The greatest performance I ever saw in a ladies figure skating competition was without doubt Midori Ito's long program at the 1989 World Championships. Not only did she become the first lady to land a triple axel in a major international competition and also land all 6 different types of triple in a single program (i.e. axel, lutz, salchow, flip, loop, and toe-loop), but the rapturous reception she got from the crowd at the end of it made the hairs on the back of your head stand up - it was that awesome.
But which do you believe was the best? As always, the nominations are bound to be controversial and inevitably I will have missed out somebodies favourite (and apologies for that) - in which case please pick 'other'.
Links to Nominations
1. Midori Ito - 1989 World Championships - FS - first ever triple axel by a lady, all 6 different types of triple in a single program. It changed the landscape of ladies figure skating forever, forcing other skaters to inject greater technical difficulty into their programs. What more can you say.
2. Katarina Witt - 1987 World Championships - FS - Without doubt, Katarina's finest performance ever - not only for its artistic and technical content, but due to the extreme pressure on her to perform. Unlike many skaters who fold under the pressure, Katarina thrived under it. For me, therefore, she was the greatest competitor in ladies figure skating ever and that ultimately is what made her a double Olympic champion.
3. Michelle Kwan - 1998 US Nationals - FS - Michelle at her very best skating to Lyra Angelica. This performance was so good that it earned eight 6.0's for presentation and left 1 judge in tears. Her Rachmaninoff SP in the same competition was just as good and I had a difficult time deciding which of the two was her best ever, but I think the LP just edges it. Nevertheless, if you prefer the SP and believe that that was the best, then just vote for this option given that both programs were in the same competition. Here is the link to her SP: Michelle Kwan - 1998 US Nationals - SP
4. Kim Yu-Na - 2010 Olympics - SP - the greatest short program in COP history, earning Bond Girl, Kim, an incredible 78.50 points (triple lutz-triple toe loop combination, a triple flip and a double axel. Spirals and spins - level four. Her artistry/PCS - simply amazing). Whilst I preferred her Olympic SP to her LP, the FS was pretty darn perfect too and if you prefer that to the SP, then vote for this option given that they were in the same competition. Here is the link to her LP: Kin Yu-Na - 2010 Olympics - LP. The FS scored a COP world record 150.06 (consisting of a 3Zx3T combination, a 3F, a 2Ax2Tx2R combination, a 2Ax3T combination, a 3S, a 3Z, and a 2A. Spirals & spins - level 4's. She also garnered 9's for her PCS - simply incredible). Kims combined Olympic score was a COP world record of 228.56.
5. Janet Lynn - 1970 US Nationals - FS - skating to 'Afternoon of a Faun'. Pure art on ice and an object lesson in why there is more to figure skating than jumps and technical content.
6. Tara Lipinski - 1998 Olympics - FS - the skate of Tara's life (7 triples, including a 3R x 3R combination and right at the end, a 3T x half R x 3S combination).
7. Oksana Baiul - 1994 Olympics - FS - a magical performance which displayed exquisite artistry, charisma, and verve. The jumps may have been a bit dodgy, but these were the great days before COP when artistry still mattered in figure skating. Whilst Kerrigan also put in a great performance as well, Oksana had the x-factor which connected with the audience and ultimately that's what won her the gold medal.
8. Kristi Yamaguchi - 1992 US Nationals - FS - Kristi at her very best and she even managed to land her bete noire, the triple salchow. In fact, its practically flawless and Sports Illustrated described it as one of the most "complete performances on ice". There were 7 triples which included a 3Zx3T combination, 3Z, 3S, 3R, 3T, and 3F. This was the extremely impressive arsenal that would later enable her to beat Midori Ito to take the 1992 Olympic title.
9. Elizabeth Manley - 1988 Olympics - FS - so good that it almost deprived Katarina Witt (with her Carmen LP) of her second Olympic title. Nevertheless, it was the best long program of the night and enabled Liz to edge out Debi Thomas for the silver medal.
10. Denise Biellmann - 1981 World Championships - FS - the first lady to land a triple lutz (at the 1978 European Championships) and light years ahead of her contemporaries as a free skater. This was Denise Biellmann at her best complete with her trademark spin (and her layback was pretty good as well) and the beautiful choreography that were a hallmark of her programs.
11. An honourable mention - please pick 'other' if you think there is another performance out there that was the best ever which I imagine a lot will do given that there are zillions of performances to choose from. Me, I think this performance warrants an honourable mention as does the person who did the cgi (what incredible realism)............!