Who was the greatest ladies singles figure skater never to become Olympic champion?

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by Maofan7, Sep 15, 2011.

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Who was the greatest ladies singles figure skater never to become Olympic champion?

Poll closed Oct 16, 2011.
  1. Cecilia Colledge

    3 vote(s)
    1.0%
  2. Laurence Owen

    1 vote(s)
    0.3%
  3. Janet Lynn

    21 vote(s)
    7.0%
  4. Denise Biellmann

    2 vote(s)
    0.7%
  5. Midori Ito

    51 vote(s)
    16.9%
  6. Nancy Kerrigan

    2 vote(s)
    0.7%
  7. Michelle Kwan

    179 vote(s)
    59.3%
  8. Irina Slutskaya

    19 vote(s)
    6.3%
  9. Sasha Cohen

    12 vote(s)
    4.0%
  10. Mao Asada

    10 vote(s)
    3.3%
  11. Rosalynn Sumners

    1 vote(s)
    0.3%
  12. Other

    1 vote(s)
    0.3%
  1. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Away

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    Unlike the world championships, the Olympics comes around but once in every 4 years. That means that for most figure skaters, they only get 1 or 2 chances at becoming Olympic champion - 3 if they are incredibly lucky. There are many reasons why an individual skater may miss out on winning the Olympic title, despite there best endeavours. Cecilia Colledge was unlucky to lose to Sonja Henie at the 1936 Olympics and then the outbreak of war prevented the 1940 Olympics from proceeding where she would have been the favourite for the title. Laurence Owen was killed in a plane crash in 1961 and therefore did not get the opportunity to compete at the 1964 Olympics where she would undoubtedly have stood a chance of winning. Both Janet Lynn and Denise Biellmann were held back by the antiquated school figures which should have been done away with during the 1960s. Others, such as Nancy Kerrigan and Michelle Kwan, came agonisingly close to winning the title, losing by very small margins. Mao Asada was the best skater in the world in 2006, but was not age eligible to compete in the Olympics during that year. By the time she could compete in 2010, Kim Yu Na was simply too good for her. Undoubtedly, therefore, sheer bad luck plays a very big part in why some skaters never become Olympic champion.

    So who was the greatest ladies singles figure skater never to become Olympic champion?
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2011
  2. blue_idealist

    blue_idealist Well-Known Member

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    Definitely Michelle Kwan.. so many world titles and no OGM. Mao Asada could still maybe become Olympic champion, IMO.
  3. Pierre

    Pierre New Member

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    Well, since my view is that Michelle Kwan is the greatest female figure skater of all time, period, she obviously gets my vote.
  4. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

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    For me, its between Janet Lynn and Michelle Kwan. I voted for Kwan simply because of her amazing career, its longevity, and her record-setting accomplishments. Both Lynn and Kwan are inspiring skaters with unique presence on the ice, and they greatly impacted, not only their generation of skaters, but have continued to inspire so many people in the skating world and beyond. Another difference re Kwan is the fact that her career coincided with the explosion of ice skating news and video access/ coverage on the Internet.
  5. MR-FAN

    MR-FAN Kostner Softie

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    My vote goes to the greatest female athlete in the history of this sport, Midori Ito :cool:
    Michelle's a very close second ;)
  6. Jenny81

    Jenny81 Member

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    Definitely 'Michelle Kwan' :respec:
  7. os168

    os168 Active Member

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    Why is this even a poll??! (Something tells me you just want to create a poll so Michelle can be No.1 again :p)

    While Midori Ito is the greatest ladies jumper of ALL time, Michelle is simply the greatest all rounder ladies figure skater of 6.0 era.

    People have always placed too much emphasis on the gold, they neglect the value of how and what it takes to get there. I've always believed Michelle had gained far more during her trials and tribulations in the pursuit of her Olympics dream than winning another gold through chance, luck, good timing and then quick retirement.

    There's tremendous value in continuing to seek something that requires great deal of hard
    work and dedication even if you were unfortunately not able to get it in the end.

    In winning her silver and bronze, she has demonstrated the grace and the heart of a champion that makes her simply unforgettable, and actually... despite of everything, doesn't that make you love her even more?
    kwanette and (deleted member) like this.
  8. Holley Calmes

    Holley Calmes Well-Known Member

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    YES!
  9. Proustable

    Proustable New Member

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    The correct answer is Kwan.

