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  1. #1
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    Difficult or Effortless?

    A few years ago I attended an Australia versus China gymnastics meet, and the thing that struck me the most was, that while the Australians made everything look technically difficult, the Chinese made the same moves look effortless.

    Both teams however, made for a spectacular evening of competition.

    I'm wondering if the same applies to elite skaters.

    Off the top of my head, Kristi Yamaguchi comes to mind. I remember seeing one of her best performances at the 1992 US Nationals in person, where, after landing 7 triples in the free, she barely broke a sweat.

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

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    Making the hard look really easy: Grishuk/Platov.

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    gordeeva/grinkov were always praised for making everything look effortless despite the difficulty and the huge size difference. gordeeva herself is still praised for such. it takes a special strength and talent to make difficult things look easy.

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    I agree with all above. For me Yuna Kim comes the closest to those great skaters mentioned. And let's face it. She's the only one to be praised for her effortlessness on ice by skating/non-skating media around the world in recent history of FS-hello, remember the olympics and worlds09? She absolutely qualifies for the list of skaters who make difficult things look so easy no matter what she does on the ice.

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    G&P, G&G, and Yuna Kim, what all these skaters mentioned above have in common is great skating skills. IMO, ability to create natural flow over the ice serves as a foudation for making all the moves effortless.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RumbleFish View Post
    G&P, G&G, and Yuna Kim, what all these skaters mentioned above have in common is great skating skills. IMO, ability to create natural flow over the ice serves as a foudation for making all the moves effortless.
    Whenever I think of difficult moves looking "easy" I think of Kwan. She was the master of that, especially in her prime.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FehcN5tiuo

    "Ease of movement" was one of the criteria for high presentation marks in the old system, and I can't think of anyone who moved through her elements with more ease than Michelle.

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    I agree, and Gordeeva&Grinkov were the first to come to my mind.
    It's a question of lightness. Patrick Chan is now someone very special in that regard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Triple Butz View Post
    Whenever I think of difficult moves looking "easy" I think of Kwan. She was the master of that, especially in her prime.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FehcN5tiuo

    "Ease of movement" was one of the criteria for high presentation marks in the old system, and I can't think of anyone who moved through her elements with more ease than Michelle.
    Just wonderful.
    She has such an amazing ability to shape her skating talents into a wonderful package of a performance.

    Whenever I watch her skate, I worry that I might get tired of it, but thankfully I never to.

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    Michelle, Sasha, YuNa, Joannie, Laura, Caro and Mao especially her exhibitions. These ladies imo have great effortless flow across the ice and imo do not skate like they are connecting the dots.

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    I should also add Lu Chen and Kurt Browning as skaters who made intricate choreography look effortless.

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    I would also mention Klimova & Ponomarenko. Their programs always had such an amazing range of steps, edges, handholds, etc but they were so smooth and effortless. The best example might be their famous 1987 OSP (Viennese Waltz) which was made into the Golden Waltz compulsory dance. Many ice dancers say that it's harder than an entire free dance.

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    IMO, the "new" effortless pair are the Shibutanis. It will be interesting to see if they can maintain that effortlessness as they take on more difficult choreography and increased speed over time.
    Last edited by sk9tingfan; 10-20-2011 at 07:27 PM.

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    I think effortless skating is what I'm looking for when I watch a skater. The ease in the moves, the flowless technic are what make a skater interesting to watch. That way I feel the artistry better and that transcends the sport.
    G&G, Yu Na Kim, G&P, K&P, Torvill & Dean also as well as Mao Asada and some other I forget, are all very "easy" to watch because they just skate like they breath.

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    When skaters reach the level where their moves look "effortless"; the difficulty of what they do isn't always appreciated.

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    Plushenko's quad toe always looked effortless, so the difficulty was underestimated.

    I would add Yuka Sato's footwork and B&S's connecting moves (too many to list here) looked so effortless that they were considered easy.

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    The first two skaters that popped into my head when I finished reading the OP were Takahiko Kozuka and Carolina Kostner.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sk9tingfan View Post
    IMO, the "new" effortless pair are the Shibutanis. It will be interesting to see if they can maintain that effortless as they take on more difficult choreography and increased speed over time.
    They certainly didn't show it at last year's Worlds.
    Nevertheless, I do like them and would like to see how they develop over next few years.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artifice View Post
    G&G, Yu Na Kim, G&P, K&P, Torvill & Dean also as well as Mao Asada and some other I forget, are all very "easy" to watch because they just skate like they breath.
    Miss Asada's jumps have been quite painful to watch for last couple of years though.
    She does have nice bouncy knees but knee action isn't exactly my definition of effortless skating. Then again, everyone is entitled to their own opinions.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by gk_891 View Post
    I would also mention Klimova & Ponomarenko. Their programs always had such an amazing range of steps, edges, handholds, etc but they were so smooth and effortless. The best example might be their famous 1987 OSP (Viennese Waltz) which was made into the Golden Waltz compulsory dance. Many ice dancers say that it's harder than an entire free dance.
    They were wonderful too.
    I have seen numerous GW over the years performed by best ice dance teams of respective eras, but still haven't seen one that can match that of K&P.

  20. #20
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    As for making things look difficult I'd nominate Butyrskaya. Her jumps never looked easy. Doesn't mean I don't love her skating though.

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