Fun question, and very hard to answer. I'll try a top 10 per discipline, based mostly on accomplishments, with a little bit of what I remember from reading about/watching some of these skaters. Rankings are (more or less) chronological, because I just had too hard a time ranking them one over another.
1. Ulrich Salchow
2. Gillis Grafstrom
3. Karl Schaefer
4. Dick Button
5. David Jenkins
6. Brian Orser
7. Viktor Petrenko
8. Elvis Stojko
9. Alexei Yagudin
10. Evgeni Plushenko
Others worth mentioning: Brian Boitano, Robin Cousins, John Curry, Kurt Browning, Donald Jackson, Hayes Alan Jenkins, Ondrej Nepela, Jan Hoffman, Scott Hamilton, Philippe Candeloro, Patrick Chan
1. Sonja Henie
2. Jeanette Altwegg
3. Tenley Albright
4. Carol Heiss
5. Sjoukje Dijkstra
6. Katarina Witt
7. Michelle Kwan
8. Irina Slutskaya
9. Yu-Na Kim
10. Mao Asada
Others worth mentioning: Kristi Yamaguchi, Chen Lu, Barbara Ann Scott, Cecilia Colledge, Megan Taylor, Peggy Fleming.
1. Ludowika and Walter Jakobsson
2. Andree Joly and Pierre Brunet
3. Marika Kilius and Hans-Jurgen Baumler
4. Ludmila and Oleg Protopopov
5. Irina Rodnina and Alexander Zaitsev
6. Elena Valova and Oleg Vasiliev
7. Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov
8. Natalia Mishketenok and Artur Dmitriev
9. Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao
10. Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy
Others worth mentioning: Isabelle Brasseur and Lloyd Eisler, Ria and Paul Falk, Barbara Wagner and Robert Paul
1. Lyudmila Pakhomova and Alexsandr Gorshkov
2. Irina Moiseyeva and Andrei Minenkov
3. Marina Klimova and Sergei Ponomarenko
4. Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean
5. Natalia Bestemianova and Andrei Bukin
6. Maya Usova and Alexander Zhulin
7. Oksana Grishuk and Evgeny Platov
8. Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat
9. Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir
10. Meryl Davis and Charlie White
Others worth mentioning: Jean Westwood and Lawrence Demmy, Eva Romanova and Pavel Roman, Diane Towler and Bernard Ford, Isabelle and Paul Duchesnay, Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto
There are four skaters I'm going to add into this discussion, because they achieved major success in more than one discipline in the early 1900s, even though their success in one discipline might not necessarily warrant mention otherwise. They are: Ernst Baier (Men's Silver [and four world medals] and Pairs Gold [and four world titles]); Madge Syers (Ladies Gold [and two-time world champion] and Pairs Bronze); Beatrix Loughran (Ladies Silver and Bronze [and world bronze], Pairs Silver); Herma Szabo (Ladies Olympic and World Gold, two-time world pairs champion)
Last edited by caseyl23; 04-25-2013 at 05:59 PM. Reason: To delete a couple names listed twice
Cool list, casey. Madge Syers also won the silver medal at the 1902 men's world championship, turning the sport of figure skating upside down. Herma Szabo won five world championships besides her Olympic gold medal and pair championships.
Cecilia Colledge would almost certainly have won the 1940 Olympics if World War II hadn't intervened, and maybe 1944 also. She skated in the 1932 Olympics at age 11 and finished 8th out of 15. (Curiously, Megan Taylor, also of Great Britain, also aged 11, finished 7th.) She was the first woman to do a double jump (Salcho), at 1936 Europeans.
Last edited by Mathman; 04-25-2013 at 05:35 PM.
Thank you! I can't believe I forgot to mention that part about Madge Syers – that's a pretty important one!
I should also note the currently-active skaters on my lists are largely pending the results of next year's Olympics. I'm assuming Kim, Asada, Savchenko/Szolkowy, Virtue/Moir and Davis/White are going to win medals next year. If any of them fails, some revisions might be necessary.
from floskate, the newsreel of figure skating at the 1936 Olympics
Cecilia also invented the modern spiral positionI uploaded this by request but also in memory of Cecilia Colledge, the Worlds youngest Olympian in 1932 aged 11 years 75 days and winner of the silver medal here behind Sonja Henie.
Cecilia was the first woman to do a camel spin, a one-foot axel, a double jump (salchow) and the layback spin. A true pioneer of figure skating.
1. Michelle Kwan
2. Akiko Suzuki
3. Yu-Na Kim
4. Kristi Yamaguchi
5. Chen Lu
6. Mao Asada
7. Katarina Witt
8. Miki Ando
9. Midori Ito
10. Yuka Sato
With Nationals inflation and perfect skates, Chan cleared 300. And with base values higher than Lambiel has shown to be capable of. There's no way Lambiel would clear 200 points in the LP, if Chan's 2011 Worlds skate is the best ever done by a man and doesn't even clear 190. He might clear 100 in the SP if he improved the intricacy of his programs, but a 200-point LP seems out of reach.
As far as comparison, his interpretation, artistic expression and spins are certainly better than Chan's.. for performance Lambiel edges him out, for execution they're on par... Chan's choreography is more complex than Lambiel's with greater transitions and more variety (but I'm sure Lambiel would be capable of incorporating more complexity/variety than his programs have been in the past), as you said his jump quality is weaker than Chan's as well as overall skating skills (two things which really can't be changed a whole lot). I agree though that if Lambiel and Chan skated at their best, it would be very close (with Chan perhaps edging him out because of the better quality of his jumps and higher overall base value; I'd imagine their PCS would be scored similarly and could be judged either way).
Even if Lambiel got 100 points of PCS (perfect PCS), he would need 100 points on TES which would be light years superior to anything he's been capable of or shown.
I think the video is supposed to be of Cecilia learning how to do the spiral from the circus guy
Definitely very subjective!
I'd take out Tara Lipinski and put Sasha Cohen in.
The other one I was very surprised doesn't get more attention is Viktor Petrenko – two Olympic medals, one of them gold (and fourth at a third Olympics), a string of world and European medals and that longevity. Again, it seems like he's earned a lot more love than he gets.