Of course you can't limit Michelle's success to just the United States. She had 12 consecutive medals at nationals (9 gold, 3 silver) which is unheard of...BUT she also had 9 consecutive world medals to her name (5 gold, 3 silver and 1 bronze); that makes her the only woman in recent history to medal at worlds for 9 consecutive years--the only person to win more consecutive medals was Sonja Henie, who won 10 gold medals in a row from 1927-1936.
The recent person who comes close is Yu-Na with 5 years of consecutive world medals though the distribution of medals is quite different (2 bronze, 2 silver, 1 gold).
I say all that to say, I know Michelle was more than just a remarkable US skater; that's why she's known as a figure skating legend and not just in the US.
Reaching back in time:
Jackson Haines:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackson_Hainesused his ballet background to create graceful programs, and introduced accompanying music (a new concept at the time). He also screwed his figure skates directly onto his boots, which added stability and allowed him to do more athletic leaps and jumps. The typical practice of the time was to strap the blades onto the boot.
Madge Syers-Cave: First woman ever to compete at the World Championships, taking silver in "Men's Singles." Ulrich Salchow, the gold medalist, thought she should have won and gave her his medal. Her participation led to the creation of a separate Ladies' event.
Bruce Mapes: Inventor of the toe loop and possibly also of the flip (which he was called the "mapes" as early as 1913, when he was only 11 or 12).
Andrée (Joly) Brunet and Pierre Brunet:
http://www.skatefic.com/figure-skating-trivia/The Brunets made their Olympic debut in 1924 in Chamonix, France. They thrilled the home crowd with daring lifts and more spins and side-by-side jumps than any other couple in the sport's history. The judges, however, felt they did too many tricks and only awarded them the bronze. Younger pairs took note of the team, and soon the Brunet style of skating became common in the sport.
The Brunets won the Olympic Gold Medal in 1928 and 1932 and might have won in 1936 had they not become some of the earliest (perhaps the earliest) athletes to boycott the Games on political grounds.
The Brunets went on to become coaches in the United States, and their students included Carol Heiss, Donald Jackson, Alain Giletti, Dorothy Hamill, and Scott Hamilton.
Mabel Fairbanks: Became a professional skater because she was not allowed to join any amateur clubs (because she was black). She coached the first black skaters to compete at U.S. Nationals, including the first to win championships on the Novice (Atoy Wilson) and Junior (Leslie Robinson and Michelle McCladdie) levels. She also was the first coach of Tiffany Chin (see below).
Ronnie Robertson: Set the benchmark for spinning and still considered one of the best spinners ever.
Tiffany Chin: Her skating style, which combined top-level technical ability with outstanding presentation, foreshadowed the achievements of Kristi Yamaguchi and Michelle Kwan. What's more, she was the first non-white skater to win a Senior title at U.S. Nationals, again foreshadowing the accomplishments of Yamaguchi and Kwan (and Debi Thomas) and opening the door for so many other young women, especially young Asian-American women, to excel in the sport that had once excluded skaters on racial grounds.
Wasn't Kristi's idol Dorothy Hamill? And wasn't Debbie inspired by Richard Dwyer? It's hard for me to see Tiffany as having left a legacy. She shone for two competitions in 84 and that was it.Originally Posted by Vagabond;3272134[B
Yamaguchi,for example, must already have been skating by the time Chin won her Nationals title, so it wouldn't surprise me if Hamill were Yamaguchi's greatest inspiration. However, Chin could do three different triples and, even at fourteen, had presentation skills at least as good as any other top female skater. In this, she was a prototype for skaters like Yamaguchi and Kwan who could do five different triple jumps and had excellent presentation skills.
Hamill, for all of her considerable merits, didn't do any triple jumps in her programs in 1976 (if ever), and there had already been female skaters who had executed two or even three different triples in the same program.
I agree. I am a big fan of Chinese pairs, and I had always thought their big throws and huge twists were the most exciting and dynamic parts of pair skating, but when I saw TT/MM skating live at GPF Tokyo 2005, I realized those basics are the most exciting and thrilling parts of pair skating. Especially watching their perfect unison made me feel ecstatic and made me feel like I was in heaven. I was in tears and so were the majority of the audience. I felt like I was taught, "This is the real pair skating."
I admire Shen/Zhao a lot, and was really happy when they won the Worlds title 2007, and OGM 2010, but one thing I was dissapointed with them was their SBS spins. At both times their SBS spins were completely out of synchro from the biginning till the end, like they were spinning separately and individually, as if they had decided to give up on SBS spins in order to fucus on other elements. As a top pair, I wished they had shown us beautiful sbs spins because I thought it was one of the most essential elements of pair skating.
