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  1. #61
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    I think if all four had skated well, the team still would have been Boitano and
    Davis. Mitchell and Eldredge were probably seen as also-rans, and Davis as the future. Boitano would have made the team even if he screwed up royally. He was basically given a pass to the Olys. I was told that he was really pissed off that the judges didn't give him the national title that year, because he felt that a skater with his name and of his caliber laid down a program that was worthy of a national championship going into the Olys. And that it diminished his 'aura' which affected his performance at the Olys. Typical drama queen stuff.

    It needs to be noted that 1994 season was really the start of the Elvis Era. You needed two 3axels and likely a quad. Mark Mitchell never did two 3axels in a program. So it separated the 'old time' skating from the new jumpier model. Like with Jill Trenary his time had passed. He needed 1992, it was his only chance. I suppose it was his fault he showed up with a tired retread program that didn't maximize his strengths in 1992. Seriously, he skated the best he ever did to that program in 1991 yet DIDN'T get the marks. HELLO? Maybe that's saying something? Would've could've should'ves.

  2. #62

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    Going back to Wylie vs. Mitchell at the 1992 US Nationals...

    I liked both of those skaters very, very much, but (full disclosure) I admit to having preferred Wylie. I was in Orlando and was thrilled for Paul, but it definitely seemed like the kind of result people would talk about in the future.

    I reviewed the two programs on video last night. Unfortunately, I'm working from a sort of faded tape for Mitchell (the Wylie video source was better), and I'm not confident about what I'm seeing. I'd welcome comments from others who have the opportunity to review sharp copies of both program.

    Based on what I think I saw in reviewing the tapes, I'm not sure the Wylie-over-Mitchell call was an egregious error:

    Wylie
    3F
    3A step out
    3Z unchecked/curved landing with 3-turn
    3S
    3A step out 2T
    3Z .. 2T sequence (review 3Z for underrotation)
    3T (review for forward take-off)
    2A
    Total 2009-2010 COP base value: 45.66 (applying
    the 80% factor to the two sequences)

    Mitchell
    3A
    3F3T very messy step out with both hands down; he did everything but fall, and I think the 3T took off forward
    3Z looked underrotated
    3Lp
    3S looked underrotated
    3T again, it looked like a forward take-off
    2A
    Total 2009-2010 COP base value: 40.7

    Bowman did eight triples (though I didn't analyze the landings carefully), repeating the flip and the toe.

    Mitchell had only 7 jumping passes, in addition to only one 3A attempt and one 3Z attempt. I think his program might have been interpreted (along with the fairly small jumps) as less powerful/athletic than Wylie's. Wylie's three unclean landings would have substantially narrowed (or closed) the technical gap before consideration of pre-rotation/underrotation, but I think his jumps, in total, came closer to full rotation than Mitchell's.
    Last edited by acraven; 06-03-2010 at 10:07 PM.

  3. #63

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    Thanks for the breakdown.

    It would also be interesting to analyze the other aspects of the programs. I don't have them in front of me at the moment, but I'd guess Wylie was stronger on spins and Mitchell on transitions.

    They were both great skaters and just adequate jumpers, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by acraven View Post
    Bowman did eight triples (though I didn't analyze the landings carefully), repeating the flip and the toe.
    He didn't do a triple axel there though, right? So did he have an extra repeat or did he only have seven triples (and at least one double axel)?

  4. #64
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    Yes, Paul was attempting two lutzes and two 3axels, which was far more ambitious than Mitchell. But Wylie only cleanly landed that final 3lutz. The rest were botched. A for effort, D for execution. And he didn't do 3loops either. Mark did the full complement of jumps.
    Last edited by IceKween; 06-03-2010 at 10:22 PM.

  5. #65

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    It would also be interesting to analyze the other aspects of the programs. I don't have them in front of me at the moment, but I'd guess Wylie was stronger on spins and Mitchell on transitions.

    He didn't do a triple axel there though, right? So did he have an extra repeat or did he only have seven triples (and at least one double axel)?
    You're right, of course. Bowman did not attempt a 3A; he did two 2As. He had seven, not eight, triples.

    I'd say Wylie's spins were stronger, but I don't think he was quite at his best in that regard: At least one spin was a bit too high to pass muster under COP (Mitchell's sit spins were even higher, or so it seemed from the camera angle in the video).

