Kwan vs. Cohen -- True, Kwan was much better, especially competitively since Cohen never overcame her tendency to fall apart in the long program. However, Cohen's gorgeous flexibility (spins, spirals) certainly have had a great impact and in this aspect she was as good or better than Kwan. Although, Cohen's performances as a whole did not have the magic and transcendant quality that Kwan consistently brought to the ice. I think the more overhyped rivalry was Kwan vs. Lipinski, and to a degree, Kwan vs. Slutskaya (perhaps once or twice, IMHO, did Irina actually perform better than Kwan). Although Irina did improve and gained a lot of popular appeal toward the end of her career, Kwan was definitely the better overall skater. The real rivalry could have/ should have been Kwan vs. Bobek, as Nicole truly had tremendous talent, musicality, ability, audience appeal -- but alas, she lacked discipline and consistently strong coaching/ parental guidance.
Eldredge vs. Stojko That was a strong rivalry. The judges tended to favor Elvis (seeming to be making up for the misplaced judging at '94 Olympics). During E and S rivalry, the sport was falling in love with the quad to the detriment of quality skaters like Eldredge. Actually Eldredge began practicing the quad very diligently and he often landed it cleanly in practice, but wasn't as successful in competition. Eldredge was more of a jumper early in his career, but he later became a well-rounded skater with solid, compelling performances. Elvis was certainly not better than Eldredge stylistically -- it was more often Elvis' consistent quads and love from the judges which helped Elvis trump Eldredge.
Kerrigan vs. Harding Harding was actually much stronger technically, and she had the potential to continue to develop artistically. Kerrigan, described as having Kate Hepburn looks, and dressed in Vera Wang (and with good coaches) made an impact at '92 Olympics. Kerrigan was also lucky to be the third American on 1991 Worlds podium (after Midori Ito's crash into the boards). When TPTB would have anointed her in 1993, Kerrigan was not prepared, and thus allowed a young Oksana Baiul to sneak in for the World title, and make an impact that would later pay dividends. Little did Harding realize that by simply working hard and believing in herself, she would likely have risen above Kerrigan and the favoritism politics. In fact, IMO, it was the whack that in a strange way focused Kerrigan and made her stronger competitively. Kerrigan skated the best she'd ever skated at '94 Olympics. K vs H, definitely was a faux rivalry, based mainly on the "whack heard 'round the world."
Sale/ Pelletier vs. Sikharudlidze/ Bereshnaya This was definitely a rivalry -- no hype. Yes, S/B were artistically exquisite, but in the end, S/P were stronger competitively and I think the rivalry was a good example of Russian vs. North American style skating. Hands down, S/ P has had the better (and of course, longer) professional career. At the 2002 Olympics, S/B could not shake their nerves -- Sale, with her strong back, had much better throw jumps with smooth, solid landings, while the nerves showed on Bereshnaya's jump landings. S/B had been gifted with their placement at the 1998 Olympics over the American pair of Ina/ Dungjen. In 2002, S/B were favored, this time to win, but again they failed to completely hold up under the pressure, while S/P rocked. Okay, yes, as they say, S/B had the more intricate long program, but there was Anton's stumble out of double axel and Elena's unsteady throw jump landings. IMO, S/P displayed more confidence -- they were strong competitors with appealing and clean programs (if not costumes) that definitely rivaled S/B.
T/T vs. S/Z -- Agree, overhyped rivalry. T/T technically beautiful, but mostly boring. S/Z truthfully unrivaled from 2003 -2005, except for injuries, bad luck and the theory that Russian pairs skaters must win (especially at Olympics).
Lysacek vs. Weir -- Lysacek, as Kurt Browning famously said, became a better skater because of Johnny Weir. Lysacek had a great coach, he worked hard, and he adopted some of Weir's moves and "theatrical flair" as mentioned in March 2010 Details article. Not to denigrate Lysacek's many accomplishments, but Weir is way more talented than Lysacek artistically and technically, just not competitively, and just not politically. Faux rivalry all the way. Even at Nats in January 2010, Weir skated much better than Lysacek in the short program, but was kept behind Lysacek. Weir also skated better at 2008 Nats than Lysacek (who I believe was dealing with injury issues). Of course judges scored Lysacek's mess of a long program higher than warranted, and so he got the win (after the faux tie).
