Patrick Chan is probably the best in term of pure skating, but he is not artistically developped enough, IMO.
Whoaaa... 0 votes for Elvis Stojko, the 3 times world champion, 7 times Canadian National Champion?
I guess he is not a 'cup of tea' for alot of people.
And I'm surprised Scott Hamilton got only one vote. A fourt-time world champion and an Olympic gold medalist, the creator of the Stars on Ice tour and a TV figure skating commentator. Almost like Dick Button.
He had a good skate in 1991, but most of his wins were during a period where all the men were inconsistent and no one was laying down clean skates. I don't think Kurt EVER skated a completely error-free long program and he usually didn't even attempt a triple lutz...or a sit-spin if you ask me
Dick Button FTW!
I thought Kurt's win at the 1990 Worlds was ridiculous personally, mainly a home cooked win. Overall I was a big fan though, but in part since he was Canadian.
Chan as an amateur and Browning as a pro. (not a fan of Browning's earlier competitive programs but Casablanca was great of course)
Honourable mentions to Buttle, Abbott and Savoie.
I take the title of the thread to mean a skater who would be great in any era. Some of the men listed focused on one aspect of skating (artistic interpretation, jumping, scoring the most points), so I would vote for them as the greatest by the standard of their generation, but not overall. Medal count is not necessarily an indication of greatness for me.
I also think that it is premature to include the current competitive and recently turned pro skaters because they haven't had time to compare with the greats of earlier generations.
While I admire some of the men for their contributions to the sport, I focused strictly on their skating.
I would vote for Cranston if he were on the list, because he had it all, strength, speed, flexibility, and innovative choreography.
I think the Scott's Olympic winning performances being so underwhelming (regardless of his merits of winning or not) also is part of why he is overlooked. That and he never really was a dominant professional like Boitano or even Browning, and his jump content was quickly and far surpassed (the boom in mens jumping was mostly after the 84 Olympics, while for women it was mostly after the 88 Olympics, making Witt look quickly outdated in a similar sense).
I do think he is underrated on this poll even though I didnt vote for him. (I voted for Dick Button for obvious reasons). He definitely has one of the best resumes ever and for his time was an extremely complete skater.
I think presentationwise, Scott had great energy, and he skated very fast, with amazing footwork. He was limited by his body type- short. There was no way he would have long lines, elegance, or high/powerful jumps, but he had the right technique every time. His spins were not out of this world, but they were good, centered and fast. His skills in figures always gave him an advantage, but he was no Trixie Schuba. He was a good skater in the short and long programs and he was very consistent. He definitely had a personality on the ice, and great vigor. That helped him win 4 world titles in a row- a feat that very few skaters have achieved. Orser was clearly the better skater in the 84 Olympics, but his low placement in the figures made the path to the gold easy for Hamilton.
As a pro he brought fun to figure skating. His energy, entertaining numbers were loved by fans, and of course the creation of Stars on ice opened doors to skaters who did not want to compete anymore.
Now if you talk about his commentating- I would place him very low.
He eligible career is actually the only time I liked him. But I think the one thing that comes up over and over again in these recent polls, is that many fans have no room for presentation that isn't classical. Scott here, Midori in the asian thread, Surya in the Euro thread... there is this idea that they had zero presentation skills while in reality all 3 where highly charismatic and skated with great energy and excitement, just not balletic appeal.
While I personally hated his pro skating, I would never discount it's power. He's a household name and a personal favorite of people who usually don't bother to watch pro skating. He's beaten both Boitano and Browning at many a pro comp int he 90s, but that's almost beside the point as what he did with SOI is so many miles above what either Kurt of Brain ever did with their own tours, it's silly to even compare IMO.
While I personally can't stand his commentary, I think his being crowned "worst ever" is only due to his frequency. There have been tons of just truly awful commentators.. but they were so bad and so poorly connected that just didn't get a lot of jobs and many probably haven't even seen them.
I agree on Scott Hamilton's merits as a skater but his performances in Sarajevo still werent impressive, even if he "probably" deserved to win under the scoring system. Remember two judges even placed him 5th in the long program, for that to happen given his reputation and complete dominance of the last 4 years is telling to that it was quite a weak performance. 1984 was just a pretty weak field all around, Orser was coming into his own but had terrible figures, Fadeev and Boitano were nowhere near their best yet, Schramm who had been Hamilton's closest rival the couple years prior was finished, while journeymen like Cerne and figures specialist Simond were in medal contention. As many casual skating fans only tune in for the Olympics and a few other things, and to them their main memory of Scott the skater would be winning the Olympics over a blah field with a mediocre performance, as opposed to many of his far greater performances the years prior. Also as we see from the controversy over Trenary's World title, many skating fans dont even readily accept the impact figures had on results, so since Scott was clearly blown away by a fellow competitor in the free skating of those Olympics he is then looked upon, even if wrongfully, as an undeserved winner by many. At the very least he didnt end the Olympics, the place that should have been of his biggest triumph, looking like the best skater to many people, which is unfortunate given his dominance of the whole quadrennial to that point.
I don't think a skater should be judged on the basis of one performance. Otherwise Kristi Yamaguchi or Midori Ito would not qualify as great skaters. IMO same should apply to Hamilton, and I am not even his fan. I just want to be fair.