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  1. #1

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    The "bests" of the best

    I thought it might be fun to compare the best competitive performances of the best skaters, starting with ladies. Take a look and see what you think. Who do you think is truly the "best of the best?" (Of course, these are just my opinions of their best performances.) Can you imagine if all these performances were in one actual competition? A figure skating fan's dream come true! Anyway, enjoy and judge!

    Katarina Witt: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLiJlOMdylg

    Midori Ito: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvgWI8QDrzQ

    Tonya Harding: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buQXBXmjumU

    Kristi Yamaguchi: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJNs1esR0_Y

    Nancy Kerrigan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7RvWbnaDZk

    Tara Lipinski: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZhIs6OIJ-I

    Michelle Kwan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ptj_tO7tIXg

    Irina Slutskaya: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvBSI97Vuw8

    Sasha Cohen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouNL5ux17c4

    Yu-Na Kim: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yc35PYNEQMk

    Mao Asada: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsCZCM8AKCU

  2. #2
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    Poor Witt who had perhaps her all time moment of shining glory that night, outskating Thomas, Kadavy, Trenary, and young Ito all at their best to regain her World title, would still be guaranteed to come dead last just based on jump content vs those others alone. Unless the competition were held place in the figures era.

    If you are talking about a competition it really depends what format it would take place in. Under COP the winner would probably be one of Slutskaya or Kim. Under non figures 6.0 it would probably be Ito or Kwan. Under the format including compulsory figures who knows.

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    Just based on these programs, I watched them all and gave them my own scoring. This was SO hard! I aimed to give equality to both content and choreo/artistic. Anyway, here's what I came up with (and I was very surprised by my own results!):

    1. Tonya
    2. Sasha
    3. Yu-Na
    4. Tara
    5. Kristi
    6. Midori (this pains me--I love her--but was there any choreography?)
    7. Michelle
    8. Mao
    9. Nancy
    10. Katarina
    11. Irina

    If I were a judge, that's how I would have scored it. But this is not my order of "favorite skaters" at all! It should be fun to see what you come up with. These are ALL great performances.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skateboy View Post
    1. Tonya
    ...
    6. Midori (this pains me--I love her--but was there any choreography?)
    You keep using that word! I do not think it means what you think it means!

    That's not the best Midori LP anyway. Artistically, it's her Calgary Olys skate, but if you only include programs with 3A the 1989 is better than 1990.

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    The only thing I knew to do was the rank the programs two different ways, re-list them from the lowest point total to the highest, and use the "second mark" as the tie-breaker where necessary...

    Technical: Sheer difficulty weighed against my own uninformed idea of what sound technique is; also, the more kinds of triples there are in a program, the better. Speed, carriage, edging, ease of movement, difficult footwork and spins count for a great deal.

    (1) Harding (2) Ito (3) Kim (4) Kwan (5) Slutskaya (6) Asada (7) Yamaguchi (8) Cohen (9) Lipinski (10) Kerrigan (11) Witt

    Artistik: Basically, a program that is coherent and delivered with great commitment trumps one in which certain elements (or even the skater's carriage throughout the program) stand out as beautiful in a performance that otherwise seems merely like skating to four minutes' length of music. Not that that's really any help in showing where and explaining why decisions about some rankings were close.

    (1) Kwan (2) Cohen (3) Asada (4) Witt (5) Kim (6) Lipinski (7) Yamaguchi (8) Harding (9) Kerrigan (10) Ito (11) Slutskaya

    And so...

    1. Michelle Kwan, 5
    2. Kim Yu-Na, 8
    3. Mao Asada, 9 (wins the artistik tie-break)
    4. Tonya Harding, 9
    5. Sasha Cohen, 10 (That it's threadbare RobinLake keeps off the imaginary podium. Even so, my kingdom for a no-commentary video of that breathtaking performance...)
    6. Midori Ito, 12 (Oh, there's choreography in that program, all right. It just isn't the very best.)
    7. Kristi Yamaguchi, 14
    8. Katarina Witt, 15 (If Jutta Muller's choreo is a cowbell, Witt fully explores the space with it.)
    9. Tara Lipinski, 15
    10. Irina Slutskaya, 16
    11. Nancy Kerrigan, 19

    If skateboy had chosen the 1989 NHK Trophy LP for Ito, the 1999-2000 GPF LP2 or the 2002 Worlds LP for Slutskaya, and the 1997-8 GPF LP for Lipinski, this would've been much more difficult for me.
    Last edited by falling_dance; 09-22-2011 at 09:44 AM.

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    Shizuka Arakawa should have been on this list.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vagabond View Post
    Shizuka Arakawa should have been on this list.
    And Lu Chen : Lu Chen 1996 Worlds LP

    And Maria Butyrskaya : Maria Butyrskaya 1999 Worlds LP

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    Quote Originally Posted by skateboy View Post
    I thought it might be fun to compare the best competitive performances of the best skaters, starting with ladies. Take a look and see what you think. Who do you think is truly the "best of the best?" (Of course, these are just my opinions of their best performances.) Can you imagine if all these performances were in one actual competition? A figure skating fan's dream come true! Anyway, enjoy and judge!
    Thanks for posting! While I love Kwan's Red Violin performance, my marginal favorite of all time for her would be her SOTBS at Worlds the following year.