And, please, in 2005-2006, Johnny Weir was showing everyone the gorgeous athletic and artistic possibilities of male skating. Tim Goebel was still around as well, and Matt Savoie, who was a way better skater than Lysacek, was getting the short end of the stick, as usual. In 2005 (even though he lucked into winning bronze at Worlds), Lysacek was still learning mainly under Frank's associate, Ken Congemi. With Lysacek's "fluke" podium position at 2005 Worlds, Frank soon took over exclusively from Congemi.
Thank you, aftershocks, for your thoughtful, well reasoned analysis of each rivalry.
As for no rivalry based on how the judges and media saw the two pairs there also was no rivalry the other way. The only way Sale & Pelletier the golden children were going to be allowed to lose other than SLC was to fall three times and Elena & Anton to skate cleanly. So even if you think the judges of those 2 seasons are correct and that they are the god and goddess of skating who should be allowed to miss jumps every competition and still win, then I would still be correct there was no rivalry based on the actual competitions that took place, to the other extreme. Either way there was no good rivalry between the two.
It certainly makes far more sense to rate those skaters as rivals to Kwan than Cohen who never won a major title unlike Slutskaya or Lipinski, and who virtually never beat Kwan unlike Slutskaya and Lipinski.
But didnt Elvis and the media complain he was undermarked and underappreciated especialy in artistic scores during this time? I never felt that way so much but that seemed to be the consensus at the time. Maybe had internet discussions been around then I would have gained a different perspective. Still even a quadless Elvis managed consistently beat even a clean Eldredge quite a few times, so based on that it is hard for me to see it as a rivalry, plus Todd only winning 1 head to head meeting out of probably about a dozen in the 9 year period Elvis won his 8 World and Olympic medals.Eldredge vs. Stojko That was a strong rivalry. The judges tended to favor Elvis (seeming to be making up for the misplaced judging at '94 Olympics). During E and S rivalry, the sport was falling in love with the quad to the detriment of quality skaters like Eldredge. Actually Eldredge began practicing the quad very diligently and he often landed it cleanly in practice, but wasn't as successful in competition. Eldredge was more of a jumper early in his career, but he later became a well-rounded skater with solid, compelling performances. Elvis was certainly not better than Eldredge stylistically -- it was more often Elvis' consistent quads and love from the judges which helped Elvis trump Eldredge.
Evan is probably less talented than Weir but he improved to the point in later years he clearly became the better skater. His spins and footwork in later years were far superior to Weir which already gave him a big technical edge. And his jumps while less textbook were more dynamic with sharper rotation, and he did much harder layouts to earn points. In PCS he began to outscore Weir by increasing margins since his programs were skated with alot more speed and command, and had much more intricate choreography and transitions. Do note I am not a Lysacek fan whatsoever, as anyone familiar with me here will atest to.Lysacek vs. Weir -- Lysacek, as Kurt Browning famously said, became a better skater because of Johnny Weir. Lysacek had a great coach, he worked hard, and he adopted some of Weir's moves and "theatrical flair" as mentioned in March 2010 Details article. Not to denigrate Lysacek's many accomplishments, but Weir is way more talented than Lysacek artistically and technically, just not competitively, and just not politically. Faux rivalry all the way. Even at Nats in January 2010, Weir skated much better than Lysacek in the short program, but was kept behind Lysacek. Weir also skated better at 2008 Nats than Lysacek (who I believe was dealing with injury issues). Of course judges scored Lysacek's mess of a long program higher than warranted, and so he got the win (after the faux tie).
While I understand what people like so much about Weir's skating, and I do think he was undermarked at times (eg- 2010 Olympics) he never fulfilled his early potential as a skater. More and more guys began passing him by from 2005 onwards since they improved much more than he did and flat out became better skaters than him- Lambiel, Joubert (well he was always ahead of Weir really), Buttle, later Lysacek and Takahashi, later Chan and possibly Oda, and on a good day Abbott and Verner (but Weir has a big consistency edge). Those guys all moved forward in their skating in different ways from 2005 onwards, while Weir stayed still or even went backwards at times. Even now it could be argued his peak was 2004-2005, though his best ever performances were possibly the 2010 Olympics. Weir just didnt have the technical difficulty with COP unfriendly jump layouts, no quads, and often lower level non jump elements to get the TES of these others if they skated well. And as lovely as his skating can be he couldnt get the PCS of these others if they skated well either due to his programs which often have virtually no transitions or chroeography (a big must of PCS as I am sure you know) At events like the 2010 Olympics where he skated lights out and so many others made mistakes he deserved better from the judges. However there isnt really anything he does in recent years that could push him above the other top skaters if they skate well even with fair judging, for all the reasons I stated. Either way for me he cant be considered a serious rival to a guy who is now a World and Olympic Champion and who has owned him for the last 4-5 years competitively speaking, as much as I am not found of Evan.
