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  1. #21
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    If Ito had skated at 1981 Worlds by which time she most definitely had triple flip, loop, sal and toe - well she could have skated the hardest LP aged 11. When you put it into that kind of scenario you realise just how ahead of her time she really was.

    But for me, what makes Ito one of the greatest of all time is what else she brought to the sport; insanely difficult transitions when no one apart from Zayak was doing any transitions into triples, some very good spins particularly her scratch and combo spin, ultra difficult step sequences and lots of linking moves between elements but also her own brand of artistry which was the ability to electrify audiences as and when she chose with charisma to burn. To talk about Ito in terms of just jumps is totally missing the point of her skating IMO. What's so sad is that so much was denegrated about her skating for whatever purpose it may have suited those people who did so.....well even she started to believe that all she was good for was jumping.

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    Quote Originally Posted by olympic View Post
    Yes. Don't get me wrong. Yu Na is top-notch and deserved her wins. She is technically brilliant. But stuff of legends is usually something that will stand out decades to come. Off the top of my head, people may be discussing 'that ballerina like lady who still did a 3x in the SP and 2 3x's in the LP in Vancouver' more so than 'that gal from Korea who did everything perfectly, but I can't recall what exactly she did. She just won.'
    Really? I feel the exact opposite regarding Vancouver. All the media talk about is Mao's triple axels while basically ignoring her other qualities. I hope it's the case that people in the future can remember the balletic and airy qualities of Mao's skating.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by floskate View Post
    If Ito had skated at 1981 Worlds by which time she most definitely had triple flip, loop, sal and toe - well she could have skated the hardest LP aged 11. When you put it into that kind of scenario you realise just how ahead of her time she really was.

    But for me, what makes Ito one of the greatest of all time is what else she brought to the sport; insanely difficult transitions when no one apart from Zayak was doing any transitions into triples, some very good spins particularly her scratch and combo spin, ultra difficult step sequences and lots of linking moves between elements but also her own brand of artistry which was the ability to electrify audiences as and when she chose with charisma to burn. To talk about Ito in terms of just jumps is totally missing the point of her skating IMO. What's so sad is that so much was denegrated about her skating for whatever purpose it may have suited those people who did so.....well even she started to believe that all she was good for was jumping.
    Probably since the politics and her troubles with the very valued compulsory figures made it impossible for her to be on top for a long time to come, and so TPTB had to come up with excuses (eg- supposably weak artisty, weak this or that) in order to keep television audiences and casual fans from going into an outrage.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    It is amazing, it sounds like she could have already competed with Zayak, Witt, and Biellmann jumps wise when she was only 11 and 12 years old.
    I'm not sure how old she was at the time but the 1980 NHK exhibition clip of Midori Ito showed as much technical content as Denise Biellmann had in the long program in the actual competition that year. I think Denise actually said she was happy she didn't have to compete against Ito that year!

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    Unless you base it on a definied criteria such as most combined World and Olympic gold medals, then there's no such thing as picking a "greatest ever". The lack of a clear, objective set of criteria makes it a subjective argument. So why bother other than for the love of debate?

    The question is more about "icon" status rather than "greatest".

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by floskate View Post
    If Ito had skated at 1981 Worlds by which time she most definitely had triple flip, loop, sal and toe - well she could have skated the hardest LP aged 11. When you put it into that kind of scenario you realise just how ahead of her time she really was.

    But for me, what makes Ito one of the greatest of all time is what else she brought to the sport; insanely difficult transitions when no one apart from Zayak was doing any transitions into triples, some very good spins particularly her scratch and combo spin, ultra difficult step sequences and lots of linking moves between elements but also her own brand of artistry which was the ability to electrify audiences as and when she chose with charisma to burn. To talk about Ito in terms of just jumps is totally missing the point of her skating IMO. What's so sad is that so much was denegrated about her skating for whatever purpose it may have suited those people who did so.....well even she started to believe that all she was good for was jumping.

    Thank you. I totally agree with every word.

