What is the best Olympic gold medal performance by a male singles skater?
John Curry (1976)
Robin Cousins (1980)
Brian Boitano (1988)
Ilia Kulik (1998)
Alexei Yagudin (2002)
What is the best Olympic gold medal performance by a male singles skater?
That's a real tough one as Brian. Ilia and Alexei had great skates. Brian and Ilia had the skates of their lives while Alexei held back a little technically in his performance. I chose Alexei b/c his performance was the perfect blend of athleticism and theater. It was so cool when he made the hangman's noose in the middle of his program and other little details like that. I'm not into John Curry's style at all. I thought his program was overrated.
I do remember the thrill of Brian's skate and what made it even more thrilling was how close the win was. Plush wasn't breathing down Alexei's neck the way Brian O was to BB. I think there was more of a thrill in BB's program.
Ilia's program was underrated. I wonder if the costume ( I liked the darn thing!) kept that program from being as beloved as BB's and Alexei's. Also Ilia seemed more detached in his performance. It was technically perfect but not a lot of fire. Just a very controlled performance.
Tho Yagudin was fabulous in 02 (and also gave one of the smartest performances I have ever seen, not throwing in unnecessary technical content when he knew it wasn't needed), I can't think of any better OGM winning men's performance than Boitano's in '88. And this is coming from someone who wasn't much of a fan of his either then or now. Absolutely brilliant from start to finish.
JonnyCoop, I almost agree with you word for word. Yagudin was fantastic...but I don't think it was his best program or performance. Ilia was brilliant as well with a wonderful package that was head and shoulders above the rest of the field in Nagano. But....Soogar was right, there was something lacking in his performance. It was a stellar performance and I loved it, but when compared to other Olympic performances there does seem to be a lack of great excitement or "fire". Brian Boitano gave what had to be his greatest peformance just when he needed it most...and it showed. There was so much excitement and power in his skating and it was a grand moment.
- Brian Boitano and Ilia Kulik , if I could have, I would have chosen them both!!!Those performances are really outstanding compared to the rest of the skaters on the list. Ilia and Brian B went absolutely all out, there was no holding back or playing it safe! Such courageous and strong Olympic performances as the freeskates of Ilia and Brian B are on a level of their own, and really awesomel to watch!!!
Ilia was rocking in his performances, the footwork, he was enjoying so much and showing it... I would say that one has to remember the kind of music he skated to (Rhapsody in Blue)! It was not any dramatic or emotional music, and as the music gave the possibility for "rocking" (footwork), Ilia did exactly that. In my opinion Ilia gave a perfect interpretation of his music!!!
- John Curry, my first big favourite in men´s discipline... His Olympic programme was not comparable to his earlier beautiful freeskates. It was though a beautiful performance! He deserved to win.
- Robin Cousins, my second big favourite. Great artistic performance, but he had at least one mistake. He deserved to win, in my opinion. I liked his earlier freeskates more.
- Alexei Urmanov, definetely deserved to win, but I did not like his programme so much. He had one mistake.
- Alexei Yagudin, definetely deserved to win, there is no question about that. In my opinion not at all an exciting performance as he was hesitant and very much playing it safe. If he had skated the way he did in following Worlds, I would have put him on the same level with Ilia and Brian B. Here it though was a question of Olympic performances and one should vote according to that...
Last edited by Jaana; 07-18-2004 at 07:08 AM.
Wow, this is close between Boitano, Kulik and Yags!!! I always admired John Curry and Robin Cousins for their artistry, but I can hardly remember their Olympic performances, wheras the memories of the first three mentioned are quite vivid.
Boitano had the skate of his life, couldn't stand his style before and was overwhelmed about the way he'd changed. I was rooting for Orser before the LP and became almost a Boitano fan after that. It was such an emotional, dramatic competition between those two, guess I won't forget it for the rest of my life.
I was hoping for Kulik before Nagano and my dream became true. Actually everyone would have been okay for me as long it wasn't Stojko
(or Eldredge) . It was a great, technical AND artistical performance, despite the costume, but, as it has been said before, something was missing. After Candeloro skated I knew what it was: Emotion. Too Cool-ik?
Even though I've seen better programs and performances from him, Yags' Olympic one was outstanding and fantastic, almost "majestic". But it's true he skated without his usual emotion and passion. He was so much under control (at least during his skate, LOL!) then, though one could sense the pressure with every step he did and what this competition meant to him. Do everything, but do not make a mistake! But still thrilling and enough to be one of the best male Olympic performances ever!
