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Thread: Revisiting 1992 Olympic Men's Figure Skating

  1. #1
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    Revisiting 1992 Olympic Men's Figure Skating

    I recently viewed my videotapes of the 1992 Winter Olympics men’s figure skating competition. What a great event it was, spanning the gamut of high drama, unexpected achievement, and deep disappointment. Anyway, here are my impressions:

    Viktor Petrenko finally finished first in a major figure skating competition. He had won the 1988 Olympic bronze and World bronze medal behind Brian Boitano and Brian Orser, and as such, he automatically became the #1 eligible skater in the world when both Brians turned professional. Viktor had been injured prior to the 1989 Worlds, and he finished out of the medals. He had finished second at the 1990 and 1991 Worlds to Kurt Browning. By all appearances, it seemed that he was, again, going to finish second to Browning.

    However, Browning came into the Olympics nursing a nagging back injury. He simply wasn’t able to land his jumps – falling on his triple axel/double toe short program combination, falling on the same combination in the long program, and making several other mistakes. Kurt’s long program was painful to watch, as he clearly gave up towards the end and doubled and/or singled his final jumps. For such a great champion to finish sixth, it was heartbreaking. Tracey Wilson interviewed Kurt after the conclusion of the men’s long program, and Kurt was gracious in his defeat. He said, however, “It will be a long time before I think about this evening.”

    Petrenko skated a fabulous short program to “Carmen”. He wore a gorgeous costume, reminiscent of Christopher Dean’s troubadour costume from the 1984 Winter Olympics. IMHO, that “Carmen” selection was outstanding – full of drama, bells, and music. Viktor flew through his program and, rightly, won the short program.

    The big surprise was Paul Wylie, the 1992 US men’s silver medallist. Those of us who have been longtime figure skating fans well remember Paul’s long-running efforts at the US Nationals, where he always made just enough mistakes to not win the title. Paul’s second-place finish at the 1992 Nationals was a bit controversial, as some felt that Mark Mitchell, who had finished third, should have finished second and won the third spot on the Olympic team.
    Paul came into Albertville with something to prove, and he surely did just that. His short program was skated with a lot of speed and assurance, and he nailed his triple axel/double toe combination. To his delight (and surprise), he finished third in the short program.

    The men’s long program was, IMHO, one of those situations in which reputation and world ranking, rather than the program skated, won the day. Petrenko started his long program with a tentative triple axel/triple toe combination, and he made mistakes – some small, some large – in a number of his jumps. He nearly fell on his second triple axel attempt, he doubled a planned triple lutz, he singled his planned double axel, and in general, ran out of energy during the later half of his program. His “stamina” issue had been apparent in a number of his free skates during his eligible career. His marks were generous – not a string of 5.9s – but high enough to almost clinch the gold medal for him.

    Paul Wylie skated the long program of his life to “Henvy V”. He landed a few of his jumps a little roughly, but his stayed on his feet, skated with fire and energy, and “grabbed” the audience. He skated as though he was inspired, and he wore his heart on his sleeve. The audience cheered loudly for him when he finished. His marks were high, but not as high as Petrenko’s. The Czech judge gave Wylie a 5.4 for technical merit, and the audience booed when that score was announced. IMHO, had Paul Wylie won a medal at the 1991 Worlds, or at least finished in the top five, he might have received higher marks. As it was, Wylie had finished 11th at the 1991 Worlds, and his finishes at his previous Worlds appearances and the 1988 Olympics were not impressive – 10th place or so. In any case, Wylie was ecstatic to win the silver medal. He and his coaches, Evy and Mary Scotvold, embraced each other in joy when the final placements were announced.

    Petr Barna of Czechoslovakia won the bronze medal. His long program, skated to “Hamlet”, was, IMHO, pretty wooden and lacking in artistry, but he received high marks from the European judges and finished third. He had come into the Olympics with the goal to win a medal, and he seemed pleased that he accomplished this goal.

    US men’s champion Christopher Bowman finished fourth, and Todd Eldredge, who was the reigning men’s World bronze medallist and who had withdrawn from Nationals due to a back injury and who received a berth on the Olympic team, finished tenth.

    The medal ceremony was joyous for Paul Wylie. He simply could not stop smiling broadly as the Olympic hymn was played for Viktor Petrenko.

