Was it Michelle or Lori

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by arakwafan2006, May 19, 2011.

  1. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

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    Thank you, OliviaPug: Michelle Kwan is beyond quantification :respec:

    ITA Mayra: Michelle, Lori and Frank ...together they helped create and bring to life some incredible programs

    And, I will restate comments from my earlier post:

    One of the fallacies that tended to be pushed by the media was that MK achieved success solely because of Lori and Frank. Actually, they were a team, with all that entails. They came together fortuitously and magic happened. However, Michelle would probably be the first to point out that her family gave her the wings to fly.
  2. Kwantumleap

    Kwantumleap New Member

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    I agree with some of the points you're making, but I think we can get our points across and have a spirited debate without being patronizing.
  3. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

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    Aussy Willy, I'm asking you in all sincerity, did you even watch any other programs Kwan did with other choreographers outside Aranjuez, Tosca, and Bolero? I understand where your criticisms come from if you're basing her work outside Lori solely based on those routines, but Kwan has done work with many other choreographers and they are not empty or just skating from one end of the rink to the other the way Aranjuez and Tosca were. I think that's where some of the bewilderment is coming from.
    Last edited: May 23, 2011
  4. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

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    Okay, Kwantumleap, if you think I'm being patronizing, that's how you interpret what I said. Actually, I do feel sorry for anyone who views Michelle's greatest performances and is unable to experience their magic, and for any judge who has to force him or herself not to "get drawn into emotion." :)
  5. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    I have pretty much seen all Kwan's programs. I think to answer your question I have to refer back to the initial poster who asked whether it was Lori or Michelle and that is what I have in my mind when posting my response.

    For me Kwan's programs when she was with Lori were magical. The choreography was complex, worked with the nuances of the music and she was also given music that really brought out something that at the time hadn't been seen before. She created pictures for you which still stick in my mind even as I type this. For a younger skater she was really given very sophisticated concepts and programs to work with and she told the story.

    After she left Nichol, the skating might have been great but they definately were not as complex or sophisticated. She was a more mature skater who had the experience but those moments were missing. The spiral was a common fixture but it is not difficult to do a spiral on the highlight of the music after building up speed with crossovers.

    One of the programs I revisited a while ago was her 2001 FS to I think it was the Red Violin. Beautiful skating, but I was really surprised at the lack of complexity in the transitions and choreography.

    I think my issue is, and this comes from judging, is that I try to separate the components. Kwan put in great performances after Nichol, but as a judge you also have to be careful not to get sucked into thinking that because there is a high performance level, good skating skills and flow over the ice, that means the other components such as choreography are on the same level. This is something that get discussed ad infinitum on this forum with many criticising judges for not separating components and using the marks as they should. So that probably explains where I am coming from.

    This may not convince you but I hope it helps understand where I am coming from. I saw Kwan live in 98 at Worlds and it was an amazing experience. Her SP was to die for. But after she left Lori I never got that magic that had been created before then.

    But as I said, there are many skaters who on revisiting their programs these days I would feel the same about. It is not just Kwan but a reevaluation of skating in general.
  6. Proustable

    Proustable New Member

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    Which programs/performances do you feel Kwan gave that would merit high component marks in all categories?
  7. Kwantumleap

    Kwantumleap New Member

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    Nichol choreographed The Red Violin, though. I think The Red Violin was very sophisticated - I couldn't imagine anyone else attempting to skate to it. I remember when she premiered it in the EX at Worlds in 99. It was almost as if there was a huge gap between her off performance in the LP and her EX. She seemed in the zone in the EX, of course it wasn't a LP, but still. The commentator that shared the booth with Chris Bowman was gushing about how impressed she was that Michelle chose a semi-competitive number for the EX and that Michelle was pushing herself artistically with even more dramatic music.
    Last edited: May 23, 2011
  8. Kwantumleap

    Kwantumleap New Member

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    Many of Kwan's best performances: 1998 Nats, 2001 Worlds LP, etc. belong right up there with the T/D Bolero, John Curry Don Quixote, Janet Lynn Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, etc. They're all examples of the highest level one can aspire to in skating. No matter how you quantify them in scores, they're models for future athletes to aspire to and milestones in the development in figure skating. These models aren't destined to be replaced any time soon.

