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Thread: Skater's Legacy

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    Skater's Legacy

    Legacy (dictionary meaning): anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor: the legacy of ancient Rome.

    Legacy may be a lot more than this, but for a skater I think a legacy could mean how he/she contributed to the sport and left something behind for the next generation(s) of skaters.

    With that definition, here is how I see the legacies of some skaters:

    Ladies:

    Midori Ito- Triple axel, 3-3 combinations, the power of her jumps and her personality on the ice

    Elaine Zayak- multiple triples in a program, leading to the Zayak rule

    Irina Slutskaya- her 3-3 combinations, but to me her legacy is bouncing back from a serious heart condition to win a world championship in 2005.

    Michelle Kwan- 5 world titles and 9 US national championships; she will be known as one of the toughest competitors ever.

    Sasha Cohen- She took the spins and the spiral sequence to whole another level. Many skaters today do the I-spin.

    Denise Biellman- Need I say it?

    Surya Bonaly- Back flip

    Lucinda Ruh- Her spins

    Katarina Witt- Carmen and her ability to play characters on the ice

    Kristi Yamaguchi- Her consistent jumps, particularly 3LZ-3t combination

    Tara Lipinski- Her 3loop-3loop and as the youngest skater ever to win the OGM

    Yu na Kim- Her OGM- the first ever by a Korean, and her skating

    Oksana Baiul- Her artistry, particularly in the early years (the Swan, Meditation, Ave Maria, etc.)

    Shizuka Arakawa- Her OGM at age 24 gave hope to late bloomers

    Joanie Rochette- Overcoming personal tragedy

    Mao Asada- Three triple axels by a lady in the Olympics


    Men:

    Brian Boitano- 'Tano Lutz and a whole lot more (jump consistency even as a pro among them)

    Brian Orser- Two triple axels in a long program

    John Curry- His beautiful lines and posture

    Kulik- Awesome jumps and his 1998 LP costume

    Yagudin- Athleticism & Passion

    Plushenko- Very consistent quad combinations

    Elvis Stojko- The quad. His ability to land it consistently in competitions pushed other skaters to do it and more (like Yagudin & Plushenko)

    Lambiel- Spins (many skaters today are imitating his spins, with less success)

    Kurt Browning- His artistry, and his Casablanca program

    Petrenko- He made the 3axel-3toe combination a must for men (before Elvis pushed them to do the quad)


    Ice dance:

    Torville & Dean: One word- Bolero (and their creativity)

    Klimova-Ponomarenko: Their technical perfection and passion on ice

    Anissina-Peizerat: Lady lifting the man

    Grishchuk- Platov: Incredible speed, and her twizzles

    Pakhamova-Gorshkov: First OGM in ice dance


    Pairs:

    Mishkutenok-Dmitriev: Passion (particularly Artur) and using her flexibility to create beautiful artistry on ice

    The Protopopovs- Their balletic grace changed pairs skating

    Shen & Zhao (actually this one goes more to their coach Yao Ming): High throws and split triple twists. It impacted skaters from other countries to try to do the same.

    Gordeeva-Grinkov: Perfection

    Irina Rodnina- her 3 OGMs
    Sonia Henie- her 3 OGMs, and also the way she impacted the skating costumes (she shortened the skirts)

    Berezhnaya-Sikharulidze: Sadly, they will always be known in N.America as the pair involved in the judging controversy/scandal. B&S fans in the rest of the world though will remember their beautiful skating. I think on a positive note, their legacy is their Chaplin prograams. They will always be remembered for those, even in NA.
    Last edited by Vash01; 08-21-2011 at 09:49 AM.

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    I think Michelle's legacy is much more than her medals. And I don't like how the legacy of some skaters are reduced to one or two elements.

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    Quote Originally Posted by miki88 View Post
    I think Michelle's legacy is much more than her medals. And I don't like how the legacy of some skaters are reduced to one or two elements.
    Can you be more specific, and add your own ideas to what you consider their legacies? After all, this thread is meant to only Start a discussion. It's not like a finished, published article.

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    I'd add "1st man ever to perform a Biellmann spin", "4-3-3" and "3ax-half loop-3flip" to Plushenko and brilliant footwork to Yags.
    "I'm not in this world to live up to your expectations and you're not in this world to live up to mine."