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    Why are you judging 6.0 programs with COP criteria? The skaters did not prepare for those rules. They need to be judged by the rules of their times, not by 2011.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skateboy View Post
    I thought it might be fun to compare the best competitive performances of the best skaters, starting with ladies. Take a look and see what you think. Who do you think is truly the "best of the best?" (Of course, these are just my opinions of their best performances.) Can you imagine if all these performances were in one actual competition? A figure skating fan's dream come true! Anyway, enjoy and judge!

    Katarina Witt: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLiJlOMdylg

    Midori Ito: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvgWI8QDrzQ

    Tonya Harding: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buQXBXmjumU

    Kristi Yamaguchi: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJNs1esR0_Y

    Nancy Kerrigan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7RvWbnaDZk

    Tara Lipinski: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZhIs6OIJ-I

    Michelle Kwan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ptj_tO7tIXg

    Irina Slutskaya: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvBSI97Vuw8

    Sasha Cohen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouNL5ux17c4

    Yu-Na Kim: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yc35PYNEQMk

    Mao Asada: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsCZCM8AKCU
    This is TOUGH.

    1)Michelle Kwan (great technique, most mature presentation)
    2)Tonya Harding (best jumps, great excitement and power)
    3)Tara Lipinski (speed, infectious energy, difficulty in the 2nd half)
    4)Midori Ito (Iconic jumps, wonderful personality, one small mistake)
    5)Sasha Cohen (Terrific interpretation, spins, and positions)
    6)Yuna Kim (Amazing jumps, but I find this LP ZZZzzz)
    7)Kristi Yamaguchi (So many transitions and a clean skate)
    8)Irina Slutskaya (Good but issues with the final steps, spin, and zayak rule)
    9)Asada (She doesn't get the music, jumps not well-rounded)
    10)Kerrigan (great night for her, but the difficulty doesn't stack up)
    11)Witt (blah)

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    Why are you judging 6.0 programs with COP criteria? The skaters did not prepare for those rules. They need to be judged by the rules of their times, not by 2011.
    The problem is some of those skaters like Kim and Asada did prepare their programs for COP so it would likewise be unfair to judge them by 6.0 standards. Others like Witt and sometimes Ito prepared their programs under the 3 event compulsory figures format. Not all the skaters were in the 6.0/no figures era.

    Anyway if I chose how I think those performances would fare in a competition with each other, rather than which I like most I would say:

    1. Yu Na
    2. Midori Ito
    3. Michelle Kwan
    4. Irina Slutskaya
    5. Tonya Harding
    6. Kristi Yamaguchi
    7. Mao Asada
    8. Sasha Cohen
    9. Tara Lipinski
    10. Nancy Kerrigan
    11. Katarina Witt

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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    The problem is some of those skaters like Kim and Asada did prepare their programs for COP so it would likewise be unfair to judge them by 6.0 standards. Others like Witt and sometimes Ito prepared their programs under the 3 event compulsory figures format. Not all the skaters were in the 6.0/no figures era.

    Anyway if I chose how I think those performances would fare in a competition with each other, rather than which I like most I would say:

    1. Yu Na
    2. Midori Ito
    3. Michelle Kwan
    4. Irina Slutskaya
    5. Tonya Harding
    6. Kristi Yamaguchi
    7. Mao Asada
    8. Sasha Cohen
    9. Tara Lipinski
    10. Nancy Kerrigan
    11. Katarina Witt
    Just curious...Irina broke the Zayak rule (3 triple loops) forgot a large portion of her step sequence, and her last combo spin was a mess so what puts her above so many of the others for you?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Triple Butz View Post
    Just curious...Irina broke the Zayak rule (3 triple loops) forgot a large portion of her step sequence, and her last combo spin was a mess so what puts her above so many of the others for you?
    I know it wasn't a question for me but I would say extraordinary joy of skating and exuberance. What's more, huge jumps (only the great Midori and Queen Yu-Na compare with her in terms of height), the most difficult triple-triple and good spins but all these are less important.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Triple Butz View Post
    Just curious...Irina broke the Zayak rule (3 triple loops) forgot a large portion of her step sequence, and her last combo spin was a mess so what puts her above so many of the others for you?
    I dont think the judges care about the Zayak rule in one time offense cases unless it is under COP, and since most of these women skated under 6.0 I scored it under that (yes I think Kim would still win out under 6.0 btw). I have often heard commentators point out a triple will be discounted since there was an accident it wasnt put in combination or repeated a 3rd time, but I always found it was never reflected in the scores one iota. The rule just kept skaters in line, and nobody would go beyond the rule or more than the very rare occasion. Her spins are still better than the vast majority of the women on the list, in fact the only better spinner on the list is Cohen probably, although Ito was also very good in her younger years. Her triple-triple combination was the hardest any of the women did, and her jumps are more explosive and better than most of the women listed. The overall presentation was excellent because of the energy, command, and overall confidence she skated with IMO.

