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Thread: Lillehamer Revisited

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    Sometimes bad skating happens to good people... LiamForeman's Avatar
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    Lillehamer Revisited

    I've been watching 94 Olympics over again, and I was fascinated by the non-American commentary. I was watching I think Debbie Wilkes and Brian Orser or the BBC commentators and it's amazing how differently skaters are perceived by non-Americans.

    1. When Baiul went out to skate her SP, Debbie Wilkes said she was pretty much the star of the event.... lol. Don't tell NBC that!!!! I understand Baiul's win a lot more. Her SP won her the entire event. It was light years ahead of anything else in the ladies' event. A weak LP wasn't going to stop her. I was in the ABN camp (anyone but Nancy) but I raised my eyebrows when Baiul beat her. But outside of the US Baiul was just seen as the one to beat. Kerrigan needed to step up and be heads and shoulders above Baiul. Unfortunately she couldn't due to her awful Mary Scotvold programs.

    2. The men's event was just such a mess. The LP was the epitome of bad judging. If you are not in the final group, you won't get the marks. How Viktor Petrenko did not win this LP is beyond me. How Urmanov and Stojko could be placed ahead is crazy.

    3. Dance? Well, I found it the height of hyprocrisy that judges felt they HAD to deduct T/D for an illegal lift, but let Grischuk and her partner have several time separations with no deductions. I remember at the time a judge said something to the effect is "If I'm being entertained why would I hold a stopwatch?". Again, bad judging. I was Team T/D

    4. Pairs. Yikes. Scottie's blatantly biased commentary and Katia kiss-up attitude was so obvious. He could barely say something nice about M/D and even then it came across as uncomplimentary or tepid at best. Calling Mishkutenok a "big girl"???? Yeah, she's not 90 pounds like Gordeeva. Oh well, a judge said it correctly when she told Artur "You should have won, but you just didn't skate well all week".

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    I remember watching VHS tapes of these games over and over with my grandmother, wonderful memories...

    Ladies: Looking back 20 years later with all emotion taken out of the moment Nancy may have been robbed, but i remember that at the time Oksana seems to have an aura around her and really brought the house down that night. She had the emotion and charm while Nancy seems robotic and somewhat fake. In the 6.0 system that was what mattered and how her 5.7/5.9 beat Nancy's 5.8/5.8. I was team Oksana then and still am, I also was a card carrying member of the "ABN camp" referenced above but over time my opinion of Nancy has softened a little.

    Dance: It sort of mirrored the results of the ladies event later when young, emotional and energetic seemed to beat out the more refinded, guarded and reserved. If i remember correctly T/D did not really do well and were likely overscored in the compulsory dances, I think they did great in their OD but I just didn't like their Free dance - it seemed old, stuffy and tad fake to me. G/P did very well in the compulsories, I didn't like their OD as much but I loved their FD which seemed young, fast and fresh to me. I agree with the results and became a G/P fan (going in I was actually hoping U/Z would win). To this day I have never found another dance team as interesting.

    Pairs: Much like dance where everyone seemed to want a T/D comeback win, it seemed everyone was head over heels for a G/G win. I liked both G/G and M/D. I thought both skated well but I thought the criticism of Mishkutenok's weight was harsh. I really don't have a problem with the outcome but had I been a judge, M/D (my all time favorite pair - so of course I'm biased) would have won!

    Men: I wanted Petrenko to win going in, but its really been to long since I watched this for me to comment one way or another, I just don't remember enough details about the performances of the key players so I let others debate the validity of the results.

  3. #3
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    In a way Lillehammer pairs ruined pairs skating for me. Never has an event been this spectacular. You have the summit of the dramatic Russian style of M&D versus the purity of G&G's skating. The only pairs that have excited me have been B&S and S&Z. Although S&S and V&T are impressive, I could never like them as much as I liked M&D, B&S, and S&Z. 1994 ruined pair skating for me! It was the gold standard.

    I loved Baiul's skating. I still do. But as an adult, I see the 1994 ladies' event differently. I think Nancy deserved the OGM and Baiul possibly shouldn't even have gotten silver based on her flaws. But yes, music emanates from her soul like no other. It was a shame that as years went by she either bombed frequently or show skating and posing killed any substance she was capable of. She is so unique in that her movements were so natural and unaffected.

    Soon after 1994 we got Michelle, another skater who brought transcendent beauty to the ice, seemingly where Baiul left off, but in a completely different style and competitive mastery.

    I would love to have experienced Lillehammer as many skaters and coaches praise Lillehammer was the best Olympics ever - great venue, organization, local friendliness, and great skating.

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    I watched the event live from tv.