    Verne Lundquist recapped the men’s competition by stating, "This evening really belonged to 27-year-old Paul Wylie, a Harvard graduate, who had come into the Olympics as the longest of shots and leaves Albertville with a silver medal.”

    I’m sure many of you remember this great competition, too!!

  2. #2
    Sexy, smart and sterilized! childfreegirl's Avatar
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    I remember it like it was yesterday. I also remember the exhibitions and I remember being so proud of Paul and glad he could finally have his day to shine. He's one of my favorite skaters of all time. He really blossomed as a pro.

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    I couldn't help feeling a little bit sorry for Viktor that they had to use the Oly flag and Oly music because the newly-emerging-independent-Ukraine had not yet chosen a flag or an anthem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by attyfan
    I couldn't help feeling a little bit sorry for Viktor that they had to use the Oly flag and Oly music because the newly-emerging-independent-Ukraine had not yet chosen a flag or an anthem.
    Well, he didn't compete for Ukraine in 1992. Former Soviet States competed as Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) that year. It was a lot worse for some athletes that could've gone to the Olympics if the former Soviet states had competed separately. But there were only 3 spots (max) in each category and a lot of hopefuls. At least they didn't have to wait for 4 years!

    Yana

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    Quote Originally Posted by STL_Blues_fan
    Well, he didn't compete for Ukraine in 1992. Former Soviet States competed as Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) that year. It was a lot worse for some athletes that could've gone to the Olympics if the former Soviet states had competed separately. But there were only 3 spots (max) in each category and a lot of hopefuls. At least they didn't have to wait for 4 years! Yana
    Yes, Viktor represented the "Unified Team", and the Olympic hymn was played for him at the medal ceremony.

    However, in 1994, Oksana Baiul represented Ukraine and won the gold medal.

    Skaters from the former USSR's various republics - Lithuania, Ukraine, Estonia, to name just a few - had the opportunity to compete at Worlds and the Olympics. Surely, that was a wonderful opportunity for them.

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    Crazy Armchair Fan/Resident Nerd
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    I have acquired videos of Paul Wylie performances at the 1992 Olympics and ITA that the men's competition in Albertville was totally his night. Paul Wylie is one of my all-time favourite skaters; his use of balletic movements and grace was a refreshing change-of-pace and lent an extra dimension to men's figure skating. I think winning the silver medal was not only a great mark of achievement for Paul, but it was huge boost of confidence, one that helped translated into a rather successful pro career

    IIRC, from other threads about this topic, didn't Petr Barna attempt (or had previously been attempting) a quad in his LP? And whatever happened to him after Albertville? I remember seeing him briefly at a pro exhibition on TV several years ago.

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    Custom Title brad640's Avatar
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    When Viktor beat Paul in a controversial decision, and then in 1994 when Oksana beat Nancy in a controversial decision, I have wondered whether Evy and Mary Scotvold have a picture of Galina Zmievskaya at their house to throw darts at or a voodoo doll to stick with pins. I'm sure it was hard for them. I remember how happy the Scotvolds were to see Paul finally deliver on all the promise everyone saw in him. His Henry V was a masterpiece and the editing of the music was genius for skating. That program has been very influential over the years. I agree that his balletic style was amazing. His opening spirals drew me in to the performance. He was also a great spinner, which the Scotvolds accentuated very well with the cuts in the music. Paul's short program that year was also one of the best.

    I think the judges that year were blown away by Viktor's 3a3t. The one in the short was great, and I loved his short program in general, but the LP was rough. He did land the 3a3t again, and I think that really sent a message that he was the best athlete in the field even with his numerous errors, especially when Paul added turns between the jumps in his 3a2t and 3z2t.

    THe only theng I remember about Petr Barna was the big skull on the front of his costume. I didn't remember that he was doing Hamlet. I had always thought it was a pirate themed program.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkateFan4Life
    Yes, Viktor represented the "Unified Team", and the Olympic hymn was played for him at the medal ceremony.

    However, in 1994, Oksana Baiul represented Ukraine and won the gold medal.

