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  1. #1
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    Why couldnt Trenary dominate 86-88, and could she have been gold contender in 91-92

    Trenary was doing harder jumps than Witt, Thomas, or Kadavy in 86-88 with a triple flip in long and triple flip combo in short. Her artistry was better than Thomas, and in some ways better than Witt as her positions were prettier and lines nicer. Her figures were great. So why couldnt she be a champion and be the dominant skater of 86-88. At the 88 Olympics she cleanly did a triple flip combo. One would think with her high artistic marks too she would win the short over Witt who did only a triple toe combo but she was only placed 6th with really low technical marks. Were her jumps small and very low quality compared to the other top girls even when she did them cleanly. Is that what held her back? Or was it speed or weak spins. Maybe if I saw her live I would understand.

    Also had she not gotten injured could she have been a gold contender at the 91 and 92 events even without figures. At the 1990 Goodwill Games she made 3 mistakes in the long program and lost only a 4-3 split to Kristi Yamaguchi who had only 1 mistake even with Kristi's much harder jumps and already matured artistic side, so it seems she could beat Kristi if both skated well and Kristi won all of the 91 Worlds, 92 Olympics, and 92 Worlds, so it looks like Jill would have been a big contender for gold based on that.

    Such an underrated and talented skater who seems skating fans dont appreciate today. I think it is because she beat incredible best ever skating by Ito to win the 1990 Worlds but it was not her fault she did so much better in figures that event, which is the only reason she won. The judges acknowledged her free skating was much weaker than Ito there, but the system gave her the gold, not the judges. She seems hated forever for that though, even after years of being underrated by judges compared to overrated Witt and sometimes Thomas and Manley.

  2. #2
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    Trenarys spins were never great, but I have to give her big kudos for going for that triple flip in Calgary. That being said Thomas and Manley were better overall in this quad imo. Manley just hit when she needed to and could have won gold (many argue she should have beat Witt as it is).

    Yes Trenary deserved her gold at worlds based on Ito totally bombing figures to the nth degree.

    As for 91-92 I honestly think the writing was on the wall. She would have now needed a lutZ, in addition to the flip, and possibly a triple triple, Even Kerrigan was upping the ante to stay in contention with Ito, Yamaguchi and Harding. That being said I do think she could have possibly been in contention for medals over Kerrigan (whose presentation was really bland imo) if she kept up her difficulty.

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    The quality of her jumps are what held her back from 86-88. Her jumps were tiny and poor quality compared to all of Witt, Thomas, Manley, Ito, usually with weak and shaky landings like all her jumps in the 87 Worlds and 88 Olympic short program. So even if she skated cleanly and landed a harder jump somewhere the technical marks would still be by far the lowest. Her spins and footwork were never great either. Artistically she lacked the line and power of Thomas, the dramatics and presence of Witt, the versatality and amazing musicality of Witt, the elegance and style of Kadavy, and the personality, energy, and speed of Manley.

    She was only close to winning the Goodwill Games in 1990 since she was being held up for being reigning World Champion. That wouldnt have lasted long unless she added both a triple lutz and triple loop to her repertoire, or atleast the triple lutz. Without a triple lutz she couldnt hope to compete with Yamaguchi, and even a physically and emotionally beat up and declining Ito; but perhaps could still compete with Kerrigan and erratic Harding.

    She had the hunger and drive to be a dominant skater but never the talent. Doing harder jumps than some of the other top skaters and being labelled a generic good artist more than some of the others dissed for their artistry (Thomas, Manley, Ito, etc...) is not enough.

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    Trenary could have beaten Kerrigan for the bronze at the 91 worlds with a decent skate, and considering how poorly the 92 Olympics went down could have won a bronze there as well. But I do think she would have needed the lutz (and as JJ said the loop) to have any prayer of a chance.

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    Gold? No.

    But I've always been intrigued over how a healthy Trenary would've fared in 1991 - 1992. Her 1990 World Champion performances would probably have been enough to make her the #3 American at 1991 US Nationals ahead of a 4-triple Kerrigan with little international credibility and maybe the bronze at '91 Worlds, too. Ito and any 3 Americans were far ahead of the rest of the world.

