Best Figure Skaters That Never Won Olympic Gold

Skater Boy

Record Breaker
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
I doubt than any skater, no matter how long they compete, can achieve worldwide fame just for athletic performance. Most athletes can't actually - famous athletes compete mostly in football, basketball, tennis or martial arts. There are exceptions obviously, but figure skating hasn't reached mainstream popularity yet, maybe because its rules are overall not easy to understand and the sport is not always taken seriously. Longevity adds up too of course, especially for a growing sport that is figure skating.

In general, I don't think figure skaters are particular global superstars. The sport is not globally played ie Africa and S. America have few if nay competitors. The constant changing scoring system among inconsistent or questionable judging, Certain Asada, Kim, Plushenko, Lipinskaya, Kwan, Hamill and Fleming had huge domestic following but internationally not so much and then again more limited to the skating community. The ave person who might watch skating if at all during an olympic year might know the name Tonya Harding for the wrong reasons. I see the names Torvill and Dean but they are very limited to the skating community. In part because back the ice dancing sort of was a situation of inheriting your spot. And in part because ice dancing especially back in 1984 was seen as more dance and not athletic and in part Torvill and Dean read as old. remember seeing that in some marketing class. Jayne Torvill had a very matronly old look. Again marketing. I am not sure martial arts will get you int'l recognition but the point is well taken about other sports. This is not to put down Torvill and Dean or anyone. Sadly skating isn't the most popular sport or where skaters get the most money compared t say tennis, golf, ,basketball, football/soccer (European/intl), hockey. I don't think martial arts woudl make a ss ome don't even consider i really a sport.
 

ruga

Final Flight
Joined
Oct 20, 2017
Errr.... even the list of sports you mention can be parochial, sorry. Few people here, even those who follow sport on an enthusiastic casual basis, could name a single basketballer if their lives depended on it, or any competitor at all in martial arts. And football covers such a range... if you mean soccer only, that might work.

This is what I mean, we all forget that other people in other places don't see the same news, follow the same sports, recognise the same names, as we do (without looking them up, who is Steve Davis? Ma Long? Imran Khan? Phar Lap?)
You are probably right, people mostly follow sports that their country is good at, and football (or "soccer") is the closest to be universally recognized. I just thought that if one asked people on the street about Muhammad Ali, Roger Federer or Michael Jordan, many could recall at least one of them. Michelle Kwan, Evgeni Plushenko or Mao Asada, provided that you don't ask in their native countries? I doubt it.
 

nussnacker

one and only
Record Breaker
Joined
Mar 16, 2019
You are probably right, people mostly follow sports that their country is good at, and football (or "soccer") is the closest to be universally recognized. I just thought that if one asked people on the street about Muhammad Ali, Roger Federer or Michael Jordan, many could recall at least one of them. Michelle Kwan, Evgeni Plushenko or Mao Asada, provided that you don't ask in their native countries? I doubt it.

Agree.
Yao Ming anyone? Shaquille O’Neal? LeBron? Cobe Bryant? Completely unrecognizable names, lol.
Federer, Nadal, Djoko Nole, Williams, Sharapova and many other tennis players are actually as famous as football stars.
Surely everyone knows names such as Bolt, Pacquiao, Mayweather, Tyson, McGregor, Khabib and there’s really no need to even watch any sport to know those names. They’re everywhere.
No figure skater ever can even dream to be close to that level of fame of the athletes named above.
 

Rossig

On the Ice
Joined
Apr 15, 2014
I see the names Torvill and Dean but they are very limited to the skating community. In part because back the ice dancing sort of was a situation of inheriting your spot. And in part because ice dancing especially back in 1984 was seen as more dance and not athletic and in part Torvill and Dean read as old. remember seeing that in some marketing class.

You have no idea what you are talking about. 1) TnD have become famous outside skating community as any other skaters 2) TnD changed the perception of ice dance, completely revolutionised it. Their victory in Sarajevo has become the most memorable among all sports disciplines in 1984 Olympics 3) "Torvill and Dean read as old" - Huh?
 

Skatesocs

Final Flight
Joined
May 16, 2020
Agree.
Yao Ming anyone? Shaquille O’Neal? LeBron? Cobe Bryant? Completely unrecognizable names, lol.
Federer, Nadal, Djoko Nole, Williams, Sharapova and many other tennis players are actually as famous as football stars.
Surely everyone knows names such as Bolt, Pacquiao, Mayweather, Tyson, McGregor, Khabib and there’s really no need to even watch any sport to know those names. They’re everywhere.
No figure skater ever can even dream to be close to that level of fame of the athletes named above.

I would say maybe more famous than any figure skater around the world. But I do think still not possibly universally recognised, but perhaps you were being rhetorical there.

It's somewhat why I think Kim and Hanyu won't fade for a bit in their countries too though. I think their fame isn't linked exclusively to skating in their own countries. Not like Kwan who was still "famous figure skater". Of course they're never going to be famous worldwide because to the rest of the world, they're skaters. But it's just getting OT.
 

