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. #81
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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
    Alexei Urmanov was just amazing. I still hate Mishin's style, but ALexei's jumping technique is perfect. This 3Axel is very beautiful.

  2. #82

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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.
    I think so too, but I doubt that many people on this board are familiar with his skating or the era he skated in, while Kurt is still out there.

  3. #83

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pierre View Post
    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.
    I like him better as a pro. I think if he had been born in an era when pro skating was popular he would be another Robin Cousins. Interestingly enough he was the only one who did a 3lutz in the last show I saw. Yuna settled for a 3salchow and double axel, and Johnny for a double toe.

  4. #84

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    A large sampling of Toller's work is available at FSVids.

    Several of us who are familiar with his skating/the era are available for discussion.
    Feel free to ask.

  5. #85

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pierre View Post
    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.
    As an eligible skater I did not feel he was a 'great' skater. I like his pro routines. He has developed artistically. As an eligible skater, I saw his artistic development in 2010 (and he had lost the jumps by then). Before that his arm movements were robotic. He seemed to sense the music better and let his body express it much better toward the end of his eligible career. I am enjoying his pro routines, but he will have to be as good as Robin Cousins as a pro for me to call him a 'great skater'. Hopefully he will be around long enough to get there.

  6. #86
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    I voted for Orser for a number of reasons.

    First, the skater needs to be one with that magical ability to interpret music. On that score, we eliminate Stojko, Joubert, and Eldredge as competent, at times effective, but not in the same league as the others.

    Second, the skater should be at the technical head of his generation. Orser was already doing triple axels when the 3 lutz was enough to win an Olympics. IIRC he was the first man to use two 3 axels in a free skate, and all six of his triples were of good quality. The ability to do all 6 triples well eliminates Lambiel and Buttle, whose 3 axels, two decades later, were not up to snuff. Sadly, it also eliminates Browning, who had a solid 3A and was a quad pioneer, but did not have a decent 3 lutz and only slightly better 3 flip.

    That leaves Orser, Cranston, and Takahashi. All three are very magical and special skaters, but I think Orser's two Olympic silver medals have to give it to him. In 84, he won both the short program and the freeskate. In 88 he came within one tenth of winning it all. None of the others has that kind of Olympic credentials.

  7. #87
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    Kurt.

  8. #88

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    Quote Originally Posted by Susan M View Post
    Second, the skater should be at the technical head of his generation. Orser was already doing triple axels when the 3 lutz was enough to win an Olympics. IIRC he was the first man to use two 3 axels in a free skate, and all six of his triples were of good quality. The ability to do all 6 triples well eliminates Lambiel and Buttle, whose 3 axels, two decades later, were not up to snuff. Sadly, it also eliminates Browning, who had a solid 3A and was a quad pioneer, but did not have a decent 3 lutz and only slightly better 3 flip.

    That leaves Orser, Cranston, and Takahashi. All three are very magical and special skaters, but I think Orser's two Olympic silver medals have to give it to him. In 84, he won both the short program and the freeskate. In 88 he came within one tenth of winning it all. None of the others has that kind of Olympic credentials.
    I'm kind of confused about your reasoning: Kurt Browning doesn't make the cut for consideration because he didn't do enough technically ( on its own) but Daisuke Takahashi does? Takhashi is a very good skater, but he is hardly among the technical leaders of the sport, let alone at the head of the class; I don't think he ever was, even pre-injury. The only thing that comes close to breaking new ground technically is the 4F attempts, but those haven't been rotated. He's not a great spinner, he gets edge calls and URs, and he's been quite inconsistent, especially since the injury - getting by on PCS way too often to be considered strong on the technical side.

  9. #89
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    Takahashi's LP performance at the 2008 Four Continents was probably the best technical skate ever to that point in time.

  10. #90

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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    Takahashi's LP performance at the 2008 Four Continents was probably the best technical skate ever to that point in time.
    I don't deny Takahashi's very good, and that he skated very well at 2008 4CC; but that's one performance, and on the whole, his career doesn't support the argument that he's excelled on the technical side. He certainly hasn't been the most consistent of skaters in that respect, as his results demonstrate. I know he's hugely popular, and I can understand why - but his strength is more as a performer than a technician, IMO.

  11. #91

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    ^ ITA with the above. I don't know how someone can refute a 4 time World Champion who was able to combine artistry with technical ability like Kurt Browning, or a 2 time Olympic Silver medalist and multiple World medalist (Brian Orser) to 1-2 great skates from Takahashi.

    Brian Orser raised the bar in the 1980's to the point that his artistry and technical ability resulted in Brian Boitano seeking one of the best choreographers to choreograph an Olympic worthy LP. Not to mention Kurt Browning being the 1st to land a quad. His landing the quad resulted in more people trying to land the quad with Elvis being the 1st to land a quad/ double and quad triple.

    When I think of the greatest male skater to NOT win the Olympics I think of Kurt Browning, Brian Orser and Elvis Stojko. Who brought much to the sport of figure skating in their respective timeframes.

