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

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06-19-2010, 02:21 AM
I just think it was a major blow for skating judging in general to not have Ito win both the sp and the lp in Calgary. I don't know where she would end up when counting figures, but she certainly deserved to win both the sp and lp with at least a 0.4 margin on technical merit over anyone else. She wasn't artistic but she delivered the best balance of speed, ease of movement, excitment and program intracacy and easily deserved 5.7s on the second mark. I guess those meant nothing in 1988. :P

While I'd agree Ito's programs were arguably the most exciting of the event, to say she should have won both programs is a bit of a stretch. If we scored only jumps--sure. But you have to consider her sloppy spirals, semi-drooped camel spins and general lack of overall polish. Don't get me wrong, I LOVED her programs, but they didn't deserve first place (mayyyybe her SP, but that's one for the ages...). Manley so deservedly won the LP with her stunning program--what a moment! And yes, I still think this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57AXUFZ_Vho) should have resoundingly placed first in the SP. Kadavy was just magical.

06-19-2010, 02:33 AM
Thanks for your insight. Were the judges actually considering putting Nancy on the team in 89 over both Kristi and Tonya if she had actually skated well (well whatever constitutes well for a women who couldnt buy a clean competition to save her life even in her prime) in both the short and long programs that year? That is funny. Nancy was a total nobody that year. .

I think what was going on was the judges/USFSA trying to get Nancy placed high enough so that she would qualify for funding from some USFSA envelope. Nancy's mother was legally blind and used to hang out with the ABC crew so she could see the performance with her nose up against a TV screen-ABC did a fluff on that at one point. The whole thing was similar to the Beverly Hillbillies episode where Ellie Mae went in for women's wrestling where her lines on entering the ring was, "My daddy's sick and my mammy's crippled." Every time Nancy skated it seemed there was a tear jerker piece about her mom's blindness. Additionally Nancy got lots of props for being able to land 3t/3t, which she had first done as either jr or novice, so she was thought of as an up and comer. Plus the Scotvolds always seemed to have a lot of pull.

Which Tonya never did, nor did her coach, nor her club. And her mother was not a sympathetic figure either.

06-19-2010, 02:35 AM
More on Tonya Harding......

Harding was certainly good enough to compete with Thomas, Trenary, and Kadavy from 86-88 but figures held her down when compared with those other 3 girls. Tonya had some problems in the SP at Nationals from 86-88. At 87 Nationals she had a slight stumble on her 3lt before doing the 2t combo and then unbelievably she singled the required 2lp jump! :wall: Her 7th-8th place finish in figures combined with a 6th-8th in the SP always kept her out of the last group for the LP those 3 years.

USFSA never liked Tonya. USFSA was always and still is a very snobby organization. Tonya, because of her background, was never considered "one of them". A lot of USFSA judges held her background against her and would low-ball her when it came time to compete.

Regarding Doris' comments about 89 Nationals: pretty much agree on all fronts. Trenary had no business going to worlds that year. She was a scared skater that year. Should have been 3rd in both the SP and LP at Nationals.

International judges, not really knowing anything about Harding's background, pretty much always embraced her skating and gave her the marks she deserved. That's why her international results were always so good early in her career. Winning Skate America, Nations Cup, Moscow News, Le Coupe Excellence, medals at NHK etc etc.

Doris, funny story about your talk with a judge at 89 Nationals. The judge you are talking about is Shirley Sherman since she was the only one who put Harding 1st in the LP that day.

Finally, FWIW, as much as I loved Harding's skating I had no problem with Yamaguchi winning the LP at 89 Nationals in Baltimore. Yamaguchi also skated great that day. I think she landed 6 triples to 5 for Harding and she also had 2 3lt's. What I strongly objected to was Trenary beating Harding in both the SP and LP. Neither should have happened. That year Harding was much stronger technically than Trenary.

FYI, Kerrigan was never considered for the world team in 89. She did skate a terrific LP landing a 3t/3t if I'm remembering correctly.