    I do think it is kind of ridiculous that Michelle's non-CoP programs are being scrutinized by requirements from a scoring system they were not designed to fit. She scored well enough under 6.0 to win her 5 world titles (1 post Nichol and another one was for The Red Violin), so I think that speaks for the quality. No skater during that time held more world titles than her. No one man or woman competing now holds 5 world titles :shuffle:
    Last edited: May 23, 2011
  9. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

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    I can see where you are coming from Aussie Willy, yet still its as if when it comes to Kwan, you want to have your cake and eat it too. ;)

    Sure once the split with Lori and the necessity to focus more on jumps and speed, it meant that the intricate choreography, and even the experimentation with different types of music took a back seat. That is unfortunate, because we lost out on seeing Kwan develop more in the vein of The Miraculous Mandarin, but Kwan wasn't being rewarded for her efforts to skate intricate programs to different and interesting music. Even in 1999 at Nats, the focus was on "baby ballerinas" coming up to challenge Kwan, not on the ways that Kwan was challenging herself with her programs (i.e., Lament d'Ariane that year). At 1998 Olympics, Kwan's music, Lyra Angelica, was unusual, and the program was mature, lovely and moving. Ironically, the music may have had too much subtlety and depth (reminds me of Jeremy Abbott's Life Is Beautiful lp music) to be fully appreciated by the judges.

    In any case, Aussie Willy, if you view Kwan's later programs as not having choreographic depth, there is still emotional investment and connection to the music, even if her focus is more on jumps and speed. And, sorry, but I just totally disagree with your describing Kwan's iconic spiral as "a common fixture." Would that such "a common fixture" were prevalent these days. As Dick observes in his 2004 Nats lp commentary, despite Kwan having to shorten her spiral because of the demands of the new judging system, her spiral still had technical precision, verve and impact.

    Your statement about being a judge meaning you must not allow yourself to get "sucked into" believing that a performance has great choreography just because other aspects are at a high level, is to me simply a CoP-out. Few judges today, IMHO, seem concerned with the choreographic aspects of a program because they are too busy quantifying elements and are not viewing the performance as a whole. In any case, there are few programs today that are choreographic gems.

    I'm not trying to be patronizing, as you know more about the actual judging system than I do, and welcome to it. I've said this before, but I watch a skating program with my eyes and my mind and my heart, backed up by my own personal perceptions and knowledge gained over many years of viewing figure skating. So I guess that makes me not fit to be a figure skating judge. Amen!
    Last edited: May 23, 2011
  10. Proustable

    Proustable New Member

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    I hardly think looking at a pre-COP program from the perspectives of choreography, performance, interpretation and skating skills is ridiculous. Her competitive record is admirable but a straw man.
  11. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    ^ You're so right. Michelle Kwan was awesome at all those things and then some. There still is none better. Some can pull their foot above their head but the skating is wobbly. Some are moving but loopless. Some have the triple axel but are salchow less. Some are fast but lutzless or flipless or preceding stepless. Some are good once in awhile. Some are so graceful you'd think they could never fall until they do A LOT. Some skate below their potential. Some skate to their potential but couldn't get noticed even if they dress like a canary ... there is none like Michelle Kwan.
    Last edited: May 23, 2011
  12. Kwantumleap

    Kwantumleap New Member

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    If only CoP were more like 6.0, but it's not. It embraces its own unique aesthetic lense. Here I've only disagreed about questions of the level of her choreography and transitions, and I agree that her programs gradually became less and less choreographed over time. I think the choreo litmus test is basically Kwan vs. Kwan or Kwan vs. classic ladies pre-7 triple LPs on that front. Regardless, I think the consistency of Michelle's competitive record at worlds is an excellent example of where the choreographic bar is and has been set in figure skating (before, after, and during Kwan). Nichol and she set an extremely high choreographic bar early on, but later on Michelle still achieved the same artistic scores/results at the highest level of competition with less choreography.

    Having a well-choreographed program is a great goal to have, but unfortunately under 6.0 that always took the back seat to a clean program (just ask French goddesses Vanessa Gusmeroli and Laetitia Hubert) in way that hardly compares to the situation with CoP. As the technical bar continued to rise against Michelle, she took the route that resulted in programs that, aside from listing accolades, are still remembered and highly revered about a decade later.
    Last edited: May 23, 2011
  13. Proustable

    Proustable New Member

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    Can you talk about more about "6.0's aesthetic lense?" I'm a COP man at heart to the point where I struggle with many of the acclaimed 6.0 programs, so a different perspective would definitely be appreciated.
  14. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

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    These critiques of Kwan remind me of the criticism she faced throughout her career. Its impossible to please all of the people all of the time (especially when you have a precocious genius). There's always the nitpicking and the naysayers. Funnily enough, skating's entire landscape would be quite different today if not for skaters such as Toller Cranston, Janet Lynn, Michelle Kwan, and believe it or not, Johnny Weir.

