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Thread: World Renowned Figure Skaters

  1. #1
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    World Renowned Figure Skaters of All Time

    Who are some figure skaters that come to your mind (Top 3). I know this can be very biased but I wanted to see some consistency so I'm putting Top 3 to narrow it down. And I'm pretty sure the Media may think differently from the people here on this forum. Who do you think has the most impact and presence in figure skating history as a whole in each discipline.

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    Currently competing? Recently retired? Of all time? Just in terms of free-skating, or do figures count?

    I'll need some clearer parametres.

    EDIT: It's late and my spellcheck is trolling me...

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    Of All Time. Any disciplines will do male or female or both. I guess an impact and presence in figure skating history as a whole.

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    Yes. You are terrible. Shame on you.

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    Wait, Top 3 ever, all disciplines put together?! I'd have an easier time of this if it were Top 3 of each discipline (how on earth am I supposed to compare G&G with Dick Button?).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sandpiper View Post
    Wait, Top 3 ever, all disciplines put together?! I'd have an easier time of this if it were Top 3 of each discipline (how on earth am I supposed to compare G&G with Dick Button?).
    Each discipline.

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    Okay. I should probably get to sleep, but what the heck, let's go for it.

    I've divided it by era, since otherwise I'll have no way to pick. I've decided to include one modern figure in every discipline, to keep things controversial--er, I mean, lively.

    Ladies:
    Early pioneer- Sonja Henie. But you can make a case for Cecilia Colledge, who was more influential despite being less successful.
    Later pioneer- Janet Lynn. She changed the entire emphasis of figure skating, with the creation of the short program and the eventual elimination of figures. However, again, lots of other possible choices here (Fleming for good figures + free skating, Witt for competitive record, Ito for technical innovation).
    Culmination/Last hurrah of 6.0- Michelle Kwan. Put everything that came before her together. Really promoted the seven-triple LP as well as a more refined, subtle style of skating.

    Men:
    Early pioneer- Simply can't pick between Gilles Grafstrom and Ulrich Salchow. One is the most successful figure skater in any discipline. The other's influence is undeniable. I think Salchow might be a tad more renowned just because he has a jump named after him though.
    Later pioneer- Dick Button. Two-time Olympic champion. Introduced the triple jump and double axel to figure skating.
    Last hurrah of 6.0/Dominant across judging systems- Evgeni Plushenko. Only person to medal in four Olympics since Grafstrom. Showman, innovator, and the face of men's figure skating for many years.

    My system breaks down a bit for pairs/ice dance, but...

    Pairs:
    Early pioneers- The Protopopovs. Irina Rodnina has a superior competitive record though.
    Pinnacle of the sport- Gordeeva/Grinkov. Unmatched in unison and perfection. A case can be made for Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze, but their frequent meltdowns didn't help things.
    Last great team/Dominant across judging systems- Shen/Zhao. Combined artistry with technical strength.

    Ice Dance:
    Early pioneers- Torvill/Dean.
    Last great 6.0 team- Anissina/Peizerat. A very creative team, with magic that can't be recreated. (Grishuk/Platov were more successful, but I think A/P were the true culmination of 6.0 ice dance)
    COP pioneers- Virtue/Moir. Combined strong technical elements, great skating, and excellent chemistry/artistry. Davis/White were arguably more successful, but they seemed to built on V/M's foundation, imo.

    And off I go now. Apologies for leaving off a lot of people, because there are more than three greats in any discipline. Apologies if I messed up names/contributions. In writing this post, I realized some people with great influence weren't necessarily the most decorated. In most cases, I try to pick the person who is more strongly remembered (hence Henie over Colledge, but not Witt over Lynn).

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    This is based purely on who I think the most people in the world would recognize or have heard about (ie most world renowed) not about who I think are best...
    Women:
    1. Oksana Baiul
    2. Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan (they are world renowned because of each other so I'm grouping them together)
    3. Katerina Witt

    Men:
    1. Evgeni Plushenko
    2. Scott Hamilton
    3. Brian Boitano (I add him b/c he is famous in pop culture for "what would brian boitano do?")

    Pairs/Dance: (I'm combining them because I don't think there are many that are renowned world wide)
    1. Torvill and Dean
    2. Gordeeva and Grinkov

    These would be choices for who had the most "impact and presence" in order of generation.
    Women:
    1. Janet Lynn
    2. Katerina Witt
    3. Michelle Kwan

    Men:
    1. Dick Button
    2. Kurt Browning
    3. Evgeni Plushenko

    Pairs:
    1. The Protopopovs
    2. Irina Rodnina and Alexander Zaitsev
    3. Gordeeva and Grinkov

    Dance:
    1. Torvill and Dean
    2. Grishuk and Platov
    3. Virtue and Moir

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    I add him b/c he is famous in pop culture for "what would brian boitano do?"
    Could you say sth more about it?