    Men: Petrenko skated really well in the freeskate, but he was too much behind after the sp. Urmanov definetely deserved to win over Stojko and it was not even a close decision. As far as I remember, only one judge gave Stojko the first place,even the Canadian judge had him second.

    Baiul was my favourite and she had a wonderful short programme and did enough in the freeskate to win. In my opinion it was also her personality and interpretation, which won over Nancy.

    In my opinion G & G were the rightful winners, as far as I remember. Did not even put much notice on M& D, although in 1998 I rooted for Kazakova & Dmitriev.

    Felt really sad that T & D did not win their second OGM.

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    Oksana's Lillihamer SP is probably my all-time favorite SP. Her body, face, and movement capture every mood of the music. She was the best spinner of the top ladies (excluding the Swiss girls) and she had some neat tricks in that program, including the entrance to the 2A. For those who haven't seen it, here it is:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GDdHQmcK7g

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    Yulia forver! I'm on team dumped Ice Dance. Alba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LiamForeman View Post
    3. Dance? Well, I found it the height of hyprocrisy that judges felt they HAD to deduct T/D for an illegal lift, but let Grischuk and her partner have several time separations with no deductions. I remember at the time a judge said something to the effect is "If I'm being entertained why would I hold a stopwatch?". Again, bad judging. I was Team T/D
    I was team Usova&Zhulin but tbh I was very disappointed with the FD of both U&Zh and T&D. The FD of G&P maybe was not great but I rememeber it felt different because they looked very young, well they were, and full of energy.
    I loved the OD by T&D but the FD was meh.....same with U&Zh. I don't think there was a clear winner in Ice Dance that year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by drivingmissdaisy View Post
    Oksana's Lillihamer SP is probably my all-time favorite SP. Her body, face, and movement capture every mood of the music. She was the best spinner of the top ladies (excluding the Swiss girls) and she had some neat tricks in that program, including the entrance to the 2A. For those who haven't seen it, here it is:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GDdHQmcK7g
    Just compare Baiul's musicality and ability to interpret the music compared to the reigning Olympic Gold medalist and it really is an

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    Dance: I hated G/P dance. It was sloppy, frantic and lacked grace. And it also broke rules. Their speed did nothing for me. After years I tried to warm up to it, but in vain. Still it isn’t a gold medal performance for me. Actually IMHO G/P didn’t deserve even silver. For me T/D were winners. Their OD was perfect, but I also liked their smooth, elegant and mature FD. They were expected to prepare a ballroom dance, and it was a real ballroom dance in my book. However if their lift really violated the rules, and G/P would have also been given deductions, I would accept U/Z victory. Their FD dance wasn’t captivating though. Their OD on the other hand was much better than G/P’s OD.

    Pairs: I believe M/D should have won gold. Their weren’t good before Olympics however, and it was already decided who would win.

    Ladies: I never liked Nancy, and didn’t want her to win. But I admit that she deserved gold more than Oksana, whose FP was easier and had mistakes.

    Men: I don’t remember men’s competition that much. But I think I had nothing against Urmanov’s victory.

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    Well, being (probably) one of the younger FS fans, I didn't get to see the events unfold as they happened. Looking back on skates... (Hoping to provide an "outsider" perspective without emotions from the time, but maybe I'm just uninformed).

    Men: Despite being Canadian myself and generally liking Stojko, I think Urmanov deserved the win. Yes, bad spins, weird choreography, terrible pants and all. The quality of his elements (and movements, when he wasn't doing the weird leg-wagging thing) were superior to Stojko's. I appreciate Stojko for having his own style and sticking with it, but his Lillehammer skate was simply bland. He improved in the artistic side in later years (imo), but by then age was catching up to him, his jumps were going, and he wasn't good enough to touch Plush or Yags outside of a total meltdown. I feel bad that an OGM wasn't in the cards for him, but I don't think he was robbed.

    Regarding the others--I think Petrenko should've placed ahead of Browning in the free skate (man, I'm so down on Canadian skaters, huh...). But IIRC, with the way ordinals worked, even that wouldn't have given Petrenko the bronze medal. Perhaps I would've placed Candeloro even lower in the free skate, with Petrenko ahead of Browning, so that Petrenko would've won the bronze medal. I liked Petrenko's skate but I wouldn't say it won the night. He seemed to struggle on some of his elements (even though he executed them, the quality wasn't as good as either Urmanov or Stojko), and frankly, his skating was so slow. I suspect the slowness is what caused him to drop behind even Browning.

