Which 80s US Lady was most successful?

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by olympic, Aug 30, 2013.

  1. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

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    Rosalynn Sumners or Debi Thomas?

    Each lady was primarily #1 nationally in her quadrennial. But, there are differences -

    National Championships - Roz 3 vs. Debi 2

    World Championships - tied at 1 each

    Olympics - each a medalist; but Roz silver and Debi bronze. Debi was figured to battle for gold while Roz was probably a fave.

    no. of World medals - Debi 3 vs. Roz 1 (only)

    no. of Worlds appearance - Debi 4 (each year 1985 - 88) vs. Roz 2 (1982 - 83)

    It kind of evens out, but do you have a choice? I would say Debi based on longevity while still grabbing a world championship (like Roz)
  2. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    Olympic silver (losing gold by .1) *beats Olympic bronze. Advantage Sumners
    3 World medals beats 1 World medal. Advantage Thomas
    1 World title ties 1 World title. Equal, although Sumners won the LP phase at the Worlds she won so in a way it was more impressive.
    3 U.S titles beats 2 U.S titles. Advantage Sumners.

    Overall I would say Sumners had the better amateur career by a bit, despite that I like Thomas 100 times more than Sumnerzzzzzzzzz, and if you are asking who I think is the better skater objectively I would also probably pick Thomas. I think longevity is overrated. To achieve similar in a shorter career is more impressive if anything.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2013
  3. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

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    Yes, but Debi Thomas is the only skater to have beaten Katarina Witt during the 1984-1988 period. It's a great achievement ! ;)
  4. museksk8r

    museksk8r Well-Known Member

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    Another plus for Debi is that she attempted far greater difficulty than Roz ever did. Maybe if Thomas had played it as safely as Sumners always did, she would have won more titles too. I find Thomas more aesthetically pleasing too to be honest; loved her long body lines. Plus, Debi's personality has always been more favorable to me than Rosalyn's. IMO, Debi is the best of the 80's!
  5. Dr.Siouxs

    Dr.Siouxs Well-Known Member

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    Wanda Beazel makes Debi a legend. Roslynn was pretty and competent but nothing people hadn't seen before.
  6. falling_dance

    falling_dance The Scarlet Unlettered

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    Well, I certainly don't envy Rosalyn Sumners and Roslynn Sumners the similarities of their names to that of the 1984 ladies' OSM. :drama:
    Simone411 and (deleted member) like this.
  7. Dr.Siouxs

    Dr.Siouxs Well-Known Member

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  8. falling_dance

    falling_dance The Scarlet Unlettered

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    :p
  9. Dr.Siouxs

    Dr.Siouxs Well-Known Member

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  10. leapfrogonice

    leapfrogonice Active Member

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    Always preferred watching Sumners on ice v. off-ice, and in competition program over exhibition (until she turned pro that is).
    The opposite with Thomas. Preferred how entertaining and candid she was off ice v. on ... that is until her hilarious exhibitions when her personality really had a chance to shine through. Never thought her competitive programs connected directly with who she really was as a person or skater.
  11. Lnt175

    Lnt175 Member

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    Sumners had the better career for sure, even as a pro. She had a very long pro career, while obviously Thomas went on to become a doctor, and had different goals in life.
    Thomas beat Witt at worlds, but Sumners herself beat Witt at the 83 worlds after she struggled with compulsories. As for whos the better skater, its hard to say, the only amateur program I liked from Sumners was her 82-83 LP. Thomas had a great Carmen too when she skated it well (88 US nats). Thomas was a much better jumper and technician, but Sumners had better flow and in-betweens IMO.
  12. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    Both skaters should be an Olympic Champion today. I dont mean by that they deserved to win with their performances, but the 88 Olympic Gold was Thomas's to win before she took the ice for her final long program, and the 84 was Sumners's to win before she took the ice for her final long program.
  13. falling_dance

    falling_dance The Scarlet Unlettered

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    One thing that Thomas has over Sumners is that she won the Landover World Pros three times, while Sumners never did (though the case for her can made at the 1986 competition).
  14. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

