Who would have won the 1996 Winter Olympics ladies gold

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by Gabybackhand, Apr 22, 2013.

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Who would have won the 1996 Winter Olympic ladies gold

  1. Chen

    20.9%
  2. Sato

    11.3%
  3. Kerrigan

    1.7%
  4. Yamaguchi (would have come back if she saw Ito also did)

    2.6%
  5. Ito (if she still came back)

    1.7%
  6. Harding

    0.9%
  7. Bobek

    2.6%
  8. Bonaly

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  9. Baiul

    6.1%
  10. Kwan

    49.6%
  11. Slutskaya

    1.7%
  12. other (Szewcenko, Butyrskaya, etc...)

    0.9%
  1. Gabybackhand

    Gabybackhand Member

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    Had there been an Olympics in 1996 it would have been one of the most intersting in history, but especialy in the ladies event. You could have had any combination of Kwan, Chen, Ito, Yamaguchi, Harding, Kerrigan, Bobek, Baiul, Sato, as possible contenders for the gold, and Szewcenko, Butyrskaya, Bonaly, as bit medal contenders as well. Who would have won a 1996 Olympics had it been held.
     
  2. DarrellH

    DarrellH New Member

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    I think a fair amount of those names, like Kerrigan, would not have stayed in until 96. Some stayed only because it was a 2 year wait.
     
  3. query5

    query5 New Member

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    Kwan would have won with chen, slutskaya close 2nd 3rd

    Michelle was on fire that year winning gp events gp final, national worlds
    Michelle in pro am and beat some of the skaters,listed,Bauil, Sato, Kristi, Ito.

    Bobek probably wouldnt have done the show/tour . She probably would have made team
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2013
  4. shoocreme

    shoocreme New Member

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    either kwan or chen

    that was chen's best program of her career
     
  5. PUNKPRINCESS

    PUNKPRINCESS New Member

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    The judges spoke when they had to choose between Michelle and Lu at Worlds.

    Michelle would have won a '96 Olympics. Lu for Silver and Oksana for Bronze.
     
  6. Proustable

    Proustable New Member

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    Chen. All the variables seem to give her a bit of an edge.
     
  7. TheIronLady

    TheIronLady New Member

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    What variables? Is being the loser to Kwan at 1996 worlds a variable in her favor somehow?
     
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  8. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

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    This thread has existed before and its hard to quantify - too many variables.

    But, you would have to somehow measure those who were tops in 1996 (Kwan, Chen, Slutskaya, Butyrskaya, Bonaly, Szewczenko) against those who may have decided to stay longer:

    Kerrigan (no) - It was a push to get her to stick around until 1994. So, I'm thinking it would've been way too much for the USFSA to expect her to compete until 1996. The USFSA isn't the Chinese Fed., after all ...
    Baiul (maybe) - Leaning toward yes, though. She only really began her elite career in 1993, so her coaching staff would've probably tapered her for a 1996 Olympic competition. Then again, I put 'maybe' because I believe she dealt with growth spurts and injury issues (even just skating on the pro circuit) after Lillehamer. Pushing herself in those years to keep up with gals starting to do 7 triples could have been her undoing and she may not have made it.
    Sato (yes) - I think she was doing quite well (technically) on the pro circuit after Lillehamer and she probably would've had the goods to compete until 1996. Winning 1994 Worlds showed she had 'gas in the tank' after Lillehamer.
    Chouinard (yes) - I think she only debuted at the elite level in the 1990- 91 season, so I'm sure she would've wanted to push for 1996. I think she also did well on the pro circuit like Sato. Now, she was a renowned head case competitively, so how she would've stacked up in those years when 7 triple programs became necessary is anyone's guess.
    Harding (maybe) - There may have been no 'whack heard 'round the world' in the run-up to 1994. So, she would've been free and clear to compete until 1996, and may have seen a chance for herself to be #1 US lady with the retirement of Kerrigan and of course, no Yamaguchi. The rest of the US ladies from her era had disappeared as well. But, it's not like the USFSA liked her, she was 2 years older, and her motivation and training habits were quite bad.
    Witt (yes) - She would've mattered even less than in 1994, but I think she was just skating for herself and would've tried to make it. I think Germany had a 2nd spot for 1996?
     
  9. duane

    duane New Member

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    I think Oksana, who was always a fierce competitor. And, she would have had the edge in the presentation marks over both Michelle and Lu (not saying I necessarily agree, but think she would have in the judges' eyes). She did have the growth spurt, but I think she would have dealt with it mostly during 95 and been ready by 1996. She had injury issues on the pro circuit, but I think she was enjoying the good life after winning gold in 1994, and I suspect wasn't training anywhere near what was needed to stay ahead in the game.
     
