Tonya Harding's skating

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by lulu, Oct 5, 2012.

  1. Rex

    Rex Well-Known Member

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    Wasn't the ISU also critical of some of Oksana Baiul's skills as well? I remember hearing this somewhere...?
     
  2. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

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    Oksana had technique problems on her jumps, but she always looked beautiful in the air. She also seemed to have trouble with doing difficult combination jumps.
     
  3. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

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    I don't know about ISU, but for sure, she had critics from FSUers because she is bad at steps and doesn't have any other turn then the three turn...LOL
     
  4. duane

    duane New Member

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    One of my all-time favorite LPs. Dick Button's enthusiastic commentary says it all.
     
  5. Rex

    Rex Well-Known Member

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    I read on the old rssif newsgroups that the ISU dinged several of her moves. But people always justified her flaws because she "skated with her hands". Flaws aside, I'll agree that she was very expressive.
     
  6. essence_of_soy

    essence_of_soy Well-Known Member

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    Most of Oksana's pro programs reminded me of the show, Drunk Girls Gone Wild.
     
  7. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

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    I'm of two minds about Tonya. Tonya in the 1991 and before was a work of art in terms of her skills. Fast spins, huge, beautiful jumps, and brilliant power. Yamaguchi does not hesitate to say she was in awe of Tonya's jumps (saying they were better than Midori's), and there's a reason why Kwan loved Harding's skating.

    However, she wasn't perfect and there were serious things she should have worked on that every skater works on. I'm going to say the minority opinion and say that I see why she was 4th at 1993 Nationals. She wasn't the same skater with attack (for many reasons, I'm sure) and her skating DID look dated in 1992 and 1993 compared to her competitors. She was stiff in places, didn't finish her moves, and looked sluggish with bad posture. Those things carry over to how the audience and judges perceive you. As much as I disliked Kerrigan's skating, she wasn't all bad and at least she put effort into it which is more than you can say about Harding outside a great competition. Every skater goes through times where coaches, judges, and their federations tell developing skaters how to improve their presentation and how to sell themselves for the judges. I remember reading that horrible Christine Brennan book and her writing about at some sort of developmental camp, all the skaters (including Yamaguchi) were listening and doing the workshops, which I'm sure they all thought benefitted them in some way. Tonya, was being the stubborn one who thought she didn't need to learn anything. Now, how true that story is, I don't know, but it's consistent with Tonya's attitude and behavior. It's not that she had to listen to everything or conform to every thing they wanted her to conform to, but I'm sure not everything was useless. There are some things judges simply appreciate in this sport and if one is lacking in an important area that their competitors are surpassing you in, it would behoove you to improve in those areas as well.

    That said, I think the USFS, did a disservice in a way by playing up their rivalry and exaggerating Nancy's "grace" and "beauty" to Tonya's rougher image. I hate the sexist mold USFS and other federations force upon women skaters because it's incredibly behind the times and is artistically restrictive. I think that fed into Tonya's inferiority complex. However, I will admit that my own personal biases reflect skaters who finish off their moves, have great, coherent choreography, and emphasis line and musicality. I think if Tonya just showed some effort to improve some what in those areas, then she may have been backed up a bit more.

    She had a lot of problems growing up, and I understand how that really forms the person one becomes, but some times she simply didn't appreciate anything and her attitude clearly affected her approach to skating. Explanations can't always be used as an excuse. Wasn't it Tonya who received a monetary gift from her fan club, didn't say an once of gratitude? I know a gift is a gift and one shouldn't expect anything in return, but it does show a sort of entitled, ungrateful streak she had. She is also responsible for her own downfall as well as the USFS and those surrounding her.
     
  8. lulu

    lulu New Member

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    Another exhibition from Skate America 1986, ignoring the cheesy 80s music and weird camera effects, the quality of the skating itself is gorgeous: http://youtu.be/ZxiErGRY8E0

    :)

    If there was no "whack heard 'round the world" what type of trajectory would Tonya's career have taken? Would she had stayed eligible after 1994, or turned professional? Skating wise, were her best days already behind her?

    Yes, I realize very speculative question, but hey, this is the trash can. :p
     
  9. essence_of_soy

    essence_of_soy Well-Known Member

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    Vera Wang's high fashion packaging wasn't enough to conceal that Kerrigan for me, was dull, stiff, nervous and passive.

    It was only after her melt-down at the 1993 World Championships, that she finally had some fire and drive to her skating.
     
  10. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

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    I think people don't give Kerrigan enough credit some times. I'm not a fan of hers either, but her SP in Albertville was superb, and she does some elements better than Yamaguchi. (Her Lutz combo, a nice double flip?, and a great double axel). She also had transitions, though not nearly as much as Yamaguchi who was just chockfull of those and had much better choreography.

    I hated Kerrigan's LPs though, without a doubt. Tastes aside, you can't say she didn't try or practice or work on things. She had better stretch and line in her skating, her carriage was robotic, but it wasn't sloppy, and she moved with conviction (despite her crappy choreography). There were performances where Harding was just lazily moving half-assedly.
     