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    ITA

    ETA - Yep. Looking at Witt's tech marks in the LP, 5.6 - 5.8, there was room and all Debi had to do was wedge herself between Manley and Witt to win. She didn't even have to beat Manley and win the LP to take the OGM; Roz was the favorite going into Sarajevo to begin with and it's been said several times but if she had just not popped one of those 4 jumps into a double or 1axel, I would bet she would've been OGM in '84. Witt herself was not perfect; doubled a 3sal and left out a 3flip, plus she was not yet the dominant master of the artistic mark
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2013
  15. leapfrogonice

    leapfrogonice Active Member

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    I guess I think it was Sumner's to win more than Thomas' as the field that Thomas was up against, including especially in the US seemed that much tougher and deeper during the 1988 games than in 1984 IMO
  16. Lnt175

    Lnt175 Member

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    I agree Sumners should have won that world pros. The field was far more deep in 88. Zayak was never gonna challenge in Saraejvo. Sumners and Witt were gonna be 1-2 almost without a doubt. In Calgary, you had Manley and Ito upsetting the apple cart.

    One thing I notice about Sumners skating nowadays is how much she was influenced by Janet Lynn in her skating. She had a polish to her that Witt didn't in 1983 or even 1984.
  17. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    Yes I think Sumners made just 1 mistake too many. I think if she had even 1 less she would have won, even that last double axel would have probably swayed atleast 1 of the 3 judges who were close to picking her anyway to go the other way.

    I think Thomas would have actually won the LP over Manley had she skated perfectly. Despite that were alot of 5.9s given out to Witt (artistic), Ito (technical), and Manley (some on both) it is interesting to see not a single judge gave a single skater 5.9, 5.9. So the judges were clearly leaving room for Thomas to win the LP had she skated perfectly, which would have kept Witt at silver and Manley at bronze. Had she had just one mistake she probably would have lost the LP to Manley but beaten Witt which would have dumped Witt to the bronze and still given Thomas the gold. Once she made a second mistake it was already over, and she was going to be bronze overall.


    Yes the field in 88 was deep but it didnt all pan out. It was nothing like the incredible 87 Worlds ladies event where the top 8 who were all former or future World medalists did clean short programs, and the 3 medalists all did performances worthy of the World title. Witt's long program was her weakest in a World event since the 84 Worlds, Kadavy was sick and didnt even finish the event, Ito was out of any contention after figures, Ivanova was past her prime and only able to perform decently in figures, and Manley was just kept out of any chance of winning by the 3 portion formula. Too bad Ivanova and Ito couldnt combine as a team and have Ivanova do the figures and Ito the free skating that year.
  18. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

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    Interesting point about not one judge giving out a 5.9/5.9 and thus essentially locking any of Manley, Witt or Ito into 1st for the LP. Debi had worked hard on her artistry and technically was doing a 3-3 as well as a solid 3loop which had heretofore had been hit-or-miss, so I think you're right that Debi skating last and hitting it out of the ballpark would've won the LP above Manley. I think her '88 Nationals LP where she had hit the 3-3 and 3loop but doubled one of the 3sals may have been enough to win behind Manley in the LP but above Witt, thereby giving her OGM
  19. rickmercer

    rickmercer Member

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    Sumners nearly beat a clean Witt with a lot of big mistakes at the 84 Olympics, even with lesser jumps planned to begin with. Had the Canadian or West German not given Witt an absurd 5.9 for presentation she would have lost to Sumners even with her 4 or 5 mistakes. While a clean Thomas would lose badly to a clean Witt if both did the same jumps- 87 Worlds. That makes Sumners the better skater.
  20. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

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    But Witt had only really developed a lot of credibility post-Sarajevo. Her 2nd mark in the 85 - 88 quadrennial became a solid 5.9 if not occasionally a 6.0, which made defeating Witt a taller order in that time period if she managed to stay on her feet. Going into Sarajevo, she was a top skater but Sumners was probably the slight favorite, which gave Sumners the credibility edge there and more room for mistakes vs. Witt. Yet, she still flubbed in both the SP and LP enough to give it away.

