 Olympics): Liz is really underrated, IMO. Her Olympics program was a wonderful balance of big jumps (triple lutz!) and wonderful choreography (loved the spread eagle and headbanging spin).

    5) Lu Chen ('96 Worlds): I love Michelle, but I would've gone with Lulu here. Peggy Fleming said it best: "That was like walking through a dream." So lyrical.

    6) Kristi Yamaguchi ('92 Worlds): Kristi was alway so solid and well-balanced, even though she didn't quite have the magical takes-you-to-another-place quality that my top picks did. Kristi fell on that dreaded salchow here, but she still showed so much "Why yes, I AM the Olympic champion; thank you very much" confidence.

    7) Katarina Witt ('88 Olympics): Her jumps weren't particularly difficult, but artistically, she melted the ice like no one ever has or probably will.

    8) Tara Lipinski ('98 Olympics): The epitome of youthful abandon. There was no fear or hesitation at all.

    9) Oksana Baiul ('93 Worlds): She had star quality for days, and she was at her best here. But I'm a bit sad she didn't develop any higher, despite her Olympic gold medal.

    10) Tonya Harding ('91 Skate America): This wasn't Tonya at her technical best (she singled her double axed at the very end, which was funny because she had landed the triple easily at the beginning), but I still chose this program because she was artistically great (well, by Tonya standards, at least). And that Ina Bauer in the slow section is just to die for.

  6. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by evangeline View Post
    Actually, I think Toller Cranston is more like the men's version of Janet Lynn. Both Lynn and Cranston were not that great at figures (which prevented them from winning a world or Olympic title) but were incredible, ground-breaking freeskaters who revolutionized the way skaters moved on the ice for their respective disciplines. Curry had lovely, very proper ballet training and a wonderful classical style but Cranston moved his body and emoted on the ice in a way that was unprecedented for male skaters and was just totally original.

    To fully understand how exceptional Cranston and Lynn were, you have to watch their contemporaries, how skaters skated before and during their careers. Cranston and Lynn both skated with a freedom, fluidity and expressiveness that was ground-breaking and has proved to be extremely influential, and that's why I ranked both of them fourth on my "top 10 of all time" lists despite their lack of big titles.
    I agree with this characterization. I always thought of Lynn and Cranston in about the same breath. I suppose the parallel to John Curry is Peggy Fleming (both of these skaters having a classical purity of line and technique, an artistic dimension that brought out the importance of their music, and the ability to master the figures as well). They were just gorgeous to watch, and in their way they were groundbreaking by showing how much artistry could be presented in such an athletic sport. But the truly innovative skaters were Janet Lynn and Toller Cranston, because their free skates demonstrated true freedom, while underpinned by splendid technique.

    So for me, all four of these skaters were milestone skaters, and they all belong on a list of greats, though for different reasons.

  7. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigdeal View Post
    My subjective list, watching figure skating since the late 60's.

    Men:
    1.John Curry (the reason this sport was created)
    2.Alexei Yagudin (emotion, passion, technique with a touch of art)
    3.Toller Cranston (innivation, introduced the real choreography in men's skating)
    4.Stephan Lambiel (breathtaking talent, art and beauty, perfect actor)
    5.Plushenko (best jump technique but arrogance)
    6.Brian Boitano (perfectionism)
    7.Daisuke Takahashi (virtuoso, technique and personality)
    8.Patrick Chan (the best blade ever used in sport)
    I LOVED your subjective list with characterization of these great skaters! Especially on Men. Sounds so perfect to me as a big fan of them, I mean, your accurate definition of their skates explains why I love them for different reason. Thank you so much. to bigdeal!!!

  8. #53
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    another vote of confidence for janet lynn being one of the top 10. an olympic bronze and two world medals may be her "only" achievements, but she completely innovated what we imagine to be a modern free skating program. she had an otherworldly talent, lightyears ahead of her time. no one moved around the rink with the same command, the freedom, and the sublime glide to edge with which she did. i also think that discounting these qualities because she "didn't have the triples to get in the way" really doesn't make sense because then, obviously, sonja henie's just a novice skater with a bunch of funny jumps and spins. all the 6.0s janet received from international judges for presentation, coupled with all the free skates she won at the world championships and the '72 olympics, say something. and the fact that women's skaters still tread with caution with "prelude to the afternoon of a faun" some 40 years later (her signature piece) says something else, too.