Ballade88

On the Ice
Joined
Apr 19, 2017
I think Torvill & Dean, G &G, and Katarina Witt achieved international fame at least for a time. They appeared in media (commercials, non-skating magazine covers, etc.) outside of their native countries. G & G had a tragic romantic story that resonated with a lot of people in the west. Katarina Witt looked like Brooke Shields, who was a major star in the 80s.
 

NanaPat

Record Breaker
Joined
Oct 25, 2014
Country
Canada
My husband doesn't know figure skating, except for my incessant chatter about it. He does know the top Canadian skaters, Torville and Dean and ..... Plushenko. He even recognized Plushy when he sees him (with an indignant "where did he come from", but recognized nonetheless).
 

TallyT

Here for the High Lord of Extra
Record Breaker
Joined
Apr 23, 2018
Country
Australia
I just thought that if one asked people on the street about Muhammad Ali, Roger Federer or Michael Jordan, many could recall at least one of them.

Most folk here would be vaguely aware that there is someone called Jordan who sells shoes and pops up on American social media, but wouldn't really know or care what he did to earn any of that. Federer and Muhammad Ali are on a different global plateau, especially the latter (but time being what it is, that will change everntually - thinking now, how many young people would recognose the names Borg, Evert and Navratilova?)

Surely everyone knows names such as Bolt, Pacquiao, Mayweather, Tyson, McGregor, Khabib and there’s really no need to even watch any sport to know those names.

Usain Bolt yes (from ads) and Mike Tyson, though I suspect that like Tonya, he is more and more a fading name linked with some sort of scandal. The rest, don't be quite so sure... because nope, they are "who?" here and in sizable parts of the world.

The other thing of course is that sport, like all other forms of entertainment, has been and is being changed by the rise of the internet and social media, as well as access through streaming/cable etc, in ways that I don't think people even realise. It's more splintered as people have a lot of different options and don't care about the teams and codes or sports their parents did, or even following sport at all.
 

Caleb

Spectator
Joined
Nov 4, 2016
Surya Bonaly comes to mind. She won so many competitions but just didn’t do as well at the olympics. Her iconic style was truly ahead of its time!
 

Mylesag

Rinkside
Joined
Jan 29, 2012
The two greatest skaters of all time, Surya Bonaly and Javier Fernandez!!
Sasha Cohen;
Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto
Shae Lynn Bourne
Weaver and Poje
Elizabeth Punsalan and Jared Swallow;
the late Christopher Bowman (RIP, Chris)
Stephane Lambiel

Would CHock and Bates still go for a medal in 2022? If not, I would add them to my list.
 

Lipinski boy

Spectator
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
One skater jumps into mind, first and foremost:
Michelle Kwan, who won, basically, everything else except an Olympic gold. And boy, she tried so hard to achieve it.
 

Ladskater

~ Figure Skating Is My Passion ~
Record Breaker
Joined
Jul 28, 2003
Donald Jackson - Bronze Olympic champion, World Champion, North American and Canadian Men's Champion
Toller Cranston - Olympic and World Bronze champion, Canadian Men's Champion
Kurt Browning - 4 time world champion, 4 time Canadian Men's champion
Karen Magnussen - Karen did win the silver in 1972 Olympics, 5 Canadian Ladies Champion and Junior Champion, North American and World champion
Brian Orser - Olympic Silver medalist in 1984 and 1988, 8 time Canadian Men's Champion, World Champion
Elvis Stojko - Silver medalist in 1994 and 1998, 3 time World Champion, 7 time Canadian Men's champion, Four Continents and Grand Prix Final Men's champion
 

sowcow

On the Ice
Joined
Jan 10, 2014

Seemingly every 🍁■ ♂ ... ever!

(...and the roller-coaster of emotions I experienced each time:
:gaah: :curse: :sad4: :hopelessness: )

 

deedee1

Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 14, 2007
Toller Cranston
Janet Lynn
Paul Wylie
Midori Ito
Kurt Browning
Todd Eldridge
Krylova & Ovsyannikov (in my heart they ARE OGM at Nagano Oly Games in 1998! :love:)
Michelle Kwan (IMO she WON Gold at Nagano in 1998. :mad:)
Irina Slutskaya (OGM would have been hers at SLC Oly in 2002, had judges placed her 1st in SP, right? Michelle and Irina had very very good SP, so hard to place which one 1st... :disapp:)
Alexandar Abt
Pang/Tong (should have won bronze in 2006 AND gold in 2010. :devil:)
Daisuke Takahashi (so close for gold in 2010 had he stood or two-footed on the opening quad... sigh)
Stephan Lambiel
Brian Joubert
Jeff Buttle
Mao Asada
Carolina Kostner
Patrick Chan
Javier Fernandez
 
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