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Thread: Favorite/Least Favorite Worlds

  1. #1
    In my heart, I'm actually Canadian....
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    Favorite/Least Favorite Worlds

    This was inspired by all the archive-checking I was doing for the "Parallel Podiums" post, which led me to recall some of the past Worlds I have seen over the years (all the way back to Vienna '79, man, do I feel old!).

    I've seen some great Worlds and some not-so-great Worlds over the years, as I'm sure we all have. What would be your favorites and least favorites and why?
    Mine are as follows, by discipline:

    MEN
    FAVORITE: Helsinki '99. Absolutely outstanding quality of skating from just about everyone they showed on TV (the top 12, basically); Timothy Goebel, in his 1st Worlds, was even pulling well-deserved 5.5s for 12th place!! Yagudin came into his own and became the fantastic skater we know today, Plushenko made his presence known by finishing 2nd (despite the fact he was still in his jump jump jump no presentation whatsoever stage; he's come a long way); Weiss was still putting out great programs; Elvis came out of his slump; Honda was terrific; Guo Zhengxhin was spectacular, and Urmanov wasn't bad either.

    LEAST FAVORITE: Geneva '86. Boitano was clean and steady, and that's about all that was needed to come out on top of this splatfest. Orser and Sabovcik both went down, and Fadajev was downright horrible. (And still drew 5.9s from the Soviet judge, later suspended -- and, incidentally, still judging today)

    LADIES
    FAVORITE: Cincinnati '87. Kwan vs. Chen in '96 was spectacular, but for overall quality of skating, IMO this was the best I've ever seen. Debi Thomas put on her best long program in over a year and Witt responded with one of her best; one of my all-time favorites, Caryn Kadavy, won the bronze with a beautiful performance to the terrific "Concierto de Aranjuez"; Elizabeth Manley showed the world what was yet to come in 4th place, Jill Trenary made a very solid Worlds debut, and a little lady named Midori Ito made a big impression from 11th place to finish 8th. Even Claudia Leistner and Kira Ivanova, never known as being skaters to exactly excite anyone, skated very nice performances. Ivanova especially showed a lot of improvement in her presentation.

    LEAST FAVORITE: Copenhagen '82. By a MILE. Yes, Elaine Zayak won the gold from 7th place. A lesser-known fact is that Katarina Witt won the silver from 10th place. Obviously, in order for this type of thing to happen, especially back in those days, there had to be A LOT of disasters taking place among the 6 to 9 ladies above them, and believe me, there were. The free skate MUST have set some sort of record for most falls; Kristina Wegelius, the leader going into the freeskate, didn't land one single thing and most of the rest of the field wasn't much better. Witt, despite her silver medal showing, 2-footed most of her jumps (but did stay on her feet) and that was good enough to move up as much as she did.

    PAIRS
    FAVORITE: Vancouver '01. In retrospect, I would have to say that Bereznaja & Sikharulidze probably should have won this. But I give the nod to this final since I was actually there in the arena when Sale & Pelletier won and the energy in that building when it was confirmed that they had won was one of the most incredible feelings I've ever experienced; I too was bawling my head off while they played "O Canada" for the winners. Despite some great stuff the rest of the week, nothing else even came close to that experience for me, not even Kwan winning #4. Plus, many experts consider the overall quality of Pairs skating at this Worlds to be some of the best ever. I would not disagree.

    LEAST FAVORITE: Lausanne '97. This was the Worlds where Bereznaja & Sikharulidze were in 3rd after the SP and had an absolutely hideous meltdown to finish 9th. Beyond that, the overall quality of skating was just mediocre. Woetzel & Steuer and Eltsova & Bushkov were just dull; Kazakova & Dmitriev were only a little better, Meno & Sand were a bit of a mess. Ina & Dungjien were actually quite good and IMO should have been on the podium, considering what they were skating against.

    DANCE
    FAVORITE: Helsinki '83. This was the Worlds where I truly discovered Ice Dancing. And what did it was Torvill & Dean's "Barnum", which was one of the most incredible things I'd ever seen at that point. They really displayed the possibilities of great ice dancing with this one. (I was never a fan of "Mack and Mabel") And Blumberg & Seibert, who at that point were the only dance team I liked, won the first of their 3 World Bronzes.

