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Thread: Discussion - Is Sasha's Skating Brittle or Fragile?

  1. #271
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    Quote Originally Posted by dancindiva03
    Not to be rude, but HA!!!!!!!! Sasha's spirals are done on such a very shallow edge! I admit she has gotten better, but she gets nowhere near the depth of edge on her spirals as many of the other top skaters. And her COE spiral can get a bit wobbly. Not my idea of good edging.
    Sasha's spirals are done with a very high leg therefore she can't get a deep edge or else she'll topple over. Show me a picture of a skater who does a spiral on a deep edge with the leg held as high.

    Her COE spiral gets wobbly because of the balance required by her body position. If she held her leg lower, she would be more stable, but then she'd have to compromise the beauty of the position.

    I'm sure that Sasha would have no problem with edges on her spirals if she held her leg as low as Kwan or assisted her leg like Irina.

  2. #272
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    Quote Originally Posted by soogar
    Sasha's spirals are done with a very high leg therefore she can't get a deep edge or else she'll topple over. Show me a picture of a skater who does a spiral on a deep edge with the leg held as high.

    Her COE spiral gets wobbly because of the balance required by her body position. If she held her leg lower, she would be more stable, but then she'd have to compromise the beauty of the position.

    I'm sure that Sasha would have no problem with edges on her spirals if she held her leg as low as Kwan or assisted her leg like Irina.
    Maybe someone should tell her that the focus of spirals is the edge and the extention (meaning the leg is straight and the toe pointed), not the height of it. If spirals were meant to be done on a nearly flat line, then I'm sure many other skaters would be working on the amplitude of their free legs instead of getting nice deep edges. Anyway, I think she does the gumby act to distract from her lack of edges.

  3. #273
    Custom Title heyang's Avatar
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    A lot of people don't realize that the importance of the spiral is the edge and not as much the leg position. US broadcasting doesn't focus on the edge and most of the general public are just amazed by the flexibility. It's only after listening to Dick Button and company that they may begin to understand that the edge is the purpose of the spiral. I think Peggy Fleming said that the US skaters place the most emphasis on the leg position compared to other countries concentrating more on the edge.

  4. #274
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    and just as bad, some fans think the higher the spiral the more balletic it is. That's absolute nonsense. The arabesque (the ballet term for spiral) is a straight leg extension to the back of a dancer - hip squared - knee turned out - toe pointed. The raised leg can be from the floor to highest extension depending on the choreography. It's not a trick in ballet. It's a move.

    Most skaters do not have the hips squared for their spiral (arabesque) as well as non-pointed toe and knee not turned out. Still the spiral should be judged primarily on the skater's edge at whatever height the free leg is.

    Joe
    Last edited by Joesitz; 06-22-2005 at 05:55 AM.

  5. #275
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz
    and just as bad, some fans think the higher the spiral the more balletic it is. That's absolute nonsense. The arabesque (the ballet term for spiral) is a straight leg extension to the back of a dancer - hip squared - knee turned out - toe pointed. The raised leg can be from the floor to highest extension depending on the choreography. It's not a trick in ballet. It's a move.

    Most skaters do not have the hips squared for their spiral (arabesque) as well as non-pointed toe and knee not turned out. Still the spiral should be judged primarily on the skater's edge at whatever height the free leg is.

    Joe
    Well the non-pointed toe is due to the boot. Singles skaters have very stiff boots and it's hard as hell to point your toes (I know because I work diligently on my spiral which is the only first rate move that I have and pointing the toe in the skating boots is a real chore).

    Leg position means a lot. The edge is of secondary importance. The reason why is because the spiral is meant to showcase the body position. If the body postion is ugly, it doesn't matter if the edge is really deep because all you see is the ugly postion (ie Irina). There is more athleticism required to maintain a high leg position and glide thoughout the length of the rink because a high leg postion is more unstable therefore more core strength is needed to hold it. In terms of Sasha's edging, she holds her spiral the length of the rink and changes edges in the center (or halfway) through the rink. If her edges stunk, she wouldn't be able to cover so much ice with her leg held so high. I compare Sasha's spiral to Nicole Bobek's spiral. Now Nicole is a skater who just can't hold that beautiful spiral position for even half the rink, let alone the whole rink like Sasha. Nicole puts her leg down right away.

