I think Tara's victory was shocking to some people because there was that much accepted theory floating around at the time that a clean Tara would never beat a clean Michelle....no matter what. The results of the previous seasons proved that for many. A clean Michelle beat a clean, 3/3 laden Tara in the LP at the 1997 Worlds and in the LP at the 1998 U.S. Nationals. She had also demolished her at the 1997 Skate America competition. Michelle delivered (basicly) a clean LP and lost to Tara...I think that is where the real shocker for many was. It was the first time Tara had ever beaten a clean Michelle (in the LP anyway, not overall). So, I was shocked. But, I thought Sarah Hughes's win in SLC was even more shocking. I knew she had the potential to deliver when it really counted, but I never imagined her winning the Gold medal. Michelle had been very solid at Nationals and seemed to be hitting her stride as she had done in the previous 2 seasons and Irina looked extremely strong in the Olympic SP. Honestly, I thought the judges would just go ahead and give it to Irina anyway after she had skated without any falls...and they almost did. I'm glad Sarah won. She deserved it that night.