06-19-2010, 02:44 AM
My scores:

Short program

1. Kadavy- 5.8 elements, 6.0 presentation
2. Ito- 5.9 elements, 5.8 presentation
3. Thomas- 5.8 elements, 5.9 presentation
4. Witt- 5.6 elements, 5.9 presentation
5. Koch- 5.6 elements, 5.7 presentation
6. Manley- 5.6 elements, 5.6 presentation
7. Trenary- 5.4 elements, 5.6 presentation
8. Kondrashova- 5.3 elements, 5.6 presentation
9. Leistner- 5.1 elements, 5.5 presentation
10. Ivanova- 4.8 elements, 5.3 presentation

The level really began dropping off after the first 4. I didnt like Manley's short much. She had problems with 2 major elements even though her jumps and spins were very strong otherwise. And her presentation was childish in the short I found.

I agree Manley's long was the winner. My marks for the long would be:

1. Manley- 5.9 technical, 5.9 presentation
2. Ito- 5.9 technical, 5.7 presentation
3. Witt- 5.6 technical, 5.8 presentation
4. Trenary 5.6 technical, 5.7 presentation
5. Leistner 5.6 technical, 5.6 presentation
6. Thomas 5.5 technical, 5.6 presentation
7. Kondrashova 5.2 technical, 5.5 presentation
8. Koch 5.1 technical, 5.3 presentation
9. Ivanova 3.9 technical, 4.3 presentation

So I had Ito 2nd in both programs. However if putting her 1st in one of the programs would have allowed her to pass Thomas for the bronze then I would have done it just for that purpose alone.

I like Debi alot and her Carmen program that year was just great, and her short program that year was awesome despite that I placed her 3rd. However she didnt skate well at all that final night. I have no idea how she even placed over Trenary in the LP and I not a Trenary fan at all.

And while Ivanova's short program performance was quite weak, her long program was an epic nightmare. I am not sure how she got any marks for it, just horrible from start to finish in every conceivable way. She is a skater I think people are often too hard on and is a better skater than many give her credit for being, but boy in Calgary her skating was a nightmare, other than her usual excellent figures.

06-19-2010, 02:56 AM
Boy, I understand those who say Midori wasn't as artistic as some in 88, but I would put her about 0.2-0.3 below Witt and Manley, and at least 0.4 points ahead of Manley and 0.6 points ahead of Witt in the technical mark. Midori should've easily won the LP in Calgary

06-19-2010, 03:00 AM
Yes, it was Shirley Sherman. I was attempting not to rat her out.:lol: Looks like I did not succeed. A friend of mine did charity work with Ronald McDonald house with Shirley.

I was OK with Kristi winning the LP at the time, but like you, I though Trenary was hugely overscored. However, on rewatching the LP, both here and later, Kristi's tiny little jumps are plucking my last nerve-these days, I'd have Tonya first there. Plus Kristi's salchow issues, for that matter. And her figures really were crap right then.

06-19-2010, 03:16 AM
JudgeJudy, how can you possibly put Manley ahead of Ito in the LP at 88 Olympics?!? Makes no sense to me.....and to tie them on technical! :eek::eek:

Ito had 7 triples, Manley had 4. Ito had 5 different triples, Manley had 4. Ito had combinations, Manley had none.

etc etc

06-19-2010, 03:34 AM
I would have sent Trenary and Harding to the 1989 Worlds. I agree Trenary was overscored at Nationals but even if she were 3rd in both the short program and long program (and there is no way she deserved worse than 3rd) Yamaguchi even placing 2nd in the short and 1st in the long wouldnt have caught her. And there is no way Yamaguchi deserved to beat Harding in the short program, even if one could make an argument for her in the long program on her jump content even though her jumps were much weaker.

