fast American ladies in skating...an oxymoron?

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by Kwantumleap, Jul 14, 2010.

  1. Kwantumleap

    Kwantumleap New Member

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    Tonya Harding comes to mind, but who else? Lipinski?

    The stereotype goes that Swiss skaters tend to have fast spins, Japanese skaters tend to jump well, and American ladies tend to have good spirals but skate slowly. Is there a reason for the slow reputation? Maybe it's a combination of the overuse of sappy music?
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2010
  2. Cheylana

    Cheylana Well-Known Member

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    Doesn't Mirai skate fast?
  3. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

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    Nicole Bobek was fast in her heyday.

    I think Janet Lynn and Dorothy Hamill were, in their day.
  4. museksk8r

    museksk8r Well-Known Member

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    Harding
    Bobek
    Nagasu
    Wagner
  5. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

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    American ladies don't skate slowly. I don't know why you say that.
    The US have more skaters than any other country. So, out of the total, we see more slow skaters, that's normal. But the top US skaters are very fast.
    It's not because Caroline Zhang skates so slowly that US ladies tend to skate slowly !
  6. overedge

    overedge Well-Known Member

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    I saw Tonia Kwiatkowski do an exhibition performance once, in a suburban arena with no seating (which is why I got to watch her up close from the boards), and she went end to end on that ice surface in about 3 1/2 strokes. She is an amazingly fast and strong skater, which I don't think ever really came across in her competitive appearances.

    She also passed high-level tests in dance and pairs, which I think must have helped her basic skating.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2010
  7. chipso1

    chipso1 Well-Known Member

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    I agree. As a whole, I don't find U.S. ladies "slow" at all. Yes, Zhang has speed issues, and Czisny and Flatt aren't the fastest, but there have been many great American ladies with good speed/skating skills: Lynn, Thomas, Cadavy, Harding, Kiwatkowski, Kwan, Nam, Nikodinov, both Hughes sisters, Meissner, Wagner, Nagasu...
  8. smarts1

    smarts1 Well-Known Member

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    Of course Alissa and Rachael are the other slow **********. No need to talk about Caroline, but definitely, no one else is slow at all.

    ADMIN EDIT: Knock off referring to people in scatalogical terms.
  9. blue_idealist

    blue_idealist Well-Known Member

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    Lipinski's definitely fast. I didn't find Sasha that slow. I haven't seen any of them live though.
  10. Jun Y

    Jun Y Well-Known Member

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    Well that's a bit uncalled for, isn't it?

    In all the practice sessions I have seen, Alissa Czisny is as fast as any of the current top-tiered female skaters (maybe except Kostner and Kim), but she slows down considerably in competition. It is entirely mental.

    Rachel Flatt is about average in terms of speed, but her stroking looks laborious, which adds to the impression that she is slow.
  11. Coco

    Coco Well-Known Member

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    I think the US ladies program has always placed such great emphasis on control of the upper body & carriage that the better US ladies give the impression on TV of being slower than they are.

    When I saw Czisny live, I was surprised how fast and smooth her skating was. She covered as much ice as Joannie, but didn't seem to vary her speed quite as well.
  12. Jenna

    Jenna Well-Known Member

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    I don't know, but I have a little hunch that more appropriate word choice could have been used here. There are free online thesauruses out there.....:rolleyes:
  13. Kwantumleap

    Kwantumleap New Member

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    Her slow choices, particularly the Rachmaninoff, contribute to the sense that she's a slow skater. I was watching videos of the Kerrigan's 94 Olympics LP for the thread about past olympic performances. Part of the reason some people say she didn't win the olympics then, aside from Oksana being considered better in general, was that Kerrigan didn't skate with as much attack or speed - Nancy was skating to music that was also quite slow. It's a criticism that was echoed when Kwan ended up with silver in Nagano. I've also heard the same for more recent national champions like Flatt, Czisny, and Cohen, as well as Zhang, once touted a future American champion. Maybe it's just a case of many different circumstances. It is an interesting pattern, though, and I know there are many factors.

