Could Sumners realistically beat Witt in 84?

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by Lnt175, Jun 26, 2013.

  1. Lnt175

    Lnt175 New Member

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    Looking back at Ros Sumners career it seemed she was touted as the one to beat East Germanys Kat Witt. True she did win 83 worlds (was behind Witt, Leistner and Vodorezova in the SP) 3 time US national champ. Looking back at her 83 worlds worlds performances (and even her 84 nats performance which had more attack despite the slip up on one of her double axels) there seemed to be such a stark contrast to one year later in Sarajevo. She looked unsure of herself and tentative at the 84 Olympics except in the figures portion. So considering how great a competitor Witt was ( winning silver at 82 worlds and taking into account if she nailed figures in Sarajevo unlike 83 worlds), and Sumners decline; was it realistic to expect her to win gold?
  2. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    It was obviously realistic for her to have won in Sarajevo since she popped two triple toes into doubles, two double axels into singles, 3 of the 4 were ugly wide open pops which were literal and visible mistakes, not just dropped content, and finished off her music, and still was .1 from winning. I do think in retrospect it is clear she peaked in 83 and she was already on decline in 84, and so she was never going to give a faultless competition in Sarajevo with all she had planned realistically; but for sure it was possible for her to have won, especialy the way the judges generously scored her free program in Sarajevo.

    Had she just done 1 of her last 2 jumps she would have won, so she just needed to focus a bit more and not get ahead of herself which I think is what happened. Had she traded the last 45 seconds of her flawed Nationals performance which still finished with a bang with the last 45 seconds of her Olympic performance that would easily have done it.
  3. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

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    In the final run-through the night before the LP final, Roz skated her program perfectly. That was mentioned in the ABC fluff piece, and Roz herself said she did a perfect run-through the night prior to the LP. So in no way was Roz on the decline in 84. I agree that Roz could've won if she ended her program strongly with a split-3toe and a final 2A like she did at Nationals 1-2 months prior. Who knew what was going on her head on the night of the LP, but she blew it.
  4. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

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    The real question is where Sumners would have placed in 2010.
  5. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    With her 84 Olympic programs in 2010? She wouldnt have even made it out of Sectionals in the U.S. :lol:

    Representing Moldova or wherever she apparently got last minute citizenship to be in Vancouver, then probably about 22nd place. 2 triple toes and a bunch of opened up double axels belonged in another era. Wasnt even good technically for that era, which is why she lost that night.
  6. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm ... never realized Vodorezova had a Biellmann spin.
  7. AxelAnnie

    AxelAnnie Well-Known Member

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    I always loved her show skating. But there was definitely a "thing" going on with her. Like a point she had to prove. She must have just caved at the OLYS. She had all the talent and all the technique.

    The mind is a curious thing.
  8. TheIronLady

    TheIronLady New Member

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    Did Sumners deserve 5th in the short program?
  9. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    Witt was not an established champion outside of Europe at that point. I think Sumner and even Ivanova could have won.

    However, all three of them were outskated by Zayak in the SP and Freeskate, and Zayak probably did not deserve 13th in figures.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2013
  10. skateboy

    skateboy Well-Known Member

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    Yes, absolutely.

    And she deserved 4th or 5th in the long as well.
  11. caseyedwards

    caseyedwards Well-Known Member

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    In the commentary Button was all "she elected to do doubles" I don't think it was a choice! Lol. But was he being sarcastic? Why would he have some maybe believing it was a choice which would backfire?

    Maybe it is just true she lost herself! Got ahead of the jumps! It's true she almost won anyway so she was totally capable of beating Witt.
  12. DarrellH

    DarrellH New Member

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    Yes, if she had skated to win, rather than not to lose.
  13. FunnyBut

    FunnyBut Well-Known Member

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    The thing about Witt is that although she won 2 Olympics, she was entirely beatable in both. Sumners could have beat her in '84, Thomas or Manley in '88. She didn't give an unbeatable performance in either Olympics, just no one else stepped up to the plate. It's not like Hamill or Kim's Olympic wins where you knew no one could likely do anything to beat them.
  14. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    I dont see how she ever could have been any lower than 4th in the long. Nobody besides Witt, Sumners, or Chin could have been placed over her.
  15. Erin

    Erin Well-Known Member

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    I was going to say I'd have placed Zayak over her, but I'm assuming that you mean Zayak instead of Sumners up above since we're talking about who could place above Sumners? Zayak really should have beaten Sumners in the SP as well.

