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  1. #41
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    Thank you, OliviaPug: Michelle Kwan is beyond quantification

    ITA Mayra: Michelle, Lori and Frank ...together they helped create and bring to life some incredible programs

    And, I will restate comments from my earlier post:

    One of the fallacies that tended to be pushed by the media was that MK achieved success solely because of Lori and Frank. Actually, they were a team, with all that entails. They came together fortuitously and magic happened. However, Michelle would probably be the first to point out that her family gave her the wings to fly.

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by aftershocks View Post
    But if you think in the below programs that MK is not expressing palpable emotion and connection to the music, then definitely I do feel sorry for you because you are truly missing something quite unique and special.
    I agree with some of the points you're making, but I think we can get our points across and have a spirited debate without being patronizing.

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    Aussy Willy, I'm asking you in all sincerity, did you even watch any other programs Kwan did with other choreographers outside Aranjuez, Tosca, and Bolero? I understand where your criticisms come from if you're basing her work outside Lori solely based on those routines, but Kwan has done work with many other choreographers and they are not empty or just skating from one end of the rink to the other the way Aranjuez and Tosca were. I think that's where some of the bewilderment is coming from.
    Last edited by VIETgrlTerifa; 05-23-2011 at 04:35 AM.
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  4. #44
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    Okay, Kwantumleap, if you think I'm being patronizing, that's how you interpret what I said. Actually, I do feel sorry for anyone who views Michelle's greatest performances and is unable to experience their magic, and for any judge who has to force him or herself not to "get drawn into emotion."

  5. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by VIETgrlTerifa View Post
    Aussy Willy, I'm asking you in all sincerity, did you even watch any other programs Kwan did with other choreographers outside Aranjuez, Tosca, and Bolero? I understand where your criticisms come from if you're only basing her work outside Lori solely based on those routines, but Kwan has done work with many other choreographers and they are not empty or just skating from one end of the rink to the other the way Aranjuez and Tosca were. I think that's where some of the bewilderment is coming from.
    I have pretty much seen all Kwan's programs. I think to answer your question I have to refer back to the initial poster who asked whether it was Lori or Michelle and that is what I have in my mind when posting my response.

    For me Kwan's programs when she was with Lori were magical. The choreography was complex, worked with the nuances of the music and she was also given music that really brought out something that at the time hadn't been seen before. She created pictures for you which still stick in my mind even as I type this. For a younger skater she was really given very sophisticated concepts and programs to work with and she told the story.

    After she left Nichol, the skating might have been great but they definately were not as complex or sophisticated. She was a more mature skater who had the experience but those moments were missing. The spiral was a common fixture but it is not difficult to do a spiral on the highlight of the music after building up speed with crossovers.

    One of the programs I revisited a while ago was her 2001 FS to I think it was the Red Violin. Beautiful skating, but I was really surprised at the lack of complexity in the transitions and choreography.

    I think my issue is, and this comes from judging, is that I try to separate the components. Kwan put in great performances after Nichol, but as a judge you also have to be careful not to get sucked into thinking that because there is a high performance level, good skating skills and flow over the ice, that means the other components such as choreography are on the same level. This is something that get discussed ad infinitum on this forum with many criticising judges for not separating components and using the marks as they should. So that probably explains where I am coming from.

    This may not convince you but I hope it helps understand where I am coming from. I saw Kwan live in 98 at Worlds and it was an amazing experience. Her SP was to die for. But after she left Lori I never got that magic that had been created before then.

    But as I said, there are many skaters who on revisiting their programs these days I would feel the same about. It is not just Kwan but a reevaluation of skating in general.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

  6. #46
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    Which programs/performances do you feel Kwan gave that would merit high component marks in all categories?

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Willy View Post
    After she left Nichol, the skating might have been great but they definately were not as complex or sophisticated.

    One of the programs I revisited a while ago was her 2001 FS to I think it was the Red Violin. Beautiful skating, but I was really surprised at the lack of complexity in the transitions and choreography.
    Nichol choreographed The Red Violin, though. I think The Red Violin was very sophisticated - I couldn't imagine anyone else attempting to skate to it. I remember when she premiered it in the EX at Worlds in 99. It was almost as if there was a huge gap between her off performance in the LP and her EX. She seemed in the zone in the EX, of course it wasn't a LP, but still. The commentator that shared the booth with Chris Bowman was gushing about how impressed she was that Michelle chose a semi-competitive number for the EX and that Michelle was pushing herself artistically with even more dramatic music.
    Last edited by Kwantumleap; 05-23-2011 at 05:55 AM.

