PDA

View Full Version : Tonya Harding's skating



Pages : 1 [2] 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Alex Forrest
10-07-2012, 06:47 AM
The ISU is really using Harding as an example of poor skating skills? What in the world? Her crossovers were powerful, and she wasn't using more crossovers than her competitors, in fact probably even less. Yamaguchi for one had probably twice as many in her programs.

Not getting this at all. I mean, her skating skills were insane, and that's how she managed to achieve what she did. Two Olympics, world medal. Tonya certainly didn't achieve what she did based on long accepted ideas of pretty princess programs, music selection or body. It was her undeniable skills on the ice. It's strange, maybe these people don't remember her or didn't see her skating live. I can vouch for the power, speed, edge run, spins, and of course jumps. Her footwork was not so great, but it wasn't due to poor skills. She focused on other things. But her skills were NEVER in question. Or at least I never thought so, who'da thunk?

There are many clips on YT of Tonya just practicing. She was an amazing skater. I mean, you looked at Holly Cook or Tonia Kwiatkowski and you thought "NEXT". With Tonya you might have thought "next world champion". And that was despite her awful costumes, hair, music cuts, program wtf's.

Vagabond
10-07-2012, 07:32 AM
:rolleyes:

The ISU is using Harding as an example of a skater with poor flow (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myHKTKu4j6U&feature=player_detailpage#t=196s) because she (1) had poor flow and (2) was a silver medalist at Worlds.

I'm sure that the ISU could dig up an example of some recently retired low-ranked skater with poor flow, but that would only serve to humiliate someone who never accomplished as much as Harding did.

Alex Forrest
10-07-2012, 08:04 AM
:rolleyes:

The ISU is using Harding as an example of a skater with poor flow (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myHKTKu4j6U&feature=player_detailpage#t=196s) because she (1) had poor flow and (2) was a silver medalist at Worlds.

I'm sure that the ISU could dig up an example of some recently retired low-ranked skater with poor flow, but that would only serve to humiliate someone who never accomplished as much as Harding did.

Thanks for letting us see Harding's 'weakness'. It was almost crazy when they are saying no transitions on her video when she's doing one and into a 3loop for fecks sake. In a world where black is white and up is down, I'm guessing I'm following the ISU's BS too.
And run of the edge? Did Harding have a peer in 91/92?

briancoogaert
10-07-2012, 08:25 AM
I've never paid attention to those things, but I think I see why they used her as an example.
She has deep edges, but doesn't hold her edge in her crossovers. So, she does many crossover (too much). And her knee action is sometimes out of sync. But well, in competition, sometimes, your knees are not doing exactly what you want, lol.
In the step department, there is nothing else than 3 turn. And her 3 turns are almost always jumped...

aftershocks
10-07-2012, 09:31 AM
^^ Yikes, the nitpicky icky state of affairs in figure skating. Please bring figures back so these rampant and "poor" examples, and nitpicky exposes of "poor skating skills" can be eliminated for once and for all!!! Down with the exposes, the inexcusable clips, the "poor skating skills" and the lousy skaters too! D**n, why can't everyone be Patrick Chan?!

:lol: If Tonya gets whiff of this, I can just hear her rebellious response to such relentless vituperation: "How much responsibility do you think I need to take? I paid my debt to society [i.e., to figure skating] ... How much punishment do you think I need to go through?" *

Oh well, I guess Tonya never learned how to be polite and politically correct when talking to the media either. ;) Her anger and seeming unrepentant stance is palpable, but this is from a 2009 video. Perhaps she's mellowed a bit since having a baby. I haven't been following her much post 1994, except for the odd headline or newsflash. And, I haven't walked in her shoes either. I did like her skating, and at first I didn't believe she had anything to do with the "whacking." But, I guess she will always be blamed much moreso than her ex-husband and the "whacker for hire." It would be good if she could learn how to rise above it all and forgive herself and her detractors. Still, I think using her as an example of "poor skating skills" is unnecessary.

