Profile: Oksana Baiul

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by Maofan7, Jul 5, 2012.

  1. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Member

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    This profile thread takes a look back at Oksana Baiul's all too short competitive career (background info: Wikipedia, Oksana Baiul - Then & Now, Official Website, Oksana Baiul - Ice Princess, Interview).

    BACKGROUND

    Baiul was born in Dnepropetrovsk (then part of the USSR) on the 16th November 1977. Her parents separated when she was just two years old. Her grandfather provided her with her first pair of skates for her 4th birthday, and inspired by her childhood idol, Jill Trenary, within three years, she was skating in local competitions.

    1989/90 & 1990/91

    In 1990, Baiul finished 12th in the Soviet championships, and finished 10th in the same championships the following year.

    1991/92

    In 1991, Baiul competed in the Nations Cup, finishing fourth in a competition won by Nancy Kerrigan. At the age of thirteen, however, Baiul's mother, Marina, died of ovarian cancer, and her grandmother died shortly afterwards. Baiul then lived with her coach, Stanislav Koretek, and his family until Koretek emigrated to Canada in 1992. Alone, Baiul was left with no option but to sleep in a cot at her hometown ice rink. It was then that fellow Ukrainian skater, Viktor Petrenko, suggested that Baiul train with his coach (and mother-in-law), Galina Zmievskaya. Shortly thereafter, Baiul moved into Zmievskaya's home in Odessa, sharing a small bedroom with one of Zmievskaya's daughters in a crowded 3 room apartment

    Due to the personal upheavals in her life, it would be almost 18 months before Baiul would surface again in international competition following her fourth placed finish in the 1991 Nations Cup (which meant that she did not therefore get to compete in any international junior competitions).

    1992/93

    Upon her return, Baiul won the Ukrainian Championships in early 1993, and then made a sensational impact at the 1993 European championships where she finished 2nd to Surya Bonaly:-

    1993 European Championships - SP, 1993 European Championships - FS

    Baiul followed this up 2 months later by winning the 1993 World Championships in equally sensational style:-

    1993 World Championships - SP, 1993 World Championships - FS, Gala

    1993/94

    The 1993/94 season began for Baiul with a win at Skate America:-

    Skate America (1993) - SP, Skate America (1993) - FS, Exhibition

    Baiul then finished 2nd in the Nations Cup

    Nations Cup (1993) - SP, Nations Cup - FS

    1994 began with victory again in the Ukrainian Championships, and another 2nd placed finish in the European Championships behind Surya Bonaly:-

    1994 European Championships - SP, 1994 European Championships - FS, Gala (with Petrenko)

    Baiul's amateur competitive career reached its zenith shortly afterwards, when she won Gold at the 1994 Olympics:-

    1994 Olympics - SP, 1994 Olympics - FS, Gala (The Swan), Gala (with Petrenko)

    Baiul retired from amateur competition after the 1994 Olympics, and then turned professional.

    FINAL POINTS

    Does anybody know of the whereabouts of videos relating to Baiul's performances in the 1991 Nations Cup, and in the various Soviet/Ukranian Championships she took part in? If so, please upload and/or post the links.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2012
    falling_dance likes this.
  2. Plusdinfo

    Plusdinfo Member

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    I loved (and still love) watching Oksana skate. My memory tells me that she took ballet lessons, and it really showed. Her movement was so natural and unforced. There are no do-overs in life, but as a sometimes selfish fan, it would have been nice to have seen her compete from 1991-1993 and then, post-Lillehamer, not suffer such physical and emotional strife. Oksana would have left many more captivating programs for our eyes if she had been healthier and not been so isolated in her personal life.

    As for her off-ice behavior, I appreciate Oksana's honesty in interviews. I clearly remember her leaving an American interviewer baffled with her response to a question.

    Although many mocked (and mock) her professional career, I give Oksana credit for having tried to compete even when she wasn't at her best.
     
  3. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    Oksana is one of the most naturally artistic and musical skaters.
     
  4. Judge Dred

    Judge Dred Member

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    She had a knee op following the Olympics and came back too soon due to contractual commitments. This seemed to ruin her jumps. Had that not happened and had she continued competing into the 95-98 quad, that would have made the 98 Olympics one fab competition - Oksana, the Kween, Tara and Lulu.
     
