When Tonya was well trained during any period of her skating, her programs looked distinctly modern. She could have performed her 1993 Skate America SP today with a few upgrades within her grasp (ie changing the required 2F to a 3F) and had no problems scoring well.
"Corporation, n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility." - Ambrose Bierce
(If there are examples of her doing other turns I'ld like to know)
Supposedly she saw Brian Boitano practicing bracket turns and had no idea what one was.... and this was AFTER she won olympic gold.
I'll just repeat my well-worn observation that Bonaly and Baiul were poster children for the importance of figures training.
Would it really have been so difficult or expensive for the ISU to institute elite (junior and senior) international figures tests (similar to the figures part of competition) that a singles skater had to pass once a season (or even once) before being eligible for ISU competition. More skaters would have gotten the benefit of figures training without the ongoing costs of having to master two mostly separate disciplines.
I will not be ignored! -Me
On the other hand, she knew they were on the way out and wasn't expecting to be a contender until they were phased out so (I think) she just accepted low placings for a couple of years. Had she had to continue to work on them it would have done her a lot of good.
I have a hard time believing Oksana never learned any sort of figures, since she started skating before they were abolished. Her early-teen skating years were rather tumultuous (lack of coaching, etc). The Ukraine being a newer country may not have had a strong system of federation testing in place (Moves, figures - I don't know). However, she certainly skated earlier as a child, when figures were being skated regularly. I just don't see how she never learned only a 3 turn and nothing else. She probably learned more as a child, but never practiced as a teen because of her lack of structure. That's my guess.
If memory serves, you don't get to brackets until the 4th test. She could have trained up just the first few tests.
In my spare time, I like to interview figure skating legends.
Well, she (Baiul) was training in the Soviet Union. My understanding was they didn't have tests, they just learned whatever figures they needed for their level of competition that year. I have no idea whether they actually competed figures domestically below junior level (i.e., as required for international competition).
Anyone who knows better, please correct me.
In 1990 (last year of international figures) Baiul would have been 12. How was she being trained? In what format had she been competing before then and at what level? How was that training affected by the upheavals in her personal life and the end of international school figures competition at that time, and by the end of the Soviet Union a couple years later?
Maybe someone invented this story after watching the step sequence in her Olympic SP.
"Puccini cries out for spirals, but really good ones." ~ Dick Button, 1998 Worlds
All I know is that all the skaters that have the same training as Oksana and Viktor end up with step sequences and field moves (now call transitions) of the same quality.
Since Baiul would have been about 10 when the decision to axe them from ISU competitions was made it's reasonable to think that they wouldn't have been part of any international competition she would ever be in and so any training she had in figures would have been discontinued then.
I also really liked this program, which she always seemed to perform very well.
Tonya Harding (USA) - 1991 World Figure Skating Championships, Ladies' Original Program
It is so nice to see her get properly rewarded in this particular performance, even getting 5.9s from both the Chinese and Yugoslavian judges in both marks when she was 4th in a draw of 32.