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Thread: Tonya Harding's presentation

  1. #1
    Rooting for the Kerrs!
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    Tonya Harding's presentation

    I was rewatching my tape of the 92 Olympics recently, ladies competition. Going by what I know of the skaters, what I've read, and what the commentators were saying, it seems like it was always Tonya was the athletic one, and Kristi and Nancy were the artistic ones. Sure, Tonya was athletic - she had a 3axel and very big jumps and big elements, etc. But even though it was clear Kristi was the leader on the presentation side out of the 3, I also found it interesting that the commentators were also talking about how Tonya didn't have what Nancy had on the artistic side.

    Going from the 92 Olympics - am I the only one who thought Tonya's presentation actually wasn't that bad? Sure, Nancy was more graceful, but going by the SPs especially, I thought Tonya was far more musical. I really enjoyed her programme. It was different (most of the skaters were going for the classical, balletic type programme), and I thought her SP had more choreography, nuances, and fit the music better than Nancy's did. I also thought it really fit her style, and the elements were well placed (espcially the layback, IIRC). Nancy's was well skated too and had nice clean lines etc, but to me, her programme looked quite generic and dull in comparison, and she also seemed to re-use whole parts of choreography in multiple programmes.

    I was a bit at the commentators (American, though I can't remember who) talking about how Tonya wasn't at the same level as Nancy artistically. Tonya seems to have been given the label of "the athletic one", almost so none of her programmes are thought to have much presentation merit at all. Granted, I didn't think her 94 programmes were as good, but I think her 92 ones weren't bad at all. Hers & Kristi's SPs were my favourites.

    I don't want this to turn into a rehash of anything that happened in 94, or to go off on a tangent. I was just interested in reading other people's opinions on Tonya's skating, particularly the 92 Olympics SPs. After all, her actual skating doesn't seem to be discussed very often.

    Edited to add - did Tonya compete in 93? I just don't remember reading a result from the Worlds or anything. If not, was it through injury? Or did she retire then return for the Olympics in 94? Just wondered. If she did compete that season, where did she place?

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    I always thought Tonya had excellent presentation. Tonya didn't make the team in 1993 so she didn't compete at Worlds that year (see my response on another thread about that debacle ).

    Nancy NEVER had strong presentation b/c Nancy did not have natural ability on the ice. Having watched Nancy throughout her career at Nationals and Worlds, what struck me is her mechanical skating. She is not a natural presence on the ice even though she is a tomboy and a good athlete in terms of mastering the tricks. I really think that the reason Nancy was regarded as artistic was b/c she looked great in Vera Wang and she has a nicely proportioned body with long legs and arms which soften her athleticism. Nancy never had the natural flow across the ice. She really looked like someone who had to work very hard to learn how to skate.

    I mentioned in the European thread how Tonya lost to Kristy in 1989 Nationals even though she had better edges, spins , jumps and speed. I speculate that it was b/c of her muscular body that she lost points. I think the same about Midori Ito. Commentators always harped on how Midori was so poor artistically when Midori , like Tonya, skated with deep edges, lots of speed and had fantastic spins.

    Plus everyone seems to forget that Tonya actually skated very well in the long program in 1994. She made a mistake in the SP which cost her big but other than opening up on her 3 axel attempt, Tonya nailed all of her elements in the LP.

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    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
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    Soogar, I agree with you on Nancy. I could never understand why she was such a media darling. I think it had to do with some anti-Japanese bias that effected attitudes toward Christie, and Tonya just being too different in terms of her background.

  4. #4
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    Originally posted by soogar
    Plus everyone seems to forget that Tonya actually skated very well in the long program in 1994. She made a mistake in the SP which cost her big but other than opening up on her 3 axel attempt, Tonya nailed all of her elements in the LP.
    She 2-footed her 3loop and doubled her 3toe in addition to popping the 3axel. She did 3 clean triples. She also seemed quite labored at the end of that program and didn't skate with a lot of speed.

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    I always enjoyed Tonya's performances. The main problem (in my mind) was her choreography. She had some fantastic elements (the jumps, spins, speed, etc.), I just don't think they were all properly packaged. She was at her absolute best in 1991, though. The programs were solid choreography wise and you could see the work she had put in at the rink. I think it is interesting to note that for her SP and LP at the 1991 Worlds, she got mostly 5.8-5.9s for presentation. That certainly doesn't sound like a skater lacking any artistic ability. I just feel it is such a shame that she didn't put the work in after her grand season in 1991. She could have been a World or Olympic Champion had she chosen to train and focus...LOL, but I guess that's anyone. I tend to try to remember Tonya for her brilliant 1990-1991 season instead of all that came later.

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    I was so little I don't even remember the programs LOL... all I remember is that I loved both Tonya and Nancy... and felt very betrayed that one of my heroes had anything to do with something so unsportsmanlike...

