View Poll Results: What makes the greatest skaters just that?

Voters
96. You may not vote on this poll
  • Excellent competitor--best under pressure and always "brings it"

    15 15.63%
  • Equally brilliant technically and artistically--"the whole package"

    43 44.79%
  • Consistency over an unusually long career

    7 7.29%
  • Pushes the envelope technically--and, in doing so, pushes the sport forward

    3 3.13%
  • Consummate artist, lyrical skater, though not necessarily a great jumper

    13 13.54%
  • Communicates effectively with and moves audiences

    11 11.46%
  • Other (please describe)

    4 4.17%
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 27

Thread: What makes the greatest skaters just that?

  1. #1
    Busted sarahmistral's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    333

    What makes the greatest skaters just that?

    Okay, after reading the "greatest lady skater of all time", it occurred to me that there are many different, equally valid criteria for deciding a skater is "the greatest". So, what makes this interesting for me is what, for each fan, defines such a champion.

  2. #2
    Busted sarahmistral's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    333
    Go figure...had all the time in the world to edit, but I rushed to post and missed two things...

    1. I don't actually mention awards, but I figure that the "excellent competitor" would amass the ton of awards, as would the winners in the "consistency" department...which leads me to point two...

    2. These can obviously overlap, but I still feel that for many people, one of these qualities tends to stick out in their mind as what they feel their favorite skater or pick for best ever has over other skaters. I guess there could have been an option for "some or all of the above"...unfortunately I can't edit this poll myself (moderators, help!!!!! ) Wow, imagine a skater with all of the above!!!!

    Sarah

  3. #3
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Nova Scotia
    Posts
    488
    Excellent question. I chose the first option because more often than not the greatest are measured on how well they do in the Olympics and/or Worlds, although it is not always the case i.e. Paul Wylie, although he did 'bring' it at the Olympics in Albertville.

    I agree with you that a lot of these categories could overlap with each other. It's so hard to pick just one.

  4. #4
    GOLDEN DREAMS RealtorGal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    2,434
    I think it's a combination of choice #1 and #3. Unfortunately, many skaters actually have the total package (gosh, I really hate that word) but can't get it together when it counts for all the marbles. Think Sandhu.

  5. #5
    Busted sarahmistral's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    333
    Thanks Mike79--I'm glad someone besides me liked my question ; that was my logic in choosing as well. It's funny how there's our own personal preference, and I find the most popular one among skating fans across the board to be #3, "the total package" skater, but most often what stands up against the test of time is how decorated a competitor is. In our era of extensive video footage of skating being available for the latter part of the 20th century through the present and future, I think the actual qualities of the skaters come into play more, if not as much as their competitive excellence and resulting records. It's funny because, since FS and tennis are my two favorite sports, I tend to compare them a lot and I was just reading an article on the criteria used to determine who the top ten female tennis players of all time were--it was pointed out that the greatest champions are the ones whose champion qualities produce results, so the results are the clearest indicators of who the greats are...far from being that clear in skating, which makes questions/conundrums like this one fun to discuss, I think

    ITA RealtorGal on #1 & #3 being part of determining "the greatest"; in fact, I was just rereading the poll options I chose before I saw your post, thinking about how, as much as I (and, as I said above, probably the majority of fans) love a skater who's the best artist AND the best technician rolled into one (will avoid further mention of the "package" ), how that's absolutely useless when it comes to getting the results, the wins that every competitor prizes as much as developing their craft to the fullest, probably because the development and the recognition necessarily go hand in hand, officially recognizing the hard-won accomplishment of a skater--the official reason they compete, if not the only reason they skate (the case with the true greats, the ones who stay in our hearts, I think--those who treat their chosen sport as an art and an end in itself, not just a competition--but who can also stand up and "bring" their high art to the competition and be fierce competitors--an interesting combination of qualities/approaches)...so yeah, to be less long-winded (than I usually am LOL), 1 and 3


    Sarah

  6. #6
    Rooting for the Kerrs!
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Britain
    Posts
    540
    I think it's an interesting question too and I don't think there's any one answer. To me, Midori Ito is one of the greatest skaters ever, and so is Oksana Baiul, for very different reasons - I think Midori is the best female jumper ever and also had terrific other elements. I also think Oksana is one of the most artistic and expressive skaters ever, and she had amazing speed and some great elements. Two totally different skaters, both amazing. Neither racked up the medals (both won big events, but neither won big events year in year out). Does this mean they weren't great skaters? No. Does the possibility that the pressure got to Midori post-figures mean she wasn't great? No. Does the fact that Oksana left eligible skating at 16 mean she wasn't great? No.

    Ideally, all of those factors you listed would be there, but the absence of one or two of them does not mean the skater isn't great. In fact, someone like Sasha Cohen proves you can be a great skater without being the best competitor or the most consistent. Michelle Kwan proves you can be a great skater without pushing the envelope technically. Torvill & Dean proved you could be a great skater by having the "complete package" of technical and artistry, and hard work bringing the medals to back it up. Kurt Browning proved you could be a great skater despite not winning an Olympic medal. There are so many variables. And there are so many great skaters, all of who bring something different, which I think is great

    (I don't think "great competitor" necessarily equals "great skater" though. It shows consistency, but it doesn't automatically mean that person is a great *skater*.)