  10. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    Even with the best presentation marks Baiul would have had to do 6 triples, a triple-double combination, and a 2nd triple lutz to have any hope of winning. I have my doubts on her ever doing that type of content cleanly, especialy as in hindsight it seems her jumping peak was actually 93-94 when she was struggling to do clean 5 triple programs with no combinations, as with injuries and her growth spurt her jumping just went downhill from there.

    I really dont know who would have won the 96 gold. I honestly cant see 15 year old Kwan being allowed to win the Olympic Gold in a field with more veteran skaters in it. However I cant really see Baiul wining it for the reason(s) stated above. Chen was always below Baiul when they skated, and was put below Kwan when many thought she should have won in 96, and was never a judges favorite (although they did give her a goodbye gift in Nagano). I actually think if Sato skated at the level of her pro competitions that season she would have had a good shot of winning, especialy if she built on her World title victory in 94. In any case the judges would have given it to an established skater, not someone like Kwan who would have likely been coming from 8th or 9th in the World in 95 in this new scenario, if she was even at the 95 Worlds to begin with depending which U.S skaters were still around.

    I dont see Yamaguchi returning, if she didnt in 94 when she could have won the gold with ridiculous ease why would she ever do it in 96. Obviously the lure of another Oly Gold didnt appeal to her by then, she was happy in her pro life. Ito might have still returned but was clearly past the mindset for amateur competition by then so it wouldnt matter. I dont see Kerrigan staying in, but I could be wrong. I could actually see Harding staying in but god knows how she would have been skating.

    Bobek probably would have taken 96 alot more seriously if it were an Olympic year, if she was still coming off her successful 95 year. Whether that would have allowed her to fix her flutz and further perfect her jump technique and stamina is hard to say though. The 95 Worlds show she is clearly more of a judges favorite than Chen as well tough, as Chen was never winning those Worlds without Bobek's 2 falls.
     
  11. FunnyBut

    FunnyBut Well-Known Member

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    Kwan. She was the dominant skater at the time. Chen would have been her biggest rival, if the infighting with her coach hadnt started by then.

    I doubt Kristi would have come back just because Midori did. I think she had done what she wanted as an amateur, and moved on with her life. If the allure of a second Gold medal couldnt bring her back, nothing else could.
     
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  12. Lnt175

    Lnt175 Member

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    I think Chen would've won, because she would've been the star of that quad (92-96) but Kwan definitely still could've taken the title. If an Olympics existed in Canada (as worlds did that year) and no Chinese judge Kwan might still have the egde. I don't think anyone else was really coming close. Bobek only if she got her act together which was rare, unlike Kwan and Chen who almost always brought their A game at big competitions. Sato had incredible skating skills but had consistency issues on doing 6 or 7 triple programs as it started becoming the norm by then. Its alot of the reasons why she lost alot of competitions to Chen between 92-94.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2013
  13. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    LOL why assume Chen would have been "the star" of the 92-96 quad. Nothing that actually happened suggests this. 1993 and 1994 did happen and she could never rise above 3rd place. It would have been easy to make her the heir apparent to Yamaguchi, she came onto the scene doing 6 triple programs, 2 triple lutzes, great choreography and style for a young skater, did one of the only clean LPs of the Albertville Olympics, most thought deserved silver at the 92 Worlds. Yet she barely won bronze at the 92 Worlds, placing 4th in the LP, and originally was 5th in the LP but only an ordinal flip pushed above a poor Chouinard in the LP and past a sloppy 2 fall Hubert overall (Hubert still was 3rd in the LP but had been 5th in the SP to Chen's 2nd). At the 93 Worlds she again barely won bronze, being 5th with a clean SP, and rising to bronze after Kerrigan and Chouinard fell apart. At the 95 Worlds she won after short program leader who had all but been given the title at that point, Nicole Bobek, fell apart, and after 2nd place Markova also had problems, and even then Bonaly, Kwan, and 2 fall Bobek all had some 1st place votes in the LP. She didnt win any significant event the whole 95-96 season as reigning World Champion, including her Worlds defeat where she skated beautifully. So as it was she was far from the runaway start of 92-96 yet with probably more people added she was going to be it? I dont think so. The judges never really saw her as the top dog ever, she certainly wasnt ever the star per say.