*Quoted from a 2009 Harding interview with Real Sports

essence_of_soy
10-07-2012, 10:17 AM
If her early results are any indication, Tonya was more accepted by international judges than her own country.

The USFSA wanted their skaters to be princess - packaged like Sumners and Fleming. Even skaters like Zayak caught a lot of heat for being too athletic. Tonya, with her fireball presence, was closer to Manley and Ito.

As an aside, I always wondered if there hadn't been the scandal, how Harding would have done in Lillehammer had she skated clean. My guess is that with the amazing short program she produced at Skate America 1993, and with a 5 or 6 triple free, she could have taken silver or bronze.

aftershocks
10-07-2012, 10:33 AM
:rolleyes:

The ISU is using Harding as an example of a skater with poor flow (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myHKTKu4j6U&feature=player_detailpage#t=196s) because she (1) had poor flow and (2) was a silver medalist at Worlds.

I'm sure that the ISU could dig up an example of some recently retired low-ranked skater with poor flow, but that would only serve to humiliate someone who never accomplished as much as Harding did.

Yes, and thanks for the clip. As already noted, Tonya did perform transitions during her crossovers, but fine, or not so fine that she could have worked on eliminating her short strides. I don't think this "failing" was due to any lack of "skating skills," but more perhaps lack of attention to improving that aspect of her skating. Same goes for Tonya's footwork, as also previously noted by another poster. In any case, when does a learned habit cross the line from a unique characteristic to a deleterious fault? Wonderful clip of Mao, but again her style is quite different altogether anyway. No one skates like Mao, and despite her absolute loveliness and her light ethereal qualities, Mao is not a perfect skater either. I love her nonetheless. And, I've always enjoyed Tonya's skating, tho' not so much her personality.

Still, re Vagabond's comments: ISU, rehabilitate, not humiliate!

I wonder if the "poor" young girl cited in the lack of "sureness" clip was ever able to live it down, or at least learn how to be more sure!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvSqpY2b_I8&feature=relmfu

I love that Delobel/ Schoenfelder clip. D**n right, they were SURE and confident in their skating! But that side-by-side of good/bad ice dance teams. Oh well, maybe the "poor" skaters cited learn from being singled out so demonstratively. And if it helps train clueless judges ... Still, better to use someone other than Harding for the "poor" flow example. And yeah, stop pickin' on lady backflip!

gkelly
10-07-2012, 12:53 PM
I think the point is that in that particular clip Harding showed weaker flow in her skating than in other skaters we might compare to -- such as Asada -- so we can see the difference between good and not-so-good flow.

That doesn't mean that Harding never showed better flow than in that clip, or that she didn't have other strengths to her skating, or that her skating skills in general were "poor" in the greater scheme of things.

Just that flow is a quality judges should be looking for, and if you're not sure what we mean by that term, here are contrasting clips of two world-medalist skaters, one for whom this particular quality was not a strong point and one for whom it was.

Not to say this is a good skater, this is a bad skater. There are lots of other criteria under Skating Skills not to mention all the other components as well, and they're all on a continuum, not either/or good/bad. Since most of the examples are from elite skaters, in most cases they will be between good and not-so-good, but few as outright bad as would be seen at lower levels.

Surely if the videos had been made in 1991 or 92, Harding would have been included in more clips to make other points as well, hopefully some positive as well as negative.

For examples of good flow among skaters Harding competed against, I guess I'd choose Yuka Sato, or Jill Trenary if we need an American.

Plusdinfo
10-07-2012, 04:29 PM
Tonya's skating certainly was exciting, and in hindsight, I think her collection of jumps has the most bang of any lady ever. Maybe Midori's triple axel and triple toe-triple toes were more dynamic, but when you account for all six types of triples, I think Tonya had the most height, ice coverage, and speed coming out.

I didn't agree with most people who bashed Tonya's presentation half, though she didn't have the best choreography. As some on FSU have noted, just look at some of her programs from the 80s and marvel at how complete a package she was.

