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Thread: ** Flashback ** 1989 World Championships

  1. #1
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    ** Flashback ** 1989 World Championships

    Here we go again - I viewed my videotapes from the CBS-TV coverage of the 1989 World Figure Skating Championships, which were held in Paris. It was a grand, glorious, and memorable competition.

    Without a doubt, one of the highlights was the gold-medal performance of Japan's Midori Ito, who became the first woman to land the triple axel at the Worlds and also became the first Japanese woman to win the World title. Midori had always been a dynamic, if somewhat less than artistic, free skater, but she was always held back by her relatively weak execution of the school figures, which then comprised 30 percent of the overall score. Midori skated the best figures of her life and finished sixth in that phase of the competition. She then went on to win, convincingly, both the short and long programs, and she won the World title over Claudia Leistner of West Germany and Jill Trenary of the United States. Midori's technical marks were five 6.0s and four 5.9s. Scott Hamilton, commentating, practically screamed (as did the audience) when those marks were displayed. They were richly deserved. Midori had landed seven triples - the lutz, axel, flip, loop, triple toe/triple toe, and salchow - each one perfectly executed, and her artistic presentation was greatly improved. Ito was so overjoyed with her performance that she left the ice in tears. The "Jumping Flea" reigned in Paris.

    In contrast, Leistner and Trenary skated cautious programs with several errors.
    Certainly, they deserved their medals, but they were not in Ito's class. Jill said later that she had been very nervous throughout the competition. She and Ito shared the ice during practices, and Jill had been psyched out by watching Ito land triple after triple.

    The 1989 Worlds was also the competition in which Canada's Kurt Browning won the first of his four World titles. He finished fifth in the school figures and won both the short and long programs - very convincingly. In those days, a skater could repeat the triple axel in the short program, and Kurt landed two of them, one solo, the other in combination. His long program featured a slightly two-footed quad toe, a fallout on one triple axel, but a series of beautifully landed triples, including a second triple axel in combination. Browning had grown as an artistic skater, and his presentation marks were high - not as high as his excellent technical marks - but very high.

    When Kurt was asked what he was feeling, after he knew that he had won, he said, "I don't feel anything yet. I've been sitting here thinking of all the things that happen to World champions, and now they're going to happen to me." Kurt said that almost ruefully, as though he anticipated that winning the World title would carry a great deal of responsibility as well as adulation.

    Christopher Bowman, the newly-crowned US men's champion, won the silver medal with a strong long program that included a fallout in the triple axel and no triple axel in his short program. The bronze was won by Gregorz Filipowski of Poland, a wonderful journeyman competitor who had previously always made just enough mistakes to miss the podium. Not this time. He actually finished ahead of Bowman in the freeskate, and that fine performance won him the bronze medal.

    As always, I was mesmerized at the performances of Katia Gordeeva and Sergi Grinkov of the USSR, who regained their World title. Unbenownst to many, Katia and Sergi's romance had begun shortly before that Worlds, and their closeness was evident in their wonderful short and long programs.

    The performances, overall, showed a great deal of imagination and artistry, and especially in the singles skaters, who at that time had to spend a considerable amount of their training time tracing the school figures. While there were many jumps - primarily triples - the programs were musical and showed a lot of thought and creativity.

    Marina Klimova and Sergei Ponomarenko of the Soviet Union won their first World title in Paris. They were elegant and musical, as always.

  2. #2
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    '89 Worlds was great for Midori, but she really had her best free skate in 1990 when she lost to Jill b/c of figures. In 1990, her triple axel was better than the 1989 one and her program was better.

    I'll remember '89 for the debut of Usova and Zhulin. I thought their Mars/Chopin program was one of the finest ice dance programs of all time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by soogar
    '89 Worlds was great for Midori, but she really had her best free skate in 1990 when she lost to Jill b/c of figures. In 1990, her triple axel was better than the 1989 one and her program was better.

    I'll remember '89 for the debut of Usova and Zhulin. I thought their Mars/Chopin program was one of the finest ice dance programs of all time.

    ITA on both. Midori's Scheherazade LP in 1990 is one of my most favorite LP's of all time. Her triple axel would have made a male skater proud. Scott Hamilton said at one point- it will be 50 years before we see anyone like Midori Ito again. Still, her performance in 1989 was one for the ages.

    I loved Usova & Zhulin's magical skate to Mars & Chopin. I heard that at the Europeans they received a 6.0 for it. I had seen them skate live in Sun Valley, Idaho, just previous summer when they were virtual unknowns.

    Vash

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    Thanks for doing this!

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    Nice recap!!

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    Keeper of Michelle's Nose berthes ghost's Avatar
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    Funny that Fadeev decided to give it one last chance. Did CBS show him? How did he skate?

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    Unfortunately Fadeev had a horrible skate at '89 Worlds. However his LP in '89 Europeans was fantastic (he skated to Night on Bald Mountain in a white costume with red accents). I think Fadeev could have done so much more. He was such a tight little jumper and he was really good at compulsory figures.