    Regarding Kwan, one contingent feel/ felt The Miraculous Mandarin music was not accessible enough for skating and they failed to understand what Kwan and Peter O were attempting with the intricate choreography. Another contingent complains that MK's programs later in her career were so "empty," without understanding why she began focusing more on jumps and speed, and cutting down on intricate choreography. Fact is, circa 1997 - 2001, she was not always being rewarded for programs with intricate choreography and different music, so she changed her focus. Others nitpick that Kwan's jumps were not high enough and she didn't do triple/ triples consistently, and she was "holding back" skaters such as Cohen. Fact is, Kwan did the triple/ triples at the most important points of her career, and that's why she has five World titles. Also, despite Cohen's great talent and abilities, when Kwan was nowhere in sight, Cohen was still stumbling and falling.

    Even Frank Carroll spoke of Kwan lacking "spark" in her Olympic 1998 lp. ;) I certainly do not wish to patronize Frank, but I think MK had plenty of spark in that program:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x14RFdZXiVk

    Lots of Michelle spark, not to mention beautiful, mature choreography. Lest we forget ... that was an amazing performance, which IMO stands on its own, and does not need to be adversely compared with her out-of-body experiences at 1998 Nationals. Because MK broke into tears and was overcome with emotion at the end of her '98 Olympic lp, I think a lot of people thought she felt she hadn't performed well. Quite the contrary, IMO. Her tears seemed to me to be expressing pent-up emotion and relief.

    Michelle Kwan is a great skater, in part because of all the criticism, challenges, Olympic disappointments, and injuries she overcame in her career.
    kwanette and (deleted member) like this.
  15. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

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    Speaking of MK, the current issue of Washington Flyer, which is distributed for free at Reagan National airport, has MK on the cover. Inside is a fabulous picture of her in a red dress striking a skating pose with the Capitol as the backdrop.
  16. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

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    Struggle away, Proustable. :)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXIj_UGchiE&feature=related Rudy Galindo

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIkfE30GPWU Johnny Weir

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHfgjszz_Tk Michelle Kwan

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okPRcajUQrM&feature=related Michelle Kwan

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ah3Fmy7hAn0 Brian Boitano
    Yay Brian. I forgot that Brian B performed quads in practice in those days!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ttNzEwPMLM Johnny Weir

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfluAux0Sf0 Michelle Kwan

    And John Curry didn't receive any 6.0s for his Don Quixote lp at 1976 Olympics, but he should have, in Dick Button's opinion. ITA!

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

    So, should have Toller Cranston at 1974 Worlds:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7AZboQ0R08
  17. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    You would probably make a fantastic judge because you are so passionate about it. And we need more judges.
  18. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    Last edited: May 23, 2011
  19. Proustable

    Proustable New Member

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    ... nevermind. Even though it's quoted now for posterity.
  20. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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    aftershocks and bardtoob,

    Entire posts:
    :respec:
  21. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    I thought it would ;)

    Well Pleb, I assure that many will not remember your 133rd post or 132nd and so on.

    Here are a few other things skaters under the CoP don't seem to do ;)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyu8GYBRIjE

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

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

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rC3xshNNvRQ

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ms9abaxEuMU

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13DNxsLgwQQ
    Last edited: May 23, 2011
  22. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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  23. Proustable

    Proustable New Member

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    Your second to last clip doesn't work.

    Love the figures one, though. I'd love to see them bring that back.
  24. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    It works for me, but you can search "Tonya Harding 1985 National Sports Festival, Ladies SP" and find it right away.
  25. Proustable

    Proustable New Member

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    Excellent. Thanks
  26. kwanette

    kwanette Fetalized since 1998

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    This made my day, thank you..


    And to the above poster,Aussie Willy, 2000=TRV, 2001=SOTBS
  27. kwanette

    kwanette Fetalized since 1998

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    Me, too.
  28. giselle23

    giselle23 Active Member

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    I completetly agree. Michelle's performance in terms of "spark" is at least equal to Yu Na's performance in Vancouver. How ironic that Michelle lost the gold in a performance with intricate choreography of the highest order and yet was criticized later in her career for not having enough choreography! It seems like she just couldn't win with her critics, no matter what she did. And for the record, I think Frank was totally out of line with his comments. I sometimes wonder if that uncalled-for and unnecessary remark didn't ultimately poison his relationship with Michelle.
    Last edited: May 23, 2011
  29. pollyanna

    pollyanna Don't blink

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  30. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

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  31. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

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    Yes, thanks! bardtoob had also posted a U.S. Nationals performance by Janet Lynn that I hadn't seen. She was absolutely extraodinary ... Just to watch her performances ... Janet Lynn epitomizes figure skating. Thanks for all your wonderful (some rare) video links, bardtoob!!! Midori Ito is a revelation -- she really should have won Olympics in 1988, IMHO -- i know, except for the dreaded figures she was not good at. But wow, she absolutely flew threw that performance, and she has gorgeous leg position in her layback spin, which is rare.

