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    Retrospective: The 1988 Olympics

    Retrospective moves onto the 1988 Olympics

    The key facts in relation to this competition are:-

    • Katarina Witt becomes the first female singles skater since Sonja Henie to both retain her Olympic title and win an Olympic title more than once. Both Witt and Debi Thomas chose Carmen as their free program for the 1987/88 season. Hence, their fight for the 1988 Olympic title became known as the 'Battle of the Carmens'. Kira Ivanova won the compulsories, with Thomas second and Witt third. Manley placed fourth. Witt then won the short program, with Thomas second. However, Thomas took a slender lead over Witt going in to free skate (0.2 in terms of factored placements). In her Carmen Free Skate, Witt downgraded her planned triple loop to a double, and therefore only landed 4 triples. However, Thomas landed just 2 triples. Accordingly, Witt won the title, although Liz Manley won the Free Skate.

    • Witt later said of her win: "I skate my freestyle very early in our group. Before Elizabeth and Debi. Actually, it means more to me to skate after everyone else, when the pressure is the highest. This time I have to show them how it's done. Mrs. Müller, at the side of the rink, put her hand on mine, looked me in the eye, and gave me a mental shove just before I was called out. The bells at the beginning of my music transform me into Carmen immediately. Energetically, I jump my first combination triple toe-loop / double toe-loop, on to the triple Salchow, then the double axel and another triple toe-loop. And almost without breathing. I make up for that. I spend the hard-won 30 seconds flirting with the judges, and not only with the 7 men among them, and "posing" choreographically for the audience. That's unimaginable today! Too bad, really! Peggy Fleming and Dick Button, commentating for ABC, utilize this little "break". Peggy wants to give me a woman-to-woman compliment, and said, "This is the moment in which Katarina attempts to draw in the audience's attention. And her theatrical..." But she doesn't get any further, as Dick finished her sentence in a somewhat brash manner, "there's nothing theatrical about that, it's just posing." If only they knew, that during the "flirting break", my heart almost fell into my costume, because suddenly, I had no more strength in my legs. During the habanera, "Love is a wild bird, which no one can tame, and it is useless to call him, if he doesn't want to come" I feel weak and tired and would prefer to stop. Hello! In front of a million spectators, I can hardly fall asleep on the ice! I realize in the run-up to the triple Rittberger, that I don't have the necessary chutzpah for that, and do a double instead. The following triple Salchow combination went so flawlessly well, I would have loved to have audibly screamed for joy. But for now I am Carmen, and can't very well let out a squeal of delight, while the jealous José is on the verge of giving me a razor sharp death blow. The last double axel is also a success, and I feel that I have given my all for Carmen. Four triple jumps securely demonstrated, every facet played out emotionally and choreographically, and yet I know--"lifeless" at the end, and draped across the ice-"Oh man, nothing has been won yet, and everything is still wide open for Debi". With a heavy heart, relieved for the most part, but still a bit anxious, I get up, and four seconds later, I'm Katarina again....I watch Debi unprovokingly from the athlete's official corner at rink-side. Whenever she is called out, she slaps both hands with her trainer. This time she misses, and I know right away, it's not going to go well for her. She isn't aggressive enough. The first combination goes badly, and she loses her fighting spirit. Afterwards, she has more bad landings. I don't have to wait for the score to know that I have won the "Battle of the Carmens". Back in the dressing room, as I am putting my skates on for the award ceremony, I hear a thundering applause from the stands and my knees start to tremble. Does this mean Elizabeth is in the lead? While two are fighting is she the third with the last laugh? In the media and in our minds, the focus had up to now been on Debi and me, so we never turned to see what was coming up behind us. However, as luck would have it, the audience was extremely excited because on the scoreboard, they could see that Elizabeth had won the silver medal for Canada. For them it was like she had won the gold!"