  5. vodkashot

    vodkashot Active Member

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    I loved watching Oksana too. Her only LP was quite terrible, but when she was forced to put some proper elements in her SPs, they were :kickass:.

    By the way, is it true that Brian Boitano said Oksana didn't know any other turns besides the 3 turn? I heard that somewhere a long time ago but can't seem to find a source.
     
  6. Plusdinfo

    Plusdinfo Member

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    Maofan7 and (deleted member) like this.
  7. Plusdinfo

    Plusdinfo Member

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    (Go to Compilations and then Jumping beans and baby ballerinas)
     
  8. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Member

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    Many thanks. Much appreciated.

    It also clears something up. The video is from the 1992 Nations Cup. She finished 4th (Surya Bonaly won the competition). Hence, I did some further checking and established that Oksana did not compete in the 1991 Nations Cup and that this reference is therefore incorrect. Whoever compiled it, got the 1991 and 1992 Nations Cups mixed up. Ice Network provides a more accurate competitive history here. Apologies for the error.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2012
  9. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Member

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  10. leafygreens

    leafygreens Well-Known Member

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    http://www.nytimes.com/1993/04/23/s...and-champion-at-15.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

    Does anybody remember how there was talk of Oksana having "crooked blades"? What does this mean? Were they over-sharpened and didn't have a rocker? It says her skates were "handed down from a male skater" which makes no sense if her skates were white. Maybe they just mean, the blades were handed down?

    There was also talk about her having "one vertebrae missing" which enabled her to do the donut spin... :lol: It's funny how nobody talks about missing vertebrae these days, with everyone doing Biellmanns.

    This article refers to her as "an impish Gumby on skates." :rofl:

    This is interesting, she changed her SP for the Olympics.
     
  11. blue_idealist

    blue_idealist Well-Known Member

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  12. sadya

    sadya Active Member

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  13. leafygreens

    leafygreens Well-Known Member

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    What do you mean by that - how do you know she was planning on competing into 1995? Why didn't she?
     
  14. sadya

    sadya Active Member

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    I don't. It was said that if she would have competed, then this would have been her lp. But like I already said, I'm not sure about that.
     
  15. leafygreens

    leafygreens Well-Known Member

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    I wish she would have competed. Even if she never won anything again or just got a few more silver/bronzes, it would have been fulfilling to watch.

    Does anyone know the reason why she turned pro? Was it to make money? Did it have anything to do with her "personal problems" - or did that come after she started to make money?
     
  16. nyrak

    nyrak Active Member

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    As I remember it, she turned pro to make some money (remember Victor Petrenko was buying her skates & stuff, she was living with her coach...). The original plan was to skate pro for a year, then come back. Not sure why she didn't exactly - injury? money? I wish she had.
     
  17. TwizzlerS

    TwizzlerS Well-Known Member

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    At the time she "turned pro", you couldn't come back to skate in "amateur" competition. Brian Boitano fought long and hard for the rule change that allowed "pros" to reinstate their "amateur" status. I thought I remember that Oksana was interested in reinstating but that she missed the original deadline or something like that.
     
  18. sadya

    sadya Active Member

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    From what I've heard in interviews and what I've read, it's unclear. Various different reasons are given. Perhaps it's a mix of different reasons.

    Do I remember well about her trying to get permission to take part in another Olympics? 1998 or 2002? Didn't she say in later years that she was pushed by people around her to turn pro and she later regretted that decision?

    There were also stories about her injury which she couldn't rest long enough due to pro skating she had to do which ruined her jumps for ever, and growth problems which changed her body. So many reasons and stories. I have no idea what exactly is the reason for her turning pro.

    I do feel sorry for her, she had many problems, in her case it's understandable what happened with her life, I'm not saying it was right, but it is understandable in someone in her situation.

    People I met all over internet from the year 2000 on have told me many true and untrue stories about various skaters throughout the years. Me being a simple Pakistani born and raised in Holland, far away from the skating world, believed many stories those people told me, later most things they had said turned out to be untrue.