    LEAST FAVORITE: Prague '93. I don't blame the skaters or the judging for this one; this one was so bad IMO due to a huge list of new free dance regulations the ISU had imposed the previous summer, to rein in any potential Duchesnay-type dances. The couples were seemingly not allowed to do ANYTHING even remotely interesting; every dance was like a really boring set pattern, and some of them were downright cheesy and/or tacky. '95 wasn't much better (I missed '94), but at least in '95 Shae-Lynn & Victor had arrived to liven things up.

    OVERALL:
    FAVORITE: Vancouver '01. If it's the only one I've attended in person, naturally that's gonna get the nod! Especially if it's in one of the most beautiful and fun cities in the world!
    LEAST FAVORITE: Oakland '92. This was actually almost the first one I went to in person; I was glad I saved my money. Weird results, subpar skating, and the standard post-Olympic ennui.... :(

  2. #2
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    Well, I've only been watching Worlds since 1994. But, I have been lucky enough to get tapes of the 91-93 World competitions. So, I guess I'll judge my favorites/least favorites based on the 1991-2004 period.

    MEN
    Favorite: Dortmund, 2004 - I found myself almost getting into the men's event more than the ladies! Dortmund was another one of those competitions (like Helsinki in 99) where so many of the skaters had tremendous performances. Plushenko silenced his detractors with a brilliant SP and a steady LP. Joubert came knockingly loudly at the door and was also extremely impressive. Lindeman, Lambiel and Weir also were spectacular. I can't wait for 2006!

    Honorable Mentions: 1996, 1999 & 2001

    Least Favorite (A tie): 1994, Chiba; 2000, Nice - Elvis and Philippe were pretty much the only highlights of a lackluster men's event in 1994. And, in 2000, Alexei skated a flawed "Tosca" to win over a shaky field.

    LADIES
    Favorite: Vancouver, 2001 - Michelle, Irina and Sarah all put it together and skated so well. I was so proud to see Michelle step up and deliver after a relatively poor (for her) season. I honestly didn't think she had a snowball's chance in hell of pulling this one out.....and she did. I learned never to under estimate her after this event. Sarah also handled the pressure extremely well and positioned herself exactly where she needed to be heading into the Olympic year. The pressure wasn't squarely on her shoulders, but she was on the podium and thus was no "new comer" in the judges' eyes.

    Honorable Mentions: 1991, 1996 (Chen vs. Kwan), 1997, & 2003

    Least Favorite: Minneapolis, 1998 - Michelle made mistakes and "Lyra Angelica" wasn't as magical as it had been earlier in the season. I also didn't agree with many of the placements in this competition. I felt Maria Butirskaya should have won the silver. She (in my opinion) outskated an unpolished, eratic Slutskaya. Tonia Kwiatkowski should have been higher than 6th place in the LP. And, it was sort of a let down after Nagano. I was bummed that Tara didn't show up to defend her World title. I also was bummed that Tanja Szewczenko (sp?) had such a poor showing....she was always one of my faves and I hated to see her go out like she did.

  3. #3
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    Favourite worlds:

    2004 - because of really great skating, especially in ladies and men´s event!

    Least favourite worlds:

    1998 - a huge splatfest...

    Marjaana

    Ilia Kulik photos & photolinks
    http://koti.welho.com/mjylha2/index.html
    Update June 14, 2004: http://koti.welho.com/mjylha2/index07i.html

  4. #4
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Good summer retrospective! thanks!

    I totally agree that the worst Worlds I ever saw (and I went to it, worse luck for me, was Oakland '92.) There were very, very few bright spots. Kristi winning ladies as the last one standing. . Practices by Candeloro, whom I had never seen before, doing HUGE jumps with kind of sloppy landings in a fur suit to Conan the Barbarian. K&P in dance. That was about it.

    However my favorite overall worlds didn't even make your list! That would be '84, Ottawa. Here's why: In men's Orser, Beacom, and Scott Hamilton all gave great performances. Katerina Witt won in ladies, and Elaine Zayak finished 3rd, both skating well. In pairs, Underhill and Martini put together the performance they should have had in the Olympics to win the gold, and since you've been in Canada when Canadians won, you know what being in that arena was like. Best of all dance, when T&D won, skating Bolero in the LP and their absolutely wonderful Paso Doble in the OSP. A strong 2nd place to 2003 Worlds-really great skating in the ladies. all time performance by S&Z in pairs.
    men's-not the best Plush, but very good, and Tim Goebel's best ever for silver.
    dance B&K finally win, good performance by N&K, B&A. However, I wasn't crazy about this event.

