View Poll Results: Better skater- Yamaguchi or Yu Na Kim

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  • Yu Na Kim

    143 63.27%
  • Yamaguchi

    83 36.73%
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  1. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    Ever more funny the British judge scoring technical merit below Yamaguchi
    Especially with the obvious front inside-edge take-off on the lutzes.

  2. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by aftershocks View Post
    ITA with the above viewpoints, particularly Carmen O's post. Also, definitely agree that Kristi was not necessarily exciting to watch as a skater, but she was pretty, pleasing to watch, and an overall complete skater in her era. She worked at doing all the jumps, even her weak 3sal (which btw was weak because of the difficulty of transitioning to doing that jump as a singles skater when she was used to being thrown into the air by Rudy G, which helped her on the perhaps more difficult for her 3sal edge takeoff). ITA that Kristi improved her skating during her years as a pro, and she also developed her flirty, seductive side, but that comes with maturity and life experience. She was absolutely the bomb with Mark Ballas on DWTS. Kristi's secret weapon was her pro ice career experience and her years of working with a partner on the ice, so it was not new for her on the dance floor -- she and Mark really connected and had fun.

    I don't include MK in this context because she is incomparable in what she has accomplished in total as a skater and a person. SOme have cited MK as not having high jumps, but she possessed such technical purity in every aspect of her skating, consistency, grace, courage, and such indefinable qualities of magic and connection to the audience that there is no comparison. MK set a standard for her generation that I doubt anyone will surpass in our lifetimes.

    No, YuNa is not a better skater than MK either. YuNa has simply followed in Michelle's blade tracks, and she still has a lot of work to do. Like Robeye, I am very interested in seeing how YuNa might have improved in her lines since working with Peter Oppegard and Karen Kwan Oppegard. Personally, I think that one of Michelle Kwan's secret weapons has been her sister, Karen.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQ0xJ...eature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4J5fqOhjr4

    Yes, very long arms and legs but she knows how to use them. Lack of speed and good but not great jumps, are overshadowed by her beautiful lines, elegance, unteachable grace, and an effortless, ethereal/ spiritual quality that shows her personality and connects with the audience.

    Combine the qualities exhibited in these clips with the speed, ice coverage, and jumping ability that YuNa already possesses, and ... Wow! If Peter and Karen at least get YuNa to point her feet, that will be a huge improvement. I think YuNa has the capacity to continue to improve on her weaknesses: her innate reserved personality, poor spirals and spins, poor lines, leaving out the 3loop, to actually live up to her premature title of Queen YuNa, one of the greats.
    While I agree with many of your observations, I have to say that I come to very different conclusions, to wit:

    While it is certainly to Kristi's credit that she was able to skate pairs and as a pro, my view is that, for the purposes of comparison, these things are only marginally relevant, apples and oranges (and one of the oranges no longer exist). And the fact that both have a four-year record in singles as eligible skaters provides a pleasing (and convenient) symmetry to it.

    Kristi skated pairs as well as singles in her first two seasons (1988-1990), discontinuing after the 1989-1990 season. I'm of the view that the unspoken criteria for this question is: who was the better singles skater? But if you insist on it, then let's add that as another data point. In her two-year pairs history, Kristi/Rudy were winners in one international competition, medalled in a couple of others (although they had a string of Nationals wins), and finished 5th at Worlds both years. A nice record, but Kristi's greatness will never rest on her pairs results. But I freely grant that it shows versatility.

    The flip side to that versatility, however, is Kristi's singles record in those years: her overall win percentage was 0%, not a single win, with back-to-back off-podium finishes at Worlds. I suspect that it was no accident that she stopped her pairs skating as she entered the halfway point of that Olympic cycle.

    Yuna, OTOH, won 5 out of 8 events (62.5%)in her first two senior seasons, and medalled at both Worlds, as well as in the lone GP event she did not win (no excuses, but personally I'd cut her some slack for only winning bronze in her first ever senior competition ). Maybe it's just me, but whatever incremental weight that Kristi gets from pairs-derived versatility must be given back when their singles records for those years are placed side by side (which to my mind is far more important to begin with, for the purpose of this evaluation).

    Their two-year records in the latter half of their respective cycles are far more competitive statistically. Kristi won 70% of the time, finishing no lower than second, with 1 Oly title and 2 Worlds. Simply stellar. Yuna won 80% of the time, finishing no lower than second, with 1 Oly title and 1 Worlds, with a silver in another. People are aware of the arguments as to why post-Oly Worlds aren't quite as weighty/meaningful as in other years, so I won't belabor the point.

    To my mind, the most startling difference between Yuna and Kristi is relative dominance (that is, relative to their competitors). Given the very different scoring rules under which they competed, it's hard to do a direct eyeball comparison. However, with time and resources, some sort of sabermetrics-type techniques to measure scoring relative to their respective fields might very well be feasible. I suspect that any such results would reinforce a common-sense intuition that, 1) even if Kristi was at the top of her game, victory was never a given, but contingent upon the performance of others, and 2) that her margins of victory were well within historical norms.

