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  1. #1

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    Maria Butyrskaya- underappreciated skater

    It took me a while to warm up to Maria Butyrskaya, but over the years I came to appreciate her elegant, mature skating that trumped triple jumps (and she could land those too, including a 3 lutz from the correct edge).

    Her 1999 worlds LP Otonal is one of my favorite performances.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYvVzNZNE4E

    I also loved her 2001 worlds LP performance to Seventeen moments in spring, which I saw live in Calgary. Unfortunately the judges placed Sarah Hughes higher than her.

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

    Her SP at 2000 worlds is one of the most elegant performances ever.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88t8HYJbhHY

    I miss this kind of mature, elegant skating, even though her jumps did not always have smooth landings.

  2. #2
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    I prefer the Maria from the 90's. She was much more original and interesting.
    I don't like any of her programs after 2001.

    1993 Euros :
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgclUThVxOE

    1994 Euros (I love this one !) :
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POcVj...feature=relmfu

    And of course, her Malaguenas (1996, 1997), Otonal (1998, 1999) and Scene d'Amour (2000 SP).

  3. #3

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    Maria is one skater I have seen live - at 98 Worlds. She was one of those skater who your eye was drawn towards, she just had that IT factor. Loved watching her in practise.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    Her SP at 2000 worlds is one of the most elegant performances ever.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88t8HYJbhHY
    One of my favourites by her as well!

  5. #5
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    Loved her entrance into the triple loop in that SP.
    "I miss footwork that has any kind of a discernible pattern. The goal of a step sequence should not be for a skater to show the same ice coverage as a Zamboni and take about as much time as an ice resurface. " ~ Zemgirl, reflecting on a pre-IJS straight line sequence

  6. #6

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    I really enjoyed her jazzy SP at Centennial on Ice 1996. She looked relaxed, the jumps are easy and she presents the program superbly.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbwLgttAT3k

  7. #7

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    A different look, as a pro

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjOZe-ounjI

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    I also loved her 2001 worlds LP performance to Seventeen moments in spring, which I saw live in Calgary. Unfortunately the judges placed Sarah Hughes higher than her.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUYXtmgJfCM.
    Maria was ahead of Sarah in the free skate at those worlds (with 5 of the 9 judges placing her higher), though Sarah placed higher overall. (The short was a 5-4 split the other way, and Sarah placed higher in qualifying).
    http://www.icecalc.org/events/wc2001/results/index.htm

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by briancoogaert View Post
    I prefer the Maria from the 90's. She was much more original and interesting.
    I don't like any of her programs after 2001.

    1993 Euros :
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgclUThVxOE

    1994 Euros (I love this one !) :
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POcVj...feature=relmfu

    And of course, her Malaguenas (1996, 1997), Otonal (1998, 1999) and Scene d'Amour (2000 SP).
    I agree. During that time period, Maria was a huge fave of mine. Her long legs gave her a very elegant style, but the stiff knees (which I believe were mainly due to nerves) did her in on her jumps and her overall fluidity. She's still one of my faves. She definitely had "it" and I liked her foray into costume designing. Even if her dresses weren't always liked by the mainstream, I always appreciated them ... and everything looked great on her!

    O-

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    I have always underappreciated her Hunched and gawky - she was one of the less fluid skaters to me (in terms of edging, control, grace combined with strength).

    At least she wasn't a pwetty pwincess, though. That was always in her favor.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jasmar View Post
    I have always underappreciated her Hunched and gawky - she was one of the less fluid skaters to me (in terms of edging, control, grace combined with strength).

    At least she wasn't a pwetty pwincess, though. That was always in her favor.
    I guess you liked Sarah Hughes who was even more hunched, gawky and could not even do a true triple jump.

  12. #12
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    I miss Maria so much. Figure Skating would be so much better with a true lady like her on the ice.

    Also, she had one of the best camel positions ever in my opinion.

  13. #13
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    I'm not currently a proponent of the endless comparisons that go on among sportswriters and sports fans. Who is the greatest ever? Was that the best match ever? Shut up and do something more productive, I say. With that written, I feel that to properly contribute to this thread, I have to disclose that Masha probably evoked the strongest emotions in me as an admirer of figure skating.

    There's no doubt that Maria had flaws, but I think that her career was trashed far too often by many judges. When your results ultimately depend on the very judges who are overly harsh on you, how can you not exacerbate your already present nerves?

    I don't think there is another female skater who has been as sexy as Maria in terms of her presence on the ice. Of course, I am also biased because I find Maria's costumes, body, and looks to be sexy, too! Rather than cook some hot formula for a specific purpose, Maria seemed to have natural drama and sultriness.

    It's a shame that the professional scene was in shambles by the time Maria left 2002 Worlds because I think that she could have grown even more as a pro. For those who do like to backtrack and pose hypotheticals: what would Maria's results have looked like if she had had her federation's support? What would have happened to her confidence and performances if the judges had rewarded her presentation skills instead of throwing high marks to skaters like Slutskaya and Hughes?

    In the end, those questions don't matter to me because I'm able to rewatch Maria's skates and enjoy her musical selections, her choreography, and the fact that she seemed to feel each note better than her contemporaries.

