Kim Yu Na
Anyone from 1968 to earlier had weaker competition than anyone after 1968. That is what makes this poll and its options so silly to begin with. Weakest competition would be someone like Sonja Henie who win 13 World and Olympic titles in a row. That cant happen no matter how great you are unless you face literally nothing almost your whole career (I know she faced Colledge who is a great skater her final year, and Szabo her first year winning, and that is all). Peggy Fleming could have sat on the ice for 3 minutes, did 2 single toes, and still won the 68 Olympic Gold after the figures, so her competition was incredibly poor too. Everything in between all that was probably no better. Madge Syers found her competition so weak she got bored and decided to enter the Mens Championship one year.
In modern times the weakest era was definitely the Fratianne-Poetzsch one though. Both mediocre skaters who were the cream of a crop who were either lovely but weak in figures, or even more mediocre than they were.
I am not saying there werent many amazing skaters before 1968, just almost never more than one at a time.
Syers in the 1900s, Szabo in the early to mid 20s, Henie in the early to mid 30s, Colledge and Taylor in the late 30s, Albright in the mid 50s, Heiss in the late 50s, and Fleming in the late 60s. Colledge and Taylor would have been the greatest rivalry in pre World War 11 days had it not been for the war.
Some Kwan fans in this thread mocked Baiul by saying her chief rival was Kerrigan. Well Kwan's chief rival was Slutskaya who isnt even considered a top 20 skater all time today either. Apart from Lipinski 97-98 and Slutskaya 2000-2002, everybody Baiul faced- Sato, Kerrigan, Chen, Chouinard, Bonaly, were all better than anyone else Kwan faced. Those skaters are all better than Butyrskaya, Hughes, Cohen, Sokolova, and the rest. Chen is credited as Kwan's competition and not Baiul's but it was Baiul who faced much more of Chen in her prime than Kwan. Kwan faced Chen at her best competition ever- 1996 Worlds, but apart from that one instance, Chen skated better probably about 10 times in 93-94 when Baiul dominated than she ever did from fall 95 onwards when Kwan era began.
I would say Baiul's competition > Kwan's overall, but neither should be the choice. So many skaters had worse competition than both. Kim getting any votes is the biggest joke. She had by far the hardest competition ever. Why do people only consider people the last 20 years? Anyone who knows about the sports history should know the sport is far more competitive in the post figures era than it ever was before, and in the days figures were 50-60% there was literally no competitive element at all. Fleming won the 68 Olympics by something like 130 points with a horrible performance, how can Baiul and Kwan and any modern day skater no have much tougher competition than her and the other old timers.
As for comparing Kristi in Albertville to Michelle in Salt Lake City, Kristi was much better. She did a triple-triple toe vs a two footed triple toe-double toe that Kwan did, and artistically her program that year was much better than Kwan's Scheherezade which was like her most boring program ever along with Bolero. Kristi from 92 Olympics probably would have been good enough to beat Hughes in Salt Lake City.
Why not? That's the same arguments people make about why Kim is so much better than say Sonja Henie who clearly dominated her field. My use of triples was to show how much more jumping content (and jumps were not enough to overtake Slutskaya and Kwan in their era) one needed to be competitive. I'm not saying that my rationale is arguing that Suguri (a bronze medalist-level skater in her prime or close to her prime and a top 10-13 past her prime...not counting her continuance past 2010) is a better skater than Peggy Flemming is disingenuous as I was only saying that as a group, the level of skating in the Kwan era was strong. As for skaters having more triples every generation, that certainly has not been consistently true post-2006. Although, I am also not taking into account the role COP has played in that.
And as Kristi's Albertville performance being enough to beat Hughes LP outright . . . it's speculative, but I doubt it. Now here's the totally subjective part (that you invited in when talking about Kristi's program being more artistic than Kwan's), I found Kristi's amateur routines absolutely generic and void of any real expression or musicality. I do think, however, that she had great transitions. However, the choreography themselves aren't anything special. As blah as Kwan's Scheherezade ended up being, Kwan sold the routine, IMO. I mean obviously some people liked it (see Yu Na Kim's 2008-2009 LP).
Last edited by VIETgrlTerifa; 09-19-2013 at 08:32 PM.
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The problem with comparing Chen in Baiuls era and then in 95 and 96, is that Chen was not at her peak then. Tehnically her jumps were great, she was consistent, and had nice artistry, but I don't think the judges saw her on the same level some of the fans did. When Chen debuted her Mendelsohn Sp and Last Emperor program it was almost like a brand new skater. Everything about her skating got bigger- her lines, her speed and even her jumps. She had a real command on the ice, that skating fans always talk about when they about her Rach program at worlds. Chen SHOULD have been a closer competitor to Baiul, just based on her consistency alone, but she really didn't have enough "ummph" to her skating yet or the political clout.