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. #1
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    Who was the greatest MEN's singles figure skater never to become Olympic champion?

    First of all, sorry for snatching another thread title!

    Second, I've only include skaters who are still in my mind, which means that there is no one who is only a name in figure skating history books to me. Feel free to use the "Other" option!

    The guys deserve their own area, can't wait for the result, although I've a slight idea who'll "win" this one ...

  2. #2
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    I am really torn here, because I adore all three of these guys. My top choice is Kurt. Then I would go with Todd. It just breaks my heart that neither of them have an Olympic medal of any color, but I am grateful that they have had World level success in other Olympic eligible competitions, and have continued to have great pro careers.

    Choice #3 is Brian Orser. I'm guessing that back in 1984, had compulsory figures not been part of the scoring, that he would have won the gold medal. Two Olympic silver medals - not shabby by any means, and I'm so glad that he is still so involved with the sport.

  3. #3

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    Paul!
    Charter member of the "We Always Believed in Ashley" Club and the "We Believe in Ricky" Club
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    Michelle Kwan!!!
    (...oops wrong thread!!)

    My vote goes to Kurt, it is just astonishing how badly he did at all 3 Olympics even he is simply one of the greatest of ALL time!

    Kurt is someone I'd watch outside competition forever, his mastery of the footwork, the first quad, all his pizazz and personality on ice is quite infectious. Not that dissimilar to Lambiel actually, but at least Stephane won a silver in Tourin, the highest Kurt ever got was 5th which is still mind boggling.

    It would be interesting to compile all these greatest in an opinion ranked table, and wonder if they ever console each other about it (I doubt it for the record).
    Last edited by os168; 09-16-2011 at 01:39 PM.

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    I would say Kurt, especially since he never managed to win an Olympic MEDAL, let alone a gold.

    Elvis and Brian are close second choices, because they both came so close twice with two silvers each, especially Brian in the Battle of the Brians. I think Elvis could have won in '98 if he was not so injured (I know this is probably going to start some debate).

    Joubert and Takahashi could still win an OGM, although I don't think it's likely for Joubert at this point.

  6. #6

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    Some of the skaters don't really belong in the 'great' category.

    Joubert was never a 'great' skater though he was a contender for a world title many times.

    Buttle, as good he was to watch, he was never a consistent jumper. He could not even land a 3A consistently (neither did Lambiel but he could do two quads in his programs). IMO he was lucky to win a world championship.

    Toller Cranston was great in his own way, because of his creativity, but I doubt that he was ever an OGM contender.

    Daisuke Takahashi is still skating, so he does not belong on this poll. I expect him (like Mao Asada) to be back in the Olympics in Sochi.

    The one missing on this poll is Jan Hoffman. He went head to head with Robin Cousins and lost the OGM in 1980. Hoffman was just a figures skater, and not a free skate type skater like Cousins, but in that era (of compulsory figures) I believe he was one of the great skaters.

    My vote went to Brian Orser, although Kurt Browning is the one that really jumps out as soon as you look at this poll. Orser lost the OGM in 1984 only due to CF (he won the SP and the LP). He lost to Boitano on the technical marks in a tie breaker in 1988. Next year they changed the rules and artistic marks became the tie breaker criterion. Had they used it in 1988, Orser would have won the OGM, and not Boitano.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    Some of the skaters don't really belong in the 'great' category.

    Toller Cranston was great in his own way, because of his creativity, but I doubt that he was ever an OGM contender.
    IMO Toller is one of greatest ever mens skaters. Technically he did everything that was required at the time but it was the way he did it that makes him so special. He is the one who revolutionised mens skating. He really did turn the skating world on his head. He was treated like a rockstar by the fans and his winning the LP at the 1972, 74 and 75 Worlds just shows that the judges actually did eventually accept his style. If he'd ever laid down figures in competition the way he did in practice he absolutely would have been THE favourite for the OGM in 1976. Who was there to rival him? Curry had been incredibly inconsistent up to that point, Hoffmann was injured the whole of 1975 which leaves Kovalev and Volkov. No one knew John would get his act together the way he did heading into the 1976 season.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    Daisuke Takahashi is still skating, so he does not belong on this poll. I expect him (like Mao Asada) to be back in the Olympics in Sochi.
    I hope I'm wrong but I don't think Takahashi's place on an Olympic team in Sochi is a sure thing. With Kozuka's amazing skate in Moscow and Hanyu looking so fabulous this summer, Dai and Oda may very well be vying for the third spot in 2014. (Which just seems so unfair that we could be denied a skater of their calibre at such an event.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    The one missing on this poll is Jan Hoffman. He went head to head with Robin Cousins and lost the OGM in 1980. Hoffman was just a figures skater, and not a free skate type skater like Cousins, but in that era (of compulsory figures) I believe he was one of the great skaters.
    Aww Jan never gets any love. He didn't have style but his basics were solid, he was very strong at figures and overall he was the strongest technician of the 1970's, pushing the envelope with the triple lutz and regularly landing four different triples in the LP. He wanted to retire in the late 70's and go on to medical school but was 'persuaded' to remain in competition until 1980 by the powers that be in the GDR. He came to Lake Placid with his best ever LP choreographically, skated lights out in all three phases of the competition, not putting a foot wrong and still came second.

    As a Brit, I was a huge fan of Cousins skating and still am, but you have to feel for Jan. A lot has always been made of the fact that Linda would have won the OGM if the factored system was in place at the time. But many forget that Jan would have beaten Robin very comfortably if they were scored under factored placements. Jan's competitors had a lot of respect for him due to his overall skating talent in figures and free as well as his incredible consistency and longevity in major competition. (1968 - 1980).