    Bruce Lee

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    Quote Originally Posted by miki88 View Post
    I think Michelle's legacy is much more than her medals. And I don't like how the legacy of some skaters are reduced to one or two elements.
    ITA. I think that Michelle (and Kurt Browning) left critical legacies in teaching others that success is not limited to the OGM. Michelle's legacy also includes the importance of sportsmanship as well as joining Debi Thomas in leaving a legacy about transitioning out of a skating career into something else.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    Can you be more specific, and add your own ideas to what you consider their legacies? After all, this thread is meant to only Start a discussion. It's not like a finished, published article.
    Ok. For starters, I think Michelle should be credited as a skater who pushed the artistic aspects of skating to a higher level. Yamaguchi's legacy lies more in her contribution to professional skating. I also think there's more to Orser's and Asada's skating than the axels.
    Last edited by miki88; 08-21-2011 at 06:53 PM.

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    I agree about Kristi's legacy being more in the pro skating. In the eligible ranks I did not feel she really left that much for the future generation. Her 3Z-3t was mainly to keep up with Midori technically. Professionally Kristi was brilliant, landing difficult jumps consistently for years, and developing her artistry in many different ways.

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    For Kurt Browning, I would add the quad as well as making triple-triple combinations a standard in men's skating. His LP in Munich in 1991 set the bar.
    Kurt was known as a technician early in his career, much more than he was regarded as an artist - that came later.

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    Although Kurt is credited for the 1st quad in competition (worlds 88), it was not his trademark jump the way it was with Elvis. He landed (2-footed) it at next year's worlds but after that never attempted it, IIRC. Elvis landed the quad consistenly and even landed quad combinations consistently. IMO the quad was Elvis's legacy.

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    Kristi Yamaguchi- for being the most complete skater of her era, and for taking womens professional skating to a new level after her major amateur titles.

    Midori Ito- for taking womens jumping and athleticsm to heights it has in many ways still not reached 2-3 decades later. For being the first Champion skater from Japan.

    Irina Slutskaya- for being the first dominant champion in the ladies event from Russia (even though Maria won Worlds first). For being the best womens jumper of her era. For amazing longevity where she even outlasted Kwan who herself has great longevity and is 2 years younger, and fighting back from a career threatening illness to become a champion skater again.

    Michelle Kwan- for being the name all modern skating fans most associate with the sport, especialy ladies singles skating. For being the most dominant skater at U.S Nationals in history.

    Elaine Zayak- the women who first made the push for other women to have to include alot of triples in their program to be competitive. For overcoming a horrible lawn mowing accident to become a champion, and for her ability to keep fighting through adversity and coming back, including her inspiring 94 comeback.

    Tara Lipinski- for being one of the most consistent 7 triple jumpers and 3-3 jumpers ever. For an amazing ability to do almost any kind of combination jump. For being a true prodigy who was the youngest ever to do almost everything. For her famous albeit brief rivalry with Kwan which a huge selling point to skating popularity, especialy in the U.S.

    Sasha Cohen- for flexability, and amazingly bendy and stunning to watch spins and spirals. For her long pursuit of major titles which always just eluded her. For her rivalry with Kwan.

    Yuka Sato and Shizuka Arakawa- skaters skaters, skaters who could do a bit of everything on the ice, continuing on the tradition of great Japanese skaters started by Ito. Both excellent pro skaters.

    Yu Na Kim- for being a groundbreaker for Korea, for being one of the best, if not the best, triple-triple jumper ever seeen.

    Mao Asada- for being another true prodigy who could have won the Olympic Gold at 16 had she been allowed to compete, and who had achieved so much at a young age. For her rivalry with Yu Na Kim. For pushing the envelope technically again with the triple axels, a jump that had rarely been seen for decades.

    Oksana Baiul- another true prodigy who literally went from a total unknown to a World and Olympic Champion overnight, something even Lipinski who was a much hyped and successful junior as early as 1995 did not do. She failed to qualify for the World Juniors and medal in her minor internationals in the fall of the season she would win silver at Europeans and gold at Worlds. For her wonderful artistry and maturity on ice at such a young age. For her rivalry with Kerrigan, which gained extra attention due to the attention on Kerrigan at the time.


    Men:

    Yagudin- everything skating should be. The modern day GOAT. For the soul and the amazing intensity of his performances, combined with enormous 3 axels and quad jumps.

    Plushenko- for being another true prodigy who was already a contender to win Worlds at 15 and 16. For his amazingly strong and consistent jumps, for his fast feet and energy in his youth. For his longevity in the sport and winning gold or silver at 3 straight Olympics. For his rivalry with Yagudin.

    Stojko- for pushing the technical envelope of mens skating by continuing to push the quad forward with more difficult combinations, and more regular attempts and completions of the jump. For always being true to himself despite the critics. For being one of the grittiest and toughest competitors ever, winning Olympic silver on a busted groin which he could barely walk on.

    Stephane Lambiel- for his soulful and wonderfully interpretive skating, and for his amazing spinning ability.

