View Poll Results: Who is the weakest link among these past champions

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  • Lu Chen

    49 15.17%
  • Michelle Kwan

    18 5.57%
  • Tara Lipinski

    120 37.15%
  • Irina Slutskaya

    21 6.50%
  • Shizuka Arakawa

    84 26.01%
  • Mao Asada

    21 6.50%
  • Yu-Na Kim

    10 3.10%
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  1. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwanatic View Post
    Essentially, figure skating comes down to the big wins: nationals, worlds and the Olympics. All of the in-betweens (Grand Prix events) are important but they're small beans in comparison.

    Michelle dominated where it mattered. Saying she dominated at nationals might not seem like a big deal now but back then the US ladies field had some of the top skaters in the world so it wasn't like it was a cakewalk or anything; she had to fight and, as a result, she delivered some of the best performances of her career there.

    Michelle finished 2nd to Slutskaya 3 years in a row at the GPF so it's fair to say that Irina was the dominant GPF skater. But Michelle was a smart skater who knew how to pace herself for the long haul. Winning the GPF would have been great but her focus was on the big events: nationals and worlds. She dominated at nationals for a decade (winning 9 out of 10 years, 1996-2005 ) and she dominated at worlds for 8 years (winning 5 of those 8 years, 1996-2003).

    As anyone in sports will tell you "regular season" wins are great and all, but everyone's eye is on the big prize at the end of the season (The Superbowl, The Finals, The World Series, etc.) and that's the one that carries the most significance. The Gran Prix series is figure skating's "regular season"; Worlds is the main event...if you get my analogy.
    People will always find a way to minimize Kwans accomplishments..

  2. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by l'etoile View Post
    For the record, at GPF during 2007-08 season, Mao had skated one of the most clean skates ever in her career with two set of 3-3s and 3a, earning her 133 points. But that skate was followed with only one point shy by Yuna's performance which scored 132 points with a fallen triple loop.
    This is true, but that just shows the judges viewed Yu Na the dominant skater starting in fall 2007 (doesnt mean they are right of course, the judges often arent, but they have the power unfortunately, lol).

  3. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by bartek View Post
    I'm sorry but winning one competition in a season (Worlds) and losing all the others doesn't make you dominating at all.
    not to let a small thing like facts get in the way, but this fictional year where Kwan won worlds but no other international event simply doesn't exist here in the real world.
    She lost every single time she met Slutskaya except for those two Worlds.
    Oh, I see. So she dominated everyone in the world, except for irina in 2000 and 2001, and except at the biggest most important event. ok,got it. Kwan sucks.

  4. #84

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    [QUOTE=miki88;3601010 I don't understand the vote for Lulu. I think she deserves to be in the top 5 because she is one of the greatest artists on ice that I've ever seen.[/QUOTE]

    I wish there was more differentiation based on artistic merit. It's a subjective measure, but I agree with you Lulu would easily be one of the top 3 on this list. For me she really 'got' whatever music she skated to. I'd much rather see that be rewarded than umpteen donut and biellman positions.

  5. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by eurodance2001 View Post
    People will always find a way to minimize Kwans accomplishments..
    Huh? People are discussing the accomplishments/failures/circumstances of the other skaters on the list. Is Michelle off-limits?

    Michelle is a strong champion, but I don't think she's the strongest link for several reasons. One is the level of competition she faced. Her 98 Worlds LP had no 3/3, a doubled sal, and a fall on the 2a. Still, she won because neither of her main rivals, Irina nor Maria, could take advantage with a clean program. In 2000, Michelle was in 3rd heading into the freeskate. To her credit, she attacked her LP, landing 7 triples including the 3t/3t (IMO, Michelle's best Worlds performance). Still, all Maria or Irina had to do is skate cleanly for either to win gold, and they both bombed. In 2001 Irina was first heading into the LP, but yet again failed to deliver in the LP. So while Michelle was consistent, she won Worlds so often because her rivals failed.

    Nor can Michelle's performances at the big fish--The Olympics--be ignored. She won the SP and skated a clean LP in 98, but was tentative. And, she was too safe with no planned 3/3 (a questionable decision, knowing that Tara would be attempting the difficult 3lp/3lp and a 3t/.5lp/3sal). This cost her the Olympic gold. She was the favorite to win gold in 2002 (more so with the games held in the US) and won the SP, but then skated a very flawed LP and only won bronze.