    My choices
    Men
    1. Dick Button – for the things he has done as a first skater ever
    2. Alexei Yagudin – for the programmes from SLC, that will always be remembered
    3. Evgeni Plushenko – a long career and being indestructible, despite injuries

    Ladies
    1. Midori Ito – the best jumper in history
    2. Katarina Witt- artist on the ice, known even by people not interested in figure skating
    3. Michelle Kwan – artistry + technique, a big promoter of figure acting in US

    Dances
    1. Torvill and Dean – it’s obvious
    2. The Duchesnays – after boring period after T&D had retired, they brought back freshness and excitement to ice dancing, and they were the reason for the great FD dances of Klimova and Ponomarenko in the years 1991-1992
    3. Here I have a problem. Probably I will choose Virtue and Moir, the best in COP era, but I think we should wait 10 years and see if their impact on ice dancing was really that big.

    Pairs
    1. Rodnina and partners – for incredible achievements
    2. Gordeeva and Grinkov – not just skating, but also their private llfe has had huge impact on the fans
    3. Mishkutenok and Dmitriev – artistry + technique

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    Ladies

    Past: I didn't follow or care about them at all, but I know them quite clearly so it's considerd as "world renowned": Witt & Kwan
    Present: Obviously, these two are the face of figurse skating for the past 8 years, anyone know about skating also know them, even who don't know about skating still know them: Yuna & Mao. They have bigger influence in current young generation than any legend in the past.

    Men: The present I guess it will be Plushenko, Yagudin and Patrick Chan. Not so sure about the past

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    To me the words impact and presence are quite subjective because what impacts one emotionally and personally often contrasts with that which is acknowledged as great by the majority, as the creator of the post perceptively indicated by saying that our choices may digress from those of the main stream press. Furthermore, considering the great difference between the 6.0 with figures, 6.0 without figures, and the COP system, the results and legacy of any skater would likely have been far different had they skated under a different scoring system. So, the "theme" of my choices will be innovators or those who really impressed me technically or artistically and who struggled but ultimately succeeded under the system under which they skated.

    First of all for me, there is Denise Biellmann who popularized the now ubiquitous Biellmann spin and performed the earliest free-skate which really overwhelmed me technically and artistically at the 1980 Lake Placid Games in the United States. She eventually won the World Champion in 1981 and then promptly retired because of back pain and because she was tired of having to come from behind in school figures.

    Secondly, there is Midori Ito who also struggled with school figures but ironically won her only world championship with school figures. Yet, she could never win once they were eliminated. Her huge jumps, speed, heart, and challenging the triple axel are what made her memorable to me.

    Finally for me, there is Mao Asada, who is not really an innovator as much as a composite of styles. In my mind, she combined the artistry and flexibility in spins and spirals of Denise Biellmann with the triple axel and heart of Ito, but wasn't the fastest or highest in speed or jumps which were scored much more strictly under the COP system, while the triple axel and spiral were devalued causing her to often struggle but still succeed. I also feel that the emotional resonance and athleticism of her step sequence is unique.

    I would also like to include Kristi Yamaguchi, a ground breaker for me in artistry whose skating I really love and who was an inspiration for one of my favorite skaters, Lu Chen, as well as being a rival for Midori Ito. Finally, though Yuna Kim is not one of my all-time favorites, her achievements and skill helped push Mao to reach her full potential, and Mao helped push her to improve as well.

    For men, I would pick Plushenko, Browning and Yagudin.

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    T&D, Janet, Witt

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    yes this can be biased, but mainly deeply personal for their own reason they pick who they like. not to diss all other skater but who they felt deeply personal with on several reasons.

    mine

    ladies 1) michelle
    2) peggy
    3) katarina.

    men
    1) dick
    2) scott hamilton
    3) kurt

    pairs

    1) tai & randy
    2) kennedyis
    3) not sure who

    dance
    1) not sure who, don't follow as close
    i admire davis&white, 1976 u.s. olympic bronze pair team

    dont know who else

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    If we're talking about talkability/being famous, IMO:

    Women:
    1. Michelle Kwan (by a long shot)
    2. Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding
    3. Yu Na Kim

    Men:
    1. Evgeni Plushenko
    2. Brian Boitano
    3. Kurt Browning

    Pairs:
    1. Gordeeva/Grinkov
    2. Shen/Zhao
    3. Irina Rodnina + her partners

    Dance:
    1. Torvill/Dean
    2. Virtue/Moir
    3. Davis/White

    As far as impact/presence:
    Kwan
    Browning
    Gordeeva/Grinkov
    Torvill/Dean

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    Are there really any who could qualify as WORLD renown, other than Sonja Henie, whose movie career was a great help with establishing that for her?

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