View Poll Results: Who has been the best since Katarina Witt retired

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  • Mao Asada

    28 6.88%
  • Oksana Baiul

    1 0.25%
  • Midori Ito

    18 4.42%
  • Michelle Kwan

    176 43.24%
  • Tara Lipinski

    2 0.49%
  • Irina Slutskaya

    17 4.18%
  • Kristi Yamaguchi

    11 2.70%
  • Kim Yu Na

    143 35.14%
  • Sasha Cohen

    2 0.49%
  • Shizuka Arakawa

    7 1.72%
  • Sarah Hughes

    1 0.25%
  • Other

    1 0.25%
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  1. #21
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    The judges at the time always liked Manley alot more than Trenary and Kadavy. Manley may have won the 86 World title with her free skate had she not blown both figures and the short program (she was 3rd in the free despite not skating in the final flight). And she probably would have won the 87 World title had she skated her long program including the triple lutz cleanly. She consistently and easily beat Kadavy and Trenary when all skated clean programs, even with lesser jump content in some programs. In Calgary she nearly took 2nd in the short program over Thomas despite an easier jump combo and a noticeable bobble in the camel spin.

    I can see people not expecting Manley to skate as well as she did, but if she skated well she was always going to be marked higher than Trenary and Kadavy regardless how they skated, especialy on home ice. I think the short program in Calgary is a good indication how the powers that be saw the 3 relative as Manleys short was quite ordinary and clearly weaker than Kadavy and no better than Trenary probably.

  2. #22

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    I accidentally voted for Irina Slutskaya when I meant to vote for Michelle Kwan, but it looks like it won't make much difference.
    "Corporation, n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility." - Ambrose Bierce

  3. #23
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    I am surprised Ito doesnt have alot more votes. I thought she was a big favorite on this forum.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    I am surprised Ito doesnt have alot more votes. I thought she was a big favorite on this forum.
    She is, but when I saw this thread and looked at the options I immediately thought Kwan, just because she was such a great competitor, as Witt was. Maybe that's what people were comparing. I mean, when it comes to actual skating, there are a lot of skaters since Witt who i would rank above her. A LOT!

  5. #25
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    ^Agreed, and that was my first thought. Witt was great at many things, but in terms of actual skating, you're talking Ito, Yamaguchi, Kwan, Slutskaya, Arakawa, Kim and Asada who, IMO, are better.

  6. #26

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    I also think that it's quite telling that people more about Witt's competitive strength as opposed to her skating strength. It seems to be "common knowledge" that many of Witt's competitors were superior to Witt in terms of skating. For those of you who actually watched skating during Witt's heyday, was that actually the case or is that something some people (like Christine Brennan) made up?

    Also, for those of us who had to watch 1980s skating through youtube or other videos, do you find Witt to be inferior to her competitors? As for me, I sort of do, but I don't know if it's because I'm unfairly judging Witt through a contemporary skating lens and comparing her with her record which gives a viewer a sort of expectation about her skating. I can say that I greatly preferred Cadavy and Ito over Witt. But again, maybe it's because I started really watching skating in the late-90s and prefer certain things over others.
    "Corporation, n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility." - Ambrose Bierce

  7. #27
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    ^I've watched 88 a few times, and in my not very qualified opinion, I found Thomas and Ito to be far better skaters.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by VIETgrlTerifa View Post
    I also think that it's quite telling that people more about Witt's competitive strength as opposed to her skating strength. It seems to be "common knowledge" that many of Witt's competitors were superior to Witt in terms of skating. For those of you who actually watched skating during Witt's heyday, was that actually the case or is that something some people (like Christine Brennan) made up?

    Also, for those of us who had to watch 1980s skating through youtube or other videos, do you find Witt to be inferior to her competitors? As for me, I sort of do, but I don't know if it's because I'm unfairly judging Witt through a contemporary skating lens and comparing her with her record which gives a viewer a sort of expectation about her skating. I can say that I greatly preferred Cadavy and Ito over Witt. But again, maybe it's because I started really watching skating in the late-90s and prefer certain things over others.
    Interesting points. I think it's true that she was never the package that her contemporaries were but she had a few things going for her that others did not. When she first came on the scene she was only about 14 I think but what she did have above some of her contemporaries in 1981 - 83 was consistency on her bread and butter triple jumps. Other than Biellmann and Zayak, most skaters were doing either triple sal or triple toe and some attempted both but they weren't very consistent. Witt had a wonderful triple toe with tons of speed in and out; very powerful. Her sal technique was more suspect but she pretty much always landed one of the two and again, when it worked, the quality was high. Plus she was also pushing the technical boundaries of the sport by doing combo's such as her 2z-3t. She was teh second woman ever to land a clean triple flip in a World championship and she also had a triple loop although she had way more success with the flip. As an example of this, at the 1983 Europeans she actually planned a 6 triple LP (2 toes, 2 sals, flip and loop). She doubled the flip and fell on the loop but still this was waaay more than anyone else was attempting at the time other than Zayak and she was going through her fall from grace with the USFSA and the judges. (Of course Ito was already doing this and more in juniors.)