    Brian Boitano- for being technically a pretty much flawless skater, for winning the Battle of the Brians with a historic performance in Calgary, and for pushing mens professional skating to a whole new level.

    Brian Orser- for being one of the unluckiest skaters ever with his string of runner up finishes in major events, for being the best free skater of the 80s, for his rivalries with Hamilton and Boitano. For being the first guy with a truly strong and reliable triple axel, even landing them solidly in practice back in the 70s when journeyman Taylor Taylor had his ratty triple axel try ratified, eventually pushing others to start doing it as well. For later being a successful coach and continuing to be a popular figure in Canadian skating.

    Kurt Browning- for being the quintessential performer and entertainer on ice, kind of like the Canadian version of Scott Hamilton, but with far more jumping ability than Scott. For being the dominant skater of the first half of the 90s with 4 World titles in 5 years. For his rivalries with Petrenko and Stojko. For his failures at the Olympics, but coming out of them stronger, and becoming one of the dominant figures on the professional circuit both as a show skater and competitor.

    John Curry- for putting classical art and ballet on ice like no skater before or possibly since ever has. For being a groundbreaker for mens skaters to follow who were now freed to allow themselves to be more artistic on the ice.

    Toller Cranston- along with Curry for breaking new ground in artistry in mens skating, yet with a completely different style than Curry. For his bad luck of not winning a major title due to figures. For continuing to be a face in Canadian skating for years with commentary work, years as a top show skater, books, and other ventures.

    Robin Cousins- for an amazingly talented free skater, and still popular figure in the sport. For his amazing versatility as a performer, his huge jumps, and how he flew over the ice with ease.


    Rodnina & Zaitsev- For their amazing speed and power over the ice, probably still unmatched in pairs skating all these years later. For their technical brilliance and dynamics. As machines who never missed, and annihilated the competition not through emotion, drama, and beauty, but through sheer firepower.

    Gordeeva & Grinkov- everything pairs skating should be. Their emergence as a prototypical big guy/little girl pair who could do huge tricks, including the first ever quad twist, to eventually one of the most seamless, beautiful, and together pairs the World had ever seen. For their love story off the ice evolving, and for their comeback as an even better team to win another Oly Gold.

    Miskutienok & Dmitriev- for their Dreams of Love which still might be the best pairs program ever. For the amazing versatiilty they showed over the years, returning to do a totally different but equally effective program in their comeback in 94 to Rachmanioffs which was a program full of innovation, wild energy, and dramatic interpretation, still all done with style, great unision, and technicall excellent. For their rivalry with G&G.
    Last edited by judgejudy27; 08-22-2011 at 11:07 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    Michelle Kwan- for being the name all modern skating fans most associate with the sport, especialy ladies singles skating. For being the most dominant skater at U.S Nationals in history.

    Men:


    Toller Cranston- along with Curry for breaking new ground in artistry in mens skating, yet with a completely different style than Curry. For his bad luck of not winning a major title due to figures. For continuing to be a face in Canadian skating for years with commentary work, years as a top show skater, books, and other ventures.

    Robin Cousins- for an amazingly talented free skater, and still popular figure in the sport. For his amazing versatility as a performer, his huge jumps, and how he flew over the ice with ease.


    Rodnina & Zaitsev- For their amazing speed and power over the ice, probably still unmatched in pairs skating all these years later. .
    Nice thesis, JudgeJudy!

    I like the way you described Michelle Kwan's legacy.

    I can't believe I forgot Toller and Robin. Both were great artists. Toller was before my time, and I only watched Robin as a pro (he was a great artist on ice).

    About R&Z's speed- I have to write that Peter Carruthers once said while commentating during a 1997 GP, when B&S were skating in their first real season together, Peter said that he thought he would never see a pair skate as fast as R&Z, but these two (B&S) do. IMO B&S had a lot more than speed, of course, but they were not technically consistent like R&Z and G&&G. Unfortunately they often get overlooked (not by me, of course) while talking about great pairs.

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    I'm really surprised that Chen Lu has been overlooked. She really is the one who started the great Chinese renaissance of champion figure skaters. She is China's first ever World Champion, World medalist, and Olympic medalist (consecutive bronze medals) in figure skating. What a legacy to have!

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    You are right about Chen Lu. When we think of Chinese skaters, we often think of Shen & Zhao and forget about Chen Lu who was the first Chinese skater to win a world championship, IIRC. She was a lovely, lyrical skater. we have not seen anyone like her from China.

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    I still have more to add. I was just running out of time as I had other things to do. I will post some more later.

    I like watching Chen more than Shen & Zhou btw.

