View Full Version : Whose been the best since Katarina Witt retired?

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03-26-2011, 05:02 PM
I don't like when questions like these are put into polls. If it were purely discussion by open and fair-minded, knowledgeable skating fans, there should be a near-consensus that Michelle has been the best woman in the history of this sport. No offense to some of the other skaters who I like and respect very much. In fact, Yu-Na Kim is one of my favorite current skaters, but I don't think she can compare to Michelle Kwan yet.

It is fair to say that Michelle Kwan trained and grew up in perhaps the finest environment for skating. As a child, she learned and trained figures, the results of which show in the rhythm in her stroking and the precision in her blades. She then competed under a judging system that allowed for more artistic creativity than the IJS, and she flourished. Her portfolio of quality performances is unmatched (and clean skates always matter in figure skating. Michelle had incredible nerves.) At this point, I don't think it's a mere matter of opinion.

03-26-2011, 05:58 PM
It's interesting that three Olympic gold medalists ('94, '98, '02) are the zero vote-getters.
I think this is expected. None of these skaters have longevity, and I think most want that before they can label a skater "the best".

Chen Lu is the epitome for me. She was artistic, lyrical, gorgeous to watch, and I loved her delayed-rotation jumps. But I think Michelle Kwan deserves the "best" title. She had the overall package, the fierce competitiveness, the consistency, and the longevity.

Oh, wanted to add that I don't follow FS like I used to, so don't know much about post-2002 skaters.

03-26-2011, 07:13 PM
Interesting to watch the poll evolve.

03-26-2011, 09:01 PM
Yes. Yun could definitely work more on her interpretation and feeling of the music. Yuna's Olympic LP was a snooze. Her Schez was pleasant but nothing memorable, inspite of the praise that Sandra Bezic heaped on it; Not sure what Sandra was smoking.

Yuna has some nice programs in the past. I liked her Bond SP. But I think her nice programs are just that: very nice, very pleasant to watch, but nothing that made me stand up and go "WoW!".
Musicality is not an all-encompassing, catch-all concept, and is not the same as interpretation or expressiveness, although in practice there is a certain amount of overlap in the assessment of these qualities.

To give a non-skating example, there are many who rave about Glenn Gould's unusual (especially for his time) interpretation of Bach's Goldberg Variations (I'm one of them), and equally many who thought they were a travesty, although my sense is that the latter group has diminished over time. Nevertheless, no one knowledgeable about music would question his musicality, whose characteristics and criteria are more "technical" in nature, which I defined in an earlier post.

You obviously have your own view on the interpretive aspects of Yuna's performances. While I disagree, I won't debate you on it (inasmuch as I've already provided my own views at some length a while back). But with regard to musicality, it's pretty clear that Yuna has it in spades. I doubt that you'll find very many figure skating professionals of any prominence, whether they be skaters, coaches or judges, who say that she doesn't.

03-27-2011, 05:08 AM
Interesting to watch the poll evolve.

I know! Oksana, Tara, and Sarah all finally got a vote!

03-27-2011, 10:32 AM
I know! Oksana, Tara, and Sarah all finally got a vote!
LOL, and now, I wonder who has voted for Baiul ! :lol:

03-27-2011, 11:11 AM
If Yuna Kim and Michelle Kwan had competed head to head, Yuna would win under CoP. Likewise, Michelle would get the upper hand under 6.0 with her consistency and abilities to perform clean skates under pressure.

One thing for sure, is that both girls have tremendous amount of mutual respect, and fully support each other.

03-27-2011, 01:43 PM
Glad to see the two of my all-time favorites are leading the poll. And it’s wonderful that Michelle has been such a good influence on Yu-Na over the years. In her autobiographical essays published two years ago, Yu-Na recalls her first encounter with the (televised) performance of Michelle at Nagano Olympics: “It was the moment the dream of being a figure skater, which was a vague notion for me at the time, took a tangible, concrete form. For the first time, I had a role model, somebody I wanted to resemble.”