    Ladies: I think Baiul was the right choice. Just like there should be a minimal technical standard for a champion... there should be a minimum artistic standard as well. Kerrigan's skate, imo, worse than watching paint dry. Baiul, even with the mistakes, brought a crazy amount of star power. And she sold the hell out of her program, even if it was showtunes (alright, in a cheesy way, I kinda enjoy showtunes. And the music was certainly no worse than Kerrigan's). Since the artistic mark is the tiebreaker, I think a 5.8/5.8 vs. 5.7/5.9 scoring would've been fair, giving Baiul the win. That being said, I can see why other people would think Kerrigan was robbed. It is a sport, after all, and even though I found Kerrigan's skate one of the least artistic things I've ever seen, she did land the jumps.

    Pairs: I'd go with G&G. The overall quality of their elements was better, edging out the small mistakes that Sergei made. I know many find M&D more passionate, but their skate came across as forced to me, while G&G flowed across the ice.

    Dance: If I were just going with "whose (free) skate was the best," I'd have T/D first, U/Z second, G/P third. If we take the lift deduction as mandatory, then I'd have U/Z winning with T/D second. T/D's free skate was the only one with anything approaching a good program. If I had been there, I would've been one of the wild audience members cheering for everything. I actually don't mind U/Z's comedy routine, but I see why the judges wouldn't buy it. Just a bad idea to come into the Olympics with it. G/P were fast, but it was a messy first half and a boring second half. I definitely don't think they should've won the free skate. Maybe they should've placed ahead of U/Z on the OD (and T/D may not have even deserved third on that first compulsory).

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    Dance: I thought Usova & Zhulin should have won. They were the only of the 3 gold contenders to not break any rules in their free dance, even if it was their most boring and uninspiring program ever. They were also reigning World Champions and it was their turn, and it went against all that was commonly accepted rule at the time to go with the Russian #2 over the Russian #1, especialy when the Russian #2 arguably wasnt even better at the time or at the event. There was obviously some internal politics at home working against Usova & Zhulin this season, I am sure of it. Even the overrated Bestiamanova & Bukin were honored their due (by protocal) wins even when K&P had developed into a much better team, and Wilson & McCall were probably better also. They were also the only team to skate well in all portions, Torvill & Dean had awful compulsories especialy their Starlight Waltz which should have been about 6th or 7th, and G&P an awful OD which did not even deserve 3rd place, 4th at best. I would bet tons of money there was something political going on in Russia that caused Russian #2 to suddenly gain favor and backing of the Russian fed. over Russian #1 and reigning World Champs Usova & Zhulin, especialy as having followed ice dance back then even as a little kid I understood full well there was no way the Russian #2 when they werent even clearly superior (B&B as I said were clearly inferior to Russian #2 and still kept winning) to pass the #1. Also look at the votes and marks of the Russian judge all Games and it is clear he HEAVILY favored G&P over U&Z which given how close the result was, made all the difference. The others who voted for G&P were likely cohersed by the Russian judge and bloc too, except maybe Jean Senft who just got drunk the night of the FD and stupidly voted G&P somehow (even her voting for U&Z in the FD would have made them the winners).

    I dont think G&P even deserved the silver. I would have given Torvill & Dean atleast the silver, if not the gold as well. I disagree with the people who didnt like their FD, I loved it. I thought it was a great combination of all their past work with some modern excitmement and flaired added in. G&P's I found sloppy, performed nowhere near as well as Europeans (where they did deserve to easily win the FD) and their long periods apart were awful from a technical sense.

    U&Z are also one of the unluckiest teams ever. They dropped from 1st to 3rd at the Europeans that year due to a flukish ordinal flip. They also were leading all the way into the FD at the 91 worlds, got 4 1st place votes which was the most of any team, yet still dropped to 3rd. Klimova & Ponomarenko were only 3rd going into the FD, were put behind U&Z in every dance until the D, and 7 of the 9 judges had them even below U&Z in the FD but due to how the ordinals worked when combined with the Duchensays they somehow still passed them and U&Z didnt even get silver. Maybe some early karma for Zhulin and his adultress ways in the years to come.



    Pairs- I thought Miskutienok & Dmitriev should have won based on the performances that night but I was happy with the result. G&G are the better pair and the more worthy team of a 2nd OGM even though M&D are also a great team, and one of the best of all time. Shishkova & Naumov should have won the bronze over Brasseur & Eisler but the judges did not want a Russian sweep.

    Ladies- How could Baiul have won the gold in the short program when she didnt even win the short program. Her short program was a masterpiece but she badly two footed the triple lutz combo and only had two 1st place votes and two 3rd place votes (she also had two 3rd place votes in the long incidentally). I dont think either Kerrigan or Baiul had the best LP. Chen and Sato were both better in that phase. Both had messed up the short so I have no idea of the final results.