    So I voted for Ito.
  10. kwanatic

    kwanatic Well-Known Member

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    ^^ALL of this. :cheer:
  11. lowtherlore

    lowtherlore New Member

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    Michelle Kwan, definitely. For her longevity, world titles and.. memories.
    Runners-up, IMO: Lynn, Ito and Slutskaya
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2011
  12. paskatefan

    paskatefan Well-Known Member

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    Michelle! :D

    My runner-up (whom I also love to pieces) - Midori! :)
  13. RD

    RD Well-Known Member

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    From the skaters in my era anyway, Kwan comes to mind.

    She became a household name without winning the Olympics (although it can be argued that most of that is due to her coming up during skating's unprecedented US popularity boom in the Post-Whack 90s). In fact, many people seem to mistakenly believe that she won.
  14. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

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    Michelle Kwan, of course. :p
    With so many World titles, and such longevity, it's still unbelievable to me that she never won the olympic title.
    Midori Ito and Janet Lynn would be followers.

    Carolina Kostner without a World title or an Olympic medal is also sad, because she is one of the best ever. :)
  15. Mafke

    Mafke New Member

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    I voted for Cecilia Colledge because no one else has yet. The other plausible choices are Lynn, Ito, Kwan and Slutskaya.

    (And Elaine Zayak should be a choice!!!!)
  16. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    IMO it's a toss up between Michelle and Midori. Both were heavy favorites going into the Olympics. Michelle dominated her sport in terms of winning titles more than Midori did, but Midori was light years ahead of her competition in skills. Both should have become OGM winners but it did not happen. Midori made a big mistake; Michelle made none (in 1998). So logic says it has to be Michelle. My heart went with Midori, even though I am a big Michelle Kwan fan. That's probably because Michelle at least had one more chance to win the OGM; Midori did not.
  17. l'etoile

    l'etoile New Member

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    All hands down, Michelle the Kween!

    Maofan7 you really love starting polls of all kinds, huh? :lol:
  18. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    I would put them into groups:

    First group- Ito, Lynn, Kwan, Slutskaya

    Second group- Asada, Biellmann, Kerrigan, Sumners, Fratianne, Thomas, Colledge, Harding

    Third group- Chen, Owen, Cohen, Zayak

    My thoughts on some:

    Kerrigan- I rate her higher on this list only since she so nearly and maybe should have won in 94. As an overall skater I rate her below many others.

    Chen- I rate her highly as a skater but dont rate her that high on a list like this since she was never really close to winning an Oly Gold and never really had a chance at one. Her peak was 95-96 in between Olympics, and her strength beyond that is her consistency and longevity. Overall I consider Chen a greater skater than Kerrigan, but Kerrigan had much more chance of winning an Oly Gold in 94 than Chen ever did.

    Cohen- She never even won a Worlds in the non figures era, so I dont see how it is such a shame she couldnt win the Olympics. Anyway in her era there were alot of greater skaters than her- Kwan, Slutskaya, Arakawa, possibly even Hughes or Butyrskaya, young Asada. It is a shame she couldnt atleast win a Worlds.

    Sumners- I am not a fan but she was the reigning World Champion and 3 time U.S Champion and came so close to winning despite a subpar competition. She probably should have won in 84 if she were mentally stronger in the competition.

    Zayak- I dont put her in the second group only since she peaked in 81-82 and thus really had no chance of winning an Oly Gold at any point. Well she was outstanding in the free skating at the 84 Games but was out of favor by then (and her figures presumably were really bad by then).

    Harding- if she actually shown up in her 91 shape for the 92 Games and skated to her potential she would have ran away with the gold with Ito and Yamaguchi subpar in the actual competition. The biggest blown opportunity of her whole career, and likely set the chain of events in her life.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2011
  19. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    Mao should not be on this poll right now. She still has a shot at the OGM in 2014.
  20. floskate

    floskate Vacant

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    Kwan, Ito, Lynn, Colledge but every time I think about it, I change the order.

    Kwan is the obvious choice but the way she handled both defeats somehow added to her iconic status within the sport. She transcended the OGM and her body of work became somehow bigger than the title rather than being a skater who is defined by it.

    Reflecting back, Ito's loss hurt me more than Kwan's as a huge fan of both skaters. She just seemed under the most unbearable pressure. A skater with one world title and an OSM could very easily become a footnote in skatign history so I'm glad that youtube has resurrected her legacy in skating and more and more fans are becoming aware of her technical genius.

    Colledge was a victim of circumstance. I have little doubt that she would have become the Olympic champion were it not for WW2 and that with the political weight of the NSA behind her, the loss to Taylor in 1938 would be seen as an abberation.

    Lynn - Wrong era. There was just no way she was ever meant to win the OGM under that system. But ironically, her fall in the LP and subsequent smile made her and cemented her legendary status within the sport.

