Congratulations Meryl & Charlie, Tatiana & Maxim, Yuzuru, Adelina and Team Russia!
In a way Ito had been a mainstay on the senior circuit since her 1984 Skate Canada win. She had alot more mileage and injuries on her than Yamaguchi, and it started to show in the 90-91 season when she skated sub par at SA losing to Kristi, then having all those problems at worlds. Its a shame really she didn't get to enjoy more years on the amateur competitions after Albertville. It would have been interesting to see if she had been able to continue post 92 with no break in between, with Harding no longer a factor in competitions, and her biggest rivals being Baiul and Kerrigan.
I happen to like Ito more than Kristi but the injuries you refer to are part of skating at the senior level since 1984 which is exactly what I was implying, years at the top level of pounding jumps and injuries are bound to start happening. Just look at what happened to Kwan at the end of her career. Amateur skating back then was not usually for more than 5-6 years at the top level so 2 years is even a long time, but more importantly in mileage Ito had much more on her legs and body than Kristi by that point. Kristi had only started skating at the top level at 89 so she was still a very fresh in terms of wear and tear goes. Plus the level she was at in 89-90 was so insanely high it would be hard for even her to mantain much longer, especialy how many years of great skating she took building up to that point. Kristi knew she could only get better at that point, while Ito had the challenge to even stay at the incredibly high level she was already at, and stay physically and mentally at her best after years at the top level.
Last edited by mustafinabars; 08-11-2013 at 10:17 PM.
I dont think there is any chance Ito was ever going past 92. She was already pretty much a spent force by 92 although she still had enough skills to win the 92 Olympics if she skated her best, but she was already physically and emotionally spent with amateur competition. She was just trying to hang on for that last crack at the prize she didnt have, and then that was definitely it for her, win or lose. She never had any remote plans as far as I know to go past 92. And given how her comeback in 1996 went, it likely wouldnt have been succcessful for her if she had tried to.
Then again the field in 96 was alot tougher than it would have been in 94, and she was younger in 94 than 96 (like I said at that point, even 2 years is a big difference) so maybe had she tried a comeback for 94 rather than 96 it would have gone somewhat better, even if she didnt neccessarily win. The comeback in 96 was always a huge mistake, but I dont think poor Midori even wanted to do it either, but the Japanese basically forced it upon her. I dont think had she kept competing straight through to 94 it would have gone well as she clearly needed some time off, but had she come back just for the 94 Japan Nationals and Olympics maybe she could have won the bronze atleast. Definitely better chances than she ever had in her 96 comeback.
Last edited by mustafinabars; 08-11-2013 at 10:19 PM.
There had been some talk [rumor?/trial balloon?/wishful thinking?] in the years between Lillehammer and Nagano that Kristi was considering reinstating and "doing pairs again" with an eye to possibly competing at Nagano because she missed [skating and competing] pairs. I don't remember whether any male skater in particular was mentioned as a possible partner, but it would have been strange (for me, anyway) to see her skating with anyone other than Rudy, despite her performing quite lovely pairs numbers with other partners during her pro career and despite Rudy having moved on with his own singles career. It would have been interesting, anyway, to see how well a team of Yamaguchi & ["insert a name here"] would have done leading up to 1998.
[Here's the GS thread I mentioned in my previous post: http://www.goldenskate.com/forum/sho...dux-circa-2013 . (GS had archived the thread.) Links in the thread go to pics of Kristi & Rudy and also Kristi's daughter Emma & coach Rudy. The pic of Kristi & Rudy shows what looks like possibly only a move toward center ice after an intro, but their lines and extension and turnout are so gorgeous. Gosh, what might have been! (Mods please delete if I'm not allowed to link. Thanks.)]
We often talk about how Yamaguchi would have killed the competition in 94 but Ito still had that 3A in 93. I do see a better scenario for her in Lillehammer especially considering the fact that even a half clean performance would challenge Baiul. Of course the stress of competition may have been too much for her at that point from the JSF, and she may have ended up performing like Harding did; a once great skater who was past her peak.
As for Yamaguchi coming back for Nagano as a pair, didn't she say she was glad she retired after her gold?
The 1996-1998 period would have been a great time for Kristi to try a comeback for pairs if she was going to. The field was a joke. By that time she probably would have had a better shot in pairs than singles for the first time ever. Kristi & Rudy could have definitely been challenging for gold by then had they been able to stay together that long.
As for Baiul it is hard to know what the judges think when it comes to her. She won the LP at the 93 Worlds with only the 3rd best long program and won the LP at the 94 Olympics with only the 4th best LP. Presumably if someone skated at so far superior a level that it couldnt be denied they would still beat her though. Yamaguchi almost certainly would have, and Ito sufficiently refreshed and with far less pressure than 92 perhaps could have also.
Ito would probably have needed her triple axel to beat Baiul though since the judges would almost certainly have given way higher artistic scores to Baiul than Ito (I wouldnt but they would) and Ito wouldnt even get the kind of also very high artistic scores Kerrigan got in still losing to Baiul despite far outjumping her. Baiul did land only 3 clean triples in Lillehammer, but because she was Mrs. Emperors New Clothes during her brief amateur career that is probably the equivalent of 6 clean triples in the judges eyes.
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1...nicks-olympics & http://articles.baltimoresun.com/199...-gold-medalist . (Both articles are from the 1990's.)
Very interesting reading. I never knew that Kristi had had a tryout with Scott Wendland. He had been Jenni Meno's partner prior to her teaming up with Sand.
Kristi and Rudi did some unreal incredible singles elements in their programs. Even from when they were juniors. Side by side triple flips, in sequence followed by side by side triple toes. TOTALLY RIDIC!!