    The question is - would the judges have kept her on the team if she didn't pick up the Lutz or Loop by 1992? Harding was a mess by 1992 Nationals but the judges knew what Harding was capable of from '91 SA and may have found a way to hold her up over, say, a 4 triple Trenary who was no longer a World Champ or even the #1 American. I think her chances for even a bronze at Albertville would've been slimmer (but maybe not impossible). It would've depended on who went with Trenary and Yamaguchi - Harding or Kerrigan? Both of their '92 Olympic LPs while flawed, were still pretty good

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    Jill probably would have taken Kerrigan's spot as the bronze queen of 91-92. Barring a total meltdown (with Jill there will probably be a couple mistakes, she was never a stellar competitor) she would probably take 3rd at 91 Nationals, 3rd or 2nd at the 91 Worlds (most likely 3rd as the judges give alot of weight to Tonya's triple axel, vs someone who cant even do most of the harder triples, even if she had some glaring mistakes), 2nd at the 92 Nationals, and 3rd at the 92 Olympics. Granted with Jill there is always a chance of a total meltdown, but if she avoided that and skated somewhat decently those would probably be her results. She would probably still get some 5.9s for artistic impression which would have helped her placements. Kristi may not have even gained her new status as the top artistic skater had Jill continued.

    As for 1992 I fully expect it is Kerrigan who would have gotten the axe, if the judges chose to protect a 2 triple Harding. Nancy would have never appeared at a Worlds up to that point, let alone been a World medalist, and only did 4 triples and no triple lutz or triple flip at those Nationals, so would have in no way been held up against a decent former World Champion Trenary even doing 3 triples. Tonya may have been protected and thus Nancy getting the axe. Then again I am not sure Tonya would have been protected. 3 judges put her below Lisa Ervin, and she barely made the team, and then the USFSA forced her to do special monitoring to prove she was ready, which is one reason she showed up so late to the Games. So based on that quite likely she would not have been protected at all and it would be Tonya getting the axe. Either way I cant see Jill not making the team if she skated at all competently at those Nationals, even if her technical skills would have been outdated by then.

    To be competitive with Yamaguchi though even just a triple lutz alone wouldnt have been enough probably. She would probably need 2 triple lutzes, 6 triples in a program atleast, a triple-triple combination. In short no way it is was happening. Bronze and maybe silver finishes when Ito and/or Harding made enough mistakes would have been her max, just like it was for Kerrigan who IMO was by FAR the biggest beneficiary of Jill's injury and early retirement.

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    If she had produced more clean 5 tripled - free skates she would have be right up there with Witt and Thomas pre-1988. After 1988 though, the focus was on having a more complete set of jumps and she just wasn't going to remain on top with just 3 types of triples, especially with Ito having all 6 triples and 3/3s and with Yamaguchi having 2 lutzes and generally 5 to 6 triples every time out.

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    She needed more clean and secure (and I mean really clean, not just cleanish) shorts to have a chance against Witt and Thomas pre 1988 too though. Often she turned in a sloppy short with sloppy elements that removed any chance under the 3 phase factored system. Like her 88 Calgary short with a wobbly and two footed triple flip combo, a tiny double axel, a barely off the ice flying camel, and a last combination spin that travelled all around. Like the 87 Worlds short with a pitched forward triple flip and double axel that swung way around. She also should have been placing higher in figures given her supposed expertise in it, even if the 87 Worlds was the only time she majorly bombed. Always placing below Witt in figures suggests she probably got nervous and didnt do her best in that phase usually too.

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    It was sort of hard to deny the American sweep of 1991 the opportunity to compete in Albertville.

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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    The quality of her jumps are what held her back from 86-88. Her jumps were tiny and poor quality compared to all of Witt, Thomas, Manley, Ito, usually with weak and shaky landings like all her jumps in the 87 Worlds and 88 Olympic short program. So even if she skated cleanly and landed a harder jump somewhere the technical marks would still be by far the lowest. Her spins and footwork were never great either. Artistically she lacked the line and power of Thomas, the dramatics and presence of Witt, the versatality and amazing musicality of Witt, the elegance and style of Kadavy, and the personality, energy, and speed of Manley.

    She was only close to winning the Goodwill Games in 1990 since she was being held up for being reigning World Champion. That wouldnt have lasted long unless she added both a triple lutz and triple loop to her repertoire, or atleast the triple lutz. Without a triple lutz she couldnt hope to compete with Yamaguchi, and even a physically and emotionally beat up and declining Ito; but perhaps could still compete with Kerrigan and erratic Harding.

    She had the hunger and drive to be a dominant skater but never the talent. Doing harder jumps than some of the other top skaters and being labelled a generic good artist more than some of the others dissed for their artistry (Thomas, Manley, Ito, etc...) is not enough.
    Sometimes I think you were a skater in the 80s in your former life. Her 1footA-3S was actually pretty wonderful, but she missed a lot of her jumps even when she was young and uninjured. I only recently watched her 1987 Nationals victory, and I was disappointed with the jumping. I wonder if Chin had not lost it completely, might Jill have been prevented from breaking through?