    • The men's competition was billed as 'the Battle of the Brian's' as Brian Orser was the reigning world champion, and Brian Boitano was his closest rival (and 1986 world champion). Going into the Olympics, the two Brian's had competed against each other 10 times, with Orser holding a 7-3 lead. Fadeev led after the compulsories, with Boitano 2nd and Orser 3rd. However, Orser won the short program, beating Boitano into 2nd. Nevertheless, Boitano held a narrow lead over Orser overall going into the long program, but as it was so slender, whoever finished ahead between them in the FS would win the Gold. Ultimately, Boitano won the free skate by 5 judges to 4, and the Olympic Gold Medal. Orser (skating to Dmitri Shostakovich's "The Bolt") double footed and then stepped out of the landing on his 3F and doubled out on a 3A (ironic, as he was known as 'Mr Triple Axel' as it was his trademark jump. Boitano's trademark jump was one he had invented - the 'Tano Triple Lutz', a Triple Lutz with one arm raised above the head), and that cost him the title. Boitano (skating to music from Carmine Coppola's 'Napoleon') had skated clean (apart from a very slightly double footed landing on a 3A), landing 8 triples, 2 of them 3A's. It should be noted, however, that of the 9 Judges, 4 of them made Orser the clear winner of the LP, whilst 3 of them made Boitano the clear winner. The other 2 Judges (from Denmark and Switzerland) had them tied. However, the tiebreaker was the technical mark, and both of the Judges had given higher technical merit marks to Boitano. Hence, the reason why Boitano won by 5 Judges to 4. The irony of all this is, that this was the last Olympics at which the technical mark was the tiebreaker. Subsequently, the artistic impression mark was used as the tiebreaker. Had that been the case in these Olympics, then Orser would have won the FS by 6 Judges to 3, and won the Gold medal. Petrenko won the Bronze.

    • Ekaterina Gordeeva & Sergei Grinkov win the Olympic title in the pairs competition. Just a month before, Valova & Vasiliev, their main rivals, had been unable to take part in the European Championships, as Valova had suffered a foot injury which had kept her in hospital for a month. Gordeeva & Grinkov won the SP, the FS, and the title easily. This was despite the fact that G&G had also encountered problems in the lead up to the Olympics. Back in November 1987, Grinkov had dropped Gordeeva on her forehead during practice, after having caught a blade on the ice. This led to her being hospitalized for a short period.

    • Natalia Bestemianova & Andrei Bukin easily win the Olympic title in the Ice Dance, winning all 3 sections (CD, OSP, and FS). Marina Klimova & Sergei Ponomarenko win the silver, and would go on to win the Olympic title 4 years later in 1992. Wilson & McCall win the Bronze. The medal positions were replicated in the Ice Dance a month later at the 1988 world championships.

    • As with B&B, Wilson & McCall would retire after those world championships. Sadly, just 3 years later, Robert McCall died from AIDS-related brain cancer at the age of just 33, and he was not the only skater from these Olympics who would go on to die prematurely. Shockingly, Kira Ivanova (who finished 7th in the Ladies competition), who retired after these Olympics, was murdered in 2001 in her own apartment (from stabbing). She was just 38 years old. And, Sergei Grinkov collapsed and died of a heart attack at the age of just 28 in 1995 whilst practicing for a forthcoming Stars on Ice tour. More recently, Chris Bowman, who finished 7th in the Men's competition, passed away at the age of just 40 in 2008 from an accidental drug overdose


    Here are the videos for the medal winning performances:-

    MEN'S

    Gold: Brian Boitano (USA)

    Compulsories, Short Program, Free Skate, Battle of the Brians, Battle of the Brians 2, Exhibition

    Silver: Brian Orser (Canada)

    Short Program, Free Skate, Exhibition

    Bronze: Viktor Petrenko (USSR)

    Short Program, Free Skate, Exhibition

    4th: Alexander Fadeev (USSR)

    Short Program, Free Skate

    5th: Grzegorz Filipowski (Poland)

    Short Program, Free Skate

    6th: Vladimir Kotin (USSR)

    Short Program, Free Skate

    7th: Christopher Bowman (USA)

    Short Program, Free Skate

    8th: Kurt Browning (Canada)

    Free Skate

    9th: Heiko Fischer (West Germany)

    Short Program, Free Skate

    10th: Paul Wylie (USA)

    Short Program, Free Skate

    11th: Richard Zander (West Germany)

    Free Skate

    12th: Oliver Höner (Switzerland)

    Free Skate



    LADIES

    Gold: Katarina Witt (East Germany)

    Compulsories Part 1, Compulsories Part 2, Short Program, Free Skate, Exhibition, Exhibition (Encore), Medal Ceremony

