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



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judgejudy27
06-21-2010, 04:55 AM
It would be so nice if skating were always judged on the actual skating. And that people would know if they disagreed with the judges it was simply difference of opinion between them on the judges which would still happen a fair bit, but not on "other reasons" at play- nationality, reputation, practices, how much of a favorite to medal you were, which judge was on the panel, who the federation was pushing, off ice lifestyle, moms, coaches, paying your dues. Alas such is just a dream probably.

Triple Butz
06-21-2010, 07:42 AM
She was so ahead of her time. As ahead as Midori.

Agree completely. Although the international judges were usually a little more fair to both, the 87 NHK competition is proof that more than the skating came into play as both of them skated circles around Witt here and ended up losing to her. Totally bogus judging.

I definitely think the USFSA treated Tonya very unfairly during her career, but the truth is that Tonya had the talent and capabilities to take it out of their control if she just buckled down and got serious about her training. If she had been in fighting shape more consistently throughout the years I have no doubt she would have been at least a one-time world champ and an olympic medalist and the USFSA wouldn't have been able to hold her down.

CoolGuy
06-21-2010, 09:00 AM
The greatest 3lutz in the history of 3lutzes:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGkw4Vq1LYA

at 1:15, and the slo-mo is at 5:30

I'd say that's a close second to this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVTttzFO5hI

0:58, slo-mo at 5:19

(I find the landing to be slightly better here)

Ziggy
06-21-2010, 09:51 AM
When you are in an abusive home, any way out looks good-even Jeff Gilooly. Unfortunately, it is so often jumping from the frying pan into the fire, as it was for Tonya.

The appeal of possibly feeling loved is irresistible if that's been missing from your life.

Great point.

But getting on the judgemental high horse is so much easier and more appealing I guess.

neptune
06-21-2010, 09:53 AM
I found a little tidbit concerning the "Tonya and Jeff reunion."

From http://pdxiss.org/history.htm:

"[Tonya] claims that a senior member of the USFSA told her that she would not get the marks she deserved if she did not reconcile with Gillooly."

If that is true, it would be interesting to know exactly who the person was or what he/she specifically said. Or if Tonya misinterpreted the remark.

gkelly
06-21-2010, 02:43 PM
. . . It is really sad that the 3Lz-2Lp (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rC3xshNNvRQ) was an important achievement that was almost lost. It was gorgeous. Straight up and down without any flutz. It is not something that is seen today. More rare than even a 3A.

I'm not sure what you're saying is not seen today. 3Lz-2Lo with that exact technique? Of course not. That combination at all? It certainly is done today, most notably by Miki Ando, who also sometimes does 3Lz-3Lo.

skatesindreams
06-21-2010, 03:59 PM
I agree with all of these points that were obstacles for Tonya; however, she was still responsible for her own actions, and the simple fact is Tonya pushed away many opportunities, help, and advice due to her own stubborness, and yes, frankly, laziness. Tonya had skills and talent that were out of this world but she screwed herself over repeatedly with her refusal to practice hard, accept standards (USFSA) that weren't to her taste, and her penchant for doing things her own way. The biggest obstacle to Tonya Harding's success as a skater wasn't Kristi Yamaguchi or Nancy Kerrigan, USFSA or national or international judges: it was Tonya Harding herself. Her lack of consistency and inability to apply herself was what usually left her on the outside looking in at those who placed above her.

And dr. frog, I very much remember the incident you described. Tonya's worst enemy was herself, and to this day, she doesn't recognize that.

This.

Triple Butz
06-21-2010, 04:17 PM
I'm not sure what you're saying is not seen today. 3Lz-2Lo with that exact technique? Of course not. That combination at all? It certainly is done today, most notably by Miki Ando, who also sometimes does 3Lz-3Lo.

Bardtoob said was that it is rare. Who else is doing a true lutz combo with a loop on the end? Butyrskaya did it once in 1998, and Slutskaya has several times in the 2000's. Since then, Miki is the only person I can think of. This one by Harding, however, was done in 1987! Pretty amazing to think that in the Olympics and Worlds just months later all that was needed to win the gold were triple toes and sals.