I'm grateful that I got to watch the last few years of Tonya's career on TV as they were happening, and I certainly enjoy turning to her programs more than those of most of her contemporaries.

The U.S. was packed with talent in the early 90s in the ladies' field, wasn't it?!

muffinbiscuit
10-07-2012, 07:10 PM
Just a note regarding abusive parents at the rink. There was a skater, Michelle Cho, the '93 Jr. Camp [and I believe she won the Novice title also], who was being abused by her mother and grandmother for not landing jumps. She was a student of John Nicks. One day she had had enough and asked a skating parent for help. That parent called Child Services and they took Michelle away. She never skated again and I don't know what her future was. But, at least someone had the courage to act.

Proustable
10-07-2012, 07:39 PM
The U.S. was packed with talent in the early 90s in the ladies' field, wasn't it?!

Yeah, when you can have five different ladies on the podium at two consecutive Worlds, the talent field is obscenely deep

PeterG
10-07-2012, 07:44 PM
Just a note regarding abusive parents at the rink. There was a skater, Michelle Cho, the '93 Jr. Camp [and I believe she won the Novice title also], who was being abused by her mother and grandmother for not landing jumps. She was a student of John Nicks. One day she had had enough and asked a skating parent for help. That parent called Child Services and they took Michelle away. She never skated again and I don't know what her future was. But, at least someone had the courage to act.

Wow. How old was she? My thought about Michelle Cho is that she sets a good example for youth in taking action when your living situation becomes unacceptable. And good for the other parent she went to for not trying to "smooth things over" but instead taking decisive action.

aftershocks
10-07-2012, 09:23 PM
Yeah, when you can have five different ladies on the podium at two consecutive Worlds, the talent field is obscenely deep

Not to mention the American ladies sweeping the Worlds podium in 1991 (partly due to Ito falling out of the rink during her short program).

I appreciate your comments gkelly. The clip used by ISU is not as bad in context as Aussie Willy's comments implied. Certainly, Tonya's skating skills are not as "poor" as implied either. Interestingly, I don't think such videos would have been utilized circa 1991 and 1992, because in my estimation the sport was in a holding pattern of sorts. TPTB seemed to never address issues re rules, training, judging practices, etc., over the years until scandals hit the fan and they were more or less forced to make changes.

For example, creation of the short program in 1973 to deal with the outcry over Janet Lynn's singles skating majesty vs Trixi Schuba's genius at tracing figures. And, the infamous 2002 Olympic scandal which led to all the current problems with CoP. If they had paid attention much sooner to the inadequacies of the former judging system (which had not been substantially changed or thoroughly examined for decades), there would have been more time and opportunity to address and apply changes with a great deal more analysis, testing and foresight, rather than ramming a system into place so fast that it has adversely impacted the sport. Yes, IJS/CoP is not completely bad, but it is disastrous in subtle and not so subtle ways. They made a mistake rushing a revolutionary and untried system into place that has had to constantly be retooled, rethought and re-legislated season after season.

In 1990, largely because of the demands of television, the sport completely did away with figures. I feel they should have considered keeping it as a separate discipline, and also requiring skaters to continue practicing figures as part of their training, and simply eliminate figures as a singles event in competitions. Why is Patrick Chan so scary good with his edges, stroking and flow? As we all know, because his coaches made him practice figures (and also because he just has a gift too, of course :cheer:). But still he might not be so stratospherically great with skating skills if he hadn't been made to practice figures. I doubt there would be so many current problems with skaters flutzing and lipping, if they all had been required to practice figures as part of their overall training.

During Tonya's era and even decades before, there wasn't that much detailed scrutiny IMO by either judges or fans, as there is today re the finer technical aspects of skating. Fans are so much more knowledgeable (largely because of the explosion of the Internet, and as well the startling consistency of the legendary Michelle Kwan -- her consistency lent itself to a detailed examination by fans of the finer points of her skating). Being able to watch and re-watch videos allowed us to distinguish more clearly between all of the jumps and the in-betweens, the spins, the stroking and edging, and the technical requirements of launching into jumps. We have also been able to look back at skating through the years which has provided us with an even more profound perspective.

