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  1. #1
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    Rosalynn Sumners- what do you think of her

    What are some of the opinions of skating fans who were around in the 80s of Rosalynn Sumners. Looking back at various tapes of her amateur career I found her very nice and artistic, but kind of boring and rehearsed, none of the magic of Janet Lynn, or charisma and character on ice of Katarina Witt. She also wasnt that strong a jumper for her time, she barely eked out the triples she did manage it seemed, had lesser content, and was quite inconsistent. Sometimes I found her overmarked, although overall she did deserve all her big achievements- 3 U.S titles, 84 Olympic Silver, 83 World Gold, considering all facets (figures, etc...). It seems Peggy Fleming really liked her. It seems she hit her peak in 83, and in 83-84 most of her competitions were fairly mediocre, losing to Dubrovcic in one event, losing the short and long programs of Nationals to Tiffany Chin, so in retrospect her not skating that well at the Games and losing the Oly Gold shouldnt have been a surprise even though the U.S media seemed to tout her as the favorite.

    As a pro skater I enjoyed her more but it seems contrary to her amateur career where the judges loved her and wanted to give her the results and marks (it seems the judges badly wanted to give her the 84 Olympic Gold, but she just made so many mistakes she made it impossible, and they still so nearly did), in pro competitions the judges were quite lukewarm and almost hard on her. I suspect some of that was political, she failed to get the Olympic Gold and Dorothy Hamill who of course did win the Olympic Gold and become a household name was easily winning every pro event over people like Fratianne, Sumners, Zayak, who all failed to achieve it. Granted I think Hamill is by far the best skater of that group but by then she was alot older, and she usually had by far the easiest content and still won each time. Probably being the only one of that bunch to get the Oly Gold meant she was ensured to win each pro competition before it began, LOL! Thomas also didnt win the Oly Gold and did fabulously and easily beat Sumners when they met at pro events, but in her case I think she was a bigger name and star even without the gold, than Sumners ever became without it.

    One thing I always found strange about her was how she had horrible figures results the first few seasons of her amateur Senior career, but then dominated compulsory figures her last 2 seasons. Never saw such a major and lightning fast switch before.

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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    What are some of the opinions of skating fans who were around in the 80s of Rosalynn Sumners. Looking back at various tapes of her amateur career I found her very nice and artistic, but kind of boring and rehearsed, none of the magic of Janet Lynn, or charisma and character on ice of Katarina Witt. She also wasnt that strong a jumper for her time, she barely eked out the triples she did manage it seemed, had lesser content, and was quite inconsistent. Sometimes I found her overmarked, although overall she did deserve all her big achievements- 3 U.S titles, 84 Olympic Silver, 83 World Gold, considering all facets (figures, etc...). It seems Peggy Fleming really liked her. It seems she hit her peak in 83, and in 83-84 most of her competitions were fairly mediocre, losing to Dubrovcic in one event, losing the short and long programs of Nationals to Tiffany Chin, so in retrospect her not skating that well at the Games and losing the Oly Gold shouldnt have been a surprise even though the U.S media seemed to tout her as the favorite.

    As a pro skater I enjoyed her more but it seems contrary to her amateur career where the judges loved her and wanted to give her the results and marks (it seems the judges badly wanted to give her the 84 Olympic Gold, but she just made so many mistakes she made it impossible, and they still so nearly did), in pro competitions the judges were quite lukewarm and almost hard on her. I suspect some of that was political, she failed to get the Olympic Gold and Dorothy Hamill who of course did win the Olympic Gold and become a household name was easily winning every pro event over people like Fratianne, Sumners, Zayak, who all failed to achieve it. Granted I think Hamill is by far the best skater of that group but by then she was alot older, and she usually had by far the easiest content and still won each time. Probably being the only one of that bunch to get the Oly Gold meant she was ensured to win each pro competition before it began, LOL! Thomas also didnt win the Oly Gold and did fabulously and easily beat Sumners when they met at pro events, but in her case I think she was a bigger name and star even without the gold, than Sumners ever became without it.

    One thing I always found strange about her was how she had horrible figures results the first few seasons of her amateur Senior career, but then dominated compulsory figures her last 2 seasons. Never saw such a major and lightning fast switch before.
    I think she was a skater who did the best she could with what she had. She reminds me of Linda Fratianne, petite, feminine, and competent but nothing special (sorry Frank). From what I've read she had a reputation for having a good work ethic on the Stars tour, but again she never pushed herself or did anything special. She worked with Robin Cousins quite a bit and apparently even he couldn't punch up her skating. Ironically she hated the Disney tour and that seems what she would be best suited for, a Disney princess.

