View Poll Results: Who was the greatest ladies singles figure skater never to become Olympic champion?

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  • Cecilia Colledge

    3 0.99%
  • Laurence Owen

    1 0.33%
  • Janet Lynn

    21 6.95%
  • Denise Biellmann

    2 0.66%
  • Midori Ito

    51 16.89%
  • Nancy Kerrigan

    2 0.66%
  • Michelle Kwan

    179 59.27%
  • Irina Slutskaya

    19 6.29%
  • Sasha Cohen

    12 3.97%
  • Mao Asada

    10 3.31%
  • Rosalynn Sumners

    1 0.33%
  • Other

    1 0.33%
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  1. #21
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    It is funny how much the chain of events could have changed if Ito had won in 92 too. I am 110% sure Yamaguchi would have stayed in and won in 94 if she didnt win in 92, that was her plan all along anyway. If Yamaguchi continued then Baiul never wins a big title in 93 and 94 and she would have continued as an amateur, but would she have continued on to become a better skater in later years as an amateur or one that fell apart with her growth spurt and changing body and couldnt technicaly keep up with skaters like Kwan and Lipinski to come in later year? Then what if Baiul does succeed in later years and Tara's major success in 97-98 does not happen the same way.

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by floskate View Post
    Kwan, Ito, Lynn, Colledge but every time I think about it, I change the order.

    Kwan is the obvious choice but the way she handled both defeats somehow added to her iconic status within the sport. She transcended the OGM and her body of work became somehow bigger than the title rather than being a skater who is defined by it.

    Reflecting back, Ito's loss hurt me more than Kwan's as a huge fan of both skaters. She just seemed under the most unbearable pressure. A skater with one world title and an OSM could very easily become a footnote in skatign history so I'm glad that youtube has resurrected her legacy in skating and more and more fans are becoming aware of her technical genius.

    Colledge was a victim of circumstance. I have little doubt that she would have become the Olympic champion were it not for WW2 and that with the political weight of the NSA behind her, the loss to Taylor in 1938 would be seen as an abberation.

    Lynn - Wrong era. There was just no way she was ever meant to win the OGM under that system. But ironically, her fall in the LP and subsequent smile made her and cemented her legendary status within the sport.

    So to sum up.....I don't know

    You summarized it so well.

  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by blue_idealist View Post
    Definitely Michelle Kwan.. so many world titles and no OGM. Mao Asada could still maybe become Olympic champion, IMO.
    I was thinking the same thing. Mao is still competing and still has a chance to go for Olympic gold.

    Michelle was not hindered by the school figures the way Janet Lynn and Denise Biellmann were. And once again one can't compare 'greatness' from one era to the other. Lynn imo was the greatest of her day never to win Olympic gold as was Biellmann, and Colledge. Laurence Owen certainly had the goods but it is difficult to judge as she never got the chance to go head to head against Djistra at '61 worlds and in the years after leading up to '64. She placed 6th at the '60 Olympics and was definitely a contender with the retirement of Heiss and some others. Her style imo was more appealing but then so was Lynn versus the others. School figures were still very much a factor in Owen's day but I certainly believe she could have won Olympic gold. I would say Cohen was the greatest never to fulfill her potential or seemed not to according critics who expected more of her given her talent. To me she was the greatest short program skater of her day but just could never pull it together in the long.
    Last edited by Sasha'sSpins; 09-15-2011 at 05:24 PM.
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  4. #24
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    Lu Chen. Period.
    Should've been in the list; much more than Cohen or Sumners.

  5. #25
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    The poll asks "who was the greatest" single lady skater to not win an Olympic gold. I wouldn't put skaters like Kerrigan, Fratianne, Cohen, Chen in the group of "great" skaters though. They were very good. Good enough to be WC during their era, but they weren't great skaters, IMO.

  6. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by orbitz View Post
    The poll asks "who was the greatest" single lady skater to not win an Olympic gold. I wouldn't put skaters like Kerrigan, Fratianne, Cohen, Chen in the group of "great" skaters though. They were very good. Good enough to be WC during their era, but they weren't great skaters, IMO.

    Fratianne was a contender for the OGM, having won a couple of world titles. Had she won the OGM, she would have been considered 'great'.

    Cohen was a contender for the OGM too, although her track record at worlds created many doubts and she proved the doubters right. I would not consider her 'great' because she always had the potential but never realized it.

