Perhaps over time we'll see more skaters follow that lead. It seemed to work nicely for Adelina in her short program at the GPF (I'm not suggesting that, that program is timeless I'm just saying she did a toe/toe combo and still scored 68.38)
This systems greatest "strength" is that it's supposed to raise the objective factor of skating above the subjective. And at moments it can, and certainly we can go back to protocols and pick apart a skaters TES. But that's the thing. When you dampen the subjectivity of the sport, you're asking someone to take out their emotional investment and just look at the numbers.
I feel like, in a weird way, when Carolina watered down her content she was able to ask "what do I like best about skating?" and we started to truly see that come to bare in her programs that season. And then last season she gave us two more sublime pieces to admire.
For me, Michelle Kwan is my gold standard. I think she raised the bar in skating significantly in the 90s. With her characterization, flair for drama, restraint, edges, jump content, consistency, and sheer presence it was a whole other level.
I've never seen many Janet Lynn programs, but I just watched a few of her routines and compared them to Peggy and I can see what people are saying about Janet's innovation.
It's a little difficult to say if Mao or Yuna has offered that sort of innovation/reinvestment in the sport that Janet and Michelle provided. Time and perspective will help us answer that question. David may not feel the impulse to watch their programs on loop but he's also older than the person he was when Michelle was skating. There have been studies to suggest that humans connect most viscerally to music we discover in our late teens and early twenties... perhaps there is something to that in other art forms as well? There's also no substitute for nostalgia when it comes to inspiration to hit that repeat button.
Perhaps, though, it would be valuable to hear what a Japanese or Korean fan would say about this (I'm not sure of the nationalities of anyone here so I apologize if anyone already has!) but it is worth keeping in mind that David Lease is an American and this is an American based forum and we are talking about two American legends of the sport.
Today on the radio, the station I was listening to started playing Gershwin's Piano Concerto in F and I kept getting images of Yuna in her blue dress and remember how astounding that performance in Vancouver was. That's a performance I've watched many times over. I hear Dance Macabre and I can't imagine any other skater doing justice to it.
It also makes me wonder if Yuna or Mao were American would the feeling be different? I have a feeling that if either one was, we would already be seeing commercials and billboards with their faces, everyone would know who they are. According to Phil Hersh, Ashley Wagner already has more endorsements than any other American Athlete going into Sochi... she's even a CoverGirl! And I love Ashley, but she doesn't even have a world medal. Imagine what it might be like if Ashley had a few world medals or was a favorite for gold.
So I don't know. I definitely don't have an answer to the question. I think it probably is more layered and runs deeper than I have the ability to delve. I think it's a little bit timing, a lot bit circumstance. Janet's presence probably benefitted from the resurgence of interest in the sport Peggy was able to give it after the plane crash in 1961, and talk about serendipity that a skater like Michelle should emerge from the ashes of Tonya and Nancy.
The IJS certainly doesn't help. Skaters themselves are still trying to digest it. I for one would be happy to see more quality over quantity in skating if it meant edges held longer, greater consistency, and more attention to presence of moment.
But I'm getting a touch off topic now! To answer the original question, no, I don't think we overrate old skaters. But I do think we sometimes find it difficult to recognize or understand the impact of a competitor when their journey is still being written. Yuna and Mao may yet prove to have the staying power of Michelle and Janet but even if they don't that doesn't diminish their impact. Think of all the other incredible female skaters we haven't mentioned here... there are a lot to name, and a lot that have offered skates I have watched many times over.
Les Miserables is the only performance I find "special" from that list.
Yu-Na's performances at 2007 Worlds are still for me her best, in terms of the artistry. So that's 3 programs in total I would put on the same level as Kwan, who has about 16 awesome competitive programs for me.
Asada has her 2007 SP, 2009 SP, and Japanese Nationals LP from the 2010-2011 season that I would put in the "for the ages" category. So that's 3 as well.
The two legendary female skaters of the CoP era, added together, have put out less than half as many truly evocative programs as Michelle Kwan. Lu Chen has 8 for me, so she also beats Yu-Na and Mao combined.
yes some skaters are treated as untouchable god like status that criticising them you'll get a pounding
like Gorveedva/Grinkov and their double twists
forgetting other pairs who are also legendary like Brezhenaya/Sikhuralidze, Propotovs, Rodina, Mishkentouk/Dmitriev
I also dont think Kwan is that ideal nor the overrated Yagudin
Ito, Yuna and Hamil are ideal and are equally worthy of praise
Ice Dance I dont know much
but Davis/White are legendary with their versatility and athleticism