Finesse and polish? If anything Marlie was so polished you could accuse them of lacking spontaneity. That's a more valid argument in my book. But YMMV and all that.
And yes, Marlie's influence can already been seen--and not just in ice dancing. Which pair did Phantom this year--and wore costumes that were such close copies of Marlie's from Vancouver their costume designer should sue? And I definitely saw a marked Marlie influence in the FD by Yanovskaya & Mozgov. Go and see it again yourself and tell me they haven't watched Marlie's programs and gone through them with a fine tooth comb.
Both Marlie AND Voir upped the technical difficulty for ice dancing. And in the process they've made it something it very very rarely was before: interesting to the general public. Don't recall anyone saying either of their programs were the punch line to the inevitable "but how is ice dancing a sport" criticism. They're not innovators in the same sense as Torvill & Dean, but influential? You betcha.
In Japan, it would be Midori Ito because she got alot of media attention for her jumps. Shizuka also got a great deal of attention but really, only after she won OGM.
Before Shizu won the gold medal, Mao was already the darling of Japan and she has done so much for Japanese figure skating. She was almost single-handedly the reason for Chukyo University building two ice skating rinks for athletes to practice on. Mao's star power has provided the majority of the financing of Japanese skating fed for the past 10 years or so. And it's because of Mao that skating is so popular in Japan as a spectator sports right now.
I somehow think that Mao has also had a huge impact on the formation of CoP which seemed to target all her weak points so that she really had to work hard to improve them. If the 6.0 era had continued, she would likely have been unbeatable.
To be honest, it's pretty lame and rude to call any female skater trying quads and triple axels "a joke". They are attempting elements that men have difficulty mastering and they should be lauded for pushing the technical envelope, not ridiculed for it or being unable to measure up to the great Ito.
Harding was no sweetheart and was very unrefined but her lutzes were huge and her axel was a feat of athleticism that no American woman has even come close to achieving, even Meissner.
Many of us also forget, aside from triple axel, Mao also did 3-3 combination jumps in her career till 2008: triple flip-triple toe loop and triple flip-triple loop. And I will never forget that she really push FS to technical (since her junior years to first two seasons during Vancouver quad) and together with artistic boundaries (starting this year, with insane 8 triple layout plus level 4 in all non-jump elements)
Harding was only known for her knee whacking incident with Kerrigan, ask a casual viewer and they will not even know what achievements she has had or if she landed a 3A
I would leave Hanyu out of og this list as well. He has done nothing yet to revolutionize the sport.Men
* Ulrich Salchow - the men's equivalent for Sonia Henie, World gold record holders and invented new jump
* Dick Button - the equivalent of Colledge, introduced innovations in men's FS
* John Curry - equivalent of Dorothy, introduced men's refinement , posture in FS
* Elvis Stojko - the original quad jumper
* Evgeni Plushenko - the face for 6.0 era, a man who has competed in different scoring eras
* Yuzuru Hanyu - the face for CoP, has pushed the envelope for maximing points
Agreed but I would add Rodnina&Zaitsev to that list as well. They introduced side-by-side double Axels to pair skating.Pairs
* the Propotovs - There will be no modern Pairs today if it werent for the Propotovs, the greatest and the prototype of the modern pairs skating
* Mishkutenok /Dmitriev- introduced dynamism, difficulty and charisma in pairs skating
They were famous for their powerful lifts, unison, and speed. They did a spectacular back outside death spiral.
Not my preferred pair but I think they deserve to be in the list.
It was already done by the Protopovs.* Berezhnaya / Sikhuralidze- showed pairs skating is elegant, refined posture that every skater should aspire
As someone said before, maybe they revolutionized this sport in China. The things you've listed here were already done. Just have a look of the lifts and twists of Brasseur & Eisler.* Shen / Zhao - introduced acrobatics in lifts, twists and pairs skating longevity can go up to where you want to go
* Pakhomova / Gorshkov forget Torvil/Dean, it was G/P who revolutionized Ice dance, they were the prototypes of what is now Ice Dancing
* Klimova / Ponomarenko - introduced charisma, Ice Dance is not just elements back then, they showed true Ice Dance presentation
I'm not sure. Power, athleticism and speed was already in Ice Dance with G&P, K&O.* Davis / White - combined dynamism, athleticism and power
I would say Ekaterina Gordeeva has had an impact on this sport, after all she is the only skater (worth mentioning) who after having a sucessful career in pairs, went to have another sucessful career in singles.
None of the young skaters (those who are under 20) has done anything truly revolutionary yet. But that does not mean they won't. Well, at least they have the next 4 or 5 to 8 seasons to prove that. I hope they will shine and show the world that they can push this sport further. I have high hope in them.
the new ones:
I have hopes for 3 skaters who will be the ones to watch out for next quad:
Yuzuru Hanyu - maximing CoP and pushing technical innovation for FS
Gracie Gold - could push figure skating back as mainstream for US Sports, she has the appeal, beauty and looks that transcends to Hollywood is looking for
she just needs more results to back it up
Julia Lipnitskaya - could be inventing new spin positions in the future
As for her pro-career, when you think that she managed to be second after Yamaguchi during one competition and 3rd in another by defeating the likes of Katerina Witt, Yuka Sato, Denise Biellmann, Rosalyn Summers, and Caryn Kadevy, how can you not call that successful? After all she was not trained to be a single skater.