    Sasha could hold her leg lower and get a deeper edge, but her positions set her apart in skating. There are a lot of skaters who keep their leg low because they don't have the flexibility and/or core strength to do a beautiful spiral.

    Also to use Kwan as a comparison, Kwan does not have the edge security to do that backward leaning spiral (the one where she is on a forward outside edge with the leg in front) that Sasha does so easily. Kwan has performed it several times this year and she's had a stumble on it and she can't hold it for any significant period of time.

    This is the one I'm talking about:
    http://www.sashafans.com/media/galle...pbell/ac06.jpg
    http://www.sashafans.com/media/galle...-hartman-6.jpg

  6. #276
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    soogaar - Those pics are quite nice of Sasha. We used to call that an open fan. The first one, non-hand-holding is quite impressive. the second one required a hand hold. In both instances the hips are not squared but how could they be in such a position. I'd give a +2 for the first pic; just a standard grade for the second.

    Joe

  7. #277
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz
    soogaar - Those pics are quite nice of Sasha. We used to call that an open fan. The first one, non-hand-holding is quite impressive. the second one required a hand hold. In both instances the hips are not squared but how could they be in such a position. I'd give a +2 for the first pic; just a standard grade for the second.

    Joe
    Note how much deeper her edge appears on the second fan spiral with the leg hold (though the position isn't as nice as the first one). I also think that the first picture doesn't show her fully into the spiral (it looks like she was captured going into the spiral).
    This is a drawing of the spiral (I can't find a real pic of it right now though I have see some)
    http://www.geocities.com/marquitaj20...haspiral34.jpg

  8. #278
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    Quote Originally Posted by soogar
    Note how much deeper her edge appears on the second fan spiral with the leg hold (though the position isn't as nice as the first one). I also think that the first picture doesn't show her fully into the spiral (it looks like she was captured going into the spiral).
    This is a drawing of the spiral (I can't find a real pic of it right now though I have see some)
    http://www.geocities.com/marquitaj20...haspiral34.jpg
    First: Position = better
    Edge = not as good

    Second: Position = not as good
    Edge = better

    There you said it yourself. A better edge comes at a cost of a worse position or vice versa

  9. #279
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz
    and just as bad, some fans think the higher the spiral the more balletic it is. That's absolute nonsense. The arabesque (the ballet term for spiral) is a straight leg extension to the back of a dancer - hip squared - knee turned out - toe pointed. The raised leg can be from the floor to highest extension depending on the choreography. It's not a trick in ballet. It's a move.

    Most skaters do not have the hips squared for their spiral (arabesque) as well as non-pointed toe and knee not turned out. Still the spiral should be judged primarily on the skater's edge at whatever height the free leg is.
    Joe
    Now Joe, you of all people should know that ballet dancers don't square their hips in every arabesque either. Sometimes they don't because of the choreography but more often they don't because the higher the free leg goes towards a 180-degree split, that is penché, the less possible it is to keep the hips squared. I'd say only about one in 10,000 elite ballet dancers can do a 180-degree penché with their hips as squared as they would during a 90-degree arabesque. Only in very rare bodies can the former happen. The vast majority of hip-pelvic structures are not designed to do that. The idea is to keep the hips as square as possible, but again, that's ballet. Ballet dancers are not balanced on an 1/8th of an inch blade while flowing across ice.

    However, your point about some (many?) figure skating fans thinking that the higher the leg is the more balletic it is being absolute nonsense is music to my ears. A well-done 90-degree arabesque on the ice with beautiful hip, back, arm, and head placement with the addition of a gorgeous edge gives me just as much of a thrill as a well done 3/2 combo. But please do me one favor, now that I've kvetched at you over the squared hips? Please don't say "the knee not turned out." The turn-out (external rotation) comes at the hip. Trying to turn out at the knee, althought there is 2-3 degrees of rotation there, is what usually causes meniscal tears and various sprains of the knee.

