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Thread: Greatest Ladies Free Skates of All Time

  1. #31
    Sometimes bad skating happens to good people... LiamForeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Layfan View Post
    Thanks for sharing! Now I really want to find that competition. Also, you saw Midori live in 88? How awesome.
    Well, I was one pissed off chico when Scottie called the 92 Olympics. I would have given Ito the free skate, and still probably third in the short, so she would have won gold on my card. To see Midori Ito live is heaven. It's like seeing Ali at his prime, Borg/Mac at their primes. She was just SO much better. I grew to love Yamaguchi over the years, but as an amateur she really skated 'small'. Small jumps, small crossovers, small everything. Ito was like six inches smaller than Yamaguchi but she knocked it out of the rink. All the time.

  2. #32
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    Akiko Suzuki 2013-2014 Nationals
    Yuna Kim 2013 Worlds
    Carolina Kostner 2013 Worlds
    Akiko Suzuki 2012 NHK
    Carolina Kostner 2012 Worlds
    Carolina Kostner 2011 Worlds
    Yuna Kim 2010 Olympics
    Mao Asada 2008 Worlds
    Shizuka Arakawa 2006 Olympics
    Irina Slutskaya 2005 Worlds
    Michelle Kwan 2003 Worlds
    Sarah Hughes 2002 Olympics
    Michelle Kwan 2001 Worlds
    Michelle Kwan 2000 Worlds
    Tara Lipinski 1998 Olympics
    Michelle Kwan 1998 Nationals
    Chen Lu 1996 Worlds
    Midori Ito 1990 Worlds
    Katarina Witt 1988 Olympics

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by LiamForeman View Post
    Well, I was one pissed off chico when Scottie called the 92 Olympics. I would have given Ito the free skate, and still probably third in the short, so she would have won gold on my card. To see Midori Ito live is heaven. It's like seeing Ali at his prime, Borg/Mac at their primes. She was just SO much better. I grew to love Yamaguchi over the years, but as an amateur she really skated 'small'. Small jumps, small crossovers, small everything. Ito was like six inches smaller than Yamaguchi but she knocked it out of the rink. All the time.
    I also would have had Ito 3rd in the short. Yes she had the fall on the combination but Bonaly back then (she improved alot in 93) had nothing to her skating besides jumps, and in her short program didnt even do her jumps very well. Her triple lutz looked two footed, and her double axel was very shaky. Since I probably would have had 1st over Kristi in the long due to the heroic late triple axel, she probably would have won the gold then.

    If I would have had anyone ahead of Ito in the short it would have been Yuka Sato who gave a beautiful and very undermarked performance (7th). I do agree with Scott that Harding was undermarked in the short though. I dont know about putting her over Ito, but he is right she fell trying the harder combination than Ito and seemed to get no recognition for it, and to put her below Hubert (5th, overmarked, home cooking) was harsh. I think the judges maybe gave Harding no leighway though as she was missing the triple axel hard in every practice and they probably thought she was a fool to even try it in the short. Ito was hitting her triple axel much better during the week than Harding, and even she pulled it when having trouble the last day or two.

  4. #34
    she takes the audience on her journey of emotions Layfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LiamForeman View Post
    Well, I was one pissed off chico when Scottie called the 92 Olympics. I would have given Ito the free skate, and still probably third in the short, so she would have won gold on my card. To see Midori Ito live is heaven. It's like seeing Ali at his prime, Borg/Mac at their primes. She was just SO much better. I grew to love Yamaguchi over the years, but as an amateur she really skated 'small'. Small jumps, small crossovers, small everything. Ito was like six inches smaller than Yamaguchi but she knocked it out of the rink. All the time.
    I'd never really thought about it but you could be right about the FS. I've rewatched Ito's performance many times because it was so thrilling how she threw in that triple axel. Kristi had something that you just can't describe despite her small jumps. Her steadiness and gorgeous style. I suppose she got a bit lucky that she won gold at the Olympics. Others since her have come short of Olympic gold with cleaner skates. But I can't help but glad she won so that she will be remembered. Her skating deserves to be remembered and I'm not sure it would have been as much if she hadn't snatched gold.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Layfan View Post
    I'd never really thought about it but you could be right about the FS. I've rewatched Ito's performance many times because it was so thrilling how she threw in that triple axel. Kristi had something that you just can't describe despite her small jumps. Her steadiness and gorgeous style. I suppose she got a bit lucky that she won gold at the Olympics. Others since her have come short of Olympic gold with cleaner skates. But I can't help but glad she won so that she will be remembered. Her skating deserves to be remembered and I'm not sure it would have been as much if she hadn't snatched gold.
    I agree. Yamaguchi at her best is more akin to the likes of Akiko Suzuki and Arakawa. She's got style, decent jumps, a well timed rise- but none of her programs, even her win, stick to my mind. In fact, I remember her more for winning Dancing with the Stars.

