(although, surely on the national level you can make the Jordan argument)
(although, surely on the national level you can make the Jordan argument)
I'm making the Michael Jordan comparison not in terms of championships won, or of winning the ultimate big one (especially since basketball is a team sport and figure skating is mostly an individual sport). My comparison is based on the fact that Michael Jordan was (like MK) head-and-shoulders above most other players of his era, even his teammates. His dominance was mainly by virtue of his hard work, discipline, desire, competitive spirit, and the fact that he, like Michelle Kwan, excelled at getting every ounce and then some out of his talent.
As per my previous post, I think the argument re Michelle's dominance can be made both nationally and internationally. Partly she dominated because of the fact there were not a lot of strong skaters in Europe and other countries as there are today. Most of Kwan's competitors were working hard just to keep up with her consistency and the unique style, grace and courage she brought to the ice.
In any case, as I recall, comparisons were even made between Michelle and Michael Jordan during her reign. Indeed there were references back then to her being the Michael Jordan of ladies figure skating, whether or not you agree or perceive it to be a viable comparison.
Also, let's not forget that the biggest competition for MK at the biggest international events came from Michelle's U.S. compatriots, Tara Lipinski and Sarah Hughes. Plus, Sasha Cohen was another strong U.S. competitor who challenged Kwan and the rest of the World on the basis of her stretch, line and artistic qualities, if not so much her technical skills.
Last edited by aftershocks; 02-18-2013 at 08:49 PM.
EVERYONE is compared to Michael Jordan - both now and when he was playing. Doesn't prove anything. He was just the measuring stick for everyone else.Indeed there were references back then to her being the Michael Jordan of ladies figure skating, whether or not you agree or perceive it to be a viable comparison.
The latest victim is Lebron James. He is continually compared to Jordan. Does that make it viable?
Ashley Wagner was compared to Kwan in another thread. Does that make it viable?
Last edited by RD; 02-18-2013 at 09:33 PM.
What I wonder about is how much this got into Michelle's head through the years and really made her question herself and her skating. How was it that she was now losing (occasionally) and being challenged by a woman who was no where near her level in the previous quad? Much was made of Irina's artistic improvements and triple/triples but if you watch any of her programs from back then you can see that the whole "new" Irina was a lot of smoke and mirrors. And while in the end Michelle wound up winning most of their battles throughout the quad (at least the important ones Worlds 2000, 2001) I do think that it might have negatively affected Michelle and might have led to some of the poor decisions she made in the 01-02 season.
Philly, Olympics 2006: Meissner 5th; Emily 7th
It's certainly true as you mentioned that lots of athletes and other people who are highly competitive and successful at what they do indeed have been compared to Michael Jordan, and I would add on many occasions skaters and other athletes are compared to Michelle Kwan. I think what that demonstrates is that the focus and dedication both Jordan and Kwan gave to being the best in their respective sports (as well as in their lives in general) set a high standard which many seek but often fail to reach. It's not about medals or championships, it's about the extent of one's effort, discipline, drive and belief.
The fact you mentioned Karl Malone tho' in connection with Michelle Kwan does seem apropos, as I recall there was a fluff piece once during U.S. Nationals in which Michelle was talking to Karl on a basketball court, and Karl ended up signing his name on both of her skate boots. Correct me if I am mistaken.
can make it on the olympic.
the olympic level is also political. how you may asked.
1) michelle couldn't fall and stay on top 1st like irina with 3 falls, ashley, mao.
her one fall took her out of the top stop even a little hiccup. imagine if they allowed michelle the trip in 2002 and stayed in1st after the short.
2) skated 7 clean triples not one fall and didn't win, better overall artistic than tara,
3) techniquely called a trip but for michelle was a fall; however when sasha pulled the same mistake in 2006 was a trip and awarded 2nd michelle 3rd.
4) tara was hyped up to the 1998 olympics to win , michelle won the 1997 free skate but due to a fall in short was 4th in the short and 1st in long but no one beat tara out to win. so tara was 1997 champ. pushed tara to be the next sonia henie overlooking her small jumps, her bad technqiue, humping a bit --not like surya
5) To win the Olympic Gold Medal you have to be the one they federation wants to win. ( u.s. picked nicole, tara, sarah, sasha) look how bad they wanted michelle name off the the list for achievements by overlooking ashley downgraded (her cross legs) when she fell. they wanted/willed ashley to win. they picked her name.
michelle is/was a great skater to me rob of ogm in 1998, possibly 2002 along with irina. u.s. picked sarah in 2002. she she won the gpf bronze 2 years, won bronze medal.
with all the pressure, hoopla, age calling over michelle and the media riding michelle more than tara, sarah, sasha, kristi, nicole combine. they had no pressure.
u.s. wanted evan to win. he skated like michelle did-methodical and he won. they reconfigured the guidelines to fit him. what guidelines did they reconfigure to help michelle kwan win the ogm. they didn't. they was waiting for her to fall./screw up.
enough of my blather.
point is. michelle won the ogm in 1998/ they overlooked other mistakes from tara, found all of michelles, they overlooked sarahs, found michelle/
found a way to keep sasha on top despite her screwups.found a way to keep irina on top despite her less than thrilling aristry and her mistakes.
the judges didn't look at the feet of who they wanted to win/ only the ones they didn.t
ashley isn't michelle by a long shot. no comparison what so ever. (outside of same music) nothing.
tara/michelle was closer than most people think.in terms of character/temperament;/mental toughness.
the u.s. ladies now are sorely lacking the mental toughness
I liken the hype around Gracie to the hype around Kimmie Meissner circa 2005.
Both extremely talented (Kimmie was a helluva better skater than most people give her credit for), both propped up by the press, both criticized for their arms.
Kimmie, to me, was more quietly consistent. She peaked at the absolute right time, but still safely in the shadow of Sasha Cohen (and to a lesser degree, Michelle Kwan).
With no standout American lady, there's even more pressure on Gracie to deliver. I actually prefer her out of all the next crop of skaters (followed by Elizaveta and Zijun Li). But like others have said, her development and the Olympic timetable might not be in sync. And she has a lot of strong competition coming up. Only time will tell.
Major difference: Gold has no 3A...
Another major difference: Gold is getting to compete at pre-Oly worlds. KM was just there as a spectator on ESPN's dollar
Gold is a couple of years older (big difference in skating!)
Gold is not nearly as much in Wagner's shadow (if at all!) as KM was in Kwan's and Cohen's
NBC, as the Olympic network, is a greater hype machine than ABC/ESPN ever was
So on, etc...
Last edited by RD; 02-20-2013 at 12:41 PM.
Also what is the BS about keeping Cohen on top. Cohen didnt win a single World or Olympic title, and couldnt win any event she was in barring the occasional minor grand prix with no noteable opponents, when she so much as missed anything. She didnt even win a U.S National title until her last year (other than her blip of a comeback) with Michelle out of Nationals with injury. Irina won 2 World titles in an incredibly long career that stretched out even longer than Michelle`s, one of them at 26 years old and near retirement, so on what planet was she being kept on top either.
Last edited by judgejudy27; 02-20-2013 at 02:08 PM.
Kwan is definitely the apple of the USFSA`s eye (and understandably so as by far their greatest skater, bar Tara for a couple years at her peak being right up with her). All her 6.0s at Nationals, even occasionaly bogus ones like for her Bolero at Nationals 2005, says it all. Cohen and Bobek are probably their 2nd and 3rd favorites, based on all the breaks they got over the years. Hughes is definitely not a favorite, based on her losing to Cohen twice at Nationals in 2000 and 2002, when she was at the time always placing higher internationally, and skated cleaner with more triples landed both times.