Since I'm biased, I've chosen Yags.
Before using terms like "not holding back" (Boitano/Kulik) or "playing it safe" (Yagudin) I think one should consider the situation before. If I remember it right, Boitano and Kulik were skating first or at least before their main
rival(s) in a close competition after the SP. They simply couldn't afford to "play it safe"! Who knows if they'd have delievered exactly the same performance skating last or after their main competitors?
Completly different thing with Yags: Skating last, with Plushenko already being "out" (fourth) after the SP and no other real serious contender for Gold behind him he simply didn't need it! He knew exactly what he had to do and he did! To be more concrete: He'd have been stupid not to act like this. However - to me still a huge accomplishment and a magical performance. And I'm convinced he'd have fought like hell and given it all with a different starting order and Plushenko being among the Top 3 after the Short.
Anke (Master of editing)
Last edited by Germanice; 07-18-2004 at 08:11 AM.
I am a huge Yags fan. And I loved his performance, and his usual style and beautiful artistry WAS there. And the emotion afterwards, wow. But I voted Kulik. Not a single slip, bobble, miss, nothing. Just all out beautiful perfection. Boitano was close to that too, but I just preferred Kulik better!
Tough one between Boitano, Kulik and Yagudin but I'll go with Yagudin. I wouldn't say Yagudin's Olympics LP was his personal best performance and this is already saying alot considering how magnificent he was LOL but since we are not choosing from his past performances and we are choosing "Olympic performances", my vote will go for him.
Boitano skated terrifically and there was the excitement of the close competition. Kulik had a gorgeous program and to give the performance of his life during Olympics is memorable (look at Sarah Hughes). Boitano, though, I see him as a technical skater, so the sense of performance isn't there for me. And Kulik, I agree with everyone who says he seemed a little detached. You don't need to be dramatic or emotional a la Yagudin to show that you're "living" the program, but IMO there is a big difference between interpreting the music (in that case Rhapsody in Blue) and looking like you're just going through the motions. There was "something" missing.
IMO Yagudin had without a doubt the best combination of technical and presentation (that Boitano didn't have) and although generally it is said he "played it safe" it was still so more exciting than Kulik.
Anke, I agree with everything you said in your PS about the "holding back" and "playing it safe". I have no doubts that if the competition was closer, we'd probably see a different performance from Yagudin and we never know what would happen if Kulik or Boitano skated last for example. But this is going by the "what if" route anyway. Maybe Yagudin was a little "calmer" than he usual is (although I remember a fist pump or something like that before the straightline footwork LOL) but curiously, I remember reading opinions of people who loved his Olympics LP exactly because of the "middle approach" - not too wild, not too cool.
Things put in perpective, it was the performance of the night and although smart (which is not bad, only good LOL), still very strong and so secure. A "safe" technical level included two quads (and a 4-3-2) and 6 triples and personally, it was a memorable performance and it will be so for a long, long time
Last edited by RIskatingfan; 07-18-2004 at 12:37 PM.
I voted for Kulik, but it could easily have been Boitano or Yagudin. Yagudin had the technically most difficult program. I thought Boitano had the most emotional program. His reaction after the skate is etched in my memory. I remember Kulik's program as technical perfection, but as Scott commented after his skate, "20 years old....he still skates young!" It still was an amazing performance. He was the first in his group to skate, so he had to go for it. As it turned out, no one else came even close. Boitano had a tough competiton and a very close result- almost a tie.
Yagudin had the easiest task, IMO because his main competition - Plushenko- was in 4th place after the SP. There was no way Tim Goebel was going to beat Yagudin in his artistry. Honda had a track record of inconsistency. Before Yagudin even took the ice, he must have known that he could win even with an average performance for him. He did all the technically difficult things but the program did not really touch me the way his programs in the past did- Lawrence of Arabia (1999) or Gladiator (throughout the 2000-2001 season). I am sure he was skating not to lose but to his credit he did not hold back on the jumps. To me, 6.0's were way too high for that performance. Still it was a very worthy performance.
I have to apologize for not including other mens Olympic gold medallists in this poll (Urmanov 94, Petrenko 92, Hamilton 84). I agreed with the results, and I have always defended Urmanov's win in particular. However, I felt that these 3 performances did not compare with those I have listed, and that they would not have received any votes. I could have been wrong. It is too late to make a correction, however.
