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View Full Version : Yuka Sato: a puzzling career



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Artifice
07-28-2011, 01:48 PM
What is a "skater's skater" ?

5Ali3
07-28-2011, 02:01 PM
Yuka Sato once told me: After winning Worlds in her hometown, how could she possibly top that experience?

Mafke
07-28-2011, 02:10 PM
A skater's skater is a skater that other (elite) skaters (and coaches) look up to in terms of technique (apart from competitive accomplishments).

Young elite skaters might look up to Witt's accomplishments but how many want to emulate her kind of awkard crossovers or not-so-great spin positions? On the other hand, I can totally see a young skater wanting Sato's wonderful edges or versatility.

judgejudy27
07-28-2011, 02:39 PM
Witt is an original. I dont think any modern skater would want to copy her. Grossmann tried to be a Witt clone and we see how that worked out for her. She had an intangible factor and insanely strong competitiveness and charisma which allowed her to rise to the top with so many technique and stylistic flaws.

edonice
07-28-2011, 04:37 PM
I hardly ever thought of Yuka Sato while she was competing as an amateur, but many of her professional programs are among my very favorites.

She has such a great smile, easy connection with the audience, the very softest knees, and great edge quality. She pushes herself choreographically, and skates with such lightness and ease. She may not have been the greatest competitor, like Witt, but she was and is a total joy to watch.

Frau Muller
07-28-2011, 04:59 PM
Yuka was a huge star as a pro. Way bigger than as an amateur. ....

Indeed she was. She'll forever be in the record books as being the winner of the last important World Pro championships held -- the last two 'Landovers' in Washington, DC, as well as the quasi-Landover Hallmark Championships in Columbus (2002, I think). Yuka was the last Queen of the Landovers. :lol:

Vagabond
07-28-2011, 08:54 PM
Who else from that era (other than Baiul or Kerrigan or any of the re-instated pros) would have also remained eligible under different circumstances?

Tonya Harding. :shuffle:

orbitz
07-28-2011, 09:15 PM
Indeed she was. She'll forever be in the record books as being the winner of the last important World Pro championships held -- the last two 'Landovers' in Washington, DC, as well as the quasi-Landover Hallmark Championships in Columbus (2002, I think). Yuka was the last Queen of the Landovers. :lol:

I've always thought she only won one World Pro. I guess after the competition moved out of Landover, it stopped being the Dick Button's World Pro that I knew.

How many comp did Yuka won skating to "Hat Full of Stars" ?
Love Yuka but that song was so ZZZZZZZZZZ, especially if other ladies in the same comp also skated to GFB.

judgejudy27
07-28-2011, 09:16 PM
On another note how could Yuka have done if she continued? Could she have won another World title or stayed competitive for the podium all the way until 1998? She didnt even have a World medal before the 94 Worlds and that was an incomplete field. She didnt get a triple lutz until 93 though, and get a triple flip and start attempting a triple lutz in the short program until 94. As much as I like her skating I tend to think someone who had trouble beating the likes of Kerrigan, Baiul, Bonaly, and Chen would have alot of trouble beating the likes of Kwan, Lipinski, Slutskaya, and an improved Chen. Then again maybe her skating and reputation would have started to take off with that World title.

olympic
07-28-2011, 09:59 PM
On another note how could Yuka have done if she continued? Could she have won another World title or stayed competitive for the podium all the way until 1998? She didnt even have a World medal before the 94 Worlds and that was an incomplete field. She didnt get a triple lutz until 93 though, and get a triple flip and start attempting a triple lutz in the short program until 94. As much as I like her skating I tend to think someone who had trouble beating the likes of Kerrigan, Baiul, Bonaly, and Chen would have alot of trouble beating the likes of Kwan, Lipinski, Slutskaya, and an improved Chen. Then again maybe her skating and reputation would have started to take off with that World title.

Interestingly it was another Japanese woman, Midori Ito, who was attempting a comeback for '98 Nagano but aborted it.

If the Olympic years had not changed, ['96, '00, '04], I think Yuka would've stuck around for '96

DBZ
07-28-2011, 10:15 PM
But it was always the same group of 6 skaters or so that got invited to all of the made-for-tv competitions that popped up left and right back then. I'm not sure how lucrative it was for the no name elite skaters that turned pro.

Not necessarily.

I recall being introduced to a number of obscure skaters on the pro circuit that I never would've known otherwise.

I remember skaters like Rory Flack-Burghart, Charlene Wong, Dan Hollander etc. as frequent regulars during the height of the skating boom--none of which had a world medal to their name.

Sure, they weren't top billing skaters, but they probably made way more money during that period than they would've in any other skating venue.

Someone who truly capitalized IMO was Caryn Kadavy. A no-name skater to most of the mainstream audience, only one world medal on her resume, and yet she made a name for herself (much like Yuka did) on the pro circuit by consistently placing well in several pro competitions.

Unlike Wong or Flack, she still had 3 (relatively) consistent triples, which was enough to challenge for titles in any pro competition in those days.

I guess my point was that there was an unprecedented opportunity post-1994 to carve a well-earning niche out for yourself as a professional skater, regardless of your amateur career, which had to be tremendously enticing for any skater competing during that time.

Of course, having world and Olympics medals probably made that task infinitely more easy--but isn't that true in any situation?

But I do recognize that these opportunities were probably open exclusively for North American skaters since that was where all the money was at the time.

I'm sure for no-name, non-American/Canadian skaters, it must've been a lot more difficult.

orbitz
07-29-2011, 12:15 AM
I'm sure for no-name, non-American/Canadian skaters, it must've been a lot more difficult.

I liked what I saw of Charlene Von-Haher (sp?) at one of the Ryder competitions, but she never appeared back on TV again.

judgejudy27
07-29-2011, 01:42 AM
Interestingly it was another Japanese woman, Midori Ito, who was attempting a comeback for '98 Nagano but aborted it.

If the Olympic years had not changed, ['96, '00, '04], I think Yuka would've stuck around for '96

If Ito could have kept her competitive level from the pro events in fall 93 and fall 94 she could have been competitive in her comeback. It was clear by 92 though she was past her amateur prime, she was getting injured and ill more often, and couldnt handle the stress and enormous expectations on her anymore. The pro environment and the only 2 competitions a year without the rigorous practice schedules were better for her by then. I think her comeback was always a huge mistake, and liable to disaester, and I am sad she made it as I would have loved to see her continue as a pro where she was amazing.

I think between Sato and Ito, Sato was the more likely to succeed in a comeback by that point, although I dont know if she could have beaten the likes of Kwan either.

overedge
07-29-2011, 02:17 AM
IHowever, did Yuka really ever have the chance to demonstrate her own skating skills during her competitive career?

Are you serious?
She had (and has) edges, style and artistry that were the envy of her peers and of other skaters' coaches. I don't see what is "puzzling" about a career where someone manages to generate that level of respect and appreciation, unless you measure success only by medals or titles.

centerpt1
07-29-2011, 02:49 AM
She's done everything she's attempted completely and sucessfully.
She was a National Jr Champ and a National Sr Champ in Japan.
She was a World Jr Champ, then a World Sr Champ
She was a Pro Champ
She had a long Pro career.
She's done Choreography for Elite Skaters from several countries.
She and her husband coach some of the best of the best in the US.
She is well thought of, has been nominated for a coaching award, and has been recognized for her contributions to skating.
So I really don't understand this thread . What more could she possibly do?