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



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dr.frog
05-20-2010, 04:19 AM
Hmm I just found some videos of Tonya skating in a pro competition in 1999.

I thought people refused to skate with her after what happened and both her amateur and any chance at a pro career were over?


That was the only pro competition Harding was ever invited to. It was 1999, the pro skating boom was pretty much over, and promoters were desperate for a gimmick to revive interest. Michael Rosenburg agreed to act as Harding's agent and got her this event against a bunch of B-list pros as a kind of trial balloon, to see if she was serious about trying to make a comeback and if the public would accept her. Well, it wasn't either a spectacular success or spectacular failure, but before Rosenburg could get her any more work, Harding assaulted her boyfriend with a hubcap when she was drunk, had to serve jail time, got put on probation for a couple years, etc. :scream: Rosenburg dropped her like a hot potato and that was the end of her pro skating career. Pretty typical of Harding to completely screw up any opportunity she had by doing something totally stupid, IMO.... :wall:

Tony Wheeler
05-20-2010, 04:20 AM
I think Tonya was the "calendar year 1991" world champion.

Exactly! I was referring to those 12 months being January-December 1991, and not even in a vs. everyone else kind of way, necessarily. She just really had it together, but then lost much of her steam and the judges favor by the time Albertville came around.

It just baffles my mind how she goes from World silver medalist to what she showed up as a year and a half later at Skate Canada.

judgejudy27
05-20-2010, 04:22 AM
That's why I used the phrase "calendar year," because I mean only 1991 proper (including the fall). Yes, it's a different story if you look at the '90-'91 season. BTW, did Ito fall apart at SA '90 or something?

At SA 1990 Ito fell in the short program. In the long program she missed both the triple axel and triple flip, and I think one other triple too. Even with those mistakes she was given mostly higher technical marks than a clean Kristi and lost it only on the 2nd mark.

neptune
05-20-2010, 04:31 AM
Harding assaulted her boyfriend with a hubcap when she was drunk, had to serve jail time, got put on probation for a couple years, etc. :scream:

Ah, but let's not forget that Harding was the proud "inmate of the month" at the Oregon jail where she served her time. ;)


Rosenburg dropped her like a hot potato and that was the end of her pro skating career. Pretty typical of Harding to completely screw up any opportunity she had by doing something totally stupid, IMO.... :wall:

I've read that, concerning certain people, they often bungle things up because everything feels "safer" to them that way. IOW, failure feels more comfortable and familiar to them than success. I wouldn't be at all surprised if that were true in Harding's case.

MR-FAN
05-20-2010, 04:34 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)

neptune
05-20-2010, 04:36 AM
At SA 1990 Ito fell in the short program. In the long program she missed both the triple axel and triple flip, and I think one other triple too. Even with those mistakes she was given mostly higher technical marks than a clean Kristi and lost it only on the 2nd mark.

Thanks, judgejudy27. That's quite an unusual performance for Ito. So she probably landed 4 clean triples then. Hard to say whether she deserved the nod for technical merit over Kristi or not. If Kristi landed 7 triples, then probably not. But if she landed 6 or fewer (especially without a triple-triple), then I could see putting Midori ahead, since her spins were usually great too.

judgejudy27
05-20-2010, 04:45 AM
Thanks, judgejudy27. That's quite an unusual performance for Ito. So she probably landed 4 clean triples then. Hard to say whether she deserved the nod for technical merit over Kristi or not. If Kristi landed 7 triples, then probably not. But if she landed 6 or fewer (especially without a triple-triple), then I could see putting Midori ahead, since her spins were usually great too.

I am pretty sure Kristi landed 7 triples. I dont remember if she did a triple-triple. Ito actually became alot more inconsistent once the figures were removed. Everyone thought she would be completely unbeatable once they were gone but she became more unpredictable, and the free skating competition improved a great deal while the other top free skaters were now also allowed to flourish without figures. She did have some really bad luck with the injuries at the 91 Worlds, all the media pressure in 92, but she maybe also found it tough to handle the pressure of now being the overwhelming favorite without the figures. Before she was always down in figures, even once she became a major contender in 89 and 90, and so she just went into the free skating with less to lose and skating lights out. It is also different having Jill Trenary as your top free skating competition to having Yamaguchi and Harding.

neptune
05-20-2010, 10:15 AM
I am pretty sure Kristi landed 7 triples. I dont remember if she did a triple-triple.

Then I'm glad she won at least.