    It would be a stretch, but I thought Anna Kondrashova had a decent skate in the free, so that's one more possibility. I think that fourth in the free is probably right though...if I were a judge, I probably would have put Chin first in the free and Zayak second in the free, then Witt and Sumners. Even so, the only change to the podium as a result of this would be Chin over Ivanova for bronze. Chin and Zayak were just too far back after figures to challenge at all...clearly the USFSA must have put all of their politicking behind Sumners in figures that year and had none left over for Chin or Zayak.

    The figures results that the three American ladies had over time show a pretty clear pattern of who is getting support and who is not. Zayak went from 22nd in figures at 1980 Worlds to 7th in 81, 4th in 82, ?? in 83 (I think she skated them before she withdrew), and then 13th at the 84 Olympics, and 9th at 84 Worlds. Meanwhile, Sumners goes from 11th in 82 to 1st in 83 and 84 and Chin's 12th in 84 all of a sudden improves to 2nd in 85 and then drops to 4th in 86 after losing ground to Debi Thomas. Sure makes me glad figures are gone.
  16. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    Yes I meant Zayak of course. Kondrashova landed only 2 triples in the free (granted so did Sumners), fell, and even wobbled on her spread eagles, so I wouldnt see her above Sumners in the free program.

    I laughed when I saw Chin's interview recently and she said it was funny to her she was 2nd in figures in 1985 and 12th in 1984 and she didnt actually feel she had improved in figures at all. Makes you wonder what kind of things really went on in the figures.

    I remember seeing some footage of the figures from Sarajevo and when Witt ended up 3rd Rosalynn looked super peeved. I think she had bet on an insurmountable lead on all her real threats to cruise to the gold like the 83 Worlds, but suddenly she knew right then she would have to beat Witt in atleast one of the short or free programs to win the gold, and you could tell she was already very scared.
  17. Lnt175

    Lnt175 New Member

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    Zayak seemed to lose all ground after the problems at 83 worlds. I do think she could have challenged at the Olympics if she had better results at those worlds. Witt had improved (or at least it seemed she got better placements) at figures in 84, and that along with Sumners shaky confidence sealed the deal. Witt herself had also improved in her jump consistencies. At the 82 worlds she made numerous landing errors, but was pretty clean at the 83, 84 worlds and at Sarajevo.
  18. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    :rolleyes: Witt went from 9th in figures at 1982 Worlds with Zayak present to 8th in figures at 1983 Worlds without Zayak present to 3rd in figures at the 1984 Olympics. Zayak went from 4th in figures at 1982 Worlds to 13th in figures behind Tiffany Chin at the 1984 Olympics.
  19. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    and Chin herself went from 12th in figures in Sarajevo to 2nd in figures at the 85 Worlds ahead of Witt (who was 3rd in figures at both events). :lol: Her own interview with Jenny Kirk she said she didnt even feel her figures had improved any.
  20. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

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    I love it when skaters are honest about things like that, especially when they've benefitted from discrepancies like that.
  21. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

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    Yes - it was very realistic to think she could've beaten Witt in '84. She was the favorite to win based on her '83 Worlds win and she had the full backing of the USFSA as the #1 US skater. It was a 5-4 split with 0.1 difference on the 5th judges scorecard, and that was with the doubled jumps and single axels. Witt at the time hadn't quite developed into the 2nd mark skater she would become in the next quadrennial.

    It was the right result. Though I agree with the earlier post that Witt kind of lucked out that her rivals at both Olympics didn't perform more competently, because she would never have been an Olympic champion.
  22. Susan M

    Susan M Well-Known Member

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    At that point in her career, I don't think Witt was an especially great competitor. I really liked this skater when she was a teenager and my lasting perception is one of chronic disappointment. She usually managed to land at least one jump on her can before the 84 season. I found it interesting that as her face got harder and less pretty, her skating got better.

    Given that Sumner was World Champion going into Sarajevo, I think it is fairly odd that anyone would ask if she had a chance to beat any of her contemporaries.
  23. essence_of_soy

    essence_of_soy Well-Known Member

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    I wonder if Linda Fratianne could have beaten Sumners in Sarejevo? She skated a clean short with a 3sal/2loop and a clean long with 2 double axels, a 3sal and a 3toe in Lake Placid.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2013
  24. essence_of_soy

    essence_of_soy Well-Known Member

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    I thought Rosalynn was solid as an eligible skater, but truly came into her own from her second year as a professional. So many of her performances were original, exciting, elegant, and fun.
  25. floskate

    floskate Vacant

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    Interesting - her competitive record speaks rather differently. The only time she ever missed the podium after the 1981 season was 1983 Worlds where she bombed figures but still won the SP, was 2nd in the free and was the combined free skating winner. While Witt became a more refined and consistent skater from 1984 on, it came at the expense of some of the harder elements (aside from 1987 Worlds). I most enjoy the Witt who goes after everything and does 2z/3t's and tries triple flips and attempts 6 triple LP's. JMO obviously ;)
  26. essence_of_soy

