Had the pro's not returned in '94 Olympics, what would the podiums would have been?

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by Vash01, Aug 17, 2013.

  1. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    ETA: Awful Typo in the thread title (Should have been 'Pros'; not 'Progs') Can the admin please fix it?

    Here is the original thread:

    The pros were allowed to return to eligible competition just once in the entire history of figure skating. How unlucky do you have to be to miss the podium in that year?

    Had the pros not returned in 94, here is my guess.

    Men - No change. The pros made mistakes and were not in medal contention entering the free skate.

    Ladies- No change. Katarina Witt was not technically competitive and even she knew it, entering the Olympic games. She finished a respectable 5th (or 6th) place, but with a flawed LP that should have been a beautiful work of art (but not strong enough technically to medal).

    Pairs: This gets interesting. Without G&G and M&D, the favorites would have been B&E as the reigning world champions. However, the pressure would have gotten to them, IMO and Shishkova-Naumov would have beaten them for the OGM. If S&N feel bitter about the pros return to competition, it's understandable. The worst S&N would have done was an Olympic silver. They did not even win the bronze. So who would have won the bronze if S&N and B&E had finished 1-2?

    Meno & Sand?
    Zagorska- Siudek?
    #3 Russian pair (whoever that might have been)?
    Someone else?

    Ice dance: Without T&D's presence, U&Z would have been less nervous. IMO they might have eeked out a win over G&P. However, G&P were getting a lot of love from the judges in the CD's. May be they would have still beaten U&Z? Krylova-Federova may have won the bronze, or may be one of the European dance teams? Moniotte-Lavanchy were too new to the scene, so I don't think they would have.
     
  2. essence_of_soy

    essence_of_soy Well-Known Member

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    This thread opens up all sorts of possibilities.

    Regarding the men, if Victor Petrenko hadn't returned, Viacheslav Zagorodnyuk would have taken his place. Unfortunately, Ukraine only had one spot available for the Olympics because the 1993 European Champion, Dmitri Dmitrenko, placed outside the top ten in Prague.

    Viacheslav won silver behind Victor at Europeans in '94 with the eventual Olympic Champion, Urmanov, in third. At the 1994 World Championships, keep in mind that Zagorodnyuk also beat Alexei for the bronze medal.

    If Boitano hadn't returned, it is possible Mark Mitchell wouldn't have felt so much pressure at the 1994 US Championships. If he had skated his best, he may have made the team along with Scott Davis. Together, the two of them may have been more like underdogs than having the spotlight squarely on them instead.

    As for the ladies, without Witt, Marina Kielmann was the third German lady at Europeans. She skated really well at Worlds in Prague in the free skate and placed fourth in Japan following the Olympics.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2013
  3. Loves_Shizuka

    Loves_Shizuka Well-Known Member

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    Rahkamo/Kokko might have an Olympic medal. Ahhh, that would've been wonderful.

    Brasseur/Eisler might have been OGM's though, and I'd be less enamoured with that.
     
  4. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

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    IMO, the most interesting point is about the skaters who were off the Olympic team due to the Pro : Marina Kiellmann, Viasheslav Zagorodniuk, Mark Mitchell.

    What would have been the Russian Pair team without G&G and M&D ?
     
  5. essence_of_soy

    essence_of_soy Well-Known Member

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    If you look to the 1994 World Championships, those teams were Marina Eltsova and Andrei Bushkov (who were the 1993 European Champions and took World bronze the following year in Japan) and the 1994 World Junior Champs, Maria Petrova and Anton Sikharulidze.
     
