View Poll Results: Who would have won the 1996 Winter Olympic ladies gold

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  • Chen

    24 20.87%
  • Sato

    13 11.30%
  • Kerrigan

    2 1.74%
  • Yamaguchi (would have come back if she saw Ito also did)

    3 2.61%
  • Ito (if she still came back)

    2 1.74%
  • Harding

    1 0.87%
  • Bobek

    3 2.61%
  • Bonaly

    0 0%
  • Baiul

    7 6.09%
  • Kwan

    57 49.57%
  • Slutskaya

    2 1.74%
  • other (Szewcenko, Butyrskaya, etc...)

    1 0.87%
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  1. #1
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    Who would have won the 1996 Winter Olympics ladies gold

    Had there been an Olympics in 1996 it would have been one of the most intersting in history, but especialy in the ladies event. You could have had any combination of Kwan, Chen, Ito, Yamaguchi, Harding, Kerrigan, Bobek, Baiul, Sato, as possible contenders for the gold, and Szewcenko, Butyrskaya, Bonaly, as bit medal contenders as well. Who would have won a 1996 Olympics had it been held.

  2. #2
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    I think a fair amount of those names, like Kerrigan, would not have stayed in until 96. Some stayed only because it was a 2 year wait.

  3. #3
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    Kwan would have won with chen, slutskaya close 2nd 3rd

    Michelle was on fire that year winning gp events gp final, national worlds
    Michelle in pro am and beat some of the skaters,listed,Bauil, Sato, Kristi, Ito.

    Bobek probably wouldnt have done the show/tour . She probably would have made team
    Last edited by query5; 04-22-2013 at 11:33 PM. Reason: Too wordy

  4. #4
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    either kwan or chen

    that was chen's best program of her career

  5. #5
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    The judges spoke when they had to choose between Michelle and Lu at Worlds.

    Michelle would have won a '96 Olympics. Lu for Silver and Oksana for Bronze.

  6. #6
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    Chen. All the variables seem to give her a bit of an edge.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Proustable View Post
    Chen. All the variables seem to give her a bit of an edge.
    What variables? Is being the loser to Kwan at 1996 worlds a variable in her favor somehow?

  8. #8
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    This thread has existed before and its hard to quantify - too many variables.

    But, you would have to somehow measure those who were tops in 1996 (Kwan, Chen, Slutskaya, Butyrskaya, Bonaly, Szewczenko) against those who may have decided to stay longer:

    Kerrigan (no) - It was a push to get her to stick around until 1994. So, I'm thinking it would've been way too much for the USFSA to expect her to compete until 1996. The USFSA isn't the Chinese Fed., after all ...
    Baiul (maybe) - Leaning toward yes, though. She only really began her elite career in 1993, so her coaching staff would've probably tapered her for a 1996 Olympic competition. Then again, I put 'maybe' because I believe she dealt with growth spurts and injury issues (even just skating on the pro circuit) after Lillehamer. Pushing herself in those years to keep up with gals starting to do 7 triples could have been her undoing and she may not have made it.
    Sato (yes) - I think she was doing quite well (technically) on the pro circuit after Lillehamer and she probably would've had the goods to compete until 1996. Winning 1994 Worlds showed she had 'gas in the tank' after Lillehamer.
    Chouinard (yes) - I think she only debuted at the elite level in the 1990- 91 season, so I'm sure she would've wanted to push for 1996. I think she also did well on the pro circuit like Sato. Now, she was a renowned head case competitively, so how she would've stacked up in those years when 7 triple programs became necessary is anyone's guess.
    Harding (maybe) - There may have been no 'whack heard 'round the world' in the run-up to 1994. So, she would've been free and clear to compete until 1996, and may have seen a chance for herself to be #1 US lady with the retirement of Kerrigan and of course, no Yamaguchi. The rest of the US ladies from her era had disappeared as well. But, it's not like the USFSA liked her, she was 2 years older, and her motivation and training habits were quite bad.
    Witt (yes) - She would've mattered even less than in 1994, but I think she was just skating for herself and would've tried to make it. I think Germany had a 2nd spot for 1996?

  9. #9
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    I think Oksana, who was always a fierce competitor. And, she would have had the edge in the presentation marks over both Michelle and Lu (not saying I necessarily agree, but think she would have in the judges' eyes). She did have the growth spurt, but I think she would have dealt with it mostly during 95 and been ready by 1996. She had injury issues on the pro circuit, but I think she was enjoying the good life after winning gold in 1994, and I suspect wasn't training anywhere near what was needed to stay ahead in the game.

