Marval and Urbanski
Meno and Sand
Before I even opened the thread I immediately thought Kurt Browning. Oh well.
ETA: oh yea .... I picked Tonya Harding. I'm not embarrassed to admit she was one of my favorites in the early 90's. If only .. if only .. if only ...
Last edited by BaileyCatts; 03-25-2013 at 10:40 AM.
Definitely Kurt, hands down. But from this list, Chris Bowman.
I also immediately thought of Browning, which is probably why the OP didn't include him -- he would have won the poll hands-down.
But anyway, the OP's question isn't who is the best in f.s. history not to win an Olympic medal; the question is who of these ten is the best.
So, of these ten, I also will pick Harding.
"Marge, if you're going to get mad at me every time I do something stupid, then I guess I'm just going to have to stop doing stupid things!" - Homer Simpson in the Mr. Plow episode
I do think all those people except the 2 pairs teams (especialy Urbanski & Marvel, WTF including them) were talented skaters worthy of an Olympic medal:
Tiffany Chin- Was one of the best skaters in the World in 84 and 85. It was only compulsory figures which could keep her from some kind of medal in 84. Had she had her figures from 85 instead she would have won a medal of some kind easily. Was seen by many as the early favorite for the 88 gold, it was sad a serious leg injury and her crazy mom conspired to see her decline and passed by in the U.S by several others, and not even make it to Calgary.
Surya Bonaly- Not a skating purists favorite but she was extremely consistent at the top of the sport for several years, winning 3 straight World silvers, all which were very close to gold, and 5 straight European titles, beating Baiul in two of them, and a collection of Russians who were emerging as big forces in the other. Was a contender for 92, and a major contender for 94, but it just didnt work out for her either time.
Jill Trenary- Not everyones favorite either but was a complete and stylish skater for her time. Kind of got stuck between two eras. When she won U.S Nationals quite young in 87 over reigning World Champion Thomas (who skated poorly) she looked like the next big thing to many people. However went on to a poor Worlds where she bombed the figures, and found herself in the shadow and having to wait her turn behind the Witt, Thomas, Manley trio the next little while. Then as figures were being fazed out a slew of the next generation of jumpers Ito (well she was an outlier who even in the figures era would have been and was far outjumping all), Yamaguchi, Harding, Bonaly, Kerrigan, were all on the rise. It was too late in her career for her to learn and master the new jumps to compete with people like Ito and Yamaguchi, or Harding on a good day, once the figures were phased out, as they were after 1990. Did well to squeeze in a World title and 3 U.S titles in between that somehow. Might have had a shot of hanging in and contending for the bronze in Albertville (definitely not the gold) but injury ended any chance of extending her career that far.
Meno & Sand- Never a favorite of mine, my Mom jokes they are the Barbie and Ken wannabees, while I thought of them as a very poor Gordeeva & Grinkov wannabee. They were nice and stylish but very boring, one dimensional, slow, and technically rather weak for me. However they did win 3 World medals from 95-98, despite not going in as a favorite for any of them, but just didnt have their best competition where it really mattered at the 98 Olympics.
Christopher Bowman- showed amazing promise in the 87-89 period, but seemed to hit a plateau there and for whatever reason (personal problems, lack of work ethic, coaching changes, injuries, lack of motivation, despite great overall talent lack of talent for mastering the all important triple axel job which he had fairly bad technique on) could not progress from there. Technical abilities and reputation quickly fell way behind others like Petrenko, Browning, a young Todd Eldredge, and artistry didnt grow in any noticeable way either from the late 80s. A lack of a really solid triple axel and technical content made it nearly impossible for him to medal after 1990 without help from others mistakes.
Elaine Zayak- Seemed to lose her jump consistency in many ways after 1981, even though she won Worlds in 82 did so after a disaesterous Nationals and falling in the SP at Worlds. Also seemed to fall out of favor with both the USFSA and international judges, who preferred her teammate Rosalynn Sumners, and the up and coming Katarina Witt. Skated brilliantly at the 84 Olympics apart from possibly dicey figures, but after 2 years of mostly poor performances, and a poor Nationals before the Games, was not rewarded for her efforts.
Nicole Bobek- Blew chance for World title in 1995, and was all downhill from there. Her chances were also extinguished by emergence of Michelle Kwan who she fell into a deep shadow of. Amazing talent, should have worked like she did in 94-95 season every year and see where that could have gotten her. Also should have worked with a technical specialist to fix her toe jump technique, though ironically it was some falls on edge jumps that cost her the 95 World title which she should have won.
Rudy Galindo- Great talent, just alot of bad luck in his life and career. Won World Juniors in both singles and pairs, beating Eldredge for the singles title. His 96 level of skating shows he had all potential to be a top singles skater, and of course he showed the potential in pairs. Just alot of bad luck in his life which was no fault of his own kept him from fulfilling his full promise.
