I don't think Davis and White or Hanyu revolutionalized skating - in fact Chan or Dai really started the complete skater or even Lambiel or Buttle. Hanyu was a follower of Chan - technical and skating skills and his skills aren't of the magnificient level of Lambiel, Buttle or chan who probably had the best skating skills and transitions for men. G and G had it all so maybe they "revolutionized skating. Gary Beacom did some amazing tricks never seen. Hydroblading by Bourne and Kraatz. I think D and W did no more for skating than V and M. Neither team really had the magic of Torvill and Dean or Klimova and Pomarenko. Shen and /zhou maybe revolutionized skating for China but not world - the Russians were doing big lifts and throws already. Duhamel and radford really pushing the envelope for big individual jumps in pairs. I agree Ito pushed the jumps and then maybe ugly and criticized as they would be under COP Surya Bonaly. Baiul maybe was the start of the youth movement - Hughes, Lipinski, Lipnskaya, Sotnikova, Gold, Nagasu, Mao, Radinova, Tuk. Brian Orser really pushed the technical elements then fire was fueled by Boitano.
Ziggy, who really knows his stuff about ID, also said something I found very interesting: that you'll find more interesting programs from lower ranked teams because they are trying to make an impression on the judges. And I think that's true. Look at Hurtado and Diaz, for instance, or Gilles and Poirier. Two of the best FDs last year. So I agree that the best-COP-point-generating programs aren't always necessarily the best. But COP has made Ice Dancing at least, much more interesting and, for all the judging controversies, much more fair than it ever was under 6.0, where you pretty much knew where every couple would place before their blades hit the ice.
But I think for me ALL of figure skating is a sport first. It may be as artsy-fartsy as all get out, but it is still primarily a sport. And I've seen too many teams over the years that try to cover their athletic shortcomings with big dollops of Drama (yes Fusar-Poli and Margaglio, I'm looking at you). And the periods where this is rewarded by the judges tend to be the periods where I simply am not as engaged or interested as a fan. But YMMV, of course.
WEll I guess Chan started the push for tech excellency and skating skills and Hanyu took it to the next step - but that is debatable I think we can say Hanyu better technicain but skating skill wise Chan wold or should win on most days. I sense Sky fly for some reason the posts tend to put down Canadian skaters = that is just an observatin as skyfly tend sto like Hanyu over Chan and Davis and White over v and m and has had several negative posts about Osmond. I am not say skyflyy is anticanadian but that is just an observation of skyflys prefernces. And we should respect they are sky fly's preferences still I see spikydurian's perspective too and I tend to agree more but really I think a lot of these posts are because we miss competitive skating lol. What's next whose hairstyle we like best. Which skater has the cutest pet?
Janet Lynn: how many of you have watched skaters tracing figure eights on the rink as part of Olympic competition? You haven't? I have, and you have Janet Lynn to thank for the fact that you do not. *That* is revolutionary, not a step sequence or a spin or a jump. Changing the way we watch figure skating.
Toller Cranston: every male figure skater who has skated since owes a debt to Cranston. Either they incorporated (or tried) artistry and wonder and innovation into their skating, or, as a backlash, they tried athleticism. Cranston was a skater who made you watch, and not because he was going to do a jump with a bunch of letters and initials. He was compelling.
Torvill and Dean: Also compelling. They tried a new concept, and they succeeded. Almost entirely due to Torvill and Dean, ice dancing became respected.
There is no way to say that about skaters who are still skating. They may revolutionize; they may not, time will tell. But if you don't know about Lynn, Cranston or Torvill and Dean, I am afraid to say you probably don't know enough to say.
Weakankles/skaterboy, that's a perfect assessment. Buttle without a quad started a push for all around skating and utilizing the system that way. Then Chan with his quads did the same and blew everyone out of the water and dominated. And now Hanyu has followed suit and is in the process of taking it to a new level. I'd say Fernandez is also to be commended for his 3 quad skates that still sell a program and incorporate intricate content and character, while still being technically ambitious.
Trixie Schuba should also be added. She was the Master of figures.
Michelle Kwan is one of the first Asian-American female athletes to be truly embraced by the American public (in a time when Asian-American media and cultural representation was far worse than it is today, and it's still severely lacking), and remains one of the most iconic female minority athletes in US history..she carried the torch that was passed on to her from Kristi Yamaguchi, and to a lesser extent, Tiffany Chin.
Ultimately, she became beloved by the skating community and general public in a way that her 2 predecessors never had been (although I think she definitely benefited from the inroads they made).
It speaks volumes that a woman of minority descent became the face of her sport (and during its golden age), especially when skating has had a distinguished legacy in the US going back almost a century.
I don't know, but I loved Anisina/Peizerat for wonderful innovations and Philipe Candeloro for bringing theatre on ice...They may not be the best but, I really miss them.