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  1. #1
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    Who was the better pro skater Yamaguchi or Sato?

    These two are often considered the best 2 pro ladies skaters of all time. Yamaguchi turned pro after winning the 92 Olympics and worlds. She developed a strong rivalry on the pro scene with Midori Ito for a time (Ito beat her once at world pros). Sato turned pro in the 94-95 season, had a relatively disappointing 1st season, but then when on to beat Yamaguchi, Kerrigan, Biellmann, Chouinard, Kadavy etc that next season. Since then both continued a strong rivalry until the early 2000s trading titles. Both had great jumps, choreography and diversity as pros far more than amatuers IMO. Yuka had some of the best footwork bar none of any lady back then. So who wins?

  2. #2
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    That is a good question. Both won the World Pros (including its later year name changes) 4 times. Head to head at the event they are 2-2. Sato generally beat stronger competition than Kristi did at the event. Kristi's only real threats she beat were Ito and a still getting her feet wet as a pro Sato in the December 1994 event, and Sato in her worst pro season in the December 1996 event. Sato beat both of Kristi and Nancy Kerrigan in the December 1995 event, Yamaguchi again in the December 2001 event, and both Hughes and Slutskaya in the December 2002 event. Sato generally competed in all the pro events and brought attention to many of the smaller events, while Kristi mostly only competed in Challenge of Champions and the World Pros, although she was basically the fixture of Stars on Ice for a decade.

    I always thought it was Kristi, but now analyzing it further I think it was actually Sato with Kristi a close 2nd.

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    Kristi was a fantastic pro skater, with all the difficult jumps, consistency and interesting choreo, different styles.
    I love Yuka's skating, but IMO, Kristi had a better pro career.

  4. #4

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    Kristi. I think of a pro career more in terms of versatility and longevity rather than wins in cheesy pro-ams. I don't think there's another lady that rivals Kristi as a pro with the body of work that she created. But Yuka always had better skating skills.

  5. #5

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    They were both wonderful pro skaters but I would give an edge to Kristi because she could land difficult jumps (3L, 3f which Yuka did not do as a pro) consistently, and she had a wider repertoire. She could do comedy, sadness, opera, pop, everything. Yuka, as wonderful a skater she was, I found her rather one dimensional. I still enjoyed watching her skate, but overall Kristi was a more all around skater.

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    I think Kristi too just for the longevity & dedication she had for pro skating at competitions & as a star of SOI. Katarina Witt was on more of a par with her than Yuka.

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    I think just because one skates to different musical style, it doesn't automatically make one versatile. I remember watching Kristi's En Vogue number and thought her facial expressions were laughable, and I didn't feel she had the acting talent to pull off the Oh So Quiet number either. So yes, Kristi was given a variety of numbers to skate to by Bezic, but was she convincing in all of them? IMO, No.

    Kristi was the more consistent skater and did more difficult jumps than Sato. For pure skating talent, however, I'd say Sato has it over Kristi. Sato's Spartacus was and is one of the best woman's program out there. I also think the Ryder Cups where Sato dominated for a few seasons was a much more challenging and competitive event than Dick Buttons' World Pro, where the judges seemed to have their favorites and often throw out silly 10s.

  8. #8

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    Sato had better skating skills than anyone else, including Kristi. However, she did not express the music well. She even had a smile on her face while skating to sad music. IMO the pro competitions in Landover were highly respected. The judges did have their favorites and sometimes the results did not make sense, but in most cases Kristi actually delivered very strong performances, like Fantasie Impromptu, Romeo & Juliet, Madama Buttefly, etc. Yuka had many lovely performances too, but they all seemed similar.

  9. #9
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    Yamaguchi.No doubt.

  10. #10

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    Yamaguchi, but I always preferred watching Sato.
    'Life's hard. It's even harder when you're stupid.'--John Wayne

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    Kristi had one pro program that I liked - the "Doop-Doop" number, which was quirky and fun. Other than that, I've always found her meh and characterless. Maybe her Madame Butterfly program from Ice Wars for honorable mention...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rex View Post
    Kristi had one pro program that I liked - the "Doop-Doop" number, which was quirky and fun. Other than that, I've always found her meh and characterless. Maybe her Madame Butterfly program from Ice Wars for honorable mention...
    i hear kristi got a lot better after going pro

  13. #13

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    For diversity and longevity definitely Kristi. I know it's not applicable to this thread but I thought she was also fantastic in Dancing with the Stars.

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    Well, Kristi didn't skate to a cover of Cyndi Lauper's worst song ever eleventy-billion times in a row, so I'm gonna say her. But I do have to say that I thought some of the professional programs where she tried to be "sexy" were just as bad as Sato's

    I will admit ;however, that both she and Sato actually took themselves seriously as pros and kept up a decent repetoire of skating skills, jumps, spins etc. I just wasnt fond of some of the vehicles they used.

  15. #15
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    ...And she didn't even wear a hat.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by escaflowne9282 View Post
    Well, Kristi didn't skate to a cover of Cyndi Lauper's worst song ever eleventy-billion times in a row
    I don't think Kristi did as many pro competitions in a season as Sato. That was why it didn't feel like Kristi was doing the same program over and over again.

    But I do have to say that I thought some of the professional programs where she tried to be "sexy" were just as bad as Sato's
    I don't remember any programs where Sato tried to be sexy. The closest perhaps was "Turn The Beat Around", but that was only because Sato bared her mid-drift. I never thought Kristi expressed herself very well to the audience until DWTS.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    IMO the pro competitions in Landover were highly respected.
    They were indeed but Yuka won there 4 times in 7 appearances, just as Kristi did, and their head to head there is 2-2. I agree with you that Kristi was probably a more diverse performer as a pro. Yuka btw was doing a triple lutz in 95-96 as a pro, and doing it very well.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by orbitz View Post
    I don't remember any programs where Sato tried to be sexy. The closest perhaps was "Turn The Beat Around", but that was only because Sato bared her mid-drift.
    "Naughty Girl" at that very same event, Oksana Baiul was a duck . When it came to pro-skating, it seemed like at a certain moment in time (late 1990s-early 2000s ) so many skaters forgot what their strengths were as performers. Chen Lu , who I adored, and her "Peel me a Grape" and "Black Magic Woman" was another

  19. #19
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    I agree her Naughty girl, and Lu Chens pro programs were not good at all. In Chens case she wasn't able to land many jumps as well. Sato did dominate alot as a pro like the Ryders Cup, World Pros etc So I'm a little surprised she is not considered to have longevity like Kristi was.

  20. #20
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    Sato competed non stop as a pro for a good 8 or 9 years, basically until she retired until pro competitions were extinct. After 1998 Kristi hardly competed in anything, except Ice Wars. She did one final World Pros in 2002, after a 4 year absence. Even at the height of her pro dominance and success from 92-98 never entered many of the smaller pro events that Yuka did, and in fact pretty much did no pro events that werent run by Dick Button. I would say Sato had even more longevity as a pro than Kristi.

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