    Yuna's scoring potential over the past two seasons, on the other hand, was such that 1) the question of victory was basically a matter of how many mistakes she made, and 2) her average margin of victory is a statistical outlier of monstrous proportions, if measured by standard deviation. In a way, last year's Worlds is itself persuasive as to her dominance: despite being completely and utterly off (winning Olys gold, or so I've been told, very often leads to something resembling post-partum depression), and she still came within a tabby's whisker of winning. And we need only look at the past two seasons because, as mentioned, the front end of Kristi's cycle yields no data points as far as winning is concerned.

    With regard to Kristi's pro career, I would again say that this is to her credit, but the issues with this data set are: 1)the competitive circumstances/levels of the pro circuit are a different kettle of fish in so many ways, 2) it no longer exists, so Yuna would never be able to generate a record even if she wanted to, and 3) if you want to admit evidence beyond the shared senior-eligible careers, then, logically, why not for preceding years as well? In her last year as a junior, Yuna went undefeated.

    Overall, I think we agree (if I'm reading you correctly) that Yuna's jumps were simply better, with many among the best in history, IMO, highlighted by her 3lz-3t, and that Yuna's skating skills are hugely on the plus side of the ledger. Your explanation of the source of Kristi's relative weakness with the 3s is plausible, but so, too, is the premise that Yuna's cautiousness with the 3lo stems from experience with hip injury. Shouldn't we give them both a pass equally?

    Where we disagree on Yuna's qualities:

    -From the perspective of on-ice personality, the evidence, whether it be the actual scoring received for the related components, or anecdotal measures of the zeitgeist such as overall audience (check out mainstream media live-chats) or the skating professionals and commentators responses, all make a compelling case that Yuna is charismatic, connects to the viewers, is elegant, expressive, musical, and individuated in her quality of movement, whatever her off-ice personality may be. I refer to these data points because otherwise the discussion risks becoming a disheartening string of I think/you think. If a standard, methodologically balanced focus-group were run comparing these factors, as well as the "flirtiness/seductiveness" factor () you mention, using, say, a vid of Yuna's Bond vs. any Kristi skate you care to choose, you will have a hard time persuading me that the outcome will be anything other than heavily in Yuna's favor. I would predict (and would even wager) that only a select historical handful of names (such as Michelle and Katarina) would be jockeying with Yuna for position at the top.

    -Similarly, her spins and spirals may not have the stretch and line that we think ideal, but I do think that perspective is needed here. First, Yuna's spins/spirals are manifestly not "poor", as evidenced by the fact that they fulfill the requirements for receiving good scores. Can they be improved? Certainly, but poor they are not.

    -In a related point, her lines could also be improved, as I've noted, but in the overall scheme of things, the impact on her score will be marginal at best, and will not, IMHO, make a whit of difference in her ability to win, given the gap in the realistic scoring ceilings between Yuna and her competitors. That her placement depends on whether or not she makes overt mistakes is the measure of her dominance, which is highly relevant to this discussion.

    My concluding thought is this: while the chronological divide and the incompatible rules regimes ultimately make a total point-by-point comparison impossible (and therefore renders this kind of question moot and merely an interesting mental exercise), the two eras were, nevertheless, doing basically the same individual elements. So it's not unhelpful, at least for me, to pose the following hypothetical when considering questions of this type: if they had skated in the same era, who would have the upper hand? All things considered, my judgment is that Yuna would have come out the victor in either.

    I believe that a substantial case can be made for Yuna vis-a-vis Michelle as well, although it would be a much, much, closer run thing, but I fear that this post is already too long, so I'll save that for another day.
    Last edited by Robeye; 04-24-2011 at 05:27 AM.

  3. #83
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    But the different scoring systems play a big factor. Under the old system, the highest you could get was a 6.0. The margins that separate first and second could be just a 0.1 or 0.2 difference. It is only under the CoP, that the margins of winning gained any significance.
    I also think Kristi did pretty well competing against Ito and Harding, two of the best jumpers in ladies skating history. I feel dominance is relative and hard to compare across eras. A part of Kim's advantage lies in her ability to rack up GOE for her great jumps, but this might be lessened if she had to compete against Ito, whose jumps were just out of this world. Likewise, under the old system, Asada may fare differently if she didn't have to worry about URs/edge calls.
    As for star quality, Kim may have had more personality earlier in her career but Kristi really came into her own when she turned pro. For many years, she was the star of pro-skating during a time when it actually meant something.

  4. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robeye View Post
    ......

    The flip side to that versatility, however, is Kristi's singles record in those years: her overall win percentage was 0%, not a single win, with back-to-back off-podium finishes at Worlds. I suspect that it was no accident that she stopped her pairs skating as she entered the halfway point of that Olympic cycle.

