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

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  • 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%
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Thread: What makes the greatest skaters just that?

  1. #16
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    I think it's a hard choice and it certainly depends on the fans too. The greatest skater for the casual fan would be the one who wins the most, for the hardcore fan the greatest skater may not be the one who wins the most. Sandhu doesn't exactly have the best competitive record but how many consider him one of the best? It's not just a matter of looking at the number of the titles or we wouldn't be having this discussion anyway.

    Personally, I find the greatest skaters to be #2. There are many who have great jumps, others have great spins, others have excellent presentation, others interpret the music like nobody else... how hard is it to combine all this? Being a good competitor doesn't mean you're an excellent skater, it only means that you can skate to your highest level in competition. It doesn't say anything about what the level is. Consistency is good, but again, getting consistent top 15 finishes at Worlds hardly makes a skater the greatest. It doesn't say much about the skater. Pushing the envelope technically? Does anyone consider Tim Goebel the greatest skater ever? Consummate artist, lyrical skater but not a great jumper... Dancers don't jump so this only aplies to singles and pairs. And in singles and pairs jumps are very important. Sorry, but if a skater can't jump because of bad technique for example, then hardly it can be the greatest. If it's the pressure, then it may be different. Kurt Browning's jumps would sometimes fail when he competed but then he turned pro and many consider him one of the greatest. Good communication with the audience hardly makes anyone the greatest... Steven Cousins is great with the audience and I doubt he can be labelled as one of the greatest.

    I'd say the greatest skater would have the complete package, would be a great and consistent competitor who would always try to push the sport at all levels, preferrably with a career (amateur and pro) long enough to accomplish everything and grow as a skater. And of course, having that connection with the crowd allows the skater to stay in their memories. I can find a restrict number of skaters that fit this

  2. #17
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Great post, RISkakingfan. I'm so happy to see you posting again!

    Mathman

  3. #18
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    Hi Mathman! I told you I'd be back Haven't been much online, I'm playing catch up now...

    Thanks for deleting the other thread, I hit the wrong button LOL And then I deleted everything I wrote before remembering to save it (fortunately there is the 'back' button so I did got the page and my post back :D )

    Anyway, not to clutter up the thread anymore LOL This is a great topic and with the off season, any good discussion is welcome LOL

  4. #19
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    Great poll, Sarahmistral!

    I picked #1 "Excellent Competitor". I strongly feel this is what the skating community (the majority at least) and the non-skating community feel. Why? When I was a total stranger to figure skating, wanting to learn more about Michelle and her sport because I was intrigued by her, I went on and did some good deal amount of research about this sport. What did I hear about those great skaters? Most of them were associated with the major medals they had won. Their essence of skating was always mentioned as a second liner. This didn't really just come from the media but from the record books, history, and commentators.

    This is not all surprising come to think of it, afterall figure skating is a sport and all sports measure the greatness by wins. There are exceptions of course but, as always, exceptions are rare.

    Exceptions for figure skating whose skating has transcended medals are Janet Lynn, Kurt Browning to name just two. What about Michelle? She is completely different. Do people remember her because of her medals? Yes, tons and tons of them. What about her longevity? Yes. Total package? Yes. Pushing the evelope? Yes, remember who raised the technical bar to 6-7 triples and 2 lutzes for LP and the 3flip for SP, nevermind that she has stopped raising the technical bar in the last few years. Does Michelle transcend medals? A big resounding YES. Which non-champion has become more popular than the champion and received equal endorsements if not more, not once but twice? What's amazing is Michelle is equally remembered for her skating as she is for her medals and longevity. Also, I would like to point out that for every choice that there is for this poll, Michelle has it.

    Back to my point, take Michelle, Janet Lynn and the likes aside, it is still the medals that make a skater great. It applies to every sport. And greatness is not determined by the fans alone, otherwise every skater is great as they all have their fair share of fans who think they are great. Greatness is determined collectively by the skating community that's comprised of the peers in the sport, the ex-skaters, the sport's analysts, the fans and the media.

    Sorry for rambling, usually I just don't know how to shut up when it comes to threads I like.
    Last edited by apache88; 04-27-2004 at 10:08 AM.