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    Unlike Trenary's decline which IMO only really benefited Kerrigan, I personally feel Chin's decline was a major boost to the careers of all of Thomas, Trenary, and Kadavy. Thomas would have had a much harder road to be U.S #1 and a World Champion/OGM contender. Trenary and Kadavy would have probably been relegated to fighting each other just to make major U.S teams until after the 88 season.

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    I think Kerrigan would have gotten the axe for the team at both 91 worlds and 92 Olympics. Her nats performances were only so so, so if Trenary skated decently she would have made that team. Now at 91 worlds without figures, and Ito making huge errors she would have a chance for bronze. Then the American sweep was potentially Kristi, Tonya and Jill. No way would the judges not have sent that team to Albertville. Kerrigan would have had to skate lights out to beat that and that never happened till her last season of amateur.

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    I'd have to go through the list of the top 10 in 1991 Worlds/1992 Olympics, but Trenary with three different triples would have been the fewest amongst all the other contenders competing (maybe Patricia Neske would have been even fewer with two)

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    I think its also assuming Trenary would have been able to lutz and loop. Not sure if she was capable. does anyone know if she ever tried them at all

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    Peggy Fleming kept saying in 87-88 that Jill had a triple loop planned but it never came off for whatever reason.

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    Knowing Jill, I believe she would not have skated much better than Ito in the free skate at '91 worlds. I doubt Trenary could have beaten Ito there.

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    True, I think alot of us, myself included, are somewhat overlooking that Jill in addition to being technically outdated by the early 90s, was also a relatively poor competitor famous for inopportune chokes. Even her World title she almost blew when she had it in the bag after figures with a weak short program, finishing behind people like Cook and Lebedeva in the short. I bet had Kristi skated at all well in the free she would have imploded again and lost the gold for sure, but when Kristi had a meltdown she relaxed and was able to do a decent free skate to barely hold on to win. She is a better competitor than say Kadavy or Kondrashova, but still not a strong one.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    True, I think alot of us, myself included, are somewhat overlooking that Jill in addition to being technically outdated by the early 90s, was also a relatively poor competitor famous for inopportune chokes. Even her World title she almost blew when she had it in the bag after figures with a weak short program, finishing behind people like Cook and Lebedeva in the short. I bet had Kristi skated at all well in the free she would have imploded again and lost the gold for sure, but when Kristi had a meltdown she relaxed and was able to do a decent free skate to barely hold on to win. She is a better competitor than say Kadavy or Kondrashova, but still not a strong one.
    I am sure Kristi's poor LP skate was what really helped Jill (Plus her great skate at the US nationals gave her confidence) skate a decent LP at the 1990 worlds. Had Kristi beaten Jill in the LP (and she was capable of it), Midori would have won the gold.

    Jill was definitely not a good competitor, but got lucky in 1990, as she got lucky in winning her 1987 US title over Debbie Thomas. Even her triple flip was not consistent, but she landed it in her 1990 LP, which was an absolute must. Kristi had decent marks even with 2 falls because she had 2 triple lutzes. After 1990 worlds, she really did not have the technical content to compete against the younger skaters (Midori, Kristi, Lu Chen, Tonya, Nancy, etc.) Her best chance was in 1989 when Witt & Thomas retired, but she blew it in the LP. Of course it would have been very difficult to top Midori's performance there, but she could have easily won the silver had she skated a good LP.

    Going back to the OP, I don't believe she could have beaten the technically superior Thomas (although she did win a US nationals against her but I believe Debie was injured at the time) or Manley or the great competitor and charmer Witt. She did have a chance for a bronze back then.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    Peggy Fleming kept saying in 87-88 that Jill had a triple loop planned but it never came off for whatever reason.
    I'm still waiting for the Michelle Kwan's 3Sal/3Loop combo Peggy Fleming was always talking about !

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    I am sure Kristi's poor LP skate was what really helped Jill (Plus her great skate at the US nationals gave her confidence) skate a decent LP at the 1990 worlds. Had Kristi beaten Jill in the LP (and she was capable of it), Midori would have won the gold.
    Kristi was not a big threat to Midori in 1990 the way she was in 1991 and 1992. She did not have the artistry she had in 1991, 1992, or the jump consistency, or the triple lutz-triple toe combo.

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