Obviously, the new rules and scoring fluctuations require that judges be more knowledgeable and that they learn how to assess what skaters do on the ice with greater insight and clarity. And again, in fs, the challenge of judging fairly will always be complicated by subjectivity and politics.

Overlong post but I have a lot to say on the subject ...

aftershocks
10-07-2012, 09:26 PM
^^
Still, I wonder why it was necessary to make a comparison between skaters who skated in different eras for this particular demonstration of flow. Also, why the emphasis on the "poor" example having to be that of a former medalist? Again, IMHO, historically and currently there is not a great deal of good judgment being utilized by TPTB in their decision-making processes, even on the level of simply putting together training videos for judges. They should correct their mistake by actually showing the aspects of Harding's skating where she excelled, or just don't use her at all as an example of anything. After all, if I was "banned for life" from a sport, believe me I would NOT be happy about old videos being shown of my skating to demonstrate "poor" flow. At best, it was "poor" judgment to use a clip of her skating in a negative light. At worst, it could be described as "petty."


Just a note regarding abusive parents at the rink. There was a skater, Michelle Cho, the '93 Jr. Camp [and I believe she won the Novice title also], who was being abused by her mother and grandmother for not landing jumps. She was a student of John Nicks. One day she had had enough and asked a skating parent for help. That parent called Child Services and they took Michelle away. She never skated again and I don't know what her future was. But, at least someone had the courage to act.

Thanks muffinbiscuit for sharing that story. A good thing that the young skater was able to find the courage to ask someone for help and that she was removed from her abusive home. Perhaps she never wished to skate again due to the possible bad memories she may have associated with training at the rink. Too bad for Tonya that she was not "removed" from the dangerous abuse she suffered. Yes, it was a different era that Tonya grew up in.

I don't recall if it was ever proven that Tonya encouraged the "whacking" herself, or whether her former husband came up with the idea and talked her into it. Either way, she was victimized throughout her young life, and she seemed to respond with toughness, rebelliousness and sheer stupidity. Skating was likely a port in the storm for her. It could have been a way out and a ticket to salvation, but in the end that possibility was thwarted for her too. In a complicated way, altho' she felt threatened by her competition, it was her abusive mother, replaced by her abusive husband who was the real threat.

I don't know whether Tonya has learned anything by what has happened to her either. It may have been better not to "ban" her, but to embrace her, to forgive her, and to help her forgive herself; to help her discover that she was/ is worthy, that her life had/ has value and meaning, that she didn't have to distrust everyone and fight with everyone and throw away her gifts. The exploitative nature of our culture combined with the fears and disdain of the skating community helped seal the lid on the trash can.

Jasmar
10-07-2012, 11:01 PM
Just a note regarding abusive parents at the rink. There was a skater, Michelle Cho, the '93 Jr. Camp [and I believe she won the Novice title also], who was being abused by her mother and grandmother for not landing jumps. She was a student of John Nicks. One day she had had enough and asked a skating parent for help. That parent called Child Services and they took Michelle away. She never skated again and I don't know what her future was. But, at least someone had the courage to act.

I remember Michelle - was trying to recall her name a couple of weeks ago! I trial judged at 92 (?) Sectionals, where she was one of the top Novice ladies. She was breathtaking. I figured her for one of the new stars. Much more exciting than Kwan, who I think was a Junior that year.

I remember being devastated when I heard about her home life, and that she'd left the sport. But glad she was rescued.

Back to Tonya, she may have had shorter stride in her crossovers, but the power she generated in them was unreal. They never worked with her on lengthening them because, IMO, they didn't feel they needed to. It wasn't an issue back then, if one could display the power she did.