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Proustable View Post
    Which programs/performances do you feel Kwan gave that would merit high component marks in all categories?
    Many of Kwan's best performances: 1998 Nats, 2001 Worlds LP, etc. belong right up there with the T/D Bolero, John Curry Don Quixote, Janet Lynn Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, etc. They're all examples of the highest level one can aspire to in skating. No matter how you quantify them in scores, they're models for future athletes to aspire to and milestones in the development in figure skating. These models aren't destined to be replaced any time soon.

    I do think it is kind of ridiculous that Michelle's non-CoP programs are being scrutinized by requirements from a scoring system they were not designed to fit. She scored well enough under 6.0 to win her 5 world titles (1 post Nichol and another one was for The Red Violin), so I think that speaks for the quality. No skater during that time held more world titles than her. No one man or woman competing now holds 5 world titles
    Last edited by Kwantumleap; 05-23-2011 at 05:48 AM.

  9. #49
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    I can see where you are coming from Aussie Willy, yet still its as if when it comes to Kwan, you want to have your cake and eat it too.

    Sure once the split with Lori and the necessity to focus more on jumps and speed, it meant that the intricate choreography, and even the experimentation with different types of music took a back seat. That is unfortunate, because we lost out on seeing Kwan develop more in the vein of The Miraculous Mandarin, but Kwan wasn't being rewarded for her efforts to skate intricate programs to different and interesting music. Even in 1999 at Nats, the focus was on "baby ballerinas" coming up to challenge Kwan, not on the ways that Kwan was challenging herself with her programs (i.e., Lament d'Ariane that year). At 1998 Olympics, Kwan's music, Lyra Angelica, was unusual, and the program was mature, lovely and moving. Ironically, the music may have had too much subtlety and depth (reminds me of Jeremy Abbott's Life Is Beautiful lp music) to be fully appreciated by the judges.

    In any case, Aussie Willy, if you view Kwan's later programs as not having choreographic depth, there is still emotional investment and connection to the music, even if her focus is more on jumps and speed. And, sorry, but I just totally disagree with your describing Kwan's iconic spiral as "a common fixture." Would that such "a common fixture" were prevalent these days. As Dick observes in his 2004 Nats lp commentary, despite Kwan having to shorten her spiral because of the demands of the new judging system, her spiral still had technical precision, verve and impact.

    Your statement about being a judge meaning you must not allow yourself to get "sucked into" believing that a performance has great choreography just because other aspects are at a high level, is to me simply a CoP-out. Few judges today, IMHO, seem concerned with the choreographic aspects of a program because they are too busy quantifying elements and are not viewing the performance as a whole. In any case, there are few programs today that are choreographic gems.

    I'm not trying to be patronizing, as you know more about the actual judging system than I do, and welcome to it. I've said this before, but I watch a skating program with my eyes and my mind and my heart, backed up by my own personal perceptions and knowledge gained over many years of viewing figure skating. So I guess that makes me not fit to be a figure skating judge. Amen!
    Last edited by aftershocks; 05-23-2011 at 05:57 AM.

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kwantumleap View Post
    I do think it is kind of ridiculous that Michelle's non-CoP programs are being scrutinized by requirements from a scoring system they were not designed to fit. She scored well enough under 6.0 to win her 5 world titles (1 post Nichol and another one was for The Red Violin), so I think that speaks for the quality. No skater during that time held more world titles than her. No one man or woman competing now holds 5 world titles
    I hardly think looking at a pre-COP program from the perspectives of choreography, performance, interpretation and skating skills is ridiculous. Her competitive record is admirable but a straw man.

  11. #51

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    ^ You're so right. Michelle Kwan was awesome at all those things and then some. There still is none better. Some can pull their foot above their head but the skating is wobbly. Some are moving but loopless. Some have the triple axel but are salchow less. Some are fast but lutzless or flipless or preceding stepless. Some are good once in awhile. Some are so graceful you'd think they could never fall until they do A LOT. Some skate below their potential. Some skate to their potential but couldn't get noticed even if they dress like a canary ... there is none like Michelle Kwan.
    Last edited by bardtoob; 05-23-2011 at 06:22 AM.

  12. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Proustable View Post
    I hardly think looking at a pre-COP program from the perspectives of choreography, performance, interpretation and skating skills is ridiculous. Her competitive record is admirable but a straw man.
    If only CoP were more like 6.0, but it's not. It embraces its own unique aesthetic lense. Here I've only disagreed about questions of the level of her choreography and transitions, and I agree that her programs gradually became less and less choreographed over time. I think the choreo litmus test is basically Kwan vs. Kwan or Kwan vs. classic ladies pre-7 triple LPs on that front. Regardless, I think the consistency of Michelle's competitive record at worlds is an excellent example of where the choreographic bar is and has been set in figure skating (before, after, and during Kwan). Nichol and she set an extremely high choreographic bar early on, but later on Michelle still achieved the same artistic scores/results at the highest level of competition with less choreography.

