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Thread: Do we overrate skaters of past eras?

  1. #16
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    Objectively, I think Yuna and Mao are far superior overall skaters to those who skated before them. I think my attachment to skaters like Kwan, Baiul, Sasha and a few others is because I like 6.0 programs better, especially after the ISU eliminated the popular spiral sequence. Good programs (those that score well) these days are far too busy for my taste.

  2. #17
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    Well, what did Janet do here that you don't see much any more?
    1. She had music that was a mixture of slow and fast, loud and soft.
    2. She skated to the music, speeding up and slowing down.
    3. She was feminine but wispy or delicate.

    Today, there's just an overload of very soft, gentle, slow music and skaters just disregarding it and jumping seemingly wherever and whenever they want to. I know, everyone has their favorite who they will say doesn't do that, but I would say it's well above 50% for the ladies.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by RABID View Post
    So David at TSL got himself a sharp pointy stick and started poking at the Mao-YuNa rivalry. Good fun was had by all, unless you are a fan of either lady. One of the things he said I take great exception to: Do either of them skate programs that we will rewatch as many times as Dante’s Prayer or anything by Janet Lynn? His answer was no.

    Does anyone agree with that statement/sentiment and does anyone REALLY believe something like Dance Macabre can't be compared to anything by Janet Lynn? I have watched a lot of these ladies from the past and I got to tell you, they may have been something to behold in their day but are almost unwatchable now. What essentially David is saying however is that skaters like Janet Lynn's performances are timeless and those from Mao and YuNa's are ephemeral; have a limited shelf life. I get that there should be respect for the ladies who have paved the way for the ladies of today and I get how everyone hates COP but YuNa and Mao and half the skaters in the junior circuit could skate circles around any of the ladies from those years. By the way I have watched some of Janet's performances; she may have been a trailblazer but from my vantage point it felt like homework to me. On the other hand I have lost count how many times I have watched Dance Macabre.
    The issue you describe is not only limited to skating, but is a subject of much fat-chewing and many a midnight bull-session as it applies to a slew of other sports.

    Whenever the subject of trans-generational comparison comes up, I always think of the old Eddie Murphy comedy "Coming to America". Not the greatest movie ever, but at one time Murphy's natural gifts bordered on genius. There is a brilliant scene where he plays an old barber (as well as a tour de force turn, in the same scene, as a geriatric Jewish customer ), and does a kind of improvisational riff on boxing champions of the past. This is basically what all such quarrels ultimately degenerate into: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWWw9LffCFY

    That being said, I largely agree with you, RABID. Janet Lynn must and should be revered because she is the fountainhead of modern skating, and much of what made her great is still at the heart of some of the basic skills today. But to imply that there are no performances by Yuna and Mao that will be worth re-watching is a silly affectation. Why?

    1) It attempts to make a kind of fetish of history, which is in bad taste on general principles.

    2) Saying that the current greats are not worthy of their distant predecessors is somewhat like the ossified scientific establishment at the dawn of the twentieth century, who insisted that the newfangled and annoyingly complex physics of Einstein and Bohr were mere fads compared to the eternal verities of Isaac Newton.

    Now, Newton was a foundational figure, as Einstein would have been the first to admit, but with the hindsight of further history, almost everyone in the scientific world now acknowledges that, while still relevant in a defined range of cases, Newtonian physics no longer encompasses all phenomena within itself.

    My view is that, when Yuna and Mao have retired, and have themselves become "historical" figures, their value, importance, and influence will be more firmly established and recognized, Dave's reverse-chic sensibilities notwithstanding.

    3) And what is the primary mechanism by which this will occur? I have said this in other places, but to my mind, more important than what viewers choose to watch, is what elite skaters themselves choose to watch. I will take a wild guess that, while some young skaters may still be dutifully watching some antique Janet Lynn film at the urgings of their coaches, most are probably watching again and again the Youtube videos of the skaters that Dave believes are unworthy of such attention.

    At some point in the not too distant future, as the coaching ranks undergo generational shifts, there will probably come a point when even the coaches' exhortations to their young charges will be filled with Yuna and Mao's signature skates. That's just the way these things work, not only in skating, but in all of athletics and the arts.

    Based on comments of any number of young elite skaters, and their coaches and choreographers, the evidence is pretty persuasive that this is already happening, particularly in the case of Yuna.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    I don't know about Janet Lynn, but the performances of Michelle Kwan will live forever, long after all these whippersnappers out there now have turned to dust.
    Hear, hear!
    and Janet Lynn is considered the greatest female skater that ever lived by many, many knowledgeable people. I think Dave at TSL has a good point, actually, and I love both Mao and Yuna.