I remain hopeful of seeing Michelle, Yu-Na and their friends skate in Pyeongyang someday when circumstances ripen, having an ice show that would break the ice, symbolically. There have been some sporadic reports that the underwater progress is being made to work out the conditions and agenda for resuming the six-party talks on North Korea. North Korea is dying to improve the relations with the US and embark on its own controlled economic development program, following China’s lead. And a group of North Korean officials is currently visiting the US to attend the seminars on capitalistic economy.

It would be epic to see Michelle, a US Goodwill Ambassador, and her fellow American skaters along with the North Korean skaters, on the same ice, and Yu-Na skate to her Arirang, in Pyeongyang.

03-27-2011, 02:38 PM
I kind of agree, but it depends on what qualifies as a "revolution". Which skaters do you think "revolutionized" the sport and why? The one skater I can think of who clearly "revolutionized" skating was Dick Button, who else? Does just introducing a new jump qualify as a revolution? I don't think so. I don't think a skater needs to change the sport in some fundamental way (which is what the term "revolution" normally means) to be great. It seems to me that to be "great" a skater needs to both move the sport to a new level and be a successful competitor too. Dick Button clearly was both.

You need to read up on Sonja Henie. Youngest ever Olympic FS competitor at 11, first to skate in short skirts, first to skate in white boots, 3-time OGM, 10-time WC, 6-time EC, she also won several Norwegian pairs championships. She also was the first OGM to have a successful professional career, in the form of her touring ice show, and her movies, which put her 2nd behind Shirley Temple as the biggest box office draw of her day.

Seeing her in the movies was undoubtedly one of the reasons why so many from the "Golden Age of US Skating" got into skating in the first place. There was no TV in the sense it is today (although TV did exist - the first ever station is in my area), so seeing one of her movies would be the only way for someone at that time to be able to see an OGM skate.

03-27-2011, 03:39 PM
Who is the best?

1 JUMPS : Yuna
3 SPIRALS : Sasha
4 SPINS : Sasha, Yuna
7 ACTING : Yuna
8 BODY : Yuna
9 FACE : Yuna, Mao, Sasha
10 OVERALL : Yuna, Mao, Kristi in that sequence.

03-27-2011, 05:35 PM
I wouldn't say Yuna is the best at spins. Mao is certainly better in that area. Yuna is not particularly flexible.

03-27-2011, 05:39 PM

I loves me some YuNa, but please, the the only thing missing from that list was "best triple loop: YuNa!" lol

03-27-2011, 05:43 PM
Kwan by a huge margin. She is the GOAT iIMHO

03-27-2011, 05:44 PM
Jirina Ribbins from Transworld, said in a documentary about the great rivalries in ladies skating, Katarina may not have been the best skater, but she was certainly the best competitor.

One of the things I kept in mind reading through this thread, is that the technical content in women's skating has increased a great deal since Witt's reign.

Back in the early 80s, apart from the likes of Zayak and Ito (before and after the Zayak rule was implemented), it was fairly uncommon for a skater to attempt more than 3, maybe four triples, tops.

Katarina herself would repeat the toe and the sal, sometimes including the flip, and more rarely, attempt the loop.

By 1986 / 87, stronger technical skaters like Liz Manley, Jill Trenary, and Debi Thomas were appearing on the scene.

That Kwan, averaging 6 or 7 triples a program, stayed on the podium for almost a decade is impressive in itself.

03-27-2011, 05:44 PM
I wouldn't say Yuna is the best at spins. Mao is certainly better in that area. Yuna is not particularly flexible.

I agree with you...Yuna is not as flexible as Sasha or Mao.
You can tell by bielleman positions.


Yuna has first class speed, centering and beauty.
Yuna's lay-over camel spin is so UNIQUE and BEAUTIFUL.

I never saw anybody doing that position.