    essence_of_soy Well-Known Member

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    Though she had a long and brilliant professional career, I'm a little sorry Denise Biellmann didn't stick around until 1984. She could have won everything in sight.
  27. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    I highly doubt it or that she would have been any factor by Sarajevo had she still been around (if she even made the team, which IMO there is a good chance she wouldnt have by then). She would have been mid 20s by Sarajevo which back then was old for an amateur singles skater, and I doubt she would have mantained U.S #1 status post 1980 had she continued with Zayak, Sumners, DeVries, Chin, all coming up. She hadnt improved any since 1976 or 1978 at the latest, and was just holding onto her skills at most, so likely would have started to decline post 1980. She had a nice run but still didnt win the OGM, and the USFSA would have been ready to move on to the next IT girl.

    Her figures were also not that strong and she probably would have started placing outside the top 5 in figures. Witt, Zayak, Biellmann, Leistner on a good day, 84 version of Chin, were all stronger technically and Sumners was more polished and preferred by the judges artistically than Linda ever was. 2 triples was also nothing special by Sarajevo, practically everyone in the field could do that or more.


    Now if you mean whether her Lake Placid efforts in free skating were superior for the time than Sumners were at the 84 Olympics, I would say yes they were easily for me anyway. Although Sumners still performed much stronger in free skating than Poetzsch had in Lake Placid, and in figures by Sarajevo was just as dominant as Poetzsch in 1980, and even Poetzsch beat Fratianne, so Sumners with her superior figures still probably would have come out ahead. Sumners's long program marks in Sarajevo were also higher than Fratianne's in Lake Placid for whatever that is worth.
  28. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    ^ Do not forget the scoring changed after the 1979-80 season. The same placements in Lake Placid would have resulted in a win for Fratianne under the scoring for the 1980-81 season.
  29. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

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    I agree that Fratianne would probably not have kept up with Zayak, Sumners and Chin by 1984. I look at videos of her in 1977 doing a split leap-back scissor leap-3toe combo in her LP and wonder why she watered down her content as the quadrennial progressed. She also cut back on the no. of 2x's in a program as time passed. That could've been at the advice of FC who we know during his time with Kwan and Lysacek strategized about what it would take to win rather than pushing the tech envelope. By FC's own account, Fratianne was his best student. I take that to mean listener and complier. Poetzsch in 1979 was a messy free skater and FC probably figured it wasn't going to take that much to win by 1980. Thus, Fratianne made sure to maintain the solo 3toe, 3sal, a couple of 2axels and called it a day.

    I also agree that in order to stay on top, one would have needed something beyond 2 types of solo triples in 1984. Sumners didn't really ever deliver any technical fireworks in her programs beyond 2 types of triples, which is what Fratianne could do on a good day, but she had superb skating skills (straight back, good speed, blade control) and had a little more effervescence on the ice, plus she had good figures.

    One more thing about Fratianne: I often think she is one of the more underrated US skaters : She actually did push the envelope for US ladies by introducing 2 types of triples in the mid 70s, won the '77 World crown as an underdog against favorite Poetzsch while running a 104-degree temperature, and has an impressive collection of hardware - 2 world championships, 4 national championships, Olympic silver medalist (wuz robbed IMHO), and by all accounts offered a steadfast work ethic and I never saw her meltdown at important competitions. She always held onto her programs even on a bad day. I think she suffered a bit coming onto the US scene on the heels of skaters like ice queen Peggy Fleming, the incredible Janet Lynn and effervescent yet dynamic Dorothy Hamill who all dominated their respective eras in skating AND personality for the years just before Fratianne surfaced as #1 US lady. Fratianne was quieter and more introverted on the ice but as stated above, did offer her own contributions to the sport.

    Anyway, sorry for the stream of thought. Back OT.
  30. matti

    matti Active Member

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    Fratianne garnered 4.2s and 4.3s for her figures at the Lake Placid Olympics. Sumners' highest score was 3.9 in Sarajevo...
  31. Lnt175

    Lnt175 New Member

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    Unfortunately for Biellmann I'm not sure if she had improved at figures after her worlds win to contend with Sumners or an upcoming Witt in 84. She could have perhaps gotten a Bronze.
  32. Rock2

    Rock2 New Member

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    Skaters always talked about "whose turn it was" for each Olympics. In 1984 it was Hamilton's and Sumners' turn. Basically theirs to lose. Hamilton skated horribly but the other contenders were too far behind after the figures so he was able to hold on. Roz didn't have the same advantage so her poor skate was able to be passed.

