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skatesindreams
01-01-2012, 11:02 PM
I admired Elaine greatly for never using her injury as an "excuse".

Most people knew almost nothing about it until this 1984 "Up Close and Personal " feature shown during ABC's Olympic coverage:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3Eqk6PoS1M

judgejudy27
01-01-2012, 11:28 PM
Zayak's results were always a lottery based on what foot the figures were drawn on. If they were on her injured foot she just did not have the control she could otherwise get from her other foot. Case in point her figures placements for Worlds in 1982 where she was 4th.

Figures actually helped her win the 82 Worlds. :lol:

One thing that amazed me was how Sumners was held back by horrible figures placings in all competitions in 81-82, even when she won the U.S title in 82 she was 5th in figures. Yet suddenly in 83-84 she is winning the figures in every event she is in.

orbitz
01-02-2012, 12:19 AM
Zayak's results were always a lottery based on what foot the figures were drawn on. If they were on her injured foot she just did not have the control she could otherwise get from her other foot. Case in point her figures placements for Worlds in 1982 where she was 4th.

Is this really true though? I would think an issue like what you describe would've been written up in national magazines like SI or brought up during those ABC's Up Close & Personal segments. The media talked about her foot injury as a child and why Elaine took up skating, but I don't recall it saying anything about the injured foot having an impact on her doing the school figures.

DORISPULASKI
01-02-2012, 12:46 AM
Elaine retired following Worlds 1984.

Her foot wasn't public knowledge before Olympics.

So there wasn't much time for anyone to hear about it. Plus in 1984, there was very little coverage of worlds in the US. It was CBS, and they stunk. Commentators John Tesh & John Mischa Petkevich for Worlds 1984.

Here's a picture of her foot. Hit the pause button and look carefully:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3Eqk6PoS1M#t=3m29s

She has a big toe, most of the second toe, and the rest is just gone. If she needed to do something on a left forward outside edge, she was outtaluck. Her skate was specially built, but control on that edge was minimal. She could do a great back loop figure though!

Erin
01-02-2012, 02:13 AM
Zayak's results were always a lottery based on what foot the figures were drawn on. If they were on her injured foot she just did not have the control she could otherwise get from her other foot. Case in point her figures placements for Worlds in 1982 where she was 4th.

Yes, it's interesting that Elaine's coaches said that Elaine's figures placements were all politics - there is a quote (I think from Little Girls in Pretty Boxes) that "when she was 4th in figures, she probably should have been 6th or 7th and when she was 13th, she probably should have been 6th or 7th" - but the issues with her foot are a far more rational explanation of why Elaine's figures placements were up and down.

floskate
01-02-2012, 11:01 AM
Is this really true though? I would think an issue like what you describe would've been written up in national magazines like SI or brought up during those ABC's Up Close & Personal segments. The media talked about her foot injury as a child and why Elaine took up skating, but I don't recall it saying anything about the injured foot having an impact on her doing the school figures.

See the link Dorispulaski posted above and you'll see it's featured in her up close and personal fluff from Sarejevo. Peter Burrows clearly says she has had problems in figures because she doesn't have the roll necessary on her left foot. I don't just make this stuff up ya know!! :lol:

Maofan7
01-02-2012, 11:47 AM
Here is another video from these championships:-

Elisa Spitz & Scott Gregory - Free Dance (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFkOe7fk0Fo)

Spitz & Gregory finished 7th overall in the Ice Dance. Elisa Spitz retired after the 1984 Worlds & Olympics, following which Scott Gregory linked up with Suzanne Semanick. Gregory & Semanick would then become twice US National champions and would ultimately finish 6th at the 1988 Olympics before retiring. They also finished 5th at Worlds in both 1986 and 1987.

skatesindreams
01-02-2012, 03:51 PM
It's ludicrous that some here would question and debate whether the loss of half of one's foot would affect the ability to do something so dependent on balance, rocking back and forth; and edge control, as figures were/are!

Doris is correct!
Elaine's problem was never publicized, by the available media until Elaine herself did so, in the video, above.

gk_891
01-03-2012, 04:20 PM
Torvill & Dean were phenomenal here. I thought Blumberg and Seibert should've finished ahead of B&B though. If they had finished 2nd here, perhaps they could've won a medal at the Olympics.

Mafke
01-03-2012, 05:30 PM
Zayak's results were always a lottery based on what foot the figures were drawn on. If they were on her injured foot she just did not have the control she could otherwise get from her other foot. Case in point her figures placements for Worlds in 1982 where she was 4th.

Well all figures at that level were skated equally on both feet.

IIRC her big problem was holding an inside edges on her injured foot (not sure if forward or backward or both) so a lot of her placement could have been connected with the first figure (a rocker or counter) which were skated entirely on inside or outside edges (forward and backward). If the first figure was drawn on an outside edge she'd be in better shape than if it was done on an inside edge which meant at least half the figure would be so good.

The second figures would be done equally on forward and backward inside and outside edges. The loops were done equally on outside and inside edges but done entirely in one direction (forward or backward).

I do wonder what figures (including starting edge) were drawn in various competitions she was involved in.



Elaine's problem was never publicized, by the available media until Elaine herself did so, in the video, above.


What I seem to remember is that the injury was aknowledged and mentioned in passing (sort of 'she learned to skate to help her balanced after an accident to her foot') but that the full degree of damage was downplayed until the video link and the degree to which it affected her figures wasn't really discussed until even later.

While figures did hold her back some, I think that without them she wouldn't have been competitive at all. That is, an Elaine Zayak starting today wouldn't learn the skills needed to be competitive through MITF (just my opinion).

Maofan7
01-03-2012, 05:58 PM
Here's a picture of her foot. Hit the pause button and look carefully:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3Eqk6PoS1M#t=3m29s

She has a big toe, most of the second toe, and the rest is just gone. If she needed to do something on a left forward outside edge, she was outtaluck. Her skate was specially built, but control on that edge was minimal. She could do a great back loop figure though!

First time I have ever seen that video. Problems in the school figures were unavoidable.

gkelly
01-03-2012, 06:36 PM
While figures did hold her back some, I think that without them she wouldn't have been competitive at all. That is, an Elaine Zayak starting today wouldn't learn the skills needed to be competitive through MITF (just my opinion).

By "an Elaine Zayak starting today" do you mean a skater with a similar foot injury starting today? Or a skater with other traits in common with Zayak?

Mafke
01-03-2012, 06:40 PM
a skater with comparable talents and injury

skatesindreams
01-03-2012, 07:06 PM
Zayak's results were always a lottery based on what foot the figures were drawn on.

Since which figures were selected each season were beyond her control; her success seems even more remarkable.


What I seem to remember is that the injury was aknowledged and mentioned in passing (sort of 'she learned to skate to help her balanced after an accident to her foot

Was the extent of Elaine's injury known to TPTB/judges, at the time?

gkelly
01-03-2012, 07:26 PM
Maybe American judges.

I skated at the same rink with Elaine as a kid. (She was a few years younger than me and a few levels more advanced.) I never paid attention to her feet when we were changing skates. About a year after I quit I was chatting with a fellow skater who was still involved with the sport; he mentioned that Elaine had qualified for Nationals in novice (she'd been juvenile the year before) and mentioned the foot injury to me at that time. So some other skaters knew -- I would guess that judges associated with that club or with SCNY also knew. If some national judges knew, chances are most of them did by the time she was competing internationally. But that's just my guess based on the fact that it's human nature to gossip.