    MENS

    Best probably 1996. Tod winning his only gold. Ilia Kulik skating his Aladdin program. Rudi skating the most innovative program as Baron Rothbart in Swan Lake. Sad I was not there.

    Worst 1992 Oakland. The worst programs I have ever ever seen from Kurt Browning. All the men with any speed or size of jumps crashed and burned.

    LADIES

    Best-I have a hard time with Ladies. Both Michelle vs. Lu Chen in 1996 and Midori's 1989 win in Paris were amazing skating, at a level not seen since, too, This year's Ladies' worlds had some great, great skating too. If I had been there personally, I might have put it in first.
    PAIRS
    Worst-agree with you-Lausanne '97.
    Best-1987 Cinncinnati. Gordeeva and Grinkov win it, skating perfectly. I believe V&V were second. Watson and Oppegard do an absolutely terrific Firebird to finish 3rd.

    For some reason, the pair's events that stick most in my head are Olympics. The best skating in a pairs event that I have ever seen has to be 2002 Olympics. The top 5 pairs all skated great LP's and totally perfect SP's

    DANCE
    Without doubt, 1984, Ottawa. Not only wonderful performances by T&D. The debut year of K&P finishing 4th (vs. their bronze at Olympics) Blumberg and Siebert doing a great program to finish 3rd. B&B doing what is my favorite program of theirs to finish 2nd. A very, very good dance card.

    Worst, yours was definitely bad, but '92 Oakland was way up there. Everyone was doing atonal, truly unpleasant music. About the only memorable (in a positive way) program was K&P. And R&K in the OSP, which I think was polka, and which I have hated ever since. Your just don't want to watch 30 odd polkas in a row.
    Last edited by dorispulaski; 07-07-2004 at 09:35 PM.

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    I have been watching FS only since 1988.

    Overall:

    Most favorite: 1989

    Three skaters won the worlds for the first time in their career. Midori Ito's triple axel and the rest of her skate were awesome. Kurt Browning won his first world title. Klimova-Ponomarenko won their first world title with five 6.0's in the FD. Gordeeva-Grinkov's LP was one of the best pairs LP I have ever seen. Kristi Yamaguchi served notice that she is someone to watch out for. It was also Usova-Zhulin's first worlds and they were awesome in their silver medal program.

    Least favorite: 2001 (this was the only one I saw in person).

    I thought B&S should have won this one, but the crowd was the 10th judge. Judging in mens event was not good either, with Yagudin winning the silver after subpar performances (granted he was injured, but he did skate poorly and the judges ignored it). Plushenko's win was well deserved, however. In ice dance FP&M won over A&P. It was a close decision and many disagreed with it. However, it was disheartening to me to see many fans walk out of the arena before the italian national anthem was played. I thought it was rude. Only the ladies event was really good. The right lady (Michelle) won.

  6. #6
    In my heart, I'm actually Canadian....
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    Quote Originally Posted by BronzeisGolden

    Least Favorite: Minneapolis, 1998 - Michelle made mistakes and "Lyra Angelica" wasn't as magical as it had been earlier in the season. I also didn't agree with many of the placements in this competition. I felt Maria Butirskaya should have won the silver. She (in my opinion) outskated an unpolished, eratic Slutskaya. Tonia Kwiatkowski should have been higher than 6th place in the LP. And, it was sort of a let down after Nagano. I was bummed that Tara didn't show up to defend her World title. I also was bummed that Tanja Szewczenko (sp?) had such a poor showing....she was always one of my faves and I hated to see her go out like she did.

    ITA agree with every word of that, especially about Tonia K. and Maria. Minneapolis would be my least favorite, too, had I not had to sit through the horrors of Copenhagen!!

  7. #7
    Keeper of Michelle's Nose berthes ghost's Avatar
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    I've only been to one worlds live (04 Dortmund) and it's probably the worst ever live skating events I've been to: The town was a cess pool, the arena a cow barn, the security lax, the food awful and the judging very suspicious. Perhaps I'm just bitter: with all of those 6.0s they were tossing out like candy, I failed to catch one as a momento.

    95 and 96 stand out as possible favorites. I was very excited about them back when. Lulu, Todd vs Elvis, R&K and K&O, the Sands. Except for maybe 96 ladies, I don't think that I would change any of the podium results.

  8. #8
    Gotta Have Music iluvtodd's Avatar
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    Favorite - 1996 - especially for Todd & Michelle! I loved the ladies' final. The top four men were great!!! I was thrilled that Elvis skated so well in the free skate (especially after what happened in his short program). My all-time favorite figure skating moment was (& still is) when Todd put his gold medal on his mom & hugged both of his parents.