    Thus, Thomas defeating Witt was tougher than Sumners defeating Witt, yet Thomas managed it once in '86, so I wouldn't use Witt as a marker to ascertain who was better between Sumners and Thomas
  21. rickmercer

    rickmercer Member

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    Witt got mostly 5.9s for presentation in 84 (a joke but she still did) so that her artistry was better after 84 than in 84 doesn't mean much. The judges still scored her the same way as it was the same.
  22. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

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    I was speaking more about the reputation and credibility she developed in the eyes of the judges / skating establishment in the 85 - 88 Quadrennial which made her harder to beat in that time period
  23. KimGOAT

    KimGOAT Active Member

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    Thomas was a much greater skater than Thomas, much more talentness. So far superior in jumps, athleticsm, speed, spins, and footwork. Sumners is potrayed to be more artistic but Thomas had just as nice of positions and a gorgeous line, and great basic skating as good or better as Sumners, and skated with more personality and felt the music better. Sumners just had the pretty princess look and skated to pretty princess programs the judges liked better, while Debi skated to bold and interesting programs.

    While I wouldnt say for certain, it is also possible there was a small amount of racism in skating then, and it might have had something to do with Debi's unfair reputation as a less artistic skater than she really was also.
  24. KimGOAT

    KimGOAT Active Member

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    Debi is also such an amazing person with a freaking awesome attitude towards life and everything. Just look at her amazing TSL interview with Jenny and Dave. Rosalynn is snotty and condescending. She seems to think she and her opinions are da bomb and she openly mocked skaters in her commentary who are way better than her like Butyrskaya, Kwiatkowski, and Kerrigan.

    Rosalynn is not a great skater. Her figures placements in 83 and 84 ensured her medals. Before she was good in figures in 81 and 82 she wasnt winning big medals which shows her free skating wasnt good enough to carry her. Well except to win 82 Nationals but how much value is that when Hill, DeVries, and Thomas all self combusted badly, and some of those even with many falls and stumbles landed more clean triples than her just 1, although she did deserve to win that night but by default, not by great skating. The only times she showed great skating was at the 83 Nationals, and 83 Worlds in the LP only (definitely not the short) and that is it, the rest it was compulsory figures based medals or medals by others effing up. She couldnt even beat Dorothy Hamill in pro events despite that Hamill could only do a double loop or double toe and Roz still had the double axel, which shows when it comes to just free skating judges consider her fairly mediocre without figures to help her. The Trixi Schuba of her era, relying on figures to win her medals, except she was no stunning figures skater like Schuba either. Her highest short program placement at a Worlds or Olympics is 5th, what does that tell you.

    84 Olympics also show she is a weak competitor since judges left her tons of room to win the LP and win the gold from 2nd place going in, even after Witt skated well and she blew it making 6 mistakes and still losing by only .1. That is a choker, and not a champion like Debi is.
  25. KimGOAT

    KimGOAT Active Member

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    Field in 88 was much stronger. Witt and Thomas were favorites but Manley, Trenary, Kadavy, Ito, Ivanova, and maybe Leistner were all strong contenders for a medal, maybe the gold as well. In 84 only Witt, Chin, Vodorezova, Leistner, and Sumners went in as medal contenders with Sumners and Witt the only two capable of winning, and the others shooting for silver and bronze. The event ended up so poor some Soviet skater who didnt even medal at Europeans and was only #3 Soviet (forget which one) won the bronze.

    Sumners seemed to take after Lynn in polished and beautiful skating but she didnt feel the music anywhere near the same way nor have the same passion and freedom as her skating. Nowhere near as magical.
  26. JJS5056

    JJS5056 New Member

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    Olympic - you are absolutely right that using Sumners' close call with Witt in 1984 to support the claim that she is superior to Thomas is irrelevant. When Roz competed against Witt, Katarina was a much different skater then she was later when she began facing Debi: technically, artistically and in terms of reputation.

    Thomas was competitive across an entire quadrennial of skating, and was a podium contender for 3 years so long as she skated even remotely close to her best (88 Olys and Worlds prove this).

