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Thread: Women's & Men's Competition - 1990 Worlds

  1. #1
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    Women's & Men's Competition - 1990 Worlds

    I viewed my videotapes from the 1990 World Figure Skating Championships, held in Halifax, Nova Scotia. What a great championship it was! This Worlds was memorable for many things, one of which was that it was the last Worlds in which the compulsory school figures were a part of the competition. The combined scores for the singles competition were: 20% figures, 30% short program, and 50% long program.

    The women:
    Japan's Midori Ito came into Halifax as the defending World Champion, and she was favored to retain her title. Although the school figures were the weakest part of her repertoire - she was a fabulous jumper and became the first woman to land a triple axel in World competition in 1989 - Midori had improved her figures and had performed the best figures of her life the previous year. Sadly for Midori, she blew the figures at Halifax. The television cameras were rolling during part of this competition, and she nearly fell midway through one of the figures. The tracings were all over the map, instead of being right on top of each other, as they should be. Ito was scored from 10th to 24th on that figure, and she finished 10th overall in that phase of the competition. "Sports Illustrated" reported that "Ito's tracings resembled the Santa Fe railroad". Ouch.

    Midori, being the superb competitor she was, rebounded back by winning both the short and long programs. After winning the short, she was in fourth place overall. She could retain her title, but only if she won the long program, and the three skaters who were in front of her finished no higher than third in the long program. All of this convulated scoring was due to the school figures being in the scoring mix. Scott Hamilton, commemtating, said "I was up all night trying to figure out the possible scenarios." Ito's long program featured a fantastic triple axel - higher and cleaner than most of the triple axels performed by the men.

    Jill Trenary of the USA had finished third at the 1989 Worlds, with a tentative long program. She had been criticized for "choking" in the long program, and she said she her nervousness had caused her to double and/or single her final planned triples. She came into Halifax determined to skate her best, and to let the chips fall where they may. She won the school figures, but she blew the short program. Instead of performing a triple toe/double toe combination, Jill skated a double/double. She finished fifth in the short program and was in third place heading into the freeskate. Trenary was in tears after the short, and the TV cameras were rolling as she cried, with her coaches Christa and Carlo Fassi attempting to console her. Announcer Pat O'Brien said, "The next day I spoke with Trenary's people and asked if Jill had woke up smiling. They responded, "No, she woke up fighting".

    Jill skated a great long program, with four strong triples. She slipped on her planned half axel/triple salchow, but otherwise, she nailed all of her jumps, and she skated like a champion. She was ecstatic when she finished, as she knew she could finish second in the long program and still won the World title. Indeed, her technical scores were all 5.7 and 5.8, and she received six 5.9s for presentation.

    Kristi Yamaguchi finished fourth at the 1990 Worlds. This was her last competition as a dual competitor - in pairs with Rudi Galindo and as a singles skater. Kristi fell twice in her long program but still received high marks, as she
    landed two clean triple lutzes.

    The real surprise was Holly Cook, who had finished third at the US Nationals. In her first Worlds, Holly shocked everyone by winning the bronze medal. She had skated excellent school figures and a clean short program, so she was in second place going into the long program. While her long program wasn't particularly artistic, and it lacked the technical difficulty of Ito, Yamaguchi, and Trenary, the scoring mix enabled her to finish fourth in the long program and still win a medal. The scene in the kiss 'n cry was priceless. As her scores were displayed and Holly and her coach realized she had won the bronze medal, Holly screamed, "I'm third. I'm third. I'M THIRD!!!"

    After the competition was over, Jill was embraced by her father. Her dad asked her, "How do you feel?" Jill responded, "I don't know. I don't feel anything yet."
    She appeared to be a little bit in shock when she stood at the podium and heard the US National Anthem played. Pat O'Brien asked Jill if the removal of the school figures would influence her decision to turn pro. She responded that she wanted to take time to reflect about that during the summer.

