View Poll Results: Which reigning world champion was the biggest favorite to lose the Olympic gold medal

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  • Brian Orser 1988

    11 4.58%
  • Kurt Browning 1992

    49 20.42%
  • Kurt Browning 1994

    20 8.33%
  • Elvis Stojko 1998

    9 3.75%
  • Evgeni Plushenko 2002

    6 2.50%
  • Irina Slutskaya 2006

    63 26.25%
  • Michelle Kwan 2002

    82 34.17%
  • Other

    0 0%
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  1. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by briancoogaert View Post
    In 1988, Orser and Boitano were both former World champion. And in 1992, only one former World champion competed : Kurt browning.
    It probably explains why Kurt 1992 is getting more votes.
    In 1988 Boitano was a former world champion; Orser was the reigning world champion. On paper they sounded equal but in the judges' eyes Orser was the better/more complete skater, going into the Olympics.

    At the 1992 Olympics Browning was the reigning 3-time world champion, having won 3 consecutive world titles. IMO that made him a bigger favorite than either Boitano or Orser in 1988, despite his injury earlier in the season. In 1994, Browning was the reigning world champion again, although he had lost the title to Petrenko in 1992. In 1994 he was competing against two Olympic champions- one former and one reigning, so the field was more even in 94. One of these three were expected to win the OGM. Incredibly, none of them even medalled.

  2. #42
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    I know Michelle was the biggest favorite among fans, but wasn't Kurt Browning a bigger favorite in 1992 to win in terms of judges' expectations and precedents. He had three world titles and lost no major events. He had everything going for him, whereas Michelle had lost in 1999 and struggled against Slutskaya going into Salt Lake City. She also had a bizarre plan to compete without a coach. Things were looking slightly iffy.

    Kwan was the most favored by the greatest number of people pulling for her. Probably more fans and people in skating wanted gold in 2002 for her than have before or since wanted an Olympic dream to come true. But Browning was such a shoo-in in comparrison to Kwan's somewhat uncertain prospects.

  3. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheIronLady View Post
    I know Michelle was the biggest favorite among fans, but wasn't Kurt Browning a bigger favorite in 1992 to win in terms of judges' expectations and precedents. He had three world titles and lost no major events. He had everything going for him, whereas Michelle had lost in 1999 and struggled against Slutskaya going into Salt Lake City. She also had a bizarre plan to compete without a coach. Things were looking slightly iffy.

    Kwan was the most favored by the greatest number of people pulling for her. Probably more fans and people in skating wanted gold in 2002 for her than have before or since wanted an Olympic dream to come true. But Browning was such a shoo-in in comparrison to Kwan's somewhat uncertain prospects.
    Thinking about Kwanita in SLC makes me cry a little...

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    In 1988 Boitano was a former world champion; Orser was the reigning world champion. On paper they sounded equal but in the judges' eyes Orser was the better/more complete skater, going into the Olympics...
    Orser was known to have nerve issues. And didn't also Boitano fall at the 1987 worlds because he kept attempting 4T? I think these two factors may have made the battle odds for the Olympics seem pretty much 50/50. Even with Orser skating at a home Olympics, I doubt anybody believed Orser was that big favorite as compared to Boitano. I think for Canadians Orser must have seemed like a massive favorite, but it looks to me like the expectations were it could go either way.

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheIronLady View Post
    wasn't Kurt Browning a bigger favorite in 1992 to win in terms of judges' expectations and precedents. He had three world titles and lost no major events. He had everything going for him
    Except a healthy back.

  6. #46
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    So true... When did the back injury become public? Was it just right before Albertville or months before?

  7. #47
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    I voted Stojko in 98 because most of the others were not really strongly favored to win in spite of having won the last Worlds.

    Elvis really dominated men's skating between 94 and 98, with the other guys having a chance to win only if Elvis fell on a big jump. (Yes, Patrick, in those days favorites needed to land their jumps to win.) Until that season, Kulik had been really inconsistent and even as recently as NHK had managed to pop his opening 3A in both his SP and FS. Eldrege was the only other serious contender but he did not do quads (or even 3A-3T very often) and was (as he admitted later) basically just skating for a medal.

