Olympic upsets in Ladies Figure Skating
Since 1998 it seems as if the favorite to win never succeeds with the exception of Yuna Kim in 2010
1998-Michelle Kwan was the favorite- Tara won
2002 - Irina and Michelle were the favorites- Sarah Hughes won
2006- Irina was the favorite- Shizuka Won
2014- Yuna Kim was the favorite- Adelina won.
In my opinion:
Going back a bit to 1994, Nancy should have beaten Oksana. How could Oksana have such high marks technically? She only did 1 combination which was a easy double axel double toe, while Nancy did a 3T/3T. Also there was also double footing on 2 of Oksana's jumps. Yes Nancy doubled the triple flip, but her jumps were clean and her spins were a higher difficulty.
In 1998 Michelle should have won. Yes Tara had a great technical skate, but artistically it didn't match Michelle's...her artistic impression marks were inflated.
In 2002 I think Michelle should have won. Yes Sarah did have the skate of her life and did deserve to be ahead of Michelle in the free skate, but I think Irina's performance was lacking and should have been 3rd, meaning Michelle would win.
In 2006, I think Shizuka deserved to win,
In 2014, Adelina's PCS were ridiculously high and were very much inflated. Everyone discusses she beat Yuna in the technical mark, but there is not way her PCS should match Yuna's.
Real champions should be:
1994 Nancy Kerrigan
1998 Michelle Kwan
2002 Michelle Kwan
2006 Shizuka Arakawa
2010 Yuna Kim
2014 Yuna Kim
Well, on Planet Olympia , I would have had those very results, but I can see the possibility of the ones we ended up with here on Planet Earth and can live with them, for the most part. I do agree that Nancy's skate was far more technically proficient than Oksana's. I also feel that her gracefulness compared favorably with Oksana's, whose arm movements and poses I frequently found a bit fussy and artificial. But others with more skating smarts than I disagree with me, and I'm cool with it. In the case of Michelle vs. Tara, I think that Michelle ended up with far more on her plate than Tara did in the long run, so I can't complain about the color of anyone's medal. I'm just glad about the unequivocal victory of Shizuka in 2006 and YuNa in 2010, and the rest will have to be water under the bridge.
Originally Posted by fredtx121
Interesting to note that the winners in 94, 98, 02, 06 and 14 were all considered upsets. The only true fave to actually win was Kim in 2010 (although you could have argued for Oksana in 94 or Lipinski in 98). Maybe going in as the heavy favorite is a clue as to who will NOT win OGM?
Considering that the Olympics is when figure skating gets the most media exposure, I wonder if those upsets are actually a marketing strategy from the ISU.
Everybody loves to see a child prodigy rise to the top (Tara), or to see the underdog win (Sarah), or a dark horse come out of nowhere and blow everyone away (Adelina), especially during the Olympics. And unlike other sports that are ruled by objective measurement (the clock, metric system, scoreboard) the ISU can actually fabricate it in figure skating, because they are the ones who make the rules. Controversy generates *interest*. Just a thought.
I read somewhere (in these boards? Can't recall) that Slutskaya was told in 2006 flat-out at the start that there was no way they would "give" her the win, because the Russians already swept the other three disciplines. I did note that although she fell in the FS in Torino, she looked remarkably relaxed in the K&C and was taking her stumble lightly. Even when her scores came up she put her hands to her head and mockingly mouthed something like "oh no!" and then pulled it away and smiled and waved to the camera, showing she had a sense of humor and was joking. It was a very, very different scenario than in 2002 when she narrowly lost to Sarah Hughes and was upset in that close fight. I wonder if her reaction in the K&C was a clue, or she just didn't care at that point (or both?).
This is all speculation, mind you!
Eh, there was no "favorite" in 06... or there were 3 "co-favorites", really. Shizuka wasn't a surprise, she had been a World Champ. People were talking about her going in to the games.
Originally Posted by anyanka
Oksana's technical elements were LAUGHABLE compared to Nancy. She's the 1994 Version of Adelina Sotnikova, in that they both won because they are girls that gave "exciting" performances, and won over better, more refined women. (I wonder if Adelina's and Oksana's careers with mirror each other, in that the OGM is their flash-in-the-pan moment.)
Originally Posted by fredtx121
Real Olympic Champions:
1994- Nancy Kerrigan overall. Had Lu Chen been in the top 3 in the short though I would say her. Had Yuka been 5th in the short I would say her (the LP should have been Sato then Chen then Kerrigan)
1998- Tara Lipinski or Michelle Kwan. Could make legitimate arguments either way. I would have picked Michelle, but it was close enough I cede to the judges.
2002- Sarah Hughes or Michelle Kwan or Irina Slutskaya. Could make legitimate arguments for any of them to win or not win overall. I would have picked Michelle overall again (2nd in the short, 2nd in long; Irina 1st in short, 3rd in long; Hughes 6th or 7th in short, 1st in long) but again since it was a close decision I cede to the judges and their choice of Hughes. I accept her 4th place in the short on the basis that her ordinals ranged from 4th to 10th and only two judges even had her 4th. She was just lucky the judges couldnt agree who to put 4th in the short. Someone like Maria had three 3rd place ordinals ahead of Sasha in the short while Sarah had none, but still ended up behind Sarah due to luck of the ordinals mostly.
2006- Shizuka Arakawa
2010- Yu Na Kim
2014- Yu Na Kim or Carolina Kostner- Could make arguments either way. I would have picked Kostner, but since it was close between them I cede even to this particular panel of corrupt judges in the close choice between them going to Kim, while of course overlooking the absurdity of Sotnikova winning the long program and gold with the 4th best long program.
