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  1. #1

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    Profile: Oksana Baiul

    This profile thread takes a look back at Oksana Baiul's all too short competitive career (background info: Wikipedia, Oksana Baiul - Then & Now, Official Website, Oksana Baiul - Ice Princess, Interview).

    BACKGROUND

    Baiul was born in Dnepropetrovsk (then part of the USSR) on the 16th November 1977. Her parents separated when she was just two years old. Her grandfather provided her with her first pair of skates for her 4th birthday, and inspired by her childhood idol, Jill Trenary, within three years, she was skating in local competitions.

    1989/90 & 1990/91

    In 1990, Baiul finished 12th in the Soviet championships, and finished 10th in the same championships the following year.

    1991/92

    In 1991, Baiul competed in the Nations Cup, finishing fourth in a competition won by Nancy Kerrigan. At the age of thirteen, however, Baiul's mother, Marina, died of ovarian cancer, and her grandmother died shortly afterwards. Baiul then lived with her coach, Stanislav Koretek, and his family until Koretek emigrated to Canada in 1992. Alone, Baiul was left with no option but to sleep in a cot at her hometown ice rink. It was then that fellow Ukrainian skater, Viktor Petrenko, suggested that Baiul train with his coach (and mother-in-law), Galina Zmievskaya. Shortly thereafter, Baiul moved into Zmievskaya's home in Odessa, sharing a small bedroom with one of Zmievskaya's daughters in a crowded 3 room apartment

    Due to the personal upheavals in her life, it would be almost 18 months before Baiul would surface again in international competition following her fourth placed finish in the 1991 Nations Cup (which meant that she did not therefore get to compete in any international junior competitions).

    1992/93

    Upon her return, Baiul won the Ukrainian Championships in early 1993, and then made a sensational impact at the 1993 European championships where she finished 2nd to Surya Bonaly:-

    1993 European Championships - SP, 1993 European Championships - FS

    Baiul followed this up 2 months later by winning the 1993 World Championships in equally sensational style:-

    1993 World Championships - SP, 1993 World Championships - FS, Gala

    1993/94

    The 1993/94 season began for Baiul with a win at Skate America:-

    Skate America (1993) - SP, Skate America (1993) - FS, Exhibition

    Baiul then finished 2nd in the Nations Cup

    Nations Cup (1993) - SP, Nations Cup - FS

    1994 began with victory again in the Ukrainian Championships, and another 2nd placed finish in the European Championships behind Surya Bonaly:-

    1994 European Championships - SP, 1994 European Championships - FS, Gala (with Petrenko)

    Baiul's amateur competitive career reached its zenith shortly afterwards, when she won Gold at the 1994 Olympics:-

    1994 Olympics - SP, 1994 Olympics - FS, Gala (The Swan), Gala (with Petrenko)

    Baiul retired from amateur competition after the 1994 Olympics, and then turned professional.

    FINAL POINTS

    Does anybody know of the whereabouts of videos relating to Baiul's performances in the 1991 Nations Cup, and in the various Soviet/Ukranian Championships she took part in? If so, please upload and/or post the links.
    Last edited by Maofan7; 07-05-2012 at 09:03 AM.

  2. #2
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    I loved (and still love) watching Oksana skate. My memory tells me that she took ballet lessons, and it really showed. Her movement was so natural and unforced. There are no do-overs in life, but as a sometimes selfish fan, it would have been nice to have seen her compete from 1991-1993 and then, post-Lillehamer, not suffer such physical and emotional strife. Oksana would have left many more captivating programs for our eyes if she had been healthier and not been so isolated in her personal life.

    As for her off-ice behavior, I appreciate Oksana's honesty in interviews. I clearly remember her leaving an American interviewer baffled with her response to a question.

    Although many mocked (and mock) her professional career, I give Oksana credit for having tried to compete even when she wasn't at her best.

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    Oksana is one of the most naturally artistic and musical skaters.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

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    She had a knee op following the Olympics and came back too soon due to contractual commitments. This seemed to ruin her jumps. Had that not happened and had she continued competing into the 95-98 quad, that would have made the 98 Olympics one fab competition - Oksana, the Kween, Tara and Lulu.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Judge Dred View Post
    She had a knee op following the Olympics and came back too soon due to contractual commitments. This seemed to ruin her jumps. Had that not happened and had she continued competing into the 95-98 quad, that would have made the 98 Olympics one fab competition - Oksana, the Kween, Tara and Lulu.
    I loved watching Oksana too. Her only LP was quite terrible, but when she was forced to put some proper elements in her SPs, they were .

    By the way, is it true that Brian Boitano said Oksana didn't know any other turns besides the 3 turn? I heard that somewhere a long time ago but can't seem to find a source.

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    You can access the Nations Cup LP here: http://www.frogsonice.com/skateweb/videos.shtml
    I just watched it and loved her reaction to a certain move (watch for yourself!).