  6. #36
    she takes the audience on her journey of emotions Layfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCzar View Post
    I agree. Yamaguchi at her best is more akin to the likes of Akiko Suzuki and Arakawa. She's got style, decent jumps, a well timed rise- but none of her programs, even her win, stick to my mind. In fact, I remember her more for winning Dancing with the Stars.
    Right or wrong, Kristi's Olympic gold medal skate sticks to my mind more than Arakawa's. It might just be because I'm American and Kristi was America's sweetheart at the time. But I think Kristi had a sort of charm that's hard to describe. When I saw videos of some of Arakawa's post-Olympic ice show performance I was stunned and couldn't figure out how I could have failed to recognize earlier what an amazing performer she was. But her Olympic performance, though wonderful, will always seam to me to have a sort of serviceable quality more than soaring to the occasion. Fair enough - she knew what she had to do to win after Sasha's performance. But still, it's not a performance I go back and re-watch.

  7. #37
    Sometimes bad skating happens to good people... LiamForeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pangtongfan View Post
    If I would have had anyone ahead of Ito in the short it would have been Yuka Sato who gave a beautiful and very undermarked performance (7th). I do agree with Scott that Harding was undermarked in the short though. I dont know about putting her over Ito, but he is right she fell trying the harder combination than Ito and seemed to get no recognition for it, and to put her below Hubert (5th, overmarked, home cooking) was harsh. I think the judges maybe gave Harding no leighway though as she was missing the triple axel hard in every practice and they probably thought she was a fool to even try it in the short. Ito was hitting her triple axel much better during the week than Harding, and even she pulled it when having trouble the last day or two.
    Yes, Yuka Sato was wonderful. The judging was strange. In what bizarro universe does Laetitia Hubert place ahead of a clean Yuka Sato???? It was hard to figure out where to put Harding. I mean, she was her usual tacky self skating to "People are Still Having Sex" (even the networks wouldn't go there, so while Yamaguchi is doing Blue Danube, and Ito Rachmaninoff, they modestly put Harding's music as "LaTour Club Mix". I so wanted them to say the name of her song!!!) and she couldn't buy a 3axel yet still kept trying it. Bonaly was most perplexing because she was just a horrid skater at that time. I'd have probably had the SP: 1. Yamaguchi 2. Kerrigan 3. Ito 4. Sato 5. Harding 6. Chen 7. Hubert 8. Bonaly

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    I'm equally happy with both Yamaguchi and Arakawa as Olympic champions, for different reasons. I'm glad both of them will be remembered in this indelible way. Interestingly, both Kristi and Shizuka are skaters who maintained their technical skills well into their professional careers, and they also further developed their presentation skills to become even better skaters than they had been while Olympic-eligible.

  9. #39
    Lifelong Adam Fan KwanIsALegend's Avatar
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    Among the other mentioned Michelle Kwan masterpieces, this is an often overlooked gem;
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzIMASKRm_4

    Also Yuna Kim Olympic LP and her Les Miserable 2013 Worlds.

    and I would add Sasha Cohen 2000 Nationals SP
    and her 2006 Olympic SP.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Layfan View Post
    Right or wrong, Kristi's Olympic gold medal skate sticks to my mind more than Arakawa's. It might just be because I'm American and Kristi was America's sweetheart at the time. But I think Kristi had a sort of charm that's hard to describe. When I saw videos of some of Arakawa's post-Olympic ice show performance I was stunned and couldn't figure out how I could have failed to recognize earlier what an amazing performer she was. But her Olympic performance, though wonderful, will always seam to me to have a sort of serviceable quality more than soaring to the occasion. Fair enough - she knew what she had to do to win after Sasha's performance. But still, it's not a performance I go back and re-watch.
    People always say Shizuka held back to win on purpose since Sasha had a fall and another stumble in her performance. However this doesnt sound convincing to me as Slutskaya was left to skate. Did Shizuka really think a 5 triple program (granted she probably planned atleast 6, the doubled triple loop I dont think was planned and was an unwished for gaffe) would be certain to beat Slutskaya who in the last 15 months had done several 7 triple programs with a 3-3, and was a big favorite of the judges. Then again I heard Irina was practicing really badly in Turin.

    I think Shizuka as a pro really grew as a performer and artist. It is like night and day difference. As an amateur she grew into a beautiful artist by the 2004-2006 period, but still a bit bland, even though her Turandot program was moving and wonderful when she skated it well.