    Sumners, OTOH, was only a top contender for 2 years (83-84). While I'm not sure how she skated in 1982, I do know most of the field bombed out, so I have to assume she was either not yet seen as a contender or was not yet competing like one.

    Both had Olympic gold in their hands and lost it; I don't see much difference between silver and bronze at that point, especially given the crazy factorials back then with figures added in.

    Based on history/fact, Thomas was more successful as she has more World medals. Subjectively, I think they are about equal in terms of assessing their careers, while I think Thomas was without a doubt the better skater. She pushed the envelope further technically than she needed to in order to win, and her artistic peak was at least equal to that of Roz's. I think Roz was also lucky to compete during a quad where there was no established leader... It was quite a chaotic quad with a lot of change from season to season which allowed her to grab a World title and go into Sarajevo as the default favorite.

    A dominant leader or two like Poetzsch-Fratianne or Witt-Thomas would've left her fighting for a minor medal. Thomas in 1986 was more impressive than anything Sumners accomplished. But, these are all subjective matters, and I think "who was more successful?" is more easily answered by simply looking at their careers, results and medals of which Thomas is the winner regardless. I think Sumners, had she either been a year or two older and come into her own earlier in the quad, or held on another few months and grabbed a 2nd World title, would've been awfully close on paper, however.
  27. Lnt175

    Lnt175 Member

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    Sumners did in fact place 6th at the chaotic 82 worlds. Her performances there weren't anything particularly great, and despite being National champion, Zayak turned out one of the best comebacks at those worlds. As for the who the leader of that quad should have been; it should have been Zayak, but once injuries took hold in the 82-83 season, Sumners (and Chin) took advantage and did some of her best skating of her career. Had Zayak been able to maintain her 81-82 momentum in 83 and 84 she would have been the one challenging Witt for the gold in Sarajevo.
  28. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

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    I love Zayak and preferred her to Sumners, but I think the USFSA established that they preferred Sumners and would've promoted her above Zayak even injury-free. It didn't help Zayak that a rule was implemented with her name on it limiting one of her strengths.

    I will admit Sumners had better basics but I still think Zayak was a lot more daring and technically challenging. Still, the USFSA wanted an ice princess
  29. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    It is hard to say. Elaine did herself no favors by allowing her skating and fitness to plummet in the period between the 82 Worlds and 84 Olympics. At the 84 Olympics she did skate great and was screwed over in the scores, but by then she had lost her rep value with the USFSA and internationally, and that was partially her own fault with a string of poorer performances in between.
  30. OliviaPug

    OliviaPug Well-Known Member

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    I feel it's harder and more impressive for a skater to win over a longer period of time. Once a skater has momentum and a reputation, they have an advantage both in the judges/reputational department as well as the confidence department. Fulfilling that over the shorter course seems to me to be easier than over time and/or perhaps repeating or earning back a title. It's much harder, IMO, for a skater to have career ups and downs and continue to come back and prove themselves over time. It's also harder physically and, arguably, mentally to maintain that level of training over time to be able to win.

    In any event, I still feel Thomas was most successful. But I would qualify that Thomas was most successful as an amateur skater. (As has already been pointed out, Roz had a very successful pro career while Thomas went on to have a successful career outside of figure skating.) Thomas was just a much better technical skater, in my opinion, and she could deliver a compelling, exciting program too. The build-up to the Thomas vs. Witt Battle of the Carmens was major and majorly publicized -- though the results didn't ultimately prove as exciting.

    O-
  31. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    None the less, it did not do the "sport" any favors by underscoring the most athletic performances when they were seeing her perform well in practice all week.
  32. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    Yes that is true. That is figure skating judges for you though, especialy in the 6.0 days.
  33. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

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    In Elaine's defense, she was injured and had to withdraw from '83 Worlds which put her in a hole even more.

