i must say first that i'm a huge Ashley fan but I only like some of Kwan's programs, so, ( it will probably sound as heresy to many), i personally don't find Michelle infinitely superior to Ashley (or to Yuna, for that matters) so in thinking of a reply to the question, i will put them on the same "level" and compare them. also, there's no need to always declare one skater superior to an other. skaters are just different and enjoyable for what they are. the difference between Ashley and Michelle lays probably in their different personalities and musical preferences. Ashley really loves big, powerful music, and performed a "gentle" music only twice in that beautiful SP "Somewhere in time" and the playful "Pollock", while Kwan had more variety of programs, so we can watch how her artistry transform in diverse routines. Ashley has so much energy coming from her throughout the program, and in the past, all this energy seemed to be too much so that her skating looked a little frantic. Now her energy is well chanelled, that's why she has the calm, almost regal quality that Kwan had. Kwan was always very polished, refined, and so is Ashley this season.
And yes, like someone said above, it's hard to find a performer who is totally, truely natural. any artist learns first. talent is a raw gem that requires work to shine. so yes, Michelle worked a lot on her expression and emoting, it didn't just come out at first try
whether Ashley is not natural in her expression, it's probably a matter of opinion. for me, every time she skates, i can feel she puts her heart in it, but maybe because i have a special fondness and emotional connection to her skating, that every move she does, speaks to me that's probably what happens to Kwan's fans too. so in a way, they are similar in this too. they can both reach peoples' hearts through their skating.
This entire thread reminds me of the comparisons between Lebron James and Michael Jordan being done in NBA circles. They are both great players, but Jordan was on a whole 'nother planet. There will be only one Michael Jordan.
Wagner and Kwan aren't comparable at this point, honestly. Perhaps if Wagner picks up a couple of World titles we can consider talking- but right now I wouldn't even have Wagner at the Cohen/Hughes/Lipinski level yet. No world medal (let alone title)...no Olympic appearances...besides, style-wise they are still very different skaters.
Last edited by RD; 11-22-2012 at 12:51 AM.
I also saw an interview in a skating magazine one time where Kwan herself felt she wasnt one of the most talented skaters, she just made the most of her talents more than other skaters.
Michelle is a skater who I think was actually helped by the "puberty monster," along with extreme dedication and hard work.
She was not a "natural artist," she started out as a typical jumping bean, as this video from 1992 shows (she was 12): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42l8lZ7m9qY
She was certainly a hard working jumping bean, though, until 1996. That was when her artistry (along with hard work with Lori Nichol) began to kick in. As judgejudy mentioned, Michelle was so hardworking and determined, so she really paid attention to the details that would make her skating more artistic. And then she grew from there.
Ashley has really impressed me, I was not a fan of hers until this season. I believe she is also a very determined and hardworking young lady.
"I hit him with my shoes... if he had given me the medal like I told him to, I wouldn't have had to hit him!" -- 8-year-old Rhoda Penmark in "The Bad Seed"
Michelle Kwan is 32 years old, and has moved on with her life -- moved beyond, and above, figure skating. As stellar as her skating career was, it was but a preamble of much greater and more significant achievements and accomplishments that will unfold in her life in the years and decades ahead.
Last edited by RickInSanJose; 11-22-2012 at 02:50 AM. Reason: Seriously...
Ashley has been taught choreography and she does what she is taught. Michelle was taught movements but she made them her own and she felt the movements the music and the energy of the crowd.
I'm confused by the notion that, since Ashley has stated that she admires Michelle and is trying to emulate her in some ways, that means that Ashley is really hoping to turn into a Kwan clone and also that she's a crazy arrogant person who actually believes she is capable of becoming The Kween, etc.
I mean, is it really a bad thing to have a young woman with work ethic who is trying very hard to emulate certain aspects of the US's greatest all-time skater? I'm really not sure why all these people find it necessary to strictly comment on all the aspects of Ashley that just Do Not Measure Up to Michelle, as though to put the young woman in her place for even daring to admire and work towards emulating aspects of Michelle's skating.
I guess she brought it on herself by mentioning Kwan so explicitly- people would obviously begin comparing the two. It's really not a fair comparison though. I still want to wait and see how she handles being in the spotlight and the increased expectations that come with that. People will begin expecting a world medal from her, for instance- can she live up to that?I'm really not sure why all these people find it necessary to strictly comment on all the aspects of Ashley that just Do Not Measure Up to Michelle, as though to put the young woman in her place for even daring to admire and work towards emulating aspects of Michelle's skating.
On the topic, Wagner does not appear to be a natural in the expressive-type of skating, and if she doesn't have it I don't think there's much use trying to be something she isn't. Yes, it is nice that she is extending her boundaries but you don't want to overdo it...still, she probably feels she needs to do so to separate herself from the Russians, etc. Do whatever it takes to win, right?
The same thing that separates Yamaguchi from Lipinski . . . Hamill from Lipinski . . . etc. They are just not the same skaters.
So many people just don't get PeterG