Ladies singles hardest discipline to pick a greatest ever

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by judgejudy27, Jul 28, 2010.

  1. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    Wow all that and she still always lost to Henjie? That is just one of many an example of why I have a hard time taking Henjie's record totally seriously. I have read things like her rich father bought all her golds or even threatened judges with physical harm or injury if they didnt vote for her.
     
  2. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

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    Yunah needs to stick around for awhile and win a few more titles to enter the leagues of 'greatest ever'. She's clearly had one of the greatest Olympic competitions of any lady ever, but she could quickly be forgotten if she doesn't remain on top of the field for a few years.

    Mao, however, isn't yet in contention for 'greatest ever' - she showed glimmers that she could be during her first and second senior season but since then has slid backwards a bit. Perhaps because of her focus on the 3A and unusual program choices, or perhaps because that is just her trajectory. . .

    But she has distinguished herself by being the first lady to land 2 3As in a program and given that she's my favourite, I certainly hope that the best is yet to come from her.
     
  3. ciocio

    ciocio New Member

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    What does "everyone" mean? It´s impossible to know the opinion of every single FS fan or expert.
     
  4. neptune

    neptune New Member

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    True, but I see Michelle Kwan in kind of the same way--one of the best competitors ever, but not necessarily one of the best skaters ever. Michelle did a lot of things well, but not that much spectacularly IMO. Of course, she didn't have a lot of competitors who could be called "best ever" either. But I would rate early Chen Lu, for instance, as a better skater overall, even if she wasn't quite as steely a competitor as Michelle.
     
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  5. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps. Chen was no longer consistent by the time she and Michelle became serious rivals, she faltered badly in every event in the 95-96 season minus Worlds. When she was regularly getting bronze medals behind Baiul she had been a machine, so consistent but not getting rewarded by the judges, but much less so when she became a threat to win.

    Skaters like Slutskaya and Cohen in their primes years (Irina 2000 onwards, Sasha 2003 onwards) at their best most times probably would have beaten Kwan but they rarely produced their best when it mattered as Michelle did countless times. Irina at her best had the edge technically as far as jumps, spins, speed and power, maybe footwork. Sasha at her best had a big edge on spins, and was capable of matching or even surpassing Kwan on spirals and in artistry, especialy as Kwan's injuries forced her to water down choreography and elements after 2001 by the time Sasha was emerging. Irina rarely skated clean in a major competition though, Sasha never did, and Kwan really knew how to bring it and did so time and time again like a true champion. Maria Butyrskaya was never remotedly consistent in addition to not really matching up well with Kwan skating wise anyway. Hughes was actually quite consistent but had too many technique and stylistic flaws to beat a clean Kwan. Michelle dominated through a combination of great competitive strength, consistency, and great overall skating. During the only brief period she ran into someone who could outjump her (content wise anyway) and who was just as mentally strong she often lost- that being Tara Lipinski of course. Still I do believe Kwan is a much better skater than Witt, in addition to being nearly as strong a competitor in a time with more triples and risk in ladies skating than Witt's era.

    I think Yamaguchi is the same way too. She dominated by being extremely consistent, showing very good overall skating but nothing spectacular, and not missing hardly a thing under pressure. Ito and Harding at their best were probably better skaters than her but had higher risk moves, and in Harding's case a very sparatic career. I definitely prefer Kwan as a skater to Kristi as well though, she just has more IT factor and her best performances are more magical than Kristi's best were. She also has bigger jumps than Kristi's little triples.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2010
  6. Bostonfan

    Bostonfan Well-Known Member

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    But ask yourself why those people are considered the greatest. Because they made an impact in THEIR time. For example Dick Button was impressive for his time. Granted I've only ever seen about 30 seconds of archival footage. But I'm aware of his "firsts" in jumping and his many skating wins. Is he the greatest EVER? Well, how could he when it's not realistic to compare the technical element of the generations. What makes someone great in one cycle would make them non-descript if they skated against a different field iof competitors in a different generation.

    Are there some elements to greatness that transcend time? That are comparable against multiple generations? Are some skaters greatness due to luck? They achieved their particular brand of greatness at a time when their competitors were weaker than if they skated against tougher competitors? There's so many factors and opinions when it comes to defining greatness. It does make for an interesting debate.

