So, the usual threads have been popping up (Bonaly's Championship history being the icing on the cake) and after watching videos from the 1993 Worlds, I began wondering if that was the best ever ladies' competition? Perhaps not, but in that case, what were the best events ever for each discipline? No real criteria- mine is a high level of technical difficulty per the standards of the time, and a good portion of clean skates by the top contenders. I have also included a most disappointing category, which I have seen discussed before in terms of the Olympics, but if anyone has some Worlds choices, that might be interesting to read. Keep in mind this isn't the WORST competition... Since, for instance, I had higher hopes for SLC than Lillehamer. Having completed my list, I realize the most disappointing tend to be the Olympics, mainly because: 1) We expect so much out of this once-a-quad competition 2) The athletes tend to play the safe route, giving us programs that are usually not very memorable 3) The pressure usually leads to subpar performances Also, I realize almost nothing of what I wrote below is new discussion, so I apologize. However, I am hoping others might have insights into other (mainly earlier) competitions or have knowledge of the happenings leading into these events to share? Ladies 1) 1996 Worlds Legendary performances by Kwan and Chen, and reasonably clean skates from nearly everyone in the top 12, along with Lipinski's dazzling free skate. Slutskaya and Ito were subpar, but really, who cares? This was a competition worth watching and discussing indefinitely. Honorable mentions: 2) 1993 Worlds Again, stunning performances from the top 10 skaters; unfortunately, this was a weak year for ladies skating so while athletes like Kulovana and Szewzchenko had great performances, they did so with technical merit that was a bit below the standards of that time. Additionally, Kerrigan and Chouinard melted down and they were 2 athletes who should've been contending for the podium. 3) 2010 Olympics For COP, this was as good as it gets- Yuna was dominant, Asada made history and we saw best ever (or damn close) skates from Rochette, Nagasu, Lepisto, Flatt and Korpi. Even Ando was near-clean, if uninspiring. However, with COP comes the reality that "clean" is nearly impossible with the new demands, and we have stricter standards of edge calls, underrotations and levels. Kostner also bombed and she was certainly a top contender 4) 1998 Olympics Great free skates from the top 10 athletes, Bonaly aside, but most were marred with at least 1-2 mistakes. Additionally, many top contenders bombed out like Bobek, Hubert and Lautowa, or were out with injury/illness like Szewzchenko and Czako. Most disappointing 1) 1992 Olympics The field says it all. Top skates from Yamaguchi, Ito, Harding, Kerrigan, Bonaly, Sato, Chouinard, Chen, Preston, et al. would've no doubt soared to the top of this list. In the end, even the medalists had rough skates. 2) 2002 Olympics See 1992. Men 1) 1988 Olympics Boitano and Orser were clearly the class of the field and it seems to me that in men's competition, we so rarely get to see a clean head to head matchup of the top guys. These two brought their A game technically and artistically and really pushed the sport forward that year. Honorable mentions 2) 2002 Olympics Unfortunately, Plushenko's SP took the drama out of the free skate, but there were some incredible performances from Yagudin down to Weiss/Stojko, and this was the first Olympics where a quad (or even 2) was almost commonplace in men's free skates. Goebel landed 3 to sneak ahead of great skates from Honda, Abt and Eldredge. Most disappointing 1) 2010 Olympics In hindsight, the performances weren't all that terrible, but considering the incredible depth of the field, the end results were rather anticlimactic. The free skates were actually rather well skated, but again, COP really makes even the cleanest performances seem irrelevant. Taka's UR, Weir's emptiness, Lambiel's loss of GOE and both Plushenko's uninspiring programs and Chan's sloppiness being propped up mar the overall impression. A Takahashi, Lambiel and Weir podium under 6.0 probably wouldn't be met with such disgust. 2) 1994 Olympics 2010 was essentially a rehash of this competition; incredibly deep field, with the best taking themselves out of contention. Urmanov and Stojko would've made great bronze medalists, but the top spots should've been fought between Petrenko, Browning and Boitano. Pairs 1) 2002 Olympics Drama aside, this was a rare occurrence in pairs where we not only have a deep and talented field, but clean performances, as well. Even P/T, former world champions, skated well and couldn't get past 6th. A clean quad from S/Z would've put this competition into near untouchable status. The top 3 are some of the best in history, T/M one of the most successful, and the rest of the top 10 had one of the most interesting American pairs in history, 2 World champions, and a multiple-medalist pair from China - a country that proved itself as a skating powerhouse at these Games. A shame the aftermath ruined the success. Honorable mentions 2) 1994 Olympics Could easily be switched with 2002, but the reinstatement factor kind of ruins it for me in the sense that this was a once in a lifetime moment where the best teams of all time could face off in a competition, whereas 2002 was a not-as-forced/man-made deep field. I also think G/G were technically a bit behind the times, and the quality dropped off a bit steeper after S/N, IMO. 3) 2001 Worlds See 2002 Olympics; I/Z and the Chinese pairs vastly improved by SLC, IMO, but the programs of S/P and B/S were also a bit more challenging here. Most disappointing 1) 2000 Worlds This should've been the start of a fantastic pairs field that was growing toward the epic 2002 showcase. Instead, B/S disqualified themselves, S/Z and S/P bombed, and competent yet uninspiring P/T won their only World title. Nice to see A/B win their only World medal, but they were much more of a 6th-8th kind of pair, IMO- and nothing wrong with that given the field! 2) 2010 Olympics While COP has ruined pairs skating, IMO, this could've been a great fight between S/Z, S/S, P/T and K/S. Unfortunately, S/Z had one of their worst ever programs and skates (again, IMO) and S/S who had the best programs, were in the midst of worst ever season. Meanwhile, K/S also bombed out, making it an easy path to a medal for P/T. Ice Dance 1) 1997 Worlds Fantastic, legendary programs from G/P, K/O and B/K; A/P were on the rise, M/L were still relevant and P/S finally cracked the top 6. I believe this was also the season of G/P's amazing Libertango OD. Honorable mentions 2) 1998 Olympics I go back and forth with this one... I think half the field was stronger in 1997 and the other half stronger here. A/P had a terrific Romeo and Juliet, P/S a wonderful and fierce tango, and FP/M had a nice program IMO, if not one that was worthy of as high a finish as it got. Meanwhile, G/P had a strong and difficult program and K/O had an incredibly theatrical interpretation of Carmen, but neither compared to their efforts the previous year. B/K were just OK to me. I also hated the OD theme and thought all of the dances were rather amateurish. 3) 1993 Worlds Groundbreaking year for material. The free dances of U/Z, G/P and R/K were just fantastic and I can only imagine what we might have seen the next year had the ISU at least waited until 1995 to institute the ballroom is back ruling. Most disappointing 1) 2002 Olympics While the field was much weaker than 1998, all the teams were capable of better material than what they showed up with. L/A coming 1 vote shy of becoming Olympic champions sums up the caliber of dancing showcased that night in SLC, as not only did the programs suck, so too did the performances. 2) 1994 Olympics See 1993 Worlds; fantastic field suffocated by a poorly timed rule change. Not a single dance worth rewatching, which is a damn shame, as this should've been up there with the 1994 pairs event. The top 3 are 3 of the greatest ever and they were forced into programs that did nothing to showcase their strengths.