    So, just like people are giving reasons why Tara, Lulu, or Shizu aren't the stronger links, reasons can be given for Michelle as well.

  6. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by duane View Post
    Huh? People are discussing the accomplishments/failures/circumstances of the other skaters on the list. Is Michelle off-limits?

    Michelle is a strong champion, but I don't think she's the strongest link for several reasons. One is the level of competition she faced. Her 98 Worlds LP had no 3/3, a doubled sal, and a fall on the 2a. Still, she won because neither of her main rivals, Irina nor Maria, could take advantage with a clean program. In 2000, Michelle was in 3rd heading into the freeskate. To her credit, she attacked her LP, landing 7 triples including the 3t/3t (IMO, Michelle's best Worlds performance). Still, all Maria or Irina had to do is skate cleanly for either to win gold, and they both bombed. In 2001 Irina was first heading into the LP, but yet again failed to deliver in the LP. So while Michelle was consistent, she won Worlds so often because her rivals failed.

    Nor can Michelle's performances at the big fish--The Olympics--be ignored. She won the SP and skated a clean LP in 98, but was tentative. And, she was too safe with no planned 3/3 (a questionable decision, knowing that Tara would be attempting the difficult 3lp/3lp and a 3t/.5lp/3sal). This cost her the Olympic gold. She was the favorite to win gold in 2002 (more so with the games held in the US) and won the SP, but then skated a very flawed LP and only won bronze.

    So, just like people are giving reasons why Tara, Lulu, or Shizu aren't the stronger links, reasons can be given for Michelle as well.
    Well, basically that could be said about anyone.

    Sarah won the Olympic Gold Medal because her rivals failed.

    Tara won 1997 nationals and 1997 worlds because her rival Michelle Kwan failed.

    Shizuka won the OGM in 2006 because Sasha and Irina failed.

    Kristy won her OGM with a fall because her rivals skated worse and failed more than her.

    Irina won 2005 worlds convincingly and i don't think its because anyone "failed"...however Michelle's career was basically over and she was skating with an eventual career ending injury, and Sasha made two or three mistakes in her LP. Her win in 2002, Michelle would have needed help for the win so again, here is an example of her competitor falling short, thus guaranteeing her the win.

    It basically happens to everyone, not just Michelle.

    Nagano is the only instance that I can think of where both top skaters had great performances and the winner did not win due to their competitor falling short.

    I am certain that Michelle would have won 1997 Nats and worlds if she had not had made mistakes. But that should not diminish Tara's accomplishments. I am certain that Michelle would have won in SLC if she had not fallen on her flip, placing 2nd in the LP. That should not diminish from Sarah's OGM. I am also certain that if Sasha or Irina had skated clean in Turino, either of them would have taken the gold. See where I am going with this?
    Last edited by UGG; 06-22-2012 at 05:20 PM.

  7. #87
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    Very true, the best competitor wins as much as the best skater, and almost all the time when it mattered most that was Michelle. She was basically the Katarina Witt of her era except with way better skating and technical ability.

  8. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by duane View Post
    So while Michelle was consistent, she won Worlds so often because her rivals failed.
    Sorry to be blunt, but the "rivals failed" argument is bullsh*t. You can't discount what she accomplished or downplay her wins b/c she rose to the occasion and skated well and others didn't. Are you kidding me? That's why consistency and focus are so important when it comes to being a champion in this sport. You could have perfect technique, the biggest and toughest 3-3s and best spins in the world...but all of that counts for squat if you can't deliver it when you need to.

    Delivering under pressure is the main thing that defines a champion and, with only a handful of exceptions, Michelle was able to deliver under pressure and skate cleanly more times than anyone she competed against.


    Quote Originally Posted by duane View Post
    Nor can Michelle's performances at the big fish--The Olympics--be ignored. She won the SP and skated a clean LP in 98, but was tentative. And, she was too safe with no planned 3/3 (a questionable decision, knowing that Tara would be attempting the difficult 3lp/3lp and a 3t/.5lp/3sal). This cost her the Olympic gold. She was the favorite to win gold in 2002 (more so with the games held in the US) and won the SP, but then skated a very flawed LP and only won bronze.
    Lack of a 3-3 didn't prevent Michelle from winning that night. Coming off of her injury, the game plan was to rely on solid jumps and superior artistry to win...she delivered both. Michelle skated first and as a result received lower marks in presentation than she was due b/c the judges had to leave room for Tara. Both ladies turned in outstanding performances that night...of course some will disagree, but I firmly believe that Nagano came down to the luck of the draw and that had the skating order been reversed, things would have turned out differently.