    I'm not sure about the transitions, but you may well be right. Mitchell had a lot of spirals, especially. Most weren't held very long in this particular performance, but they were there. He did the 2A out of a Walley.

    Wylie's style, as usual, was sharper/crisper, and Mitchell's was more flowy. I have no idea whether the judges would have favored Wylie from the standpoint of energy level, but I think it is possible. However, as a non-expert I'd say both their programs were very strong artistically by the standards of the time.

  6. #66

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    Follow-up post to list the transitions I can identify in Wylie's and Mitchell's programs:

    I'm utterly incapable of identifying turns in footwork, so Mitchell gets shafted there--he seemed to have more turns. How many of them were something other than 3-turns, I cannot say.

    Wylie:
    Extended back outer spiral
    Series of rapid 3-turns or twizzles, depending upon where you draw the line
    Extended forward outer spiral
    Extended forward spiral into 3F
    Inside spread eagle into flying sit spin (that didn't get quite low enough)
    Bent-leg leap
    Footwork/turns into strong combo spin
    Bauer (couldn't tell whether there was decent back bend)
    Extended Bauer with good back bend
    Brief spiral and turn into flying camel
    Footwork (quick unidirectional turns) into 3T
    Extended outer spread eagle
    High Russian splits (2)
    Split flip

    Mitchell:
    Extended forward spiral
    Footwork into flying sit (not low enough)
    Knee slide
    Extended edges out of 3Lp, then backbend
    Forward inner spiral-turns-spiral-knee slide-turns-brief spread eagle into camel-change-camel
    Turns into forward outer spiral
    Bauer and very brief spiral
    Edges with four brief spirals
    Skid spiral
    Very small leap (maybe a falling leaf, but may not have even reached 90 degrees)
    Walley and double 3-turn into 2A
    Again, he had a lot of turns that I can't identify.

    Mitchell could and did do nice spirals, but for me this program would have benefitted by having fewer of them, held longer. In many his free leg didn't reach hip level (based on video camera angle), whereas I'd consider practically every one of Wylie's field moves to be extremely good to exceptional. In addition, Wylie had four transititions of impressive height and athleticism (the leap and the 3 splits); by comparison, Mitchell included a couple of knee slides. Low moves like knee slides add variety, but overall I'd call Mitchell's program more "smooth" than "powerful".

    I suspect, though, that it was something about the jumps that tipped the balance for whichever judges voted for Wylie (don't have Mitchell's scores so don't know how the ordinals split). Wasn't it always the jumps?

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by acraven View Post
    Wasn't it always the jumps?
    I haven't analyzed the programs the way you all did, but Wylie the veteran could have gotten the nod over Mitchell the would-be Olympic/world novice (in 92). Plus the swan song sentiment for Paul too.
    Last edited by jlai; 06-04-2010 at 12:40 AM.

  8. #68

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    I don't have time to do a re-watch, so I won't do a detailed analysis, but I did watch this competition in the last few months and my thought was that you could probably make a good argument for any of the top 3 to be in any order, at least in the free skate. I can see how people might disagree with the result and think that Mitchell should have finished ahead of Wylie and/or Bowman, but I have a much harder time thinking that the fix was in because I think there's a good argument for Wylie and agree with the comments that acraven made, especially that Wylie's had more energy.

    Skating aside, I also have a hard time believing that Paul Wylie would be the beneficiary of any conspiracy to fix the results. Wylie had already been to the Olympics and to several Worlds without producing any results, and I don't see any reason why the USFSA would have wanted to conspire to place him over Mitchell. Mitchell was a young up and comer with lots of potential, and if anything, I would have thought that the USFSA would have wanted to push him over Wylie who was considered old, past it, and likely to finish in the 9-11 range at the Olympics and then retire.

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceKween View Post
    Scott Davis landed two 3axels at 1994 Nationals. Mark had his problems. Wasn't there a back injury plus his less than ideal competitive fire? They had totally different styles. Davis was more sparkly and showy, and Mitchell was just classic beautiful skating. Davis also had the sex factor going that year. (and straight factor most importantly to the judges I bet) Mark was a disaster at 94 Nats, so yes Davis was better at that competition. But overall, it just depends what you are looking for.