Ito actually became alot more inconsistent once the figures were removed. Everyone thought she would be completely unbeatable once they were gone but she became more unpredictable, and the free skating competition improved a great deal while the other top free skaters were now also allowed to flourish without figures.

True. That's why it's always difficult to predict how Skater X would have done in the past if a competition format had been different. There are so many variables involved.


It is also different having Jill Trenary as your top free skating competition to having Yamaguchi and Harding.

Exactly--anyone would prefer to have Yamaguchi and Harding. ;)

joeperryfan
05-20-2010, 12:02 PM
I've read that, concerning certain people, they often bungle things up because everything feels "safer" to them that way. IOW, failure feels more comfortable and familiar to them than success. I wouldn't be at all surprised if that were true in Harding's case.

I have this impression about Tonya too, that and she has always lacked a good support system. Most skaters have a bunch of people telling them how fantastic they are and building up their ego, Tonya either had people putting her down or telling her that everyone was out to get her, that can't be easy.

IMHO, even without the hucap incident she wouldn't have had much of a pro career after that 1999 competition, many skaters refused working with her (IIRC Lipinski was one of them), and that would have diminished her chances greatly. Who knows what she might have heard by the time that incident took place? She could have preferred, on a subconscious level, to fail by her own actions than have others let her down and despise her once more.

dr.frog
05-20-2010, 02:30 PM
IMHO, even without the hucap incident she wouldn't have had much of a pro career after that 1999 competition, many skaters refused working with her (IIRC Lipinski was one of them), and that would have diminished her chances greatly. Who knows what she might have heard by the time that incident took place? She could have preferred, on a subconscious level, to fail by her own actions than have others let her down and despise her once more.

I also I remember hearing talk that fall that Lipinski was one of the skaters who refused to work with Harding; Dick Button had been making noises about getting Harding to do World Pros but in the end he decided Lipinski was the better catch. Anyway, after the B-event where Harding did skate, the gimmick was over and it clearly wasn't going to save pro skating. Button decided to get out while the going was good and sold Candid Productions to SFX who also picked up the JP competitions and Michael Rosenburg's business, then SFX was sold to Clear Channel which had no interest in skating, and that was the end of the pro skating boom. Except for "Ice Wars" which was the property of CBS, the only other player left standing in the business was IMG, which had its fingers in both the ISU pro-ams and the Disson shows, and clearly Harding wasn't going to get invited to any of those. :rolleyes:

I do wonder, though, what might have happened if Harding had shown up at that pro event trained and prepared with new programs and used it as an opportunity to reestablish herself as a serious skater instead of just another opportunity to collect a paycheck for being the notorious Tonya Harding.... But I think it's pretty clear that Harding is more interested in continuing to try to cash in on her 15 minutes of fame than on doing anything that requires real work to earn a living. :violin:

casken
05-20-2010, 03:00 PM
Ziggy, that can't be the first time you've ever seen that performance is it?


Yeah, that's what I want to know. He's knows every OES ever but never seen Harding's 91 performance? :lol:

Anyway, I wish she kept the original cut of the "Batman" score she had for the program. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zq9MFnFMKRE) I love the music in the final section.

skatesindreams
05-20-2010, 03:07 PM
Whenever I think of Tonya Harding, "what might have been" comes to mind.
Some people use personal difficulties as a spur to great achievement; others are forever "victims".

She lacked discipline, on any level; focus, and a strong work ethic,
Tonya had more pure talent and natural ability then almost anyone; yet squandered it.
She might have had the pontential to become the "Greatest Ever". However, we will never know.

Seerek
05-20-2010, 03:11 PM
Some of the more skating purists actually prefer the Tonya Harding as seen in this clip of the1986 Skate America Long Program (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJuZuqr8nXQ), as there's a little more attention to body positions and the skating is a little bit more "lighter" at her early career compared to later years.

DORISPULASKI
05-20-2010, 03:19 PM
What a pleasure to see a lady who can do both a flip and lutz from the proper edge and do a triple loop. (her spirals not so much) I wonder if the rash of tiny jumping little flutzers with bendy positions we have had here in the US was a reaction-the last thing anyone of them wanted was to remind anyone of Tonya in any way whatsoever.

skatesindreams
05-20-2010, 03:54 PM
Here'a Tonya's 1991 Skate America LP, wirh Japanese commentary:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QY030WKbCfE&feature=related

Can someone tell us what they said?

Here's the US version:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buQXBXmjumU&feature=related