    SLC was a horse of a different color. That one was Michelle's to lose and she lost it. Had she skated cleanly, she'd have won; no doubt in my mind. That was one of the very few times she crumbled under the pressure and defeated herself.

  9. #89

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    Quote Originally Posted by UGG View Post
    Well, basically that could be said about anyone.

    Sarah won the Olympic Gold Medal because her rivals failed.

    Tara won 1997 nationals and 1997 worlds because her rival Michelle Kwan failed.

    Shizuka won the OGM in 2006 because Sasha and Irina failed.

    Kristy won her OGM with a fall because her rivals skated worse and failed more than her.

    Irina won 2005 worlds convincingly and i don't think its because anyone "failed"...however Michelle's career was basically over and she was skating with an eventual career ending injury, and Sasha made two or three mistakes in her LP. Her win in 2002, Michelle would have needed help for the win so again, here is an example of her competitor falling short, thus guaranteeing her the win.

    It basically happens to everyone, not just Michelle.

    Nagano is the only instance that I can think of where both top skaters had great performances and the winner did not win due to their competitor falling short.

    I am certain that Michelle would have won 1997 Nats and worlds if she had not had made mistakes. But that should not diminish Tara's accomplishments. I am certain that Michelle would have won in SLC if she had not fallen on her flip, placing 2nd in the LP. That should not diminish from Sarah's OGM. I am also certain that if Sasha or Irina had skated clean in Turino, either of them would have taken the gold. See where I am going with this?
    Michelle did not "fail"- that's your word, not mine- in Nagano. She skated well enough to win; the dice didn't fall her way. She did make mistakes in 97 worlds and deserved to lose.

    Sarah did not deserve to win, even though her rivals made mistakes in the LP. BTW Michelle did not place 2nd in the LP in 2002. She was 1st in the SP, so a 2nd place in the LP would have won the OGM for her. She placed 3rd overall.

    Other than that, I mostly agree with your post.

  10. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    Michelle did not "fail"- that's your word, not mine- in Nagano. She skated well enough to win; the dice didn't fall her way. She did make mistakes in 97 worlds and deserved to lose.

    Sarah did not deserve to win, even though her rivals made mistakes in the LP. BTW Michelle did not place 2nd in the LP in 2002. She was 1st in the SP, so a 2nd place in the LP would have won the OGM for her. She placed 3rd overall.

    Other than that, I mostly agree with your post.

    I didn't say she failed in Nagano. Look at what you highlighted. I said 1997 nats and worlds.

    I know Michelle did not place 2nd in SLC. I said if she did not fall on the flip, she would have placed second and won.

    Tara won 1997 nationals and 1997 worlds because her rival Michelle Kwan failed
    I did not mention Nagano

    I am certain that Michelle would have won in SLC if she had not fallen on her flip, placing 2nd in the LP.
    I said I think she WOULD HAVE placed 2nd if she did not fall on the flip.


  11. #91

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    Quote Originally Posted by UGG View Post
    I didn't say she failed in Nagano. Look at what you highlighted. I said 1997 nats and worlds.

    I know Michelle did not place 2nd in SLC. I said if she did not fall on the flip, she would have placed second and won.



    I did not mention Nagano



    I said I think she WOULD HAVE placed 2nd if she did not fall on the flip.

    My mistake there.

    I think Michelle would have placed 1st in 2002 if she had not fallen on the flip. She did have a mistake on the 3t-3t (or was it 3-2?) but I doubt that the judges would have taken much off for it, had the rest of the skate been clean. After all, she was competing against a juniorish Sarah Hughes. By the same token, Irina only had a problem (not a fall) on her 3f, but she was tentative throughout, so it would have been close between MK and Irina. The judges must have felt obligated to give marks to the huge smile of Hughes, and the underrotated 3-3 combinations, since the top 2 did not skate well.

  12. #92
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    oh wait I meant 2nd in the LP 1st over all!