    Silver: Elizabeth Manley (Canada)

    Short Program, Free Skate, Exhibition

    Bronze: Debi Thomas (USA)

    Short Program, Free Skate, Exhibition

    4th: Jill Trenary (USA)

    Short Program, Free Skate

    5th: Midori Ito (Japan)

    Short Program, Free Skate

    6th: Claudia Leistner (West Germany)

    Short Program, Free Skate

    7th: Kira Ivanova (USSR)

    Short Program, Free Skate

    8th: Anna Kondrashova (USSR)

    Short Program, Free Skate

    9th: Simone Koch (East Germany)

    Short Program, Free Skate

    10th: Marina Kielmann (West Germany)

    Free Skate

    12th: Joanne Conway (Great Britain)

    Short Program, Free Skate

    13th: Charlene Wong (Canada)

    Free Skate

    14th: Junko Yaginuma (Japan)

    Short Program,

    WD Caryn Kadavy (USA)

    Short Program



    PAIRS

    Gold: Ekaterina Gordeeva & Sergei Grinkov (USSR)

    Short Program, Long Program, Exhibition

    Silver: Elena Valova & Oleg Vasiliev (USSR)

    Short Program, Long Program, Exhibition

    Bronze: Jill Watson & Peter Oppegard (USA)

    Profile, Short Program, Long Program, Exhibition

    4th: Larisa Selezneva & Oleg Makarov (USSR)

    Short Program, Long Program

    5th: Gillian Wachsman & Todd Waggoner (USA)

    Profile, Short Program, Long Program

    6th: Denise Benning & Lyndon Johnston (Canada)

    Short Program, Long Program

    7th: Peggy Schwarz & Alexander König (East Germany)

    Short Program, Long Program

    8th: Christine Hough & Doug Ladret (Canada)

    Short Program, Long Program

    9th: Isabelle Brasseur & Lloyd Eisler (Canada)

    Short Program, Long Program

    10th: Natalie Seybold & Wayne Seybold (USA)

    Short Program, Long Program

    11th: Brigitte Groh & Holger Maletz (West Germany)

    Short Program

    12th: Cheryl Peake & Andrew Naylor (Great Britain)

    Short Program

    13th: Lisa Cushley & Neil Cushley (Great Britain)

    Short Program

    14th: Mei Zhibin & Li Wei (China)

    Short Program



    ICE DANCE

    Gold: Natalia Bestemianova & Andrei Bukin (USSR)

    Profile, CD1, CD2, CD3, OSP, Free Dance, Exhibition

    Silver: Marina Klimova & Sergei Ponomarenko (USSR)

    CD1, CD2, CD3, OSP, Free Dance, Exhibition

    Bronze: Tracy Wilson & Robert McCall (Canada)

    OSP, Free Dance, Exhibition

    4th: Natalia Annenko & Genrikh Sretenski (USSR)

    CD1, CD2, CD3, OSP, Free Dance

    5th: Kathrin Beck & Christoff Beck (Austria)

    Original Set Pattern, Free Dance

    6th: Suzanne Semanick & Scott Gregory (USA)

    CD1, Original Set Pattern

    7th: Klára Engi & Attila Tóth (Hungary)

    CD1, Original Set Pattern, Free Dance

    8th: Isabelle Duchesnay & Paul Duchesnay (France)

    CD1, Original Set Pattern, Free Dance

    9th: Antonia Becherer & Ferdinand Becherer (West Germany)

    CD1, Original Set Pattern, Free Dance

    10th: Lia Trovati & Roberto Pelizzola (Italy)

    CD1, Original Set Pattern, Free Dance
    Last edited by Maofan7; 11-26-2012 at 08:25 AM.

  2. #2
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    Oh, this Killian by Bestemianova&Bukin. I love it !

    G&G were amazing, I'm happy they won.
    Same for Boitano, amazing here.

    I still don't understand how Katarina Witt won it. Good for her. But really

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    Interesting that you mentioned three of the skaters who passed away but didn't mention the death of Sergei Grinkov such a few years after the Olympics.

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    Battle of the Brians - so close. No wonder Orser is still bitter.