    Aside: what happened in 1995? I think Wikipedia puts her as the Russian national champion, but I believe only Olga Markova went to worlds for that country. Is it because Maria was only (from memory) 7th at Europeans? And/or also because of her infamous 1993 worlds experience?
    Last edited by Plusdinfo; 09-29-2012 at 04:30 AM. Reason: typo

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelK View Post
    I really enjoyed her jazzy SP at Centennial on Ice 1996. She looked relaxed, the jumps are easy and she presents the program superbly.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbwLgttAT3k
    Thanks for sharing this particular performance, its easily the best she ever performed this particular program.

    As far as I'm concerned, this program (95-96 SP to blues) is the sexiest/steamiest ISU short program ever, by far...can anyone find anything that conpares? She also has the intense, never-smiling Hitchcock blonde look going on too.

  15. #15
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    She was victimized by never having the Russian backing as their #1 skater. I dont think it is any coincidence the only 2 years she was a gold contender- 1999 and 2000, was when Slutskaya was AWOL (1999) and when she had the title of reigning World Champion (2000) and so the Russian fed. had to give her the backing as their #1 or co-#1 skater. Once she lost her World title with a flawed LP at the 2000 Worlds, and though she did not win Irina placed higher on the podium, she was doomed once again. I dont see why they couldnt have shared their support among more than 1 strong skater like they did in the other events.

    That said she definitely had her flaws. She was kind of clunky both in how she landed her jumps, and her overall skating which detracted from what could have been excellent artistry given her mature look and style other than the jerkiness, and some of her non jump elements (layback spin, spirals, footwork) werent all that great. She really didnt have enough to stay at the very top of the sport, politics aside, but she was still enjoyable to watch and at times gave some really memorable performances- 1999 Worlds, 2000 Worlds SP, 1998 Europeans, and 2000 NHK.

    2000 NHK was a huge turning point in her career, she totally outskated Slutskaya and was robbed of victory, had she won there she would have been the only top skater to win all her grand prix assignments with Slutskaya winning only 2 after a loss to Maria, Kwan won only 1 after a loss to Slutskaya at Skate Canada. This would have set her up as possibly being the gold medal favorite going into the Grand Prix final and Europeans. Instead her confidence and momentum was wrecked for good and she was never the same again, especialy already being 28 years old and in the twilight of her amateur career.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post


    2000 NHK was a huge turning point in her career, she totally outskated Slutskaya and was robbed of victory, had she won there she would have been the only top skater to win all her grand prix assignments with Slutskaya winning only 2 after a loss to Maria, Kwan won only 1 after a loss to Slutskaya at Skate Canada. This would have set her up as possibly being the gold medal favorite going into the Grand Prix final and Europeans. Instead her confidence and momentum was wrecked for good and she was never the same again, especialy already being 28 years old and in the twilight of her amateur career.
    I remember that competition and I was quite upset about those results. I was a big fan of Irina, but that result was unfair to Maria. I liked them both; they had very different styles and strengths in their skating. I often felt bad for Maria because somehow the judges just did not want to give her the marks she deserved.

  17. #17
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    Under-appreciated.

    Anyone who saw her skate in person/in practice knew she had great basics. Her edges were solid and she was unbelievably smooth. Competitions were another story, but mostly in regards to her jumps.

    NHK was a horrible memory. So was placing below Sarah Hughes in the short program in 2002.

    Somewhere, there is a clip of Maria landing a triple axel in the warm up for the exhibitions in 1996.

    Oddly enough, my favourite program was Swan Lake. It had great power and the arm movements were not overdone.

  18. #18

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    Here is Maria's Swan Lake LP at 2000 worlds:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6J01LIzK0k

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    I remember that competition and I was quite upset about those results. I was a big fan of Irina, but that result was unfair to Maria. I liked them both; they had very different styles and strengths in their skating. I often felt bad for Maria because somehow the judges just did not want to give her the marks she deserved.
    It was tough being a late bloomer in ladies skating under the reputation based 6.0. Tonia Kwiatkowski, while not as good a skater as Maria, is another who was often undermarked since she started skating her best in her mid 20s. It was important to make your mark as a teenager and go from there (or win the Olympics at 15 or 16, whichever came first). Arakawa was the only late bloomer I can recall in the ladies event who wasnt undermarked.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    2000 NHK was a huge turning point in her career, she totally outskated Slutskaya and was robbed of victory, had she won there she would have been the only top skater to win all her grand prix assignments with Slutskaya winning only 2 after a loss to Maria, Kwan won only 1 after a loss to Slutskaya at Skate Canada. This would have set her up as possibly being the gold medal favorite going into the Grand Prix final and Europeans. Instead her confidence and momentum was wrecked for good and she was never the same again, especialy already being 28 years old and in the twilight of her amateur career.
    IMO, the turning point was before.
    She was not even considered as a gold favorite at 2000 Worlds (although she was the current World champ).
    When Irina went back in shape in 1999, Russian Fed decided that Slutskaya would be their favorite to beat Kwan.

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