    Yuna, OTOH, won 5 out of 8 events (62.5%)in her first two senior seasons, and medalled at both Worlds, as well as in the lone GP event she did not win (no excuses, but personally I'd cut her some slack for only winning bronze in her first ever senior competition ). Maybe it's just me, but whatever incremental weight that Kristi gets from pairs-derived versatility must be given back when their singles records for those years are placed side by side (which to my mind is far more important to begin with, for the purpose of this evaluation).
    ........
    Nice try, but what you fail to take into account is a little thing called compulsory figures. Remember them? In Kristi's first two seasons as a senior she had to compete figures at every event except NHK which didn't compete figures (and she was up against Ito's stunning Shez in '89 - regarded by many as the greatest ever LP by a lady.) Back then, nobody arrived in seniors with a World Junior title and started winning right off the bat. This was still also the era of 'wait your turn'. So your point in comparing their first two senior seasons is?

  5. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by floskate View Post
    you fail to take into account is a little thing called compulsory figures. Remember them? In Kristi's first two seasons as a senior she had to compete figures at every event except NHK
    I'll repeat, the fact that she could do figures (even if not exceptionally well) helps push her reputation up for me. They took a tremendous amount of dedication and the kind of skill that what skater has today? None?

    Yamguchi was simultaneously doing pairs and singles (with figures) at worlds. That's pretty amazing even if she didn't medal with all that on her plate at the same time.

  6. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by floskate View Post
    Nice try, but what you fail to take into account is a little thing called compulsory figures. Remember them? In Kristi's first two seasons as a senior she had to compete figures at every event except NHK which didn't compete figures (and she was up against Ito's stunning Shez in '89 - regarded by many as the greatest ever LP by a lady.) Back then, nobody arrived in seniors with a World Junior title and started winning right off the bat. This was still also the era of 'wait your turn'. So your point in comparing their first two senior seasons is?
    Sort of the same point as including pairs skating and professional records, I suppose . I think I was pretty clear in my post that I consider these kinds of things as an amusing intellectual exercise more than anything, since even the latter two years of Kristi's cycle were under 6.0 (sans figures), and so it's not that easy to directly compare the two eras. Nevertheless, if a discussion is to be had, then reasonable assumptions need to be stipulated as best they can. My personal view is that comparing eligible singles records, albeit of differing time periods and requirements, is at least more relevant than introducing pros and pairs (how are we even to know how much of the success should be attributed to Kristi vs. Rudi?), particularly if those non-singles items are introduced into the docket of this (very) moot court, as some would like to do.

    To more directly address your question, if your point is that it's impossible to directly compare with Kristi's first two years as a senior because they still retained a vestige of compulsory figures, I would wholeheartedly agree. Having said this, however, I do believe that a relative meta-analysis is possible, which assesses the question of: how did each fare in their eras relative to their competition? (which is a criterion that is brought up all the time, in all sports, when undertaking this kind of trans-historical comparison).
    A few comments on this:

    -If I'm interpreting your remarks correctly, one point you seem to make is that the nature of compulsory figures is such that it's more difficult to win early in one's career. I'm not sure if that's the case, if we look at a sample of historically prominent skaters:

    1)Midori Ito: won her first senior titles (Skate Canada, NHK) in 1984, at the age of 15 or so (school figures weighting: 30%?).

    2)Katarina Witt: won gold at her national championship, and silver at Europeans in 1981 (maybe 15), and silver at 1982 Worlds at around 16. I for one would count a podium placement at an international championship as worth far more than gold at a normal senior event, so I consider that "winning" in a sense. (school figures weighting: 30%?)

    3)Dorothy Hamill: Dorothy would seem to be a data point supporting your case, as she first won gold at US Nationals and medalled at Worlds (silver) in 1974, at around age 19 or 20. But she also won gold in 1972, at around the age of 17, at Nebelhorn and St. Gervais, when presumably those trophies meant something more than they do in the GP era. (school figures weighting: 50%)

    4)Janet Lynn: Ironically, Janet, not celebrated for school figures, does more than Dorothy in support of my conjecture: she won bronze at US Nationals in 1964 at the age of 14 (again, in an era when being US Champion meant far more than it does now), and then got the auric hardware for both the US and North American championships in 1965 at the age of 15. (school figures weighting: 50-60%)

    5)Peggy Fleming: Was US Champ in 1964 at age 15-ish, and bronze at Worlds a year later at 16. (school figures weighting: 60%)

    6)Carol Heiss: US Champ in 1953 at maybe age 13, World silver in 1955 at 15, and World champion at 16. (school figures weighting: 60%)

    7)Tenley Albright: US Nationals silver and North American bronze in 1951 at 15-16, and US Champ and Olympic silver medallist in 1952 at around 16. (school figures weighting: 60%)

    8)Kristi Yamaguchi: In the 1988-89 and 89-90 seasons, at the age of ~17-18, Kristi did not win at the senior singles level, and did not get a medal of any sort at an international championship. She was silver medallist at US Nationals for both years, and medalled at all senior events, so it was by no means a bad record. Her breakout year was 90-91, when she was about 19. (school figures weighting: 20%)

    You made me do a lot more research than I wanted to in a hurry (I can tell you that I wasn't planning to follow up the previous post with another tome, but I wanted to try to take my best shot at a careful rendition of the data), but I think the facts above are generally accurate.