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    Michelle Kwan immediately comes to mind when I hear greatest ever, although it is true that she does not have the Olympic Gold medal. I think that all her world titles, the way she skates and her career longevity pretty much make up for her lack of an Olympic gold though, at least in my mind. Slutskaya? No way.. she was a good skater, but definitely not the greatest ever. I don't know enough about Henie, just that she won a lot of titles, but the technical content was so easy then. Witt is just not as good a skater as Kwan if you compare the two side by side, even though Witt won the OGM twice.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bostonfan View Post
    Unless you base it on a definied criteria such as most combined World and Olympic gold medals, then there's no such thing as picking a "greatest ever". The lack of a clear, objective set of criteria makes it a subjective argument. So why bother other than for the love of debate?

    The question is more about "icon" status rather than "greatest".
    I guess my point is when you talk about greatest ever you have:

    Pairs- most just instantly say Gordeeva & Grinkov. Some others will say Shen & Zhou now or the Protoppopovs. Maybe Miskutienok & Dmitriev have a few backers as greatest pair ever. That is it really.

    Dance- Nearly everyone says either Torvill & Dean or maybe Klimova & Ponomarenko.

    Men- Nearly everyone says Yagudin now it seems. Some would say Dick Button who was so far ahead of his time. That is it really.


    But for ladies there is alot of mixed discussion when the topic of greatest ever comes up.
    It is hard to give the unofficial title to any one skater for all the things I said about the key people to consider.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by blue_idealist View Post
    Michelle Kwan immediately comes to mind when I hear greatest ever, although it is true that she does not have the Olympic Gold medal. I think that all her world titles, the way she skates and her career longevity pretty much make up for her lack of an Olympic gold though, at least in my mind. Slutskaya? No way.. she was a good skater, but definitely not the greatest ever. I don't know enough about Henie, just that she won a lot of titles, but the technical content was so easy then. Witt is just not as good a skater as Kwan if you compare the two side by side, even though Witt won the OGM twice.
    One cant really compare the technical content of someone in her prime in the early and mid 80s to someone in her prime in the late 90s and early 2000s. That said I wholeheartedly agree that I find Kwan a much superior skater to Witt inspite of the OGMs. Many people at the time said Witt was never even the best skater of her own era, just the best competitor. People like Thomas and Kadavy to me overall look like much better skaters, yet Witt still found a way to rise up and beat ever their best at the 87 Worlds. Witt is probably the greatest competitor in womens skating history, and that is how she carved out her own place in skating history with less than the best technique or style in pretty much everything she did.

  10. #30

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    Cecelia Colledge always comes to mind . . . the first lady to do a double jump, first to perform the "Colledge" that is a one-footed Axel by either a man or woman, inventor of the layback spin, inventor of the camel spin including the flying camel that involves a change of foot, inventor of the one handed {{choke}} "Beillmann" Spin . . . There is so much that she invented in the CoP but not a single thing officially named after her. If anything, the camel spin should be named after her as the Colledge is an Axel, the layback spin in a upright spin, but camel spin is basic class of spin in and of itself that is performed by both men and women.

    ETA: I will also point out that k9henrydog on Youtube claims that she was the first to introduce the modern Spiral to freeskating, that is a Spiral TRACING IN THE ICE made in a position above the ice where the free leg is higher than the hip . . . even if there is a version of the CoP out there where so called "technical experts" tried to define a "regular spiral" as something exclusively related to the position above the ice
    Last edited by bardtoob; 07-29-2010 at 05:53 AM.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by bardtoob View Post
    Cecelia Colledge always comes to mind . . . the first lady to do a double jump, first to perform the "Colledge" that is a one-footed Axel by either a man or woman, inventor of the layback spin, inventor of the camel spin including the flying camel that involves a change of foot, inventor of the one handed {{choke}} "Beillmann" Spin . . . There is so much that she invented in the CoP but not a single thing officially named after her. If anything, the camel spin should be named after her as the Colledge is an Axel, the layback spin in a upright spin, but camel spin is basic class of spin in and of itself that is performed by both men and women.
    Wow all that and she still always lost to Henjie? That is just one of many an example of why I have a hard time taking Henjie's record totally seriously. I have read things like her rich father bought all her golds or even threatened judges with physical harm or injury if they didnt vote for her.

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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    In other words as things stand now despite that Yu Na has the slightly better competitive record and is generally viewed as the more dominant skater competitively speaking Mao's skating would leave more impact on history than Yu Na's. It is an interesting viewpoint, and I see where you are coming from too.
    Yunah needs to stick around for awhile and win a few more titles to enter the leagues of 'greatest ever'. She's clearly had one of the greatest Olympic competitions of any lady ever, but she could quickly be forgotten if she doesn't remain on top of the field for a few years.

