Rank the 1 time World or Olympic Champions of the last 40 years

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by judgejudy27, May 9, 2013.

  1. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    Figure skating has produced quite alot of 1 time World or Olympic winners in the last 40 years. Here is the list in chronological order:

    Ladies- Magnussen, Errath, DeLeeuw, Biellmann, Zayak, Sumners, Thomas, Ito, Trenary, Sato, Chen, Butyrskaya, Hughes, Meissner, Kostner. So 15 women total unless I am missing someone.
    Men- Tickner, Cousins, Fadeyev, Orser, Urmanov, Eldredge, Kulik, Joubert, Buttle, Takahashi. 10 men total.
    Pairs- Babiliona & Gardner, Cherkasova & Shahkrai, Vorobieva & Lisovsky, Baess & Theirbach, Underhill & Martini, Brasseur & Eisler, Shishkova & Naumov, Kovarikova & Novotny, Eltsova & Bushkov, Woetzel & Stuer, Petrova & Tikhonov. 11 pairs total.
    Dance- Regoczy & Sallay, Duchensay & Duchensay, Usova & Zhulin Fusar Poli & Margalio, Lobacheva & Averbuhk, Bourne & Kraatz, Delobel & Schoenfeldner, Domnina & Shabalin. 8 dance total, by far the lowest.

    How would you rank the various 1 time World and Olympic Champions from the very best downwards.
    Last edited: May 9, 2013
  2. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    Ladies:

    1. Ito- way ahead of her time in jumps, and an amazing skater in everyway other than her spirals.
    2. Biellmann- way ahead of her time in many ways as well, first to do a triple lutz and 4 different triples, amazing spins, inventor of the Biellmann spin, and a very long and successful pro career.
    3. Chen- was unlucky to not win more than 1 title. One of the all time best artistic skaters.
    4. Kostner- has her detractors but was around for a very long time and won alot of medals in a tough era. Could leave this group by winning her 2nd Worlds at the post Olympic Worlds next year if she goes (or winning in Sochi but that is less likely).
    5. Thomas- her rivalry with Witt was legendary and was arguably the best all around skater of her time with outstanding figures, great athletic ability and technically superb jumps, very strong spins, and with an excellent line and very strong basic skating.
    6. Magnussen- was a consistent top finisher in the era of the greatest ever compulsory figures skater and the greatest ever free skater.
    7. Sato- mostly for her outstanding pro career, and for being a skaters skater.
    8. Errath- her presence on the ice was very nice, and she used her arms and moved in a very stylish way, and she had an excellent double axel, and was probably the strongest in doing triples at the time.
    9th. Sumners/Zayak- just going to tie them to avoid getting involved in the fan wars. Both contributed to the sport greatly in totally different ways.

    ------big gap-----

    the above 10 are all very strong, and from her it gets alot weaker:

    11. Butyrskaya- did well to win 1 Worlds in a weak transition year for the sport. Was an outside contender for years, but not a consistent gold medal threat though.
    12. Trenary- kind of similar to above.
    13. Hughes- shock winner of Olympic Gold with skate of her life.
    14. Meissner- same as above, except Worlds instead of Olympics, and wasnt as consistent a top 3/4 skater in the World as Hughes.
    15. DeLeeuw- hate her skating.


    I will do the other disciplines some other time.
    TheIronLady and (deleted member) like this.
  3. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    Men:

    1. Cousins- just an incredible skater.
    2. Orser- Mr. 2nd place, but was a far bigger force than that, and got very unlucky not to win a couple more big titles.
    3. Kulik- one of the most talented skaters ever, way underachieved.
    4. Urmanov- had potential to do alot more. Some inconsistency and bad luck with injuries. Excellent artistic skater and jumper as well.
    5. Buttle- wonderful skater, hindered by lack of quad and consistency on jumps. Should have continued after World title.
    6. Takahashi- I dont rate his skating as highly as some but he probably was unlucky to get injured in the summer of 2008, and might well have dominated the next few years including winning the Oly Gold if he hadnt, and was robbed blind of another World title in 2012 in one of the worst decisions ever.
    7. Tickner- wonderful skater, but was unlucky to be in era of superior free skater (Cousins) and many great figures specialists. Barely won World title year he won.
    8. Fadeyev- had many chances to win a 2nd World title but just couldnt do it. I dont like his skating as much as some others on this list though.
    9. Joubert- was a great jumper who has great longevity and many achievements in the sport. Again just dont like his overall skating as much though.
    10. Eldredge


    Pairs:

    1. Underhill & Martini
    2. Babilionia & Gardner
    3. Brasseur & Eisler
    4. Shishkova & Naumov
    5. Kovarikova & Novotny
    6. Baess & Theirbach
    7. Petrova & Tikhonov

    ------big gap-----

    the above 7 are all very strong. The remaining not so much:

    8. Eltsova & Bushkov
    9. Cherkasova & Shakrai
    10. Vorobieva & Lisovsky
    11. Woetzel & Stuer



    Dance:

    1. Usova & Zhulin
    2. Recogzy & Sallay
    3. Duchensays
    4. Bourne & Kraatz
    5. Delobel & Schoenfelder
    6. Domnina & Shabalin
    7. Lobacheva & Averubhk
    8. Fusar Poli & Margalio

    In this case all but the first 3 are kind of weakish World Champions actually.
  4. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    Ladies:

    1. Colledge
    2. Ito
    3. Biellmann
    4. Zayak
    5. Magnussen
  5. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    In the case I went all time I would also pick Colledge as #1. She would have been the 1940 and 1944 Olympic Champion without the War as well.
  6. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

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    Thomas did not have that great of a 3loop (the landings were just barely hung on) and the salchow was not her friend in 88 and often two-footed. She looked athletic but I would not say she had "technically superb jumps".
  7. blue_idealist

    blue_idealist Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to only include the skaters I know, which are most of the ones from the mid-'80s onward.

    LADIES

    Ito
    Thomas
    Chen
    Biellmann
    Sumners
    Zayak
    Butyrskaya
    Sato
    Kostner
    Hughes
    Meissner
    Trenary

    MEN

    Orser
    Kulik
    Takahashi
    Urmanov
    Joubert
    Buttle
    Eldredge

    PAIRS

    Underhill & Martini
    Brasseur & Eisler
    Shishkova & Naumov
    Kovarikova & Novotny
    Petrova & Tikhonov
    Woetzel & Steuer
    Eltsova & Bushkov

    DANCE

    Usova & Zhulin
    Bourne & Kraatz
    Duschesnay & Duschesnay
    Lobacheva & Averbukh
    Delobel & Schoenfelder
    Fusar-Poli & Margaglio
    Domnina & Shabalin
  8. sk8ingcoach

    sk8ingcoach Active Member

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    Midori Ito for women
    Orser for men
  9. Lnt175

    Lnt175 Member

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    Top 3 women: Ito, Chen and Thomas

    4.Biellmann
    5. Bute
    6. Kostner
    7. Sato
    8. Sumners
    9. Zayak
    10. Trenary
    11. Hughes
    12. Meissner

    I didn't include pro careers for anyone that might apply to.
  10. ohashibiles

    ohashibiles Member

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    Biellmann was a weak amateur skater so should not be included. She was a great pro skater. She won her Worlds in a weak transition year with a low quality event. She wasnt even a contender most of her career and could win only 1 World medal and 0 Olympic medals.
  11. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

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    Biellman was "a weak amateur skater" in the sense that she was inconsistent, but her LP at Lake Placid blew away her competitors, and demonstrated what a talented free skater she really was. I'm not that fond of most of Biellman's pro programs; she seemed to spend a lot of time doing cw backward crossovers in those.
  12. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    Biellmann was a butch pro skater for sure. Like a man wearing a female bodysuit, and given the flexability only a women could realistically be blessed with. I suppose if one looked past that her skills were still mighty impressive, especialy for her age. She was the best free skater in the World as an amateur from 78-81 but was done in like many before her by figures.
  13. TheIronLady

    TheIronLady New Member

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    I don't think it makes for accurate rankings to consider Kostner. She is the only one who might win one more. Because Sumners missed spins in some programs, she should be below Hughes and maybe Meissner too.

    LADIES

    Ito
    Thomas
    Chen
    Zayak
    Butyrskaya
    Sato
    Biellmann
    Trenary
    Hughes
    Sumners
    Meissner
  14. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

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    Classy.
  15. TheIronLady

    TheIronLady New Member

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    I think there is nothing wrong with observing the androgyny/bisexuality of Biellman. She was almost like Elvis Stojko crossed with the appearance of a middle aged Jane Fonda and the female flexibility of Lucinda Ruh.
  16. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

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    Glancing at people's choices in Ladies, a lot of you had Sumners and Zayak even or Zayak ahead. Confirms my theory that she had a more lasting impact on the sport than her rival in the day, whom the USFSA preferred and was an Olympic medalist
  17. TheIronLady

    TheIronLady New Member

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    Sumners had an elegant look, but she was a mediocre skater. Comparing her to Tiffany Chin and Zayak at the 1984 Olympics, I want to say Rosalynn was the third best American.
  18. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    Sumners definitely has not stood the test of time well. Sumners and Trenary are two skaters who seem to be viewed most unfavorably by people today. Then again who knows if even back in her glory days wheter fans ever appreciated her skating as much as the Dick Buttons of the World and judges did either. There was no internet then so hard to know really.
  19. chanunderrated

    chanunderrated Member

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    1. Rosalynn Sumners- I think she was the best skater of this list since she was so artistic. The most artistic skater ever along with Janet Lynn, and also a very strong jumper.
    2. Denise Biellmann
    3. Midori Ito
    4. Debratha Thomas
    5. Karen Magnussen


    1. Orser, 2. Fadeyev, 3. Takahashi, 4. Kulik, 5. dunno, someone else.


    1. Underhill & Martini
    2. Brasseur & Eisler
    3. Baess & Theirbach
    4. Kovarikova & Novotny
    5. Shishkova & Naumov


    Dance: 1. Usova & Zhulin, 2. Recogzy & Salloy, 3. Bourne & Kraatz, 4. Duchairys, 5. Delobel & Schoenfelder
  20. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

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    OT, but Dick and Peggy's gushing over Rosalynn got nauseating after a while, especially when they would poo-poo Elaine's skating as 'a bunch of triples'. Today, I was bored and watched a bunch of old Zayak performances on Youtube and it was refreshing to listen to the Canadian broadcasters gush over Zayak's transitions and combos. Ironically, I never heard things like that from the commentators in her own country.
  21. Lnt175

    Lnt175 Member

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    I never saw Sumners as a strong jumper. Even her best performances over the years, she seemed to barely eek out her jumps. She did have a beautiful double axel when landed, but thats it really. Its why she lost the 84 Olympics to Witt, who at least did have good jumps.

    As for Biellman I had her over Butyrskaya, but in rethinking it I do agree she didn't really hit to anywhere her potential as an amateur except one worlds she won and the Olympics in Lake Placid. Bute at least had successive medal podium finishes at major competitions.
  22. TheIronLady

    TheIronLady New Member

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    Last edited: Jun 2, 2013
  23. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    Sumners was also a choker under pressure. The judges were waiting to give her the 84 Olympic Gold and she made 4 mistakes, and still came within .1 of winning. She must have been devastated and so upset with herself since if she had just done 1 of those 4 moves she would have won. Even though her Nationals performance wasnt great, had she taken the last 45 seconds of it instead of the last 45 seconds of her Olympic skate she would have won the Olympic Gold easily that year.

    Many other times she had awful competitions, she even lost to Sandra Dubrovcik (spelling) in one competition as the reigning World Champion. In NHK 82 when she lost to Witt, Witt mocked to the press what bad shape Sumners was in. Both Zayak and Sumners struggled with erratic weight at times during their amateur careers, and sometimes couldnt skate as well as they could other times because of it.
  24. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    I also felt Dick was reasonably fair when it came to Sumners and Zayak. He preferred Sumners I believe, but he wasnt too over the top in huge and heavy gushing over her, and he was also quite complimentary and fair to Elaine. Sumners was not his all time favorite or anything, if she was she would have won some of his pro events over Hamill who was doing much easier jumps than even Sumners double axels (we all know Dicks pro events were all picked by him before they started). I think he was perfectly within reason, and he also was very nice to Zayak at the 84 Games. I know this forum tends to be very pro Zayak and anti Sumners but not everyone is going to prefer Zayak to Sumners, and he still was quite reasonable to both I felt.

    Peggy though is the one who was nauseating in her gushing over Sumners, so much so I wish I could have muted her out. I think Sumners must have been her all time favorite skater or something. I never heard her go that overboard on anyone, not even Michelle Kwan. She talked in this monotone tone like she was speaking in reverence of her, and gushed over some movement or hand gesture she did each 15 seconds, and when Sumners lost the Olympic Gold she sounded like her favorite pet had died.

    She also was the biggest Zayak hater ever. She even took opportunities in her book to take potshots at Zayak including even some false information. Saying at the 82 Worlds for instance she was 12th in figures but climbed up to 7th overall after her short which was full of triple jumps. She was in fact 4th in figures, and fell to 7th overall with her short program where she fell on her only triple jump. She then said her long program was 6 triples toes, when it was not, there were 2 triple salchows. It was especialy dissapointing since she said on air in 94 she appreciated so much how Zayak had improved her artistry and overall performance level after all those years, and was no longer just a jumper; yet she then comes out with her autobiography which was written well after that, and dumps on her some more. Then at the end of her outstanding Sarajevo Olympic performance, which in some ways might have been her best skate ever, even if she didnt do 6 triples, she said "not great but strong". So much snark.
  25. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

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    Some have said this has resulted in bitterness in the years afterwards
  26. N_Halifax

    N_Halifax Active Member

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    I don't know how I missed this thread! Looking at this list of one time Olympic or World Champions of somewhat recent years is like a who's who of skating! Very difficult to rate them but I'll try:

    LADIES

    1) Denise Biellmann
    2) Midori Ito
    3) Rosalynn Sumners
    4) Yuka Sato
    5) Maria Butyrskaya
    6) Elaine Zayak
    7) Carolina Kostner
    8) Debi Thomas
    9) Lu Chen
    10) Sarah Hughes
    11) Karen Magnussen
    12) Kimmie Meissner
    13) Dianne DeLeeuw
    14) Jill Trenary
    15) Christine Errath

    MEN

    1) Robin Cousins
    2) Jeffrey Buttle
    3) Ilia Kulik
    4) Brian Orser
    5) Brian Joubert
    6) Daisuke Takahashi
    7) Alexandr Fadeev
    8) Todd Eldredge
    9) Alexei Urmanov
    10) Charlie Tickner

    PAIRS

    1) Underhill and Martini
    2) Babilonia and Gardner
    3) Woetzel and Steuer
    4) Brasseur and Eisler
    5) Shishkova and Naumov
    6) Kovarikova and Novotny (only putting them below Shishkova and Naumov because I really didn't find they developed as pros and Shishkova and Naumov did)
    7) Petrova and Tikhonov
    8) Cherkasova and Shakrai
    9) Eltsova and Bushkov
    10) Baess and Thierbach
    11) Vorobieva and Lisovsky

    DANCE

    1) Duchesnay and Duchesnay (huge innovators!)
    2) Bourne and Kraatz
    3) Usova and Zhulin
    4) Delobel and Schoenfelder
    5) Fusar Poli and Margalio (I'd say Lobatcheva and Averbukh were better skaters than these 2, but I loved some of FP/M's programs)
    6) Lobatcheva and Averbukh
    7) Regoczy and Sallay
    8) Domnina and Shabalin (sorry... hot mess IMO)
  27. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    Hmm you find DeLeeuw a better skater than Errath? To each their own I guess. IMO the only thing she was better at between the two is compulsory figures, albeit that was a big thing back then.
  28. TheIronLady

    TheIronLady New Member

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    I agree with Robin Cousins, but why did you put Denise Biellman #1?
  29. lala

    lala Well-Known Member

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    Good question :)
  30. duane

    duane New Member

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    1. Ito
    2. Chen L

    1. Kulik
    2. Eldredge
  31. Lnt175

    Lnt175 Member

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    Everyone is entitled to ther own opinion, but I agree Biellmanns career was nowhere near as prestigious as the other ladies on this list. Unless we are talking about personal favorites, or including her pro career. I do think she was better than Sumners for example, but Sumners had a better amateur career. I would actually place Bielmann in the middle of the pack.
  32. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

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    A double axel is a hard jump. Many top notch elite skaters have waxeled.
  33. Susan M

    Susan M Well-Known Member

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    First I need to figure out what "the very best" means. Some of that is a matter of taste, but there also is the question of what to consider. If I take the single best program (and/or their title winning program) and rank those, how do I factor in the changing difficulty standards over 40 years? I decided to rank them by thinking about their several best programs, looking at non-jump skills and technique as well as jumps, but ranking heavily by Presentation.

    I am going to start by admitting that I have no clear memory of some of these skaters, even though they all competed while I was a fan and watching skating on TV. So, for the ones for whom I have only a fuzzy recollection, I am just listing them at the end of their groups in no particular order.

    Ladies - Biellmann, Ito, Thomas, Chen, Sato, Kostner, Sumners, Hughes, Meissner, Zayak, Butyrskaya, Trenary
    Too fuzzy for me to rank: Magnussen, Errath, DeLeeuw

    Men - Cousins, Orser, Kulik, Eldredge, Takahashi, Tickner, Urmanov, Buttle, Joubert, Fadeyev (Yay, I remember all the men. The first three are probably by 3 favorite men skaters ever and would be pretty near the top even if the list included multi-champions.)

    Pairs - Babiliona & Gardner, Underhill & Martini, Kovarikova & Novotny, Shishkova & Naumov, Petrova & Tikhonov, Brasseur & Eisler, Eltsova & Bushkov, Woetzel & Stuer.
    Too fuzzy for me to rank: Cherkasova & Shahkrai, Vorobieva & Lisovsky, Baess & Theirbach

    Dance - Duchensay & Duchensay, Usova & Zhulin Lobacheva & Averbuhk, Bourne & Kraatz, Delobel & Schoenfeldner, Fusar Poli & Margalio, Domnina & Shabalin, Regoczy & Sallay

    ---------
    I made my list without reading others, so as to not be influenced. I notice someone asked another poster "I agree with Robin Cousins, but why did you put Denise Biellman #1? "

    Since I did the same, I will answer as to my thinking. Biellmann was easily the class of her peer group as a free skater. In my ranking, I did not think about whether skaters were good at figures, since most of the folks on these lists never did them anyway. If not for those, she would have been a multi-champion. More than that, she was way ahead of her time in terms of triple jumps. As a young skater she had a charming and light quality on the ice, and she matured into a skater who could handle any music and choreo style well. As far as I recall, she had no technical flaws in her skating - good stoking, good jumps, good spins. I know in that era, while the US broadcasters were trying to sell the qualities of Fratianne, Biellmann was the one whose skate I was waiting to see. I thought about making Ito #1, but decided she really could not measure up to the overall quality of Biellmann's skating nor was she nearly as versatile musically. (Then there's the ugly leg wrap.)
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2013
  34. Susan M

    Susan M Well-Known Member

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    I enjoyed Sumners skating in her eligible career, but I always found Trenary to be a complete snooze. Trenary was always the one being pushed by the USFS and hyped by Button & Co, but I preferred Caryn Kadavy's skating at the time.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2013
  35. TheIronLady

    TheIronLady New Member

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    Was ABC favoring Trenary? In 88-89 and 89-90 I think Caryn Kadavy was retired, so of course they would be touting Jill.
  36. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    True, Jill had her blip as U.S number 1 while Kristi was struggling with the combination of figures deficit and finding consistency in her freestyle due to her pairs commitment, and after Thomas and Kadavy were gone. Even when she won U.S Nationals she never really was U.S number 1 or atleast stayed there long. Thomas had a bad Nationals and stepped right back and firmly retook U.S number 1 status at Worlds. Once figures were gone and Kristi announced she focusing solely on singles at the same moment, everyone knew her time as U.S number 1 was probably about to end, even with her status as the reigning World Champ at the time. Kristi confirmed that by beating Trenary at the Goodwill Games that summer.

    Sad that Kadavy never really got a turn as U.S number 1 but it was her own inconsistency and her early retirement that was the cause of that. She had a big chance to win U.S Nationals 86, might have won the 87 Worlds but popped her last 2 jumps, and had another shot at Nationals 88, and blew it each time.
  37. Lnt175

    Lnt175 Member

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    Would Kadavy survive the post figures era though? She was beautiful and had great qualities, but with the arrival of Ito, Harding, and Yamaguchis 3/3's I don't think she would be on top post 1990. I do think she could have been number 1 USA after Thomas retired in 88 from 89-90. Trenary was lucky figures were still around in 90 as it was to win worlds.
  38. TheIronLady

    TheIronLady New Member

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    She could have beaten Holly Cook off the team in 1990 and maybe won another world medal. Caryn was kind of the Alissa Czisny of her day. She seems too nice and did not want to win badly enough. She had more strengths than Czisny and maybe could have made a world team in the post-figures era had she won a medal in 1990 and also had the will to fight off Nancy. Those are big Ifs. I think I agree with your skepticism that she probably made the right decision to stay retiredv after her injuries healed.
  39. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    I dont think either Trenary or Kadavy could have competed with Kristi of 91 or 92. No way. However I do think both would have been perfectly capable of competing with Nancy, in Jill`s case had it not been for her injuries. Nancy never managed more than 4 triples in a single program, even if occasionaly she landed a triple lutz as one of those; and she didnt have a big name of any sort in the sport until after the 92 Olympics. She quietly crept up the ranks almost by default as people retired or fell off the map.

    Harding is hard to tell as she was so hot and cold. Harding made the 92 Olympics team with only 2 triples though, barely beating out Lisa Ervin for the spot. It all would depend which Harding showed up, but more often it was the bad one than the good one, even in her prime (if she even had a real prime, I guess the whole year of 1991 was her only prime).

    Of course with her injury and Ito and other jumpers starting to come to the fore, and Jill and young Kristi gaining more clout already in her absence, yes it made sense to retire and not try to return.
  40. TheIronLady

    TheIronLady New Member

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    I just watched three programs of Nancy's circa 1991-1993 and I can see that Caryn had the capability to beat Nancy. Nancy almost never did her planned programs.