So based on that I would say:
1994- Nancy Kerrigan
1998- Tara Lipinski (despite that I would have gone with Kwan)
2002- Sarah Hughes (despite that I would have gone with Kwan or Slutskaya)
2006- Shizuka Arakawa
2010- Yu Na Kim
2014- Yu Na Kim (despite that I would have gone with Kostner, and Sotnikova is the ROTFL official winner)
Oksana was the favorite for gold in 94. A shaky favorite as she had not had a great season and there were definitely others shooting for that gold medal, but who else could be called the favorite.
Originally Posted by anyanka
Kerrigan- was 5th at worlds, had a history of crumbling under pressure and never skating clean long programs, and had lost tons of training time with the attack. Pressure on her was now out of the world.
Bonaly- beat Baiul to win Europeans but there was always doubts whether or not the judges would allow her even a world title, let alone an olympic one, no matter how well she skated. A gold contender but not the favorite likely.
Chen- a medal contender, major long shot at best for gold.
Sato- same as Chen.
Chouinard, Harding, Szewcenko- long shots for a medal of any kind.
Witt- no hoper for a medal.
I hear you on Oksana, but back then she was the reigning world champion and that's why one would have made a case for her at the time. I called it weeks before, even though I thought Nancy was better on the night. Nowadays we see her jumps being smaller than we remember. You raise a good point on perhaps Adelina and Oksana paralleling, but Adelina's jumps were bigger and Oksana had much greater presence IMO. It will be exciting to see how Adelina's career progresses from here.
Originally Posted by zschultz1986
I recall Shizuka as being a possible contender at the time and remembered she won worlds in 04, but she was an "upset" only because it was set up as Irina vs Sasha at the time.
I think Nancy became a fave in the American media due to the attack, but people had forgotten Oksana even though she was the reigning world champion at the time.
Originally Posted by pangtongfan
This is a good refresher! Oh, memories. That was the most intense night of skating I'd seen until this year's ladies FS.
P.S. am enjoying this thread, brings back a lot of good memories for me growing up watching these programs. And I was young(er) at the time, so I didn't have the knowledge or the background Thanks for starting this!
LOL. Interesting how the same people can argue for Nancy based on the technical mark (goodness knows, Oksana had more artistic ability in her pinky finger--we've had three thousand imitation swans since then) and against Tara and Adelina (who clearly had the technical goods to get the job done). The pattern, I think, is that it's incredibly hard to have the skate of your life when all the expectations are on you to do exactly that. And it's very hard to deny an athlete who has both the technical goods and the skate of her life at the Olympics.
(whose favorite female competitor--Sasha Cohen--had neither but clearly influenced the next generation of skaters, just as did many of the fore-mentioned silver medalists)
I agree that Sasha has had an incredible influence on skaters who came after her. So many of the flexibility moves used by Julia and others were first done (if I recall correctly) by Sasha, including the spin with the leg by the ear.
Originally Posted by Ice Dance
As for how some people can argue in favor of Nancy and then against Tara, I as one of them do so because I don't respond to Oksana's artistry as strongly as I do to Michelle's. Other fans may have other reasons for their choices. Interestingly, one judge who was consistent was former skater Jan Hoffmann of Germany. He sided with Oksana in 1994 and Michelle in 1998. Not that this is necessarily connected to his decisions, but he is notable because he narrowly lost to a supreme artist in 1980--Robin Cousins. (But Cousins never beat Hoffman in a World Championship.)
Except, they're rather different things. The difference between Adelina's "whole package" and Carolina/Yuna's "whole package" is WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYY greater than the difference between Oksana's "whole package" and Nancy's "whole package." Oksana really is the bellweather for the majority of Oly Champs of the past 20 years: It went from refined women, to youth and exuberance. The only exception to this was 2006.
Originally Posted by Ice Dance
While I did make the comparison between Adelina and Oksana, I will bring up some caveats. Oksana had these things in her favor: A weakened field (being that the 92-94 Olympiad wasn't a full Olympiad), America hadn't REALLY replaced Kristi (Nancy and Tonya were fighting that out), Lu Chen was a world medalist but made mistakes, Bonaly was too wild to be a threat. Oksana was (and still is) the weakest OGM in one of the most mediocre fields of women. You can not say the same things about the field Adelina was gifted her OGM in: World and Olympic champion Yuna, World Champions Caro and Mao, etc. And the level that Caro and Yuna skate at, in EVERY sense of the word, is FAR ahead of anything Adelina has ever done (edges, flow, choreography, etc.) Where as with Oksana, all she had over Nancy was youthful exuberance. Their skating skills, etc were pretty much even.
I am more comfortable with Oksana being an OGM than I am with Adelina being an OGM. At least Oksana had proven herself on the World stage before the Olympics. Trust me, Adelina WILL go down as one of the most controversial OGMs (except for Russia of course, who bought that OGM fair and square.) (And now, as their victory lap, they're gonna take Crimea. )
And I am sorry, but I have not said Adelina shouldn't have medaled. I have said I would be fine either her being a bronze or even (and this is pushing it) silver medalist. However, the judges fell for the "Skating while Russian" in Russia trap, as they always do, and gave the inferior skates a medal color it didn't deserve. She may have had the skate of her life, but that doesn't mean it was the best. Caro should have won. Adelina shouldn't have even beaten Mao in the free. the whole scoring of that even (and Sochi in general) was WAYYYYY to lenient in favor of Russians.
This year had quite a few upsets. Most people were predicting a Yuna, Mao and Julia podium. unfortunately Mao and Julia made mistakes and then Yuna came second. I do think she should have won but I was happy for Adelina and for Carolina as well