  5. #20
    Busted sarahmistral's Avatar
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    Gee thanks, Apache88!! (Blushing ) I really like the points you made, and they further serve to nuance a poll like this--everyone has special criteria for choosing their favorites, but the "greatest" usually has to be decorated to some extent, because if that weren't the case, then people would be turning out in droves to see the greatest, best all around skater who never won anything, just to watch them skate in practice. I think medaling is a minimum prerequisite for "greatness", if it wasn't then when would we be able to behold this greatness? Greatness should include ability to compete as well as actual skating quality, a far more subjective criterion...I'm totally with you on that. Then there's the issue of who's my favorite and whose skating style do I like regardless of whether they won any medals--but how do we find out such a skater exists if they can't even make the final group--all we get on TV in the us

    Again, great points apache, and thanks for liking my post

    Sarah

  6. #21
    Figure Skating Is A Dangerous Sport Dee4707's Avatar
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    I vote for Pushes the envelope technically--and, in doing so, pushes the sport forward. Reminded me of Alexei and that's why I voted for that one.

    Dee

  7. #22
    On the Ice
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    I chose Equally brilliant technically and artistically -- "the whole package".

    To me a skater can't be great even if she had the greatest jumps and spins if she didn't know how to interpret the music. A skater has to have a good technique but what separates the wheat from the chaff is the artistry. She has to know how to balance between those two.

    A great skater knows how to touch the audience, she knows how to grab your attention, she makes skating look effortless, she has a good barriage, style and overall a good posture. Sasha Cohen is an example of a perfect posture. Tim Goebel on the other hand, as a good technique and a beautiful smile he has, doesn't, in my opinion, represent the best barriage. It's small things that count.

    But, in fact, my conception of a good skater includes all of those options, you can't really separate one from another, it's the package.
    Last edited by Labogh; 06-14-2004 at 12:58 PM.

  8. #23
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    IMO, a lot has to do with natural ability and not wasting it.

    Joe

  9. #24
    ~ Figure Skating Is My Passion ~ Ladskater's Avatar
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    It's not just talent that makes a great skater, but attitude and sportmanship. How he/she conducts themselves in public and with their fellow teammates as well as fellow competitors. Elvis Stojko is a great example of not only being a wonderful competitor, but one who shows great team spirit and is generous to his fans and is well respected in the skating world.

  10. #25
    Gotta Have Music iluvtodd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ladskater
    It's not just talent that makes a great skater, but attitude and sportmanship. How he/she conducts themselves in public and with their fellow teammates as well as fellow competitors. Elvis Stojko is a great example of not only being a wonderful competitor, but one who shows great team spirit and is generous to his fans and is well respected in the skating world.
    Ladskater, ITA re: Elvis. All of these factors help explain why I'm such a "Todd" fan as well.

  11. #26
    Tripping on the Podium
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    It's actually a combination of those things that make a skater appeal to me. Or sometimes just one. It depends on what you mean by great as well. I'm not the end all be all of what makes a great skater, but the skaters that appeal to me have a combination of excellent qualities. So I say a mix of 1,2, and 6

    Choice 2/6 is extremely important for basics. Artistry is important and so are the technical skills. For me, a skater with no presentation skills is of very little interest to watch. That's why a combination of both is needed in my mind. You can have a stronger aspect. For example Midori Ito is considered a technical skater (which she was, shes a legend in jumping), but she did have presentation skills as well. So I do think a complete package is needed for a great skater. But there's more to it than that. Choice 1 appeals to me because personally I get tired of watching skaters fall over and over again. I used to love Sandhu, but after a while you get weary of watching him slide all over the place. Whereas even though I'm a die hard Michelle Kwan fan, I also really liked Tara Lipinski because she had nerves of steel. She always could pull it together. I don't think longevity is really what makes a great skater. Tara had a short career and yet I think if her hip had allowed her and she had chosen to stick around she would have been a dominating skater in the field.

  12. #27
    Rinkside
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    I think it would be a combination of the 1st and 2nd options. I chose the excellent competitior though because nobody will know how great you are unless you do well in competitions

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