    What the data indicates to me is that, for most champions whose names many still remember, winning at the senior level/doing well at international championships is most closely correlated with a fairly narrow breakout age: around 15 to 17, regardless of compulsory figure weighting, with maiden international championships generally coming at around age 18-20. And this is across decades, and for school figure weightings ranging from 60% to 20%, which have generally not changed even in the current era without figures. The point, then, is that for an analysis of relative performance versus one's competitors (which I argue is one of the semi-viable ways of addressing questions like this one), the school figures weightings don't really seem to matter at the highest levels. I will also merely observe that the school figure weightings that Kristi had to work with were the smallest of any of the skaters listed above.

    -Similarly, I'm unsure whether the "wait your turn" attitude was really that much greater in the past. The data above doesn't seem to support that. One could, I suppose, even argue that the age requirement actually institutionalized the "wait your turn" philosophy, and that therefore the records of skaters like Mao and Yuna had viable opportunities taken away.

    -I'm sure that you're right that there were occasions that Kristi lost to competitors of the highest caliber (eg Midori), but let's not forget that Yuna has been competing against the likes of Mao and Miki, World Champions both. Yuna was considered a slight underdog to Mao earlier in their careers, in the eyes of many. The quality of Yuna and Kristi's respective rivals both of the highest quality and champions in their own right.

    I'm not here to start a catfight, and certainly not saying that Kristi was not a great champion; she was, otherwise this playful question would be of no interest to anyone. I think I've indicated in a number of posts and threads both the problematic nature of comparisons across significant distances of time (in all aspects, technically, athletically, artistically, judging, etc.), and the view that this type of question is roughly equivalent to playing "what-if" games like "Civilization" (pit the Roman Empire against Han Dynasty ). But as I admit to playing these geeky hypothetical scenario-type games on occasion, I feel somewhat qualified to suggest that developing reasonable ground rules and assumptions are the key to fun and verisimilitude.

    And of course, if you have different views, I'd be interested in reading them.
    Last edited by Robeye; 04-24-2011 at 07:06 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by floskate View Post
    Nice try, but what you fail to take into account is a little thing called compulsory figures. Remember them? In Kristi's first two seasons as a senior she had to compete figures at every event except NHK which didn't compete figures (and she was up against Ito's stunning Shez in '89 - regarded by many as the greatest ever LP by a lady.) Back then, nobody arrived in seniors with a World Junior title and started winning right off the bat. This was still also the era of 'wait your turn'. So your point in comparing their first two senior seasons is?
    Yeah after the death of figures in competion the next 4 Olympic Champions were first time Olympians and 3 of the 4 were 16 or younger. It became a whole different World.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robeye View Post

    To more directly address your question, if your point is that it's impossible to directly compare with Kristi's first two years as a senior because they still retained a vestige of compulsory figures, I would wholeheartedly agree. Having said this, however, I do believe that a relative meta-analysis is possible, which assesses the question of: how did each fare in their eras relative to their competition? (which is a criterion that is brought up all the time, in all sports, when undertaking this kind of trans-historical comparison).
    A few comments on this:

    -If I'm interpreting your remarks correctly, one point you seem to make is that the nature of compulsory figures is such that it's more difficult to win early in one's career. I'm not sure if that's the case, if we look at a sample of historically prominent skaters:

    1)Midori Ito: won her first senior titles (Skate Canada, NHK) in 1984, at the age of 15 or so (school figures weighting: 30%?).
    You can't just use examples like this without looking at the competition as a whole. As I said in my previous post NHK did not have a figures portion. It never did. Skate Canada was a VERY weak field in 1984 and Chin who really should have won, skated horribly.

    2)Katarina Witt: won gold at her national championship, and silver at Europeans in 1981 (maybe 15), and silver at 1982 Worlds at around 16. I for one would count a podium placement at an international championship as worth far more than gold at a normal senior event, so I consider that "winning" in a sense. (school figures weighting: 30%?)
    No she did not win silver at Europeans. 1981 Europeans were won by Biellmann with Dubravcic second and Binder third. Her nationals was a given with Poetszch retired. She had been third and then second to her at Nationals the two previous seasons. 1982 Worlds - again you have to look at the whole competition. The figures specialists bombed, and the placements were all over the place. The fact that Zayak jumped from 7th to 1st after the free tells you all you need to know.

