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Thread: Do we overrate skaters of past eras?

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by brightphoton View Post
    Err -- can something be iconic and timeless when it's less than 4 years old?
    Les Miserables, less than 9 months ago. You didn't need to wait 9 minutes to know that was one of the greatest performances of all time. Just watch it on YouTube and listen to the hundreds or even thousands of people who were screaming uncontrollably with 15 or 20 seconds remaining. Unheard of.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlattFan View Post
    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.
    Well and I think the commentators really hit on something when they said it was about quality not quantity, and yes indeed it was. But still, even with doubling her second flip she scored 128.94 - a really big score by any measure, and she would probably have sailed into the 130s if the triple flip had been there.

    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.

  3. #33
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    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.

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    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

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    I'm sorry. I just have to throw this performance into the mix
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxsUqYBNWKI

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    Yes it would be interesting to ask in Japan who they consider a legend and though I know Janeth Lynn is well known in there I doubt she will be higher than Japanese skaters and surely Yuna neither.
    I can appreciate some really nice qualities in Janeth´s skating but something that bother me, not just about her but a lot of past skaters is this position with arms fully extended toward the front when they are skating, kids usually do this position, not graceful at all 1:03min http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbO1jsBWeFY , Midori 0:46 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKGasODrAcU, Tonya http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdC5G7CDvbI

    I personally can to watch to Mao skating all day, but I don´t think I will be watching again Janeth L. or Yuna, may be her Lark Ascending but absolutly not Les Miserables although I know it's a matter of preference.

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    ^ I agree somewhat. I'm sure fans feel differently about who they consider a legend. Many casual fans might remember Witt most (perhaps internationally well-known compared to others?). Many US fans would remember Kwan, Hamil, Fleming, etc. I would think Japanese fans would think Ito and Asada as legends. Koreans? Well they haven't had much history/tradition, for most of them Witt and Kwan are probably considered legendary the most.

    I personally did not enjoy watching Kostner until her Bolero program. But that one I rewatched many times (I actually like this music..). Although I have been following figure skating (and gymnastics and tennis...) for a long time, I haven't watched Lynn or Hamil's programs more than once. Kurt, Petrenko (for entertainment value), Kulik, Butyrskaya's Otonal, and B&S (2002 golden pair) I've rewatched many times.

    At the end, I think it does come down to one's preference and subjectivity. It's a subjective sport after all.

  8. #38
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    Mao's Jupiter, Ballade, Fantaisie Impromptu and Nocturnes are legitimate artistic offerings and will stand. As far as Yuna goes, Danse Macabre, Bond and Les Mis are the ones I watch more than once. I wish she had skated her Arirang cleanly and to its full potential.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by samson View Post
    I'm sorry. I just have to throw this performance into the mix
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxsUqYBNWKI
    The other performances in this thread I only feel the need to watch once a day, at most. But this! This is a performance for the ages that I could watch on loop!

  10. #40
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    Judging with today's standards, I don't frankly see anything exceptional In Janet's skating: her jumps are not very difficult and are not performed very well, her spins are quite slow and don't have really interesting positions, she doesn't have Yu-Na's soft edges, Caro's ice coverage, Michelle's charisma... I can appreciate for example Katarina Witt's skating for her sophisticated choreographies, her elegance, her well-executed technical elements that went along with the music, or Midori's huge jumps and excitement, but skaters such as Lynn, Fleming, Hamill just don't look that special to me.
    I can of course appreciate their skating from an "historical" point of view: if we compare their programs to what the others were doing during those years, we can of course admire the fact that they were great innovators, and that they made this sport improve in many areas and that they were truly special for those years. But we can't really say for me that, if compared to today's skaters, they are better!

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by brightphoton View Post
    Err -- can something be iconic and timeless when it's less than 4 years old?
    No. Time decides what is timeless. We have yet to see what is timeless from last year. If anything.

    The last timeless thing I saw was Shen/Zhou at DC Worlds, and that was 2003.

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by WeakAnkles View Post
    Should we just poo poo Roger Bannister's four minute mile because that time now would put you in say 234th place? Context is everything.
    I wonder how reverential black populations feel about Roger Bannister? I wonder how reverential Asian countries feel about past skaters? I wonder how reverential an unknown skater from that era feels about those ladies when she never got a chance to skate her self? Wasn't there a kind of an exclusivity back then; was figure skating TRULY accessible by all? And then from that small population we had the best skaters ever? Doubtful.
    I don't think there is a lack of reverence for the ladies of then. If anything there is a prejudice for them; opinions seem to downplay their shortcoming and wax poetic over their strengths. Memory is a funny thing and my interest in FS has changed and grown but I remember Karen Magnuson and Dorthy Hamil and what I remember is that they were pretty and they were princesses. I may have been young and ignorant then but I don't think television went out of its way to dissuade me of that opinion. Today being a princess will only take you so far. Today's women are truly professionals in how they train, where they train, how much they train and the technology they incorporate. We are in A GOLDEN AGE and it might be coming to an end. I read too much that belittles and denies that.

  13. #43
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    I think nostalgia plays a big part in how much we appreciate art. People of my generation (mid-20s) are always saying 90s music is better than the music we have now. But during the 90s, people were certainly saying 80s music was better, and so on. I wonder if back when Michelle was still competing, fans were also saying her programs don't measure up to so-and-so from the past. Give it another decade and we might all be raving about how iconic Mao and Yuna were, unlike the current crop of skaters.

    We also tend to have soft spots for what we grew up with. A lot of my favorite figure skating performances are from the SLC EX when I was a child. For those of us who are already adults, Yuna and Mao's programs might not seem as special, but fans who are young right now might have a different opinion. Just my 2 cents.

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlattFan View Post
    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.
    I enjoy that program more now than when she first skated it; it took me awhile to appreciate that her quality makes up for the lack of a lutz. Her program from Italian Nats last year was another fine performance with a beautiful lutz.

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by FSGMT View Post
    Judging with today's standards, I don't frankly see anything exceptional In Janet's skating: her jumps are not very difficult and are not performed very well, her spins are quite slow and don't have really interesting positions, she doesn't have Yu-Na's soft edges, Caro's ice coverage, Michelle's charisma... I can appreciate for example Katarina Witt's skating for her sophisticated choreographies, her elegance, her well-executed technical elements that went along with the music, or Midori's huge jumps and excitement, but skaters such as Lynn, Fleming, Hamill just don't look that special to me.
    I can of course appreciate their skating from an "historical" point of view: if we compare their programs to what the others were doing during those years, we can of course admire the fact that they were great innovators, and that they made this sport improve in many areas and that they were truly special for those years. But we can't really say for me that, if compared to today's skaters, they are better!
    Janet could do triples. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8mN...etailpage#t=74 There was just no time to train them or percentage in doing so, when figures counted for 60% of the score. Her double axels (and other doubles) were very well done also. I guess if you just go by jump difficulty, you have a point. But there is more to skating than just jumps. For edge, flow, line and musicality, Janet is superior and is named by many of the past and present greats as one of their favorites of all time. Here is John Curry's commentary. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jn0VZyztldo

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