    I never really got into Eldredge's skating. His jumps were not pretty. His landings seemed low or hunched or his free leg would check forward and then go back. It was weird and ugly. And for all his spinning ability, I was never impressed with even one position he hit. He was like Tonia Kwiatkowski only more consistent. Not alot to really like, but a solid, conservative, hard worker who got the job done.
    Typical Cathy Casey skater.. rough around the edges with good technique that fails under the pressure of competition... Whom did Cathy coach that was successful and refined? I can't think of anybody.. Nicole Bobek, Scott Davis, Damon Allen, Sydne Vogel.. All coached by Cathy Casey and all had potential unrealized and were not the best the could be..

  10. #70

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    Quote Originally Posted by eurodance2001 View Post
    Typical Cathy Casey skater.. rough around the edges with good technique that fails under the pressure of competition... Whom did Cathy coach that was successful and refined? I can't think of anybody.. Nicole Bobek, Scott Davis, Damon Allen, Sydne Vogel.. All coached by Cathy Casey and all had potential unrealized and were not the best the could be..
    Actually, I don't consider any of those skaters particularly "not refined", but I'll accepting that description for the sake of argument. Nicole didn't spend enough time with any one coach to attribute her failings to that coach, even aside from her legendarily poor training habits. Scott Davis developed vertigo, which negatively affected his consistency. Sydne Vogel grew very tall.

    Very, very few skaters have the potential to become Yu-Na Kim, Mao Asada, Michelle Kwan, Evgeni Plushenko, etc. Those who manage to consistently land a high percentage of the jumps in very challenging programs with good expression, etc., are truly freaks of nature. They must have access to good coaching during the critical developmental years. They must learn how to handle competition nerves well. And they must be lucky enough to avoid severe injuries at inopportune times.

    The most successful coaches in the world have many, many students who don't land all their jumps in competition. That doesn't mean all those skaters had unrealized potential or that their lack of success reflects coaches' failings.

    As for being "refined", though I'm neither a skater nor a dancer, I've always assumed that most graceful skaters spent a lot of time in (off-ice) dance classes beginning fairly young. Since I can't quite imagine a skating coach saying, "No, you don't need to take any dance classes; there's no particular advantage to moving well on the ice," I figure the notably ungraceful skaters either didn't want to take dance classes (a fair number of male skaters, especially, have admitted that they resisted dance classes), didn't have time for dance classes (what with skating and school), and/or didn't have the money for dance classes because of other training costs. There must be a lot of developing skaters who know dance classes are important but don't even have the money to pay for as much ice time or coaching as they need.

  11. #71
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    But a competition is not just a LP. Go back and look at the Sp's from the mens event at 92 Nationals. Both Mitchell and Bowman were clean and Wylie had a lot of problems. Blew his combination jump. He finished 4th but IMO most definitely should have been 6th behind Nielsen and Chack who also had clean SP's. If Wylie would have been 5th in the SP then he would have needed to win the LP in order to make the olympic team.

    Watching the LP's live in Orlando one was left with the feeling that Wylie's LP was just really sloppy with several mistakes.

  12. #72
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    I'm going to post Mitchell's and Wylie's 92USN programs so you can compare who you think deserved to place on the Oly team:

    Mitchell SP: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWjG2AwjSrg
    Wylie SP: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGFlaOZFjVc

    Mitchell LP: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZCU0...next=1&index=8 (poor quality, sorry)

    Wylie LP: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Yum5t6uMQ8


    Wylie was a mess in the SP and should have been lower, and the LP he was also a mess with only 4 landed jumps with no clean 3axel. Mitchell was clean in the SP and landed 6 solid jumps including a clean 3axel. I much prefer Wylie's program to Mitchell's, Wylie's program is a masterpiece IMO, but with all the bobbles, it was not a winning program.

  13. #73

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    Would Mitchell have had any chance at a result similiar to what Paul achieved in Albertville?
    Committees often consider "intangibles" when making these decisions.

  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by skatesindreams View Post
    Would Mitchell have had any chance at a result similiar to what Paul achieved in Albertville?
    Committees often consider "intangibles" when making these decisions.
    You can only predict how someone will do at a competition based on his past results. There was no way in h*ll anyone could've predicted Paul would come anywhere close to the podium much less finishing 2nd.

  15. #75

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    I appreciate all this analysis, because I hardly watched skating at all in those days -- I only became a Paul uber later on, during his professional career -- so I know very little about what went on here. It's been quite educational and fascinating.