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    Berezhnaya & Sikharulidze- for her brave and amazing comeback from an abusive former partner who almost killed her in a practice accident. For their amazing lines, beauty, and elegance on the ice. For their amazing and effortless speed over the ice. Unfortunately as well for the infamous SLC event, where they were falsely potrayed by nearly all.

    Shen & Zhou- for their incredibly spectacular tricks, even with their flawed technique on some. For their incredible longevity in the sport. For being groundbreakers for Chinese pairs skating that created a tradition of top pairs from that country ever since. For evolving as artists and skaters so much more as the years went on, basically being a rare team that gradually went from the very bottom to the top.



    Lu Chen- for being the groundbreaker for all Chinese skaters as the first truly top Chinese. For her quiet elegance and simplistic beauty on the ice. For her ability to interpret various types of music so well, and as she got older to feel them with her soul like few have. For also being a very reliable competitor with consistent technique and who consistently won medals over so many years.


    Torvill & Dean- Bolero as Vash01 said, but for having so many original and groundbreaking programs in their prime from 82-84. Really being the first team to buck the rules of ice dancing with so much success, and having the excellent technical abilities to make it work.

    Klimova & Ponamarenko- For their amazing longevity which saw them as the only team to win an Olympic medal of every color. For evolving continously before our eyes throughout their career. For doing some of the most technically difficult programs ever seen. For truly being a man and women on ice, and creating magic.

    Virtue & Moir- For being the first North American team to win an Olympic Gold in ice dancing, a major breakthrough for the sport and for skaters from this part of the World.
    For being true prodigies who were noticed for their impeccable edge quality and technical skills almost from day 1.

    Anissina & Peizerat- for their wonderfully interpretive and dramatic programs on the ice. For always tackling difficult content which was balanced between both skaters doing equally as much, even if they didnt always perform it perfectly. For being the first French team to win Oly Gold after a series of excellent teams just fell short.

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    let's go classic - Ina Bauer for her signature move, not to mention Axel Paulsen, Ulrich Salchow, Alois Lutz and Werner Rittberger for the jumps .

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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    Michelle Kwan- for being the name all modern skating fans most associate with the sport, especialy ladies singles skating. For being the most dominant skater at U.S Nationals in history.
    I'd amend that to say "For being the most dominant skater in U.S. history." Michelle was a beast at nationals, true; but she also holds the distinction of being the most decorated figure skater in U.S. history. That is a major part of her legacy in addition to the contributions of pushing the sport artistically, her longevity, the impact she's had on those who come after her, and her amazing success outside of skating.

    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    Tara Lipinski- for being one of the most consistent 7 triple jumpers and 3-3 jumpers ever. For an amazing ability to do almost any kind of combination jump. For being a true prodigy who was the youngest ever to do almost everything. For her famous albeit brief rivalry with Kwan which a huge selling point to skating popularity, especialy in the U.S.
    Tara's legacy is she was first and foremost a competitor. Credit her with the 3lp-3lp combo and the fact that she won everything at such a young age, but I think her competitiveness was her strongest point.

    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    Sasha Cohen- for flexability, and amazingly bendy and stunning to watch spins and spirals. For her long pursuit of major titles which always just eluded her. For her rivalry with Kwan.
    I'd scratch that whole "rivalry with Kwan" thing simply because it's so lopsided; Sasha beat Michelle twice in her career--finishing 2nd to Kwan's 3rd at worlds in 2004 and 2nd again to Kwan's 4th at worlds in 2005. I'd say Sasha's legacy has high and low points. The high being she can be credited with raising the bar in terms of spins, spirals and flexibility. Her influence is seen every time someone attempts to pull their leg over their head in an I-spin. The low point of her legacy was her inability to win major titles despite the high level of her skating and her inability to skate clean programs back to back at major events.

    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    Yu Na Kim- for being a groundbreaker for Korea, for being one of the best, if not the best, triple-triple jumper ever seeen.
    Agreed, though I'd say "if not the best, most consistent triple-triple jumper ever seen." I'd also add to that that Yu-Na will be remembered for her speed and excellent technique, as well as being the record holder in terms of CoP.

    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    Mao Asada- for being another true prodigy who could have won the Olympic Gold at 16 had she been allowed to compete, and who had achieved so much at a young age. For her rivalry with Yu Na Kim. For pushing the envelope technically again with the triple axels, a jump that had rarely been seen for decades.
    Also I think Mao will be remembered in terms of her style: the graceful, floaty, ethereal qualities she possesses that I have never seen before.

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    Cecelia Colledge- Invented the Layback Spin and Camel Spin, including the catch foot variations. Performed the first one footed Axel by anyone. Performed the first multi rotation jump (a double) by a lady.

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    Janet Lynn gave the joy into a program.

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    I would add Sex Bomb to Plushy's legacy!

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