  6. Loves_Shizuka

    Loves_Shizuka Well-Known Member

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    I seem to recall reading an interview with Eltsova a few years back. She seemed quite bitter about G/G's and M/D's return, and refused to watch the pairs competition in Lillehammer. I believe this was around 1998/Nagano. I can't think where I read this, but it's something I remembered. It must have been tough for those like her to see pro's return and (albeit deservedly) take the Olympic spots.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2013
  7. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    Pairs- Probably Shishkova & Naumov winning. Brasseur & Eisler were only put in 3rd to prevent a Russian sweep. Brasseur & Eisler probably silver. The bronze would have been either Kovarikova & Novotny or Eltsova & Bushkov. No way it is Meno & Sand IMO. K&N were having a bad year, but still lost only a 5-4 split to M&S with a really bad skate and would have been more motivated to skate better if they felt they really had a chance of a medal. E&B pretty much always beat M&S around then. Woetzel & Steuer were having a super bad year and had an accident anyway so I dont consider them.

    Men- Pretty much nothing changes it turns out. Zagorodniuk would have been at the Olympics but would not have medalled IMO. He only medalled at Worlds since Urmanov had a very bad competition, and his skates from Olympics or Europeans (where he was 2nd to Petrenko) would not have beaten any of the 3 medal performances in Lillehammer. Please dont read him beating Urmanov twice into him being capable of winning in Lillehammer or anything :lol:, it only reflects how inconsistent Urmanov could be.

    I have no idea who the 2nd U.S man would have been. I doubt Mitchell as I genuinely think he had a super bad Nationals. They probably would have held up Eldredge even with his poor Nationals free skate, as they wouldnt have wanted to send Nielsen to the Olympics. Actually Eldredge could have medalled but I sort of doubt he would have. He wasnt having a very good season.


    Dance- I agree Usova & Zhulin would have won. Torvill & Dean, despite ending up a distant 3rd in the end, threw an extra element into the event that threw things for a loop. The Russians dont usually switch favor as far as who is #1 in an Olympic year like that. U&Z had various problems and would not have been at their best this season, and still probably would have had that awful FD, but despite all that probably would have won as Russia's #1 without the added confusion of T&D's return. Then again the dumpage of U&Z as no longer being Russia's #1 could be based on some things behind the scenes I dont know about (IMO G&P were in many ways better that year anyway, but given how ice dance worked back then that alone couldnt be the reason for the switch, lol).

    The bronze would have been between Rahkammo & Kokko and Moniotte & Lavanchy who battled it out all season. Krylova & Fedorov were on the way down in the judges eyes so would have been no factor for the bronze. Because R&K fell in the FD in Lillehammer the bronze probably would have gone to M&L, despite that R&K still beat them with that fall, but it probably wouldnt have been the case if they were picking a medalist.

    Ladies- Again pretty much nothing changes. Marina Kiellmann goes to the Olympics despite very poor performances at both Nationals and Europeans. Given how extremely poorly she skated at both events it is possible some young German who is the 3rd at Europeans even beats her out though. At the Olympics themselves she is either mid-bottom top 10 if she has a decent competition, or out of the top 10 if she has another poor one like Nationals or Europeans, but not a medal contender either way.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2013
  8. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

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    Probably not the only reason. And I'm not even sure it was one of the reason. Does anyone know why judges wouldn't like a Russian sweep ?
    IMO, B&E skated well enough for the bronze (S&N also, but it was a tough call).
    And as B&E were reigning World champions, I guess many thought it was fair to give the medal to them, considering Gold and Silver were for Pros coming back to amateur skating ;)
     
  9. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    I just noticed a grammatical error in the title of my thread. :eek:I was very sleepy when I started this, and it's evident.

    Apologies.:eek:

    I have to say this- while making the correction - whoever made it changed it to Pro's. It should be just Pros. It's a plural, so it does not need that extra ' . I wish there was a way to correct a thread title if I made an error.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2013
  10. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    I am guessing, but Olympics being a major international event, the judges would go for one medal to the reigning world champions/world medallists. Remember 1992? B&E were held up big time then. M&D and B&P won gold and silver. I don't think S&N would have challenged for the bronze, but K&N (Czech Rep) would have, thus preventing the sweep. I still think that as the past world silver medallists and the only apparent threat to M&D, B&E were given a pass in 92. They had a much more solid case in 94. It was a close decision between them and S&N. Had they skated poorly, the judges would have no choice but to allow the Russian sweep. Same in 1988. Had S&M had skated a decent LP, there would have been a sweep. In close competitions the judges do give the benefit of doubt to someone.