This was an extremely tough choice........all of the men listed are incredible and totally worthy of their gold medal win. I almost went with Curry simply because he was on the cutting edge of true artistry for men skaters, but I chose Yagudin, probably because his skate is the freshest in my mind! 42
I'll bet most people voting don't even know who John Curry and Robin Cousins are--or if they do, have never seen them skate!
Alexei Yagudin, hands down. He may not have skated his best but he was by far the best of that night and without him the night would've been YAWN. I really thought he deserved to win and was so pissed when Scott Hamilton started saying he only did A Triple Axel (like 1 wasn't enough) and saying that Tim Goebel might beat him, etc etc. And i was thinking "Tim isn't in the same league as alexei". That said I think him and Brian Boitano skated the best olympic LP's.
.Originally Posted by RealtorGal
For your information, despite the fact that I am only 17, I do know who John Curry is and I have seen clips of Robin Cousins skating at Lake Placid. We Gen-Y skating fans may be young, but that doesn't mean we are not "wise beyond our years", lol
Incidentally, I voted for Yags. The programme was just so solid and so great (I believe his is the first winning programme to feature two quads) and all the sweeter considering that Plushy had bested him at just about everything in the run-up to the Olympics. It was also definitely the best "Man in the Iron Mask" programme I have yet seen, as well
Boitano for several reasons. He'd reinvented himself to incorporate artistry very successfully, he was neck and neck with Orser for the previous 2 seasons and it could have gone either way so the pressure was IMMENSE - there wasn't a clear cut favourite. And because he was pretty much perfect - just the slight touchdown on the second triple axel. It was the pinnacle of technical ability at the time and he produced it when it mattered most in the most pressured competition of his career.
Hello~ I agree with Vash01 about Yagudin. I also voted for Ilia. I love that his jumps are so pure - huge, incredible heights, and so soft landings. His footwork are always versatile, note for note, and by the end of the program, it's always as if I've come to understand the music better than before. His Olympic FS program was just incredible - not just the quad & eight triples he accomplished but the sophistication of the artistry and choreography. To me it served notice that while he had previously been criticized for perhaps not having the stamina or heart (though I personally think it's just choreographing a perfect program where he can breathe and get his legs back between jump executions - his Romeo and Juliet program had this problem, for example), he showed he did have what it takes to win when it counted the most. I think his Olympic long program sort of even reflects a little bit of this odyssey. The beginning of his long program started when we see him skate forward as if pushing through with some effort - like a chore - to execute the triple axel/triple toe. But after his slow section, just when he starts going, he raises his arms and looks skyward, it was like this big contemplative moment of seeking that inspiration/heart he needed, finding it, and then executing the best second triple axel I've ever seen. That second triple axel was just so breathtaking, and I reveled in the audience's reaction to that. His landing was just so soft, and at the end of his program, he was so emotional with happiness and excitement - because he completed it, and did it with the best effort he could give. He completed everything he set out to do, and he not only had the artistic flair that showcased a rare natural talent only the likes of Kurt Browning could exceed, but he also made all of his jumps look so easy to do. So many other skaters showcase a lot of power to complete their jumps and landings, especially with their triple axels, but Ilia showed that the jumps could also be executed with grace. And though he chose to go pro afterwards, he came through when it mattered the most, at the pinnacle of his amateur career. He accomplished all that any of his amateur peers could only have hoped to have done on their first Olympic visit. He beat the best that night, Stojko, Eldredge, and yes, even Yagudin, who inspite of his cold, had no one to blame but himself as his own coach had even said he had gone out in the cold with wet hair. I think Yagudin is a great skater in his own right, but I think it took Tarasova to improve and bring sophistication to his artistry. With Ilia, I was already impressed when I first saw him doing his short program at the 1996 Worlds. The Olympics is the pinnacle of accomplishment for many athletes who have dreamed their entire lives to reach. For some it takes a few visits. For others it will never come. But at least for Ilia, he did it all in one try and hey, what do you know, left his own mark in history while he was at it. He didn't have the quad that Elvis had when he first came onto the "scene", but in the end, he pulled it off (and accomplished it in only a few seasons no less) when Elvis didn't. He also completed his program when Todd messed his up. So I think Ilia has been very underrated and deserves all the credit for what he has accomplished. He may not have gone on to continue his amateur career after 1998, but in doing so, it opened the way for other skaters to have their chance at the gold medal, and he has continued to push himself both artistically (choreographed his own pro programs) and technically (still being able to do those triple axels). Much like the other male skaters he probably also admires - Boitano, for example.
Last edited by Muse; 07-26-2004 at 12:35 AM.