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Thread: Do we overrate skaters of past eras?

  1. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    I think the first ten seconds of this video show Madge and Edgar Syers winning the bronze medal in pairs at the 1908 Olympics. Not bad, eh?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vx8y...907B835C2D7F0A
    I'm as into the veneration of historical icons as the next guy...but no.

    If you tell me that was truly gorgeous, I'm gonna hunt for a new emoticon capable of doing your remark full justice. Don't make me do it.

  2. #107
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    Well, I don't mean that the skaters should wear masks or that someone should write ridiculous scripts for them to act out, like wrestling. But back in the "golden age," most of the skaters had an interesting back story or persona that made people like them (or not) for reasons other than their edges or knee bends. Look how they do it on reality shows. Everyone has some sort of a sob story or some sort of an angle. I don't remember if Nancy flutzed or if Maria Butyrskaya had good posture, but I remember that one had a blind mother and the other was "woman among girls."

    I don't know if we have an unusually happy/well adjusted bunch here, or if the coverage in the US is so sparse that we really don't get to know them very well. But they're not "popping" as personalities as they did before, which may not affect the skating or judging, but may affect popularity in the future.

  3. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poodlepal View Post
    Well, I don't mean that the skaters should wear masks or that someone should write ridiculous scripts for them to act out, like wrestling. But back in the "golden age," most of the skaters had an interesting back story or persona that made people like them (or not) for reasons other than their edges or knee bends. Look how they do it on reality shows. Everyone has some sort of a sob story or some sort of an angle. I don't remember if Nancy flutzed or if Maria Butyrskaya had good posture, but I remember that one had a blind mother and the other was "woman among girls."

    I don't know if we have an unusually happy/well adjusted bunch here, or if the coverage in the US is so sparse that we really don't get to know them very well. But they're not "popping" as personalities as they did before, which may not affect the skating or judging, but may affect popularity in the future.
    Well, it helped that skating was on TV way more frequently than it is now. The increased frequency led to more fluff pieces, which led us to believe that we connected with the skaters more on a personal level.

  4. #109
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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 agree, carolina's 2012 LP was simply but beautiful. I can rewatch it anyday (or any of Carolina's programs...except the one's she completely bombed out on.
    Being a skating fan after the inception of IJS i personally find it natual to see slating with so much content in it but watching skating from the past on Youtube has been refreshing. The connection which you talk about is certainly there. The role of the choreographer then seemed to have a larger role in a skater's program then compared to now as they had more freedom.

  5. #110
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    Probably.

    I think it's just human nature to look back on the past and fawn over things because, well, it's an easy way to discredit the present. The fact is, while skaters like Dorothy Hamill, Katerina Witt, Kristi Yamaguchi, Scott Hamilton, etc. were all amazing for their respective quads, it's not like I (or most people) are actually rushing home to watch videos of their programs. Sure, they were impressive for their time, but to me the style of skating along with the technical elements all look terribly dated (as they should....the world and figure skating has changed a lot since they were dominant skaters).

    So...it's not surprising when certain commentators or figure skating enthusiasts casually dismiss skaters of the present era. Sure, in 20 years Yuna, Mao, Carolina, Patrick, etc...all of their work will look dated and a bit kitchsy...just like every other skater that has ever been. No skater, however beautiful they were for their time, really holds up THAT well over time. And that's totally ok. I think it's just annoying that some commentators think certain skaters' work will be viewed SOOOO much more affectionately than any other top skater's work. In the end, it's all gonna look like it came from some bygone era.

  6. #111
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    Maybe the newer future icons would never be as revered as the older ones because nostalgia ain't what it used to be.

  7. #112
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    Quote Originally Posted by kappa_1 View Post
    It is interesting to see the responses in this thread. Many of the replies seem to fall under:

    1) We cannot compare past skaters to present ones because of the vastly different criteria by which they are judged. i.e. Lynn had to spend time training figures, whereas Kostner does not

    2) We cannot compare the past to present skaters because figure skating as a sport has developed unidirectionally. i.e. Janet Lynn has laid the groundwork for Kwan who laid the groundwork for Kim etc.

    3) We should look at these performances by objective criteria regardless of time period. e.g. Lynn had better edges than Kostner, and Mao has more triple jumps than Emi Watanabe

    4) This is an entirely subjective matter, and thus we cannot compare anyone amongst these qualities mentioned by Dave and the OP.

    5) We are human, and we can be biased by nostalgic factors such as when we first became interested in figure skating. Or, by factors such as nationality.


    For me, I think we sometimes overrate older skaters under #5, but that we also underrate them in terms of #2 and #1.
    You summed it up pretty well.

    Basically, older skaters are both devalued and over-valued, depending on whom you ask. Go to any youtube video of an older skater's performance and you'll find a ton of disrespectful comments from younger fans and current amateur skaters bashing them and laughing at how easy and "lame" everything looks.

  8. #113
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    I think it's quite opposite. We often underrate the past skaters. Most people really appreciate what they can see during their life. If we made here a poll for the best ever skaters, I suppose that none of the skaters from 1970s or earlier, would win it.

  9. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rossig View Post
    I think it's quite opposite. We often underrate the past skaters. Most people really appreciate what they can see during their life. If we made here a poll for the best ever skaters, I suppose that none of the skaters from 1970s or earlier, would win it.
    I agree. You never heard talk about Dick Button, Gillis Grafstrom, the Protoppopovs, the Jolys, Pakhomova & Gorshkov, Moiseeva & Minenkov, Henie, Heiss, and many other icons anymore which is crazy and very dissapointing. Many other sports, heck almost all other sports, are more respectful to history than skating. Someone like CSG just looks at a skater from the past, laughs look they didnt do all the triples, and dismisses them as nothing. Sadly there are too many folks like that these days.

  10. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rossig View Post
    I think it's quite opposite. We often underrate the past skaters. Most people really appreciate what they can see during their life. If we made here a poll for the best ever skaters, I suppose that none of the skaters from 1970s or earlier, would win it.
    Speaking only for myself, of course, but:

    Dick Button, John Curry, Toller Cranston, Janet Lynn, Protopopovs, Irina Rodnina... no "best ever" list could be considered remotely comprehensive without these names on on it.

  11. #116
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    Dick Button, John Curry, Toller Cranston, Janet Lynn, Protopopovs, Irina Rodnina... no "best ever" list could be considered remotely comprehensive without these names on on it.
    I completely agree. But if you made a poll here in this forum, do you think they would be leading? I just doubt, but hope I'm wrong.

  12. #117
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    Fortunately, we can have it all and don't have to choose. I do think that some modern skaters such as YuNa, Mao, and Daisuke are creating lasting works. At the same time, I can go back and rewatch John Curry, Janet Lynn, or Michelle any time and be astounded by the beauty of their skating.
    Amen. It doesn't have to be an either/or choice of more recent versus past greats. The greats of the sport, whether recent or long retired, all have wonderful qualities. I think Yuna Kim and Mao Asada's programs and what they brought to the sport will be well-remembered in years to come. Not enough time has passed to really assess how much the newer standard bearers will be remembered versus people such as Janet Lynn, but I have not one doubt that they will be remembered and remembered fondly.

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