    B&E would not have won the gold though in 94 with that performance. Without the presence of G&G and M&D I think the Russian fed would have put their support behind S&N who would have been their #1 pair. Also S&N skated much faster, and had the finer points of skating, like her pointed toes, their positions, etc.

    As someone pointed out, Y&B would have made the Russian team, and an even more intriguing possibility of Petrova & Sikharulidze skating in the Olympics. Depending on how they did their, it might have defined their future together. In the end though I liked it that Anton paired with Elena and Maria with Alexei. IMO this would have happened.

    Y&B and S&N feeling bitter about the 94 Olympics is very understandable. An athlete has only a limited opportunities to go to the Olympics and even more limited opportunities to win a medal. What bugs me is that the return of the pros was allowed just once. Had it become routine (like in Tennis/basketball in the summer Olympics, or Hockey in the winter Olympics, for example), others would not have felt that bitter. It would have been something that they expected to happen every time.

    Yet another interesting twist- Berezhnaya & Shliakov were seen as a promising pair from Latvia, in 1994. She was 16 and very cute. They placed 8th, which was respectable considering the depth of the field. They would have been in 6th place. I believe Elena would have left Oleg for other reasons however (they did win a GP competition around 1995 before her accident).
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2013
  11. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    Shishkova & Naumov and Yeltsova & Bushkov had every right to feel bitter about the 94 Olympics. While the reinstated pros back created excitement, it also was unfair to many of the current athletes. I was actually somewhat happy to see most of the pros have a rather lackluster, although I was still happy with the pairs going 1-2, and T&D winning Europeans and the bronze in Lillehammer, as they were iconic skaters. Still it was S&N and Y&B who were hurt the most of anyone by the reinstated pros.

    I also agree with Vash that what made it worse was that it was a 1 time thing. So it was very unfair to the athletes who had to experience that, while none of the others had to deal with it. It was also hard since these athletes initially had such an advantageous situation getting to be perhaps the only ones ever with an Olympics only two years later, yet had that all wiped away by the reinstated pro thing.

    One big difference in tennis and basketball is the professional league is the only league so everyone has the same chance to compete under the same rules and gain the same experience. Professional skaters who had already been amateur champions also have the advantage of adding a great deal to their skill set as far as showmanship, artistry, experimenting with different styles, while also having the technical training base down from their amateur days prior, so also have an unfair advantage over the others in that sense who never had that professional experience.
     
  12. Lnt175

    Lnt175 Member

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    Its interesting because ladies is the only discipline really where no lady skating prior to 89 (except Ito of course) would have been a factor because of increased technical difficulty. Of course seeing as how the competition played out any woman who won a world medal between 89-92(with the exceptions of Leistner in 89 and Holly Cook in 1990) could have challenged for medals there. Even Manley could have challenged if she had still had her Lutz and added another jump or 2.
     
  13. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    I wish Midori had compete in the 94 Olympics. She could have won the OGM.
     
  14. Lnt175

    Lnt175 Member

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    And IMO Itos 88 Olympic LP would have beaten both Yamaguchi and Baiul in 92 and 94, and thats even without her 3A.
     
  15. essence_of_soy

    essence_of_soy Well-Known Member

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    Denise Biellmann was considering re-instating for 1994. That may explain the incredible run of success she had during the 1994/95 pro competition season against skaters who had been at the Lillehammer Olympics.

    Interestingly, I believe Elizabeth Manley was thinking about coming back for 1994 or 1996 and was training triple lutz and triple axel (which she has landed in practice).
     
  16. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    Elaine Zayak even competed at the 94 US nationals and considering how long she had been away from the eligible competition, she did remarkably well, even though she did not make the team. She did not have the 3lutz.
     