    Oh, Soogar! If I'd known you were going to post pictures I would have kept my promise not to come back till Campbell's, except for reposting "War and Pairs" for Emma. Beautifual photos, I thought. Who is in the second photo? I thought your arguments for body position being more important than edging was excellent, just as I thought Joe's argument for edging being more important was well-put. But I strongly disagree with both of you. Hoping I don't sound indecisivel, I must say that IMO, both the body position and the edging are equally important in spirals. The spiral is called a spiral because originally the skater made a spiral shape on the ice with that move, which required an acute angle of the blade to the ice. As time went on and figure skating styles changed from the Sonja Henjie "bent leg" delicate style to the extended styles of dance and the jumps of athletics, figure skaters had to train hard and achieve great skill in both areas, not to mention all the requirements of skating. Can you imagine a skate doing a spiral with the worl world's greatesst edges but the world's worst grace, total body line, kinesthesia, and extension? If spirals are to be "primarily judged" on edges, then I believe the judges, or perhaps fans, are taking away one of the most thrilling aspects of that move.

    Of course one doesn't need a high arabesque; I'd be completely contrdicting myself as an outspoken fan of Irina Slutskaya's spirals if I said such a thing. To me, the free leg need only be hip level as an arabesque but it must have turn-out and extension through the knee and at least tension in the foot, which Irina has always had. Now that she's added the Biellman, she's found a way around her bowleggedness and anatomical inability to point her foot as fully as most other elite skaters. Good for her.

    Thus I say that the +3 spiral should be one that includes both deep edges (acute angles of the blade to the ice) in combination with clean lines, extreme body positions, and speed. This is why I feel Irina receives and deserves a +3 for her spirals. If Biellman's were easy to do as spirals, more skaters would do them, and Irina's edges are truly amazing in conjunction with her Biellmans. Even before she used Biellmans in her spirals, she maintained breathtaking speed throughout her three spiral passes, FOE, FIE, and BOE with no steps in between and INCREASING speed, which is a feat that defies the laws of physics. Tree, her free leg was not high, her toe point and turnout was nothing to crow about, but her extension through the hip and knee was outstanding. In fact, Michelle's spirals from a purely anatomical perspective didn't have much than Irina's going for them either; though ITA with Dick Button's statement that while Michelle's spirals may not be the best, they have enough heart to fill the arena. I also think that just as the person we love becomes more attractive to us, Michellie's skating foibles become unseen by her fans or even seen as advantages. Such is the way of fandom.

    As for Irina, in so many places in Irina's skating as the 2000/'01 season moved on did she master things other skaters just mushed through, while improving her jumps to boot, I could never understand the animosity toward not only Irina, but also her fans until just the last couple of years. It's one thing to dislike a skater's style or personality, but to be proud of hating a skater and her fans--and not in terms of goofing off or making jokes (that I'm all for)--well, this is no time for soapboxing, especially not from me.

    Anyway, here's my 2 cents, more like $20 bucks, added to the spiral/edge Michelle/Sasha/Irina endless debate. I did some research on Google and Yahoo--and also got some photos from Mathman of Michelle. I'll never tell what he wanted to know. Of course there's no way of knowing with just a few samples of a spiral photo if the skater is at her maximum angle of edge; also, some angles look greater if the camera is tilted so the ice is not flat in the photo.

    However, I did try with Michelle, Sasha, and Irina to choose photos in which the spiral blade was at its maximal angle toward the ice and also in which the ice was photographed flat. I also added a few other controversial movements such as the side catch-foot spiral and Irina's Biellman--does the foot lift over the head or not in order to make it a true Biellman? My theory is that there may be some confusion with her catch-foot spiral. Most of the photos were found through GOOGLE and YAHOO searches, again with thanks to Mathman for some of Michelle.