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    Aah 1989. One of my favourite Worlds!
    I actually prefer Midori's '89 program to '90 Worlds. The music in '89 suited her so well and the excitement over the triple axel was amazing. Yes it was better in Halifax a year later but she doubled her sal in that skate. IMO Midori's best ever performance came later in 1989 at NHK. Every jump was so clean and secure. She was at the height of her powers and scored a six in both tech and artistry from one judge - extremely rare.

    I loved Kurt and Bowman but my highlight was Filipowski finally getting a World medal after 9 years in World Championships!!!

    Pairs was a bit blah apart from the ever wonderful G&G, Cindy Landry and Lyndon Johnston getting silver after only being together for 9 months or so, and my first look at Kristi and Rudy.

    Dance was a love inn for the Duchesnays' obviously but at the expense of some better manners to their competitors. Didn't enjoy this competition much.

    The other ladies well Kristi doing so well and landing a triple sal !! Surya making her debut etc etc. Overall a wonderful Worlds and as it came right after the exodus of so many major stars of the sport in '88, I think it came up trumps and we saw real technical development!

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    I LOVED Gregorz Filipowski's skate to Warsaw concerto (appropriate choice of music too). He was so excited at the end, it was endearing.

    Vash

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    While Midori Ito's triple axel was better landed at the 1990 Worlds, I thought her 1989 programs were skated with more artistry, and had more impact. The first triple axel was one of those "skating greatest moments", and it was electric.
    I remember hearing a broadcast in Japanese of that performance. The two commentators - a man and a woman - were both practically screaming when Midori landed the triple axel. Sort of like "That's one giant leap for womankind."
    Bravo, Midori!!

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    Revolution

    The 1989 World Championship was a watershed for women's skating. Throughout the 80s, most women only attempted 4 triple programs with a 3loop or 3flip as their hardest jump. When Midori Ito skated her electrifying program and landed the 3axel for the first time, she changed the whole equation for women. Several people have mentioned the early 1990's as an extremely important time in women's skating due to the dramatic increase in technical content with 3axels, 3lutzes, 3/3 combinations and 7-triple programs. I think the driving force behind this change was Midori Ito's 1989 Worlds win.
    Last edited by Ogre Mage; 07-12-2004 at 08:17 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ogre Mage
    The 1989 World Championship was a watershed for women's skating. Throughout the 80s, most women only attempted 4 triple programs with a 3loop or 3flip as their hardest jump. When Midori Ito skated her electrifying program and landed the 3axel for the first time, she changed the whole equation for women. Several people have mentioned the early 1990's as an extremely important time in women's skating due to the dramatic increase in technical content with 3axels, 3lutzes, 3/3 combinations and 7-triple programs. I think the driving force behind this change was Midori Ito's 1989 Worlds win.
    You're referring to American skater Elaine Zayak, I assume. She was the first woman skater to complete multiple triple jumps. In the early 1980's Elaine won the 1981 US and 1982 World titles with long programs jammed-packed with triples. Typically, she landed six of seven triples, while the rest of the women landed two or three triples. After the 1982 Worlds, in which Elaine jumped from seventh place after the school figures and short program, to win the World title, the ISU instituted a rule - which became known as the "Zayak Rule" whereby a skater could repeat a triple jump only one time, and the jump had to be landed as a combination jump. Zayak's long programs included four triple toes and three triple salchows. The "Zayak Rule" took away much of Elaine's competitive edge, as jumping was her forte.

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    At '84 Worlds Elaine landed 2 triple toes, a triple toe walley ( not sure on the ruling here as today that would be regarded as 3 triple toes) a 3sal and a 3r as well as lots of double axels. The only woman to out jump Elaine in this competition was Midori Ito who at 14 landed everything bar her 3z, including 3t/3t.

    Although the rule may have hurt Elaine to some extent, she was clearly still holding her own technically against almost everyone. But Midori was in her first Worlds and if possible actually worse at figures than Elaine so therefore no threat.

    Zayaks inconsistency at compulsory figures was much more to blame for her chequered results post '82 than the Zayak rule IMO. Her coach Peter Burrows actually stated that her foot injury from being run over by a lawn mower aged 2 made figures especially hard for her.

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    Quote Originally Posted by floskate
    Zayaks inconsistency at compulsory figures was much more to blame for her chequered results post '82 than the Zayak rule IMO. Her coach Peter Burrows actually stated that her foot injury from being run over by a lawn mower aged 2 made figures especially hard for her.
    Good point. I remember reading that Zayak's foot injury - she lost several toes in the lawn mower accident - prevented her from achieving the balance she needed to skate strong, consistent school figures. She was 13th in the school figures at the 1984 Winter Olympics, which left her with no realistic chance to medal. She did win a bronze medal at the 1984 Worlds in Ottawa, which made a nice ending to that difficult competitive year.

    I also remember that some critics sniped at Zayak's background - her father owned/managed a bar in Paramus, New Jersey. Some of the figure skating snobs considered that background less than worthy of a US champion.
    For Pete's sake, give me a break.

    Some of the same critics sniped at Tonya Harding's "trailer park" background, but of course, Tonya gave them a lot more to gripe about, as we all know!

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    Crazy Armchair Fan/Resident Nerd
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    Midori's LP music

    I was watching Midori's '89 LP on the home computer--does anyone out there know what the music to it is?

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