    It's too bad Elaine had a meltdown at '82 Nats because she would've retained her title going clean and maybe just maybe would've had a little more momentum because by '83 Nats, Roz could fall in the LP and still beat Elaine as defending World Champ. That competition, where Roz had a fall and Elaine was relatively clean, showed that Roz was the favorite moving forward
  34. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    Agreed on all. Not skating well at the 84 Nationals also hurt her a huge amount going into Sarajevo though IMO. She had a real shot to win there, and probably would have had she skated like Sarajevo. Chin was awesome at Nationals but way down in figures (while Zayak was 2nd) which is the only reason she didnt beat Sumners there. Sumners was not the same skater she was in 83, and skated worse at Nationals than the Games. Zayak skating poorly there and scraping onto the Olympic team in 3rd place gave the USFSA no reason to back her politically over Sumners, the reigning World Champion, or even Chin who was their best skater at Nationals and their hot up and coming prospect.

    In a perfect World none of that would matter and only how well Zayak skated at the Games after two years of ups and downs would matter, but that wouldnt be realistic in this sport unfortunately.

    How easily Zayak beat Chin at Nationals in figures might indicate Chin's figures placing in Sarajevo was sadly correct (if she cant even place well at her own Nationals in figures, she will be buried at the Games), but Zayak's was probably unduly harsh. Although it is funny that Chin in her TSL interview with Dave and Jenny joked that she was amazed to be 2nd in figures at the 85 Worlds after being 12th at the 84 Olympics as she felt her figures didnt improve at all (yet she refused to even suggest or agree she might have been robbed to be 4th at the Olympics when asked, so it is hard to say what she was really thinking, she seemed to be purposely doing a nice girl interview).
  35. leapfrogonice

    leapfrogonice Active Member

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    If Tiffany could have stayed in the form she was in during the 1984 Sarajevo season, she would have been quite incredible.

    Jill in 1987 had that 'no fear no holds' attack which was also thrilling, and such a well turned out lady with style.
  36. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

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    Forgot to mention '84 Nationals. Roz and Elaine were both pretty subpar in the LP. I wonder what would've happened had Elaine skated well and Roz the same. Would the USFSA judges have given Elaine the crown?
  37. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    Chin would have been the 1988 Olympic Champion had she mantained and built on her 1984 level of skating. She is still someone who breaks my heart as so much potential and talent was there and all it amounted to was 2 World bronzes and a U.S title, and retiring since she was a has been even in the U.S with no hope of qualifying for the Calgary Olympics. In 1984 she really combined everything that everyone in womens skating wanted to see. Big impressive jumps, ability to do a triple flip even, tremendous spins with wonderful positions and some difficult variations, terrific basic skating, musicality and choreography, and personality, youth, and vigor. She both fit the annoying pwetty princess ice queen mold that people like Fleming and the USFSA insisted upon, and the athletic and strong skater that European judges at the time liked. She was like a combination of the very best qualities of Sumners and Zayak, with her own unique style and look on top of that, but by next year it was already fizzling out fast.

    Olympic, I remember reading a quote in the New York Times where 2 judges from U.S Nationals who were in fact judging the womens event said if Zayak had skated cleanly as the last skater, the way the event had gone to that point, she would have won.
  38. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

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    So, it's quite possible that Elaine wasn't 'dead' to the USFSA even as late as '84. I wonder how that would've influenced Sarajevo judging? Elaine may have been as high as 3rd or 2nd in the SP
  39. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    I think for Elaine had she won Nationals, you would have seen a much different situation at the Games. After doing poorly at Nationals and having WD from last years Worlds, they put all their support behind reigning World Champion Sumners to give her the best chance to win and dumped the other two politically (hence 12th and 13th in figures). Since Sumners had been shaky that year, even losing to Sandra Dub. I would have hedged my bets, and probably backed Sumners as the #1 but still pushed for the other two also.

    Elaine definitely wasnt dead to the USFSA yet though. At Nationals she fell in the short and still was placed over people like Jill Frost and a young Debi Thomas who went clean.
  40. kwanoverrated

    kwanoverrated Member

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    Chin was a beautiful artist but was a weak jumper. That is why she get no medal at 84 Olympics and be passed by all younger U.S girls. I saw her skate at 85 Nationals, 85 Worlds, and 87 Nationals and she only do 2 triple at most. She never could become Olympic Champion.