    Chen was very good but I don't think she ever came close to being great. Had she won a second world title before the 98 Olympics, she would have been a contender for a gold and might have qualified for 'great'.

    All three could have been great, but did not become that. Missing the OGM just confirmed that. I think you may be right. This poll is for skaters that were already great, but missed out on the OGM for whatever reason.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sasha'sSpins View Post
    Michelle was not hindered by the school figures the way Janet Lynn and Denise Biellmann were.
    Lynn wasn't so much hindered by school figures (a part of the sport she has rigorously defended). She was hindered by

    1. scoring system that let figures specialists run up huge leads.
    2. having to skate against a supreme figures titan (and two others who weren't too far behind).
    3. weak mental game

    Biellmann was more hindered but IIRC she didn't really train them hard enough (for the time) and there may have been coaching/training issues with her figures as well. In her day flitting around from coach to coach to iron out different problems wasn't really done - you had your coach and if they had a weakness then so did you.

  8. #28

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    Biellman turned pro too soon (at age 17) which made it impossible for her to become truly great.

  9. #29
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    Figures era without SP - Janet Lynn: I've only seen her skate through fuzzy videos, but she was artistically sublime and one of the more innovative jumpers at the time.

    Figures era with SP - Denise Biellman: Stunning balance of beauty and athleticism. She made stroking around the rink beautiful, and she was capable of 3Lz on correct edge. I see some top men nowadays cannot do the same.

    6.0 era without Figures - Michelle Kwan: As have so many pointed out, she was beautiful and brought the competitive fire when it was really needed.

    IJS era - I'm not so sure, but if I had to pick one it would be Irina Slutskaya. It was a bummer to see her not winning the gold in Torino. Though she competed under IJS for only 4 years or so, she deserves an honorable mention since IMO, she is a close second as a choice for 6.0 era without figures.
    Last edited by RumbleFish; 09-15-2011 at 10:30 PM.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by RumbleFish View Post
    Figures era without SP - Janet Lynn:

    Figures era with SP - Denise Biellman:

    6.0 era without Figures - Michelle Kwan:

    IJS era - I'm not so sure, but if I had to pick one it would be Irina Slutskaya. It was a bummer to see her not winning the gold in Torino. Though she competed under IJS for only 4 years or so, she deserves an honorable mention since IMO, she is a close second as a choice for 6.0 era without figures.
    Agree about Lynn (and would add Colledge for historical reasons)

    Not so sure about Biellmann. She left very young (I keep forgetting just how young) and kind of sucked at a major part of the competition. Fratianne was better all around. Biellmann would work if you specify 'free skater' and not 'figure skater' (let alone 'figures skater').

    Agree about Kwan.

    I would add two transitional figures

    Ito - 6.0 with and without figures

    Slutskaya - 6.0 and CoP

    (I wouldn't count 2003 and 2004 as IJS, it was still 6.0 just with more randomized results).

  11. #31
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    Fratianne's skating was never very appealing to me. I for one never felt sorry she didnt win the OGM. To me she looks like a poor womens Kerrigan for the time but with better nerves. I much prefer watching any of Watanabe, Marie Allen, Biellmann, Voderezova, even Sandy Lenz who was a journeywomen U.S skater of the time I much preferred. To be honest I even prefered Poetzsch's Olympic free skate to Fratianne's, despite that in points Fratianne was placed clearly ahead. She was lucky to be in an era where she was a better free skater than an erratic free skater (Poetzsch) and a very weak one (Lurz), while the truly good free skaters were all weak at figures so she gained a huge edge just by being ok at them.

    Not to mention her whining post the 1980 Olympics is a huge turn off. When I read an article from the 2002 Olympics where she was still complaining, and used the Sale/Pelletier controversy to pipe off and bring herself in I just rolled my eyes.

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    Fratianne ... never very appealing to me. ... I for one never felt sorry she didnt win ... To me she looks like a poor womens Kerrigan
    Not to mention her whining ... she was still complaining, ... I just rolled my eyes.
    Oh yeah? Well I talked to Debbie last week who overheard Linda talking to Bobby in the lunchroom and she was all "Judy? Judy who? She better stop talking trash about me or I'ma call her out." She also said she was gonna talk to Mylene who would convince Dan to tell Rick to not invite you to his party. So there!