  11. #41
    I'm gonna Customize the CRAP out of this Title!!! Frenchie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LiamForeman View Post
    Yes, Yuka Sato was wonderful. The judging was strange. In what bizarro universe does Laetitia Hubert place ahead of a clean Yuka Sato???? It was hard to figure out where to put Harding. I mean, she was her usual tacky self skating to "People are Still Having Sex" and she couldn't buy a 3axel yet still kept trying it. Bonaly was most perplexing because she was just a horrid skater at that time. I'd have probably had the SP: 1. Yamaguchi 2. Kerrigan 3. Ito 4. Sato 5. Harding 6. Chen 7. Hubert 8. Bonaly
    Everything bad in FS came together: Yuka Sato drew the N°1 in the SP, which back then was pretty much a death sentence. The French FFSG had done huge Lobbying for Bonaly (she had just won her 2nd straight Euros, and they still cried foul for what they called too low marks... Gailhaguet was still her coach then! ), and Hubert was the Junior World Champion, skating clean (and fast!) and with a late starting draw at home... I agree with most of your ranking, though I'd probably still find a few I'd put over Bonaly
    Like these 2:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBZdeaoRD6c (Kulovana: starting number 2 - "almost-death" sentence)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CU4k9BJf2E (Torp-Lind: no-name)
    I'd have had 1.Yamaguchi; 2.Kerrigan; 3.Sato; 4.Ito; 5.Hubert; 6.Torp-Lind; 7.Kulovana; 8.Chen; 9.Harding; 10.Bonaly

  12. #42
    Sometimes bad skating happens to good people... LiamForeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frenchie View Post
    Everything bad in FS came together: Yuka Sato drew the N°1 in the SP, which back then was pretty much a death sentence.
    I'd have had 1.Yamaguchi; 2.Kerrigan; 3.Sato; 4.Ito; 5.Hubert; 6.Torp-Lind; 7.Kulovana; 8.Chen; 9.Harding; 10.Bonaly
    Here is Yuka's SP: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkPjpGfQ0Lc She arguably has better spins and speed and footwork and jumps than Yamaguchi, except she does the loop combo. She is certainly heads and shoulders above Kerrigan. I can't even watch that Militano mess of a SP, which made Nancy even MORE wooden in her presentation.

    Hmm, it was the 6.0 system, and well the lutz in the SP was the name of the game. I was surprised how long it took before Yuka Sato was taken seriously as a skater. I love this SP even more now. Do you suppose it was her body type that held her back? She had thick legs, but she was an athlete so that didn't even phase me.

  13. #43
    I'm gonna Customize the CRAP out of this Title!!! Frenchie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LiamForeman View Post
    I was surprised how long it took before Yuka Sato was taken seriously as a skater. I love this SP even more now. Do you suppose it was her body type that held her back? She had thick legs, but she was an athlete so that didn't even phase me.
    I'm hoping for a little leniency (from FSGMT? ) on discussing this here without opening a new thread, but I think it's a really interesting subject...
    Imo, before Midori Ito, Japan as a whole wasn't taken seriously in the world of FS. It took her many years of great performances to put Japan on the FS map, and Yuka probably was compared to her in terms of jumps (much lower), but not enough in terms of artistry and skating skills (especially her speed through her step sequence!). The judges probably felt they had already "been generous to Japan for accepting Ito" and labeled Yuka as the clear Number 2 for far too long... They certainly weren't enthusiastic about adding more asian skaters to the top contenders, as you could also see with Chen Lu...

    -btw, love your avatar! It is only with the heart one can see clearly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. (Le Petit Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frenchie View Post
    I'm hoping for a little leniency (from FSGMT? ) on discussing this here without opening a new thread, but I think it's a really interesting subject...
    Imo, before Midori Ito, Japan as a whole wasn't taken seriously in the world of FS. It took her many years of great performances to put Japan on the FS map, and Yuka probably was compared to her in terms of jumps (much lower), but not enough in terms of artistry and skating skills (especially her speed through her step sequence!). The judges probably felt they had already "been generous to Japan for accepting Ito" and labeled Yuka as the clear Number 2 for far too long... They certainly weren't enthusiastic about adding more asian skaters to the top contenders, as you could also see with Chen Lu...

    -btw, love your avatar! It is only with the heart one can see clearly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. (Le Petit Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)
    LOL yes that was basically the thinking. They probably thought the Asian skating community should already feel thankful they allowed Ito to be a contender (and even her not until after 88, when she should have been way before that) and the rises of Sato and Chen as well were not easy for them to accept. Skating was both racist and xenophobic back then.

    The Olympics were in France and I am sure Didier and the French federation were pushing hard for Bonaly, reigning European Champion, and Hubert, reigning World Junior Champion, to do well also. So when they skated reasonably well in the Albertville short, voila, inflated marks and placings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pangtongfan View Post
    LOL yes that was basically the thinking. They probably thought the Asian skating community should already feel thankful they allowed Ito to be a contender (and even her not until after 88, when she should have been way before that) and the rises of Sato and Chen as well were not easy for them to accept. Skating was both racist and xenophobic back then.
    I'm curious, was Witt actually much better than Midori at figures? I realize that Midori was usually awful at them, but from everything I hear, Witt was quite crappy and propped-up too in the figures segment in 1988.

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