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    I doubt that he's still bitter. I get the impression that he's come to terms with it, and am thrilled that he is having much success as a coach.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skatingguy View Post
    Interesting that you mentioned three of the skaters who passed away but didn't mention the death of Sergei Grinkov such a few years after the Olympics.
    I actually incorporated it whilst proof reading everything checking for errors (hence, its in there now). As the proof reading and amendments took me around half an hour, you got your post in first whilst I was making the amendments. Apologies, for the original omission. I had originally intended to include it, but during the original write up, it completely slipped my mind on account of the amount of time it took me to put the piece together. It's not always possible with a task this size, to get it perfect first time.
    Last edited by Maofan7; 11-25-2012 at 06:54 PM.

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    Thank you! Sweet memories! I will watch everything !

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    Still,for me, the best Olympics for figure skating. I was most thrilled for G/G and their absolutely perfect lp. Not even a wobble on an edge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by briancoogaert View Post
    Oh, this Killian by Bestemianova&Bukin. I love it !

    G&G were amazing, I'm happy they won.
    Same for Boitano, amazing here.

    I still don't understand how Katarina Witt won it. Good for her. But really
    Yes, good for her, but Katarina was the best.

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    I noticed the American commentators were so biased already at that time....

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    For me, Brian B won convincingly. His jumping merit was way ahead and he had command over every single jump. Orser was the better skater but not that much better to overcome a second 3axel (in second half), a second 3flip and a 3/3 (in second half), especially under 6.0. I am frankly surprised and puzzled by how close they were. Their programs were surprisingly simplistic both in terms of choreography and interpretation compared to the other top men.

    I would have had Brian B a 5.9/5.7 and Brian O a 5.6/5.8.

    Major kudos to the Soviet men!!! Despite jumping issues, they actually had better musical interpretation or more complex choreography than the two Brians. Petrenko was wonderful to watch despite the jumping errors, Fadeev was probably the best skater in the field with his edges and movements. Love the 2axel into back sit spin! And for everyone praising Wagner's rendition of Samson & Delilah, check out Kotin's version! I miss 6.0 for allowing that circular steps to happen.

    Despite not having the 3axel, Bowman really already had everything else in 1988. Sigh.

    For me, the highlights of the men's competition were definitely the Soviet men and Bowman, and perhaps a little Browning and Wylie... Brian who?

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    By the way, does anyone have the short program and free skate placements for the ladies? I am still not sure how Ito didn't win both portions of the competition.

    I would have been fine with Ito or Kadavy winning the short, but prefer to see Ito win it. Again, Ito should have received a 6.0 for technical merit and win the free skate convincingly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marco View Post
    By the way, does anyone have the short program and free skate placements for the ladies? I am still not sure how Ito didn't win both portions of the competition.

    I would have been fine with Ito or Kadavy winning the short, but prefer to see Ito win it. Again, Ito should have received a 6.0 for technical merit and win the free skate convincingly.
    Results : http://winter-olympic-memories.com/h...5_figure_w.htm
    Marks and rankings : http://winter-olympic-memories.com/h...igure_w_ex.htm

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    I haven't seen all of the dances yet, but I would have put Klimova/Ponomarenko ahead of Bestemianova/Bukin in both the OSP and FD. I would have put Wilson/McCall ahead of B/B in the FD as well.
    Last edited by VIETgrlTerifa; 11-25-2012 at 11:45 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by briancoogaert View Post
    I still don't understand how Katarina Witt won it. Good for her. But really
    Overall, Kat deserved it. Debi flopped in the free. Liz won the free, but Kat beat her overall. Midori was wonderful in the free in terms of her jumps, but her compulsories, artistry, and presentation skills were well below those of Kat, Debi, and Liz, so she was never likely to challenge for a medal.

    Shame Caryn Kadavy had to withdraw due to illness. Had an outside chance of a medal. Always rated her more highly than Trenary who came fourth.

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    I was also puzzled by how close Boitano and Orser were in the LP, considering Boitano's 2nd 3axel, 3/3, and second flip and he landed three more triples than Orser. I preferred Orser's 'artistry' per se, but from a 'presentation' standpoint I thought Boitano was fine. But yeah, those Russian men really were the performers to watch. Petrenko was amazing, and I love Kotin's S/D.