    She is discussed quite a bit in the Elaine Zayak interview. Elaine felt that she was the better freeskater and that the judges used figures to hold her down and raise Roslynn up. Elaine questioned why she dropped from her usual 7th/8th position in figures to 13th at the '84 Olympics and Roslynn moved up in figures so suddenly (Elaine did say that although they were intense rivals at one time, they are friendly when they run into each other at events now).

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    Roz had a great 2Axels - aggressive attack on the step into the jump and light landings. I thought she was very good in 83 at Nationals and World wasn't too bad either.

    As a pro, Roz was sometimes undermarked. I saw her "Walk Like An Egyptian" number at World Pro live, and she electrified the crowd that night. Even with one mistake on the loop she should've won the artistic program. My other favorite pro program of hers was "White Christmas". This was also at World Pro in Landover, and there was an actual blizzard going on that night in the D.C.-Maryland-NoVa area. Outside of those two, I can't say that I liked any of Roz other pro programs.

    What hurt Roz the most in popularity was that she sometimes come across as stuck-up, for lack of a better word, in interviews. I can still recall the CBS interview where she said that she chose not to attend 84 Worlds because winning one more championship wasn't going to increase her marketability. That left a bad taste to many fans and probably the USFSA also. I guess she was the pre-Nancy Kerrigan with the foot-in-the-mouth syndrome, LOL. Roz also made a displeasure face when receiving low technical marks at the pro competitions, but what did she expect when she was only doing 2A against the other ladies that were doing 3t and 3s?

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    I've always thought it outrageous how close she came to winning the OGM considering what she actually did. She was neat with nice line but really what else is there? Her programs were artistry by numbers and I would far rather watch Zayak for the honesty of her skating. I always found Sumners skating so contrived, like the result of really hard work rather than oodles of natural talent.The triples she did were always very swingy and pretty much always UR. Even her double axel would struggle to get full credit under IJS sometimes. IMO Zayak, Witt & Chin were infinitely superior skaters at the time.

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    floskate,

    Entire post:

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    Quote Originally Posted by floskate View Post
    I've always thought it outrageous how close she came to winning the OGM considering what she actually did.
    I can see how it was close. IMO looking at the skates again both she and Witt popped some things and were mutually mostly quite average that night. It was basically choosing the slightly better blah performance to crown as the OGM. Witt did 1 more triple but Sumners had better artistry and a better choreopraphed program than Witt did at the time. Even had Sumners won I dont think many would have complained, Witt herself wasnt good enough that night to cause that. I am glad Witt won though as she is a way bigger star and it was a better result for the sport in general, and since Sumners and her sore attitude I often find offensive.

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    I liked Rosalynn more when she became a professional skater performing in events and SOI. She became more relaxed, and her artistry improved quite a bit. I especially loved her final performance with SOI, After All These Years.
    Angie
    “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” ~ Thomas A. Edison

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    Quote Originally Posted by skatesindreams View Post
    floskate,

    Entire post:
    Ditto. I always thought Roz's spinning was extremely weak. The only spin of hers that I ever liked was her forward outside camel. I couldn't believe she won 1982 Nationals. Roz had 1 triple salchow with a swingy landing, and her spins were awful - slow with dreadful positions. Gah, her layback was fugly. IMHO, Elaine was superior even with her 2 falls and 1 stepout. She attempted much more difficult content and the 3 triples she landed cleanly were beautiful. Elaine's layback position was far superior to Roz's.

    Sumners 1982 US Nationals LP

    I think what helped clinch Witt's victory over Sumners at the 1984 Olympics was that beautiful 2lutz -3 toe combo, a very difficult combo at the time. Roz did not attempt anything nearly as difficult.
    Last edited by pollyanna; 04-11-2013 at 07:48 PM.

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    Forget the triples count and the layback position. Roz's presentation and musical interpretation were much better than Elaine's. Where Roz was light and effervescent, Elaine was lumbering and ponderous (mainly in the 83 and 84 season).

    No, Roz did not have a lutz-3toe, but the split-3toe she did towards the end of her nationals 84 LP was very good. And the inside edge Ina-Bauer into the 2axel she did in 83 was toe die for. Roz was way better than Fratianne.

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    Roz benefited from Elaine becoming inconsistent after her win at Worlds, helped by the Zayak rule. I thought Roz was a lovely skater, but I have to admit I have never cared for her personality. Her "whininess," for lack of a better term really came out in the "Fire on Ice" documentary, including her insinuations that her coach was less than supportive at the Olympics. This was filmed around the year 2000, start at about 4:52:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0_iCNHIk7k
    "Once you've skated together long enough, and you're really good friends, you can close your eyes, put your hand out and she's right there." Joe Dolkiewicz, 2011 US Novice Pairs Bronze Medalist

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    She was a lovely skater who wimped out when it counted. Personally, I found Tiffany Chin to be far superior in terms of jump technique, musicality, and overall program components.