    EXAMPLES OF MICHELLE'S FORWARD OUTSIDE EDGE SPIRALS
    http://jayadeff.com/COI2005/COI2005.htm [Thanks for Mathman, who wasn't interested in her edge ]
    http://images.google.com/imgres?imgu...v=/images%3Fq%
    http://enterprise.bidmc.harvard.edu/...le-kwan-13.jpg (2001)
    http://figureskatingdivas.homestead....mkb0109719.jpg
    http://www.figureskatingdivas.homest...8681580901.jpg
    http://www.webwinds.com/kwan/kwan85334.jpg

    [B]MICHELLE FORWARD INSIDE EDGE SPIRAL[B]
    http://www.azdailysun.com/images/new...16_6889960.jpg
    Dear Beleaguered Mathman, THANK YOU for being confused. You were absolutely right under the MICHELE FORWARD INSIDE EDGE that all except the last, now the first and only photo, is actually of MK doing a FIE spiral. The others were actually FOE spirals and one was on the flat. I tried to include a range of depth of edges for each skater, including those on the flat if I could find one. No excuses except as Scotty J. says 11 times in "Boogie Nights": "I'm a !@#$%^& idiot!" I was sure there were more photos of MK doing a FIE spiral, but nevertheless, I should have checked each URL before I posted it. So my bad and your good for catching it. BTW, I was surprised at how hard it was to find photos of FIE spirals on Google and Yahoo, so if anybody knows of any, especially of Michelle and Irina, it would balance things out, not pun intended.

    Now my turn to find a boo-boo. In the photo's of Sasha's fan spirals, only the first one is of Sasha. I don't know who the second skater is, but it's definitely not Sasha, unless she gained 10 pounds and had cosmetic surgery on her face and most of her

    [B]SASHA FORWARD OUTSIDE EDGE SPIRALS[B]
    http://jayadeff.com/COI2005/COI2005.htm
    http://www.sashafans.com/media/galle...fs-0104133.jpg
    http://www.toeloopy.com/images/event...sc02rc0725.jpg
    http://www.windweaver.com/coi2002/images/sasha92826.jpg
    http://www.sashafans.com/media/galle...fs-0104133.jpg
    http://www.figure-skating.de/assets/...henSp__5_1.jpg

    [B]SASHA FORWARD INSIDE EDGE SPIRALS[B]
    http://heatherw.com/mk/pics/events/n..._sh_spiral.jpg (blurry)
    http://images.google.com/imgres?imgu...Fq%3Dsasha%2Bc
    http://images.search.yahoo.com/searc...Fmichelle92021.

    SASHA SIDE CATCH-FOOT SPIRAL
    http://www.allaboutfigureskating.com...ohen11-24A.jpg
    http://www.hangitonthewall.com/MASTE...s/tn_AB016.jpg


    IRINA FORWARD OUTSIDE EDGE SPIRALS
    http://www.ualberta.ca/~droles/skate/Irina1.jpg
    http://www.ualberta.ca/~droles/skate/Irina4.jpg
    http://www.leigh-i-am.com/Slute/20019737.jpg
    http://www.toeloopy.com/images/event...s00c968311.jpg
    NOT A SPIRAL, BUT WOW, WHAT AN EDGE!
    http://www.leigh-i-am.com/Slute/20132710.JPG

    IRINA FORWARD INSIDE EDGE SPIRALS
    http://www.leigh-i-am.com/Slute/20117907.JPG
    I REMEMBER SEEING A COUPLE OF INCREDIBLE PHOTOS OF IRINA DOING AN INSIDED EDGE SPIRAL. IF ANYONE REMEMBERS WHERE THEY ARE OR HAS THE LINK, I'D APPRECIATE IT.