  10. #10
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    Even with the best presentation marks Baiul would have had to do 6 triples, a triple-double combination, and a 2nd triple lutz to have any hope of winning. I have my doubts on her ever doing that type of content cleanly, especialy as in hindsight it seems her jumping peak was actually 93-94 when she was struggling to do clean 5 triple programs with no combinations, as with injuries and her growth spurt her jumping just went downhill from there.

    I really dont know who would have won the 96 gold. I honestly cant see 15 year old Kwan being allowed to win the Olympic Gold in a field with more veteran skaters in it. However I cant really see Baiul wining it for the reason(s) stated above. Chen was always below Baiul when they skated, and was put below Kwan when many thought she should have won in 96, and was never a judges favorite (although they did give her a goodbye gift in Nagano). I actually think if Sato skated at the level of her pro competitions that season she would have had a good shot of winning, especialy if she built on her World title victory in 94. In any case the judges would have given it to an established skater, not someone like Kwan who would have likely been coming from 8th or 9th in the World in 95 in this new scenario, if she was even at the 95 Worlds to begin with depending which U.S skaters were still around.

    I dont see Yamaguchi returning, if she didnt in 94 when she could have won the gold with ridiculous ease why would she ever do it in 96. Obviously the lure of another Oly Gold didnt appeal to her by then, she was happy in her pro life. Ito might have still returned but was clearly past the mindset for amateur competition by then so it wouldnt matter. I dont see Kerrigan staying in, but I could be wrong. I could actually see Harding staying in but god knows how she would have been skating.

    Bobek probably would have taken 96 alot more seriously if it were an Olympic year, if she was still coming off her successful 95 year. Whether that would have allowed her to fix her flutz and further perfect her jump technique and stamina is hard to say though. The 95 Worlds show she is clearly more of a judges favorite than Chen as well tough, as Chen was never winning those Worlds without Bobek's 2 falls.

  11. #11

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    Kwan. She was the dominant skater at the time. Chen would have been her biggest rival, if the infighting with her coach hadnt started by then.

    I doubt Kristi would have come back just because Midori did. I think she had done what she wanted as an amateur, and moved on with her life. If the allure of a second Gold medal couldnt bring her back, nothing else could.

  12. #12
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    I think Chen would've won, because she would've been the star of that quad (92-96) but Kwan definitely still could've taken the title. If an Olympics existed in Canada (as worlds did that year) and no Chinese judge Kwan might still have the egde. I don't think anyone else was really coming close. Bobek only if she got her act together which was rare, unlike Kwan and Chen who almost always brought their A game at big competitions. Sato had incredible skating skills but had consistency issues on doing 6 or 7 triple programs as it started becoming the norm by then. Its alot of the reasons why she lost alot of competitions to Chen between 92-94.
    Last edited by Lnt175; 04-24-2013 at 02:48 AM.

  13. #13
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    LOL why assume Chen would have been "the star" of the 92-96 quad. Nothing that actually happened suggests this. 1993 and 1994 did happen and she could never rise above 3rd place. It would have been easy to make her the heir apparent to Yamaguchi, she came onto the scene doing 6 triple programs, 2 triple lutzes, great choreography and style for a young skater, did one of the only clean LPs of the Albertville Olympics, most thought deserved silver at the 92 Worlds. Yet she barely won bronze at the 92 Worlds, placing 4th in the LP, and originally was 5th in the LP but only an ordinal flip pushed above a poor Chouinard in the LP and past a sloppy 2 fall Hubert overall (Hubert still was 3rd in the LP but had been 5th in the SP to Chen's 2nd). At the 93 Worlds she again barely won bronze, being 5th with a clean SP, and rising to bronze after Kerrigan and Chouinard fell apart. At the 95 Worlds she won after short program leader who had all but been given the title at that point, Nicole Bobek, fell apart, and after 2nd place Markova also had problems, and even then Bonaly, Kwan, and 2 fall Bobek all had some 1st place votes in the LP. She didnt win any significant event the whole 95-96 season as reigning World Champion, including her Worlds defeat where she skated beautifully. So as it was she was far from the runaway start of 92-96 yet with probably more people added she was going to be it? I dont think so. The judges never really saw her as the top dog ever, she certainly wasnt ever the star per say.