  17. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

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    I don't know since, IMO, she should have been 1st in the LP at 1988 Olympics to begin with, but didn't ;)
     
  18. orientalplane

    orientalplane Mad for mangelwurzels

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    I feel sad about this. :( Poor Midori; the combination of being hopeless at figures, injuries, anxiety caused to some extent by other skaters, and the immense pressure of the Japanese media meant that everything came together only once for the greatest female skater of all time (IMO).
     
  19. lulu

    lulu New Member

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    In terms of winning major titles (World Championships, Olympics) you're right. But another way of looking at it is that Midori is still regarded as one of the greatest female skaters in the sport, not only by fans like us, but I feel by the skating insiders as well. Almost 25 years later, she's still regarded as the gold standard when it comes to jumping and especially women performing the triple axel in the sport. Of course, she was always more than just a "jumper" and thanks to youtube her marvelous skating and programs are available for new fans to watch. She really was a brilliant skater, it is too bad as you mentioned, that she had the bad luck of skating during tail end of the figures era and faced enormous pressure from the media at the Olympics but her legacy is far greater than her medal count. :)
     
  20. Finnice

    Finnice Well-Known Member

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    :wuzrobbed:wuzrobbed:wuzrobbed
    Yes, it would have been!
     
  21. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

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    I really don't feel that sorry for the skaters who missed the team or medals because the pros returned this one time. I think this was an unusual situation in which the winter athletes benefitted from having another Olympics only two years after the last Olympics. It's a little unfair to allow skaters a chance to win an Olympic medal only two years after the last Olympics while the summer athletes still had to wait four years. Why not throw something in to make the competition more interesting for this unprecedented time?

    Of course, the other side of the argument is that by having it two years later, the next chance to compete at the Olympics without the pros would not have been in 1996, but 1998...6 years after Albertville rather than 4.
     
  22. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    That's an interesting take on it.
     
  23. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    Then theres the athletes though who both would/might have been stronger at an Olympics in 96 than 94 or 98 as 96 was much more their physical peak, and had to deal with reinstated pros on top of that. Athletes like Lu Chen, Shishkova & Naumov, Kovarikova & Novotny (possibly based on their 95 form), Rahkammo & Kokko (again possibly based on their 95 form), Sato (possibly), Gritschuk & Platov (although they won anyway), Stojko, Eldredge.
     
  24. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

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    Well, they can't control individual athletes who would have been stronger in 1996 rather than 1994 or 1998. Generally, it seems like there's an advantage to have a Winter Olympics only two years after the last Olympics. At least to those who just competed in 1992 or those who aged and peaked in a way to benefit in 1994. For the up-and-comers, it may be seen as a disadvantage as they would have to wait longer than usual.
     
  25. rickmercer

    rickmercer Member

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    A more interesting topic is what if there was a 1996 Olympics. I think the podiums would have been:

    Pairs- Gold- Kovarikova Novotny, Silver Shishkova Naumov, Bronze any of Eltsova & Bushkov, Woetzel Stool, Meno Sand, Kazhkova Dmitriev, whoever was best on day

    Ladies- Gold Sato, Silver Baiul or Chen

    Men- Gold Urmanov or Stojko, Bronze Eldredge or kulik or Candelero or Zagorodniuk, whoever was best on day, given his history of rising in Olympics probably Candelero. Definitely not Galindo despite his World medal that year.

    Dance- Gold Usova & Zhulin or Gritschuk & Platov, depends on programs and federation support just like 94, bronze- Rakammo & Kokko or Krylova & Ovsiannikov
     
  26. Susan M

    Susan M Well-Known Member

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    I agree that the mens and ladies podiums at the 94 Olympics wouldn't likely have been affected without the reinstating pros.

    In dance, I think without the threat from T&D, the Russian support would have remained with Usova/Zhulin, which would have gotten them gold. I think the team to move into the medals would have been Rahkamo/Kokko. Maniot/Lavanchy were not really that good and there was a lot of popular sentiment for the Finns, who had a very nice program indeed. So my guess for the dance podium would be
    1 Usova/Zhulin
    2 Grishuk/Platov
    3 Rahkamo/Kokko

    Pairs would have been pretty open. Brasseur & Eisler were current Worlds Champions, but I always thought it was a bit of a sympathy award. Folks felt badly for them for losing to G&G in 1990, then getting totally beaten by M&D at 91 Worlds and 92 Olympics. I think it likely they would have been somewhere on the podium, even if their skating was the antithesis of what most judges liked to see in their pairs champions.