    The Men:
    Kurt Browning came into Halifax as his country's hero - defending World Champion and "Rock Star on Skates". Kurt's fall competitive season had not gone so well, as he had finished third in two competitions. In an interview, Browning said (to paraphrase) "After I won the Worlds, I thought that I could never fall again. Champions aren't supposed to fall. It put a great deal of pressure on me, trying to be perfect." At Halifax. Kurt skated good figures, and pulled out his short program with a wing and a prayer. He had doubled his planned triple axel, so he threw the triple axel at the end of his program. His long program was strong and well skated, although a few of the triples had rocky landings. The fans screamed their adulation for Kurt. After he completed his long program, he skated to a group of teenage girls, who almost smothered him with hugs. He was showered with stuffed animals and balloons.

    Viktor Petrenko had won the short program and seemed poised to challenge for his first World title. However, Viktor ran out of steam during the second half of his free skate, and he had to settle for secon place. Verne Lundquist, commentating, said, "There's a look of chagrin on Viktor's face that wasn't there at the European Championships." He seemed disappointed with his skate but was pleased to win a World medal.

    Christopher Bowman finished third at Halifax. Although he skated well, the real news surrounded his less than warm and fuzzy relationship with his coach, Frank Carroll. The piece showed them arguing prior to the school figures competition. Frank walked out of the arena just prior to Christopher's turn to skate the figures. Bowman looked all over the place for his coach, who was going to help him select a good patch of ice, but he could not find him. After he skated his figures Carroll reappeared, and Bowman asked what had happened. Carroll replied, "Well, I was busy." Say what????

  2. #2
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    I seem to recall reading somewhere that one of the reasons Trenary had problems in the short was because she was just down the hall from Bowman at the hotel they were staying in and Bowman was having a loud noisy party (Imagine that!! ) and Jill never got enough sleep.

    I always thought it was a shame that for various reasons, Cook and Trenary didn't stay around long enough to compete at the 92 Nationals. What an incredible matchup that would have been -- The three ladies who'd swept the podium at Worlds the previous year (Yamaguchi, Harding, and Kerrigan) squaring off against another World champion (Trenary) and a World bronze medallist (Cook). It was like the greatest Nationals that never took place....
    I was thrilled that Cook won the bronze in Halifax; such a surprise. However, she was helped out in part by the fact that the quality of skating among the European ladies was at an all-time low.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonnyCoop
    I seem to recall reading somewhere that one of the reasons Trenary had problems in the short was because she was just down the hall from Bowman at the hotel they were staying in and Bowman was having a loud noisy party (Imagine that!! ) and Jill never got enough sleep.

    I always thought it was a shame that for various reasons, Cook and Trenary didn't stay around long enough to compete at the 92 Nationals. What an incredible matchup that would have been -- The three ladies who'd swept the podium at Worlds the previous year (Yamaguchi, Harding, and Kerrigan) squaring off against another World champion (Trenary) and a World bronze medallist (Cook). It was like the greatest Nationals that never took place....
    I was thrilled that Cook won the bronze in Halifax; such a surprise. However, she was helped out in part by the fact that the quality of skating among the European ladies was at an all-time low.
    I remember reading about the "Bowman Party Incident" and that Jill did not get much sleep the night before the short program. After reading that I thought, "Why didn't she do something about it?" She could have contacted her coaches, the US team leaders, etc., and complained in no uncertain terms that she needed to get her sleep. On the other hand, perhaps she did register a complaint, and it fell on deaf ears. I'm glad that Jill rebounded to win the World title, however.

    As far as Trenary and Cook staying in the game to compete at the 1992 Nationals, it just wasn't meant to be. Holly Cook had a disastrous long program at the 1991 Nationals and finished off the podium and off the World Team.
    Trenary had ankle surgery in January 1991and missed that entire season.
    When she attempted to make a comeback in the fall of 1991, she had two disastrous competitive outings. I remember seeing one - Skate Canada - in which Jill fell on every single triple jump attempt. Clearly, she could not compete at the level she needed to in order to be competitive on the world scene.

    IMHO, both Trenary and Cook realized their chances of making the 1992 Olympic team were slim, with the likes of World champion Yamaguchi,
    triple axel jumper Harding, and the elegant Kerrigan in the mix. Even if Trenary and Cook skated clean programs, they lacked the technical content, as neither had triple lutzes or triple loops. Trenary's hardest jump was a triple flip, and that wasn't consistent, and Cook's triple toes and salchows weren't always consistent, either. They weren't in the same class, technically speaking, as Yamaguchi, Harding, and Kerrigan.