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    Arm Chair Skate Fan show 42's Avatar
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    I always loved Tonya's skating. Take a look at her 1991 long program performance at Nationals, the one where she landed the triple axel. It was a very well put together program and from what I could tell, a big leap artistically for her. She was a small skater, but seemed larger than life because of her huge jumps............I really miss her skating......42

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    Barbara Flowers did a nice job with her choreo during her successful seasons. She did a good job of playing up Tonya's strengths and downplaying her weaknesses.

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    I never could get over some of Tonya's music choices. In 1991 she used- Batman movie theme/Send In The Clowns/Funky Cold Medina by Tone Loc. They weren't so bad separately, but putting them together should be illegal. I never could pay much attention to the choreography. I was always too busy thinking: why???, how could anyone?, and huh?
    Last edited by SusanBeth; 03-21-2004 at 05:13 PM.

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    The only Tonya programme I saw at the time was the debaucle at the 94 Olys, so when all of this discussion about Tonya Harding resurfaced, I had to go and download her programmes from the 94 Nats. I was really amazed at how good of a skater she actually was (though she tended to reuse the same MITF). Tonya wasn't built to be graceful; it's a fact, but she made good with what she had and really skated very authentically and turned in two very good performances that night, performances that, cirucmstances nothwithstanding, deserved to win. I think I was also one of few who actually was watching the one pro event that she was allowed to skate at and remember her turning in an amazing performance (remember, she had been banned for four years at this point). I think that Tonya Harding, overall as a skater, was good at being true to who she was. I hope, if the USFSA does lift the ban on Tonya, that she remembers that when she does skate pro, b/c that was one of her best attributes.

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    I haven't watched Tonya skate since 1994, so I can't remember my personal thoughts about her skating-but all of this talk is sort of making me nostagic for Tonya the skater.

  12. #12
    Tripping on the Podium
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    I had liked her skating a lot. Always thought that Kerrigan was much overrated. But that dress that Tonya wore for 94 was just TOO much. Could hardly see past that.

    But neither one of them had a chance with Baiul in the Olympics. She was away above all the rest. JMHO

  13. #13
    Keeper of Michelle's Nose berthes ghost's Avatar
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    I wouldn't put too much stock in the whole artist vs. athlete mumbo jumbo. It was just a sound bite. As someone already posted, Tonya got great second marks when she skated well.

    The second half of this is down to the fans. Lame people like me have Peggy syndrome. We like to see the Janet Lynns, the Protopopovs, the Tollers, the G&Gs,etc.. dance around all pretty like. The Irinas, the Elvises, the Rodninas, the Isabelle's and Lloyds...not so pretty. Bold yes, comondaring yes, precious and sensitive..no. Luckily the judges aren't so prejudiced and we see skaters like Sebastian take the gold at Euros.

    Tonya won two nat titles, a world silver and was 4th in Albertville. It's really hard to see her as "robbed". Any other time, she really did skate like crap,a nd got the marks to prove it.

  14. #14
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Matt
    The only Tonya programme I saw at the time was the debaucle at the 94 Olys, so when all of this discussion about Tonya Harding resurfaced, I had to go and download her programmes from the 94 Nats. I was really amazed at how good of a skater she actually was (though she tended to reuse the same MITF). Tonya wasn't built to be graceful; it's a fact, but she made good with what she had and really skated very authentically and turned in two very good performances that night, performances that, cirucmstances nothwithstanding, deserved to win. I think I was also one of few who actually was watching the one pro event that she was allowed to skate at and remember her turning in an amazing performance (remember, she had been banned for four years at this point). I think that Tonya Harding, overall as a skater, was good at being true to who she was. I hope, if the USFSA does lift the ban on Tonya, that she remembers that when she does skate pro, b/c that was one of her best attributes.
    she CAN skate pro, the USFSA has no control over that... it's the pro skaters that won't skate with her that really hinders her skating career... and I don't blame them

  15. #15
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    I never thought Tonya's presentation was all that bad either. There seems to be a school of thought that ALL the ladies have to float about the ice with the ballet and the gestures and the grace and the elegance, and I don't think that's true at all. I think there is a style that I call "athletic artistry" that, as long as a skater has musical sense, which Tonya did to an extent, can work quite well. As a matter of fact, I think one skater today who should look into this style is Viktoria Volchkova -- I think if she tried a more "tomboyish"(out of lack of better word to use at 7 AM on half a cup of coffee )style, it would work well for her; IMO her programs in the "graceful balletic" mode are unconvincing. For that matter, Tim Goebel would do well going into a more athletic syle as well; I think every program he's done ever since they've tried (with extremely limited success) to "improve his artistry" has been less interesting than the ones he was doing before this.

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