Last edited by TheIronLady; 06-10-2011 at 07:56 PM.
Michelle was actually lucky she didnt win in 1998. If she had she might well have turned pro (not certain but quite possible) and not been anywhere near the legend she is today. Of course still a legend in a larger way than Tara currently is, since she would always be remembered for her performance at the 98 Nationals, 96 Worlds, 98 Olympics (had she won) but not anything like she currently in with such dominance and longevity in the sport. And had she won in 1998 she would have for sure been gone after 2002, win or lose, which would have prevented things like her 9 National titles, 9 World medals, etc...
Michelle Kwan competed at the senior level from 1993 until 2005. She was on the podium at every event she entered from the 1994-'95 season until her final appearance at worlds in 2004-'05 where she placed 4th. Michelle competed at the senior level for 12 years.Reference
Tara Lipinski competed at the senior level from 1995 until 1998. She didn't compete on the senior GP during the 1995-'96 season and was 15th at senior worlds. After that season, Tara was on the podium in every event she entered during the 1996-'97 and 1997-'98 seasons. Tara competed at the senior level for 3 years. Reference
Simple math tells us that 12 > 3 which means Michelle competed longer than Tara. The facts are there: Tara was competitive at the senior level for 2 years before going pro...now if you're counting Tara competing professionally (which I don't...) then you can add 2 or 3 years to that...still doesn't change the outcome though...
Tara had to work and compete; I'm not saying she was able to skip thru each competition with no worries whatsoever, but not being the main focus had its advantages. It's a little easier to breathe without that bullseye on your back...
Last edited by TheIronLady; 06-11-2011 at 12:14 AM.
How interesting that a thread about Leonova and Slutskaya has turned into...
...a thread about Tara Lipinski and Michelle Kwan.
Has this ever happened on FSU before?
Colour me displeased when a jumping bean comes out of nowhere and grabs the Olympic Gold Medal.
Skaters like Sumners and Trenary are not considered mentally strong competitors, so it is to be expected Tara handles pressure them then atleast.
I wonder if some fans are having insecurities because Tara is doing commentary and was mean to Leonova...lol
Adding to the ignore list also works ...
Tara didn't have the pressure of being the favorite, but she probably had to resist being bitter at USFSA choosing MK over and over and basically ignoring her except to say she's not Michelle, lol.
She never believed passing Michelle was impossible, regardless of USFSA's obvious preference, and she kept working her little hips off. (sorry, couldn't resist!) I find that emotional resiliance / optimism to be very admirable. I wish she hadn't injured herself, but I do admire her fighting spirit.
"Puccini cries out for spirals, but really good ones." ~ Dick Button, 1998 Worlds
I wish she hadnt been practicing that triple loop-triple loop which wrecked her hip. In an indirect way one could say Kwan ruined Tara's career perhaps even while losing to her most times at Tara's peak. By that I mean Tara knew the only way to beat Michelle, especialy a clean Michelle, was the triple loop-triple loop combination. If Michelle was not around Tara probably wouldnt have even bothered. Chen was past her prime and Slutskaya was in a major slump around the time she first rose to the top. She could have won with more standard jumps, and perhaps had a longer career be it in the amateur or pro ranks.
... except to add support to my theory that all threads in the Figure Skating Universe are really about Michelle Kwan
... Maybe it should be a rule that one off season should be observed before participation in off season discussion.
Last edited by bardtoob; 06-13-2011 at 07:12 AM.
I swear I'm not a bitter Kwan fan. Hindsight is 20/20 and Michelle not winning Olympic gold is probably the best thing that ever happen to her (and the USFSA to be honest). Her drive to win that gold medal pushed her through 3 quadrennials of competition and she won title after title after title after title. She never accomplished her goal of being an Olympic champion but she did herself one better: she became a legend...and I prefer it that way.
So, sorry for repeating myself. The question of Tara being around for a "long time" prompted me to double check because, as I remembered, she came in quick and left out quick. I like quoting facts so when the opportunity presents itself, I can't help myself.
I wish some of these American girls had Tara's competitive spirit. Say what you want about Tara but she was one tough cookie and wasn't intimidated by anyone. So different from the top american girls.
^^At 13, 14 and 15 years old, all of the current crop of ladies skated just like that: gutsy, fearless and determined. That's why everyone is scratching their heads right now because in the junior ranks, Mirai, Caroline, Ashley and Rachael kicked @$$! The US ladies swept the podium at jr. worlds twice (2007 - Zhang, Nagasu Wagner; 2008 - Flatt, Zhang, Nagasu), swept the JGPF in 2006/07 (Zhang, Wagner, Megan Oster), and top 2 at JGPF 2007/08 (Nagasu - 1st, Flatt - 2nd).
I mention that to say, youth has its advantages especially in ladies' skating. When you're young, you don't over-think the situation; you just go out and do it. Plus, you're tiny. Your center of gravity is lower, you're faster, you can rotate faster and generally, jumping is easier. By the time puberty hits, things change. There's an adjustment that has to be made to a new height and weight--some of them don't make it through that adjustment.
Caroline Zhang has clearly suffered the most from her body change. She was very tiny back in 2007, her first year senior and she did very well. Medaled in both of her GP events, came in 4th in the GPF, 4th at nationals and 2nd at jr. worlds. But that next season, she grew several inches and gained weight. Add that to her horrible technique and she's never been right since.
Mirai grew so much by the time she hit puberty, her body had a hard time keeping up with itself and she ended up injured her entire first season senior. Rachael used to be really tiny and skinny, but puberty added a few pounds to her and seriously reduced her speed. For Ashley, I'm really thinking her body changes affected her ability to rotate, which is probably why she's frequently called for URs and 2-footed landings...
To be so young and be allowed to compete at such a high level has it's advantages. Tara had barely hit puberty by the time she made it to Nagano--definitely before her growth spurt. Check out a podium picture of her sandwiched between Michelle and Chen Lu...she's like a good 4 inches shorter and 15-20 pounds lighter than both of them! Lol!
I think that's one of the reasons age restrictions have been put in place when it comes to senior level skating. Back when Tara won, a lot of it had to do with losing clearly capable skaters to the pro-circuit (which was more attractive back then). Now, I think it's about keeping younger skaters in their place until they're mature enough to be considered a senior. Plus, it levels the playing field.
It'd be great if the US girls could have maintained that fearless instinct they had when they were juniors...if they had, they'd be running things right now. Hopefully Christina Gao and Agnes Zawadski will shake things up for the US next season. Fingers crossed!
^^ From what I understand, that'd be every thread on the forum! Lol! I'm done talking about Ms. Lipinski, I promise.
Seriously though, back to Alena Leonova...
I think it's good she had such a good showing at nationals and worlds this year. With the newer girls coming into the senior ranks this year, I think it's good that Alena has made a case for herself. But I'm really wondering how her federation will treat her next season? It's clear that Adelina, Liza T, Polina and the other Russian Babies are the ones who are being prepped for Soichi in 2014. I wonder if Alena, who despite only being senior for a handful of years is rather "old" by skating standards, will be pushed aside to make way? Adelina, Liza T and the rest need the experience and once they get it, they'll be tough to beat.
That's always the case when younger skaters come up. A lot of it has to do with the skaters but some of his has to do with what support the federation is giving. To me, Alena was kind of a place holder; someone to get Russia's name back in the mix after a 5 year hiatus...maybe they'll expect her to pass the reins to the newbies. Point is, competition in Russia is going to be some of the toughest in the world. That kind of home competition breeds tough competitors on the international scene...that's why the US was so competitive for so long and why Japan has had so many top ladies...