  4. #4
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    The 1990 Worlds were the last competition in which Kristi Yamaguchi competed in both pairs and singles competitions. She split with her partner, Rudy Galindo, shortly after those Worlds, and she concentrated on her singles skating.

    Since Kristi no longer had to practice the school figures - and no longer needed to train in pairs - her schedule became a lot lighter. Granted, she still had to train a LOT as a singles skater, and but at least she had some free time.

    Following the marriage of her coach, Kristi moved to Edmonton to live with her coach and her new husband and to train at the Royal Glenora club - the same club where Kurt Browning trained.

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    Trenary & Cook's futures were sealed with the dropping of school figures after 1990. 1990 was their last year to shine & they took full advantage of it. Trenary's ankle surgery in Jan 1991 was coincidental, as I believe that she was practically destined to lose her Nationals title to either Yamaguchi or Harding in '91, with the elimination of school figs.

    Side Note: Yamaguchi was virtually the annointed princess in Jan 1991. Tonya Harding was expected to medal but the USFSA hardly thought of her as the eventual winner. Lots of folks 'ate crow' after Tonya's LP that year!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frau Muller
    Trenary & Cook's futures were sealed with the dropping of school figures after 1990. 1990 was their last year to shine & they took full advantage of it. Trenary's ankle surgery in Jan 1991 was coincidental, as I believe that she was practically destined to lose her Nationals title to either Yamaguchi or Harding in '91, with the elimination of school figs.

    Side Note: Yamaguchi was virtually the annointed princess in Jan 1991. Tonya Harding was expected to medal but the USFSA hardly thought of her as the eventual winner. Lots of folks 'ate crow' after Tonya's LP that year!
    Absolutely. As I wrote, Trenary and Cook simply did not have the technical content to challenge Yamaguchi, Harding, and/or Kerrigan. Both Trenary and Cook were strong compulsory school figures competitors, and their high placements at the 1990 Worlds in that discipline enabled them to win gold and bronze, respectively. I agree with you completely that even if Trenary had not undergone surgery in 1991 and had been fully healthy, she would not only not have retained her US title, but she probably would not have made the US World team. At best, she would have won bronze.

    And, yes, Yamaguchi was prematurely crowned the US champion prior to the actual competition. She was the favorite, and even though she fell on her triple salchow, she receive high enough marks that would have clinched her the title, had not Tonya Harding stepped in with her outstanding long program and the first-ever triple axel by an American woman. Kristi was very disappointed at winning yet again another silver medal (three in a row) at Nationals, but she made up for it at the Worlds.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonnyCoop
    I seem to recall reading somewhere that one of the reasons Trenary had problems in the short was because she was just down the hall from Bowman at the hotel they were staying in and Bowman was having a loud noisy party (Imagine that!! ) and Jill never got enough sleep.
    I was at those Worlds, and I remember them well. Trenary had a hard time sleeping, but it wasn't really Bowman's fault. His room was next to Trenary's but he wasn't in it - he was out celebrating with friends. However, since he had just won a medal that night, other people kept knocking on his door and shouting for him. And that kept poor Jill awake. The next day, before the ladies' short, her coach Carlo Fassi said, "She is a basket case."

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    Ahhh yes...first time a Canadian man had ever won back to back World golds, wasn't it? By the way, if anyone would do me the favor of telling me what Kurt's short program was for this comp, I'd be most grateful. I'm thinking "Firebird Suit" for some reason, but I could easily be wrong.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by dragonfly
    I was at those Worlds, and I remember them well. Trenary had a hard time sleeping, but it wasn't really Bowman's fault. His room was next to Trenary's but he wasn't in it - he was out celebrating with friends. However, since he had just won a medal that night, other people kept knocking on his door and shouting for him. And that kept poor Jill awake. The next day, before the ladies' short, her coach Carlo Fassi said, "She is a basket case."
    UGH. Why didn't someone step out into the hall and scream "Get out of here!"
    Why wasn't the night desk at the hotel advised of this ridiculous interruption?
    Poor Jill! However, things worked out well in the end, as she managed to win the World title. I remember that Bowman apologized to Jill for the "inconvenience". Thanks for nothing, bozo!

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