  13. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by duane View Post
    Huh? People are discussing the accomplishments/failures/circumstances of the other skaters on the list. Is Michelle off-limits?
    In 2000, Michelle was in 3rd heading into the freeskate. To her credit, she attacked her LP, landing 7 triples including the 3t/3t (IMO, Michelle's best Worlds performance). Still, all Maria or Irina had to do is skate cleanly for either to win gold, and they both bombed. In 2001 Irina was first heading into the LP, but yet again failed to deliver in the LP. So while Michelle was consistent, she won Worlds so often because her rivals failed.


    So, just like people are giving reasons why Tara, Lulu, or Shizu aren't the stronger links, reasons can be given for Michelle as well.
    Maria landed 5 triples and Irina landed 6 in 2000...that's bombing? Sorry, but just because Irina skated lights out at the GPF that year and landed 2 3/3s does not mean she was capable of repeating that feat left and right. In fact, she only landed 3/3s in that one competition the whole season. Slutskaya only landed 7 legitimate triples twice in her entire career (99/00 GPF) and 05 CoR and without repeating the lutz. Kwan did it at least ten times. Every athlete makes choices on what risks they are willing to take and just because some take more chances than others does not make them a better champion. Perhaps if Irina had spent more time working on her presentation and less time on difficult jumps, she would have been closer to Michelle on the artistic marks and been able to edge her out even with a mistake here or there. Example: Michelle at 15 skated to Spanish music and brought the appropriate character, posture, and arm movements to make the program come alive. Slutskaya skated to Spanish flamenco in 05/06 and we got the same old Irina with hunched crossovers and sloppy arms and the program fell flat and could not even defeat a 14 year old Mao Asada in the LP at the 06 GPF where they both went clean. The point is, athletes make all sorts of decisions about how to spend their time in practice and it doesn't just come down to who has the most difficult jumps.

  14. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by duane View Post
    Michelle is a strong champion, but I don't think she's the strongest link for several reasons. One is the level of competition she faced. Her 98 Worlds LP had no 3/3, a doubled sal, and a fall on the 2a. Still, she won because neither of her main rivals, Irina nor Maria, could take advantage with a clean program.
    I'm glad you brought up 98 worlds.

    My memory is weak, but iirc Kwan won the sp with a strong clean skate. Rechnio 2nd, Hubert 3rd, so any of the 3 could take the title by winning the lp. Hubert had of course don just that at Lalique earlier, beating world and to be ogm Tara. Irina and Maria were 4th and 5th,having each had a major error on their combos iirc. They'd need the top 3 to bomb the lp in order to pull up.

    Irina splatted on the 3f but still managed a two 3/3 lp. Still, she didn't even win the lp. She needed not only to win the lp, but for Kwan to come in 2nd. Maria also gave a strong but flawed lp. As you pointed out, Kwan pretty much sucked in the lp here, but still got 1st place. But not doing a 3/3 isn't really a "mistake". I love Maria, but truth,girl never had a 3/3 anywhere outside of her fantasies. And if Kwan could not do a 3/3 and still win an lp over irina 's two 3/3 lp, well....

    So, what does it say about a skater if she makes multiple mistakes but still wins over cleaner skates? Doesn't that suggest that the judges considered her the best skater? I think the judges did consider Kwan the one to beat for many years, but somehow you have her as the weakest link?

  15. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by Triple Butz View Post
    I never really felt anything when Shizuka skated and I found her lines to be quite awkward. Her jump landings for example always had a really low free leg with no extension or toe point. Plus she skated to Turandot too many times to count and I found her to have little versatility when it came to music. I remember when she tried to skate to Christina Aguilera's Candy Man and her lack of dance ability made me
    I agree that Arakawa is a not a very versatile skater (not for the lack of trying, though), and the style of the program that you mention doesn't suit her very much. But I saw nothing wrong with her dancing - except, perhaps, that the program actually had too little of it. But that may be the choreographer's fault, not her inabilitie.