    Having a well-choreographed program is a great goal to have, but unfortunately under 6.0 that always took the back seat to a clean program (just ask French goddesses Vanessa Gusmeroli and Laetitia Hubert) in way that hardly compares to the situation with CoP. As the technical bar continued to rise against Michelle, she took the route that resulted in programs that, aside from listing accolades, are still remembered and highly revered about a decade later.
    Last edited by Kwantumleap; 05-23-2011 at 06:29 AM.

  13. #53
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    Can you talk about more about "6.0's aesthetic lense?" I'm a COP man at heart to the point where I struggle with many of the acclaimed 6.0 programs, so a different perspective would definitely be appreciated.

  14. #54
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    These critiques of Kwan remind me of the criticism she faced throughout her career. Its impossible to please all of the people all of the time (especially when you have a precocious genius). There's always the nitpicking and the naysayers. Funnily enough, skating's entire landscape would be quite different today if not for skaters such as Toller Cranston, Janet Lynn, Michelle Kwan, and believe it or not, Johnny Weir.

    Regarding Kwan, one contingent feel/ felt The Miraculous Mandarin music was not accessible enough for skating and they failed to understand what Kwan and Peter O were attempting with the intricate choreography. Another contingent complains that MK's programs later in her career were so "empty," without understanding why she began focusing more on jumps and speed, and cutting down on intricate choreography. Fact is, circa 1997 - 2001, she was not always being rewarded for programs with intricate choreography and different music, so she changed her focus. Others nitpick that Kwan's jumps were not high enough and she didn't do triple/ triples consistently, and she was "holding back" skaters such as Cohen. Fact is, Kwan did the triple/ triples at the most important points of her career, and that's why she has five World titles. Also, despite Cohen's great talent and abilities, when Kwan was nowhere in sight, Cohen was still stumbling and falling.

    Even Frank Carroll spoke of Kwan lacking "spark" in her Olympic 1998 lp. I certainly do not wish to patronize Frank, but I think MK had plenty of spark in that program:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x14RFdZXiVk

    Lots of Michelle spark, not to mention beautiful, mature choreography. Lest we forget ... that was an amazing performance, which IMO stands on its own, and does not need to be adversely compared with her out-of-body experiences at 1998 Nationals. Because MK broke into tears and was overcome with emotion at the end of her '98 Olympic lp, I think a lot of people thought she felt she hadn't performed well. Quite the contrary, IMO. Her tears seemed to me to be expressing pent-up emotion and relief.

    Michelle Kwan is a great skater, in part because of all the criticism, challenges, Olympic disappointments, and injuries she overcame in her career.

  15. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by briancoogaert View Post
    I'm surprised and glad to see so many threads about Michelle and her talents years after her competitive career.

    Speaking of MK, the current issue of Washington Flyer, which is distributed for free at Reagan National airport, has MK on the cover. Inside is a fabulous picture of her in a red dress striking a skating pose with the Capitol as the backdrop.

  16. #56
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    Struggle away, Proustable.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXIj_...eature=related Rudy Galindo

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIkfE30GPWU Johnny Weir

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHfgjszz_Tk Michelle Kwan

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okPRc...eature=related Michelle Kwan

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ah3Fmy7hAn0 Brian Boitano
    Yay Brian. I forgot that Brian B performed quads in practice in those days!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ttNzEwPMLM Johnny Weir

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfluAux0Sf0 Michelle Kwan

    And John Curry didn't receive any 6.0s for his Don Quixote lp at 1976 Olympics, but he should have, in Dick Button's opinion. ITA!

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

    So, should have Toller Cranston at 1974 Worlds:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7AZboQ0R08

  17. #57

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    Quote Originally Posted by aftershocks View Post
    So I guess that makes me not fit to be a figure skating judge.
    You would probably make a fantastic judge because you are so passionate about it. And we need more judges.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

  18. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by aftershocks View Post
    Struggle away, Proustable.
    Perhaps it is a lost cause. No way Proustable could appreciate the likes of these skaters, and probably thinks they had no clue what they were doing since they did not have the CoP to tell them exactly what to do . . .

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bDCLR1P02M

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AD-iqzaKvxo
    Last edited by bardtoob; 05-23-2011 at 03:56 PM.

  19. #59
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    ... nevermind. Even though it's quoted now for posterity.

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    aftershocks and bardtoob,

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