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    I don't have the 1980s perspective of seeing how Rosalyn Sumners compared to the standards and expectations of that time period (seeing how skating evolved first-hand), but I really do think she was beautiful to watch. After hearing such negative things about her in comparison to Chin and Zayak (who I adore), I was taken aback at how much I truly enjoyed watching her 1984 Olympics performances.

    Sure, it may have looked rehearsed or contrived, but I appreciate the beauty she put out there.
    Last edited by VIETgrlTerifa; 04-11-2013 at 10:55 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VIETgrlTerifa View Post
    Sure, it may have looked rehearsed or contrived, but I appreciate the beauty she put out there.
    I feel the same way about her skating.
    Last edited by falling_dance; 04-12-2013 at 02:20 AM.

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    I saw Sumners many times in pro competitions on TV and considered her my 'bathroom break' skater. One season she did commentary on an eligible competition and was so snarky and negative that I was shocked. She accused Michelle Kwan of 'phoning it in' and suggested that Michelle would be dethroned at Nationals with the way she was skating (of course Sumners was dead wrong). That was her first and I think last job as a commentator.

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    Yeah, Roz was certainly...bitter about things. I was watching the Nagano fluff pieces on youtube and she was interviewing, I believe Jean Senft, about how judges score the short programs. After Senft articulately explained how it worked, Sumners began to talk about how the judges nailed her for her "small" mistake in the 1984 SP. Senft seemed taken aback and said that she didn't know how Roz skated, but if she made the mistake she said she made then she would have deducted in the way the rules dictated. However, Senft also mentioned that the rules regarding SP deductions were also different in the 1980s as well and maybe a bigger deduction was appropriate for that type of error. However, I think Roz either misremembered or lied about her mistake because it was a bigger mistake than what Sumners said.

    Anyway, I hope Sumners has gotten better emotionally.

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    Quote Originally Posted by euterpe View Post
    I saw Sumners many times in pro competitions on TV and considered her my 'bathroom break' skater. One season she did commentary on an eligible competition and was so snarky and negative that I was shocked. She accused Michelle Kwan of 'phoning it in' and suggested that Michelle would be dethroned at Nationals with the way she was skating (of course Sumners was dead wrong). That was her first and I think last job as a commentator.
    I'm pretty sure that Sumners was a commentator on the 1998 Goodwill Games and the 2000 Masters of Figure Skating. I want to say that she shared the commentators' booth with Hamill and Carruthers during the 1997-1998 Grand Prix Final, but I could be wrong.

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    1982 US Nationals was a splatfest, so I can't see who else should have won overall - it would have been weird if someone like Vikki de Vries would win without winning any segment

    Roz Sumners also was the colour commentator for events such as the 1996 World Pros in Landover

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    IDK. Never warmed to her and it could be because of the reasons mentioned above. Good post, floskate!

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    Sumners also commented for TBS/TNT during the '94 Olympics (and I believe '98 as well). She had some pretty snarky things to say about Tonya. If she had said them in private, that would've been okay, but to say them on the air was very unprofessional. (Incidentally, I've heard that Peggy says some pretty vulgar things when the camera is off, but at least she knows the remarks are not appropriate. ) I also didn't like the way Ros never tried a triple jump in the in the pro competitions in the mid- to late '90s, but then whined whenever her marks were so low. I wasn't thrilled with her exhibitionistic tendencies either. OTOH, she did have a lot of variety in her programs, and seemed to have pretty good taste in music, unlike a lot of other skaters. So, she actually did a decent job of bringing a well-rounded package to the ice. Concerning her amateur career, it's hard not to wonder about the sudden "inflation" in the scoring of her compulsories.

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    I can see why figures were such a sore point with so many skaters who didn't medal. Let's say you have six skaters and their figures competency is similiar. How you rank them makes the difference in making the podium or winning the gold, and you do have to rank them, you can't give them all the same placement. Unless someone makes an obvious mistake (Janet Lynn said she made a "fish" on a loop) or someone is so obviously superior like Schuba (her tracings were reputed to be much bigger than everyone else's and so accurate that the 3 tracings looked like one) there was a lot of opportunity for politicking without even overtly cheating. The figures competition always came first, so once the judges had given you a low ranking there, there was no way they could save you even if you had the freeskate of the century. I suspect a lot of times their rankings were based on whom they thought would have the best freeskate as well as politics.

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