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  1. #1
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    Who is the better skater: Kwan or Cohen?

    This doesn't mean who is the better competitor - we all know the answer to that question.

    Is Michelle Kwan or Sasha Cohen a stronger skater overall - taking into account both technical and artistic standpoints?

    My thoughts:

    Jumps
    Michelle has better jump technique than Sasha, though Sasha has bigger jumps. Sasha has attempted more difficult 3-3s (such as 3lutz-3toe and 3flip-3toe) but is generally not successful at them. I don't remember her landing a 3-3 in a competition - can someone correct me if I'm wrong. Michelle mainly just performs the 3toe-3toe, and has landed it successfully many times in competition.

    Spins, spirals
    Sasha has a slight edge here - her spins show more flexibility and she definitely has a better layback. Her spirals have more stretch, but Michelle did have the iconic COE spiral. Both are strong in footwork, but in different ways.

    Artistry, presentation
    They have very different styles, so this is subjective. However, both are exceptional artists. In my opinion, Sasha has stronger SPs - I don't see a lot of Michelle's SPs beating a clean Malaguena or Dark Eyes. However, Michelle has had several terrific LPs (Lyra Angelica and SOTBS in particular). In my opinion, Lyra Angelica trumps any other top lady's program artistically in the past two decades.

    What are your thoughts?

  2. #2
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    I dont agree at all Sasha has bigger jumps. Compared to other top ladies she has smallish jumps. Michelle doesnt have the biggest jumps, but bigger than Sasha.

    I would say Michelle has much stronger jumps, stronger footwork, much better basic skating, skates with more speed and power. I would say Sasha has much better spins and more flexability. In all other areas they are roughly equal, but Michelle skates with more passion too I think. So I would say Michelle.

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    I can think of like 7 of Kwan's SPs that are better than Sasha's Dark Eyes and Malaguena if skated up to Kwan's level.

    Also, I think Kwan's jumps under Arutunian were probably bigger than Sasha's.

    Let's not forget about skating skills. Kwan trumps Sasha in that area as well.

    Spins, Sasha is better. There's no denying that, although I do think Kwan probably had the best classic sit spin position of the top ladies in the 2000s.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VIETgrlTerifa View Post
    ...

    Also, I think Kwan's jumps under Arutunian were probably bigger than Sasha's.

    Let's not forget about skating skills. Kwan trumps Sasha in that area as well.

    Spins, Sasha is better. There's no denying that, although I do think Kwan probably had the best classic sit spin position of the top ladies in the 2000s.
    This. I love both ladies, but Kwan definitely wins this one for me for the reasons you have mentioned.

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    Kwan was better. Sasha had some superior elements, although overall Kwan wins. I do prefer Sasha's style personally though.

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    Cohen has better spins and flexibility. That's all. Kwan by a mile.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shady82 View Post
    Sasha has attempted more difficult 3-3s (such as 3lutz-3toe and 3flip-3toe) but is generally not successful at them.
    Michelle attempted a 3Z-3R at 2001 Skate Canada so this isn't correct either. That's generally considered harder than either 3-3 you listed for Sasha.

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    Michelle is a skater. Sasha is a gymnast.
    Sasha has some amazing quality, but not skating quality. I think she is so overrated as a skater, her glide, edges, speed are not the best.

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    Sasha had lovely lines, extension and flexibility. She had lovely spins and a beautiful presence on the ice.

    In short, she was beautiful to watch.

    In terms of the better skater, obviously Michelle. That's a no brainer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VIETgrlTerifa View Post
    I can think of like 7 of Kwan's SPs that are better than Sasha's Dark Eyes and Malaguena if skated up to Kwan's level.
    I think Sasha`s short program from the 04 Worlds was nearly unbeatable under 6.0, and would have been under COP. Sasha`s SP at the 2006 Olympics was nearly unbeatable under COP (although Slutskaya still came very close to doing it at the Olympics).

    In a LP I cant think of any performance she did that would have been close to unbeatable though.

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    This is a no-brainer. Michelle is the better skater, all things considered. Sasha had more flexibility and better lines, and possibly better spins than Michelle. However, Michelle had better basic skating skills, better technique, better jumps, competitiveness, and I would even add musical expression, although Sasha was also very good at interpreting music. Sasha's spirals were higher, but she did not have the deep edge and the control Michelle had on hers.

    I don't believe that Sasha had unbeatable SPs, even though she often had wonderful SPs. However, Michelle's Rachmaninoff, East of Eden, Dream of Desdemona, Spartacus, and The Feeling begins were equally wonderful- even better if you consider the perfection of her technique.

    About the LPs- need I even mention?

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    What about Cohen's spirals? Is there any ladies' skater in history who has performed better spirals??

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    Quote Originally Posted by briancoogaert View Post
    Michelle is a skater. Sasha is a gymnast.
    Sasha has some amazing quality, but not skating quality. I think she is so overrated as a skater, her glide, edges, speed are not the best.
    Its actually odd how trick oriented her skating was especially with Tarasova. End to end skating and really in a straight line. Her edge quality was poor...really poor. Kwan has a mastery of the blade that is unparalleled. Sasha was amazing but Kwan was a skater!

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    I dont know if it this is the right way to look at things, or if I am the only one who ever thought this, but I often wonder if Sashas jump inconsistency and problematic jump technique were tied into her lack of basic skating quality. Maybe if she fixed one they would have all come together at once- better quality jumps, more jump consistency and clean programs, and programs with more speed and secure edging, including in and out of her jumps. I know it is hypothetical, but if there is some truth to that theory, and if that had ever happened boy she would have been almost unbeatable in the 2002-2006 quad anyway (and maybe for a bit after Turin had she continued).