    She also was stunningly beautiful. She could sell a program like no one else at the time, even when the program was utter crap - this is the girl who went out and skated the hell out of the Muppet theme . By the time she won the Olympics, she had a lot of political push which no doubt helped her figures scoring in Sarejevo but she did deliver in the short and free and presented an allure that no other girl had. Sumners was the better basic skater but she had nowhere near the star quality that Witt had. I do think that her ability to 'sell' the sport and increase its popularity certainly helped her get the marks from judges. She was the ideal postergirl. She could skate very well, she was consistent, she had a mysterious allure to westerners due to coming from behind the iron curtain and she was drop dead gorgeous and many men just couldn't help but fall in love with her.

    She also had a killer instinct. The stories are famous of course and while I do believe that Chin, Thomas, Kadavy, Trenary Manley and Ito were all MUCH better skaters, Witt had it all over them in terms of competitive nerve. She always did what she needed to do to win, whether that was improvising to someone else's music in practice, cutting them up on the ice, flirting with the judges or whipping off a triple loop to win back Worlds when no one believed she could do it. She was gifted a few times too of course, most notably beating Ito at 1987 NHK where Midori landed 7 triples in a competition with no figures.

    She was impossibly glamourous with a natural beauty and star quality that could knock you down flat at 30 paces, and tended to make the American girls look like overdone pageant queens with huuuge hair. I loved her, but even as a kid watching her all through the 80's, her back crossovers got on my last nerve.

  9. #29
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    A true testament to Katarina's competitive drive, during the free skating warm - up at the 1987 World Championships, she actually fell on the triple loop. So, to go out and land it when it mattered, showed her 'all or nothing' spirit.

    I think that's why I love the super model era so much. The ladies looked like women and not 4'9" transplanted gymnasts.

  10. #30
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    I think Witt's skating style in the early 80s was workmen like when compared to skaters like Roz and Tiffany. During the 84 Olympic Dick said that Roz floated above the ice while Katerina dug into the ice. I didn't care for Kat's Gerschwin LP in 84 and 85 but no one else stepped up to skate better. There was a definite attempt to be more graceful in 84 when comparing it to her 83 LP.

    87 World LP was Witt's best performance. Everything came together. It didn't matter in that LP that her back was hunched or she was pumping across the ice or the lack of extensions, lines, etc. The program, the performance, even the bat-winged outfit ... everything just worked. I don't think anyone could say that Witt that year in her LP was "inferior" to anyone else. (The frenetic SP was another matter though, LOL.)

    88 Carmen was so-so as a program choreographically. I know she only did 3toes and 3sal, but those triples were huge, had great speed coming in and out, and covered great distance though.

    I think if you break Witt's skating down into pieces then yes one can argue that she was "inferior" to skaters like Roz, Chin, and Kadavy. But judging Witt's skating in its entirety then she was superior than all of those mentioned skaters.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by floskate View Post
    She was teh second woman ever to land a clean triple flip in a World championship and she also had a triple loop although she had way more success with the flip.
    I don't believe Witt ever attempted a 3flip at World. The only time I can recall her even attempting one was at 83 European, and that one was two-footed.

  12. #32
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    If we're talking about complete packages, the person most robbed in 1984 was Zayak. Her short and free programs were crowd - pleasing and dynamic. Her jumps and spins looked easy, and she had great connecting elements. She would have done very well under CoP.

    As a professional, I loved Rosalynn Sumners. She truly grew into a show skater with a distinct look of her own. As an eligible, she gave off too much of a princess quality. Her triple jumps looked difficult and swingy as well.

    Chin was great, too, but her music cuts were just god - awful.

  13. #33
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    Witt was like a modern Sonja Henie. She brought a lot of glamor and star quality to the sport. It could be argued that no one after her has achieved as much international fame for the sport. But of course her fame wasn't all due to her skating.

    I personally liked Tiffany Chin's skating the most from that era. Unfortunately, her potential was never fully realized.

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by orbitz View Post
    I don't believe Witt ever attempted a 3flip at World. The only time I can recall her even attempting one was at 83 European, and that one was two-footed.
    Yes she did do a triple flip at Worlds in 1981, 82 and 83.

    1981 Worlds held on but clean

    1982 Worlds 2footed and step out

    1983 Worlds 2footed

    1983 Europeans double flip and triple loop (fall)

    Her final triple flip attempt:
    1983 Skate Canada 2footed
    but better than most of the others she did.