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    Very interesting post, Floskate! Thanks for the history lessons. I hope you are wrong about Takahashi, but logic says you may be right. I don't see Oda rebounding, but Takahashi may still have a chance.

    BTW I am surprised to see Orser get so few votes-may be because he skated in the 1980's and Lambiel is more recent? I never thought of Lambiel as a 'great' skater. He was a great spinner and a very good skater, who won when Plushenko was not around (2005 & 2006 worlds). He was good enough to beat Lysacek just a couple years before the 2010 Oly, but seemed to have lost that by the 2010 Olys. I am not saying he does not belong on this poll, but in my eyes Orser was so much better when he was at the top of his game.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    Some of the skaters don't really belong in the 'great' category. ...
    I know what you mean. "Great" or not, uhhmmm, I've stolen the thread title and I've chosen those who have been at least World Champion during the past years (plus Toller). And no, I don't expect Dai or Joubert coming back in Socchi.

    Otoh, there have been a few "not-so-great Olympic Champions" as well ...

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    Kurt gets my vote, of course. I'm just gonna leave a link of his performance. When I watched and heard his first part of narration, my heart literally ached
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCxNysHbbEM

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    I would vote for Cranston, Orser, and Lambiel. My choices are purely subjective, not based on how they performed at their particular Olympics under the rules at the time. I just love their skating!

  12. #12
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    My criteria is (roughly) talent and influence relative to oly results so multiple non-gold medals aren't included and modern skaters aren't cause dey bores me silly

    Bronze - Eldridge - just because, mkay? Such a complete skater who excelled at everything .... except the stupid quad (I hate quads and everything they stand for)

    Silver - Cranston - revolutionized (not just mens) skating and the biggest diva evvah

    Gold - Browning - the male Kwan ... squared

  13. #13

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    IMO Toller is one of greatest ever mens skaters. Technically he did everything that was required at the time but it was the way he did it that makes him so special. He is the one who revolutionised mens skating. He really did turn the skating world on his head. He was treated like a rockstar by the fans and his winning the LP at the 1972, 74 and 75 Worlds just shows that the judges actually did eventually accept his style. If he'd ever laid down figures in competition the way he did in practice he absolutely would have been THE favourite for the OGM in 1976. Who was there to rival him? Curry had been incredibly inconsistent up to that point, Hoffmann was injured the whole of 1975 which leaves Kovalev and Volkov. No one knew John would get his act together the way he did heading into the 1976 season.
    floskate, you spoke for me.
    Thanks, as ever, for your perspective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by l'etoile View Post
    Kurt gets my vote, of course. I'm just gonna leave a link of his performance. When I watched and heard his first part of narration, my heart literally ached
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCxNysHbbEM
    Yeah, I know what you mean. At the same time, it's nice that he's gotten to the point where he can joke about it, however ruefully!
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    My first choice would be Kurt. And my second choice would be Browning. And my third choice would be Kurt Browning. I am still in denial that he never got to hit the Olympic podium whereas other skaters I won't name are even Olympic champs although their legacy to figure skating is hardly worth mentioning, whether on the technical side or the artistic side.

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    I went with Brian Orser. Kurt was great, but Brian surely would have won gold in '84 without figures and '88 was so close.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by VarBar View Post
    My first choice would be Kurt. And my second choice would be Browning. And my third choice would be Kurt Browning. I am still in denial that he never got to hit the Olympic podium whereas other skaters I won't name are even Olympic champs although their legacy to figure skating is hardly worth mentioning, whether on the technical side or the artistic side.
    L-y-s-a-c-e-k, L-y-s-a-c-e-k, L-y-s-a-c-e-k!!!

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    I knew it would be a huge gigantic landslide for Browning and it is a dserved landslide so I voted for Stojko because he had no votes. So many times a world champion and twice Olympic silver medalist and a total jumping revolutionary! And he did totally unique and creative programs that no one even thought of doing!

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by caseyedwards View Post
    I knew it would be a huge gigantic landslide for Browning and it is a dserved landslide so I voted for Stojko because he had no votes. So many times a world champion and twice Olympic silver medalist and a total jumping revolutionary! And he did totally unique and creative programs that no one even thought of doing!
    Um, you do know that there were people doing your beloved quad before Stojko did it, right?

    And I can't recall "creative" being an adjective that was used too often to describe Stojko's programs.
    You should never write words with numbers. Unless you're seven. Or your name is Prince. - "Weird Al" Yankovic, "Word Crimes"

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by overedge View Post
    Um, you do know that there were people doing your beloved quad before Stojko did it, right?

    And I can't recall "creative" being an adjective that was used too often to describe Stojko's programs.
    I am not even a Stojko fan (though I always respected him), but your post made me refute your points.

    The skaters that landed the quad before Stojko were very few and they did not land it frequently the way he did.

    Joseph Sabavcek (sp?)- not ratified (though it should have been)

    Kurt Browning - 1988 worlds- ratified, but had a turnout on the landing. At 1989 worlds he two footed it.

    Boitano attempted it at the 1988 worlds but came away short of rotations.

    Urmanov landed it once (I think it was 1992) and did not attempt it again, AFAIK.

    Stojko made the quad routine in his skating, which inspired younger skaters like Kulik, Yagudin, Plushenko to learn it at a young age.

    Also Stojko was the first to land a quad in combination.

    Stojko was creative in the sense he had his own style, which was athletic. He did not try to become an elegant skater, which he was not.

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