    3)Dorothy Hamill: Dorothy would seem to be a data point supporting your case, as she first won gold at US Nationals and medalled at Worlds (silver) in 1974, at around age 19 or 20. But she also won gold in 1972, at around the age of 17, at Nebelhorn and St. Gervais, when presumably those trophies meant something more than they do in the GP era. (school figures weighting: 50%)
    Dorothy competed under the total points system and while the SP came in for the majority of her senior career, you are right in assuming that she did compete when figures counted for 50%. She was 8th in figures at 1972 Worlds, a great debut but no medal. She would have been higher overall if her wonderful freeskate had been marked appropriately. (3rd instead of 5th IMO behind Lynn & Magnussen). But Dorothy was trained in a different era where teh majority of their time on the ice was spent on patch. She didn't need triples to win, although she trained them. St Gervais & Oberstdorf are and were very minor competitions for up and comers where her standard would have been head and shoulders above the rest (including McKinstry who she beat at St Gervais), hence her debuting so well at Worlds. It should also be noted that Dorothy's first major international win was the 1976 Olympics - 4 years after her senior debut.


    4)Janet Lynn: Ironically, Janet, not celebrated for school figures, does more than Dorothy in support of my conjecture: she won bronze at US Nationals in 1964 at the age of 14 (again, in an era when being US Champion meant far more than it does now), and then got the auric hardware for both the US and North American championships in 1965 at the age of 15. (school figures weighting: 50-60%)
    Err you need to check your research. Janet was 11 in 1964, won Junior Nationals in 1966 and her first senior title aged 15 in 1969. (She did win North Americans over Magnussen in 1969 in a very controversial decision which ultimately resulted in the competition being disbanded in 1972). None of this makes sense, sorry.

    5)Peggy Fleming: Was US Champ in 1964 at age 15-ish, and bronze at Worlds a year later at 16. (school figures weighting: 60%)
    Regarding Nationals in 1964, again you have to take into account surrounding circumstances such as the plane crash that killed the entire US team in '61. Had that not happened there is NO WAY that Peggy would have been National Champion in 1964. No way at all. Again a different training regimen and Peggy was that rare skater who would win figures AND free skating. She was extremely good at figures and had a natural ability for them. But she didn't win a major until her 3rd Worlds in 1966.

    6)Carol Heiss: US Champ in 1953 at maybe age 13, World silver in 1955 at 15, and World champion at 16. (school figures weighting: 60%)
    Again check your research. Carol Heiss was NOT US National champion in 1953. She never defeated Tenley at Nationals and didn't win a major title until 1956 Worlds - her 4th world championships.

    7)Tenley Albright: US Nationals silver and North American bronze in 1951 at 15-16, and US Champ and Olympic silver medallist in 1952 at around 16. (school figures weighting: 60%)
    Again, what does this even prove? They trained in a different way with a LOT of emphasis on figures. By the time Kristi made it to seniors it was well known that figures were on the way out. It was a waiting game and while I'm sure she worked very hard at them, her time was better spent getting the incredible consistency on her triples down pat - apart from the sal obviously. It was this and not figures practice that won her those titles.

    8)Kristi Yamaguchi: In the 1988-89 and 89-90 seasons, at the age of ~17-18, Kristi did not win at the senior singles level, and did not get a medal of any sort at an international championship. She was silver medallist at US Nationals for both years, and medalled at all senior events, so it was by no means a bad record. Her breakout year was 90-91, when she was about 19. (school figures weighting: 20%)
    Nope. Kristi won bronze at Skate America in 1988 and silver at NHK. in 1989 she again won silver at NHK, her only fall international that season. Her breakout year was in 1990 - 91 as you say when school figures weighed diddly squat because they had been abolished after 1990 Worlds.

    You made me do a lot more research than I wanted to in a hurry (I can tell you that I wasn't planning to following up the previous post with another tome, but I wanted to try to take my best shot at a careful rendition of the data), but I think the facts above are generally accurate.
    I don't really need to say anything about this comment do I?

    What the data indicates to me is that, for most champions whose names many still remember, winning at the senior level/doing well at international championships is most closely correlated with a fairly narrow breakout age: around 15 to 17, regardless of compulsory figure weighting, with maiden international championships generally coming at around age 18-20. And this is across decades, and for school figure weightings ranging from 60% to 20%. The point, then, is that for an analysis of relative performance versus one's competitors (which I argue is one of the semi-viable ways of addressing questions like this one), the school figures don't really seem to matter at the highest levels. I will also merely observe that the school figure weightings that Kristi had to work with were the smallest of any of the skaters listed above.
    Age groups in ladies skating have continually moved up and down throughout the years. Cecilia Colledge won silver at Europeans in 1933 aged 12. Maria Butyrskaya won Worlds in 1999 at 26 or something like that. So what? What you also aren't taking into account are the domestic scenes at the time in question. Ito made it to Worlds at 14 because frankly she was far and away the best skater in that country - horrendous figures and all - and she went unchallenged at home for the next 8 years. The USA ladies from 1984 - 1988 were extremely deep in talent and ability. No way was Kristi ever going to make it out of Nationals until she did in 1989.

