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  1. #1
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    fast American ladies in skating...an oxymoron?

    Tonya Harding comes to mind, but who else? Lipinski?

    The stereotype goes that Swiss skaters tend to have fast spins, Japanese skaters tend to jump well, and American ladies tend to have good spirals but skate slowly. Is there a reason for the slow reputation? Maybe it's a combination of the overuse of sappy music?
    Last edited by Kwantumleap; 07-14-2010 at 08:57 PM.

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    Doesn't Mirai skate fast?
    "Marge, if you're going to get mad at me every time I do something stupid, then I guess I'm just going to have to stop doing stupid things!" - Homer Simpson in the Mr. Plow episode

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    Nicole Bobek was fast in her heyday.

    I think Janet Lynn and Dorothy Hamill were, in their day.

  4. #4
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    Harding
    Bobek
    Nagasu
    Wagner

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    American ladies don't skate slowly. I don't know why you say that.
    The US have more skaters than any other country. So, out of the total, we see more slow skaters, that's normal. But the top US skaters are very fast.
    It's not because Caroline Zhang skates so slowly that US ladies tend to skate slowly !

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    I saw Tonia Kwiatkowski do an exhibition performance once, in a suburban arena with no seating (which is why I got to watch her up close from the boards), and she went end to end on that ice surface in about 3 1/2 strokes. She is an amazingly fast and strong skater, which I don't think ever really came across in her competitive appearances.

    She also passed high-level tests in dance and pairs, which I think must have helped her basic skating.
    Last edited by overedge; 07-15-2010 at 01:55 AM.
    You should never write words with numbers. Unless you're seven. Or your name is Prince. - "Weird Al" Yankovic, "Word Crimes"

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    Quote Originally Posted by briancoogaert View Post
    American ladies don't skate slowly. I don't know why you say that.
    The US have more skaters than any other country. So, out of the total, we see more slow skaters, that's normal. But the top US skaters are very fast.
    It's not because Caroline Zhang skates so slowly that US ladies tend to skate slowly !
    I agree. As a whole, I don't find U.S. ladies "slow" at all. Yes, Zhang has speed issues, and Czisny and Flatt aren't the fastest, but there have been many great American ladies with good speed/skating skills: Lynn, Thomas, Cadavy, Harding, Kiwatkowski, Kwan, Nam, Nikodinov, both Hughes sisters, Meissner, Wagner, Nagasu...

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    Of course Alissa and Rachael are the other slow **********. No need to talk about Caroline, but definitely, no one else is slow at all.

    ADMIN EDIT: Knock off referring to people in scatalogical terms.

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    Lipinski's definitely fast. I didn't find Sasha that slow. I haven't seen any of them live though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smarts1 View Post
    Of course Alissa and Rachael are the other slow **********.
    Well that's a bit uncalled for, isn't it?

    In all the practice sessions I have seen, Alissa Czisny is as fast as any of the current top-tiered female skaters (maybe except Kostner and Kim), but she slows down considerably in competition. It is entirely mental.

    Rachel Flatt is about average in terms of speed, but her stroking looks laborious, which adds to the impression that she is slow.

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    I think the US ladies program has always placed such great emphasis on control of the upper body & carriage that the better US ladies give the impression on TV of being slower than they are.

    When I saw Czisny live, I was surprised how fast and smooth her skating was. She covered as much ice as Joannie, but didn't seem to vary her speed quite as well.
    Keeper of Nathalie Pechelat's bitchface.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smarts1 View Post
    Of course Alissa and Rachael are the other slow **********. No need to talk about Caroline, but definitely, no one else is slow at all.
    I don't know, but I have a little hunch that more appropriate word choice could have been used here. There are free online thesauruses out there.....

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jun Y View Post
    Rachel Flatt is about average in terms of speed, but her stroking looks laborious, which adds to the impression that she is slow.
    Her slow choices, particularly the Rachmaninoff, contribute to the sense that she's a slow skater. I was watching videos of the Kerrigan's 94 Olympics LP for the thread about past olympic performances. Part of the reason some people say she didn't win the olympics then, aside from Oksana being considered better in general, was that Kerrigan didn't skate with as much attack or speed - Nancy was skating to music that was also quite slow. It's a criticism that was echoed when Kwan ended up with silver in Nagano. I've also heard the same for more recent national champions like Flatt, Czisny, and Cohen, as well as Zhang, once touted a future American champion. Maybe it's just a case of many different circumstances. It is an interesting pattern, though, and I know there are many factors.

    One consistent thread in ladies skating is the iconic ice princess reputation. I think a lot of girls see that, many coaches/choreographers are comfortable with that type of traditional approach regarding ladies and expression, and we end up seeing a lot of ladies programs (not just American) that are set to slow gentle music. I think that's part of the reason for the reputation of slow ladies skaters, especially in America where the pretty princess icon is encouraged.

    I also think that it's true that skaters that have a reputation to defend, if not tough enough, will crumble under the pressure. One of the first things that seems to go is their speed. The American ladies have long been a powerhouse in figure skating, so the pressure to keep the reputation in tact is definitely there.

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    Harding for sure. Lipinski too of course. Bobek. I think Hamill, Kerrigan, and Lynn were considered fairly fast. I am not sure about Thomas and Chin, were they considered fast?

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    Kimmie Meissner is pretty fast too. To be able to pull off a triple axel as a female you have to be fast. I agree in saying that the American ladies put more emphasis on control of upper body carriage which makes them seem a lot slower on TV than they are in reality. They also know how to use their knees for power without making it look like they are killing themselves to go faster.

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    I rewatched Elaine Zayak's and Rosalyn Sumner's World Champion LPs, and they were quite fast as appropriate with the music.

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    I remember Bebe was very fast too.

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    Michelle Kwan was fast at 2000 Worlds . . . actually very fast.

    Janet Lynn, even with her straight back and compact strokes, was disceptively fast. Her 1970 Nationals Freeskate comes to mind, when she was moving so fast that it looked like she was skating with a breeze going through her hair . . . I think of this performance as the defining performance of her career.

    ETA: Janet Lynn 1970 US Nationals LP filmed by Howard Craker
    Last edited by bardtoob; 07-15-2010 at 08:52 AM.

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    There are fast and slow skaters from every region. Remember Jennifer Robinson? She was so slow she's still competing in the 2004 worlds. Jenna McCorkel is so slow I sometimes can't tell which direction she is traveling in. Don't even get me started on the current French girls.

    I will say, however, that you rarely see it in the Japanese skaters. Part of their training from very early on is to perform all of their elements with great speed.

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    Clearly fast: Harding, Bobek, Lipinski, NNN, Liang, Wagner, Nagasu

    Fast but gawky: Hughes, Meissner, Maxwell

    Quite fast but appeared slower than usual due to smoothless/ flow: Kwan, Nikodinov, Czisny

    Average but gives the impression of being slow: Yamaguchi, Kerrigan, Cohen, Gao

    Slow: Zhang, Flatt, Gilles, Zawadzki
    Last edited by Marco; 07-15-2010 at 09:02 AM.

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