    Your point is that the ladies discipline seems to spark MORE debate on the topic than the other disciplines. Maybe. But I disagree with the short list for the other disciplines. I could make a case for adding Scott Hamilton to the list, Brian Boitano, and most certainly Kurt Browning, etc. Shen and Zhao are serious contenders for pairs too. I don't really follow dance (I know, I know - that's blasphemy on FSU!), but I'd bet if you ask more people they'd come up with more than just the two teams. I don't think it's a wide a gap between the disciplines as you might think.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2010
  7. miki88

    miki88 New Member

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    I don't think either of them will be quickly forgotten even if they don't stay around for that long. They are definitely two of the greatest skaters I've ever seen.
     
  8. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

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    I was actually thinking about Witt. After Henie, she is the most decorated lady at the Olympics but like you, I don't see anything about her technically that is 'legendary'. However, her competitive fire/spirit is what makes her memorable to all (but that's it)
     
  9. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

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    I was talking about what people may remember about them 2 - 3 decades from now. Then again, Yu Na is like the most popular woman in Korea so that might count as 'legendary' in other countries.
     
  10. miki88

    miki88 New Member

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    Oh I see. I think Yuna will be remembered for her Olympic performances and as the trailblazer for Korean skating. Although I think the latter will depend on how much Korean skating develop after her. Midori Ito inspired a whole later generation of Japanese skaters. Chen Lu, another trailblazer, didn't seem to have the same effect. I think Mao will be remembered as the one who spearheaded the renaissance of Japanese skating. Although there have been many great Japanese skaters prior to her arrival, she's really the one that has got the most attention since Midori.
     
  11. iarispiralllyof

    iarispiralllyof Active Member

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    I'm confused 'cos unless you're just comparing artistry which is subjective, if you're talking just about who excelled at individual technical elements then actually chen lu had even weaker individual elements than michelle such as her spins and spirals (and that's considering that spins are michelle's weakest element).

    for me michelle had among the best spirals and footwork sequences in the history of the sport and that's just speaking for individual technical elements. her edges were also top notch.
    I also happen to think her artistry is pretty much the best but that's of course subjective. I will agree with those who say her choreography became extremely watered down later on in her career as opposed to the mid-section during the late 90's where every program was intricate and complex, filled to the brim with nuances, even the exhibitions.

    @ judgejudy, I can't speak for all of irina's footwork but I distinctly remember her 05 worlds footwork to be a big flaw on an otherwise amazing program (yes the historic one where she won and made a big comeback). it was just so awkward. I can't recall anyone's footwork getting the same kind of response michelle's did consistently throughout her career. most people remember how she always had a climactic footwork sequence that had the crowd going crazy during the latter part of her career but even earlier than that during her rachmaninoff 1998 or dream of desdemona 1997 programs she had very nuanced and fast circular footwork that distinguished her from most of the rest of her competition.

    kind of off topic, but most graceful skater evarrrr
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqVXK8xdpV0
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2010
  12. iarispiralllyof

    iarispiralllyof Active Member

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    And about the argument that certain skaters such as Cohen rarely competed at their "best" - I just don't buy that.

    It's not because I'm arguing that someone who competes better (has steel nerves) is better than someone who has more potential but always makes mistakes .. I just personally think there is obviously a technical issue that is also part of the problem when someone falters as often as cohen does.

    people chalk it up simply to lack of confidence or nervousness but again something like nerves is immeasurable and only speculative, how can you refute the argument that the rare time she skated clean was simply a fluke and not the other way around that instead she rarely performed "at her best".

    maybe people are explaining it through nerves because the rare time she does skate clean she has for the most part solid technique on most of her jumps, but being able to consistently have a solid thought process and mental/physical preparation during the millisecond before a jump is as much a part of the technical process of jumping as something like "nerves". I know my thoughts are probably sounding jumbled right now but basically I'm saying that yes nerves may have been a problem but I find people who fall as constantly as sasha do also have a major inherent technical flaw in their jumps, it's not just all "nerves".

