View Full Version : Greatest comeback from adversity to win a world or Olympic medal?

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02-09-2012, 05:57 PM
What was the greatest comeback from adversity by a skater(s) to win a world or Olympic medal? Two that come to mind for me are Joannie Rochette winning Olympic bronze in 2010 shortly after the death of her mother, and Chen Lu coming back to win bronze at the 1998 Olympics after two disastrous seasons of problems with injuries, loss of form, and problems with her coach and her Federation. She was in such poor form during 1996/97 that she only finished 25th in the SP at 1997 Worlds and did not even qualify for the FS. The following season, as China were not eligible to send a ladies skater to the Olympics, she had to qualify by entering 3 minor tournaments (winning 1 and finishing 4th and 3rd in the others). Hence, her bronze medal at the 1998 Olympics was very hard earned.

02-09-2012, 05:59 PM
Irina Slutskaya at the 2005 world championships. She landed a crazy 3 lutz-3 loop after being bedridden due to heart surgery and her mother being sick. It was the best performance of her career and it was done in front of a roaring home crowd, so you can imagine the pressure

02-09-2012, 06:01 PM
I agree about Irina. Also, Nancy's comeback from both a meltdown at '93 worlds and the "great whack" makes her silver unusual, IMO. Are those who returned to competition from "pro" or "show skating", such as G & G in '94 or Plushy in '10 included?

02-09-2012, 06:05 PM
I wouldn't really consider coming back to competition after being off or competing in pro comps to really be an adversity. I'm sure it's difficult to get back into top competition shape but I wouldn't quite consider it an adversity, at least not in the sense I'm of thinking of.

ETA: Yay! My 3,000th post. :D

02-09-2012, 06:10 PM
G-G 94 OG.

02-09-2012, 06:12 PM
... ETA: Yay! My 3,000th post. :D


02-09-2012, 06:44 PM
Rudy Galindo's world bronze at his 1st & only world appearance. I was so happy for him. (IMO it should have been silver but you can't have everything.)

02-09-2012, 07:06 PM

Thanks! :)

Susan M
02-09-2012, 07:22 PM
G-G 94 OG.
Well, it was a comeback, but there wasn't really any adversity to overcome. She did have a baby, I guess, but that was a couple years earlier. If we are going to count Gordeeva then I guess we also have to count Navka.

I was thinking maybe Baiul winning the Olympics on painkillers after being injured (needing stitches) in a practice collision the day before.

02-09-2012, 07:23 PM
Several skaters come to mind who overcame diseases/physical deformities: Tenley Albright (polio), Scott Hamilton (Schwachman syndrome), Kristi Yamaguchi (club foot), Elaine Zayak (lost part of her foot in a lawnmower accident).

02-09-2012, 07:26 PM
G-G 94 OG.

That was hardly an adversity. They were skating as pros after the 1990 worlds and decided to come back as eligibles.

Although it was not in a competition, I consider Ekaterina Gordeeva's solo skate at Sergei's celebration of life, one of the greatest comebacks.


Elena Berezhanaya- returning to pairs skating after her horrible accident that temporarily paralyzed her, and winning the 1998 Olympic silver, less than 2 years after the accident.

ITA about Irina, Joannie, Chen Lu and Rudy.

I would even add Zhang & Zhang's Olympic silver medal after her horrible fall during the skate (but that may not fit into this thread, right?)

02-09-2012, 09:47 PM
Nancy Kerrigan's comeback was the most dramatic, because it was like we were there just a few minutes after the whack happened. And then Nancy and "Whyyyyyyyyyyyyy?" were all over the news and papers, so there was an immediacy to it that we couldn't/didn't get from Irina's or B/S's stories.

02-09-2012, 09:50 PM
Has anyone mentioned Shen/Zhao yet? A few of their medals come to mind ... 2003 Worlds when Shen injured her ankle in practiced and skated the LP with it numb!

Also their comeback from Zhao's tendon injury to win a bronze at the 2006 Olympics with very little preparation.

02-09-2012, 09:50 PM
Although it was not in a competition, I consider Ekaterina Gordeeva's solo skate at Sergei's celebration of life, one of the greatest comebacks.

I was balling my eyes out watching that on TV. I haven't viewed that performance again since then.

I guess MK Nationals 2003 LP was sort of a comeback. It was definitely emotional for her and the fans because of SLC.

Todd Eldridge also regained his National titles after a few seasons of supar performances.

02-09-2012, 11:24 PM
I would add Kurt Browning coming back from a serious back injury to win the world title in 1993.