    I haven't seen most of Shizuka's competitive performances, so I can not tell about awkward. But I thought that she was really elegant in her Olympics performances, although the programs didn't seem very interesting to me. Now as a professional skater I find her even more elegant and graceful, especially when the style suits her (although she has seemed too skinny to me at times). I'd agree that she is not a very emotional skater - that may be the reason why her skating leaves some people cold. I agree about her jumps as well, but I think it's quite admirable how comparatively well she still does them. Here are some of her best exhibition programs. I would be really surprized, if you (or anyone else) thought that she is awkward in them. In my opinion, her sit spin in the 'Who Wants To Live Forever' program is the only thing that can seem a bit awkward with how tall and skinny she is:

    Who Wants To Live Forever
    Frozen
    Yugao (I am not an expert in spins technique, but I find Shizuka's spins really beautiful here)
    A later performance of 'Yugao' (without the incessant talking)

  16. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by berthesghost View Post
    not to let a small thing like facts get in the way, but this fictional year where Kwan won worlds but no other international event simply doesn't exist here in the real world. Oh, I see. So she dominated everyone in the world, except for irina in 2000 and 2001, and except at the biggest most important event. ok,got it. Kwan sucks.
    I clearly meant in my post that she lost all her meetings with Slutskaya, not all her competitions in general. Yes she dominated everyone in world beside Irina who beat beat her every time what means that in fact Irina dominated everyone including Kwan with exceptions: Worlds 2000 and Worlds 2001.

  17. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwanatic View Post
    Sorry to be blunt, but the "rivals failed" argument is bullsh*t. You can't discount what she accomplished or downplay her wins b/c she rose to the occasion and skated well and others didn't. Are you kidding me? That's why consistency and focus are so important when it comes to being a champion in this sport. You could have perfect technique, the biggest and toughest 3-3s and best spins in the world...but all of that counts for squat if you can't deliver it when you need to.

    Delivering under pressure is the main thing that defines a champion and, with only a handful of exceptions, Michelle was able to deliver under pressure and skate cleanly more times than anyone she competed against.




    Lack of a 3-3 didn't prevent Michelle from winning that night. Coming off of her injury, the game plan was to rely on solid jumps and superior artistry to win...she delivered both. Michelle skated first and as a result received lower marks in presentation than she was due b/c the judges had to leave room for Tara. Both ladies turned in outstanding performances that night...of course some will disagree, but I firmly believe that Nagano came down to the luck of the draw and that had the skating order been reversed, things would have turned out differently.

    SLC was a horse of a different color. That one was Michelle's to lose and she lost it. Had she skated cleanly, she'd have won; no doubt in my mind. That was one of the very few times she crumbled under the pressure and defeated herself.
    It was clearly lack of technical content that prevented Michelle from winning. There was no way she could beat Tara's very difficult program with no triple-triple, even the easiest triple toe-triple toe even if she had skated after her. In my opinion even if Michelle had attempted her easy 3T+3T she should not have won over Tara with 3Lo+3Lo in the second half of the program, 3T+0.5Lo+3S and the real attack in her program.

  18. #98

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    Quote Originally Posted by bartek View Post
    I clearly meant in my post that she lost all her meetings with Slutskaya, not all her competitions in general. Yes she dominated everyone in world beside Irina who beat beat her every time what means that in fact Irina dominated everyone including Kwan with exceptions: Worlds 2000 and Worlds 2001.
    Which do you think a skater would rather have in a given year , to win the minor comps or to win Worlds? In my mind its much greater to win worlds , in fact skaters skip other comps, even GP series, because it's just not that important. I dont think for a second that irina wouldnt trade places with Michelle those two seasons, the emotions on Irina's face after each if those Worlds says it all.

  19. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by bartek View Post
    I clearly meant in my post that she lost all her meetings with Slutskaya, not all her competitions in general. Yes she dominated everyone in world beside Irina who beat beat her every time what means that in fact Irina dominated everyone including Kwan with exceptions: Worlds 2000 and Worlds 2001.
    Michelle was the stronger of the two in their early years and bested Irina across the board; regular season and big events. Around 2000, Irina started besting Michelle at the regular season events, but still had a hard time beating her at worlds...

    Either way you put it, both ladies were great competitors and had their time of beating the other...but Kwan still gets the edge competitively.

  20. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by bartek View Post
    I clearly meant in my post that she lost all her meetings with Slutskaya, not all her competitions in general. Yes she dominated everyone in world beside Irina who beat beat her every time what means that in fact Irina dominated everyone including Kwan with exceptions: Worlds 2000 and Worlds 2001.
    Yes, yes. Irina dominated over everyone for two entire seasons, that's why she came in 3rd at her German gp behind Maria and liashenko. Liashenko!

    Yes, yes, irina beat Kwan over and over and over again for two entire seasons. Except that it actually went:

    Gpf irina
    Worlds mk
    Sc irina
    Gpf irina
    Worlds mk

    Oh, that illusive 3 out of 5 dominance that everyone yearns for!

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