    -Similarly, I'm unsure whether the "wait your turn" attitude was really that much greater in the past. The data above doesn't seem to support that. One could, I suppose, even argue that the age requirement actually institutionalized the "wait your turn" philosophy, and that therefore the records of skaters like Mao and Yuna had viable opportunities taken away.
    Go ask any skater who competed internationally in that era and see what they have to say on the matter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by floskate View Post
    You can't just use examples like this without looking at the competition as a whole. As I said in my previous post NHK did not have a figures portion. It never did. Skate Canada was a VERY weak field in 1984 and Chin who really should have won, skated horribly.
    I defer to your knowledge of particular circumstances (and am learning a lot from it, believe me ). The analytical method I chose was the one available to me, the statistical method, in which the data must be assembled using a set of simple and universal selection rules, without tailored pre-judgment (which would not have been possible in my case anyway ). The assumption in any statistical methodology is that the individual variations tend to "cancel" out, revealing normative patterns. I hear you that you may think the quantitative method doesn't fully capture all situational nuances, but I do think that the patterns, if carefully used, may have something to say.

    Within the method's necessary limitations, Midori's initial senior wins are data points, and the fact that one was with figures and one not doesn't really alter the overall trend.

    No she did not win silver at Europeans. 1981 Europeans were won by Biellmann with Dubravcic second and Binder third. Her nationals was a given with Poetszch retired. She had been third and then second to her at Nationals the two previous seasons. 1982 Worlds - again you have to look at the whole competition. The figures specialists bombed, and the placements were all over the place. The fact that Zayak jumped from 7th to 1st after the free tells you all you need to know.
    Apologies; 1982, not 1981, which still means that Katarina was around 16 at the time of her first European medal. Trying to address your somewhat dauntingly sweeping question, requiring an assemblage of a wide set of facts in a relatively short time, has unfortunately resulted in some errors (which are truly not by commission). Again, that she was 16 rather than 15 doesn't very much alter the statistical pattern.

    Dorothy competed under the total points system and while the SP came in for the majority of her senior career, you are right in assuming that she did compete when figures counted for 50%. She was 8th in figures at 1972 Worlds, a great debut but no medal. She would have been higher overall if her wonderful freeskate had been marked appropriately. (3rd instead of 5th IMO behind Lynn & Magnussen). But Dorothy was trained in a different era where teh majority of their time on the ice was spent on patch. She didn't need triples to win, although she trained them. St Gervais & Oberstdorf are and were very minor competitions for up and comers where her standard would have been head and shoulders above the rest (including McKinstry who she beat at St Gervais), hence her debuting so well at Worlds. It should also be noted that Dorothy's first major international win was the 1976 Olympics - 4 years after her senior debut.
    Understood. My speculation was that in the pre-GP environment, the Nebelhorn may have been relatively more important than it is now. If you tell me as an assertion of fact that it wasn't, then of course I will accept that.

    I think I already agreed, however, that Dorothy is one of the outliers in the statistical pattern.

    Err you need to check your research. Janet was 11 in 1964, won Junior Nationals in 1966 and her first senior title aged 15 in 1969. (She did win North Americans over Magnussen in 1969 in a very controversial decision which ultimately resulted in the competition being disbanded in 1972). None of this makes sense, sorry.
    Once again, hurried typos when creating my data sheets. Should have been 1968, not 1964. Janet was born in 1953, which made her 14 when she won bronze at US Nationals in 1968, and 15 when she won Nats and North American gold in 1969. The substantive data is still valid, though; she was 14 and 15 at those milestones.

    Regarding Nationals in 1964, again you have to take into account surrounding circumstances such as the plane crash that killed the entire US team in '61. Had that not happened there is NO WAY that Peggy would have been National Champion in 1964. No way at all. Again a different training regimen and Peggy was that rare skater who would win figures AND free skating. She was extremely good at figures and had a natural ability for them. But she didn't win a major until her 3rd Worlds in 1966.
    Your point that the crash impacted the competitive environment makes sense to me. So it's with some embarrassment that I point to the ironclad logic of statistical methodology, which requires that all data points that meet the universal criteria of selection be included, on the assumption that every one of them has its own individual circumstances, and that the pattern emerges as these circumstances cancel out. What you are doing is a kind of "data-fitting", which is perfectly legitimate way of identifying outliers to the trend, but this is typically done as a next step, after all the data is initially inputted. From the pov of methodology, this doesn't invalidate the data, it explains it.