Yamaguchi had no chance to do anything at Worlds that year period. Her figures sucked, the international judges hardly knew of her, and she jumped, skated, and looked small. I am not a Trenary fan but I understand sending her to Worlds that year, but Harding should have gone with her and Kristi should have just done to skate pairs. Harding should have been U.S Champion that year instead of Trenary though really.

06-19-2010, 03:38 AM
JudgeJudy, how can you possibly put Manley ahead of Ito in the LP at 88 Olympics?!? Makes no sense to me.....and to tie them on technical! :eek::eek:

Ito had 7 triples, Manley had 4. Ito had 5 different triples, Manley had 4. Ito had combinations, Manley had none.

etc etc

I liked Manley's spins and footwork and her overall attack and energy of that particular performance so I gave her extra points on both marks for that. Even if I drop her to 5.8 on technical she would still win the LP on my marks. Ito didnt skate in the final group in both programs so you couldnt give her 5.9, 5.9 or 6.0, 5.9 unless she was the optimum in everything, and while she was in jumping she wasnt the optimum in artistry and some other things yet.

Anyway there isnt a way to accurately reflect the gaps in technical merit of all the skaters that year. If Trenary and Witt are scoring 5.7s on technical for just doing triple toes, a triple salchow or two, and alot of nice doubles, and Thomas is getting 5.6s technically for stumbling out of most of the triples she tries that night.......well you get the picture. The judges would have to score the entire field differently from the very start to be able to accurately reward Ito technically and reflect all the gaps. And there is more to technical merit than just jumps. Ito's spins and footwork and non jump elements were strong too, but they werent clearly the best in the field like her jumps were.

Triple Butz
06-19-2010, 08:41 AM
OMG, Tonya had the same content as Christopher Bowman in the SP that season and harder content than Ito. Not only that, but she was in excellent shape, all muscle not an ounce of fat . . . and, yet, she was fully developed (Yes, I mean she had hips and boobs.) and it did not look like it threw off her jumps one bit.

Too funny. Her triple axel was better than his as well.

I have to believe that this would make Tonya the first woman to EVER do a 3lutz/2loop, correct???

06-19-2010, 10:11 AM
1989 US nationals went something like...

1) Trenary 1-1-2 (3.0)
2) Yamaguchi 8-2-1 (5.4)
3) Harding 4-3-3 (6.4)
4) Cook 3-4-4 (7.6)

I think if Tonya went to Worlds in 1989, she probably does better than Kristi's eventual placing, and probably sneaks in around 4th place (certainly ahead of Neske and Lebedeva). She at least beats Jill in the long program - How Jill ranked 3rd in the 1989 World Championships Long Program (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kly9a1HEkzw) is absolutely ridiculous

06-19-2010, 10:14 AM
Leistner didnt skate well at all in the 89 Worlds LP either. It was certainly possible for Tonya to place 2nd in the LP. It would have been interesting how they would have scored her had she done a clean SP. Ito did a double toe-triple toe combo, while Trenary, Leistner, and Lebedeva all did triple toe-double combos. Kristi skating cleanly with a triple lutz combo was placed behind all of them, but Tonya was better known internationally and stronger skater at that point in time.

06-19-2010, 02:11 PM
At 89 worlds both Yamaguchi and Evelyn Grossman should have beaten Leistner and Trenary in the LP. No doubt about it. Yamaguchi finished 6th at those worlds but she should have been 4th overall. I "believe" if she would have been 1 place higher in the LP then she would have finished 4th overall.

I agree that Trenary's 3rd place in the LP was a total joke. Should have been at least 5th.

Didn't Trenary just beat Leistner by a 5-4 split for 2nd in the SP? If I'm remembering correctly Leistner was 1 judge away from winning worlds that year (GAG). Thank God Ito ended up winning the event. :)

Triple Butz
06-20-2010, 12:12 AM

I uploaded the NHK sp, I actually prefer it slightly to Ito's!

06-20-2010, 01:33 AM
I love that final spin. That was a m a z i n g !!! :swoon: