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. #21
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    I wonder what Ito would've done if there was an Olympiad in 1996. On the one hand, she did reinstate, but I always thought it was due to the fact that the Olympics were in Nagano in 1998. Without that and with Yuka Sato (supposedly) in the picture, what would she have done?

  2. #22
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    I always got the impression the JSF pushed her to comeback more than her ever wanting to. With Sato a contender they probably wouldnt have bothered her to return and she wouldnt have in the first place. Then if she did, well her comeback was pretty much a flop due to the pressure, so likely would have gone the same way.

  3. #23
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    As long as we're doing all these what ifs, Lu Chen wouldn't have competed in Lillehammer and likely would have spared her body a month, competed at 94 worlds, maybe won and gone into the 1996 Olympics as a two-time reigning world champion. That probably would have been more than enough to give her the clout to win if she'd competed her 96 worlds programs but at the Olympics instead. And I think Bobek would have stayed focused just 11 more months, stayed in shape, not toured in that dumb show, stayed healthy, continued the high jump difficulty and held off Kwan for the silver. I just don't see Sato as a factor. Her 94 worlds was a once in a lifetime performance. I'd say Baiul wouldn't have been a factor either but she also seems to surprise me.

  4. #24
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    US Nationals would've been interesting - Kerrigan and Yamaguchi no longer competing, and Ervin, regardless of when the Olympics were, would've retired in 1994 to attend Harvard. So, in my calculations, that would've left - Kwan, Bobek, Kwiatkowski, Lipinski and perhaps Harding. Would Lipinski as a 13 yr. old made the team in an Olympic year? Probably not. Knowing Harding, if she had continued, would've created a sideshow containing some sort of drama and the US judges would've reacted in disgust.

    I think that would've left a team of Kwan, Bobek, and Kwiatkowski.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by fenway2 View Post
    As long as we're doing all these what ifs, Lu Chen wouldn't have competed in Lillehammer and likely would have spared her body a month, competed at 94 worlds, maybe won and gone into the 1996 Olympics as a two-time reigning world champion.
    Chen wouldnt have won the 94 Worlds. Baiul would have been there, and Chen never beat Baiul around then, or even came close. I give Chen maybe like 3% chance to beat Baiul at the 94 Worlds. Sato on home ice skating as she did would also have been very hard for her to beat. Of course if Kerrigan did stay around (she probably wouldnt stay for the 96 Olympics but maybe for a couple more years) she likely beats Chen as well, as long as she doesnt have a disaester, and if she doesnt and Harding is U.S #1 and in decent shape she does instead.

    I dont think she would have even won the 95 Worlds TBH. If she did only 5 triples and 1 triple lutz, and given judging preference Baiul would have been put over her, even if Baiul did a Lillehammer like performance (5 triples with two 2 foots). Sato duplicating her pro level performances of that season would have beaten her as well.

    Probably the only event she might have won that quad is the 96 Olympics itself.

    BTW regarding Sato she only got better as a pro, so likely would have done so as an amateur from 94 onwards. Her spins, footwork, spirals, and basic skating are all much superior to Chen as well, and Chen was never a judges favorite and was arguably robbed many times in her career (93 Worlds, 94 Olympics, 96 Worlds, 92 Worlds).

  6. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by olympic View Post
    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.
    Chouinard actually did comeback and compete at the amateur level in 1996. She had a good Grand Prix season, but lost Nationals with a horrible one triple performance, to a very mediocre program by JSlo (Jennifer Robinson). That was likely the lowest point in her career, and Chouinard was not sent to Worlds (held in Canada).

    I think that was the reason Skate Canada changed the rules to not make Nationals the sole qualifier for Worlds/Olympics. This ultimately cost Sandhu the chance to compete in the 1998 Olympics, which was a huge blow for a 17-year-old headcase, and he has gone on record saying it had terrible impact on the rest of his career.

    Quote Originally Posted by olympic View Post
    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..
    Sato was amazing, but usually fell apart under pressure. Except for 94 Worlds, I don't recall her ever having two clean performances in a major amateur competition, so it would be difficult for her to get gold with the consistency of the other contenders. Having said that, I guess lightening could have struck twice...
    Last edited by aidan; 04-25-2013 at 05:53 PM.

  7. #27

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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.
    I have to agree with this. In 1996, Michelle had just learned to present herself as a 'lady'. Even though she won with Salome, she was not the best artist out there at that time; it was Chen Lu. Oksana was a natural artist, an extroverted and emotional artist, and she would have beaten Michelle artistically in 1996.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    I have to agree with this. In 1996, Michelle had just learned to present herself as a 'lady'. Even though she won with Salome, she was not the best artist out there at that time; it was Chen Lu. Oksana was a natural artist, an extroverted and emotional artist, and she would have beaten Michelle artistically in 1996.
    I agree Baiul would have had the highest artistic marks of the 96 field, as Chen was a stunning artist by then but never was a big judges favorite. Do you think she would have a strong enough jumper to win by then. I guess a good question is what she would have had to do to win. Would 5 triples and only 1 triple lutz have possibly been enough, or would she have needed 6 triples, a triple lutz-double toe combination, and a 2nd triple lutz. Was she capable of latter.