    Again check your research. Carol Heiss was NOT US National champion in 1953. She never defeated Tenley at Nationals.
    Thanks for once again showing what a mess my data sheets are . Carol finished second at Nats through 1956, first winning in 1957 around age 17. She won her first Worlds silver in 1955 at 15, Oly silver and Worlds gold in 1956 at age 16 (thankfully, I transcribed that right, anyway).

    Again, what does this even prove? They trained in a different way with a LOT of emphasis on figures. By the time Kristi made it to seniors it was well known that figures were on the way out. It was a waiting game and while I'm sure she worked very hard at them, her time was better spent getting the incredible consistency on her triples down pat - apart from the sal obviously. It was this and not figures practice that won her those titles.
    The data analysis was to address the question of whether skaters could win at a relatively early age. Taking into account the vetting of errors, the resultant trends don't change all that much.

    With regard to your argument that Kristi may have been biding her time for coming changes, I can see the logic of it. It raises the question, though: Midori won gold and silver at Worlds in those years, and was presumably training with the same considerations in mind. Are you saying that Midori made different strategic choices (i.e. focused more on figures)?


    Nope. Kristi won bronze at Skate America in 1988 and silver at NHK. in 1989 she again won silver at NHK, her only fall international that season. Her breakout year was in 1990 - 91 as you say when school figures weighed diddly squat because they had been abolished after 1990 Worlds.
    May I suggest that the error this time is on your part? Please read that paragraph again. There is no factual difference between what you just said and what I wrote (finally).

    I don't really need to say anything about this comment do I?
    No, you don't. But thanking you again for the factual corrections, they actually don't change the data pattern to any large degree. I certainly take your point, though, that individual circumstances need to be evaluated (and your comments are very insightful).

    The key comment, to me, is whether or not Kristi intentionally and significantly modified her training strategy in anticipation of the coming elimination of figures, and whether she did so more radically than key competitors of the time period, such as Midori. This obviously doesn't show up in numerical data. If that is the case, then I would agree that those two years are not as relevant to a result vs. competitors meta-analysis (as the assumption that underlies any such analysis is that all the major competitors are similarly in it to win it). If the magnitude of the adjustments made with regard to level of compulsory figures training was similar, however, then I would think that Kristi's results would be valid data for the said analysis.

    Age groups in ladies skating have continually moved up and down throughout the years. Cecilia Colledge won silver at Europeans in 1933 aged 12. Maria Butyrskaya won Worlds in 1999 at 26 or something like that. So what? What you also aren't taking into account are the domestic scenes at the time in question. Ito made it to Worlds at 14 because frankly she was far and away the best skater in that country and she went unchallenged at home for the next 8 years. The USA ladies from 1984 - 1988 were extremely deep in talent and ability. No way was Kristi ever going to make it out of Nationals until she did in 1989.
    The question was never whether Kristi would have made it to seniors before she did, it was whether the first two years of her senior career are valid for comparative purposes. The age issue comes into play only in the sense that the long-term data trend seems to show that prominent skaters did not face insurmountable barriers to winning at early ages, e.g. 15 or 16, despite the many and significant changes in rules, and format, including the weighting of compulsory figures. But in any case, the key question, in my mind, was the one raised in the preceding paragraph.

    Go ask any skater who competed internationally in that era and see what they have to say on the matter.
    Possibly the best people to ask would be those who were deeply involved in that era who are also deeply involved now. Frank Carroll? I wonder whether he'd answer a random tweet. Failing that, I will take your view on the matter as worthy of serious consideration. Peace? (My fingers are getting tired)

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    I definitely agree with floskate on this last point. I think someone as hard working and consistent as Kristi Yamaguchi would have definitely been right near the top almost immediately (not neccessarily World Champ but in the top 3 or 4 right away) if it were not for the figures and the completely different way of things with them being around, as well as coming up with all the depth in the U.S. At her first Worlds in 1989 at only 17 she clearly skated a stronger long program than the eventual silver and bronze medalists, regardless of the marks, and she was already doing many more jumps than almost any lady in the World outside of Midori Ito. Of course she still had a whole lot to work on at that point- tiny jumps (well that never got that big), lack of maturity, polish, major lack of speed, but she was clearly already a free skating prodigy. You cant compare her early results to Kim since their situations arent comparable. It is impossible to know how Kim would have fared being a teenage American at one of the heights of U.S womens skating depth, and coming up in the compulsory figures era to boot, and also knowing in the back of your mind they will abolished in a few years, a couple years out from your prime Olympics.

    Anyway as it turned out Kristi at 20 was already a 2 time World and 1 time Olympic winner. Yu Na has to win Worlds this year just to match Kristi as far as major wins at 20, even if she has alot more medals and success in other aspects.

