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

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  • Kurt Browning

    196 60.12%
  • Jeff Buttle

    3 0.92%
  • Toller Cranston

    11 3.37%
  • Brian Orser

    28 8.59%
  • Elvis Stojko

    6 1.84%
  • Brian Joubert

    6 1.84%
  • Stephane Lambiel

    48 14.72%
  • Todd Eldredge

    9 2.76%
  • Daisuke Takahashi

    13 3.99%
  • Other, please name!

    6 1.84%
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  1. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    Well with the exception of the 2006 Worlds which she totally blew, Sasha always seemed to have to skate completely clean to win. Her rivals at the time like Slutskaya, Kwan, and Arakawa were so strong she never had any margin. Lambiel found himself in a situation he was able to win major titles without skating cleanly. He could have even won the 2010 Olympics without skating cleanly, just needed to make less mistakes than he did. Sasha never had that luxury.
    I disagree. There were numerous occasions when all Sasha had to do was skate nearly clean; it was not absolute. In 2003 Michelle skated beautifully, but had Sasha skated clean, who knows what would have happened? Sasha was a better spinner than Michelle, and Michelle did not have a 3-3 combination.

    Sasha had the lead against Shizuka, going into the LP in 2004. With a decent showing she could have won. I think 2005 was probably the only time she had no chance because Irina was incredible at worlds. In the 2006 Olympics again she had the lead in the SP, and she blew it in the LP. She was lucky to win the silver after two falls.

  2. #62
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    I'm not at all surprised to see Lambiel with so many votes. Lambiel is one of the greatest skaters the sport has ever known. He has an artistic sense that is better than any of his generation.

    He was not the most consistent jumper, and since jumps are worth the big points, he obviously had little chance of winning the gold when competing against a strong jumper like Plushenko, but I do think he was the best all-around skater during his prime.

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by shine View Post
    Doesn't make him any less great of a skater. Obviously, there's more to the definition of a great skater than medal counts.
    Who is considered the best at a given time isnt just based on the medal count either though. Janet Lynn and Midori Ito were considered the best skaters in the World for a long time each, despite having won only 1 World title between. There isnt any point Lambiel was considered the best, Plushenko was clearly the best from 2003-2006, and a variety of skaters were from 2007-2010 but never Lambiel. How can someone who was never considered the best skater be expected to win the Oly Gold at any point.

    Also being a weak jumper and an iffy competitor means you are not a totally complete skater no matter how nice your spins and musicality are, just like skaters who do only quads and great jumps but nothing else arent complete skaters either.

  4. #64

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    I never thought of Lambiel as a great artist; only as a great spinner. In 2006 I finally thought he had matured artistically, but up to that point his windmill arms did not impress me. I did not see him as a great skater either, perhaps because he rarely skated clean, and his struggles with the triple axel brought him down in my opinion technically. He was a superb spinner and his programs were interesting to watch choreographically but he did not always execute them well. They seemed to be a bit too difficult for him, with the possible exception of 2006 worlds where he had just one mistake in his LP. I think of him as a very good all around skater; just not a great skater.

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    I disagree. There were numerous occasions when all Sasha had to do was skate nearly clean; it was not absolute. In 2003 Michelle skated beautifully, but had Sasha skated clean, who knows what would have happened? Sasha was a better spinner than Michelle, and Michelle did not have a 3-3 combination.

    Sasha had the lead against Shizuka, going into the LP in 2004. With a decent showing she could have won. I think 2005 was probably the only time she had no chance because Irina was incredible at worlds. In the 2006 Olympics again she had the lead in the SP, and she blew it in the LP. She was lucky to win the silver after two falls.
    Lambiel wasnt even nearly clean to win his World titles either. In 2005 he popped 3 triples into singles in the long program and still won by 24 points (lol). In 2006 he landed his quad combo forward and doubled the 2nd jump, and stepped out of his triple axel, in the short. His short was beaten by Sandhu who had a fall so it obviously was a flawed short program. Then in the long had a pre rotated triple axel downgraded and stepped out of a triple loop. His long there looked nearly clean but his overall competition was not.

    I cant think of any major event Sasha could have won by just being nearly clean. You are right she could have won any event from 2003-2006 skating cleanly (except the 2005 Worlds) but she could not have won any of them with even a single miss most likely.

  6. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    Lambiel wasnt even nearly clean to win his World titles either. In 2005 he popped 3 triples into singles in the long program and still won by 24 points (lol). In 2006 he landed his quad combo forward and doubled the 2nd jump, and stepped out of his triple axel, in the short. His short was beaten by Sandhu who had a fall so it obviously was a flawed short program. Then in the long had a pre rotated triple axel downgraded and stepped out of a triple loop. His long there looked nearly clean but his overall competition was not.