Ziggy
06-21-2010, 04:31 PM
[meh there's no point]

olympic
06-21-2010, 04:35 PM
Some questions -

While I'm sure Tonya could've won '91 Worlds if she had merely duplicated her '91 Nats LP there, how many mistakes could she have committed and still won? I mean -

she made a hash out of her 3t-3t combo, instead she did a wild toe loop and tacked on a 2t, then later she doubled a planned 3sal.

Would she have had to skate completely clean to beat Kristi in Munich '91 [KY was clean except for a popped sal, I think] or could she have still made a mistake and beaten KY in front of an Intl. judging panel?

Also, what would a win have done for Tonya going into an Olympic year? What would the USFSA's attitude have been?? Any change??

bardtoob
06-21-2010, 05:30 PM
Thanks Triple Butz, I had forgot . . .

3Lz-2Lp was the combo used by Kwan, Slutskaya, etc. for at least the 2002 Olympic year, and Miki does a good one.

dncrgrl
06-21-2010, 05:34 PM
[QUOTE=Wow, re the judge’s comment to Hollander! Quite interesting that Debi Thomas (again on the podcast) mentions that she did have nose surgery at age 16 (at the suggestion of people within the sport), because she was always being told that the reason for her lower marks – when she was a better jumper than most of her competition – had to do with her appearance (in other words, it might help if she worked on her costumes and had a nose job). While having a nose job is not necessarily an idiotic choice, it certainly shouldn’t be something dictated to a youngster. I’m so glad Michelle Kwan never felt that necessity, and kudos to Dan Hollander for having a good sense of himself. Barbara Streisand and Steffi Graf also come to mind as individuals comfortable with who they are and quite beautiful from the inside out. I can only imagine :eek: what some officials might have suggested that a young Johnny Weir should do to improve his chances of moving up in the sport.[/QUOTE]

I remember that Linda Fratianne also had a rhinoplasty. She may have been told that she needed to have a prettier appearance. She also had nice dresses that seemed to usher in the era of major beading/stoning on dresses in competition. During Dorothy Hamill's time, dresses were much simpler. Those of us that are old enough remember her dress from the Olympics, which was quite simple.

MR-FAN
06-21-2010, 05:35 PM
I'd say that's a close second to this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVTttzFO5hI

0:58, slo-mo at 5:19

(I find the landing to be slightly better here)

fair enough!

judgejudy27
06-22-2010, 12:18 AM
Bardtoob said was that it is rare. Who else is doing a true lutz combo with a loop on the end? Butyrskaya did it once in 1998, and Slutskaya has several times in the 2000's. Since then, Miki is the only person I can think of. This one by Harding, however, was done in 1987! Pretty amazing to think that in the Olympics and Worlds just months later all that was needed to win the gold were triple toes and sals.

It is really kind of depressing to realize the skaters we saw battling for major championships in the latter half of the 80s were not really the best skaters at the time at all, other than Ito in 89 of course. Atleast in mens singles we saw the best guys fighting for titles, even with figures worked into the equation.

Marco
06-22-2010, 03:32 AM
It is really kind of depressing to realize the skaters we saw battling for major championships in the latter half of the 80s were not really the best skaters at the time at all, other than Ito in 89 of course. Atleast in mens singles we saw the best guys fighting for titles, even with figures worked into the equation.

Some of the girls excelled at figures and some excelled at artistry, which were important back then. Ladies skating was never really about power and difficulty until probably Lipinski and Slutskaya spoiled Kwan's party (e.g. Bonaly was denied a world title 3 times).

So in a sense they were the best skaters at the time (according to what was important back then). Harding and Ito were undoubtedly the best free skaters during that era but they never really had the grace and artistry to challenge Witt, Trenary, Kadavy and then later Yamaguchi and in Ito's case she didn't not really even have adequate skills in figures.

Obviously the politiks played a part too, but even if the sport was to be judged totally fairly I don't see Ito and Harding dominate since the mid-80s just because their strengths were not the focus at the time.