Twenty years ago today

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by Gazpacho, Apr 15, 2014.

  1. Gazpacho

    Gazpacho Well-Known Member

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    Twenty years ago today, April 15, 1994, the sport lost one of its most beautiful figures to a hideously ugly disease.

    Here is John Curry's Olympic skate. How is it physically possible to have such perfect posture? :swoon:
  2. Finnice

    Finnice Well-Known Member

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    Gazpacho, thank you for opening this thread!

    Yes, the openness of his chest, the way he holds his head, and his spread eagles are something every figure skater should try to learn! His soulfullness is something you can not teach, it just comes if it comes.

    This program you linked shows that you can be one of the greatest without quads. A well-executed 2a is enough.:respec: John Curry!:inavoid:
  3. coraczek

    coraczek Member

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    Thank you for this thread. Of course I know who John Curry was but I have never seen him skate. And he skated really beautifully. I'm also surprised at the quality of the video. It is really very good.
  4. Rob

    Rob Beach Bum

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    I loved him so much.
  5. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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    Finnice and (deleted member) like this.
  6. harekrishna43

    harekrishna43 Active Member

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    Thanks for opening this wonderful tribute thread to John Curry, Gazpacho. I cannot believe it is 20 years since his passing.

    It was so nice to open all the You Tube links to his wonderful performances and I truly enjoyed the opportunity to see the Maestro interviews shared by Floskate!!! I had never heard John Curry speak so much before and so frankly. I especially enjoyed his discussion on how he worked with the music to find just the right places for the elements in his program.

    It was rather sad to hear him explain that he had to "dumb down" his program for the judges so that they could actually be able to see he had completed all his elements. Not to mention his very frank opinion on corrupt judging in general.

    I'm glad that he had the opportunity to pursue his dream of choreographing for his own ice company - I only wish he could have lived longer and continued to develop more works of art.
  7. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    I have only seen videos of John Curry, and probably just 2 or 3 (not seen the vids posted in this thread yet), but he was a beautiful skater. Later skaters were measured by how they would stack up against him, in terms of lines, posture. Paul Wylie once said that he attended a one week camp with Curry, and it impacted him greatly. We saw that influence in Paul's skating. My most favorite John Curry performance was Don Quixote at the 1976 worlds. Of course I watched it long after he had performed it.
  8. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    I was lucky enough to see two of his programs when his company came to the Metropolitan Opera House in the 1980's. He was sublime.
  9. sadya

    sadya Active Member

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    ^
    Lucky you! Would have loved to have been there. :)
  10. skateboy

    skateboy Well-Known Member

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    Curry's Olympic skate is one of my favorite skates ever. Every beat of the music is actually interpreted.

    All it's missing is one of those glorious COP 40-second footwork sequences, featuring every turn in skating imaginable. Yes, I'm being sarcastic. :p
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  11. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the thread.
  12. poths

    poths Well-Known Member

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    John Vinocur's article on Curry is available online. This is the article that effectively outed him and published just before his gold medal. Vinocur had presented as interested and off the record and severely damaged John's confidence. The aversion to male grace still exists IMHO but, with this years podium of Hanyu and D10...and the likes of Brown, Rippon and Machida it's quite satisfying to see that grace can now be a prerequisite of being a champion.

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?n...PgeAAAAIBAJ&sjid=WY0EAAAAIBAJ&pg=3871,2089716
  13. Rob

    Rob Beach Bum

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    I saw his show live as well. Never saw him compete live, but he and Toller Cranston in 1976 were the first male skaters who really captured my attention. I remember ladies and pairs from 1968 and 1972, but I don't remember paying much attention to the men in those years (I was 7, 11). For example, I don't remember watching Wolfgang Schwartz/Tim Wood or Ondrej Nepela, but I do remember being disappointed that John Misha Petkevich didn't win a medal.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2014
  14. floskate

    floskate Vacant

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    Time to dust off a few goodies in memory of John I think. The first is his complete set of exhibitions from the 1974 Europeans in Zagreb. This has been seen before but only in black and white and poor quality.