The 2008 Nationals is the only time Evan beat Weir that I can even see an argument for Weir deserving to have beaten Evan. Weir did finish above Evan in 3 other events after the 2005 Worlds- 2006 Nationals, 2008 Skate America, and I think 2007 Cup of China. So to his credit he did still have some times placing over Evan despite Evan's far greater run of overall success during this period. Evan came out on top at 2005 Worlds, 2006 Olympics, 2006 Worlds, 2007 Nationals, 2007 Worlds, 07-08 Grand Prix final, the controversial 2008 Nationals, 2009 Nationals, 2009-2010 Grand Prix final, 2010 Nationals, and 2010 Olympics. That makes it 11-3 for Evan since Evan's coming out party at the 2005 Worlds but would be 10-4 had Weir won Nationals in 2008.
Last edited by judgejudy27; 08-05-2010 at 01:15 PM.
You really can't just say that Weir was a better skater and that's that about Lysacek vs. Weird. Maybe he was. Maybe he was more artistic (yes, probably) or more naturally talented (also yes) but Lysacek was a harder worker and after 2006 clearly outclassed Weird in nearly every competition. From 2007 onwards it wasn't even a competition; Lysacek had much more COP-friendly programs, better footwork, better spins, and did what he had to do to legitimately beat Weir time and time again.
Bourne & Kraatz vs Grishuk & Platov This rivalry was basically invented by B&K and the NA media. They never even came close to beating G&P in competition. By the time B&K had even won a world bronze medal, G&P were already reigning Olympic and multiple World champs.
Nonetheless, there was skandal when G&P beat B&K in the OD at 98 GPF with a fall, even though their jive OD was ridiculously more complex and faster. And then apparently one of the networks made some side by side comparison of their CDs in Nagano where Grishuk made a slight misstep, implying that B&K should have beaten them, even though they were down in 5th. (A comparison with K&O or A&P would have been understandable).
At least it let to Pasha's epic snarking that she could have learned the Riverdance choreo in 5 minutes.
I like your analysis, aftershocks! And I would consider Kwan v Slutskaia a much bigger rivalry than Kwan v Cohen--the latter is more of Cohen as a lady-in-waiting to Kwan.
I also agree on S/P vs B/S--it came down to style and emphasis in training (and also nerves. I still wonder what Bereznaia could have done without being browbeaten by her first partner and then taking the skate blade to the head, which could rattle ANYONE for life.)
This is the one I immediately thought of - Debi/Katarina.
Same with Sumners and Witt in 84.
There was something about Katarina's competitiveness which drew the media. I still remember the videos of her 'staring down Roslyn back in 84 during an Olympic practice..............
Mirai Nagasu vs. Caroline Zhang. They were both really good 13 year olds and then puberty sets in and Caroline's jumps went from bad to worse. I guess Mirai had issues for that one season when she grew so much, but she was very strong in 07-08 right before that, and then rebounded convincingly in 09-10. The same cannot be said for Caroline, at least not yet.
- still remember CBS’s bit on Bourne/Kraatz. I remember how Dubova basically told them to tell the world thru American media, that they were ready to fight for Olympic gold, and this was their year!
Nevertheless it was strange why they never made a mention of Bourne/Kraatz's errors considering he omitted several steps during the waltz. But IIRC I think it was CBC that accurately compared it to K/O’s waltz which should be the ONLY CD worth comparing it too. (A/P’s technique at the time was too spotty for my taste.)