    The only other real options here would be Browning in 92 or Slutskaya in 96. While Petrenko was seen as a strong contender, he had managed to finish behind Browning in the previous 2 seasons. Still, Browning was not seen as an overwhelming favorite because he had struggled that fall with back problems and was restricted in training triple axels. In 96, I think Slutskata was a fairly strong favorite, with Cohen seen as her biggest threat. Since Cohen was constitutionally incapable of a clean and fully skated FS under pressure, that medal was definitely Slute's to loose. This one would have gotten my second vote.

    The reasons I don't think the others qualify as "big favorites":

    Going into the 88 Olympics, Orser & Boitano had traded the last two World titles and I think were seen as about even chances for the gold. Everyone knew this medal would come down to whoever made fewest mistakes.

    Kurt Browning was World Champion in 93, but he had won with only 5 triple jumps while Elvis was landing quads and triples all over the place. I thought it was pretty obvious that Kurt was past his jumping prime. Especially with Petrenko and Boitano reinstating, I don't remember anyone thinking Kurt was a big favorite, or even the betting favorite. Kurt rarely did 3 Lutzes and his 3 flip was pretty iffy. Realistically, he could win in 94 only if some other folks messed up.

    In 2002, Plushy & Yagudin had been trading titles for a few years and were clearly the cream in the men's field. Plushenko may have been the most recent WC but I don't remember him as being favored over Yagudin. As I remember, Yagudin went into the 2002 games as the favorite.

    I also don't get why so many folks picked Kwan in 2002 as a big upset. To me, it was already obvious that Kwan was past her jumping prime and the consistency so extraordinary earlier in her career had begun to show cracks. Her Fall 2001 Skate America win was highly controversial (even in Kwan-loving America) and lot of folks felt she was outskated there by Hughes. At Skate Canada, she fell on a triple toe loop. She lost the GP final to Slutskaya after an Sp error. To top that off, she seemed to have sabotaged her own chances by dumping her coach and actually going to the Games with no real coach. So, IMO, anyone who thought Kwan was still a big favorite to win in 2002 was deluding themselves. My recollection is that a lot of folks (esp outside the US) thought Irina was as likely or more likely to win in SLC.

    (All this reasoning assumes the thread title means big favorite in the sense of sporting probability rather than being the favorite skater of lots of people.)
    Last edited by Susan M; 03-29-2013 at 12:00 PM.

  8. #48
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    Does that mean Roz Sumners and Linda Fratianne were only co-favourites at best in 1984 and 1980?

  9. #49
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    I think Michelle's bronze seems like a huge upset because she was way more of a favorite for gold than Sarah Hughes, however if she had lost to Irina, I don't think anyone would vote for her on this poll as they were pretty much co favorites-much more so than Michelle and Tara in 1998.

  10. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheIronLady View Post
    So true... When did the back injury become public? Was it just right before Albertville or months before?
    It was public in February right before

    http://articles.philly.com/1992-02-0...olympic-judges

    Even in this article it was not considered a problem- his record in the 91-92 season and previous was too great!

  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by caseyedwards View Post
    Even in this article it was not considered a problem- his record in the 91-92 season and previous was too great!
    I think by the time the Olympics came around Kurt was no longer in pain, but he had missed a lot of training time. My recollection is that the doctor had limited the number of 3 axels per day he was allowed in training and told him not to train them on consecutive days. While the 3A had been a money jump for him in the previous seasons, in Albertville, he fell on it in the SP and had a hand down in the FS.

  12. #52
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    In 1988 Boitano was a former world champion; Orser was the reigning world champion. On paper they sounded equal but in the judges' eyes Orser was the better/more complete skater...
    I think this is true, but Boitano made a dramatic improvement in his presentation between 87 and 88. Bezic, his choreographer, gots a lot of the credit for this and for the programs she gave him that year, which really highlighted his strengths. I don't know about elsewhere, but this competition was seen as a toss-up going in by the US media.

  13. #53
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    In order from most to least:

    1. Slutskaya 2006- the judges had already engraved the gold medal with the overrated Slutie. Unfortunately she mucked it up so bad like the choker she always was with 5 mistakes in her long program they had to give it to someone else. Was a huge upset, even for me a top Slutskaya hater she lost.

    2. Orser 1988- He was the clear favorite over the other Brian going in. He had dominated the last 2 years.

    3. Browning 1994- Even though he had a bit of an off season was still the clear favorite, especialy since he was healthy unlike 92.

    4. Stojko 1998- I think most figured his mental toughness would carry him through and Kulik wouldnt skate clean at such a big event.