    I have nothing to do with the figure skating world at all, I just love to watch the skating and learn more about skaters and coaches and choreographers who grab my interest with their work, whatever little I do know about figure skating, I learnt by watching a lot of skating and reading books about it, documentaries helped a lot too. That's it. So if I have a misunderstanding about skating or a skater, please don't mind. I stand corrected whenever someone points out a (real) mistake. :)
     
  19. TwizzlerS

    TwizzlerS Well-Known Member

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    I think you're correct, Sadya. It was probably 1998 or 2002 Olympics that I recall hearing about how she wanted to return.

    One point I was trying to make in my original post was that she could not have had plan to skate pro, make money, and return to amateur skating. That was not an option at the time.
     
  20. Taso

    Taso Well-Known Member

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    Are you talking about when Oksana went pro in 1994? Because it was permissible to reinstate until the fall of 1995 - both Josee Chouinard and Midori Ito did, and Usova & Zhulin considered it but turned the option down.
     
  21. leafygreens

    leafygreens Well-Known Member

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    Does anybody know what the rules are, today, about what makes you an amateur or a pro? Because it seems these days, there's little difference. You can be amateur and have a multi-million endorsement contract. I know that USFS skaters can only do "sanctioned" events, but other than that I don't know anything. I feel sorry for skaters of yore who could not have endorsement contracts. It's no different than having a job.
     
  22. berthesghost

    berthesghost Well-Known Member

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    ^the ISU determines if you are eligible or not, based on ISU sanctioned vs non-sanctioned events. I believe the IOC follows the ISU determinations. That's why there was a whole todo about Plushy a few years back. He lost his ISU eligibility by skating in a non sanctioned event, but the RUssian federation protested and were successful in getting the ruling overturned.
     
  23. SkateBlades17

    SkateBlades17 New Member

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    I was just watching an old tape of Peggy Flemming's Ice Stories with Oksana last night and she said (this was before the cut off on April 1st 1995) that she for sure wanted to go back am and compete at the 98 Olympics. She acted very confident in that decision. I really wish she would have! I've heard that Galina wanted her to stay pro and in an interview from the 95 Worlds, where was had announced that she was staying pro, she mentioned that it's too hard and something about it being hard for Galina, which is funny though because Galina still coaches am skaters. If she had gone back to am though, with the way her jumping already was when she was skating pro (possibly due to knee injury), I think she would have done horrible against Michelle Kwan, Tara Lipinski, Irina Slutskya, etc., considering she could never really do a combination jump and Tara was doing triple loop, triple loop & Irina & Michelle were doing combo jumps.*
     
  24. blue_idealist

    blue_idealist Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I think she would have been bronze AT BEST in 1998, and I doubt that would have even happened.
     
  25. jenniferlyon

    jenniferlyon Well-Known Member

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    At the time, there was a rumor that Oksana was planning to reinstate before the deadline and even had the paperwork prepared, but Galina vetoed the decision.
     
  26. leafygreens

    leafygreens Well-Known Member

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    A bronze still counts for something! Would have loved to see her try, anyway.
     
  27. sadya

    sadya Active Member

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    We probably would have seen more competitive programs with better choreography and even that would have been enough for people to respect her more and love her skating. Some of my favorite skating programs ever are from the early days of Baiul.

    To be honest, I don't like many of her later programs, I enjoyed the earlier Baiul more. For me, no skater could match the elegance and artistry and emotion on ice of the early Baiul, not even Cohen or Ruh or Czisny or you name whoever. The later Baiul however is a different story.
     
  28. leafygreens

    leafygreens Well-Known Member

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    I also wish she would have stayed in longer and gotten "more respect." Her competitive record is so similar to Lipinski's and I wish they both would have stayed and given us "more". I really like Oksana but I'm still torn on who should have won in 1994. There wouldn't be talk about her being the "weakest" OGM if she had gone on to do something else.

    Of course, it doesn't really matter what armchair critics think. A gold medal is a gold medal. However, it's kind of weird that she really only had one senior LP, ever (repeated from 1993). She just came and went like a thief in the night. Her WC win is often over looked, as well. I don't know if an athlete has won their first time out. Oksana was definitely unique.
     
  29. Cherub721

    Cherub721 YEAH!

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    You can't knock a 100% successful record at Olympics/Worlds. :D
     
  30. sadya

    sadya Active Member

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    I think both programs were gold worthy in '94 Olympics lp, they both had something which would have made a great Olympic program, I even wouldn't have minded if Chen won that competition.