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View Full Version : Why Tonya Harding Is The Greatest Skater Of All Time



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judgejudy27
06-11-2010, 12:20 AM
U.S judges never liked Harding as much. If Harding and Yamaguchi had both skated the same way at a Worlds as they did at the 89 Nationals Harding would have crushed Yamaguchi I am sure, but of course Kristi somehow came out on top between the two at Nationals.

bardtoob
06-11-2010, 01:05 AM
It kills me that Tonya was 4th in figures behind World Class patchers, Trenary, Cook, and Campbell, and had already proven that she was ready to take on Ito in freeskating (SP and LP) at 1987 NHK, but Yamaguchi, who was already going to Worlds in Pairs, was given the benefit of the doubt when she could do no better than 8th in figures at Nationals (with help since she neither had the body weight nor the training time to do them well) and got to go to Worlds in a picture perfect Nationals results scenario.

Harding could have finished one to two places above Ito in figures at 1989 Worlds, and competed for the gold, placing above Trenary in the SP and LP (even if destiny favored Ito, which I think it did).

Of course, I think that the results at 1989 Nationals had as much to do with Trenary and her coach setting her up for gold contention at Worlds as it did with the judges preferring squeeky clean Yamaguchi, a virtual non-factor in the figures era that would have been normally buried by the skating order at Nationals and kept off the World Team . . .

judgejudy27
06-11-2010, 01:08 AM
Yeah Kristi wasnt going to be any kind of contender at Worlds until the figures were gone. I think she was one of those who didnt even bother working on her figures much since she knew they were going to be gone soon as she would be coming into her prime anyway, and with training singles and pairs she would have been looking for any time compromise. So it was pointless and unneccessary to send her to Worlds that year. 1990 would have been a fine time to make her debut (as it was pretty safe the U.S was getting 3 spots back in Paris as atleast 1 of Trenary or Harding would medal).

Ziggy
06-11-2010, 01:40 AM
I find it odd that the US judges were stingier with her marks than the Intl. panel at Worlds for basically the same performance [pre-whack] :confused:

I don't.

She wasn't exactly the kind of image USFS wanted to promote and be associated with. ;)

Vash01
06-11-2010, 07:27 AM
A few years ago I remember seeing a video of Tonya from I think 1986, some regional or club competition that was broadcasted on TV (I remember there being commentators, but for the life of me I can't remember the competition) and she did a 3lutz. I swear, it was the HUGEST triple lutz I have ever seen. EVER. I mean it freakin put Granny's lutz to shame!

For me, the 2nd-greatest jumper in the history of this sport (sorry, noone beats Midori in my books)

No one beats Midori in my books either. She too had huge jumps. Her triple axels would put majority of men to shame, and she was a more consistent jumper than Tonya.

Vash01
06-11-2010, 07:37 AM
(I'm bored)


When I look at Asada cheat her 3axels and Kim cheat her 3/3s, I want to tie them down "A Clockwork Orange" style and shout: 'THIS IS HOW IT'S DONE, SUCKERS!'

Kim does not cheat her jumps. They are fully rotated. Asada sometimes underrotates her triple axel, and gets dinged for it, but there are times when she fully rotates them too. Both of them are better all around skaters than Tonya Harding. Tonya had great jumps and spins but that's about it. Midori had the best flow into and out of the jumps and she was more consistent than Tonya. I think Tonya had one consistent year (may be one and a half season) and then her jump consistency went south.

bardtoob
06-11-2010, 09:11 AM
Both of them are better all around skaters than Tonya Harding. Tonya had great jumps and spins but that's about it.

I disagree. My CoP eyes see that Tonya had comparable to superior basics and content at a comparable age with challenges that these girls did not face, like:

- performing 3Lz, 3F, 3Lp, 3T, 3S, and 2A with combinations, but still being at risk of loosing to somebody performing 3F, two 3T, two 3S, and 2A.
- devoting time to figures rather than artistic development.
- no role models for constructing a high technical content artistic program

Here is Tonya Harding:

Tonya Harding - 1989 Skate America Long Program (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zq9MFnFMKRE)

Here is Yu Na Kim:

Yu Na - 2009 Skate America Long Program (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBlPyDhivyQ)

There age difference is about one month. Yu Na had 20 years of freeskaters, including skaters that skated to the same music like Michelle Kwan and Midori Ito, to look to for program construction. Her technical content was behind Tonya's, Kim leaving out the 3Lp while Tonya leaving out the 3A, although Yu Na was in no danger of loosing to skater with comparable content to Jill Trenary. Yu Na's competition did not include figures, so she had to put greater emphasis on choreography and interpretation to set her apart from the field.

I do not see any justification for saying Tonya was a lesser skater, and, in fact, Tonya had a skill set that is completely unknown to likes of Yu Na Kim.

judgejudy27
06-11-2010, 09:27 AM
Tonya was actually reasonably consistent as a skater and jumper from 86-91. Just bad luck for her to be held down by figures and the combination of U.S depth and the "wait your turn" protocal of skating back then from 86-88. Then in 89 to be screwed over at Nationals. 1990 after a strong season and all the potential for Worlds again to get sick at the U.S Nationals and miss Worlds again.