    I cant think of any major event Sasha could have won by just being nearly clean. You are right she could have won any event from 2003-2006 skating cleanly (except the 2005 Worlds) but she could not have won any of them with even a single miss most likely.
    Depends on what you mean by a single miss. If she just doubled one of her jumps, or had a step out on one of the landings, but continued to skate with confidence it would have been a non-issue most likely. What Sasha used to do was, make one mistake, then let rest of the program unravel. A fall would have been costly with others skating absolutely clean, but as we saw in the Olympics, had she just skated on like nothing had happened, the judges would have still given her high marks. Lambiel's 2005 world title was pretty much by default, and I agree with you on that, but he earned the 2006 world title.

  7. #67
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    I strongly disagree with some of the comments regarding Lambiel (except for his inconsistency with respect to jumps; there's no debating that), but differences of opinion are to be expected, especially when one is discussing something as subjective as artistry.

    For me, this poll was a tough call between Browning and Lambiel. I consider both to be great skaters. I found the ladies poll much easier.

  8. #68

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    I found this poll a tough call between Browning and Orser. Orser actually skated well enough in both 1984 & 1988 Olympics to win the gold, but did not. So I went with him, in spite of Kurt's stellar record at worlds.

    I had a tough choice between Michelle and Midori in the ladies poll. I am a fan of both, but they are so different in style, and have their own greatnesses. Michelle skated well enough in 1998 to win the gold.

  9. #69
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    Perhaps Toller is not receiving as many votes because he is from an earlier generation of skaters. Toller certainly revolutionized men's figure skating with his unique and risky approach.

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

    I agree with some of the comments regarding Christopher Bowman. He was definitely one of the most naturally gifted skaters ever with loads of talent (not just potential). He did achieve some success, but not as much as his talent made us anticipate.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMRW1HmNiVI

    To me, Bowman, early in his career skated fantastic performances that were not as well-rewarded as they might have been due to the "wait-your-turn" tradition. By the time Bowman's turn came around, his lack of discipline and off-ice personal problems contributed to his being surpassed by Browning and others. I think Browning was a superb jumper who steadily improved his artistic and performance skills to the point where he excelled as an all-around skater. He just had bad luck at the Olympics. Browning continued to improve his performance skills during his pro career and he has admitted that his ballet star wife influenced him artistically. Browning was also popular with the judges and has always had a great personality and a self-deprecating sense of humor.

    I agree with the comments that Lambiel is more of a great spinner than one of the greatest skaters ever. To me, Lambiel was always a pleasure to watch, very creative and somewhat of a free spirit. I also love Lamby's charming, extremely appealing personality. I thought it was a shame that he hardly ever skated a clean program, and that somehow performing quads seemed to detract from his ability to consistently land the 3 axel (unless he always had trouble with the 3 axel prior to developing quads). The judges definitely loved him.

    LOL Fandango re your comments on Abt. But how can you be sure that only female posters feel he has sex appeal? For me, I enjoy, not glorify Abt. Sad re Abt's injuries and off-ice problems (I don't know a great deal about his personal problems, but I still love watching him skate, especially some of his show skating performances in Russia).

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

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDXuX...eature=related

  10. #70

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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    There isnt any point Lambiel was considered the best, Plushenko was clearly the best from 2003-2006, and a variety of skaters were from 2007-2010 but never Lambiel. How can someone who was never considered the best skater be expected to win the Oly Gold at any point.
    Actually I don't agree with you. I don't want to use the word "best" because that is way too vague. For you obviously "best" means winning the most. So I'll use "dominant". Besides Plushenko, who was ever the one single dominant skater during 2003-2006? No one I'd say. There were always a few that fought for the podium. And yeah, I understand that Plushy has about 78 times the number of medals of Lambiel, that is obvious. But would I consider Plushenko to be a greater skater than Lambiel in retrospect? Hellz no To me Lambiel is one of the best ever because to me he had a unique talent for artistry and he also happened to be capable of technical brilliance (despite being inconsistent). As for those who only see Lambiel as a good spinner and not much else, let's just say alternate universe does exist!
    Last edited by shine; 09-19-2011 at 03:56 PM.

  11. #71
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    ^^ LOL, I love the way you phrase that, shine! There appears to be a great many alternate universes in figure skating -- witness the complicated and conflicting views many have of Johnny, among many other skaters. In any case, Lambiel has beautiful strengths as a skater (choreography, creativity, free-spirited approach, gorgeous skating skills, etc.), so I don't think anyone has said he's just a great spinner, "and not much else." (despite judgejudy's fairly harsh assessment -- certainly Lambiel was a contender for Olympic gold during his career!!!) Others of us have indicated that Lambiel is not on our own personal list of "greatest skaters ever," but have also acknowledged his strengths. At the recent 2010 Olympics, if Lambiel had been at full strength physically and had been more inspired in his performances, there is no question he might have fared better and been in the medals. Most definitely, Lamby's choreo was stronger and more interesting than Lysacek's, for example. Unfortunately for Lamby and his fans, he did not perform better than Lysacek.