I have always felt this way about pairs skating, although I am not the type that sheds tears of joy when I see the beauty of it. I do remember one SOI performance of Berezhnaya- Skiharulidez ('If I could'), I think it was in 2004. It was so beautiful that even the audience that knew little about them (other than that they were a part of the judging scandal in 2002) was totally absorbed in it. The music/song was not my favorite, but it did not matter. I was one with the skaters and their smooth gliding, unison, beautiful lines and lyrical expression. It was magical.
The big throws and big twists are exciting, but by themselves they don't make the pairs performance complete. It takes the finer points that create a truly great pairs program. Gordeeva-Grinkov were first talked about because of their big throws and their high split triple twists (at one point the quad twist), but they already had great basic skating skills, and very good unison, positions, lines. That is why they rose to the top so quickly.
I am afraid that the Chinese pairs relied too much on their huge throws & breath taking split twists, at the expense of the finer points. S&Z finally discovered those, and they expressed the music, but they never reached the level of the great Russian pairs in some of the finer points. I admire their perseverance in developing their connection and artistry, but for some reason most Chinese pairs seem to be weak in spins, posture/positions during lifts, lines. I am guessing that they don't pay attention to them from the very beginning the way the Russian skaters do.
I hate the Chinese throw technique. It looks like a farmer yanking and tossing sacks of potatoes onto a trolly.
Shen & Zhou are very OVERrated on this forum in the sense some people talk about them as the best pair ever now and they are in no way worthy of that. It is plain ridiculous to even suggest they are better than any of Gordeeva & Grinkov, Rodnina & Zaitsev (dont really like them but they were unbeatable for a whole decade), Protoppopovs, Miskutienok & Dmitriev, or IMHO Berezhnaya & Sikharulidze. Yes they had a long career with alot of improvement and success. However they were never dominant except their final 2 amateur seasons with no decent competition at all, and those were split years apart. Break down their career:
1994-1998- early developing years.
1999-2002- dominated by Berezhnaya & Sikharulidze and Sale & Pelletier, even by Petrova & Tikhonov in the 99-2000 season.
2002-2003 season- lost all 3 rounds of the GP final to Totmianina & Marinin. Then won the World title with their best performance ever, after again trailing T&M after the short program.
2003-2004 season- lost to Totmianina & Marinin at Skate Canada and Worlds, though they won the LP at Worlds. Beat T&M at the GP final.
2004-2005 season- dominated the season leading into Worlds with T&M injured. Withdrew with an injury in practice after placing only 3rd in the SP at Worlds.
2005-2006 season- an unfortunate summer injury. Returned to win the bronze medal at the Games.
They dominated the 06-07 and 09-2010 seasons when their main competition was Pang & Tong, you cant even say the Germans who were actually placing below P&T regularly both seasons. This makes them the best ever? Please.
I hope this does not come across the wrong way, but Debie Thomas was the first black skater (I didn't want to say African American because that would limit it to the USA) to win an Olympic FS medal and the first to win a world FS championship. Can this be considered her legacy, or does that sound racist?
judgejudy27, I hope that no one ever "judges" you so harshly as you judge others!
I think that is a good legacy to have. Around the same time Tiffany Chin become the first Asian American to win the U.S title it showed figure skating is a sport for all races to succeed in, if there had ever been any doubt if before. In addition she also showed you could be a successful student of the highest level, and an aspiring career women and still be a champion skater.
I’m not a huge fashion fan but being on vacation I read Giorgio Armani biography book. From what I read and remember after watching his defiles on TV, his style can also be characterized as somehow reserved, lacking of bright, luminescent colors, or naked body parts (like in his official antagonist’s collections – Versace), etc.. The comparison may be far-fetched, but this reminds me of T/M style compared to couples with WOW elements. Pure classical skating, superb basics, vs attracting with tricks and pathos. Somehow I see it this way .
Interesting comparison. I prefer Armani although I can never afford it.
I think TT/MM's basics are WOW! x 3.
I also love Shen/Zhao's chemistry and warmness they gave to the audience. This is the area TT/MM were weaker than them. I think it was partly because they were much younger than Shen/Zhao.
This is my favorite (Color of the night)
Here is an exhibition by T&M. It's hard to recognize Maxim.
I think their legacy lies in their beautiful skating, great edges, unison and lines, and their consistency.
Last edited by Vash01; 08-30-2011 at 09:56 AM.
I think Navka's legacy lies in her slutty costumes :>
"I'm not in this world to live up to your expectations and you're not in this world to live up to mine."