    IRINA PAIRED SPIRAL EDGES
    IOUTSIDE
    http://www.leigh-i-am.com/Slute/20117909.JPG
    INSIDE
    http://www.leigh-i-am.com/Slute/20117907.JPG

    As we can see from these photos, Soogar was correct in observing that the higher the free leg, the more difficult it is to get an acute angle to the ice with the blade. There's a biomechanical reason for it, but I won't express it for you, which I'm sure has everyone terribly disappointed.


    IRINA SIDE CATCH-FOOT SPIRAL
    http://home.xnet.com/~meydrech/Slute/9708430a.jpg


    While I'm at it, here's a visual argument I found to the statement that Irina has "lousy lines"--especially the top photo. True, she has bowed legs and her feet don't point like Sasha's, but most skaters feet don't point much more than Irinas. Besides, these are anatomical situation Irina can do nothing about, just like Michelle can't do anythiing about her high shoulders and lack of extension flexibility in her back, and Sasha can't do anything internal tibial torsion, which makes doing a true Lutz especially difficult as well as landing on an outside edge. All skaters have anatomical problems and all successful skaters do what Mathman likes to sing, "Accentuate the positive, decentuate the negative, and don't mess with Mr. Inbetween."
    IRINA IN ARABESQUE
    http://www.scratchspin.com/2001/mast...fs-0104211.jpg
    OTHER POSITIONS
    http://images.search.yahoo.com/searc...F2001%2Fmaster

    ALSO, FOR THE "CAN IRINA DO A TRUE BIELMANN?" QUESTION, THAT IS, WITH THE HEAD ABOVE HER HEAD, PERHAPS SOME PEOPLE MAY BE CONFUSING IRINA'S BEILMANN WITH HER CATCH-FOOT LAYBACK SPIN
    EXAMPLES OF IRINA'S BIELMANN
    http://home.xnet.com/~meydrech/Slute/9620714.jpg
    http://www.leigh-i-am.com/Slute/20206421.JPG
    http://www.leigh-i-am.com/Slute/20038324.JPG
    http://www.terra.com.mx/Galeria_de_f.../60/119403.jpg (ONE HAND)
    IRINA'S FORWARD RUNNING INSIDE EDGE BIELMANN
    http://www.rest-elegance.com/images/...utskaya/02.jpg

    COMPARE TO:

    IRINA'S CATCH-FOOT LAYBACK SPINS
    http://www.leigh-i-am.com/Slute/20038324.JPG
    http://www.slam.canoe.ca/2002GamesGa...ges/fs1-ap.jpg


    OFF-TOPIC, BUT GOOD PHOTO OF WHY IRINA GETS SO MUCH SPEED. ALTHOUGH SHE HAS THE SAME THIGH TO LOWER LEG RATIO AS SASHA, IRINA GETS MUCH FURTHER DOWN IN HER KNEES, HER QUADS ARE MUCH MORE MUSCULAR, AND IF WE COULD SEE THIS ON VIDEO WE'D SEE THAT THERE'S MUCH GREATER WIDTH BETWEEN HER LEGS ON EACH STROKE.
    IRINA'S STROKE
    http://www.leigh-i-am.com/Slute/20160508.JPG

    FINALLY, WHO SAYS IRINA HAS NO BALLETIC LINE OR EXPRESSION?
    http://www.scratchspin.com/2001/mast...fs-0104211.jpg
    http://images.search.yahoo.com/searc...img-t%26b%3D41


    The reason there are more photos of Irina is that on Yahoo, which had the most photos, there were over 2300 photos of Irina, 517 of Michelle, and 270 of Sasha. On Google, there were about 230 for Irina, about 430 for Michelle, and about 400 for Sasha. Also, the photographers tended to take lots of photos of Sasha in the 180-degree Charlotte or spiral--in fact one spiral that I'm sure had an inside edge from the body position was cut off by the boards. So most of the photographers don't seem to care much about edges. A lot of Michelle's spirals and split falling leafs (leaves?) and Sasha's Russian splits. Lots of Irina's Biellman's, but ironically, for all the criticism of her line and movement, Irina photographs great, or at least Yahoo thinks so and I must say I do to. There's a greater variety in her movement in photographs than it seems like in some of her programs. She's also great at posed va-va-voom photos. Plus Irina had one of her wedding (aw) and Sasha had one of her prom (aw).

