Stephane Lambiel (2006)
Paul Wylie (1992)
Elizabeth Manley (1988)
Kitty & Peter Carruthers (1984)
Dan Zhang & Hao Zhang (2006)
Qing Pang & Jian Tong (2010)
Isabelle & Paul Duschenay (1992)
Tanith Belbin & Benjamin Agosto (2006)
I can see a strong or possible case for Manley deserving the overall gold in 1988 but her sour attitude towards it, and even rehashing it decades later is a major turn off.
Michelle Kwan for instance has just as much feeling to think she possibly robbed of the gold in 1998 (personally I agreed with the 98 result, but that is aside the point), and she had far more reason given her overall career to be dissapointed with not winning an Oly Gold than Manley who had not even medalled at a Worlds going into Calgary, and had been known as a great talent but headcase and choker up to that point. Yet she was far more gracious about the result, and after Salt Lake City practically never brings the Nagano result up, as opposed to Manley who looks to milk it at each opportunity. I nearly choked in disgust when during the Sale & Pelletier SLC saga Linda Fratianne and Elizabeth Manley both took the opportunity to scream up that the ISU and IOC should investigate and give them a gold medal too. Wouldnt surprise me if Sumners did as well, and I just didnt hear about, the 80s collection of sour silver girls.
Now had she lost the gold to Witt by not beating her in the LP I could symphathize slightly more, but she clearly beat Witt in the LP with the judges, nearly every judge having her 1st. The factored points system meant Witt barely held on to win as she had placed higher in the figures and short program.
Manley should blame her own small mistakes in the short for costing her gold. She wobbled on both her combination jump and camel spin, and still lost 2nd in the short to Thomas who had a harder combo and skated squeeky clean by 1 or 2 judges only. She clearly had the opportunity to place higher in the short and despite not going into the Games as a gold contender, control her own destiny in the long, but failed to do so. I thought Witt and Manley were both held up and overplaced in the short program, but atleast Witt's short program performance was completely clean and far better on the presentation side than Manley's was. Despite her mistakes and the easiest jump combination in the final flight, Manley was actually given higher technical marks than Witt, higher presentation marks than Thomas, and higher on both marks than Ito and Kadavy both, which I thought was plenty generous for that skate.
I saw Witt's figures and they were really quite bad and I have no doubt she was held up to place 3rd. However I didnt see Manley's but often her figures were not great, and unlike Worlds where there was talk of how great her figures were and how she was robbed of 1st place in them, nobody noted Manley's figures in Calgary so I doubt they were anything great there either. She may well have gotten a home court boost to be over Leistner and Trenary who are noted for excellent figures, for all we know.
Manley probably thinks as many did that Ito should have beaten Witt in the long, which she nearly did, and which would have given Manley the gold. However I and many others also think Ito should have beaten Manley in the long also. I guess realistically since the judges were never going to "let" Ito win the long, one can say they probably should have placed her 2nd which would have given Manley the gold, but Witt was the defending Olympic Champion and many time World Champion, so it is understandable to why that didnt happen.
My personal placements, giving benefit of doubt to the judges in the figures portion would have been:
Manley- 4th figures, 6th short, 1st or 2nd free
Witt- 3rd figures, 5th short, 3rd free
Thomas- 2nd figures, 1st or 2nd short, 5th long
Ito- 10 figures, 1st or 2nd short, 1st or 2nd long
So Manley would have won under mine, but just barely. I have a hard time feeling she was really that robbed when:
1. IMO had Thomas been given the lead she deserved over Witt (and even more Manley) going into the LP (and there was some who said she should have won the figures over Ivanova who did not do her best figures) than she would have been more relaxed for the free program and skated a better performance. Even if she didnt the lead she might have had over Witt and Manley under my placings might have given her the gold even with the 4th place in the long she was able to manage anyway.
2. Had the figures been worth only 20% by Calgary, which IMO they should have been, rather than 30%, and Ito been marked fairly in the short and long programs she might have won overall too, especialy with Witt and Manley's short programs not deserving of top
3. Had both Thomas and Manley been able to control their own destiny over Witt in the LP, and not just Thomas, she may have done a completely different skate. Also my placements (if Manley were only 2nd in the long) would have her the two ending up tied in factored points, and Manley only coming out ahead due to the long being the tiebreaker, so it is not as if she would have a commanding win, and anyway one could easily argue for them being more than 1 placement apart in the short just as they were. Manley deserving a rather low placing in the short is even more obvious than Witt arguably deserving it IMO.
I can see her still thinking she deserved the gold perhaps, but nothing that could warrant her raising such a stink about, and being as bitter about it as she was. Especialy given that she did win the LP decisively, people always mention that she won the LP, and that given her pre Olympic erratic and underachieving career she should have been thrilled with winning silver and nearly the gold, when the Olympics were supposed to Thomas and Witt a lock to go 1-2. Her enthusiasm when she intially won the silver was incredible to see, and a great moment, and her sourpuss attitude about losing the gold in the aftermath takes something away from that so it a shame.
I do think Manley has a stronger case for being robbed of the gold at the 88 Worlds, and on that event I will give her more of a pass on her frusteration and comments.
Last edited by judgejudy27; 06-28-2013 at 02:20 AM.
I think the Duchesnays were similarly disappointed at their second place finish in 1992. It seems odd to even see them in this poll.
The Duchesnays were not at all happy with the silver, but they should have been since their performances in Albertville would have placed them 4th at best had it not been for their World Champion status and home ice advantage. Had they been 3rd at the 91 Worlds and Usova & Zhulin 1st rather than the other way around (which every nearly happened), and Olympics been in Japan or Canada or Finland for instance you would have seen them in 4th or 5th place with their tired, flat, and unimaginative Olympic performances, with none of the spark that usually mark their inferior tech. abilities, rather than very nearly winning.
In fairness to them I think they were beat up emotionally by then with the sadness of their brother dieing, and all the insane pressure from the French though. I think that was more what their expressions and feelings were by the end, rather than the dissapointment of losing the gold. It was more numbness from the whole last 6 months. I do commend them for getting through the competition even as well as they did, without a disaester somewhere, all things considered.
I think WSS could have been a really good program with more mileage. However it still was nothing groundbreaking like much of their past work. Bottom line is the Duchensays have to do something outrageously different each time out. Otherwise they are absolutely no better than the typical generic top 10 team, other than their reputations in the sport by then.
Despite her bitterness, she became quite a successful cougar though. Of Debi, Katarina, Jill Trenary, Caryn Kadavy, and Elizabeth Manley, all of them followed in the tradition of Sonja Henie of either having multiple husbands (I think Debi is on husband #3) or a string of colorful love affairs. Jill I guess only has had one husband so far, but her choice of husband makes up for her numerical shortcomings.
Have any of the three posters who voted for "other" said who they think was a happier silver medalist, than those listed? (I know the Sumners reference was a joke )
"I hit him with my shoes... if he had given me the medal like I told him to, I wouldn't have had to hit him!" -- 8-year-old Rhoda Penmark in "The Bad Seed"
I read the question to mean happiest at the moment of winning, not happiest afterwards. That is why I picked Manley. My favorite, however, and the happiest long-run, would be Wylie.
And Lysacek beat Stephane in the LP, and had a world bronze medal to his name. He had the 'rep', but lucky for Stephane, Evan also bombed in the SP.
He got his silver based on the mistakes of others, so his joy at having it is really understandable.