    That said if you feel she would have won the 96 Olympics that is fine, it isnt totally unreasonable, especialy as I mentioned I for one have a hard time seeing the judges have 15 year old Kwan winning the Oly Gold, but she was never going to be the star of the quad. If she won it would have been a quiet Shizuka like win situation, and mostly based on the people the judges would have rather won (Baiul, Bobek, some other American skater, etc....) not skating well enough to do it and the judges having no choice.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    Even with the best presentation marks Baiul would have had to do 6 triples, a triple-double combination, and a 2nd triple lutz to have any hope of winning.
    I don't think so. Other than Michelle and Surya, hardly any other skaters consistently landed 6 triples in a program--which is why 5-triple programs were winning a lot from 93-95. I do think Oksana--knowing the edge she had in presentation--probably would have added a 2nd triple (perhaps just a 2nd 3t in combo) for good measure. But I can still see her winning with 5 triples--depending on how the judges would have marked Michelle's presentation versus Oksana's.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by duane View Post
    I don't think so. Other than Michelle and Surya, hardly any other skaters consistently landed 6 triples in a program--which is why 5-triple programs were winning a lot from 93-95. I do think Oksana--knowing the edge she had in presentation--probably would have added a 2nd triple (perhaps just a 2nd 3t in combo) for good measure. But I can still see her winning with 5 triples--depending on how the judges would have marked Michelle's presentation versus Oksana's.
    Fair enough. I dont think she could have won with a performance like her 94 Olympic one, with only 3 clean triples though. She probably would have won the 95 Worlds with something like that (by reputation alone) but not the 96 Olympics.

  16. #16
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    I think Germany had a 2nd spot for 1996?
    Germany actually only had 1 Worlds spot in 1996 as Tanja Szewczenko withdrew after the SP at 1995 Worlds and Marina Kielmann and Simone Lang didn't place top 10.

    Chouinard (yes) - I think she only debuted at the elite level in the 1990- 91 season, so I'm sure she would've wanted to push for 1996. I think she also did well on the pro circuit like Sato. Now, she was a renowned head case competitively, so how she would've stacked up in those years when 7 triple programs became necessary is anyone's guess.
    At the very worst, Josee could have helped Canada retain 2 spots for Worlds/Olympic teams.

  17. #17
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    Michelle kwan because she would have stayed junior one more year.
    She would have won the 1993junoir natl title, which would have pleased both Frank and the USFSA.
    She still would have won 1994 junior worlds,vwould have been pushed as,rising , emergying star just for olympics
    with irina.
    Michelle and Irina would been next it skaters taking on
    Lu chen, oskana, yuka to a point.

  18. #18
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    Michelle kwan because she would have stayed junior one more year.
    She would have won the 1993junoir natl title, which would have pleased both Frank and the USFSA.
    She still would have won 1994 junior worlds,vwould have been pushed as,rising , emergying star just for olympics
    with irina.
    Michelle and Irina would been next it skaters taking on
    Lu chen, oskana, yuka to a point.
    Last edited by query5; 04-24-2013 at 09:09 PM. Reason: Delete double post

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheIronLady View Post
    What variables? Is being the loser to Kwan at 1996 worlds a variable in her favor somehow?
    That not much changes for Chen whereas Kwan would likely feel less pressure to jump to seniors (against the will of her coach), Kerrigan might exist as the US number one longer, Harding might haven't made that decision that affected her reputation, etc. Essentially, my belief is that a 1996 Olympics affects Kwan more because there are a lot more hypothetical possibilities that change the route of her career than that of Chen.

    So no, being the loser to Kwan at 1996 is not a variable in her favor somehow.

  20. #20
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    Kerrigan said in numerous interviews she never would have stayed for a 96 Olympics. She only stayed in such it was 2 more years, and even that was a push and likely required some USFSA prodding to do so. She never really loved to compete like many of the others so that is hardly a surprise. Once she turned pro she basically treated the pro competitions like a joke, so obviously was happy to be done with competition as quickly as possible. People need to stop factoring her into the whole equation, she had no interest whatsoever of trying for a 96 Olympics.

    Yamaguchi likewise shouldnt even be considered since she had 2 clear opportunities to reinstate- 1994 and 1996, and the former she would have had a cakewalk to the gold (most likely) and didnt use either of them. She too had no interest skating amateur at that point, had she not won in Albertville it probably would have been a whole different story, but once she got that she was more than happy to abort amateur skating and settle into pro skating full time, as much as many others seemingly wanted her stay in or return to amateur given her level of skating still in the pro ranks.

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