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  1. #1
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    Skater Appreciation

    Even skaters I like, I often find new things about their skating to appreciate that I haven't notice before:

    Virtue & Moir: I was slow on the uptake, probably because they (and D&W) are so popular...(which I realize says a lot more about me than it does about either V&M or D&W) but their Carmen program has made me a full fledged fan. I can't wait to see how this program grows over the season.

    Gordeeva & Grinkov: Always respected them and their technical abilities (seriously how many other pairs have made such a seamless transition from the junior rankings to the senior rankings?) and while I have mixed feelings about their eligible programs, their professional programs are among my all time favorite: Out of Tears, Requiem, Scheherazade, Vocalise-absolutely stunning programs... I love their 'chair lift' as well. But even when I don't care for their choreography, their skating and pairs skills were always top notch, and that's always something to appreciate.

    Kazakova & Dmitriev: I have a tendency to compare them to M&D, instead of appreciating them for their own strengths. As I mentioned in the other thread, Oksana really grew as a professional skater, they also had gorgeous lifts, unique moves-not all of them originally M&D moves either and excellent on ice chemistry, different from the intense, brooding, fire/ice chemistry M&D had, but it worked for them. As much as I lurve M&D and would have loved to have seen them skate as professionals/eligible or whatever after 1994, I'm not sure if they would have been able to pull off a conventional, sweet program like "Somewhere Out There" the way K&D could. Yet, K&D could also bring on the drama-Spente Le Stelle, and their Matrix routine is one of the most innovative skating programs.

    TT&MM: Similar to G&G, always appreciated their skills (I think they were perhaps among the most consistant solid, technically excellent and athletic pairs out there), but never really *got them until their stunningly gorgeous Ave Maria SP. Looking back at their career, I impressed with the transitions and connecting steps in their Cotton Club LP, and their Olympic programs. This is one pair I really wish those of us in North America could see more of as professionals.

    And as corny as it sounds... all skaters. Seriously, while there are always skaters who are going to bore me to tears and who I am just not going to *get* I appreciate the hard work, sacrifice, commitment, skills and if you are a female pairs partner-fearlessness, it takes to be involved in this sport. I appreciate skaters such as Plushenko, Petrenko, Browning, Boitano, Stojko, Candeloro, Eldridge, Shen & Zhao and their longevity in the sport, skaters like Kulik who maintain their technical skills and continue to grow as professional skaters. But as someone who has dabled in skating at my local rink, I also learned appreciate the skaters what most of us, even hard core fans, never hear of. I think it takes a lot to put yourself out there on and perform in front of an audience.

    I wanted to limit myself to pairs/dance for right now, or else my post would get too long (too late!), but when it comes to appreciation, I have to give major props to my favorite female skater-Midori Ito for coming back as an adult skater.

    What skaters have you learned to appreciate over the years?

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    Amongst others:

    Brian Joubert, I thought he was allright but I wasn't as enthusiastic about him as everyone else seemed to be.

    Fusar-Poli/Margaglio, I liked them but it took a few more ice dances before I began appreciating them better, even though they never became my favorite ice dancers.

    Miki Ando, her skating has improved and I enjoy watching her more than before.

    There are so many more skaters, this would become an almost endless list. I often begin appreciating certain skaters as their career progresses because many skaters improve with the years instead of being amazing in every department from the start of their competitive years and the better they become the more interesting their skating is.

    I agree with you about liking the professional programs of G&G better than most of their programs before retiring (that is, the first time retirement, when they returned to competition, I loved their Olympic programs too). Same goes for many different skaters actually, such as Witt and Yamaguchi, I like their professional skating much more than their amateur skating, no matter how wonderful their programs were.

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    V/M: count me among the very recent converts. I hope that FD gets better and better!

    Akiko Suzuki: I used to find her a bit vanilla, but she's the type that grows on people I think, you have to tune in and appreciate the subtleties, and I do now.

    G&G: I don't think I'll ever get over their perfect unison and harmony as skaters. I usually prefer people who are a bit daring in terms of choreo etc, but classical and technical perfection has its own beauty.
    Touching the void.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Primorskaya View Post
    G&G: I don't think I'll ever get over their perfect unison and harmony as skaters. I usually prefer people who are a bit daring in terms of choreo etc, but classical and technical perfection has its own beauty.
    Beautifully said! Another aspect of G&G's skating that I respect is their going to Tarasova in 1990. I haven't read Katia's book in a while, so I can't remember what the circumstances of their switching to Tarasova was, but I appreciate skaters who move outside their comfort zone.