    Skaters from the former USSR's various republics - Lithuania, Ukraine, Estonia, to name just a few - had the opportunity to compete at Worlds and the Olympics. Surely, that was a wonderful opportunity for them.
    Isn't what I said? I wrote that after 1992 they didn't have to wait the full four years (i.e., next Olympic games were in 2 years). Of course it was, and still is a great opportunity for folks who would never come even close to making the Soviet team (Oksana being the obvious exeption).

    Yana

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    Quote Originally Posted by STL_Blues_fan
    Well, he didn't compete for Ukraine in 1992. Former Soviet States competed as Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) that year. ... Yana
    I know that he was competing as part of the CIS, but IIRC, when M & D won gold in pairs, they used a Russian flag and a Russian anthem, not the Oly flag and music. The difference was that Russia had a flag (dug out from the tsarist era) and some music, whereas there was nothing analagous for Ukraine.

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    I too have felt bad for Victor. I read he felt like a man without a country but now he has two. I also read he hates being called Russian because he is Ukrainian.

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    I think that if Wylie had been totally faultless in his freeskate, he could have won. Even against Petrenko with his titles and bronze from previous Olympics. Personally I wished that Wylie had won, as his skating was more enjoyable to watch and with less mistakes.

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    Custom Title heyang's Avatar
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    I don't remember where I was, but I do remember that my VCR ran out of tape and I never got to see the performance of Wylie's LP at the Oly's. Someone I was with that night also missed taping the event.

    I do remember all the falls during the Ladies event. Especially Hubert's as you could see the bruises coming out on her legs since she fell so hard each time.

  13. #13
    SkateFan4Life
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    Quote Originally Posted by brad640
    When Viktor beat Paul in a controversial decision, and then in 1994 when Oksana beat Nancy in a controversial decision, I have wondered whether Evy and Mary Scotvold have a picture of Galina Zmievskaya at their house to throw darts at or a voodoo doll to stick with pins. I'm sure it was hard for them. I remember how happy the Scotvolds were to see Paul finally deliver on all the promise everyone saw in him. His Henry V was a masterpiece and the editing of the music was genius for skating. That program has been very influential over the years. I agree that his balletic style was amazing. His opening spirals drew me in to the performance. He was also a great spinner, which the Scotvolds accentuated very well with the cuts in the music. Paul's short program that year was also one of the best.

    I think the judges that year were blown away by Viktor's 3a3t. The one in the short was great, and I loved his short program in general, but the LP was rough. He did land the 3a3t again, and I think that really sent a message that he was the best athlete in the field even with his numerous errors, especially when Paul added turns between the jumps in his 3a2t and 3z2t.

    THe only theng I remember about Petr Barna was the big skull on the front of his costume. I didn't remember that he was doing Hamlet. I had always thought it was a pirate themed program.
    In my opinion, Evy and Mary Scotvold were thrilled to bits at Paul's silver medal finish at Albertville. After all, Paul had never medaled at Worlds - never even cracked the top six - so his silver medal win was a glorious surprise. It was a validation of all the years of hard work he and his coaches had devoted to his training over the years. His silver medal was "golden" to them.

    On the other hand, I think the Svotvolds - and Nancy Kerrigan - were quite upset at Kerrigan's silver medal finish at Lillehamer. As far as they were concerned, she should have won the Olympic gold medal. The 5/4 finish was so close, that the competition could have gone either way. Oksana was the defending World champion, but she two-footed several of her triples in her long program.
    In my opinion, Kerrigan had the technical edge, but Baiul had the artistic edge, and the presentation mark is the deciding mark in tie breaks.

    I, too, loved Viktor's "Carmen" short program. It was a bold statement, and he skated it flawlessly. His long program was flawed, but good enough to win him the gold medal.

    Petr Barna did skate to "Hamlet". I remember the skull on his chest - sort of an unusual costume choice, but is suited the rather muted tone of his music.

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    Petr Barna and his wife are currently coaching at Tampa Bay Skating Academy in Oldsmar, Florida. Their daughter, Sophia, is an up and coming wonderful skater.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Petlover
    Petr Barna and his wife are currently coaching at Tampa Bay Skating Academy in Oldsmar, Florida. Their daughter, Sophia, is an up and coming wonderful skater.
    Thanks for that nice piece of news! Petr Barna was an expectant father at the 1992 Olympics, so assuming that the child born was Sophia, she must be 12 or 13 by now.

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