    We've discussed the Ladies competition many times before. I still don't understand what presentation Manley had that Ito apparently lacked. They were both perky, athletic skaters, and I just never understood Manley. Ito was faster, had better spins, and jumped out of the building, and her choreo wasn't that less impressive than Manley's. Trenary was way ahead of Manley on the second mark IMO. And this might be totally random, but does anyone else think Bob Trenary was a sexy beast? Ruff. He did an interview with Kathie Lee Gifford and you could tell she was crushing on him.

    The pairs were really only about G/G. Perfection, and light years ahead of everyone else. I have to give honorable mention to Gillian Wachsman and Todd Waggoner. I loved their intricate program, it was just too bad they made so many errors. Also, how do you prounounce Gillian? I've always pronounced the G like in George and not like Gabriel. I've never heard it pronounced it the other way.

    As for dance, well, I just NEVER understood the appeal of B/B. At all. I thought K/P should have won, they were the class of the field. It was nice to see W/M get the bronze, it was like they won the gold medal they were so happy.

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    Speaking purely subjectively, for me, the highlight of the 1988 Olympics was Midori's free skate, she had the jumps and I thought she had great presentation as well. I loved Brian Boitano's SP with the integration of the classic figure skating moves into the program.

    G&G absolutely deserved to win the gold, every move was crisp, clean and technically perfect and they did an excellent job presenting their routine. Personally though, I prefer the choreography and program construction of V&V's routines, and I'm happy that V&V were able to end their career with a final world championship title at the 1988 World Championships. I believe the SelMaks were also coming off an injury as well. Love that team as well-too bad about Oleg's fall in the SP.

    K&P's Air (1992 FD) is probably my all time favorite free dances and their professional routines: dracula, romeo & juliet, spartacus, tchaikovsky are also among my favorite skating routines. But as difficult as their hand holds, positions and footwork were, I have to admit, I have a soft spot for B&B's free dance. I just love B&B's speed and their dynamic and dramatic style, not just in the 1988 free dance, but their other routines as well-especially their iconic "Carmen" routine.
    It's not a difficult or even a pretty move, but I find this "running" move so memorable. Their c.d. that year to the Kilian is out of this world. W&M's free dance is fabulous and another highlight for me: incredibly entertaining, fun, excellent presentation and great footwork throughout the dance.

    RE: Gillian's name, I always assumed it was pronounced similar to "Jillian" as well. Sorta like how Jinger Duggar's name is pronounced "Ginger"-but in reverse But, the announcers, not just at the 1988 Olympics but at the 1988 World Champions as well, pronounce her name with a hard G sound. I much prefer them to W&O. They had excellent throws and so many great transition moves and innovative entrances and exits to their lifts.
    Last edited by lulu; 11-26-2012 at 03:08 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maofan7 View Post
    I actually incorporated it whilst proof reading everything checking for errors (hence, its in there now). As the proof reading and amendments took me around half an hour, you got your post in first whilst I was making the amendments. Apologies, for the original omission. I had originally intended to include it, but during the original write up, it completely slipped my mind on account of the amount of time it took me to put the piece together. It's not always possible with a task this size, to get it perfect first time.
    I love that you put so much time, thought and effort into these things. But could you at least sprinkle it with a few paragraph breaks to make it easier on the eyes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Judge Dred View Post
    Overall, Kat deserved it. Debi flopped in the free. Liz won the free, but Kat beat her overall. Midori was wonderful in the free in terms of her jumps, but her compulsories, artistry, and presentation skills were well below those of Kat, Debi, and Liz, so she was never likely to challenge for a medal.

    Shame Caryn Kadavy had to withdraw due to illness. Had an outside chance of a medal. Always rated her more highly than Trenary who came fourth.
    I personally beg to differ about Midori. She might not have skated generically pretty programs but she skated with a ton of charisma and her programs were full of drama and excitement, all of which counts towards artistry. And her jumps were often nicely timed to the music and were often connected with a lot of choreographic moves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VIETgrlTerifa View Post
    I haven't seen all of the dances yet, but I would have put Klimova/Ponomarenko ahead of Bestemianova/Bukin in both the OSP and FD. I would have put Wilson/McCall ahead of B/B in the FD as well.
    I also would've put K&P ahead of B&B in all of the dances except maybe the killian. I also would've put W&M ahead of B&B in the FD as well.

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