    Lambiel's 2006 Olympic silver medal is a testament to his talent, which some may have forgotten that he was awarded. Johnny was sitting in second after the '06 Olympic sp, and the silver might have been his with an on-time arrival for the lp and a better effort that might have come closer to matching his mesmerizing sp. Alas, if figure skating awarded medals for separate performances, as in some other sports like diving and gymnastics, Johnny would have a silver medal for the '06 Olympic sp.
    Last edited by aftershocks; 09-19-2011 at 04:36 PM.

  12. #72

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    KURT! KURT! KURT!
    Dick Button Historical Quote of the Month: "Good for you, Lucinda Ruh!"

  13. #73

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    Without Toller Cranston's trailblazing approach, which transformed men's skating technically and artistically; none of the men that followed - even John Curry - would have been free to follow their own path.

  14. #74

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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    Lambiel having so many votes is surprising.
    I have a theory but will keep it to myself...

    My vote is for Browning, since he was great stylistically and technically, and his four World titles show what a great competitor he was (except when those five little rings were involved )
    "Marge, if you're going to get mad at me every time I do something stupid, then I guess I'm just going to have to stop doing stupid things!" - Homer Simpson in the Mr. Plow episode

  15. #75

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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    It does not prove he had more potential than the people who regularly dominated him like Browning and Petrenko though. Whether he has more potential than such skaters is subjective, and personally I didnt see it. As I said it is hard to tell for sure when he wasnt working as hard as they were, but still atleast from watching him I didnt see superior jumping or artistic talent to either of those men. When people talk about his potential "some" seem to talk about him being by far the most talented skater or one of the most talented ever, and I dont see that much. I dont believe he would have a bucketload of gold medals even with his best effort personally.
    Those are two men he was "regularly dominated" by out of a field of how many senior-level male skaters at that time? To win two world medals and three national championships (in addition to all his other national and international placements) meant that he was dominating way more skaters than were dominating him. Who knows what more he would have been capable of if he hadn't been injured or had a stronger work ethic at times.
    You should never write words with numbers. Unless you're seven. Or your name is Prince. - "Weird Al" Yankovic, "Word Crimes"

  16. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by skatesindreams View Post
    Without Toller Cranston's trailblazing approach, which transformed men's skating technically and artistically; none of the men that followed - even John Curry - would have been free to follow their own path.
    AMEN!

  17. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    Doesn't change your overall point, but for the record Urmanov did land and attempt quads a little more than that.

    1991 Europeans (I believe -- can't find verification on youtube)

    1991 Worlds (hard to tell it's a quad in the program but see slow motion afterward)

    1991 Lalique

    1992 Europeans (according to commentary in next clip)

    1992 Olympics (hand down and probably <)

    1997 Champions Series Final (historic occasion of first time three skaters landed ratified quads in the same competition, one being Stojko's first clean 4T+3T)

    I could also name at least two or three other occasions when he tried and fell.
    Alexei also lands the quad at this competition (hard to tell which but the commentary and advertising appear to be German):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zY8CPTOCqyw

    At first I thought it was Worlds '91 (like the one you posted) but in that one he steps out of his first jump, the triple axel. Here he doesn't.

  18. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by overedge View Post
    Those are two men he was "regularly dominated" by out of a field of how many senior-level male skaters at that time? To win two world medals and three national championships (in addition to all his other national and international placements) meant that he was dominating way more skaters than were dominating him. Who knows what more he would have been capable of if he hadn't been injured or had a stronger work ethic at times.
    Not to mention which some of Christopher's rivals-like Kurt-made very similar statements to the fact that had Bowman had more discipline he would have given them a lot more trouble. I respect Kurt's view absolutely over anyone else's-he was often world champion and he could see imo Bowman's lack of discipline hindering his potential perhaps better than most.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fandango View Post
    Unfortunately Alexander Abt's story is not only about good looks, tremendous talent, injuries, bad luck, wrong time-wrong place. It is also about lack of discipline, diligence, ambition, too much and . I liked him as well, but sometimes female posters here tend to glorify him a bit.
    I agree some fans may tend to glorify him-but how are you so sure all of those posters here are female?

  19. #79

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sasha'sSpins View Post
    Alexei also lands the quad at this competition (hard to tell which but the commentary and advertising appear to be German):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zY8CPTOCqyw
    That's from 1991 Euros.

  20. #80

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    Quote Originally Posted by skatesindreams View Post
    Without Toller Cranston's trailblazing approach, which transformed men's skating technically and artistically; none of the men that followed - even John Curry - would have been free to follow their own path.
    After doing more thinking since my earlier post, I agree that Toller Cranston was indeed a great skater, regardless of whether he was an OGM contender or not. I got blinded by the glitter of the gold, but only temporarily.

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