    Boitano talked about this in 1988. Despite his clean skating he said he was shocked to win because it was "Orser's turn", having ridden the bench long enough and being the only real gold medal contender on home turf. Orser lost by only one judge yet had so much less technical content (missed flip, one less 3A, no 3/3)
  33. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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    There were some figures that Zayak had great difficulty doing because of the missing part of her foot.
    Her success really depended on which ones she was required to do.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3Eqk6PoS1M
  34. dorianhotel

    dorianhotel Member

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    I thought Sumners deserved the gold medal as it was. Her mistake in the short should have been only a .1 deduction so I would have had her winning the short with 5.7, 5.9 vs Witt who I gave 5.8, 5.7. Chin probably winning the short with 5.8, 5.8, but Sumners only had to beat Witt in the short to guarante the gold. Then in the long Sumners had only 1 less triples than Witt and artistic was much better so she should have beaten her in the long anyway. I would have given Witt 5.8, 5.7 and Sumners 5.7, 6.0. Wit getting 4 5.9s for artistic in the long was a travesty since she had no artistic abilties at all yet and was super sloppy, and skating a terible choreography program which Peggy Fleming noted in the book. It shows it was probably fixed for her to win even if Sumners had skated perfectly the judges wouldnt let her win. She even said she knew that too on her Fire on Ice interview so gave up in the last minute of the long knowing the judges werent going to let her win no matter what she did.
  35. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

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    Sumner's opened/popped jumps were too jarring to be ignored by the judges and people knowledgeable with skating. I also didn't think her LP performance deserved a 6. There wasn't any spark in Roz that night.

    That's a bunch of crocks from Sumners if she really said that. I'll have to look up that piece on utube again, but I remembered it differently though. Roz said that she had skated the perfect program at the practice session the night before the final. On the day of the final, she knew that she had gave all she had at the practice ice the night before and realized she wasn't going to be able to replicate that perfect performance again. Well, I think that was a bunch of crock also. Sumners choked. Plain and simple. No need to make up some silly reason why she couldn't perform.

    -------

    ETA: Fire On Ice

    Roz said that did the LP of her life at the last practice session the night before the final. She woke up the next morning and just knew that it wasn't going to happen. So according to Roz, she pretty much already gave up the day of the final. What sealed the deal for Roz was seeing the expression on her coach after her coach had watched Kat skated her LP. Roz read from her coach's expression was that her coach didn't think she could win; So that of course put more self-doubt into Roz's mind that night.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2013
  36. Lnt175

    Lnt175 New Member

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    Sumners was never that great at clean programs anyway. She also fell earlier in the year at nats. I agree her skating was beautiful and flowy like at 82 nats and 83 worlds, but I agree no way did she deserve to place above Witt. Whats odd is she began great, hit the triples and looked confident (unlike say Cohen who bombed her first half of the LP in 06) but halfway through looked like she gave up.
    I actually think Zayak may have a case for winning the LP at both 84 Olympics and 84 worlds.
  37. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

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    I thought Zayak's skating had became somewhat ponderous after her body matured in 82. The judges didn't favor her style of skating anymore. The SP was very good, but the energy she had in the SP was not carried through to the LP.
  38. Lnt175

    Lnt175 New Member

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    I agree she gave many memorable performances. I always wondered why she didn't attempt even a triple toe in her earlier years though. She always had something going on in her programs though with footwork, wallys, one foot axel etc.

    BTW I wanted to add this thread wasn't meant as a bash to Sumners, as I think her overall skating were actually of superior quality to Witts at that time, and Elaines who was a bit raw sometimes. I was rewatching her 83 nats program and she threw in a triple toe at the very end of her program, after falling on a sal earlier. She seemed to hold back technically while Witt was a much stronger jumper (higher jumps and confidence). Too bad she didn't throw a couple more jumps in her Sarajevo program like that.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2013
  39. Susan M

    Susan M Well-Known Member

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    Apart from ice dance (where the winners were carved in stone long before the events began) I don't think that was true anymore by the 1980s and I surely don't remember Sumners or even Hamill being seen as locks for the gold medal. (Hamilton probably was, but he had won every Worlds since Lake Placid.) There were favorites or co-favorites, but they still could lose with a big figures error or bad performances.

    I remember the turn concept as relating more to a skater's turn as US #1 (again, apart from ice dance where better teams waited for their turns as USSR/world dance team #1).
  40. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

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    Hamill wasn't the heavy gold favorite heading into Insbruck, because she hadn't won any World title previously. Christina Errath won Worlds in 74 and Dianne DeLeew was World champ in 75.