    So to sum up.....I don't know :lol:
  21. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    It is funny how much the chain of events could have changed if Ito had won in 92 too. I am 110% sure Yamaguchi would have stayed in and won in 94 if she didnt win in 92, that was her plan all along anyway. If Yamaguchi continued then Baiul never wins a big title in 93 and 94 and she would have continued as an amateur, but would she have continued on to become a better skater in later years as an amateur or one that fell apart with her growth spurt and changing body and couldnt technicaly keep up with skaters like Kwan and Lipinski to come in later year? Then what if Baiul does succeed in later years and Tara's major success in 97-98 does not happen the same way.
    Vash01 and (deleted member) like this.
  22. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    You summarized it so well.
  23. Sasha'sSpins

    Sasha'sSpins Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking the same thing. Mao is still competing and still has a chance to go for Olympic gold.

    Michelle was not hindered by the school figures the way Janet Lynn and Denise Biellmann were. And once again one can't compare 'greatness' from one era to the other. Lynn imo was the greatest of her day never to win Olympic gold as was Biellmann, and Colledge. Laurence Owen certainly had the goods but it is difficult to judge as she never got the chance to go head to head against Djistra at '61 worlds and in the years after leading up to '64. She placed 6th at the '60 Olympics and was definitely a contender with the retirement of Heiss and some others. Her style imo was more appealing but then so was Lynn versus the others. School figures were still very much a factor in Owen's day but I certainly believe she could have won Olympic gold. I would say Cohen was the greatest never to fulfill her potential or seemed not to according critics who expected more of her given her talent. To me she was the greatest short program skater of her day but just could never pull it together in the long.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2011
  24. Zokko!

    Zokko! Comansnala?

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    Lu Chen. Period.
    Should've been in the list; much more than Cohen or Sumners.
  25. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

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    The poll asks "who was the greatest" single lady skater to not win an Olympic gold. I wouldn't put skaters like Kerrigan, Fratianne, Cohen, Chen in the group of "great" skaters though. They were very good. Good enough to be WC during their era, but they weren't great skaters, IMO.
  26. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    Fratianne was a contender for the OGM, having won a couple of world titles. Had she won the OGM, she would have been considered 'great'.

    Cohen was a contender for the OGM too, although her track record at worlds created many doubts and she proved the doubters right. I would not consider her 'great' because she always had the potential but never realized it.

    Chen was very good but I don't think she ever came close to being great. Had she won a second world title before the 98 Olympics, she would have been a contender for a gold and might have qualified for 'great'.

    All three could have been great, but did not become that. Missing the OGM just confirmed that. I think you may be right. This poll is for skaters that were already great, but missed out on the OGM for whatever reason.
  27. Mafke

    Mafke New Member

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    Lynn wasn't so much hindered by school figures (a part of the sport she has rigorously defended). She was hindered by

    1. scoring system that let figures specialists run up huge leads.
    2. having to skate against a supreme figures titan (and two others who weren't too far behind).
    3. weak mental game

    Biellmann was more hindered but IIRC she didn't really train them hard enough (for the time) and there may have been coaching/training issues with her figures as well. In her day flitting around from coach to coach to iron out different problems wasn't really done - you had your coach and if they had a weakness then so did you.
  28. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    Biellman turned pro too soon (at age 17) which made it impossible for her to become truly great.
  29. RumbleFish

    RumbleFish New Member

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    Figures era without SP - Janet Lynn: I've only seen her skate through fuzzy videos, but she was artistically sublime and one of the more innovative jumpers at the time.

    Figures era with SP - Denise Biellman: Stunning balance of beauty and athleticism. She made stroking around the rink beautiful, and she was capable of 3Lz on correct edge. I see some top men nowadays cannot do the same.

    6.0 era without Figures - Michelle Kwan: As have so many pointed out, she was beautiful and brought the competitive fire when it was really needed.

    IJS era - I'm not so sure, but if I had to pick one it would be Irina Slutskaya. It was a bummer to see her not winning the gold in Torino. Though she competed under IJS for only 4 years or so, she deserves an honorable mention since IMO, she is a close second as a choice for 6.0 era without figures.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2011
  30. Mafke

    Mafke New Member

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    Agree about Lynn (and would add Colledge for historical reasons)

    Not so sure about Biellmann. She left very young (I keep forgetting just how young) and kind of sucked at a major part of the competition. Fratianne was better all around. Biellmann would work if you specify 'free skater' and not 'figure skater' (let alone 'figures skater').

    Agree about Kwan.

