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Thread: ** Flashback ** 1990 World Championships

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  1. #1
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    ** Flashback ** 1990 World Championships

    I viewed my two videotapes of the 1990 World Figure Skating Championships, which were held in Halifax, Nova Scotia. My overall impression was - "What a great competition!!"

    This was the last Worlds that included the compulsory school figures. The figures counted for 20 percent of the overall score, with the short program counting for 30 percent, and the long program counting for 50 percent of the total score. The ISU had been reducing the value of the school figures during the 1980s, and while 20 percent doesn't seem like a large part of the overall score, it was the decisive factor in the women's competition.

    Defending World Champion Midori Ito of Japan skated horrible school figures and wound up tenth in that phase of the competition. A clip of Midori tracing one of her figure eights shows her practically falling over on her side, and the tracing was rough and uneven, to say the least. For that particular figure, Midori received placements of tenth, all the way down to 24th!

    In contrast, US Champion Jill Trenary skating crisp, clean school figures and won that phase of the competition.

    The short program was another story. Ito skated like a firecracker and won the short program, while Trenary was tentative and watered down her planned triple toe/double toe combination to a double toe/double toe combination. She finished fifth in that phase of the competition. Heading into the long program, Ito was fourth and Trenary was third.

    Still, because of Ito's disastrous compulsory school placement, she could only win the gold medal if she won the long program and Natalia Lebedeva, Holly Cook, and Trenary finished no higher than third. That is, Ito had to win the long program, and someone other than the top three had to finish in second place.
    Scott Hamilton and Verne Lundquist, reporting, said they thought that, perhaps, Kristi Yamaguchi might be the one to slip in behind Ito and help her retain her title.

    Alas for Midori, Yamaguchi fell twice in her long program and received respectable, but not high, scores. Trenary skated a very strong long program with four clean triple jumps and finished second behind Ito in that segment of the competition. Jill received 5.7s and 5.8s for technical scores and a waft of 5.9s for presentation. Midori received all 5.9s and 6.0s for technical and 5.7s and 5.8s for presentation. Midori's triple axel was absolutely gorgeous!

    The bottom line -- had Ito finished ninth in the school figures, instead of tenth, and everything else occurred as it had -- she would have won the gold medal instead of the silver medal.

    Holly Cook, the 1990 US bronze medalist, shocked everyone by winning the bronze medal in her first (and as it happened, her only) appearance at Worlds.
    She was ecstatic, to put it mildly.

    I got a kick out watching Jill and her father embrace after she knew she had won the title. Mr. Trenary hugged his daughter and exclaimed, "Not bad for a fat kid." Pat O'Brien, commentating, asked Jill for her reaction at becoming the new World champion, and Jill said, "I don't feel anything yet. It hasn't sunk in."
    O'Brien immediately asked Jill if she would turn professional, since the school figures would no longer be part of the competition. Jill graciously said she would
    take some time off after the COI tour to think about her future.

    The men's competition featured Canadian Kurt Browning successfully defending his World title, to the delight of his countrymen. The bio on Kurt (one of the few UCAP bios I have really liked over the years) showed Kurt's transformation from a second-tier world-class figure skater to the World champion and a hero in his home country. However, the pressure seemed to drain on Kurt, as he stumbled in his fall competitions and won not gold, but silver and bronze. He said, to paraphrase, that he suddenly felt that he could no longer fall, even in practice, as the World champ "doesn't make mistakes". While he was the slight favorite going into the Worlds, Soviet Victor Petrenko and American Christopher Bowman were also given good shots at the World title, so it was pretty much a three-man race.

    That race become a two-man race, with Browning and Petrenko battling for the title. I was really pleased to see Kurt skate a great long program and win, and I got a chuckle out of seeing him being engulfed in throngs of screaming teenage girls.

    Christopher Bowman and his then-coach, Frank Carroll, were not exactly getting along well together, and a sort of "cat and mouse" piece portrayed their disharmony. Apparently, Bowman's free spirits finally became too much for his coach to handle, and Carroll left Bowman alone on the ice during his school figures competition. They were shown arguing and just not communicating well together.

    And, Katia Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov, quite frankly, were given inflated scores in their long program, skated to beautiful "Romeo and Juliet" music. Katia fell on their side-by-side double axels which were to have led to a jump sequence. She just stopped skating, and Sergi continued with the pattern. They looked stunned when they finished, and so was the crowd. Canadians Brasseur and Eisler skated a dynamic long program and won the silver medal. Frankly, I think they deserved the gold medal, but that's just my own opinion.

    Kristi Yamaguchi and Rudi Galindo, the two-time US pairs champions, finished fifth in the pairs competition. She finished fourth in the ladie's singles. Following
    the Worlds, Kristi decided to concentrate solely on the singles, and she dropped
    out of pairs skating. As it happened, it was a tremendous decision for her, as she won the 1991 and 1992 World titles and the 1992 Olympic gold medal.

  2. #2
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    G&G received a gift at 90 worlds. However, IMO M&D should have won, although they were not close to the beautiful pair they became the following year, skating to Lieberstraum.