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    I voted for Yuna, but this seems like a really odd question to begin with. IMO, a better poll would be Yuna vs. Kwan--I think there are many more similarities in their skating.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skateboy View Post
    I voted for Yuna, but this seems like a really odd question to begin with. IMO, a better poll would be Yuna vs. Kwan--I think there are many more similarities in their skating.
    There is no point starting a poll pitting anyone against Kwan on FSU.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skateboy View Post
    I voted for Yuna, but this seems like a really odd question to begin with. IMO, a better poll would be Yuna vs. Kwan
    That's already been done.

    I voted for Yu-Na simply because I believe her to be the better singles skater between her and Kristi. I chose to limit the comparison to singles skating because that is the discipline in which they earned the most prestigious titles.

    Nevertheless, I have found the discussion and debate interesting.

    On a side note, I find it curious that judgejudy voted for Yu-Na in the poll. In a thread a few months ago, did you not list Kristi Yamaguchi as the best female figure skater in history, in your opinion? I could have sworn that you did.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PUNKPRINCESS View Post
    That's already been done.
    Oops, I guess I missed that one!

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    Quote Originally Posted by PUNKPRINCESS View Post
    On a side note, I find it curious that judgejudy voted for Yu-Na in the poll. In a thread a few months ago, did you not list Kristi Yamaguchi as the best female figure skater in history, in your opinion? I could have sworn that you did.
    If I did I must have been only joking. I definitely dont feel that way. I am not sure if I feel Yu Na is either, but I do rate her above Kristi, although I consider both all time greats.

    I have said in the past if Kristi had stayed amateur even only through 94 most would consider her the greatest ever today IMO, considering she would have a Witt-like record of 4 straight Worlds and 2 Olympics, but unlike Witt her technical abilities wouldnt look outdated for a long time to come. That is as far as I would go on her though.

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    No, it didn't read like a joke! I found the thread. It was one of the earliest threads I participated in, in this forum, and my list was one of the few that omitted Kristi (and included Yuka. Yuka is to skating skills as Midori is to jumps.) On the other hand, I thought your list was different in that it put Kristi at #1, so the memory of it stuck in my mind. Kristi is one of my old favorites, by the way, I just never thought of her as one of the greatest.

    http://www.fsuniverse.net/forum/showthread.php?t=74732

    I agree with you that Kristi would have been a favorite going into the 1994 Olympics and winning a few more Worlds. However, even if she had, I am unsure if I would rank her a better skater than Yu-Na, and definitely not above Michelle.

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    Well I consider Janet Lynn and Midori Ito the best skaters of all time, and Ito had most of her best skating before 1991 anyway. So it really doesnt matter who I rate as the best of that time period.

    I go back and forth between Yu Na, Michelle, and Kristi. I think competitively speaking Yu Na at her best would easily beat the other two at theirs, especialy under COP, her jumps are just much too strong for the other two to counter with anything and the judges love her skating. She is the most inconsistent and weakest big event competitor of the three though. Kwan was the most magical and most appealing to watch for me, and has the most longevity and total medals. Kristi was the best competitor and has the best dominance in big events over the years of the 3 IMO, but I find her by far the least intersting of the three to watch. And I think Mao Asada is more naturally talented than all 3 but will probably never fulfill her full potential, although she still has already had a great career in her own right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by duane View Post
    Though I've always admired Kristi's two triple-lutz LPs (including the difficult 3lutz/3toe combo), I've never been a fan of her overall skating, and thought the extremely high artistic impression marks that she received were laughable. And yes, I know marks are relative.
    I think Kristi developed her artistry after she turned pro. As an eligible skater she was mainly a jumping bean who had a lithe body that created an impression of being 'artistic'. Don't get me wrong. I did like her; I just did not think she was the great artist that people made her out to be in 1992. She was definitely the most complete skater of her time, but my favorite still was the exciting Midori Ito.

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    I would have to go with Yu-Na Kim, mostly based on her natural athletic ability, the huge jumps (esp. compared to Kristi's jumps which I always found to be extra small) , speed and ice coverage.

    I do love Kristi, and I do think her attention to detail is much better than Kim's: Her hands, feet, neck everything was always in place. She also had a 3z-3t in the early 90s, which is very impressive. I'm only comparing amateur careers , I don't think it's right to weigh in with Kristi's fab pro-career, since YNK hasn't had one yet.

    If you compare the OGM performances, it's no comparison. YNK would have won under any system, no mistakes, a 3F-3T in the SP (people forget how risky that is), a 3F-3T and 2A-3T in the LP, a program skated with speed, power, ease and elan. I would have put Kristi's Albertville OGM performance behind Mirai's 4th place finish in Vancouver, under any system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FunnyBut View Post
    YNK would have won under any system, no mistakes, a 3F-3T in the SP (people forget how risky that is), a 3F-3T and 2A-3T in the LP, a program skated with speed, power, ease and elan.
    Kim performed a 3Lz-3T in both the Olympic SP and FS. She didn't do a 3F-3T in either programme.
    I hear outside a million panicking birds, and know even out there comfort is done with; it has shattered even the stars, this creature at last come home to me.

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