    I would add two transitional figures

    Ito - 6.0 with and without figures

    Slutskaya - 6.0 and CoP

    (I wouldn't count 2003 and 2004 as IJS, it was still 6.0 just with more randomized results).
  31. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    Fratianne's skating was never very appealing to me. I for one never felt sorry she didnt win the OGM. To me she looks like a poor womens Kerrigan for the time but with better nerves. I much prefer watching any of Watanabe, Marie Allen, Biellmann, Voderezova, even Sandy Lenz who was a journeywomen U.S skater of the time I much preferred. To be honest I even prefered Poetzsch's Olympic free skate to Fratianne's, despite that in points Fratianne was placed clearly ahead. She was lucky to be in an era where she was a better free skater than an erratic free skater (Poetzsch) and a very weak one (Lurz), while the truly good free skaters were all weak at figures so she gained a huge edge just by being ok at them.

    Not to mention her whining post the 1980 Olympics is a huge turn off. When I read an article from the 2002 Olympics where she was still complaining, and used the Sale/Pelletier controversy to pipe off and bring herself in I just rolled my eyes.
  32. Mafke

    Mafke New Member

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    Oh yeah? Well I talked to Debbie last week who overheard Linda talking to Bobby in the lunchroom and she was all "Judy? Judy who? She better stop talking trash about me or I'ma call her out." She also said she was gonna talk to Mylene who would convince Dan to tell Rick to not invite you to his party. So there!
  33. RumbleFish

    RumbleFish New Member

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    I picked Denise Biellmann mostly because of her incredible style. But she also brought numerous innovations to the sport. 1st women to ever land a 3Lz. IMO, this should be credited just as much as Ito's 1st 3A. I really don't feel the need to mention the Biellmann spin, since it is named after her. lol.

    She turned pro at tender age of 17, just after winning the world title in 1981, because she unfortunately couldn't afford the training cost anymore.

    She won majority of free skating portions, but marked lower in the school figures. Since I've never done figures or seen a good footage of it, I really can't tell. But I have heard that there were lots of politiking going on during judging, and it was hard for a young skater from a no name country to receive high marks. Then again, maybe Denise just didn't excel at figures, who knows.
  34. Mafke

    Mafke New Member

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    She did not win a majority of free skating portions she was involved in. For the LP She won olympics 80 and worlds 81 (presumably more europeans but I'm not sure).

    There was and is politicking in all stages of the competition. In the old fire and ice documentary one judge argues that figures were the most fairly judged section of the competition.
  35. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    Regardless of placings Biellmann's free skating was light years ahead of Fratianne or Poetzsch. She looked like she belonged in a different division than both. If she were top 5 in figures I am quite sure she would have always been placed 1st in free skating, or atleast should have been.
  36. OnyxRose81

    OnyxRose81 Active Member

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    Kwan. The answer will always be Kwan.
    kwanette and (deleted member) like this.
  37. floskate

    floskate Vacant

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    If you were including the 1978 season into this equation I would have to disagree. I think you're absolutely right regarding Biellmann's free skating in 1980-81 (well, not 1980 Worlds where she was disasterous!!) but 1978 and even '79, Denise was still lacking in the artisrty department. Her team cottoned on and came up with a wonderfully modern (for the time) package come Lake Placid. Plus you have to remember that triple jumps were a novelty in ladies skating back then. Someone with nice style and a great double axel could score 5.5+ for technical merit which was comparable with a skater with less style but more technical content. See Sandy Lenz for evidence. I'm not convinced judges were racking up the triple counts when it came to doling out the tech marks in either mens or ladies skating back then.
  38. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    Actually I thought Sandy Lenz was scored much too low at the 1980 Olympics since she couldnt do any triples. Everything she did was excellently performed, and her programs were more interesting than almost all the top girls.

    I agree Biellmann didnt have great artistry before 1980 but honestly I didnt think either Fratianne or Poetzsch was a great artistic skater either (and Lurz certainly wasnt), and her jumps and spins were so much better than theirs IMHO.
  39. giselle23

    giselle23 Active Member

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    I think the two greatest never to win are Michelle Kwan and Janet Lynn. Michelle's competitive record and her body of work make her the obvious choice. But Janet Lynn won the free skate in 1972 and even received a 6.0 from one of the judges. I have watched this program many times and think it is one of the best free skates of all time, even though she fell on a spin. She had the misfortune to be skating at the same time as Trixi Schuba, who is probably the all-time best at figures. But in terms of what is currently admired in figure skating, Janet was the best of her era (and one of the best of all time). So I voted for Janet, just to balance things out a little bit.
  40. julieann

    julieann Well-Known Member

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    She actually didn't invent the spin she just did it a lot. ;)

    Tamara Moskvina did it 1965 and some lady in the 30s but I can't remember her name.

    I vote Kwan. :)