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by jenaj View Post
    I have watched many of Janet Lynn's performances countless numbers of times. I have watched most of Yu Na's performances (and Mao's) once. For pure skating skills and her ethereal quality, Janet Lynn is without peer.
    Agreed.

    and I think Dave's point was about the spiritual, transcendent, transporting quality of both Janet and Michelle. So far, neither Yuna or Mao have this. Their lack of it may be in part due to the new judging system, however.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by miki88 View Post
    Maybe he was just stating his opinion? Janet Lynn is timeless for many reasons. And I personally do feel the praise for Michelle is deserved because I never tire of rewatching her programs. Perhaps, it is more in the technical aspects that skaters of the past tend to be over-praised due to nostalgia for their performances. I think overall COP have improved basic skating skills and technique, since you can't get that far in the sport when you are weak in these areas nowadays. The artistry and charisma of past skaters weren't overrated.
    Very well put, Miki88. and I also agree with you that Dai has the most transporting and transcendent programs of the current crop of skaters. I do think Patrick's short and long this year have the potential to be timeless in the same way. and I found Pang and Tong's long mesmerizing and magical in the way Dave is talking about- I've already rewatched it 3 times!

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by wordsworthgirl View Post
    Agreed.

    and I think Dave's point was about the spiritual, transcendent, transporting quality of both Janet and Michelle. So far, neither Yuna or Mao have this. Their lack of it may be in part due to the new judging system, however.
    I think those qualities are really subjectives for claim like a fact that neither Yuna or Mao have it

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by chapis View Post
    I think a lot of this depend of the age in which you were really into or invested in figure skating, of course if you clicked with FS because Mao, Yuna, Sasha or whoever, you will remember this skater like the best ever, not only because you will remember they were so wonderful but the good you were feeling in that time. And the advantage of past skaters is that FS was really popular in USA and Canadá back then, so a lot of people remember them with much affection.
    I knew nothing about Janet Lynn's skating until I started watching her on YouTube. Her skating is timeless.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by jenaj View Post
    I knew nothing about Janet Lynn's skating until I started watching her on YouTube. Her skating is timeless.
    I am not saying is everyone´s situation. I just think this is an important reason.

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    It really was a different sport back then, though. The attention to quality of movement and choreographic detail have largely been abandoned in favor of big jumps.
    I'd say it has been abandoned in favor of putting as many turns into your program as possible. Big jumps have always been welcome in the sport.

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tonichelle View Post
    Me personally? Give me Janet Lynn any day. (and no I'm not old enough to have seen her in her day... I was born well after Janet was America's Sweetheart)
    Toni do u fee MK was over scored? I like her a lot but feel she had a lock on Nationals and it intimidated some skaters very much-like Angela, Jenny who did 3T 3T I think ? in her sp. She did not intimidate Sarah or Tarah, no one did.

    But the 6.0s got a little crazy, bit I never saw her compete, so maybe they were deserved...I just wonder what it was re Kwan you didn't care for?

  12. #27
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    Carolina's gold medal performance at 2012 Worlds is the closest to old time performance in 20 years.
    I prefer Mao and Yuna to Carolina prior to 2012, but since that performance, I've rewatched Caro's 2012 LP more than anything I've seen from Yuna and Mao.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjBtanpTYTY
    I love her pure skating. She has all the qualities I love from figure skating.

  13. #28
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    I'm sure if the US has an outstanding level skater now, as was Lynn or Kwan, who would be real opponent of Yuna, Yuna wouldn't be so popular there.

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by RABID View Post
    So David at TSL got himself a sharp pointy stick and started poking at the Mao-YuNa rivalry. Good fun was had by all, unless you are a fan of either lady. One of the things he said I take great exception to: Do either of them skate programs that we will rewatch as many times as Dante’s Prayer or anything by Janet Lynn? His answer was no.
    It was just his/her personal taste. Nothing objective.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    It really was a different sport back then, though. The attention to quality of movement and choreographic detail have largely been abandoned in favor of big jumps.
    Agreed. Each sport, FS then or FS now, has (had) its own fans and advantages. But, I guess that today's causal audience, if they are given chance to see, would prefer YuNa's performance to Lynn's.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ven View Post
    Les Miserables. Gershwin. Danse Macabre. Scheherezade. Bond. These are all iconic, timeless performances that are still celebrated and watched today. Yuna may give us more this year, don't count her out.
    Err -- can something be iconic and timeless when it's less than 4 years old?

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