    5. Browning 1992- He was injured so not a surprise he didnt win. Maybe biggest upset to not even medal.

    6. Plushenko 2002- Might not even have been favorite.

    7. Kwan 2002- Wasnt even the favorite, Slutskaya who had dominated that season and was judges pet clearly was. Her winning this poll must be meant in comedy of some sort.

  14. #54

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    I believe Kwan was at least a co-favorite. The previous two seasons showed how Kwan tended to peak for the biggest events. As to losing every competition to Slutskaya coming into the games, some argue that Kwan should have won the 2002 GPF and the judges tended to come around to Kwan at the big events. 2002 Olympic SP shows this. I mean, Bourne/Kraatz won the GPF over Anissina/Peizerat. Did that mean they became the favorite for the gold medal?

  15. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by VIETgrlTerifa View Post
    I believe Kwan was at least a co-favorite. The previous two seasons showed how Kwan tended to peak for the biggest events. As to losing every competition to Slutskaya coming into the games, some argue that Kwan should have won the 2002 GPF and the judges tended to come around to Kwan at the big events. 2002 Olympic SP shows this. I mean, Bourne/Kraatz won the GPF over Anissina/Peizerat. Did that mean they became the favorite for the gold medal?
    Bourne & Kraatz only won the GPF since it was in Canada. I remember laughing when I saw it since the commentators acted like it was a serious result or something. Everyone knew they were coming back down to the Earth at the Games when the European judges were there.

    Kwan had lost something like 4 times in a row to Slutskaya already that season. It wasnt just the GPF. Believe me I absolutely hate Slutskaya and would 30 times more rather have seen Kwan win the 2002 Olympics than Kwan (or Hughes) so it isnt bias on my part to say I thought Irina unfortunately was the favorite before 2002 Olympics started, although not as big a favorite as she was in 2006 where they had practically already mailed her the gold and she still blew it somehow.

    Even if Kwan was co favorite with overrated and overmarked Slutskaya going into the 2002 Olympics though would that make her the biggest favorite of those on the list? I mean everyone else almost was a clear favorite to win, not just co favorite.
    Last edited by butyrskafanatic; 05-26-2013 at 10:45 PM.

  16. #56

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    I don't think it was a giant joke that some people would have voted for Kwan even if she wasn't as strong of a favorite as she was in 1998. Slutskaya and Kwan were always 1-2 going into the Games, and again, Kwan always seemed to bring her A game, which she didn't bring earlier on that season, to the biggest ones. Slute beat Kwan at 2 GP events going into SLC, so it's not as if Slute had been beating her 10 times. I'll give her the GWG win too, but Yagudin lost that one as well and it was much earlier in the season than normal. Slutskaya was better at keeping up her level of skating throughout the season while Kwan in her later years tended to peak later on. I think many took that into account going into SLC and it's not as if her track record showed otherwise.

    I mean Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze were also losing to Sale/Pelletier at the same rate (or more) as Kwan had lost to Slutskaya, but you bet your bottom dollar people saw them as co-favorites.

  17. #57
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    Well Kwan wasnt nearly as much the favorite going into 2002, if she even was the favorite, as Slutskaya was going into 2006. Lets put it that way. In 2006 Slutskaya was practically guaranteed the gold before the event began. Nobody thought Cohen or Arakawa were more than tiny threats to her, and the rest none. Remember Asada couldnt skate at those Games.

    I am arguing this only because of the judges overvaluing of Irina and her skating, not because I think she is that great a skater. In fairness going into 2006 she seemed the strongest by default, and not just the usual biased judging that favored her, since nobody else seemed that good. Sasha had barely skated the last 2 years with injuries and never won a big event, Shizuka was a hit or mess and had never been a threat to healthy Irina, Kwan wasnt COP friendly and not even likely to skate, and her biggest threat was Mao who was kicked out of the Games by a new stupid last minute age rule since Cinquanta was scared of her winning the gold and running like Baiul, Lipinski, and Hughes had done.

  18. #58
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    The rule keeping Mao out of the 2006 Olympics had been around since the late 90's it wasn't something new to just keep Mao out of the Olympics.

  19. #59
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    deleted

  20. #60
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    I am surprised by how many people voted that Slutskaya was the biggest favorite. Favored by whom? She lost the 2005-2006 GPF and nobody in the English speaking world liked her except for Louis.

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