  9. #29
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    I really don't know how Baiul would have evolved artistically.
    Her LP from 1993-1994 was not good. Her SP in 1994 was fabulous. But as a professional, she didn't have that good programs and went back to her Swan.
    I don't think she was a hard worker enough (and artist) to create beautiful programs year after year.

  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    I agree Baiul would have had the highest artistic marks of the 96 field, as Chen was a stunning artist by then but never was a big judges favorite.
    At the 1994 Olympics, Chen was placed 4th in the short program despite a flawed lutz combination and running in to the boards. A skater who wasn't one of the favourite with the judges would have been dropped much farther down the standings.

    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    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.
    The major flaw in your logic is that you are assuming skaters don’t develop/change. Look at Kwan - she gave a technically brilliant performance at 1995 Worlds, but the judges kept her off the podium. The next year she changed significantly, and commanded the respect of the judges. This similar to what Lu Chen did, where she was technically strong in 1992/93, but really improved artistically in 1994-1996 and became a contender.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by aidan View Post
    At the 1994 Olympics, Chen was placed 4th in the short program despite a flawed lutz combination and running in to the boards. A skater who wasn't one of the favourite with the judges would have been dropped much farther down the standings.
    5th place was Tanja Szewcenko who only had a triple loop combo and skated like a little girl at that point. I wouldnt say this is a sign of being a judges favorite. Baiul's mistake was nearly as big and she was held up to 2nd. As I said to the judges Bauil >>>> Chen up to and including 94 anyway.



    This similar to what Lu Chen did, where she was technically strong in 1992/93, but really improved artistically in 1994-1996 and became a contender.
    1994 had already happened, as well as 93, and 92. Chen wasnt winning anything until 1995 atleast, that is already proven by what actually did happen. 3rd at the 92 Worlds, 3rd at the 93 Worlds, 3rd at the 94 Olympics, and needed others to mess up to even achieve those placings. Many thought she deserved atleast 2nd at each event but didnt get it. The 94 Worlds didnt happen for her but even if we assume her somehow skating it, if there is a 96 Olympics, we also assume Baiul and any other active participients skating it, and she doesnt win that either. So for her first possible major title to be the 95 Worlds (and even that is far from a safe bet assuming who all might have been there), she wasnt going to be the "star of the quad".

  12. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    1994 had already happened, as well as 93, and 92. Chen wasnt winning anything until 1995 atleast, that is already proven by what actually did happen.....So for her first possible major title to be the 95 Worlds (and even that is far from a safe bet assuming who all might have been there), she wasnt going to be the "star of the quad".
    So winning two World bronze medal and the gold medal in the Worlds preceding an Olympics doesn't qualify you as a "star of the quad". Hmmm, someone should really tell Yu-Na Kim that.

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by aidan View Post
    So winning two World bronze medal and the gold medal in the Worlds preceding an Olympics doesn't qualify you as a "star of the quad". Hmmm, someone should really tell Yu-Na Kim that.
    Yu Na had won the 2009 Worlds in almost historic dominant fashion, and won the last 3 GP finals, and in general except for being injured at the 08 Worlds had dominated the past 3 years preceding Vancouver. Sorry there is no comparision between the two situations and you know it. Baiul most likely would have had more combined success going into the Olympics than Chen, as she was the most likely winner of the 93 and 94 Worlds both. Anyway as I said it isnt even certain Chen would have won the 95 Worlds (which she barely won anyway) had there been a 96 Olympics and more hypothetical skaters been there. In general she was never seen as the star and one to beat, and anyone who followed skating closely at the time knows this. The judges were always wanting someone else (someone better in their eyes) to deliver and win. At the 95 Worlds they really wanted Bobek to win, but she couldnt skate well enough in her LP to justify it.
    Last edited by judgejudy27; 04-25-2013 at 07:40 PM.

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by briancoogaert View Post
    I really don't know how Baiul would have evolved artistically.
    Her LP from 1993-1994 was not good. Her SP in 1994 was fabulous. But as a professional, she didn't have that good programs and went back to her Swan.
    I don't think she was a hard worker enough (and artist) to create beautiful programs year after year.
    Can't believe I suckered myself into this thread :-D But....