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mafke View Post
    Not so sure about Biellmann. She left very young (I keep forgetting just how young) and kind of sucked at a major part of the competition. Fratianne was better all around. Biellmann would work if you specify 'free skater' and not 'figure skater' (let alone 'figures skater').
    I picked Denise Biellmann mostly because of her incredible style. But she also brought numerous innovations to the sport. 1st women to ever land a 3Lz. IMO, this should be credited just as much as Ito's 1st 3A. I really don't feel the need to mention the Biellmann spin, since it is named after her. lol.

    She turned pro at tender age of 17, just after winning the world title in 1981, because she unfortunately couldn't afford the training cost anymore.

    She won majority of free skating portions, but marked lower in the school figures. Since I've never done figures or seen a good footage of it, I really can't tell. But I have heard that there were lots of politiking going on during judging, and it was hard for a young skater from a no name country to receive high marks. Then again, maybe Denise just didn't excel at figures, who knows.

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by RumbleFish View Post
    I picked Denise Biellmann mostly because of her incredible style. ...
    She won majority of free skating portions, but marked lower in the school figures. Since I've never done figures or seen a good footage of it, I really can't tell. But I have heard that there were lots of politiking going on during judging, and it was hard for a young skater from a no name country to receive high marks. Then again, maybe Denise just didn't excel at figures, who knows.
    She did not win a majority of free skating portions she was involved in. For the LP She won olympics 80 and worlds 81 (presumably more europeans but I'm not sure).

    There was and is politicking in all stages of the competition. In the old fire and ice documentary one judge argues that figures were the most fairly judged section of the competition.

  15. #35
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    Regardless of placings Biellmann's free skating was light years ahead of Fratianne or Poetzsch. She looked like she belonged in a different division than both. If she were top 5 in figures I am quite sure she would have always been placed 1st in free skating, or atleast should have been.

  16. #36

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    Kwan. The answer will always be Kwan.

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    Regardless of placings Biellmann's free skating was light years ahead of Fratianne or Poetzsch. She looked like she belonged in a different division than both. If she were top 5 in figures I am quite sure she would have always been placed 1st in free skating, or atleast should have been.
    If you were including the 1978 season into this equation I would have to disagree. I think you're absolutely right regarding Biellmann's free skating in 1980-81 (well, not 1980 Worlds where she was disasterous!!) but 1978 and even '79, Denise was still lacking in the artisrty department. Her team cottoned on and came up with a wonderfully modern (for the time) package come Lake Placid. Plus you have to remember that triple jumps were a novelty in ladies skating back then. Someone with nice style and a great double axel could score 5.5+ for technical merit which was comparable with a skater with less style but more technical content. See Sandy Lenz for evidence. I'm not convinced judges were racking up the triple counts when it came to doling out the tech marks in either mens or ladies skating back then.

  18. #38
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    Actually I thought Sandy Lenz was scored much too low at the 1980 Olympics since she couldnt do any triples. Everything she did was excellently performed, and her programs were more interesting than almost all the top girls.

    I agree Biellmann didnt have great artistry before 1980 but honestly I didnt think either Fratianne or Poetzsch was a great artistic skater either (and Lurz certainly wasnt), and her jumps and spins were so much better than theirs IMHO.

  19. #39

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    I think the two greatest never to win are Michelle Kwan and Janet Lynn. Michelle's competitive record and her body of work make her the obvious choice. But Janet Lynn won the free skate in 1972 and even received a 6.0 from one of the judges. I have watched this program many times and think it is one of the best free skates of all time, even though she fell on a spin. She had the misfortune to be skating at the same time as Trixi Schuba, who is probably the all-time best at figures. But in terms of what is currently admired in figure skating, Janet was the best of her era (and one of the best of all time). So I voted for Janet, just to balance things out a little bit.

  20. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by RumbleFish View Post
    I picked Denise Biellmann mostly because of her incredible style. But she also brought numerous innovations to the sport. 1st women to ever land a 3Lz. IMO, this should be credited just as much as Ito's 1st 3A. I really don't feel the need to mention the Biellmann spin, since it is named after her. lol.
    She actually didn't invent the spin she just did it a lot.

    Tamara Moskvina did it 1965 and some lady in the 30s but I can't remember her name.

    I vote Kwan.

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