    John Curry 1974 Europeans EX

    The second has not been seen in its entirety in over 40 years. Here is John Curry's brilliant free skate from the 1973 World Championships in Bratislava. He was so under-marked here but this was his best international long programme of his career at this point in time.

    John Curry 1973 Worlds LP

    These are real treasures so I hope that you enjoy them. :)
    kwanfan1818 and (deleted member) like this.
  15. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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  16. lala

    lala Well-Known Member

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  17. taf2002

    taf2002 Well-Known Member

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    I enjoyed seeing his Oly skate again. Of course I've seen it many times since my original viewing in 1976 but I never get tired of it. I remember wanting to watch skating that year specifically for Dorothy Hamil but I ended up being mesmerized by Curry. The world not only lost a wonderful skater but also a fantastic coach. He was able to pass on to his skaters (regardless of jump ability) a beautiful lyrical quality in their skating.
  18. Gazpacho

    Gazpacho Well-Known Member

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    Upon rewatching, I noticed that he spins equally in both directions. Very unique!

    If only his disease could have waited a few years. There have been so many advancements in the treatment of AIDS that if he had been struck just a few years later, he may very well still be with us today :(
  19. OliviaPug

    OliviaPug Well-Known Member

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    Amazing. And so sad. We are lucky to be able to still see the beauty of Curry's skating. That will live on.

    Thanks for posting this thread, Gazpacho.

    O-
  20. Alixana

    Alixana recovering Oly-holic

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    And if Curry had done one, I believe it would truly have been glorious! :)
  21. merrywidow

    merrywidow Well-Known Member

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    I still miss him.
  22. Skateophile

    Skateophile New Member

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    No-one has ever interpreted music like John. I was lucky enough to see him at the Royal Albert Hall in London where his company skated to a full orchestra on the ice. There is a wonderful statue of him at iceSheffield (the practice rink when Europeans were held there), which captures a great deal of his "essence". I just love to look at it every time I visit.
    By the way, his mother recently celebrated her 100th birthday!
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  23. viennese

    viennese Well-Known Member

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    He was a master of this sport, a real artist, and a great influence on so many skaters on choreographers.

    He died way too young, as so many did, of a terrible disease.
  24. leigh466

    leigh466 Active Member

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  25. escaflowne9282

    escaflowne9282 Well-Known Member

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    John Curry is one of the skaters that every skater should aspire to emulate. His posture was gorgeous, his use of his arms and upper body was truly remarkable and he felt every note of music down to his fingertips. I'm generally not a fan of figure skating from the 1970s, but he is one of the few exceptions.
  26. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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  27. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    John Curry always interpreted and expressed music through his skating- his blades, his whole body, the variations based on the music. He did not just focus on facial expressions. I really appreciate that about him.
  28. Belinda

    Belinda New Member

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    Floskate,

    I thought I had watched all the John Curry videos on Youtube, and here you have two more new videos I haven't seen!!!!! I can't thank you enough. Do you have a video of his 1972 Sapporo Olympic performances?

    Some posters have written that Curry has influenced many a skater and choreographer, but I cannot somehow believe it. If only that were true, we would be seeing more beautiful skating.

    Recently, I've seen Hanyu and Machida being interviewed together and Hanyu was saying "I only have jumps, but Machida has artistry." I wish Hanyu would learn from Curry to improve posture, carriage, fluidity on ice, etc.
    I would give Hanyu the following two Curry performances as exercises for him to do, until he becomes watchable. I particularly like the Mozart piece. The music, already sublime, is illuminated and enhanced by Curry's skating.