    all of those factors that are important (speed going into and out of the jump, height, posture and position, correct landing and takeoff and way more) of which the slightest mis-preparation could cause a two-foot, stumble, shaky or wobbly landing or at worst a fall are not simply ruined just by "nerves" or "missed potential". there's a lot of sheer technical skill in consistently landing jumps with all of those factors considered. maybe she simply didn't have the capacity to consistently complete perfect programs because she simply couldn't handle too much technical content packed within a competitive long program (all of those factors to consider during the millisecond of preparation before a jump). like a bubble filled up with too much air, even if she managed a clean jump she'd find something else to falter on because her concentration and body could not take anymore. and besides her falls even when she landed the jumps it was often so abrupt and hard landings, not smooth and filled with ease like many of kwan's
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2010
  13. museksk8r

    museksk8r Holding an edge and looking dangerously sexy

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    Yes, I think the timing of Mao's rise on the senior scene and the Japanese interest accompanied with that is also in large part due to Shizuka Arakawa's win in Torino as the only 2006 Olympic medal for Japan, and ladies' figure skating GOLD, the glamour event of the Winter Games, at that! Also, Miki Ando's victory at the following year's Worlds in 2007 in her home country brough further attention to the sport of figure skating in Japan. Asada, like Kwan following the Harding/Kerrigan saga in the USA, greatly benefited and reaped the rewards from the timing of her ascent when the attention of her nation was focused on her sport.
     
  14. Frau Muller

    Frau Muller President of Dick Button Appreciation Club

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    As far as basic skating skills are concerned - smoothness of edges and such - it's between Lynn, Hamill and Sato. Whose DVDs delight us with the basics? Those three are absolutely "it," as far as I'm concerned. Even 'The Kween' settles for the next tier, e.g., spotty laybacks, not the most elegant upper-body carriage,etc. Lynn, Hamill & Sato were (are) like textbooks of skating, even though they have only two World titles among them and no Oly title. [Sarah Hughes has an Oly title...so does that make Sarah a greater skater than Lynn, Hamill and Sato? (chuckle) You answer, please.]
     
  15. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    Among Lynn, Hamill and Sato, Lynn stands apart.
     
  16. essence_of_soy

    essence_of_soy Well-Known Member

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    Hamill was the Olympic Champion in 1976.
     
  17. neptune

    neptune New Member

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    That may be true concerning the spins and spirals, but I thought Chen's jumps were better, with more height and spring. Didn't she also skate faster than Michelle?

    When she had the choreography, Michelle was definitely top-notch with connecting moves.
     
  18. smarts1

    smarts1 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, Lulu definitely had more height and spring on her jumps than Michelle ever did. She also did skate faster. Artistically, I would put Lulu eons over Michelle as well... Spins... Well, Michelle has a slight edge as she is not that great a spinner...

    Spirals, no debate on that one.
     
  19. neptune

    neptune New Member

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    Wait a minute--I thought Tonya was Michelle's idol? Well, I guess that was before her coach made an edit. ;)
     
  20. Bostonfan

    Bostonfan Well-Known Member

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    Tonya was an idol from the triple axle perspective. And not a bad idol to have, regardless of the scandal. Her 3 axle was really great (when she hit it). Better than Ito's IMO even though Ito was more consistent with it.

    I believe Kwan was heavily influenced by Lori Nichols when it came to drawing inspiration from J. Lynn's skating.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2010
  21. blue_idealist

    blue_idealist Well-Known Member

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    I even found Manley a better SKATER than Witt, but not as good a competitor.
     
  22. UGG

    UGG Well-Known Member

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    I am pretty sure she came to the decision that Tonya was no longer her idol on her own, LOL...especially being so close to the attack at 13 year old. It was probably very scary for her.
     
  23. shine

    shine Well-Known Member

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    Why does it matter so much who the greatest ever skater much, really? Skaters can be great because of so many things: technical talent, artistic talent, the number of championships they've won, the fact that they made their mark in certain aspects of skating, the fact they were influential by doing certain things, or the fact that they became famous outside of skating etc etc etc. Why obsess with naming ONE particular skater to be the greatest ever? Some may think Sonja Henie was the greatest ever because she was first in so many things and became hugely popular, but do I really give a damn about her actual skating? Not really. It really comes down to who you love the most and who brings the most emotions out of you as a fan.
     