  11. lulu

    lulu New Member

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    Great post. :)
     
  12. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    When Tonya was well trained during any period of her skating, her programs looked distinctly modern. She could have performed her 1993 Skate America SP today with a few upgrades within her grasp (ie changing the required 2F to a 3F) and had no problems scoring well.
     
  13. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

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    That was beautiful. If only Tonya had skated like that at 1993 Nationals, and kept up a similar pace for 1993 Worlds, so many things would have been different.
     
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  14. leafygreens

    leafygreens Well-Known Member

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    Why do people say Oksana only had a 3-turn?
     
  15. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Julia, Elena, Anna, Liza, and Vera

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    I saw it live. I had forgotten it completely (too many years have elapsed). Thanks for the link. I have to admit I was never her fan, but I respected her powerful jumps and spins. She was a little underappreciated, IMO, in general (may be by me too). It is just sad how she ended up out of FS.
     
  16. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

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    Because that's true. Look at any of her programs, you'll never see any rocker, counter, brackett, loop...and so on. Just three-turns. ;)
     
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  17. Mafke

    Mafke New Member

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    Because that's the only one foot turn she ever did in competition?

    (If there are examples of her doing other turns I'ld like to know)

    Supposedly she saw Brian Boitano practicing bracket turns and had no idea what one was.... and this was AFTER she won olympic gold.

    I'll just repeat my well-worn observation that Bonaly and Baiul were poster children for the importance of figures training.

    Would it really have been so difficult or expensive for the ISU to institute elite (junior and senior) international figures tests (similar to the figures part of competition) that a singles skater had to pass once a season (or even once) before being eligible for ISU competition. More skaters would have gotten the benefit of figures training without the ongoing costs of having to master two mostly separate disciplines.
     
  18. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

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    Surya Bonaly competed under figures (1989 and 1990 Worlds) and tried some brackets in her step sequences. ;)
     
  19. Alex Forrest

    Alex Forrest Banned Member

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    I was in Dallas for this too. It's strange because in my memory I found her heavy and plodding. Her spins stood out, for sure. But this tape is a reality check. Harding was a strong skater. And she probably should have won that competition, had she not had her skate or blade issue.
     
  20. Mafke

    Mafke New Member

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    Watch here if you dare for all too brief glimpses of Surya doing figures.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8ECupWBess

    On the other hand, she knew they were on the way out and wasn't expecting to be a contender until they were phased out so (I think) she just accepted low placings for a couple of years. Had she had to continue to work on them it would have done her a lot of good.
     
  21. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

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    I'm not saying she was good at them. But she knew what was a counter, a loop...
    It seems Oksana Baiul never heards about it before the show with Brian Boitano you were talking about. ;)
     
  22. leafygreens

    leafygreens Well-Known Member

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    I was curious when and where this was said.

    I have a hard time believing Oksana never learned any sort of figures, since she started skating before they were abolished. Her early-teen skating years were rather tumultuous (lack of coaching, etc). The Ukraine being a newer country may not have had a strong system of federation testing in place (Moves, figures - I don't know). However, she certainly skated earlier as a child, when figures were being skated regularly. I just don't see how she never learned only a 3 turn and nothing else. She probably learned more as a child, but never practiced as a teen because of her lack of structure. That's my guess.
     
  23. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Julia, Elena, Anna, Liza, and Vera

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    That sounds like a reasonable explanation. I read about the 'Boitano encounter' on fsu but I don't recall where/when this took place- was it at the 94 Olympics? The 6.0 was not as heavy on footwork as the COP is, so I can see a skater not incorporating every turn (or many turns) in the choreography. As you wrote, it's possible that she learned it early as a child, when figures were still a part of the competition, but did not practice them later. Afterall she was just 15 when she won the world title, so she did not have that much time to learn new things, and jumps were the name of the game.
     
  24. manleywoman

    manleywoman podcast mistress

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    If memory serves, you don't get to brackets until the 4th test. She could have trained up just the first few tests.
     
  25. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

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    Well, she (Baiul) was training in the Soviet Union. My understanding was they didn't have tests, they just learned whatever figures they needed for their level of competition that year. I have no idea whether they actually competed figures domestically below junior level (i.e., as required for international competition).

    Anyone who knows better, please correct me.

    In 1990 (last year of international figures) Baiul would have been 12. How was she being trained? In what format had she been competing before then and at what level? How was that training affected by the upheavals in her personal life and the end of international school figures competition at that time, and by the end of the Soviet Union a couple years later?
     
  26. Coco

    Coco Well-Known Member

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    Maybe someone invented this story after watching the step sequence in her Olympic SP.
     
  27. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    All I know is that all the skaters that have the same training as Oksana and Viktor end up with step sequences and field moves (now call transitions) of the same quality.
     
  28. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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  29. Mafke

    Mafke New Member

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    That was my understanding too. I think it may have been part of why the USSR was all for getting rid of figures even though they helped soviet skaters more than hurt them in international competition. They didn't want the expense (and ice time) for something they didn't really use domestically.

    Since Baiul would have been about 10 when the decision to axe them from ISU competitions was made it's reasonable to think that they wouldn't have been part of any international competition she would ever be in and so any training she had in figures would have been discontinued then.
     
  30. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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