    That said if you feel she would have won the 96 Olympics that is fine, it isnt totally unreasonable, especialy as I mentioned I for one have a hard time seeing the judges have 15 year old Kwan winning the Oly Gold, but she was never going to be the star of the quad. If she won it would have been a quiet Shizuka like win situation, and mostly based on the people the judges would have rather won (Baiul, Bobek, some other American skater, etc....) not skating well enough to do it and the judges having no choice.
     
  14. duane

    duane New Member

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    I don't think so. Other than Michelle and Surya, hardly any other skaters consistently landed 6 triples in a program--which is why 5-triple programs were winning a lot from 93-95. I do think Oksana--knowing the edge she had in presentation--probably would have added a 2nd triple (perhaps just a 2nd 3t in combo) for good measure. But I can still see her winning with 5 triples--depending on how the judges would have marked Michelle's presentation versus Oksana's.
     
  15. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    Fair enough. I dont think she could have won with a performance like her 94 Olympic one, with only 3 clean triples though. She probably would have won the 95 Worlds with something like that (by reputation alone) but not the 96 Olympics.
     
  16. Seerek

    Seerek Well-Known Member

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    Germany actually only had 1 Worlds spot in 1996 as Tanja Szewczenko withdrew after the SP at 1995 Worlds and Marina Kielmann and Simone Lang didn't place top 10.

    At the very worst, Josee could have helped Canada retain 2 spots for Worlds/Olympic teams.
     
  17. query5

    query5 New Member

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    Michelle kwan because she would have stayed junior one more year.
    She would have won the 1993junoir natl title, which would have pleased both Frank and the USFSA.
    She still would have won 1994 junior worlds,vwould have been pushed as,rising , emergying star just for olympics
    with irina.
    Michelle and Irina would been next it skaters taking on
    Lu chen, oskana, yuka to a point.
     
  18. query5

    query5 New Member

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    Michelle kwan because she would have stayed junior one more year.
    She would have won the 1993junoir natl title, which would have pleased both Frank and the USFSA.
    She still would have won 1994 junior worlds,vwould have been pushed as,rising , emergying star just for olympics
    with irina.
    Michelle and Irina would been next it skaters taking on
    Lu chen, oskana, yuka to a point.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2013
  19. Proustable

    Proustable New Member

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    That not much changes for Chen whereas Kwan would likely feel less pressure to jump to seniors (against the will of her coach), Kerrigan might exist as the US number one longer, Harding might haven't made that decision that affected her reputation, etc. Essentially, my belief is that a 1996 Olympics affects Kwan more because there are a lot more hypothetical possibilities that change the route of her career than that of Chen.

    So no, being the loser to Kwan at 1996 is not a variable in her favor somehow.
     
  20. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    Kerrigan said in numerous interviews she never would have stayed for a 96 Olympics. She only stayed in such it was 2 more years, and even that was a push and likely required some USFSA prodding to do so. She never really loved to compete like many of the others so that is hardly a surprise. Once she turned pro she basically treated the pro competitions like a joke, so obviously was happy to be done with competition as quickly as possible. People need to stop factoring her into the whole equation, she had no interest whatsoever of trying for a 96 Olympics.

    Yamaguchi likewise shouldnt even be considered since she had 2 clear opportunities to reinstate- 1994 and 1996, and the former she would have had a cakewalk to the gold (most likely) and didnt use either of them. She too had no interest skating amateur at that point, had she not won in Albertville it probably would have been a whole different story, but once she got that she was more than happy to abort amateur skating and settle into pro skating full time, as much as many others seemingly wanted her stay in or return to amateur given her level of skating still in the pro ranks.
     
  21. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

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    I wonder what Ito would've done if there was an Olympiad in 1996. On the one hand, she did reinstate, but I always thought it was due to the fact that the Olympics were in Nagano in 1998. Without that and with Yuka Sato (supposedly) in the picture, what would she have done?
     
  22. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    I always got the impression the JSF pushed her to comeback more than her ever wanting to. With Sato a contender they probably wouldnt have bothered her to return and she wouldnt have in the first place. Then if she did, well her comeback was pretty much a flop due to the pressure, so likely would have gone the same way.
     
  23. fenway2

    fenway2 Well-Known Member

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    As long as we're doing all these what ifs, Lu Chen wouldn't have competed in Lillehammer and likely would have spared her body a month, competed at 94 worlds, maybe won and gone into the 1996 Olympics as a two-time reigning world champion. That probably would have been more than enough to give her the clout to win if she'd competed her 96 worlds programs but at the Olympics instead. And I think Bobek would have stayed focused just 11 more months, stayed in shape, not toured in that dumb show, stayed healthy, continued the high jump difficulty and held off Kwan for the silver. I just don't see Sato as a factor. Her 94 worlds was a once in a lifetime performance. I'd say Baiul wouldn't have been a factor either but she also seems to surprise me.
     