Tonya Harding- Probably the most talented skater on the entire list. The most talented athlete and jumper in U.S skating history. The skating World could have been her oyster from 1991-1994 had she stuck with her pre Nationals 91 training regime and commitment on a consistent basis rather than falling into a series of excuses and copouts. Even at the 91 Worlds where she won silver, it was widely reported she did not work as hard going into Worlds as she had Nationals, and that is probably why she did not duplicate her 91 Nationals performance at those Worlds (along with losing concentration after landing the triple axel). Figures and politics kept her from potentially doing great things from 1986-1989 as well.
Beautifully described, judgejudy27.
"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"
Recently, Kathy Hovencamp and Sarah Marshall got to talking about figure skating, and the Greats that time forgot. Kathy is a former competitive figure skater, Sarah is a repository of knowledge for all things skating-related, and together they've compiled a handy list of the most underrated skaters of the last 30 years. It’s the list you never knew you needed.
They came up with a Top Ten list that has nine U.S. entries and Surya Bonaly and somehow omits Tai Babilonia & Randy Gardner.
What's more, their editor (or someone) presumes to call this Top Ten the most underrated skaters of the past thirty years.
To call Tonya Harding, to cite just one name on the list, "underrated" demonstrates a complete lack of knowledge of just how highly some of these skaters (including pre-whack Harding) were and are still regarded at the time.
Browning would be my top pick, with Babilonia & Gardner second if we go back all the way to 1980. Denise Biellmann might be in my Top Ten as well if we went back to 1980.
If we go back no further than 1984, then my Top Ten would probably also include Denkova & Staviski, Kostner (who might still get one), and Delobel & Schoenfelder as well as several on the list.
Kathy Hovencamp and Sarah Marshall, if you are reading this: Shame on you!
I would add Todd Eldredge (4th at 1998 Oly) and Alexander Abt (5th ? at 2002 Oly) to this list. Also Takeshi Honda (4th at 2002 Oly), Shishkova-Naumov (4th at 1994 Oly), Maria Butyrskaya (98 & 2002 Oly)
Most names in the poll are American . I would have been OK with an all-American poll, but since Surya Bonaly is on it, it must be an international one.
Not on the list Denstas and Delshoes
Kurt Browning & Todd Eldredge should be on this list.
That list is as bizarre for who's on it as for who's not on it.
It's not a new article, and I remember that one of them explained in the comments that the list was really about underappreciated skaters, and that it's just a list of great but underrated skaters who didn't medal. Which still doesn't make much sense, because some of them were certainly appreciated as much as their talent and results merited.
But yes, Kurt Browning is really the obvious choice.
other examples from earlier eras with at least 1 World Title but no Olympic medal:
Emmerich Danzer - 3 World Titles, 4th at 1968 Olympics
Alexander Fadeev - 1 World title, 3 World Bronze, 4th at 1988 Olympics
Denise Biellmann - 1 World Title, 4th at 1980 Olympics
Radka Kovaříková / René Novotný - 1 World Title, 1 World Silver, 4th at 1992 Olympics
Sabine Baess / Tassilo Thierbach - 1 World Title, 2 World silvers, 2 World Bronzes, 4th at 1984 Olympics
Shae-Lynn Bourne / Victor Kraatz - 1 World Title, 1 World Silver, 4 World Bronzes - 4th at 1998 Olympics
Yuka Sato.. I keep wondering how she would have done under the new judging system, especially her skating skills.
Despite her lack of edging, Surya had enough jumps to win a medal at the 1994 Olys, if only she had landed all her jumps. However, it would have been tough to beat very good performances by the top 3 (esp. Kerrigan and Chen since they had the jumps and presentation)
Meno & Sand were definitely G&G wannabes, as you aptly put. They even said they took their inspiration from G&G (as I assume many pairs those days did). IMO they would have been better off being themselves rather than trying to build themselves into the G&G mold.
Chris Bowman- He had star quality and a great spring to his jumps. He was born too soon. Under COP he could have won an Olympic medal, even without the 3A. His artistry did not grow much because he was already at a very high level artistically. After the 1988 Olympics he was expected to be the next OGM contender. IMO personal problems destoyed his career.
Rudy Galindo- His career is a long list of 'What if's. What if his original pairs coach did not have a brain tumor? What if Kristi's singles coach had not gotten married and moved to Edmonton? What if Kristi had won at least a bronze medal at the 1990 worlds? It is to his credit that he did not give up and finally won the US nationals title and a world bronze. Considering what he had to deal with, this was a huge accomplishment. However, had he and Kristi pursued a pairs career, they could have eventually challenged the Russian pairs (definitely B&P, but even M&D since Y&G's jumps and throws were so strong) for an Olympic medal.
Last edited by Vash01; 03-25-2013 at 06:42 PM.