    As for Sashas SPs maybe unbeatable is too strong a word but her 2004 Worlds SP sure looked untouchable, it absolutely crushed a clean Arakawa (with a 3-3), Ando (with a harder 3-3, and much better spins and overall skating than she ever would have IMO), and Kwan (wouldnt have been close to Cohen even without the time deduction). The commentators on Eurosport were livid 2nd place Shizuka even took a couple 1st place votes off her, LOL! Then at the 2006 Olympics winning the SP over a clean and very powerful and effective skate by Slutskaya who had looked unbeatable in SPs under the new COP and had been scored as such the last year and half.

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    I would say Cohen. She would have won the 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2010 Nationals had she skated cleanly, and would have more National titles than Michelle, and would have also won the 2003, 2004, 2006, and 2006 Olympics had she skated cleanly and have more World/Olympic titles than Michelle. Michelle's biggest strength is her beautiful positions and lines but Sasha has even more beautiful position and lines, neither have strong jumps, Sasha has way better spins, and Sasha has even better spirals. So other than better edges and speed which the judges dont even care about and reputation what are Michelle's advantage?

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    So other than better edges and speed which the judges dont even care about and reputation what are Michelle's advantage?
    I would say that Michelle's advantage was that she actually skated cleanly ~90% of the time whereas Sasha skated with unfortunate errors ~90% of the time.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by lao1234 View Post
    I would say that Michelle's advantage was that she actually skated cleanly ~90% of the time whereas Sasha skated with unfortunate errors ~90% of the time.
    True, but isnt this thread supposed to step over that, as it is who is better skater, not better competitor. Michelle Kwan was also the Patrick Chan of that era, a big judges pet, so it made it easier to skate cleanly all the time when you know the judges had you penciled in as the winner before events even began. Sasha never had that comfort as much, she had to be perfect, and if she made a small mistake the judges hammered her.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gordanlevitt View Post
    True, but isnt this thread supposed to step over that, as it is who is better skater, not better competitor. Michelle Kwan was also the Patrick Chan of that era, a big judges pet, so it made it easier to skate cleanly all the time when you know the judges had you penciled in as the winner before events even began. Sasha never had that comfort as much, she had to be perfect, and if she made a small mistake the judges hammered her.
    True - it is hard to judge how good a skater is when they're often falling. It's also hard to remove continued inconsistency from your mind when judging how good a skater is.

    I totally do NOT agree that Kwan was a judge's pet but, even if you think she was, she still went out and delivered clean performances in competition way more often than not.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by gordanlevitt View Post
    True, but isnt this thread supposed to step over that, as it is who is better skater, not better competitor. Michelle Kwan was also the Patrick Chan of that era, a big judges pet, so it made it easier to skate cleanly all the time when you know the judges had you penciled in as the winner before events even began. Sasha never had that comfort as much, she had to be perfect, and if she made a small mistake the judges hammered her.

    I can't.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by gordanlevitt View Post
    I would say Cohen. She would have won the 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2010 Nationals had she skated cleanly, and would have more National titles than Michelle, and would have also won the 2003, 2004, 2006, and 2006 Olympics had she skated cleanly and have more World/Olympic titles than Michelle. Michelle's biggest strength is her beautiful positions and lines but Sasha has even more beautiful position and lines, neither have strong jumps, Sasha has way better spins, and Sasha has even better spirals. So other than better edges and speed which the judges dont even care about and reputation what are Michelle's advantage?
    Michelle has far better jumps, Judgejudy. and better footwork. The problem with most of Sasha's strengths over Michelle (except her spins) is that they have little to do with actual skating and more to do with aesthetics. Both had small jumps but most of Michelle's jumps had extremely steady, sure landings, often with flowing edges. Sasha often looked like she was close to tumbling over. She also had a way worse flutz.

    It's funny to me that people talk so much about Sasha's wasted potential and how she could have been the most talented skater of all time based on her practices. I agree that a skater's true potential is not always met, but at a certain point, consistently falling has to be attributed at least in part to a not-so-sound technique or lackluster training.
    How many female skaters, even as juniors, land triple axels, quads, 3-3-3's in practice? If we went by what skaters did in practice, what's the point of even having competitions? Michelle's legacy is haunted by the fact that she only landed 3t-3t in competition, yet she reportedly landed a myriad of difficult 3-3's in practice as witnessed by commentators on air or journalists: 3lo-3lo, 3lz-3lo, 3lz-3t, 3s-3lo, and Frank even said she had been training the 3axel. Yet no one bases Michelle's talents and legacy on those supposed jumps that she did in practice. We based it on what she delivered in competition. I remember the hooplah back in 2002 over Sasha apparently training the quad and everyone was acting as if she was the future jumping wise and Michelle should just retire. History has shown us that that was nothing but hype Does ANYONE consider Sasha one of the great jumpers?

    Why is having the mental willpower to hone your focus during a jump so that you don't fall any less a part of the technique than remembering to exert enough energy into the actual jump? Both are necessary for a successful jump. When skaters train, like with many sports, they train repetition so that it becomes almost second nature. Training your mind is just as important. Sasha's hyper flexibility is commonplace in gymnastics, ballet. Michelle's strengths are all rooted in her strong basic skating.

    I also think one of Sasha's obvious weaknesses was her lack of stamina.
    Last edited by iarispiralllyof; 04-26-2013 at 02:29 AM.

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