    So with all these photos around--and I just looked at Google and Yahoo--it would seem to me that if people are going to state as if they were facts that "so-and-so has no edges on her spiral" or "...in her skating in general," perhaps taking the time to check out the photos or, if you have videos of some recent competitions, give them a second look. I looked at one recently of a generally recognized excellent skater from 5 or 6 years ago, a skate that I remembered as being a top-notch performance. Watching the tape I was stunned at how bad it was. The opposite has happened to me as well. Maybe other's have better memories, I'm just conveying my experience.

    I know I said I was off GS till Campbell's except for reposting "War and Pairs" for Emma, but fallible edge information is one of those things that gets me, like how "Ordinary People" and Robert Redford could ever have won their respective Oscars over "Raging Bull" and Marting Scorsese. So I've said my peace, folks can look for themselves, I'm putting me time into the new "Greg the Bunny" shows.

    Rgirl
    Last edited by Rgirl; 06-23-2005 at 05:06 AM.

  10. #280
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    OK, now I am totally confused. I can't seem to tell an outside edge from an inside edge. Rgirl, on all of the pictures of Michelle on an "inside edge" except the last one, it looks to me like she is on an outside edge. Am I crazy? (On the third picture, she is kind of on the flat, to me.)

    MM
    Last edited by Mathman; 06-22-2005 at 01:15 PM.

  11. #281
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    Personally I would like to Post a thank you to Rgirl for her great post. This is the best comparison of these three I have ever seen. That Rgirl was able to post so well and without bias is a lesson to all of us. Perhaps another good topic to discuss is why it is okay for people to critize Sasha (for lack of edges or her Flutz) or Irena (for her poor posture) when it's not okay to critize Michelle (for her current lack of a loop and her lesser spining abilities)

    Janet

  12. #282
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    Quote Originally Posted by janetb
    Personally I would like to Post a thank you to Rgirl for her great post. This is the best comparison of these three I have ever seen. That Rgirl was able to post so well and without bias is a lesson to all of us. Perhaps another good topic to discuss is why it is okay for people to critize Sasha (for lack of edges or her Flutz) or Irena (for her poor posture) when it's not okay to critize Michelle (for her current lack of a loop and her lesser spining abilities)

    Janet
    Add my thanks as well to RGirl for a great post!

    With tongue firmly planted in cheek Janet, I think I can answer your question. The reason it is not OK to criticize MK for anything is that she is perfect. Even her imperfections are perfect. And if anyone takes me seriously on that comment, then I will strongly recommend Prozak.

    DG

  13. #283
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doggygirl
    Add my thanks as well to RGirl for a great post!

    With tongue firmly planted in cheek Janet, I think I can answer your question. The reason it is not OK to criticize MK for anything is that she is perfect. Even her imperfections are perfect. And if anyone takes me seriously on that comment, then I will strongly recommend Prozak.

    DG
    Couldn't I just have a beer to drown my sorrows

  14. #284
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    About criticism, it all depends on whose ox is being gored.

    Many GS posters are critical of Sasha's edges. Some find Irina's overuse of the Bielmann position distracting to the effect of the whole program.

    On the other hand, we once had a thread whose exact title was, "Why do people hate Michelle Kwan?" Many fans, both regular GS members and out-of-towners who flew in from other boards especially for the occasion, dutifully posted all the reasons why they couldn't stand the b****. None of these reasons had anything to do with skating.

    Leading up to nationals one year we had a "Cheering thread for 'Anyone but Michelle'."

    Mathman

  15. #285
    Keeper of La Khok's Tutus Doggygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janetb
    Couldn't I just have a beer to drown my sorrows
    You have my permission for an entire six pack. And a shot of Ta Kill Ya to go with it.



    DG

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