    Of course, no matter what anyone says, I shall firmly believe that Paul deserved that Olympic slot, because that's just how I roll. Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, and ubers gotta uber.

    ETA: GAH! I was trying to watch Paul's SP, and it froze at 3:02. Stupid YouTube.
    Last edited by Wyliefan; 06-04-2010 at 06:08 PM.
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  16. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by skatesindreams View Post
    Would Mitchell have had any chance at a result similiar to what Paul achieved in Albertville?
    Committees often consider "intangibles" when making these decisions.
    Well if Browning, Barna, Bowman, and Eldredge had skated how they skated at the 91 Worlds Wylie wouldnt have come any higher than 6th in Albertville even skating as well as he did. Add to that it was shocking he skated as well as he did at Albertville. There was no way the USFSA could have forseen he had medal potential of any kind of Albertville.

    Neither Mitchell or Wylie would have been considered a medal hope for Albertville. Only Bowman and a healthy Eldredge. The mens competition turned out to be something completely unimagined though.

  17. #77
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    This period of US Men's figure skating is interesting:

    If you go back a few years into the 1980s, Bowman was to be the anointed one after Boitano retired. #2 to Boitano in '86 - '88. Then he started to fulfill that promise as '89 World silver medalist and '90 World Bronze medalist, but tanked on the road to Albertville '92. His personal messiness is legendary.

    IIRC, Wylie had been around longer than Bowman [I think Wylie was in Sarajevo '84 with Scott and Brian Boitano] but never really got it together. I think by the time of the '92 Olympic season, he he was considered a has-been that needed to retire?

    Eldredge popped up in the meantime and saved US face at '91 Worlds by snagging the Bronze, the next big thing, but probably was considered somewhat new to the scene.

    Mark Mitchell pops up and skates well at '92 Nats. I sometimes wondered if his skating was perceived by US judges as more 'feminine' and this counted against him in a close contest with Paul's and Todd's regal qualities, and Bowman the showman/bad boy-or- TPTB thought he was just too new.

    It seems that there was cause for ambivalence in the USFSA trickles down to US judges. Who to send to Albertville among this batch? A selection of perceived has-beens [Wylie], headcases [Bowman] and almost theres [Eldredge, Mitchell], and they stuck with the team [Bowman, Wylie, Eldredge] that was at least a known quantity for the Olympics hoping that at least one of those 3 could snag a medal and save US face after gold in 1984 [Hamilton] and 1988 [Boitano].
    Last edited by olympic; 06-04-2010 at 07:05 PM.

  18. #78

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    Very interesting. If you look at it that way, there are some comparisons to this year's U.S. ladies.

    Paul = Sasha
    Chris = Alissa
    Todd = Rachael (not injured, but someone new who's good at saving the U.S. team's bacon)
    Mark = Mirai

    Of course, the results were a bit different!! And I don't know where you'd put Ashley. I suppose you'd have to call her Mark no. 2.
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  19. #79

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    Quote Originally Posted by olympic View Post
    IIRC, Wylie had been around longer than Bowman [I think Wylie was in Sarajevo '84 with Scott and Brian Boitano]
    Wylie had been around longer than Bowman -- he was about 2 1/2 years older, and he was basically 2 years ahead in results. Wylie won the US and world junior men's titles in 1981, Bowman in 1983.

    Wylie was 4th in seniors at 1984 Nationals; he didn't go to Sarajevo. His first top-3 finish was 1988, bringing his first trip to Worlds and Olympics that year.

    Bowman's first Worlds was 1987.

    So there wasn't that much difference.

  20. #80

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    All this "breakdown" of the performances is, again, missing the point. The judges had decided to send Wylie over Mitchell regardless of how they skated.

    They were both from Boston, and it's known in the inner circles that basically the judges were told they had to put Paul over Mark. From my recollection (this was a while ago so I may be a bit off), a former USFSA president who also was president of the skating club of boston told several judges to put Paul Wylie above Mark Mitchell, in the judges room before the event. Of course, he was a person in a position of power; and several of the judges wanted to be in his good graces, sent to judge international events, and all that. So, you see what happened.

    But continue with your breakdowns of the programs to justify the placements if you must :-).
    Last edited by Screenie; 06-06-2010 at 09:35 PM.

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