    Least Favorite - probably 1993 - a disaster for the US ladies, IIRC But I was very happy for Brasseur & Eisler - World Champions, finally!!!
    Last edited by iluvtodd; 07-06-2004 at 05:34 AM.

  9. #9
    Keeper of Michelle's Nose berthes ghost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iluvtodd
    Least Favorite - probably 1993 - a disaster for the US ladies, IIRC
    93 was a disaster for the entire US skating team. Definately one of our worst worlds ever in terms of results. Zero medals and one of the smallest teams ever sent to 94 Olys: Dance only got one team, Mens and Ladies only 2 skaters each. Only Pairs held on to get 3 teams, but that was mostly luck. Poor Nancy seems to bear the brunt of most of this, with some still not "forgiving" her. In fact, she had the highest finish of all the US champs from 93 nats. (Kerrigan 5th, Davis 6th, U&M 8th, R&S 11th. Ouch!)

  10. #10
    In my heart, I'm actually Canadian....
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    Quote Originally Posted by DORISPULASKI
    Good summer retrospective! thanks!


    However my favorite overall worlds didn't even make your list! That would be '84, Ottawa. Here's why: In men's Orser, Beacom, and Scott Hamilton all gave great performances. Katerina Witt won in ladies, and Elaine Zayak finished 3rd, both skating well. In pairs, Underhill and Martini put together the performance they should have had in the Olympics to win the gold, and since you've been in Canada when Canadians won, you know what being in that arena was like. Best of all dance, when T&D won, skating Bolero in the LP and their absolutely wonderful Paso Doble in the OSP. .
    Ottawa WAS an excellent Worlds, especially given that it was an Olympic year. It's definitely a close 2nd for me in Pairs, due to Underhill & Martini's win. Ironically, I said for 17 years that I would have loved to have been in the arena to have experienced that -- so I think that made Sale & Pelletier's '01 win even more special for me. And I do remember that the Canadian team as a whole placed INCREDIBLY well in all 4 disciplines; It would have been nice to see that in Vancouver, I will admit; I think overall the Canadian team showing was a bit disappointing. (Seeing some 6s would have been nice, too, but I think the lack of them had more to do with skating order -- seems all the people who would or should have pulled them skated like 1st or 2nd in their group so the judges wouldn't throw them out that early).

    Ladies in Ottawa was good as well; I was glad to see Kondrashova make the podium for what turned out to be the only time in her career, and even gladder to see Zayak edge out Ivanova (whose Olympic bronze remains a total mystery) for the bronze. And I also remember looking at the results and saying, "Who is this Midori Ito and how can she be 4th in the short and 4th in the long and we've never heard of her?" Dance was anti-climactic for me, though, after Sarajevo. It was great to see T & D's (supposed) last dance there, but I was still bitter about Blumberg & Seibert not making the podium in Sarajevo; I found it ironic that they gave a flawed version of their brilliant "Scheherezade" in Ottawa and got the bronze there, but their absolutely mesmerizing version of it in Sarajevo only got them 4th.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonnyCoop
    DANCE
    LEAST FAVORITE: Prague '93. I don't blame the skaters or the judging for this one; this one was so bad IMO due to a huge list of new free dance regulations the ISU had imposed the previous summer, to rein in any potential Duchesnay-type dances. The couples were seemingly not allowed to do ANYTHING even remotely interesting; every dance was like a really boring set pattern, and some of them were downright cheesy and/or tacky. '95 wasn't much better (I missed '94), but at least in '95 Shae-Lynn & Victor had arrived to liven things up.
    I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with you on this one. I would go with either Oakland '92 or Vancouver '01. Although K/P were flawless with their Bach FD (and this was after winning the Olympics), both U/Z and G/P won silver and bronze despite making mistakes (U/Z tripped and slid into the boards, while G/P missed a connection). Vancouver ranks up there if only because F-P/M won with their horrid Romeo & Juliet FD. I do understand your point about the uninteresting FDs in Prague, especially that of Krylova/Federov who won bronze with their old-fashioned Cha-Cha/Tango combination (Sandra Bezic actually said in her commentary that theirs was a program you would have seen in the 70s!!!) over Rahkamo/Kokko's wonderful Valse Triste FD. Just a few weeks before Worlds, R/K won bronze over K/F at Europeans!!!! However, U/Z won with one of my all-time favorite programs, Blues for Klook. JMOHO.