    Also, thanks to kwanette and skatesindreams. :)

    Some additional 6.0 performances:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKmUW8wPB0s Michelle Kwan

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCRaoNfU0r8 Chen Lu

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3P7wxwMMUU Tonya Harding

    Programs worthy of 6.0:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_aAIs6iqNXI Johnny Weir (under CoP)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whV9xrqwwSU Johnny Weir


    I appreciate your vote of confidence for me as a judge, Aussie Willy. Although, as the current system stands, I don't think I would make a very good judge. I do indeed have a passion for figure skating though. :)

    Thanks for your comments, giselle. I agree generally, except I feel that Frank and MK forged an even deeper bond post-1998 Olympics that began to break down circa 2000 -2001 when TPTB seemed to want the Russian ladies to beat MK, and Frank was not that supportive of Kwan's desire to go to college during that period. Frank's comment re "spark" also may have been his way of coming to terms with MK not winning Olympic gold, as it may have recalled his disappointment with Linda Fratianne not winning in 1980 when she should have. Frank probably wanted to refrain from saying anything negative about the judging, but ended up maybe thinking about Kwan's Nats performance vs the Olympic one, which IMO, doesn't have any bearing.

    Thanks to BigB0882 for your original DoD post which led to a great thread, and to this one as an offshoot.
  32. IceJunkie

    IceJunkie Well-Known Member

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    On your first point, I remember an ESPN biography on MK around SLC, where Lori Nichol said that Michelle wasn't training anywhere near where she was pre-1998. Michelle also reached her peak popularity and success between 1998-2002 (some may disagree, but she had 3/4 world titles and 4/4 nat titles that quad, and was raking in the most endorsements at that point) and on top of all that, was in college and had a boyfriend. I don't doubt her commitment to skating, but clearly she had plenty of other distractions, so it was incredible she was able to still skate so well and keep her consistency when she wasn't, by Lori's own admission, training nearly what she use to. I think that by itself attests to Kwan's natural talents.

    As for Frank's attitude about Nagano, I think it was 1/2 him realizing that Tara did skate lights out and deserved to win, and 1/2 not wanting to be bitter like he had been 18 years earlier, and it turn make Kwan bitter like Linda had been for so many years.
    Last edited: May 27, 2011
  33. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

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    Sure, IceJunkie, I don't completely disagree, as some of your thougths echo a bit of what I said. However, what I recall Frank saying in a more recent interview is that he disagreed with MK's parents decision to shelter her during the '98 Olympic experience. Frank said in the interview that he felt Michelle needed to enjoy more of the Olympics (but was in a hotel with her parents, rather than in the Olympic village). Whereas, Tara soaked up everything (and the media was more hyping Tara too, as I recall).

    The other distinction is that Tara's programs, altho' skated extremely well, were immature and her choreo and music did not have as much depth and intricacy as Michelle's programs. Also, Michelle skated first in the lp, and Tara last -- they both skated well. Its just a lot of people remember MK breaking out in tears after her lp skate while Tara had this joyous look. Tara, IMHO, learned a great deal from watching MK's skates at Nats -- Tara even copped some of MK's arm and hand movements. Sandra Bezic, who did Tara's choreo had tried to convince Tara not to use Disney music, but Tara was adamant, so Bezic gave in but was not happy with the choice. I think it was ok b/c Tara was after all 15 -- but definitely, her music and choreo are not as memorable as Michelle's. What people remember most about Tara's lp skate are her 3loop/3loop and her effervescence and her scream in the kiss 'n cry, not her actual program. What people fail to remember about Michelle's lp skate, is that she skated as well or better than Tara, certainly MK's was the more mature skate from a more polished skater. MK's tears afterward were probably tears of relief, so indeed, she might have been better off being allowed to fully engage in the Olympic experience, and maybe have less pent-up emotions.