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    From what I remember reading is that they weren't very happy with all the programs during that time, but they did try.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lulu View Post
    Beautifully said! Another aspect of G&G's skating that I respect is their going to Tarasova in 1990. I haven't read Katia's book in a while, so I can't remember what the circumstances of their switching to Tarasova was, but I appreciate skaters who move outside their comfort zone.
    IIRC, they had an awful 1989/1990 season (Katia was not consistent on jumps anymore). So, they had a choice to make : continue or retiring. they tried with Tarasova, but finally retired. I don't remember the exact reason.

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    Quote Originally Posted by briancoogaert View Post
    IIRC, they had an awful 1989/1990 season (Katia was not consistent on jumps anymore). So, they had a choice to make : continue or retiring. they tried with Tarasova, but finally retired. I don't remember the exact reason.
    I checked (skating nerd!) and actually they made the decision to turn pro right after starting work with her. They weren't progressing as amateurs and she let them choose if they wanted to keep going or go pro, saying she'd work with them anyway. They turned pro, it went great for about a year, then there was some mix up about a cancelled show and zero wages being paid to them while they missed out on some other shows. Reading between the lines, I'd say they found her a bit disorganized and ended their work relationship because of that.
    Touching the void.

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    Thanks for the info, IIRC they were part of Tarasova's "All Stars" touring troupe.

    Another skater that I personally learned to appreciate was Elvis Stojko, namely his artistry (yes, I said artistry ). I love Urmanov as well and I think Urmanov deserved the gold in 1994, but I also appreciated how Stojko brought his martial art background to ice skating-very inventive.

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    Lulu.....I fully agree about Elvis. He was/is dissed and trashed so much because he wasn't balletic enough, but with his body type he would have looked like a bear in a tutu. He knew what he was as a person and a skater, and I for one respect him for not attempting to fit into other people's pre-conceived ideals about what figure skating "should" look like. I loved his incorporating martial arts moves into his programs, as it was innovative and exciting. I know he has made a lot of controversial comments recently, but I still admire him from when he was competing, and appreciated him not being afraid to be different.

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    I enjoyed his skating as much as Urmanov or Eldredge. They all had different styles and were great in their own way. I especially like the 1994 and 1995 programs of Stojko. That's one of the things I love about figure skating, there are so many interesting different skating styles which have something amazing to offer. One minute you're enjoying a very elegant ballet like program and the next you're into this energetic strong program to a serene program which relaxes and soothes the viewer, figure skating has everything for every mood and every style.

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    Quote Originally Posted by quartz View Post
    Lulu.....I fully agree about Elvis. He was/is dissed and trashed so much because he wasn't balletic enough, but with his body type he would have looked like a bear in a tutu. He knew what he was as a person and a skater, and I for one respect him for not attempting to fit into other people's pre-conceived ideals about what figure skating "should" look like. I loved his incorporating martial arts moves into his programs, as it was innovative and exciting. I know he has made a lot of controversial comments recently, but I still admire him from when he was competing, and appreciated him not being afraid to be different.
    Quote Originally Posted by sadya View Post
    I enjoyed his skating as much as Urmanov or Eldredge. They all had different styles and were great in their own way. I especially like the 1994 and 1995 programs of Stojko. That's one of the things I love about figure skating, there are so many interesting different skating styles which have something amazing to offer. One minute you're enjoying a very elegant ballet like program and the next you're into this energetic strong program to a serene program which relaxes and soothes the viewer, figure skating has everything for every mood and every style.
    I'm with you all (that includes your original statement, lulu) on Elvis. Always enjoyed his programs as an eligible. I loved the rivalry between him & Todd, and was always rooting for them to do their best, and be on the podium.