    Mao, however, isn't yet in contention for 'greatest ever' - she showed glimmers that she could be during her first and second senior season but since then has slid backwards a bit. Perhaps because of her focus on the 3A and unusual program choices, or perhaps because that is just her trajectory. . .

    But she has distinguished herself by being the first lady to land 2 3As in a program and given that she's my favourite, I certainly hope that the best is yet to come from her.

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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    I guess my point is when you talk about greatest ever you have:

    Pairs- most just instantly say Gordeeva & Grinkov. Some others will say Shen & Zhou now or the Protoppopovs. Maybe Miskutienok & Dmitriev have a few backers as greatest pair ever. That is it really.

    Dance- Nearly everyone says either Torvill & Dean or maybe Klimova & Ponomarenko.

    Men- Nearly everyone says Yagudin now it seems. Some would say Dick Button who was so far ahead of his time. That is it really.


    But for ladies there is alot of mixed discussion when the topic of greatest ever comes up.
    It is hard to give the unofficial title to any one skater for all the things I said about the key people to consider.
    What does "everyone" mean? It´s impossible to know the opinion of every single FS fan or expert.

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27
    Witt is probably the greatest competitor in womens skating history, and that is how she carved out her own place in skating history with less than the best technique or style in pretty much everything she did.
    True, but I see Michelle Kwan in kind of the same way--one of the best competitors ever, but not necessarily one of the best skaters ever. Michelle did a lot of things well, but not that much spectacularly IMO. Of course, she didn't have a lot of competitors who could be called "best ever" either. But I would rate early Chen Lu, for instance, as a better skater overall, even if she wasn't quite as steely a competitor as Michelle.

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by neptune View Post
    True, but I see Michelle Kwan in kind of the same way--one of the best competitors ever, but not necessarily one of the best skaters ever. Michelle did a lot of things well, but not that much spectacularly IMO. Of course, she didn't have a lot of competitors who could be called "best ever" either. But I would rate early Chen Lu, for instance, as a better skater overall, even if she wasn't quite as steely a competitor as Michelle.
    Perhaps. Chen was no longer consistent by the time she and Michelle became serious rivals, she faltered badly in every event in the 95-96 season minus Worlds. When she was regularly getting bronze medals behind Baiul she had been a machine, so consistent but not getting rewarded by the judges, but much less so when she became a threat to win.

    Skaters like Slutskaya and Cohen in their primes years (Irina 2000 onwards, Sasha 2003 onwards) at their best most times probably would have beaten Kwan but they rarely produced their best when it mattered as Michelle did countless times. Irina at her best had the edge technically as far as jumps, spins, speed and power, maybe footwork. Sasha at her best had a big edge on spins, and was capable of matching or even surpassing Kwan on spirals and in artistry, especialy as Kwan's injuries forced her to water down choreography and elements after 2001 by the time Sasha was emerging. Irina rarely skated clean in a major competition though, Sasha never did, and Kwan really knew how to bring it and did so time and time again like a true champion. Maria Butyrskaya was never remotedly consistent in addition to not really matching up well with Kwan skating wise anyway. Hughes was actually quite consistent but had too many technique and stylistic flaws to beat a clean Kwan. Michelle dominated through a combination of great competitive strength, consistency, and great overall skating. During the only brief period she ran into someone who could outjump her (content wise anyway) and who was just as mentally strong she often lost- that being Tara Lipinski of course. Still I do believe Kwan is a much better skater than Witt, in addition to being nearly as strong a competitor in a time with more triples and risk in ladies skating than Witt's era.

    I think Yamaguchi is the same way too. She dominated by being extremely consistent, showing very good overall skating but nothing spectacular, and not missing hardly a thing under pressure. Ito and Harding at their best were probably better skaters than her but had higher risk moves, and in Harding's case a very sparatic career. I definitely prefer Kwan as a skater to Kristi as well though, she just has more IT factor and her best performances are more magical than Kristi's best were. She also has bigger jumps than Kristi's little triples.
    Last edited by judgejudy27; 07-29-2010 at 10:40 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    I guess my point is when you talk about greatest ever you have:

    Pairs- most just instantly say Gordeeva & Grinkov. Some others will say Shen & Zhou now or the Protoppopovs. Maybe Miskutienok & Dmitriev have a few backers as greatest pair ever. That is it really.