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    (Go to Compilations and then Jumping beans and baby ballerinas)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Plusdinfo View Post
    You can access the Nations Cup LP here: http://www.frogsonice.com/skateweb/videos.shtml
    I just watched it and loved her reaction to a certain move (watch for yourself!).
    Many thanks. Much appreciated.

    It also clears something up. The video is from the 1992 Nations Cup. She finished 4th (Surya Bonaly won the competition). Hence, I did some further checking and established that Oksana did not compete in the 1991 Nations Cup and that this reference is therefore incorrect. Whoever compiled it, got the 1991 and 1992 Nations Cups mixed up. Ice Network provides a more accurate competitive history here. Apologies for the error.
    Last edited by Maofan7; 07-06-2012 at 03:04 PM.

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    http://www.nytimes.com/1993/04/23/sp...ted=all&src=pm

    Does anybody remember how there was talk of Oksana having "crooked blades"? What does this mean? Were they over-sharpened and didn't have a rocker? It says her skates were "handed down from a male skater" which makes no sense if her skates were white. Maybe they just mean, the blades were handed down?

    There was also talk about her having "one vertebrae missing" which enabled her to do the donut spin... It's funny how nobody talks about missing vertebrae these days, with everyone doing Biellmanns.

    This article refers to her as "an impish Gumby on skates."

    The Winter Games are just 10 months away, and Baiul will not change her programs that much before next February. She will still perform a sassy flamenco in the short program
    This is interesting, she changed her SP for the Olympics.

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    Sorry, but this is terrible:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8G8Xe-yoFus

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    I love her Paquita program, some people said it would have been her 1995 competitive program, but I'm not sure about that:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pz6Zkbkhvs


    I love her 'Safe from Harm' program too:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFB0xs8wMJU

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    Quote Originally Posted by sadya View Post
    I love her Paquita program, some people said it would have been her 1995 competitive program, but I'm not sure about that:
    What do you mean by that - how do you know she was planning on competing into 1995? Why didn't she?

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    I don't. It was said that if she would have competed, then this would have been her lp. But like I already said, I'm not sure about that.

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    I wish she would have competed. Even if she never won anything again or just got a few more silver/bronzes, it would have been fulfilling to watch.

    Does anyone know the reason why she turned pro? Was it to make money? Did it have anything to do with her "personal problems" - or did that come after she started to make money?

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    Quote Originally Posted by leafygreens View Post
    I wish she would have competed. Even if she never won anything again or just got a few more silver/bronzes, it would have been fulfilling to watch.

    Does anyone know the reason why she turned pro? Was it to make money? Did it have anything to do with her "personal problems" - or did that come after she started to make money?
    As I remember it, she turned pro to make some money (remember Victor Petrenko was buying her skates & stuff, she was living with her coach...). The original plan was to skate pro for a year, then come back. Not sure why she didn't exactly - injury? money? I wish she had.

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    At the time she "turned pro", you couldn't come back to skate in "amateur" competition. Brian Boitano fought long and hard for the rule change that allowed "pros" to reinstate their "amateur" status. I thought I remember that Oksana was interested in reinstating but that she missed the original deadline or something like that.

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    From what I've heard in interviews and what I've read, it's unclear. Various different reasons are given. Perhaps it's a mix of different reasons.

    Do I remember well about her trying to get permission to take part in another Olympics? 1998 or 2002? Didn't she say in later years that she was pushed by people around her to turn pro and she later regretted that decision?

    There were also stories about her injury which she couldn't rest long enough due to pro skating she had to do which ruined her jumps for ever, and growth problems which changed her body. So many reasons and stories. I have no idea what exactly is the reason for her turning pro.

    I do feel sorry for her, she had many problems, in her case it's understandable what happened with her life, I'm not saying it was right, but it is understandable in someone in her situation.

    People I met all over internet from the year 2000 on have told me many true and untrue stories about various skaters throughout the years. Me being a simple Pakistani born and raised in Holland, far away from the skating world, believed many stories those people told me, later most things they had said turned out to be untrue.

    I have nothing to do with the figure skating world at all, I just love to watch the skating and learn more about skaters and coaches and choreographers who grab my interest with their work, whatever little I do know about figure skating, I learnt by watching a lot of skating and reading books about it, documentaries helped a lot too. That's it. So if I have a misunderstanding about skating or a skater, please don't mind. I stand corrected whenever someone points out a (real) mistake.

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    I think you're correct, Sadya. It was probably 1998 or 2002 Olympics that I recall hearing about how she wanted to return.

    One point I was trying to make in my original post was that she could not have had plan to skate pro, make money, and return to amateur skating. That was not an option at the time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TwizzlerS View Post
    I think you're correct, Sadya. It was probably 1998 or 2002 Olympics that I recall hearing about how she wanted to return.

    One point I was trying to make in my original post was that she could not have had plan to skate pro, make money, and return to amateur skating. That was not an option at the time.
    Are you talking about when Oksana went pro in 1994? Because it was permissible to reinstate until the fall of 1995 - both Josee Chouinard and Midori Ito did, and Usova & Zhulin considered it but turned the option down.

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