    If Kurt had skated his SP in 1994 very well, I firmly believe he would have been 1994 Olympic Champ. His interview on CTV after his SP broke my heart.
    ~I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.~ (Charles R. Swindoll)

  12. #92

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    As an eligible skater I did not feel he was a 'great' skater. I like his pro routines. He has developed artistically. As an eligible skater, I saw his artistic development in 2010 (and he had lost the jumps by then). Before that his arm movements were robotic. He seemed to sense the music better and let his body express it much better toward the end of his eligible career. I am enjoying his pro routines, but he will have to be as good as Robin Cousins as a pro for me to call him a 'great skater'. Hopefully he will be around long enough to get there.
    Stéphane really matured as a performer in the 2006-2007 season with the Poeta LP and Blood Diamond SP. All his competitive programs onwards have been nothing short of amazing. Exhibitions just divine. I always adored the young Lambiel because he skated with a combination of musicality and freedom that was so rare and moving but for me not until then did he become a real artist. I remembered reading an interview where it was mentioned that choreographer Antonio Najarro taught him how to move with more masculinity and use his upper body. I think that's what made the difference. He also started some ballet lessons to improve his movement quality later on. But despite all the continuous growing and maturing, imo he was always a diamond in the rough, so expressive - always a dancer. What makes him stand out is his ability to interpret any type of music.
    Last edited by shine; 10-01-2011 at 04:57 AM.

  13. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twilight1 View Post
    When I think of the greatest male skater to NOT win the Olympics I think of Kurt Browning, Brian Orser and Elvis Stojko. Who brought much to the sport of figure skating in their respective timeframes.

    If Kurt had skated his SP in 1994 very well, I firmly believe he would have been 1994 Olympic Champ. His interview on CTV after his SP broke my heart.
    ITA with your post

  14. #94
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    How Eldredge can have as many votes as Stojko is beyond me. Joubert more votes than Stojko, that is even funnier, at best he is basically a poor mans Stojko without any consistency.

  15. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    How Eldredge can have as many votes as Stojko is beyond me.
    I guess spinning fans are having their say, as Todd is far and away a better spinner than Elvis. In terms of skating style, I personally think both of them are 2 of the most boring skaters in the history of men's skating.

    Joubert more votes than Stojko, that is even funnier, at best he is basically a poor mans Stojko without any consistency.
    This is basically a beauty contest, and yes, Brian is far more beautiful than Elvis in every possible way.

    Clearly, I'm not as big a fan of Stojko as you are though, so don't mind me. I'm just glad Urmanov won in '94 and Kulik won in '98 over him.

  16. #96

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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    How Eldredge can have as many votes as Stojko is beyond me. Joubert more votes than Stojko, that is even funnier, at best he is basically a poor mans Stojko without any consistency.
    I thought the knock on Brian was that he was the poor man's Yagudin? I really don't see too many parallels with Stojko. Personally, I think Brian's inconsistency is/was due in large part to his trying to adapt to the current system, which really isn't very friendly to a skater like him, and this in turn fed his headcase tendencies. He probably would have had a fine career under 6.0; he was just born a few years too late. As it is, he's done quite well despite never really being considered the best of the bunch.

    In general, I feel more for the guys who couldn't even manage an Olympic medal, like Browning and Joubert -though I imagine Browning has moved on long ago. As for the votes, 5 vs. 6 is meaningless, it's like caring who finished 14th on Eurovision and who was 15th.

  17. #97
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    I see no similarilities between Joubert and Yagudin. The things people found so wonderful and unique about Yagudin arent in evidence on Brian at all, even on a smaller scale to me. I know Yagudin worked with him for awhile so there were minor choreographic things that were similar, but that is it.

    BTW I am not a big fan of Stojko whatsoever. However he is hands down a much better skater, more dominant force of his era, more impactful skater, and worthy candidate to Olympic Gold than Joubert ever was IMO. He also both dominated competitively and overshadowed as far as impact Eldredge during their respective careers.

  18. #98
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    I'm kind of confused about your reasoning: Kurt Browning doesn't make the cut for consideration because he didn't do enough technically ( on its own) but Daisuke Takahashi does?
    OK, the eliminate Takahashi in Step 2 as well. I don't honestly remember any of his skates well enough to quote chapter and verse, but my perception was that, when he was at his best, he could do all 6 triples with good form. If he couldn't, then yes, he should have been out with technical weaknesses.

    I don't know if you remember Browning's competitive years, he usually didn't include a 3 lutz in his freeskate at Worlds and his 3 flip was always scary looking and unreliable. In fact, it was the inability to do these two jumps confidently that cost him his Oly chances. Before 91, he was succeeding in the SP with a 3A combo, solo 3A and required 2A. Once the ISU required a different jump as the solo, the SP became a minefield for him. The lutz was so bad he used 3flip for the solo in the SP when the other top guys all did lutzes. (Petrenko usually won the SP.) It was the flip he messed up in the SP at Lillehammer (before losing it mentally and also singling the axel). After 92, he was clearly on a physical decline. He won 93 Worlds with 5 triples (an event in which Elvis landed, I think, eight).

    So, while Browning is a wonderful interpreter, a stylish skater, a dancer, and performer, his skating had some glaring technical weaknesses. Orser's didn't. For those folks ready to chime in with "technical" being more than just jumps, Orser was a better spinner than Browning, and I'd call it a tie on footwork.
    Last edited by Susan M; 10-01-2011 at 04:35 PM.

  19. #99

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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    Takahashi's LP performance at the 2008 Four Continents was probably the best technical skate ever to that point in time.
    I didn't list Takhashi in my choices because I consider him still in contention.

  20. #100
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    Very interesting and insightful arguments.

    I still vote for Toller! As skatesindreams said, all the men are heir to Toller's revolutionary risk-taking in Munich, which Toller describes as "the presentation of an idea and a concept and a new mode of skating that took off ... I was just the vehicle."

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

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