    I am curious too btw why you think Tara would be over Kim. Is there anything Tara does better than an in the zone Kim even in that "best ever" performance, except doing a triple loop. Kim has MUCH better quality jumps, stronger non jump elements, triple-triples and combinations galore herself, as much or more speed, and better artistry.

    I also dont think those were the best performances of a couple of those women. Ito skated better performances at the 89 Worlds and 89 NHK which would probably place even higher on peoples lists who dont have her 1st. I even preferred her performance at the 91 Trophee Lalique even with the singled triple loop, artistically the program was much better. Irina skated better performances at the 2000 GP final, 2001 Russian Nationals, 2004 Cup of Russia, and 2005 Cup of Russia, which I am pretty sure would rank higher than most are ranking her on their lists. Michelle it is so hard to choose a best ever performance. Her 2000 Worlds LP was my favorite of hers, but many would probably pick her 2001 Worlds LP or 98 Nationals LP instead.
    Last edited by judgejudy27; 09-21-2011 at 11:48 PM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by skateboy View Post
    I thought it might be fun to compare the best competitive performances of the best skaters, starting with ladies. Take a look and see what you think. Who do you think is truly the "best of the best?" (Of course, these are just my opinions of their best performances.) Can you imagine if all these performances were in one actual competition? A figure skating fan's dream come true! Anyway, enjoy and judge!

    Katarina Witt: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLiJlOMdylg

    Midori Ito: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvgWI8QDrzQ

    Tonya Harding: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buQXBXmjumU

    Kristi Yamaguchi: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJNs1esR0_Y

    Nancy Kerrigan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7RvWbnaDZk

    Tara Lipinski: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZhIs6OIJ-I

    Michelle Kwan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ptj_tO7tIXg

    Irina Slutskaya: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvBSI97Vuw8

    Sasha Cohen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouNL5ux17c4

    Yu-Na Kim: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yc35PYNEQMk

    Mao Asada: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsCZCM8AKCU
    I would rate Rochette's 2009 Nationals Aranjuez over quite a few of these performances, certainly over Cohen, Kerrigan, and Witt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post

    I am curious too btw why you think Tara would be over Kim. Is there anything Tara does better than an in the zone Kim even in that "best ever" performance, except doing a triple loop. Kim has MUCH better quality jumps, stronger non jump elements, triple-triples and combinations galore herself, as much or more speed, and better artistry.
    Fair enough. Re: Tara, I may be in the minority, but I think her lack of artistry is greatly exaggerated. She sold the heck out of her programs IMO, especially at the Nagano games. While her jumps in no way compare to Kim and many others in terms of quality, I'm just really impressed by the fact that most of the difficulty came very late in the program which just made for a WOW ending. I can't think of any lady skater since who has done such difficult maneuvers so late in the program. Just my opinion, but Kim's LP in Vancouver, great as it was, feels empty to me. I just don't see much emotion...she seems pretty complacent about the whole thing, and I think it was one of David Wilson's most ZZZZzzz creations. If she had skated it with the energy she had in the short, I would have moved her up the list significantly.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Triple Butz View Post
    Fair enough. Re: Tara, I may be in the minority, but I think her lack of artistry is greatly exaggerated. She sold the heck out of her programs IMO, especially at the Nagano games. While her jumps in no way compare to Kim and many others in terms of quality, I'm just really impressed by the fact that most of the difficulty came very late in the program which just made for a WOW ending. I can't think of any lady skater since who has done such difficult maneuvers so late in the program. Just my opinion, but Kim's LP in Vancouver, great as it was, feels empty to me. I just don't see much emotion...she seems pretty complacent about the whole thing, and I think it was one of David Wilson's most ZZZZzzz creations. If she had skated it with the energy she had in the short, I would have moved her up the list significantly.

    Did you forget Midori Ito's triple axel in the second half of her LP in the 1992 Olympics?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    Did you forget Midori Ito's triple axel in the second half of her LP in the 1992 Olympics?
    I'm pretty sure that happened in 92...and pretty sure I said "since."

    Mao was doing 3f/3r pretty late in 08 for a little while and Courtney Hicks has moved hers to the latter half as well, but still a 3t/half-loop/3sal with TEN SECONDS to go? Crazy!

    ETA: Midori's spontaneous 3A was the highlight of those games, and it's a shame that with the rigid jump slots in CoP it wouldn't be possible

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    I agree that is difficult to evaluate programs under different systems but first, I'm not sure if I would consider some of these performances the "best" competitive skates from these skaters.

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    I enjoyed watching many of those programs again, especially Michelle's Red Violin LP. One thing I'd forgotten was how chatty the ABC commentators were. They talked through the whole thing. I didn't mind then, but now I find it annoying. Thanks for posting.

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