    Men- I am not a Stojko fan at all and found him grossly overscored 90% of his career, and his attitude was typical figure skater Canadian (aka attitude sucked, whiny complainer when in fact he was held up in scores most of his career, and has the audacity even while being gifted to complain he is underscored). That said he did deserve the gold that night. Urmanov's spins were awful, his footwork was mediocre, his jumps were very good but he didnt do a triple-triple and stumbled out of the triple flip which puts him behind Elvis, and his choreography was bizarre and not very effective while Elvis had his best program ever. The judges sure made it up to Elvis 5 times over by grossly overscoring him the rest of his carer to made up for Lillehammer though. Elvis in the end is lucky he didnt win here. While for Urmanov the questionable Olympic gold became an albatross and put pressure on him he obviously wasnt ready to handle, and all but ruined the rest of his career.

    Petrenko's LP result? Well I am 100% sure he would have won the LP given his reputation had he skated in the final flight, and had he been 3rd or higher in the short won the gold (IMO his missed triple lutz in the short cost him the gold, as even with a three turn in the combination he would have been placed above Candelero in the short). However not skating in the final flight 4th was fine IMO. I probably would have placed him over Browning, but I can see where the judges were thinking. Browning's Casablanca is a masterpiece, while Petrenko's program while very good, is typical Victor in an artistic sense. Petrenko did not do a triple-triple of any kind, let alone the difficult triple axel-triple toe and triple salchow-triple loop Stojko and Browning did. His program had too many resting spots and lacked speed. He also doubled a triple, and two footed his 2nd triple axel. So not skating in the final flight, 3rd or 4th was fine IMO.

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    From what I have seen Grishuk/Platov, they deserved their olympic gold. They were not just fast, they were also skating close to each other. Even today we are expecting same things from top ice dance couples. This dance choice is really amazing. If they were skating like Torvill and Dean (slow, mostly side by side or open dance holds) I believe judges going to give gold medal to Torvill and Dean. By the way I was 5 years old at the time and now I can only watch event from youtube videos. I remember a interview from coach of Papadakis/Cizeron. They (Papadakis/Cizeron) watched old dances and they are shocked because skaters are not doing hard/difficult moves. I feel same way. I'm trying to watch old performances but almost all free dance performances mostly about posing, open and slow until Grishuk/Platov.

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    Gritschuk & Platov may have skated some of the program close together, but they took 3 different 10 second periods they were nowhere near each other and did steps totally apart. That should have been .3 worth of deductions, which is much more than the .1 T&D were deducted (rightly) for their illegal lift. There were 4 bloc judges, and 5 honest judges.

    Of the 5 honest judges these were the ordinals in the FD:

    Usova & Zhulin- 3 1sts, 2 2nds
    Torvill & Dean- 1 1st, 2 2nds, 2 3rds
    Gritschuk & Platov- 1 1st, 1 2nd, 3 3rds

    Since with the results of the other dances (where T&D were held up in the compulsories and G&P the OD anyway but there is no evidence of bloc judging there so I will let those stand) based on these ordinals excluding the 4 bloc judges the obvious results are: Gold- Usova & Zhulin, Silver- Torvill & Dean, Bronze- Gritschuk & Platov. Unfortunately the cowardly ISU doesnt have the balls to exclude the 4 bloc judges from the results, create new results based on the 5 non bloc judges, and let those stand in place.

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    From what I have seen Grishuk/Platov, they deserved their olympic gold. They were not just fast, they were also skating close to each other.
    Not that close. This wasn't that difficult, it was just fast. In programmes from following years thay showed really great technique, while skating fast at the same time. But not in their Lillehammer FD.

    T/D's programme wasn't an easy one. And their programme during Europeans was even more intricate and more difficult from technical point of view. But still they didn't win that FD. I believe that no matter what they did, they wouldn't have won. The judges didn't want them to win. But I'm still surprised why the Russian Fed supported G/P and not U/Z.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rossig View Post
    Not that close. This wasn't that difficult, it was just fast. In programmes from following years thay showed really great technique, while skating fast at the same time. But not in their Lillehammer FD.

    T/D's programme wasn't an easy one. And their programme during Europeans was even more intricate and more difficult from technical point of view. But still they didn't win that FD. I believe that no matter waht they did, they wouldn't have won.
    I don't know, some of those change of holds looked really tricky to me. Considering our ice dancers still struggling with ''not losing speed in close hold'' Grishuk/Platov looked good, No wonder they are famous with their Tango.

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    I don't know, some of those change of holds looked really tricky to me. Considering our ice dancers still struggling with ''not losing speed in close hold'' Grishuk/Platov looked good to me, No wonder they are famous with their Tango.
    I think they didn't handle speed well in that 1994 dance. That's why it was so clumsy. But as I said I'm not talking about their other dances like their Libertango from 1997. But here we are talking about 1994 Olympics.

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