    One consistent thread in ladies skating is the iconic ice princess reputation. I think a lot of girls see that, many coaches/choreographers are comfortable with that type of traditional approach regarding ladies and expression, and we end up seeing a lot of ladies programs (not just American) that are set to slow gentle music. I think that's part of the reason for the reputation of slow ladies skaters, especially in America where the pretty princess icon is encouraged.

    I also think that it's true that skaters that have a reputation to defend, if not tough enough, will crumble under the pressure. One of the first things that seems to go is their speed. The American ladies have long been a powerhouse in figure skating, so the pressure to keep the reputation in tact is definitely there.
  14. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    Harding for sure. Lipinski too of course. Bobek. I think Hamill, Kerrigan, and Lynn were considered fairly fast. I am not sure about Thomas and Chin, were they considered fast?
  15. skating_sarah11

    skating_sarah11 New Member

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    Kimmie Meissner is pretty fast too. To be able to pull off a triple axel as a female you have to be fast. I agree in saying that the American ladies put more emphasis on control of upper body carriage which makes them seem a lot slower on TV than they are in reality. They also know how to use their knees for power without making it look like they are killing themselves to go faster.
  16. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    I rewatched Elaine Zayak's and Rosalyn Sumner's World Champion LPs, and they were quite fast as appropriate with the music.
  17. shady82

    shady82 New Member

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    I remember Bebe was very fast too.
  18. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    Michelle Kwan was fast at 2000 Worlds . . . actually very fast.

    Janet Lynn, even with her straight back and compact strokes, was disceptively fast. Her 1970 Nationals Freeskate comes to mind, when she was moving so fast that it looked like she was skating with a breeze going through her hair :swoon: :swoon: :swoon: . . . I think of this performance as the defining performance of her career.

    ETA: Janet Lynn 1970 US Nationals LP filmed by Howard Craker
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2010
  19. Triple Butz

    Triple Butz Well-Known Member

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    There are fast and slow skaters from every region. Remember Jennifer Robinson? She was so slow she's still competing in the 2004 worlds. Jenna McCorkel is so slow I sometimes can't tell which direction she is traveling in. Don't even get me started on the current French girls.

    I will say, however, that you rarely see it in the Japanese skaters. Part of their training from very early on is to perform all of their elements with great speed.
  20. Marco

    Marco Missing Ziggy

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    Clearly fast: Harding, Bobek, Lipinski, NNN, Liang, Wagner, Nagasu

    Fast but gawky: Hughes, Meissner, Maxwell

    Quite fast but appeared slower than usual due to smoothless/ flow: Kwan, Nikodinov, Czisny

    Average but gives the impression of being slow: Yamaguchi, Kerrigan, Cohen, Gao

    Slow: Zhang, Flatt, Gilles, Zawadzki
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2010
  21. Marco

    Marco Missing Ziggy

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    And Sarah Meier's spins were good, but not great or WOW-worthy like those of Ruh's or Krieg's.
  22. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    Thank goodness she was so slow as she stalked that triple lutz forever. She would have gone into the boards each time if she wasnt painfully slow.
  23. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

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    Sasha was really slow. She looked fast on TV because she is so tiny and on TV, we didn't see the lack of ice coverage. ;)
  24. blue_idealist

    blue_idealist Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, the extreme telegraphing of Jennifer's jumps ALWAYS bothered me a lot. It really took away from her performance, even if she landed the jumps.
  25. Polymer Bob

    Polymer Bob New Member

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    I have read the "pretty princess" or "ice princess" complaint several times before. The real detractors write "pwetty pwincess". But can an ice princess skate quickly? ... with power and speed? I believe she can.
    ( A little off topic here .... Mao has gotten criticism for acting too innocent, ....... OFF ICE. :rolleyes: )

    The U.S. girls are under pressure, as are all skaters. But I don't think they skate with the burden of 70 years of history on their shoulders. If so, somebody is feeding them that pressure. "Come on Rachael, you MUST win back that 3rd spot!!"
  26. miki88

    miki88 New Member

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    Lol. I also don't think American skaters are slow in general. I don't think a skater has to be very fast to be good. As long as they have adequate speed, it's more important that their speed fits and flows with the elements and the music of the program.
  27. skating_sarah11

    skating_sarah11 New Member

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    I think that it is ridiculous to say that any Senior Lady is "slow". They would not have passed the tests to become a senior competitor if they were slow. Speed and Carriage is part of the test.