    I always thought a possible indication would have been Baiul's Paquita program. It appeared structured like an amateur program, so she may have used this had she re-instated. Just throw in another triple jump or spin. Same wrist flicking and posing as her other programs as well.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3OubnJQdcY

    Also, remember that 4-5 triple jumps and "rough around the edges but decent skating" would have only earned 8-12 place. It was one of the most competitive and memorable nights of skating for me.

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    Yu Na had won the 2009 Worlds in almost historic dominant fashion, and won the last 3 GP finals, and in general except for being injured at the 08 Worlds had dominated the past 3 years preceding Vancouver. Sorry there is no comparision between the two situations and you know it. Baiul most likely would have had more combined success going into the Olympics than Chen, as she was the most likely winner of the 93 and 94 Worlds both. Anyway as I said it isnt even certain Chen would have won the 95 Worlds (which she barely won anyway) had there been a 96 Olympics and more hypothetical skaters been there. In general she was never seen as the star and one to beat, and anyone who followed skating closely at the time knows this. The judges were always wanting someone else (someone better in their eyes) to deliver and win. At the 95 Worlds they really wanted Bobek to win, but she couldnt skate well enough in her LP to justify it.
    While it is true Chen was never a huge fan of the judges, they were ready to give her the GPF win in the 95-96 season after the SP. She just uncharacteristically fell apart in the long. I think the judges were a big fan of hers that season, but Kwan was just hitting it out of the ball park each and every time she skated. Even there Kwan had some mistakes at the GPF and at nationals, but never totally fell apart that season. In any case Chen always scored very well for presentation by the start of the 94 season, so I don't think Baiul would have been an issue anymore at that point. Bobek was definitely a huge judges favorite, as they saw her having the complete package. Had she ever nailed a clean SP and LP in a competition (which she never did internationally) she would have won.
    Last edited by Lnt175; 04-26-2013 at 03:26 AM.

  16. #36
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    None because it didn't happen!

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    Chen wouldnt have won the 94 Worlds. Baiul would have been there, and Chen never beat Baiul around then, or even came close. I give Chen maybe like 3% chance to beat Baiul at the 94 Worlds,
    If Tanja Szewczenko and Surya Bonaly could beat Oksana Baiul in the same season that she won the Olympics, I say Chen Lu could have done the same at 94 Worlds with no Olympics.

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by duane View Post
    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.
    I agree. Baiul would have been paced/trained differently had there been an Olympics in '96. Kerrigan might not have stayed in-but she might have. Again, she would have been paced differently. Also, I don't know but I just feel Olympic gold was never going to happen for Michelle. It just wasn't in the cards for her. If Oksana didn't win possibly Chen would have taken it.

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    In general she was never seen as the star and one to beat, and anyone who followed skating closely at the time knows this. The judges were always wanting someone else (someone better in their eyes) to deliver and win. At the 95 Worlds they really wanted Bobek to win, but she couldnt skate well enough in her LP to justify it.
    Chen Lu is my favorite female skater to this day, but when it came to the judges, JJ hit the nail on the head (which is why I was often frustrated from 1994 - 1996...lol). The judges did typically mark her lower among the top favorites. Lulu won when the more favored skaters failed (like Bobek at 95 Worlds--a perfect example, because Lulu's artistry was STUNNING!). Among the top skaters, Lulu was the bridesmaid of the field in the judges' eyes. That's why I think it would have been nearly impossible for her to have won Olympic gold in 96.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sasha'sSpins View Post
    Also, I don't know but I just feel Olympic gold was never going to happen for Michelle. It just wasn't in the cards for her.
    Very interesting, and a great point! The cards had Michelle skate before Tara in 1998, and IMO the skating order ended up being very influential in the judging. The cards had Michelle have uncharacteristic mistakes in the LP in 2002. Then, after petitioning and being allowed on the team in 2006, she had to pull out due to injury. Yes, it seems just like for Kurt Browning, Olympic gold simply wasn't in the cards for Michelle.
    Last edited by duane; 04-26-2013 at 04:21 AM.

  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clay View Post
    Can't believe I suckered myself into this thread :-D But....

    I always thought a possible indication would have been Baiul's Paquita program. It appeared structured like an amateur program, so she may have used this had she re-instated. Just throw in another triple jump or spin. Same wrist flicking and posing as her other programs as well.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3OubnJQdcY

    Also, remember that 4-5 triple jumps and "rough around the edges but decent skating" would have only earned 8-12 place. It was one of the most competitive and memorable nights of skating for me.
    I agree, and I also think Baiul's "Duende de Amor" program from the '94 Ice Wars would have been outstanding as an SP. It had that SP feel to me anyway:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQSF0qU_tNo

    Her famous "Feeling Begins" program could have been tweaked into an amateur short program as well:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4W2u0CXryc

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