    Also, the decision that went Tara's way was extremely close and controversial, which people also forget. As far as Frank not wanting MK to be bitter, I beg to differ. MK is a very different person from most people in general, let alone different from Linda Fratianne. In fact, if you will recall, MK after winning silver turned to Tara at a post press conference and declared, "I like you Tara." Very sincere and perhaps an effort to defuse the press trying to get her to say something negative about Tara winning. Therefore, Frank did not need to say or do anything to have MK not be "bitter." Being bitter is not in MK's nature. Frank, I believe, based on his recent interview, may have been more upset with MK's parents cloistering her, and that may be partly what was behind the "spark" remark, as again, Tara was shown everywhere, soaking up everything about the Olympic experience. Still, Michelle definitely had plenty of spark when she skated, so Frank was wrong about that. MK's lp music was soft and subtle, but take the performance at face value, and don't try to compare it with her out-of-body skates at Nationals (again, which Tara truly learned from --even Tara's father referenced the fact that "skaters learn from each other," after Tara won Olympic gold).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNRxEp3f7vc Kwan

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hsxdjv-NGTc Lipinski

    IMHO, Tara's 3loop/ 3loop, and other jumps (particularly 2axel which has no height) have nothing on MK's iconic spiral, MK's camel spin in both directions, and MK's overall lyricism and body line, plus MK's jumps not too shabby either. ;)
  34. Coco

    Coco Well-Known Member

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    Lyra Angelica was an unique program, but I don't think it was intricate. She had 8 jumping passes. It was full of crossovers. I loved the part at the beginning of the slow section that we saw at Skate America, but they took that out.
  35. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

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    Well, I do think MK's program was more intricate in how it was put together, and the music had more depth and subtlety, although it also had a light, soft feeling which was a risk for the Olympics.

    Yes, and crossovers are just so horrible, eh? Did not Tara have crossovers in her program too? Neither program (thank god) was constructed in the era of frenetic, points-grabbing CoP programs. Yes God, Toller Cranston too skated crossovers! I could watch Toller skating crossovers all day. ;)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7AZboQ0R08

    And yes, even Janet Lynn skates some crossovers, or you might call them etchings on the ice of a majestic work of art.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e59ai1_lY4s
  36. Coco

    Coco Well-Known Member

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    :)

    Some skaters crossovers are beautiful to watch, but that wasn't the point of my post. (You've picked two good ones, and let me add Gordeeva to the list!)

    Intricate usually means doing really difficult things with your feet. Patrick Chan's programs are intricate.

    Lyra was the more artistically mature program, but I wouldn't use the word intricate to describe it.

    You are hardly the first person to use that word about Lyra. I just don't see it.

    To use COP lingo, there weren't a ton of transitions in Lyra, so I've never understood the use of the word "intricate" about that program.

    She had a really nice smaller spiral (RBO?) into one of her spins, but that's probably the most significant transition in the program.
  37. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

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    Okay Coco, to each his own. :)

    As far as your description of "intricate" as applied to skating programs, I wouldn't say that it means "doing really difficult things with your feet." Ah, Patrick Chan has superb edges, but that doesn't mean "intricate" -- he has just learned from great teachers how to properly position his skate blades, which allows him to have great ice coverage and speed. Having great edges is more related to good technique rather than having an intricate program. It is choreography that can be described as being "intricate." Perhaps MK's Lyra Angelica is not as intricate as some programs, but I feel it was more intricate than Tara's program, and MK's music had more depth as well.

    BTW, dictionary definition of intricate: "Having many interrelated parts or facets; having many complexly arranged elements." So, okay, MK's Lyra Angelica had a variety of elements that were arranged in a more intricate fashion than Tara's program, IMHO. But sure, Lyra Angelica was not as intricate as some programs. The Miraculous Mandarin, for instance, or Lament D'Ariane. Lyra was much more fluid, mature and artistic than Tara's lp. Also, MK's Rachmaninoff sp was also more fluid, artistic, mature and complexly arranged than Tara's sp. Again, neither Tara nor MK skated in 1998 under the CoP system. ;)

    You seem to be more of a CoP-centric fan, Coco. As for me, I don't view everything in skating through the lens or lingo of CoP.
  38. Triple Butz

    Triple Butz Well-Known Member

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    Wonderful post! I miss the old days :wuzrobbed
  39. t.mann

    t.mann New Member

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    Michelle is mesmerizing but is trueLutzless and hardjumpless. ;)
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2011
  40. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    ;) . . .:p . . . :rofl: . . . newby . . . probably never even saw Kwan at her best and wouldn't even know what to look for . . . too cute.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2011