  24. lakewood

    lakewood New Member

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    Off the top of my head, people may be discussing 'that beautiful lady who did the greatest performance in Olympic history' more so than 'that gal from Japan who did 3As, but I can't recall what exactly she did. She won silver'

    I don't think Mao is at the same line with YuNa yet for "the greatest ever". She doesn't have the big title and her 3A is not the WOW-quality of Ito and Harding. Her 3 3A in Vancouver will remain in the history book. But, I am not sure if people will ever remember it. The FS performance wasn't very impressive, with flaws.

    YuNa will be remebered as the skater who helped to put CoP on firm ground. She will be remembered as the skater who combined athleticism and artistry into one. Her 3-3 will be remembered as one of the most impressive in the ladies history. Most of all, she will be remembered by her beautiful programs and performances.

    But, I am not claiming YuNs is the greatest ever. I don't think it is possible to choose one skater as the greatest ever.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2010
  25. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    The wow factor of Mao's triple axel is definitely not the same as one of Ito's or Harding's, however she is attempting and sometimes completing (stingy callers aside) 3 triple axels in competition. That alone means she is making a mark of some sort, when it took almost 20 years for anyone to start doing them again period.
     
  26. sydneyphoenix

    sydneyphoenix New Member

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    I frankly don't get the fuss about Mao Asada being the first woman to have landed three 3A in a competition (including Olympics) and twice in a program. If you ask me, being the first to have landed a particular jump or a combination is indeed a significant achievement (e.g. Dick Button, Carol Heiss, Kurt Browning, Midori Ito, Elvis Stojko, Evgeni Plushenko), but landing it multiple times in a competition or a program is not a breakthrough technical advancement-rather a result of better stamina and consistency. Do any of you happen to know who was the first man to have two 3A in a program? The first person to have done so in Olympics? The first woman to have landed two 2A in a program? The first woman to have landed two 3Lo? You may or may not know the answer (I only know that the answer to the first question is Brian Orser, 1987 Worlds, according to commentary preserved on Youtube), but that kind of achievement is hardly what makes or breaks the legacy of a skater in history. It is fun fact to have on Trivia Night, but not something to talk over and over for years; if an authoritative biography of a skater with such achievemnt was to be written, I won't be surprised if the significance of that fact receives a one-line treatment.

    The lesson from history is that achievement like doing a particular jump twice pales into insignificance when you discuss a great skater's career. I do not know what Mao Asada will be remembered for 20 years' time in terms of objective achievement (so far the most successful Japanese person in World Championships?), but I'm quite convinced being the first woman to have two 3A in a program and three in a competition will be nothing but a footnote. In any case, the accolade for three 3A in a program should take the fact of unlevel playing field into account-I doubt that Midori Ito was even allowed to do 3A in SP in her days.

    So please talk about Mao Asada's objective technical achievements-or anyone else's-by any means, but can we kind of tone down on hype about two 3A in a program, etc?
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2010
  27. miki88

    miki88 New Member

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    From post-Olympic reactions, a lot of people thought it was a pretty amazing feat. However, I sure hope Mao will be remembered for more than just her triple axels.
     
  28. sydneyphoenix

    sydneyphoenix New Member

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    I don't think it will be given prominence in figure history in a few decades, just as we don't discuss the fact and circumstance of Brian Orser becoming the first man to land two triple axels. Don't feel it's a huge feat worthy of remembrance, but each to his/her own. Mao Asada will certainly be remembered-she is possibly the most successful Japanese ladies figure skater, depending on how you rate Shizuka Arakawa with OGM given her World Title came in 6.0 era-but not for three 3A in Vancouver.
     
  29. miki88

    miki88 New Member

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    I understand what you mean but I think it's the fact that the sighting of a triple axel is very rare in ladies FS skating that they hold more significance. Based on her competitive track, Mao should be the most successful Japanese figure skater. She has one more world medal than Midori. Shizuka got the OGM but her career was really a hit or miss. I think in a few decades, Mao could equal Midori's influence in Japanese skaters. Many of them including rising star Kanako already see her as their idol.
     
  30. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

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    I think it is impossible to pick a greatest ever in Figure Skating.
    Because the sport has changed so much, from figures to figure jumping. Plus, there is a big part of artistry, hard to judge.