    ETA: my comments on Sasha & Michelle are not at all related to what they might do at the Worlds, as I havent' seen any of worlds yet. So don't worryy, no spoilers or anything. )
    Last edited by icenut84; 03-24-2004 at 11:28 AM.

  7. #7
    Busted sarahmistral's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    333
    Good points, icenut84, and great examples too I think what piqued my curiosity and gave me the idea for this poll was wondering what criteria people were picking when they voted on "greatest skater ever" polls and had to select just one, which, as we've seen in this discussion, is something that goes against the complex nature of skating--so many different arguments can be made for choosing a greatest, but yours, citing many different skaters who are great for different reasons, is probably the more realistic type of answer, as it is probably the product of the fundamental differences between skating versus sports in which a "greatest" is easier to pick (Michael Jordan, Martina Navratilova, New York Yankees, etc.), the artistic element, the relative infrequency (don't even know if that's a word ) of competition as against a tennis, basketball, or football schedule (which upps the ante pressure-wise), etc...

  8. #8
    PATCH NJSk8Fan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    1,300
    I voted other.
    For me, I like a skater who is artistically brilliant, technically decent, has "in between" moves that go with the music and who just knows how to totally reach into the audience and pull you in whether they're doing a serious program or a fun program.

  9. #9
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Detroit, Michigan
    Posts
    28,334
    I like NJSk8Fan's take. I voted for "consumate artist," but it was between that and "draws in the audience." Janet Lynn would be a good example -- a great skater without necessarily having won a lot of hardware.

    Mathman

  10. #10
    Skating Freak Barbie
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Nevada
    Posts
    1,489
    I picked the "consummate artist". I appreciate jumps, and know they are necessary for competitions. But to me, a great skater is one who can do no jumps at all, and you don't miss them or even realize they aren't there. They touch the audience, they relate, they have moves, choreography, footwork, positions, posture, smoothness and speed. To me, the jumps are the least important thing in the program.

    Kasey

  11. #11
    PATCH NJSk8Fan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    1,300
    You said it better than I did Kasey--that's an explanation I would've used if I could've thought of it!

  12. #12
    On the Ice
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    37
    I picked communicates effictively with audience. Good jumps make someone a good skater. If they can truly connect with their audience, that makes them great to those people. The skaters I think are great are the ones who connected with and moved me.

  13. #13
    Rinkside
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    St Louis, MO
    Posts
    6

    What Makes a Great Skater

    I think that you definitely have to be first and foremost a passionate artist who connects with the audience and draws them in...you also have to be technically great...and you have to be able to bring it when it counts...it's a combination of a couple of the choices listed so i chose other

    i think of michelle kwan as the greatest skater of all time...she is the quintessential example of those characteristics...brilliant artist, amazing technique and carriage, and the most reliable skater in the world

  14. #14
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    20,185
    TWO THINGS MAKE THE SKATER GREAT - TECHNIQUE AND STYLE

    It does not necessarily get them gold medals but it does show that those skaters have done their job.

    If you really look at skaters (other than quads and bielmans) you should be able to see their solid (or unsolid) technique and the personal style of lack thereof.

    There are many skaters who lack one or more of these qualities. I will just name Johnny Weir as an example. He has incredible technique in his jumps and spins and his flow over the ice is arguably the best in today's skating, BUT, he doesn't seem to me to have developed a style yet. Hopefully he can.

    Joe

  15. #15
    Medalist
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    76

    CONSUMMATE ARTIST...

    Consummate artist, lyrical skater, though not necessarily a great jumper...

    The jumps help out a great deal, and help to make the sport more "athletic", I agree. BUT - My greatest pleasure is in watching a skater who has the skills, the flow, the edging, and a *purpose* and design to the program they're skating (besides getting from Point A to B, and :00 to 4:30 on the clock). The jumps are secondary to that, IMO - it's "icing on the cake" when they can include the jumps for emphasis and do them well within reason (not talking about triple axels and quads here, LOL). Sad to say, that's pretty rare to see, and you almost never see one break into the upper echelons of skating. Which is a shame, but so long as there's more concentration on counting the triple and quad jumps, that's the way it will remain.

    Some of my fave skaters are ones who haven't even won a National title (yet anyway), but I still consider them among the "greatest" skaters I've seen.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Figure Skaters Online | Updates (07.07)
    By FSOWebmaster in forum 2004-05 Figure Skating archives
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 07-08-2005, 02:13 PM
  2. Create your Own Skating DVDs - All Skaters
    By TOLY aka QUADLUTZ in forum 2003-04 Figure Skating archives
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 07-18-2004, 04:08 PM
  3. Why is Sarah H so unpopular with so many?
    By sk8m8 in forum 2003-04 Figure Skating archives
    Replies: 230
    Last Post: 05-21-2004, 11:17 AM
  4. Ladies Free Skate and Results + GPF Finalists
    By IceCastles1814 in forum 2003-04 Figure Skating archives
    Replies: 82
    Last Post: 12-20-2003, 09:51 PM
  5. skaters as choreographers
    By lulu in forum 2003-04 Figure Skating archives
    Replies: 22
    Last Post: 10-28-2003, 06:43 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •