Rosalynn Sumners- what do you think of her

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by judgejudy27, Apr 11, 2013.

  1. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    What are some of the opinions of skating fans who were around in the 80s of Rosalynn Sumners. Looking back at various tapes of her amateur career I found her very nice and artistic, but kind of boring and rehearsed, none of the magic of Janet Lynn, or charisma and character on ice of Katarina Witt. She also wasnt that strong a jumper for her time, she barely eked out the triples she did manage it seemed, had lesser content, and was quite inconsistent. Sometimes I found her overmarked, although overall she did deserve all her big achievements- 3 U.S titles, 84 Olympic Silver, 83 World Gold, considering all facets (figures, etc...). It seems Peggy Fleming really liked her. It seems she hit her peak in 83, and in 83-84 most of her competitions were fairly mediocre, losing to Dubrovcic in one event, losing the short and long programs of Nationals to Tiffany Chin, so in retrospect her not skating that well at the Games and losing the Oly Gold shouldnt have been a surprise even though the U.S media seemed to tout her as the favorite.

    As a pro skater I enjoyed her more but it seems contrary to her amateur career where the judges loved her and wanted to give her the results and marks (it seems the judges badly wanted to give her the 84 Olympic Gold, but she just made so many mistakes she made it impossible, and they still so nearly did), in pro competitions the judges were quite lukewarm and almost hard on her. I suspect some of that was political, she failed to get the Olympic Gold and Dorothy Hamill who of course did win the Olympic Gold and become a household name was easily winning every pro event over people like Fratianne, Sumners, Zayak, who all failed to achieve it. Granted I think Hamill is by far the best skater of that group but by then she was alot older, and she usually had by far the easiest content and still won each time. Probably being the only one of that bunch to get the Oly Gold meant she was ensured to win each pro competition before it began, LOL! Thomas also didnt win the Oly Gold and did fabulously and easily beat Sumners when they met at pro events, but in her case I think she was a bigger name and star even without the gold, than Sumners ever became without it.

    One thing I always found strange about her was how she had horrible figures results the first few seasons of her amateur Senior career, but then dominated compulsory figures her last 2 seasons. Never saw such a major and lightning fast switch before.
  2. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

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    I think she was a skater who did the best she could with what she had. She reminds me of Linda Fratianne, petite, feminine, and competent but nothing special (sorry Frank). From what I've read she had a reputation for having a good work ethic on the Stars tour, but again she never pushed herself or did anything special. She worked with Robin Cousins quite a bit and apparently even he couldn't punch up her skating. Ironically she hated the Disney tour and that seems what she would be best suited for, a Disney princess.

    She is discussed quite a bit in the Elaine Zayak interview. Elaine felt that she was the better freeskater and that the judges used figures to hold her down and raise Roslynn up. Elaine questioned why she dropped from her usual 7th/8th position in figures to 13th at the '84 Olympics and Roslynn moved up in figures so suddenly (Elaine did say that although they were intense rivals at one time, they are friendly when they run into each other at events now).
  3. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

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    Roz had a great 2Axels - aggressive attack on the step into the jump and light landings. I thought she was very good in 83 at Nationals and World wasn't too bad either.

    As a pro, Roz was sometimes undermarked. I saw her "Walk Like An Egyptian" number at World Pro live, and she electrified the crowd that night. Even with one mistake on the loop she should've won the artistic program. My other favorite pro program of hers was "White Christmas". This was also at World Pro in Landover, and there was an actual blizzard going on that night in the D.C.-Maryland-NoVa area. Outside of those two, I can't say that I liked any of Roz other pro programs.

    What hurt Roz the most in popularity was that she sometimes come across as stuck-up, for lack of a better word, in interviews. I can still recall the CBS interview where she said that she chose not to attend 84 Worlds because winning one more championship wasn't going to increase her marketability. That left a bad taste to many fans and probably the USFSA also. I guess she was the pre-Nancy Kerrigan with the foot-in-the-mouth syndrome, LOL. Roz also made a displeasure face when receiving low technical marks at the pro competitions, but what did she expect when she was only doing 2A against the other ladies that were doing 3t and 3s?
  4. floskate

    floskate Vacant

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    I've always thought it outrageous how close she came to winning the OGM considering what she actually did. She was neat with nice line but really what else is there? Her programs were artistry by numbers and I would far rather watch Zayak for the honesty of her skating. I always found Sumners skating so contrived, like the result of really hard work rather than oodles of natural talent.The triples she did were always very swingy and pretty much always UR. Even her double axel would struggle to get full credit under IJS sometimes. IMO Zayak, Witt & Chin were infinitely superior skaters at the time.
  5. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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    floskate,

    Entire post:
    :respec:
  6. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    I can see how it was close. IMO looking at the skates again both she and Witt popped some things and were mutually mostly quite average that night. It was basically choosing the slightly better blah performance to crown as the OGM. Witt did 1 more triple but Sumners had better artistry and a better choreopraphed program than Witt did at the time. Even had Sumners won I dont think many would have complained, Witt herself wasnt good enough that night to cause that. I am glad Witt won though as she is a way bigger star and it was a better result for the sport in general, and since Sumners and her sore attitude I often find offensive.
  7. Simone411

    Simone411 aka IceSkate98

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    I liked Rosalynn more when she became a professional skater performing in events and SOI. She became more relaxed, and her artistry improved quite a bit. I especially loved her final performance with SOI, After All These Years.
  8. pollyanna

    pollyanna Don't blink

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    Ditto. I always thought Roz's spinning was extremely weak. The only spin of hers that I ever liked was her forward outside camel. I couldn't believe she won 1982 Nationals. Roz had 1 triple salchow with a swingy landing, and her spins were awful - slow with dreadful positions. Gah, her layback was fugly. IMHO, Elaine was superior even with her 2 falls and 1 stepout. She attempted much more difficult content and the 3 triples she landed cleanly were beautiful. Elaine's layback position was far superior to Roz's.

    Sumners 1982 US Nationals LP

    I think what helped clinch Witt's victory over Sumners at the 1984 Olympics was that beautiful 2lutz -3 toe combo, a very difficult combo at the time. Roz did not attempt anything nearly as difficult.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2013
  9. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

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    Forget the triples count and the layback position. Roz's presentation and musical interpretation were much better than Elaine's. Where Roz was light and effervescent, Elaine was lumbering and ponderous (mainly in the 83 and 84 season).

    No, Roz did not have a lutz-3toe, but the split-3toe she did towards the end of her nationals 84 LP was very good. And the inside edge Ina-Bauer into the 2axel she did in 83 was toe die for. Roz was way better than Fratianne.
  10. Yazmeen

    Yazmeen Well-Known Member

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    Roz benefited from Elaine becoming inconsistent after her win at Worlds, helped by the Zayak rule. I thought Roz was a lovely skater, but I have to admit I have never cared for her personality. Her "whininess," for lack of a better term really came out in the "Fire on Ice" documentary, including her insinuations that her coach was less than supportive at the Olympics. This was filmed around the year 2000, start at about 4:52:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0_iCNHIk7k
  11. Dr.Siouxs

    Dr.Siouxs Well-Known Member

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    She was a lovely skater who wimped out when it counted. Personally, I found Tiffany Chin to be far superior in terms of jump technique, musicality, and overall program components.
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  12. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

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    I don't have the 1980s perspective of seeing how Rosalyn Sumners compared to the standards and expectations of that time period (seeing how skating evolved first-hand), but I really do think she was beautiful to watch. After hearing such negative things about her in comparison to Chin and Zayak (who I adore), I was taken aback at how much I truly enjoyed watching her 1984 Olympics performances.

    Sure, it may have looked rehearsed or contrived, but I appreciate the beauty she put out there.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2013
  13. falling_dance

    falling_dance The Scarlet Unlettered

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    I feel the same way about her skating.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2013
  14. euterpe

    euterpe Well-Known Member

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    I saw Sumners many times in pro competitions on TV and considered her my 'bathroom break' skater. One season she did commentary on an eligible competition and was so snarky and negative that I was shocked. She accused Michelle Kwan of 'phoning it in' and suggested that Michelle would be dethroned at Nationals with the way she was skating (of course Sumners was dead wrong). That was her first and I think last job as a commentator.
  15. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, Roz was certainly...bitter about things. I was watching the Nagano fluff pieces on youtube and she was interviewing, I believe Jean Senft, about how judges score the short programs. After Senft articulately explained how it worked, Sumners began to talk about how the judges nailed her for her "small" mistake in the 1984 SP. Senft seemed taken aback and said that she didn't know how Roz skated, but if she made the mistake she said she made then she would have deducted in the way the rules dictated. However, Senft also mentioned that the rules regarding SP deductions were also different in the 1980s as well and maybe a bigger deduction was appropriate for that type of error. However, I think Roz either misremembered or lied about her mistake because it was a bigger mistake than what Sumners said.

    Anyway, I hope Sumners has gotten better emotionally.
  16. falling_dance

    falling_dance The Scarlet Unlettered

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    I'm pretty sure that Sumners was a commentator on the 1998 Goodwill Games and the 2000 Masters of Figure Skating. I want to say that she shared the commentators' booth with Hamill and Carruthers during the 1997-1998 Grand Prix Final, but I could be wrong.
  17. Seerek

    Seerek Well-Known Member

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    1982 US Nationals was a splatfest, so I can't see who else should have won overall - it would have been weird if someone like Vikki de Vries would win without winning any segment

    Roz Sumners also was the colour commentator for events such as the 1996 World Pros in Landover
  18. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

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    IDK. Never warmed to her and it could be because of the reasons mentioned above. Good post, floskate!
  19. neptune

    neptune New Member

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    Sumners also commented for TBS/TNT during the '94 Olympics (and I believe '98 as well). She had some pretty snarky things to say about Tonya. If she had said them in private, that would've been okay, but to say them on the air was very unprofessional. (Incidentally, I've heard that Peggy says some pretty vulgar things when the camera is off, but at least she knows the remarks are not appropriate. ;)) I also didn't like the way Ros never tried a triple jump in the in the pro competitions in the mid- to late '90s, but then whined whenever her marks were so low. I wasn't thrilled with her exhibitionistic tendencies either. OTOH, she did have a lot of variety in her programs, and seemed to have pretty good taste in music, unlike a lot of other skaters. So, she actually did a decent job of bringing a well-rounded package to the ice. Concerning her amateur career, it's hard not to wonder about the sudden "inflation" in the scoring of her compulsories.
  20. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

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    I can see why figures were such a sore point with so many skaters who didn't medal. Let's say you have six skaters and their figures competency is similiar. How you rank them makes the difference in making the podium or winning the gold, and you do have to rank them, you can't give them all the same placement. Unless someone makes an obvious mistake (Janet Lynn said she made a "fish" on a loop) or someone is so obviously superior like Schuba (her tracings were reputed to be much bigger than everyone else's and so accurate that the 3 tracings looked like one) there was a lot of opportunity for politicking without even overtly cheating. The figures competition always came first, so once the judges had given you a low ranking there, there was no way they could save you even if you had the freeskate of the century. I suspect a lot of times their rankings were based on whom they thought would have the best freeskate as well as politics.
  21. Seerek

    Seerek Well-Known Member

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    The politics aspect of figures most people will never understand. For example, Rosalynn Sumners was 5th in compulsory figures in 1982 US Nationals and 11th in compulsory figures in 1982 World Championships. The next year, Rosalynn was 2nd in compulsory figures in 1983 US Nationals, 1st in compulsory figures in 1983 World Championships. Did she really improve that much in one season?
  22. neptune

    neptune New Member

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    Short answer: No.

    Long answer: Uh...no. :lol:

    Which makes you wonder--was she really even better at figures than Zayak?

    Nowadays, they could take pics of the tracings with a digital camera and splash them up on TV.
  23. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

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    Roz had a hip injury in 82. That had to have affected her in the SF.
  24. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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  25. neptune

    neptune New Member

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    What is SF? Skating figures? Snobby female? ;)

    Thanks--yes, no doubt that made figures difficult for her. Kristi had a similar problem, didn't she? Have there been any other famous skaters who had abnormalities in their feet?
  26. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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    I read that Kristi wore corrective shoes when she was young.
    However, that's very different from doing figures with half your foot, due to the change of edges required.
  27. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

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    Elaine's left foot was severed from heel to toe (she only had 2 toes) so the left figures were a problem for her. Landing jumps on her left foot was also a problem (toe loop, salchow). She had an insert in her skate but the severed foot definitely affected her balance. She said she chose not to emphasize it while she was skating because she didn't want people to view her as disabled and unable to compete at the highest level. She did start skating at age 3 so she had time to learn how to compensate, but she was never going to be tops at figures.
  28. fenway2

    fenway2 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah Sumners was a commentator for about 5 years, much more than one gig. The comment she made about Kwan was at the 2002 Canadian Open. I don't remember her ever saying Kwan was phoning it in. I do recall her saying she was "wishy washy." It was a rude, unfair comment that came out of nowhere. Sumners was a shrill, catty commentator. I'm glad she's not getting work in that area anymore. Good riddance.
  29. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    Was she left handed or right handed? I don't remember. If she was left handed (rotating clockwise), she would be landing on the left foot. She was the greatest jumper of her time, so I suspect she did not land on the left foot. Did she do only toe loop & salchow (although all jumps are landed the same way so the type of jump should not have mattered).
  30. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    SF = School Figures (not sure why they were called 'School' figures)
  31. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

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    Salchows and toe loops (also axels) take off on one foot and land on the other. Loops take off and land on the same foot. Flips and lutzes land on the same foot that you pick in on, so no, not all jumps land the same way or have the same impact on your foot, hip, etc.

    She was naturally a clockwise jumper but her first coach taught her to jump counterclockwise because of her severed foot. By jumping counter clockwise her right foot would always be considered the take-off foot. For the the loop, flip, and lutz it would also be the landing foot. For the toe loop, salchow, and axel the left foot would be the landing foot. She did all the jumps as doubles. She did toe loop, salchow, and later loop as triples.
  32. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    I know how the jumps are done - no need to explain. (I have been skating since the early 1990s, and watching since 1988, and I know how the jumps are done). They all land on the same foot (right or left)- that's all I was referring to, since you were talking about her severed left foot..... I was specifically asking about Elaine because I could not remember which way she rotated.
  33. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    Back to Roslyn. I found her rather boring as a pro. Didn't watch much as eligible - just a tape of her 1984 Oly performances. She was an OK skater and there wasn't anything in particular that caught my eye. However, I liked her 'Black velvet' routine as a pro. She skated with SOI for many years and rarely missed a show. It showed her dedication. I don't have strong positive or negative feelings about her skating. Her commentating could be better, but that can be said of most US commentators.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2013
  34. skateboy

    skateboy Well-Known Member

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    Never crazy about Roz's skating, especially her wild way of rotating in the air. I think she was overscored big time at the '84 Olympics.

    As a person, she struck me as bitter, negative, snarky and snotty.

    Perhaps she's matured now.
  35. overedge

    overedge Well-Known Member

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    Rosalynn came from an area (Pacific Northwest) that at the time didn't have a lot of high-level skaters or well-known or well-connected coaches. So she had to work really hard to build a reputation as a strong skater, because she didn't have the politicking advantage of coming from somewhere like Boston or Colorado Springs or being coached by someone really famous. I am not saying that the people who she competed against were bad skaters who were unfairly pushed, but just that she was at somewhat of a disadvantage in building a reputation.

    Once she got better known, she chose to remain with the coach and the rink she was at, rather than move to somewhere more visible or better-regarded, and I understand that was not well received in all parts of the US skating community. The rink she trained at was also not "the" rink to train at if you were a high-level skater in that area, so she also had to deal with skating politics in her own region as well as within the larger skating community.

    I am not recounting this to justify her coming across as bitter and snotty, because I think she does come across that way at times, but just to try to explain why she might have felt that way. Unusually for this thread, I liked her amateur skating, but I think she matured a lot as a performer as a pro skater.
  36. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

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    Interestingly, Roz was a Jr. World Champ, 3x National Champ, Sr. World Champ and Olympic Silver Medalist.

    However, I would have to say that over the years, Elaine has had a more lasting impact on the sport and in the minds of fans: Not only being a national and world champ herself, but being revolutionary in landing multiple triples in an LP, causing a rule to be named after her (the Zayak Rule), an emotional comeback in '93 which resulted in her placing 4th at US nationals at the age of 28 w/ jump content not too far off of what the top ladies were doing (I think Tanja Szewczenko also did a 3l-2t in the SP in '94), plus, IMO, she had a more exuberant, engaging personality for fans
  37. skateboy

    skateboy Well-Known Member

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    While I don't doubt that politics may have been involved from time to time when it came to figures, Roz might have actually improved that much. As someone who trained figures extensively (albeit as a roller skater), I can tell you that figures are much more nerve-wracking than free skating. And on ice it's even harder, having to create your own pattern. You have to be rock-solid steady, which is much more of a mind game than in free skating, where you can "make up" for certain deficiencies. If you're nervous in figures, the slightest bobble or botched turn can move you down several placements. Dorothy Hamill said that her legs used to shake when she skated figures. It's not impossible that Roz worked really hard on her figures and got her head together as the seasons progressed.
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  38. LongTimeLurker

    LongTimeLurker New Member

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    Since I first knew of Rosalynn's personality through her high school classmates, it influenced my opinion of her skating. Let's just say that I would always root for her competitors....
  39. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    Some of the best free skates I saw Sumners do where before she became a favorite. In 1980 and 1981 especialy. At Skate Canada 1981 she attacked the long program and di 4 triples very well. Had she done that performance in her long program at the Olympics she would have won the gold easily, and deserved to. It seems once she got on top she lost her nerve. At 82 Nationals and Worlds she had a bad injury which is why she didnt try much jump wise.

    At the 84 Olympics I dont know whether she choked or she just hoped huge artistic marks would carry her to victory even popping everything in her program, but she was mistaken. On the Fire on Ice documentary she claims she gave up in the final minute of the program which is why she popped her last 2 jumps, which makes no sense at all. She even implies it was fixed and she knew Witt was certain to win before the final free skate even began. What a crappy attitude, and she is obviously wrong as they almost gifted her the gold even with 4 or 5 mistakes.
  40. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

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    Roz was a much better free skater then some of you are willing to give her credits for.

    Inside edge Ina-Bauer into 2A from 83 Nationals. The choreography and presentation in the last third of this LP was excellent, IMO.

    Strong split-3t towards the end of her 84 National LP and a strong final 2A right before the ending pose. I bet Roz wished she had done those in Sarejevo.

    White Christmas from World Pro. Appropriate choice of music as there was a blizzard outside the arena that night. Many people stayed home rather than brave the snow storm to come to Landover. I think Roz lost this competition to Debbie Thomas skating to Paula Abdul's "Cold Hearted Snake". Roz's artistic program should've definitely beaten Debbie's.

    Power of Love from a Pro-Am competition.

    Roz talking about her Interio Designing business. She has 3 houses! Wow. Good for her. She sounds very knowledgeable about her new career. She does look a lot older than I expected though
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