    I was heart broken for Midori. After 1989 I thought she would be unbeatable through the 92 Olympics.

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    Fan of The Incomparable Sonja Henie Glacierskater's Avatar
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    Ooooohh, they aired figures? I think that is fascinating.

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    A Yugoslavian lady skater did the last school figures in history. They had that piece at that time, but only because it was the last one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01
    A Yugoslavian lady skater did the last school figures in history. They had that piece at that time, but only because it was the last one.
    VASH,

    Thanks for the trivia. I have set out to get this video. I have to have it.

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    i must say that im a true diehard g and g fan. but i must agree with you about who should have gotten the gold. katias miss on the axel was a disaster, and the rest of the program didnt go all that well either. i like it was scott hamilton who was doing some commentary for it, he said" the weakest performance" he had seen "them do in two years, maybe ever". b and e should have won.

  7. #7
    SkateFan4Life
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01
    A Yugoslavian lady skater did the last school figures in history. They had that piece at that time, but only because it was the last one.
    I remember that. The Yugoslavian figure skater was presented with a beautiful bouquet of flowers to commemorate her as the last skater to perform school figures at the World Figure Skating Championships. It was truly the end of an era.

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    If memory serves me, I don't think that B&E could have won without G&G finishing third in the long. B&E were fourth after the SP, behind G&G, M&D, and Selezneva&Makarov (who had a great SP done to Michael Jackson music). M&D had a great SP as well done to Swan Lake.

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    In my heart, I'm actually Canadian....
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkateFan4Life
    I remember that. The Yugoslavian figure skater was presented with a beautiful bouquet of flowers to commemorate her as the last skater to perform school figures at the World Figure Skating Championships. It was truly the end of an era.


    I remember that. Her name was Zeljka Cizmezija. And the last man to skate a school figure at Worlds was David Liu of Taipei.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01
    G&G received a gift at 90 worlds. However, IMO M&D should have won, although they were not close to the beautiful pair they became the following year, skating to Lieberstraum.

    I was heart broken for Midori. After 1989 I thought she would be unbeatable through the 92 Olympics.
    I agree with you completely that Gordeeva and Grinkov's World title was a gift, one that was based purely on their reputation, not on the performance they gave in Halifax. In my opinion, they should have finished third. Eisler and Brasseur should have won, and M & D should have finished second. When
    G & G finished their program, the crowd reacted with tepid applause, and they
    (G & G and the audience) were probably all in shock. It was an unfortunate performance, but it became even more unfortunate with the biased judging that gave G & G an undeserved gold medal.

    As for Midori Ito, I, too, thought she would win every World title from 1989 through 1992 and the Olympic gold medal in 1992. Unfortunately, Ito suffered from several things - a weakness in school figures that did her in in 1990, foot and ankle injuries that plagued her going into the 1990 championships, the collision during the short program warmup in 1991 and the subsequent injuries suffered there, and, perhaps, worst of all, having to carry the expectations and hopes of her entire country on her shoulder. She arrived in Albertville as the gold medal favorite, having won Trophe Lalique on the Olympic rink that fall, and when she began practicing, she landed powerful triple/triple combinations and looked unbeatable. As the competition drew closer, the pressure increased, and Midori started to miss jumps in practice. Her 1992 Olympic short program was a disaster for her, as she switched her planned triple axel to a triple lutz, and she fell on the triple lutz. Then, in the long program, she fell on her first triple axel, although she did land the second triple axel.

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    G&G had a beautiful program, but something was "missing" in that particular performance. It was also during Katia's growth spurt-so that led to the missed jumps. On the other hand-I thought their costumes-Katia's in particular were just gorgeous.
    M&D did a great job-but their program really did not show off their best attributes-their artistry & presentation like later LPs would.
    Actually, in 20/20 hindsight-I would have loved to have seen M&D -instead of skating to the "Folk Dance" number, would have done a blues number. I think they would have been so good(especially Artur) at the brooding, sensual attitude needed for the blues.

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    I will never understand why M&D chose a humorous routine for their LP in 1990. That was not their forte. Passion was, as became evident the following year, with Lieberstraum. G&G's Romeo & Juliet is one of the most beautiful LP's but the way they skated, they should have finished 3rd. I would have given the gold to M&D. Of course B&E had the Canadian crowd on their side, and a lot of excitement, but I don't think they had the speed. They did have the best lifts, however. M&D's marks were so low that Scott said, "I don't know where those marks are coming from". Besides the miss on the double axel jump sequence, Katia had also missed the sbs triple toe. M&D had landed theirs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01
    I will never understand why M&D chose a humorous routine for their LP in 1990. That was not their forte. Passion was, as became evident the following year, with Lieberstraum.
    ITA. Don't get me wrong-I love it when skaters take risks and skate a different style than they normally do. But, I don't think the Folk Routine was the best choice for M&D. It is sort of like Usova & Zhulin in 1993-1994, their FD did not show off their beauty the way Four Seasons did-and IMHO cost them the Olympic Gold.
    On the other hand, M&D's SP "The Swan" was quite good.

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