    On TV, a skater might look slower than other skaters for multiple reasons (being taller is one of them), but odds are, they have average speed. There are no slow Sr. Skaters..there is average, and fast.

    I feel that sometimes the fast skaters speed takes away from their programs. It seems as though they are skating to end the program, not living every minute and every movement of it.
  28. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

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    Some skaters might slow down in competition, especially when nervous in general or when approaching jumps they're not sure of, even if they had plenty of speed when taking their tests.
  29. skating_sarah11

    skating_sarah11 New Member

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    Also, Jennifer Robinson is anything but slow. Trust me, I have skated on the ice with her (I was always considered a fast, powerful skater) and she still was much faster.

    And true, she did take time to prepare her jumps, but back when she skated, that's what most of the ladies did. There was no "connecting steps" in most of the ladies programs. Better to set up and prepare for a jump than to fall all over the place (which, yes she also did a lot, I will admit that)
  30. skating_sarah11

    skating_sarah11 New Member

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    True, people do slow down sometimes when they compete. However it is still ridiculous to say that they are slow. Slower than they normally are, maybe, but not slow.
  31. RFOS

    RFOS Well-Known Member

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    Also, top level skaters should achieve their speed with little if any obvious effort, so they might not "look" as fast as they are. I remember skating on a session not too long ago with a Senior level skater (not one who has competed internationally or even qualified for Senior nationals) and a hockey skater. The hockey player "looked" really fast, because his arms and legs were flailing around and you could really hear the effort in his skating, while the Senior level skater was just stroking around with nice carriage and flow and no excessive body movements. She didn't "look" as fast but nonetheless kept passing the hockey player when she skated near him. :lol: Looks can definitely be deceiving.
  32. skating_sarah11

    skating_sarah11 New Member

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    That's exactly what I was trying to get at. You definately worded it much better than I did. You really have to see the skaters skating their fastest next to each other to tell how they compare in speeds. Even height will make someone look faster or slower on the ice. Unfortunately, we don't get to see that because there is only ever 1 person on the ice at a time in senior ladies (and you can't judge by warm-ups because many relax on warm-ups)
  33. Polymer Bob

    Polymer Bob New Member

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    I don't recall the exact wording, but one of the things rewarded under the IJS is making it look effortless.
  34. pinky166

    pinky166 Well-Known Member

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    Christina Gao is pretty fast, and so is Kiri Baga, and they are both tiny which makes it more impressive.
  35. Triple Butz

    Triple Butz Well-Known Member

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    Just because she was faster than you doesn't mean she was faster than other elite world competitors (which she wasn't). I saw her compete many times and even saw her train in Detroit a few times. The last time I saw her was in Vegas 2009 for Nancy Kerrigan's Christmas show, and even among the rusty pros she stood out as being the slowest cast member. I think she had a LOT of strengths, but speed was NOT one of them.
  36. barbk

    barbk Well-Known Member

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    It wasn't for nothing that someone nicknamed her J Slo. I can't think of a skater from the1990s who took more time to set up a triple lutz than Jennifer Robinson. I think it was one of the problems she had with that jump -- she'd either run out of steam and pop it or fall, or pull it back to a double to keep from crashing into the boards. I also saw her live in a number of international competitions, and she was not even close to being a fast skater. Slutskaya and Kwan would whoosh on past her without looking like they were even working.
  37. geod2

    geod2 New Member

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    Taking the verbal low road like this says more about you than it does about their speed.
  38. Polymer Bob

    Polymer Bob New Member

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    I was wondering about that. Actually, I think somebody is just typing asterisks ( ******* ), then our imaginations put all sorts of horrendous things in there. ;)
  39. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

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    Yes ! it may be : "slow pieces of cakes" or "slow pieces of cookies", and so on ! ;)
  40. viennese

    viennese Well-Known Member

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    I always though the rap on US ladies was: they are polished - maybe too polished. Even the junior ladies have very refined, superior choreography. Yet it's rare to see gritty, athletic programs - a lot of beautiful princess programs.

    Fast skating, fast spins really stand out at nationals.