  24. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

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    US Nationals would've been interesting - Kerrigan and Yamaguchi no longer competing, and Ervin, regardless of when the Olympics were, would've retired in 1994 to attend Harvard. So, in my calculations, that would've left - Kwan, Bobek, Kwiatkowski, Lipinski and perhaps Harding. Would Lipinski as a 13 yr. old made the team in an Olympic year? Probably not. Knowing Harding, if she had continued, would've created a sideshow containing some sort of drama and the US judges would've reacted in disgust.

    I think that would've left a team of Kwan, Bobek, and Kwiatkowski.
     
  25. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    Chen wouldnt have won the 94 Worlds. Baiul would have been there, and Chen never beat Baiul around then, or even came close. I give Chen maybe like 3% chance to beat Baiul at the 94 Worlds. Sato on home ice skating as she did would also have been very hard for her to beat. Of course if Kerrigan did stay around (she probably wouldnt stay for the 96 Olympics but maybe for a couple more years) she likely beats Chen as well, as long as she doesnt have a disaester, and if she doesnt and Harding is U.S #1 and in decent shape she does instead.

    I dont think she would have even won the 95 Worlds TBH. If she did only 5 triples and 1 triple lutz, and given judging preference Baiul would have been put over her, even if Baiul did a Lillehammer like performance (5 triples with two 2 foots). Sato duplicating her pro level performances of that season would have beaten her as well.

    Probably the only event she might have won that quad is the 96 Olympics itself.

    BTW regarding Sato she only got better as a pro, so likely would have done so as an amateur from 94 onwards. Her spins, footwork, spirals, and basic skating are all much superior to Chen as well, and Chen was never a judges favorite and was arguably robbed many times in her career (93 Worlds, 94 Olympics, 96 Worlds, 92 Worlds).
     
  26. aidan

    aidan Active Member

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    Chouinard actually did comeback and compete at the amateur level in 1996. She had a good Grand Prix season, but lost Nationals with a horrible one triple performance, to a very mediocre program by JSlo (Jennifer Robinson). That was likely the lowest point in her career, and Chouinard was not sent to Worlds (held in Canada).

    I think that was the reason Skate Canada changed the rules to not make Nationals the sole qualifier for Worlds/Olympics. This ultimately cost Sandhu the chance to compete in the 1998 Olympics, which was a huge blow for a 17-year-old headcase, and he has gone on record saying it had terrible impact on the rest of his career.

    Sato was amazing, but usually fell apart under pressure. Except for 94 Worlds, I don't recall her ever having two clean performances in a major amateur competition, so it would be difficult for her to get gold with the consistency of the other contenders. Having said that, I guess lightening could have struck twice...
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2013
  27. Vash01

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

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    I have to agree with this. In 1996, Michelle had just learned to present herself as a 'lady'. Even though she won with Salome, she was not the best artist out there at that time; it was Chen Lu. Oksana was a natural artist, an extroverted and emotional artist, and she would have beaten Michelle artistically in 1996.
     
  28. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    I agree Baiul would have had the highest artistic marks of the 96 field, as Chen was a stunning artist by then but never was a big judges favorite. Do you think she would have a strong enough jumper to win by then. I guess a good question is what she would have had to do to win. Would 5 triples and only 1 triple lutz have possibly been enough, or would she have needed 6 triples, a triple lutz-double toe combination, and a 2nd triple lutz. Was she capable of latter.
     
  29. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

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    I really don't know how Baiul would have evolved artistically.
    Her LP from 1993-1994 was not good. Her SP in 1994 was fabulous. But as a professional, she didn't have that good programs and went back to her Swan.
    I don't think she was a hard worker enough (and artist) to create beautiful programs year after year. ;)
     
  30. aidan

    aidan Active Member

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    At the 1994 Olympics, Chen was placed 4th in the short program despite a flawed lutz combination and running in to the boards. A skater who wasn't one of the favourite with the judges would have been dropped much farther down the standings.

    The major flaw in your logic is that you are assuming skaters don’t develop/change. Look at Kwan - she gave a technically brilliant performance at 1995 Worlds, but the judges kept her off the podium. The next year she changed significantly, and commanded the respect of the judges. This similar to what Lu Chen did, where she was technically strong in 1992/93, but really improved artistically in 1994-1996 and became a contender.