    John Curry - Carmen
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syYlSFtQjoo

    John Curry – Mozart
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbOrk_DDdrk

    His premature death is a great loss to figure skating, but were he still with us, would ISU listen to him?
  29. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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    Doubtful!
    The ISU doesn't "listen" to anyone.
  30. Gazpacho

    Gazpacho Well-Known Member

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    The fact that John Curry's performances are still viewed so fondly today speaks to the power of artistry and elegance. Technical standards improve over time. Jumps that wowed audiences a few decades ago are blah today. But art is timeless.
    Sylvia and (deleted member) like this.
  31. floskate

    floskate Vacant

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    You're very welcome! I don't have his 1972 Olympic performance I'm afraid, but it's on my wishlist. I'm also still on the lookout for his two other great free skates from 1974 and 1975 Europeans. He really should have won the 1975 Euro's but coming on the back of his nightmare at 1974 Worlds it's probably not surprising.

    I agree with skatesindreams. If the ISU won't listen to someone as influential as Dick Button, John would have had no hope, but he would have deplored skating as it is today apart from a very few rare instances.
  32. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

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    I don't find Hanyu unwatchable, but there are certainly areas where he could improve. But being smart about the scoring, he would have to be given the right incentive.

    I agree, and it's a pity. Curry's skating is beuatiful - his lines, posture, and elegance are second to none. I don't see his impact on IJS skating at all, and interestingly I have seen at least one skater remark on it - Brian Joubert, of all people:

    I wonder, had Curry not passed away so young, if he might have continued with his unique kind of show skating and perhaps inspired more skaters.
  33. Belinda

    Belinda New Member

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    Zemgirl,

    I only meant 'watchable' in the context of these two particular programmes. Hanyu is immensely watchable when it comes to programmes with difficult jumps, spins and certain types of music (where his posture doesn’t ruin the overall look of the programme, eg Parisian Walkway). However, with his current skills Hanyu wouldn’t be able to skate Curry’s Carmen and Mozart. He wouldn’t be able to move me the way Curry does.
  34. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

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    Oh, I know what you meant. But in Hanyu's defense, I think most current skaters would find it difficult to emulate John Curry's performances, if only because they don't have the sort of blade control that comes from years of training figures. But even with that background, neither would most of Curry's contemporaries - he was a special skater, period. Talented as he is, I don't think Hanyu has it in him to be that kind of skater. But he could be a better skater in certain areas - his posture certainly being one of them.
  35. taf2002

    taf2002 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for this - I hadn't seen it. I was a huge fan of Janet Lynn but I found my eyes were constantly on Curry in this video. His skating was sublime.
  36. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    I have mixed feelings about it. As much as I love Curry's skating, a sport changes with time. The artistic elegance was replaced with more athletic jumps and I can enjoy both. I do wish the IJS would give credit to Curry-like elegance though. It's not really covered in the PCS. Before the IJS at least the judges rewarded those qualities.

    I don't understand the harsh criticism of Hanyu in some other posts. He belongs to another generation, another judging system, and almost another sport at this point. I find his youthfulness attractive. He is only 19 so there is lots of time for him to develop, but if he wants to win more titles, he will need to focus on what the current system wants.

    What's really hurting FS right now from continuing Curry's legacy is the lack of high quality pro skating- competitive or otherwise. I am only talking of North America. It seems in Japan there is a good market, and that's where skaters can start working on the qualities exemplified by Curry. There is also a need for skaters that can actually teach those, and I am afraid they are fast disappearing.
  37. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    Curry had triples through 3Lo. It was another eight years before the Olympic champion had harder jump content. Few skaters at the time who had similar content were interested in emulating Curry. He was truly trying to translate ballet to ice. He wanted to be a ballet dancer, but his father forbid it, and he translated ballet to skating.

    The criticism of Hanyu is that he's scored as if he was there already.
  38. RFOS

    RFOS Well-Known Member

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    What is it that you consider part of "Curry-like elegance" that isn't covered in the PCS? The adjectives you used in post 27, for example, certainly should be considered in the PCS marks these days (particularly interpretation).
  39. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

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    Such a fantastic skater. Definitely my favorite, and I'm sad I wasn't born at this time. I would have loved to live the revolution he made into Figure Skating.
  40. Jaana

    Jaana Well-Known Member

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    Oooooh, wonderful!!! Thank you so much!!!

    I did see this performance on tv at the time, and it is fantastic to be able to rewatch it now...
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2014