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  1. #1
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    Better with Age: Ladies

    Four of the last five Olympic champions have been under 20 in ladies. This is nothing new. Last century Sonja Henie won the first of her ten world titles at age 14. Toward the end of her career, she faced challenges from Cecilia Colledge who was 16 when Sonja retired.

    The last 15 years have if anything seen more top ladies competing longer into their twenties. Some have done it successfully: Butyrskaya, Slutskaya, Kwan, etc. Butyrskaya was not even worth noticing until she was over 20. Teenage Arakawa deserved 13th at the 1998 Olympics. She was more deserving of the 22nd she got at 1998 Worlds. Eight years later at 25 she claimed the Olympic crown and was a more refined and technically secure competitor than at 18.

    Which ladies have improved after reaching age 20 in these three categories?

    • Competitive results (define this as you think appropriate)
    • Technical content (quality and/or difficulty)
    • Interpretation
    Last edited by TheIronLady; 06-01-2013 at 08:29 PM.

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    Kostner and Suzuki

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    Yeah Kostner and Suzuki are the first that come to mind

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    Korpi too. Her skating skills have improved a lot. Very admirable.

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    In addition to Kostner/Suzuki/Korpi, I'd add Joannie Rochette as well, and to a lesser extent, Valentina Marchei.

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    Tatiana Malinina came 4th at the 1999 Worlds at age 26, so there's one. I'm not sure if Ashley Wagner is old enough to be included, but she is in her 20s.

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    I think Korpii improved her level of fitness as she got older. It seems to be what most of the longer lasting women have done.

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    Others . . .

    Nancy Kerrigan's best results definitely came in her 20s. Her first World medal, the bronze in 1991, came at the age of 21. She was an Olympic bronze and World silver medalist at the age of 22, National Champion (her only one) at the age of 23, and Olympic silver medalist at the age of 24.

    Yuka Sato won her World title in 1994 at the age of 21.

    Fumie Suguri's breakthrough came in 2002, the season she was 5th at the Olympics and 3rd at Worlds, at the age of 21.

    Alissa Czisny's best season of her career was 2011 at the age of 23.

    Ashley Wagner came into her own at the age of 20 in the 2012 season. Her twenty something results and skating definitely outshine what she did as a teenager.
    Last edited by museksk8r; 06-01-2013 at 03:17 PM.

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    Kira Ivanova's competitive results are another example of improvement with age, though it's obvious that being kept at home for two years prevented her from building a better competitive record as a teenager. Given her record from 1984 on (Olympic bronze, World silver, several European medals, finishing first in compulsory figures at Calgary), she would have to have beaten Kristofics-Binder, Zayak, or Witt at one or more major events before 1/10/83 to better her later achievements as a twentysomething.
    I can call the moon a pear, but it doesn't make it so. -- kwanfan1818

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    Julia Sebeysten/Hungary. Her personal best score for the short program was at Europeans in 2005, and her personal best for the long program was at 2005 Worlds. She would have been 24. She won Spin Zagreb in 2008 at 27.

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    Maria Butyrskaya

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    Quote Originally Posted by aliceanne View Post
    Julia Sebeysten/Hungary. Her personal best score for the short program was at Europeans in 2005, and her personal best for the long program was at 2005 Worlds. She would have been 24. She won Spin Zagreb in 2008 at 27.
    Her PBs are from those ages because the IJS wasn't in full use earlier; I imagine if 2004 Euros had used IJS rather than 6.0, that might be her PB. But certainly she had some good performances well into her 20s - she medalled at Skate America in her final season, at age 28.

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    Tonia Kwiatkowski- She could have been U.S Champion in 1993 and 1994 had she hit her 1995 and 1996 level then. She peaked from 25-27, still a bit too early for the 98 Games unfortunately.

    Tatianina Malinina- She won the Grand Prix final at like 27, and that was her peak. She also became a consistent competitor at Worlds at that point which she hadnt been before.

    Marina Kiellmann- She seemed to gradually get better with age, medalling more and more at Europeans well into her 20s, nearly winning Europeans in 1992 and 1993, nearly medals at Worlds in 1994.

    Natalia Lebedeva- She was 5th twice at Worlds around 25, and nearly won Europeans in 1990. Was robbed of World bronze in her last one by Holly Book a terrible U.S skater.

    Shizuka and Butyrskaya are the best two examples by far but they were already mentioned. The thread starter already got the best two by far off the bat which made it tough for the others in thread to come.

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    Irina Slutskaya could even be considered. She was a teen phenom and big rival of Kwan at 17, and was expected to be Kwans biggest threat for the 97 Worlds and 98 Olympics titles. Then she slumped and declined and got bypassed by Tara, and kept going down until she missed Russias World teams with 4th twice at her Nationals, and was falling below younger Soldatova, Sokolova, and Volchkhova. Then she had a big resurgence and became a big gold contender she was supposed to be on the verge of turning into years earlier at age 21 and staying on top a few years. Then after years of illness hitting a new and even higher peak at 26 and 27 under a new code, before retiring.

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    Yukari Nakano made her first World team and first GPF at 20; she also won her second ISU senior medal (4CCs silver) at the same age. She followed that up with another 5th place finish at Worlds and 4th in Gothenburg. Her spins and overall presentation only improved with time.
    I can call the moon a pear, but it doesn't make it so. -- kwanfan1818

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    Quote Originally Posted by kuzytalent View Post
    Shizuka and Butyrskaya are the best two examples by far but they were already mentioned. The thread starter already got the best two by far off the bat which made it tough for the others in thread to come.
    I don't think they are better examples by far over 26 year old Carolina Kostner, who has not finished off the podium for the past three seasons (winning Worlds and twice winning Euros while she was at it), or Akiko Suzuki, whose breakthrough came around the age of 23-24 and who has been at her best in the past couple of years - and she's 28 now.

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    Oh I forgot Suzuki. How could I forget her, she is an amazing story. Then again her success relative to herself was really late, but it was never that much success, but I guess the same is true of Kwiatkowski and Malinina who I also mentioned. Love Akiko too, her undercoring makes me cry sometimes.

    Carolina Kostner isnt too great an example for me. Yes she got more consistent in her old age but she has been a contender and winning world medals and European medals/golds since she was a teenager so it is more a case of super longevity lasting into old age than peaking in old age. I mean maybe she is a bit better now since she is more consistent than before, but other than that her skating isnt that different for me anyway.

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