- judgejudy,why is T/M and S/Z an overhyped rivalry...objectively speaking i don't think so at least to the judges eyes. Remember 2004 worlds was the last competition that both pairs went head to head (other than at the Olympics). When both teams skated clean in the LP (except for the bobble in s/z’s final lift) every judge put S/Z first. Meaning the judges would have willingly given them their 3rd world title if they had not made errors in the short. And then the judges rewarded them with a WR at 2004 GPF the following season. When both teams were healthy and competing against one another the results suggested something more like a rivalry. It was nothing like S/P’s short and punctuated rise in late 2000 leading up to the Olympics.
-Kwan vs. Slutskaya—sorry, can't think of one single thing other than spins that Slutskaya was better than Kwan at. And I’m not even a Kwaniac. It was ridiculous that Slutskaya was labeled a chief rival of Kwan as early as 2000, after she told the media of her transformation, how angry she was with her weight + missing 99 world team etc….. As if her skating really improved that much after that She could thank the lovely Butyrskaya for her hot mess of nerves, that the Federation chose not to support her. Shame since she was far superior to Slutskaya. I think Kwan would have done much better under COP when competing against Slutskaya…the quality of Kwan’s skating would have easily given her more of a cushion should she make small errors, just like the case with Yuna Kim. 2001 GPF and 2002 worlds LP perhaps?
- and then Goebel vs. Plushenko in SLC. Scotty completely ignored Goebel’s non-existent artistry and thought he could overtake Yagudin for the LP win. ((cringe))
And I agree on Elvis's flaws. However I think his timing was perfect and that is why he dominated. Todd just wasnt quite good enough, Candelero and Zagorodniuk were definitely not good enough, and Kulik and Urmanov who were good enough to beat him were crazy inconsistent and hardly ever skated cleanly. If he had been born a bit earlier or a bit later he would have been overshadowed by Browning/Petrenko or Plushenko/Yagudin his whole career but he came in at the perfect time to dominate mens skating. Of course if others want to feel Todd should have been beating Elvis more often and was held back by Elvis being overscored by all means feel that way too. I was never a fan of Elvis's skating anyway, though I greatly respected his toughness and character.
And Baiul is the most overrated female skater in history by a long ways IMO, while Sato and Chen were both underrated around that time. So you wont get any argument from me there either.
I already explained why it was an overhyped rivalry from my own perspective. Irregardless of opinions of which pair was better both teams were alternately injured and off competition the final 2 seasons of Totmianina & Marinin's career in 2004-2005 and 2005-2006. So basically what would have been a 4 year rivalry was only a 2 year one. On top of that there are hardly any competitions both turned in back to back great performances vs each other.
Jumps (bigger), jump combinations, speed, at times Irina's footwork was as good or better (though both were excellent), at times command of the ice.-Kwan vs. Slutskaya—sorry, can't think of one single thing other than spins that Slutskaya was better than Kwan at.
Maria doesnt do a single thing better than Michelle either technically or artistically and is the most inconsistent skater ever. Irina at her best is probably overall technically superior to Michelle, and she is atleast more consistent than Maria. It would have been crazy for the Russian federation to try and back Maria as their #1 to go up against Michelle. She would have had far less head to head success vs Michelle than Irina did. Maria didnt have the ability to win a Major title other than by fluke- like the 99 Worlds was sort of with Kwan not skating well and nobody else there. It seems Irina isnt liked by some people in this thread and that is fine. She isnt my favorite either. However she did score quite a few wins over Michelle, and other than the 2002 Grand Prix final I cant think of any other one that was controversial.And I’m not even a Kwaniac. It was ridiculous that Slutskaya was labeled a chief rival of Kwan as early as 2000, after she told the media of her transformation, how angry she was with her weight + missing 99 world team etc….. As if her skating really improved that much after that She could thank the lovely Butyrskaya for her hot mess of nerves, that the Federation chose not to support her. Shame since she was far superior to Slutskaya.
If Maria was the better skater the Russian federation would have backed her over Irina. They are not stupid. And how is Maria the better skater anyway. Technically she isnt even in the same league as Irina in anything- jumps, jump combinations, spins, footwork, speed and power, even spirals Irina is better in. And it is not like she is this grand artist on blades either with her stiff knees, jerky motions, lack of emotion or expression, etc...and in fact her overall presentation (different than just artistry) is most times worse than Irina's.
Yeah as the 2005 Worlds showed.I think Kwan would have done much better under COP when competing against Slutskaya
Last edited by judgejudy27; 08-06-2010 at 04:12 PM.