    Top 6 from 93 and 94 Worlds were the same six pairs, and I think the podium would have come from these. I think the top 3 at 94 Worlds would very likely have been the Olympic podium as well. Personally, I would have loved to see Kovarikova/N skate cleanly and take it all, but Radka had grown since their impressive 92 performances and it affected her consistency.

    1 Brasseur/Eisler
    2 Wötzel/Steuer
    3 Shishkova/Naumov
    4 Kovaříková/Novotný
    5 Meno/Sand
    6 Eltsova/Bushkov

    Top 6 at 94 Worlds:
    1 Shishkova/Naumov
    2 Brasseur/Eisler
    3 Eltsova/Bushkov
    4 Wötzel/Steuer
    5 Kovaříková/Novotný
    6 Meno/Sand

    Had there been a 1996 Olympics, my guess podiums would have been:
    Men: 1 Stojko, 2 Eldredge, 3 Kulik - Urmanov may have gotten into the medals if one of these three faltered.
    Ladies: 1 Kwan, 2 Lu, 3 Slutskaya (same as 96 Worlds) - I don't think Baiul would have been competitive by 96 because of her growth spurt, nor would Sato be able to compete, jump-wise with the top 3 ladies.
    Pairs: 1 Eltsova/Bushkov, 2 Wötzel/Steuer, 3 Shishkova/Naumov - This and the hypothetical no-pros 94 podiums would have been about the weakest pair podium ever. Makes me glad there was no 96 Olympics.
    Dance: 1 Grishuk/P, 2 Krylova/Ovsyannikov, 3 Bourne/Kraatz (same as 96 Worlds) - Had Rahkamo/Kokko stuck around, they likely would have knocked the Canadians off the podium.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2013
  27. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    You can't be serious. W&S could not even finish their LP in 94 (she got injured in a fall while skating) and they were not even medal contenders. The OGM was really between B&E and S&N. I have already stated my reasons for why I thought S&N were more likely to win. W&S were not a factor until 1996, and their 97 world title was a fluke. The judges did not want to give Y&B two world titles in a row, so it went to W&S even though they made mistakes on both throws. I am not saying Y&B were a great pair or anything like that, but 6th place for them is a bit low.

    I don't know why we are even discussing the "96 Olympics" here. May be there could be a separate thread to discuss that?
     
  28. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    Woetzel & Stuer won silver at the 93 Worlds behind only B&E and ahead of S&N, and won the Europeans in 95 over all the top pairs who medalled at Worlds that year (where they were 2nd after the short and dropped to 5th after bombing). So they were definitely a factor long before 96, but they were skating terrible the Olympic season and would have been a long shot to medal that year even without the pros. Eltsova & Bushkov or Kovarikova & Novotny (even though they were also skating poorly that season) would have been the only real possabilities for the bronze without the pros. Well very small chance for Meno & Sand since they did skate great at the Olympics, but still very unlikely.
     
  29. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    I had forgotten W&S's earlier world silver, so they could have been a factor. I still think K&N were more likely to win the bronze. Y&B, W&S and M&S might have battled for #4. M&S rarely skated well under pressure, so I think the return of the pros actually helped them skater better, without that pressure.
     
  30. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    I think the pros affected different teams in many ways. As you said M&S skated better feeling they had no chance of a medal, and probably would have struggled if they thought they were contenders. Shishkova & Naumov decided to take the fight and get angry now being knocked down yet again, and they beat both Miskutienok & Dmitriev (at Europeans) and Brasseur & Eisler (at Worlds) that year and had perhaps their best year of skating. Kovarikova & Novotny and Woetzel & Steuer almost seemed to give up with the pros coming back and skating poorly at their early season events, or they might have each been having their own issues that season regardless.