  9. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by venlac View Post
    if yagudin is not the Best of all Time
    Then, who do you think is the best of all time??
    Kurt

  10. #55
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    This tells you all you need to know about why Yagudin is among (or is) the best of all time, with Curry, Lambiel, Boitano, and Cranston: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=og59QN4L_ko

    The influence of Yagudin is still seen in men's footwork and exuberance in performing today. Telling that Plushenko, Joubert, Lysacek, etc. all have/had footwork that is "shades of Yagudin" The only couple of people in the past decade who really owned style of footwork was Lambiel, Buttle, Chan, and Takahashi (and Johnny to a lesser extent, for me)

    Also, can we get some Matt Savoie love up in here? He's maybe the most underrated skater of all time, and really, is maybe what John Curry would have skated like if he was around now. His long program in 2006: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRqY2Q2WUl8 is one of the top five long programs from the 2000s (for me)

  11. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigdeal View Post
    My subjective list, watching figure skating since the late 60's.



    Men:
    1.John Curry (the reason this sport was created)
    2.Alexei Yagudin (emotion, passion, technique with a touch of art)
    3.Toller Cranston (innivation, introduced the real choreography in men's skating)
    4.Stephan Lambiel (breathtaking talent, art and beauty, perfect actor)
    5.Plushenko (best jump technique but arrogance)
    6.Brian Boitano (perfectionism)
    7.Daisuke Takahashi (virtuoso, technique and personality)
    8.Patrick Chan (the best blade ever used in sport)

    I love all four of your lists, but couldn't you have gone to 9 with the men and added Browning? I mean, I love Boitano, Lambiel, and Chan, but there's no list they belong on that doesn't include Browning.

    (I love your statement that Curry is why skating was created. He sure did make it come to life, didn't he?)

  12. #57
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    I love Browning but why would he belong on a list over Boitano. Boitano had the longest reign in the history of professional skating, and as an amateur was a multi World Champion who also won Olympic Gold and the famous battle of the Brians with one of the greatest Olympic performances in history, which already sets him above Browning who has all those World titles but sadly was an Olympic flop. Obviously if you look at both as skaters they brought different things to the table, but overall Boitano contributed more to the sport and had the greatest impact IMO. I still did rate Kurt quite close to Brian in my list though.

  13. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by zschultz1986 View Post
    The influence of Yagudin is still seen in men's footwork and exuberance in performing today. Telling that Plushenko, Joubert, Lysacek, etc. all have/had footwork that is "shades of Yagudin" The only couple of people in the past decade who really owned style of footwork was Lambiel, Buttle, Chan, and Takahashi (and Johnny to a lesser extent, for me)
    Yagudin's most famous footwork was the sequence that Morozov gave him for Winter. Morozov reached all the way back to Sonia Henie for that dancing on toepicks motif. The next season there was a parade of skaters to Morozov's door who wanted to be Yagudin -- including Michelle Kwan (Aranjuez), Joubert was the most obvious wannabe, but unfortunately the patented Morozov footwork sequence did not suit his style and he just looked silly attempting it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    Yagudin's most famous footwork was the sequence that Morozov gave him for Winter. Morozov reached all the way back to Sonia Henie for that dancing on toepicks motif. The next season there was a parade of skaters to Morozov's door who wanted to be Yagudin -- including Michelle Kwan (Aranjuez), Joubert was the most obvious wannabe, but unfortunately the patented Morozov footwork sequence did not suit his style and he just looked silly attempting it.
    Of course, but no one could sell it like Yags, because no one had Yags' talent (well, except maybe for Sasha, she could sell some Morozov footwork)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    Yagudin's most famous footwork was the sequence that Morozov gave him for Winter. Morozov reached all the way back to Sonia Henie for that dancing on toepicks motif. The next season there was a parade of skaters to Morozov's door who wanted to be Yagudin -- including Michelle Kwan (Aranjuez), Joubert was the most obvious wannabe, but unfortunately the patented Morozov footwork sequence did not suit his style and he just looked silly attempting it.
    Agreed. I totally remember the slew of "Winter" footwork after that program. The funny thing is that it isn't even difficult to do by any means, it was just performed very well by Yagudin. It's like him collecting snow from his blade and tossing it up... such a simple touch, but looked really cool and fit well with the program.

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