Another ironic thing was Tonya was hurt by figures early in her career but it would have helped her later on had figures stayed. She was better at figures than all of Ito, Yamaguchi, or Kerrigan.

I know people say she sabatoged her own career and huge talent and to some extent that is true of course, but she also is a very unlucky skater in many regards too IMHO.

bardtoob
06-11-2010, 09:52 AM
People always gripe about Tonya's consistency, well Midori's consistency began falling apart in the 1990-91 season, about one year before Tonya's consistency began to fall apart, and Midori is one year older.

Furthermore, I contend that Midori and Tonya peaked between 1986 and 1990, but Tonya could not get out of US to Worlds while Midori could get out of Japan to Worlds.

robinhood
06-11-2010, 10:46 AM
Midori had been at the world scene stage for many seasons before Tonya, so she had that excuse when she wasn't as consistent.
Besides that, in the 92 season Midori was in truly unbeatable form. It just happened that at the Olympics everything went wrong for her and wasn't that strong mentally
If we consider their brief pro careers, midori also trumps tonya in the consistency department by a long way

bardtoob
06-11-2010, 11:30 AM
Midori had been at the world scene stage for many seasons before Tonya, so she had that excuse when she wasn't as consistent.

Midori is my favorite skater by far, but she was not on the senior world stage significantly longer than Tonya except going to worlds, which amounts to one competition per year. Tonya was still going to senior international events as early as 1985 while Midori started going to senior international events in 1984. Midori did get significant international coverage as a Jr, but who wouldn't with exhibitions at NHK at age 10 and the same 3-3 as a man at age 12.

Tonya also had some other barriers to overcome. She did not come from an area with a strong history of top skaters like Boston, New York, or California and she did not have a high profile coach like Carlo Fassi, Frank Carol, or CHJ. Furthermore, she was being sent to Senior International events where the results were sometimes just ridiculous.

Tonya Harding 1986 Skate America Freeskate (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPpvVEWosHc)

and the LP of the overall winner:

Tiffany Chin - 1986 Skate America Long Program (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMyYZjjAgh4)


Besides that, in the 92 season Midori was in truly unbeatable form. It just happened that at the Olympics everything went wrong for her and wasn't that strong mentally . . .

Midori lost to Yamaguchi at 1990 Skate America and the Midori of 1991 Trophy Lalique was no where near as confident or reliable as the Midori of NHK 1989.


If we consider their brief pro careers, midori also trumps tonya in the consistency department by a long way

If you look at Midori's pro performances, she was not very consistent ... sorry to say nothing like Yamaguchi during her pro career. Midori had lost a lot of heart and was convinced that she was not an elegant skater.

olympic
06-11-2010, 04:02 PM
Tonya was actually reasonably consistent as a skater and jumper from 86-91. Just bad luck for her to be held down by figures and the combination of U.S depth and the "wait your turn" protocal of skating back then from 86-88. Then in 89 to be screwed over at Nationals. 1990 after a strong season and all the potential for Worlds again to get sick at the U.S Nationals and miss Worlds again.

Another ironic thing was Tonya was hurt by figures early in her career but it would have helped her later on had figures stayed. She was better at figures than all of Ito, Yamaguchi, or Kerrigan.

I know people say she sabatoged her own career and huge talent and to some extent that is true of course, but she also is a very unlucky skater in many regards too IMHO.

I also think that she was simply not the preference for TPTB in the US, who wanted a princess that looked a certain way and skated to the right kind of music, evidenced by the fact in my earlier post that intl. judges pre-whack were more prepared to reward her than even the judges in her own country. [She lived in Oregon. Maybe she could've competed for Canada, only having to dispatch Josee Chouinard :lol:]

I really think it took a psychological toll on her, she lost a lot of motivation, and she probably felt she had nothing to lose by the criminal turn her path took in late '93/early '94. I'm not excusing her, just analyzing it.

ETA - I agree with the posts that stated it was easier for Midori to get out of JPN and compete at Worlds than it was for Tonya to do the same in the US

DORISPULASKI
06-11-2010, 05:20 PM
Tonya should probably not have skated to "People Are Still Having Sex". :lol: if she wanted to make points with TPTB

leesaleesa
06-11-2010, 09:27 PM
Anyway, have you seen her 93 SA sp? One of the best 6.0 sp performances ever. One of the best Lutz combos ever, and even her spirals are great in this program.

Oh, man. That triple lutz was like a 747 taking off and landing. Probably the best program overall that Tonya ever did, and one of my favorite shorts of all time.

IMO, Tonya was better than Ito. Tonya didn't flutz, or wrap. Tonya was pretty raw, but she had musicality, whereas I found Ito to be pretty wooden.

DORISPULASKI
06-11-2010, 10:31 PM
Tonya's 1993 Skate America SP
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJLjdg4208k

The hang time on the flying sit is :eek::eek:

And the lutz combo is a-m-a-z-i-n-g!

And you're right-the spirals are better than she did in previous years.