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by floskate View Post
    Interesting points. I think it's true that she was never the package that her contemporaries were but she had a few things going for her that others did not. When she first came on the scene she was only about 14 I think but what she did have above some of her contemporaries in 1981 - 83 was consistency on her bread and butter triple jumps. Other than Biellmann and Zayak, most skaters were doing either triple sal or triple toe and some attempted both but they weren't very consistent. Witt had a wonderful triple toe with tons of speed in and out; very powerful. Her sal technique was more suspect but she pretty much always landed one of the two and again, when it worked, the quality was high. Plus she was also pushing the technical boundaries of the sport by doing combo's such as her 2z-3t. She was teh second woman ever to land a clean triple flip in a World championship and she also had a triple loop although she had way more success with the flip. As an example of this, at the 1983 Europeans she actually planned a 6 triple LP (2 toes, 2 sals, flip and loop). She doubled the flip and fell on the loop but still this was waaay more than anyone else was attempting at the time other than Zayak and she was going through her fall from grace with the USFSA and the judges. (Of course Ito was already doing this and more in juniors.)

    She also was stunningly beautiful. She could sell a program like no one else at the time, even when the program was utter crap - this is the girl who went out and skated the hell out of the Muppet theme . By the time she won the Olympics, she had a lot of political push which no doubt helped her figures scoring in Sarejevo but she did deliver in the short and free and presented an allure that no other girl had. Sumners was the better basic skater but she had nowhere near the star quality that Witt had. I do think that her ability to 'sell' the sport and increase its popularity certainly helped her get the marks from judges. She was the ideal postergirl. She could skate very well, she was consistent, she had a mysterious allure to westerners due to coming from behind the iron curtain and she was drop dead gorgeous and many men just couldn't help but fall in love with her.

    She also had a killer instinct. The stories are famous of course and while I do believe that Chin, Thomas, Kadavy, Trenary Manley and Ito were all MUCH better skaters, Witt had it all over them in terms of competitive nerve. She always did what she needed to do to win, whether that was improvising to someone else's music in practice, cutting them up on the ice, flirting with the judges or whipping off a triple loop to win back Worlds when no one believed she could do it. She was gifted a few times too of course, most notably beating Ito at 1987 NHK where Midori landed 7 triples in a competition with no figures.

    She was impossibly glamourous with a natural beauty and star quality that could knock you down flat at 30 paces, and tended to make the American girls look like overdone pageant queens with huuuge hair. I loved her, but even as a kid watching her all through the 80's, her back crossovers got on my last nerve.
    Beautiful explanation as to why Witt was a winner, even if a handful of other skaters were better!

    Roz had beautiful basics, but she was not really a strong jumper. Her triples always looked 'eked-out' even when she was on.

  16. #36
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    I am not sure if I remember right but at NHK 87 didnt Witt also bomb the short program and end up 3rd ahed of a young Kerrigan who skated cleanly? If so she didnt even deserve to be in position to catch Ito after the short (not that she deserved to win the long program with that skate either).

    I agree she was the consumate competitor, performer, and star though. She was the kind of star who transcended into the regular sports Worlds. That is why it is hard to define her as an actual skater, since it was those things more than her actual skating ability that made her such an amazing champion.

  17. #37

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    This excellent discussion on 1980's ladies figure skating has just reminded me of something. In 1990 Worlds, the person in second place going into the LP (and ahead of both Jill Trenary and Midori Ito who would end up in first and second places respectfully at the end of the LP) was Holly Cook! Remember her? She finished 4th in the free and that was enough to keep her ahead of Kristi Yamaguchi. Accordingly, she ended up winning the bronze.

    What ever happened to Holly? She finished 6th in Nationals the following season and then just disappeared.
    Last edited by Maofan7; 03-19-2011 at 07:51 PM.

  18. #38
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    The death of figures was the death of Cook's career and many like her. She was never going to be competitive with Yamaguchi, Harding, Kerrigan, or Trenary in free skating. She wouldnt have even made the 1990 World team without figures since Kerrigan beat her in both the short and long programs at Nationals. Heck she wouldnt have even made it with figures had Harding not been sick and bombed her performance.

    To be honest I was pretty stunned at her marks at the 1990 Worlds. I didnt see what was better about her performances than people like Lebedeva for example. She did a good job stepping in and being pretty consistent in all 3 phases when nearly all the favorites screwed up in one of the phases and that kept her in contention and ultimately put her on the podium. The margin in quality between her and Yamaguchi in the short and long programs was huge, but the field was so weak that year still nobody slotted in between them in either. I always was pretty sure her 90 Worlds medal was going to be a one off for her, especialy with figures gone.

    I think she retired since the 91 Nationals showed she wasnt competitive anymore post figures.

  19. #39
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    It was a different class and school of skating than it is, today.
    There were figures being taught and less difficult jumps done in competition by most.
    Artistic was actually valued by judges. lol

    Katarina & women like Midori Ito were different for their time.

  20. #40
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    well there were many great skaters after witt, there is michelle kwan, midori ito, mao asada, yuna kim.... but the skater that moves me the most is definitly asada, so my vote goes to her...

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