    Dance- Nearly everyone says either Torvill & Dean or maybe Klimova & Ponomarenko.

    Men- Nearly everyone says Yagudin now it seems. Some would say Dick Button who was so far ahead of his time. That is it really.
    But ask yourself why those people are considered the greatest. Because they made an impact in THEIR time. For example Dick Button was impressive for his time. Granted I've only ever seen about 30 seconds of archival footage. But I'm aware of his "firsts" in jumping and his many skating wins. Is he the greatest EVER? Well, how could he when it's not realistic to compare the technical element of the generations. What makes someone great in one cycle would make them non-descript if they skated against a different field iof competitors in a different generation.

    Are there some elements to greatness that transcend time? That are comparable against multiple generations? Are some skaters greatness due to luck? They achieved their particular brand of greatness at a time when their competitors were weaker than if they skated against tougher competitors? There's so many factors and opinions when it comes to defining greatness. It does make for an interesting debate.

    Your point is that the ladies discipline seems to spark MORE debate on the topic than the other disciplines. Maybe. But I disagree with the short list for the other disciplines. I could make a case for adding Scott Hamilton to the list, Brian Boitano, and most certainly Kurt Browning, etc. Shen and Zhao are serious contenders for pairs too. I don't really follow dance (I know, I know - that's blasphemy on FSU!), but I'd bet if you ask more people they'd come up with more than just the two teams. I don't think it's a wide a gap between the disciplines as you might think.
    Last edited by Bostonfan; 07-29-2010 at 12:32 PM.

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Japanfan View Post
    Yunah needs to stick around for awhile and win a few more titles to enter the leagues of 'greatest ever'. She's clearly had one of the greatest Olympic competitions of any lady ever, but she could quickly be forgotten if she doesn't remain on top of the field for a few years.

    Mao, however, isn't yet in contention for 'greatest ever' - she showed glimmers that she could be during her first and second senior season but since then has slid backwards a bit. Perhaps because of her focus on the 3A and unusual program choices, or perhaps because that is just her trajectory. . .

    But she has distinguished herself by being the first lady to land 2 3As in a program and given that she's my favourite, I certainly hope that the best is yet to come from her.
    I don't think either of them will be quickly forgotten even if they don't stay around for that long. They are definitely two of the greatest skaters I've ever seen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    One cant really compare the technical content of someone in her prime in the early and mid 80s to someone in her prime in the late 90s and early 2000s. That said I wholeheartedly agree that I find Kwan a much superior skater to Witt inspite of the OGMs. Many people at the time said Witt was never even the best skater of her own era, just the best competitor. People like Thomas and Kadavy to me overall look like much better skaters, yet Witt still found a way to rise up and beat ever their best at the 87 Worlds. Witt is probably the greatest competitor in womens skating history, and that is how she carved out her own place in skating history with less than the best technique or style in pretty much everything she did.
    I was actually thinking about Witt. After Henie, she is the most decorated lady at the Olympics but like you, I don't see anything about her technically that is 'legendary'. However, her competitive fire/spirit is what makes her memorable to all (but that's it)

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    Quote Originally Posted by miki88 View Post
    Really? I feel the exact opposite regarding Vancouver. All the media talk about is Mao's triple axels while basically ignoring her other qualities. I hope it's the case that people in the future can remember the balletic and airy qualities of Mao's skating.
    I was talking about what people may remember about them 2 - 3 decades from now. Then again, Yu Na is like the most popular woman in Korea so that might count as 'legendary' in other countries.

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    Quote Originally Posted by olympic View Post
    I was talking about what people may remember about them 2 - 3 decades from now. Then again, Yu Na is like the most popular woman in Korea so that might count as 'legendary' in other countries.
    Oh I see. I think Yuna will be remembered for her Olympic performances and as the trailblazer for Korean skating. Although I think the latter will depend on how much Korean skating develop after her. Midori Ito inspired a whole later generation of Japanese skaters. Chen Lu, another trailblazer, didn't seem to have the same effect. I think Mao will be remembered as the one who spearheaded the renaissance of Japanese skating. Although there have been many great Japanese skaters prior to her arrival, she's really the one that has got the most attention since Midori.

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