    Herm (sk8ngnutt)

  12. #12
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    Hmmm. Lots of choices. Dance-I'd have to say my favourite was 2000 Nice. A&P had their incredible Carmina Burana. D&V had their stunning Spente Le Stelle, and I also thoroughly enjoyed FP&M's Braveheart Lord of the Dance. (The only FD of theirs I really liked.) Because of the absence of B&K, I was happy I didn't have to hear "They was robbed" again.

    Worst dance? It's a toss up between 2002 and 2003. I don't think anyone had really great programs in 02. The only one I somewhat liked, by D&V was somehow surpassed by C&S. I still don't get that one. 2003, I thought the teams that finished 3 and 4 should have finished ahead of 1 and 2. D&S and N&K had better programs than B&K, and most definitely L&A.

    Ladies-best was 96, Kwan vs Chen. If ever there should have been two gold medals given out, this was it. I'm drawing blanks on so many ladies events, since it's my least favourite discipline. I can't seem to even remember anything about the not so good ones.

    Men's-I liked 93. Kurt with his Casablanca, and Elvis getting on the podium for the first time. Worst-2000. It doesn't say much when Yagudin's showing was the best of the night.

    Pairs-I'll go with 93. It was great to see B&E finally get that world title. Honourable mentions to 91 and 2001. Worst-from the ones I remember, 1996. it was a really lackluster year. The only really good performance was by Meno&Sand. Everyone else was mediocre at best.

  13. #13
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    Interesting thread! There are some things I haven't seen (like most of 98 Worlds), but out of what I have:

    Ladies -
    Favourite:
    This is a toughie. While Michelle v Lulu in 1996 was amazing, I'd have to go with either 2000, 2001 or 2003. 2003 was fascinating. 2001 and 2000 had some great programmes and some great performances (e.g. Michelle, Irina, Maria and Vanessa G in 2000, Michelle, Irina and Maria in 2001, not to mention Sarah skating great in 2001 too).
    Least favourite:
    Maybe 1993 or 1994. Or that might just be because I haven't watched them much.

    Mens -
    Favourite:
    2004!! Incredible, especially the last group. Plushenko was great, Lambiel was amazing, Joubert and Lindemann were good too, Weir was flawless... Not to mention that earlier in the night, Kevin van der Perren had landed the 3axel and given the performance of his life.
    Least favourite:
    Not sure. I can't remember much of the worlds before about 99, apart from a few performances, so can't really judge properly. Although 2000 was a bit of a splatfest, I quite liked some of the eprogrammes (e.g. Weiss's and Plushenko's LPs, Yagudin's SP).

    Dance -
    Favourite:
    Maybe 2003, although I haven't been as into dance as I used to be (since T&D). Though 2004 was quite good too (esp. Kerrs, Faiella & Scali, Chait & Sakhnovski, Denkova & Staviyski). Actually - I'd maybe say 2000. Loved A&P's and F-P&M's FDs, and IIRC also liked D&V's.
    Least favourite:
    1994 maybe, G&P winning with a major splat and also a noticeable wobble in their FD. And although there were some good programmes, most of them were probably performed better at either Euros or Olympics that year.

    Pairs -
    Favourite:
    Possibly 2001, with great performances by B&S and S&P. There have been some amazing performances given over the years (such as S&Z in 99 and 03 and 04), but the rest of the competition hasn't really been as good. The best competitions were probably at the Olympics though (e.g. 1994).
    Least favourite:
    94-97 weren't really that stand-out to me (though I've only seen the top 4 or so LPs, and havent' watched them that often).

  14. #14
    Tripping on the Podium
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    Well considering I have only been able to experience watching worlds handily since 1991 here are mine.

    MEN (FAVORITE) - 1996, so many men put together arguably the best performances of their life. Eldredge, Galindo, Stojko, Kulik all put on magnicificent performances in the LP. Wonderful clean perfect performances.

    WOMEN (FAVORITE) - 1997, because of the performances that I enjoyed to watch by Kwan, Slutskaya, Lipinski in the LP, but then I think of the 1996 between Chen/Kwan, but that was just those two people that made that womens LP so great.

    MEN (LEAST FAVORITE) - 2000, I think this worlds was a mess, not one skater was clean, I was highly disappointed with the outcome of this world championships.

    WOMEN (LEAST FAVORITE) - 1992, Yamaguchi was the only person who actually stayed up right in the entire competition. I never have witnessed such a splat fest...*smh*

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