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    Plushenko: His incredible consistency! His ability to constantly churn out clean programs with a high level of technical difficulty is outstanding. I think this is something I only really appreciated last season/this season with skaters regularly unable to skate clean competitions. And yet Plushenko just does not fall...well, very rarely, anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sadya View Post
    I enjoyed his skating as much as Urmanov or Eldredge. They all had different styles and were great in their own way. I especially like the 1994 and 1995 programs of Stojko. That's one of the things I love about figure skating, there are so many interesting different skating styles which have something amazing to offer. One minute you're enjoying a very elegant ballet like program and the next you're into this energetic strong program to a serene program which relaxes and soothes the viewer, figure skating has everything for every mood and every style.
    THIS x Infinity. The diversity of styles is one of the reason I love figure skating in the first place. I tend to prefer skaters with a more "avant-garde" style who push the envelope in terms of creativity and athleticism, but sometimes I just enjoy watching a very simple (as in pure, not simple as in not difficult) program with purity of lines, refinement and elegance. I'm grateful that with figure skating, I don't have to chose one over the other-I can enjoy the athletic artistry of an Elvis Stojko and equally enjoy the unique, quirky but rooted in the Russian ballet artistry of an Alexei Urmanov.
    To illustrate the point: two of my favorite women figure skaters are Katia Gordeeva and Surya Bonaly, two skaters who are completely different in their strengths and style: Katia has superb mastery over the blades, while edge work was not Surya's strength, on the other hand, jumps are Katia's weakness, while Surya was an incredible jumper-not to mention her trademark one-foot back flip! Yet, I love watching both skaters.

    Quote Originally Posted by misskarne View Post
    Plushenko: His incredible consistency! His ability to constantly churn out clean programs with a high level of technical difficulty is outstanding. I think this is something I only really appreciated last season/this season with skaters regularly unable to skate clean competitions. And yet Plushenko just does not fall...well, very rarely, anyway.
    ITA about Plushenko. I can't remember my first reaction to Plush at the 2002 Olympics, I do remember being absolutely mesmorized by Yagudin's programs though. But, by 2006 I was rooting for Plushenko to win the OGM (even though I loved Lambiel's skating as well, especially his 2006 programs). But yes, Plushenko is amazing: his jumping ability, his consistancy, his longevity in the sport-I don't think it is a point of hyperbole to say he is one of the most outstanding male athletes in the sport. I realize his style isn't for everyone, but that is another aspect of Plushenko's skating that I appreciate. I can't really articulate it, maybe it's the frantic footwork but he has a very distinctive style of his very own-that I find appealing.

    I would also add: the programs of Torvill & Dean. I always appreciated their status as legends in the sport and their incomparable contribution to the sport, Bolero alone is a brilliant legacy to leave behind. But, I'm now appreciating more than ever, their programs. Not even considering their historic context, just the technical content and choreography and performance aspects are wonderful: Their "Cape" and Matedor OSP, Barnum, Mack & Mabel. etc. etc.

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    lulu, I wanted to rep you again but I'm blocked for now
    Variety is the spice of figure skating!
    I prefer Plushenko circa "Homage to Nijinski" (one of my fave men's LP ever) to what he does now, but yay for him being unique and distinctive. I'm not necessarily into alpha males at all, but his competitive spirit, self-confidence and steadfastness impress me too much for words.
    And ah, the creativity, presence and precision of T&D!
    Touching the void.

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    Hmm...

    Todd Eldredge - for many years I found him really boring. Eventually I began to really appreciate his polish and ability.

    Jennifer Robinson - skated like drying paint and spent more time telegraphing her jumps than doing anything else in her programs, but she never stopped trying and never stopped improving. One year she deliberately designed her short program to go from easiest elements to hardest even though there was zero recognition for it from the judges or the marks, just to challenge herself. When she went pro she was a surprise to many to be invited to be in shows and competitions but for me that is when she was at the very top of her game and out doing many more accomplished skaters.

    Underhill and Martini - okay I liked them all right as amateurs but to me they really hit their stride by year 2 as pro's and kept upping the game until they retired. Such magic in their pro numbers - they totally took me away with them. They are the only skater's I made into compilation tapes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skate Talker View Post
    Hmm...



    Jennifer Robinson - skated like drying paint and spent more time telegraphing her jumps than doing anything else in her programs, but she never stopped trying and never stopped improving. One year she deliberately designed her short program to go from easiest elements to hardest even though there was zero recognition for it from the judges or the marks, just to challenge herself.
    What year was that?

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    I will have to check and get back to you but it was one of the later years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skate Talker View Post
    I will have to check and get back to you but it was one of the later years.
    Thanks, Robinson is not one of my favorite skaters, but that program sounds at the very least, major kudos to her for trying something so new & difficult.

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    Sorry it is taking me a while to find the time to look into this to find Jennifer's program. I am trying to think if I should be looking in my tapes, DVD's or computer files. Just too many possibilities right now.

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