I vote Kwan because she had an extremely long career with no breaks. Kwan's jumps were not as good as Kim's but Kwan had deep edges, feeling, artistry, and a long career that only Sonja Henie has achieved. If Kim wins 2 golds, she will be the third woman in history to do so. A rare feat, but certainly not the first. Kwan's career nearly spanned 4 Olympics (alternate in 1994, injury withdrawal in 2006) and her level of skating never deteriorated until about the last year of her career, in which she was "only" 4th in the world.
IMO it's difficult to compare skaters that competed under completely different rules. So the answer to this question Kwan vs Kim - "better skater" is going to be highly subjective. It may also depend on when you became an avid fan of either skater.
To determine if Yuna's field is strong or not, we have to compare the field to field.
Would Miki beat Irina? Would Mao beat Tara or Sasha? Would Caro beat Chen? If so, the field is strong. So maybe we need to start another poll to decide on this.
But then again, they are all from different era and different judging, so....
Vote for Kwan. She is a skater and performer. Kim YuNa and her skating impress like a completely manufactured product, whereas Kwan impresses with genuine performance ability in the skating.
Kwan is, um, "human" and "personal" in her skating. Kim YuNa is like a Hundai, Kawai or other Korean-style knock-off of the original. Kim YuNa is a manufactured skating champion in the style of Kwan, but will never be as good as the original.
Watch them both skate in Kim's show, and the difference is clear. Kim can jump and look pretty, but her manufactured style and presentation are simply emotionless, dull and uninspiring. Not like MK who could do a program with no jumps and leave people crying from the effect of watching beauty.
Kwan will always be a better performer and skater. Again, look at their performances, one after another, in Kim's show. The difference in quality is SOOOOOOOOOOO obvious.
Viva Kwan. And to Kim YuNa, may she endeavor to be HALF as good as Kwan was/is.....
Let's say that only WC/OG golds count, not total medals. Kwan still wins, with 5 WC's compared to Kim's 4 OG/WC's.
Since the World Championships are the Olympics of non-Olympic years, the only way Kwan's accomplishments could be denigrated is if you don't count WC's in Olympic years. Kwan and Kim would still be tied with 4 golds, making them equally great skaters.
OGM means a lot, but it's not everything. If OGM is all that matters, then the poll would be "Better skater - Kim, Witt or Henie" and Henie would win because she has three.
Your join date and post count imply that you've been around the block long enough to know this. Why the disingenuousness?
If it were all about medals and titles Henie is best ever, Witt second best, and Heiss third best, and neither Kwan or Kim deserve consideration.
No way is an Olympic Gold merely equal value to a World title. An Olympic Gold is of far more value than a World title, especialy if the Olympic Champion is also a multi World Champion who dominated skating for years as well, so in no way can it be inferred as a fluke result. Saying a World title is equal to an Olympic Gold is like someone saying the Grand Prix final title is equal to a World title.
I have also always disagreed with the idea Kwan could ever be considered the best ever without an Olympic Gold. There is no way you should be considered best ever without the biggest title in your sport. It would be like Monica Seles being considered the best ever despite that she never won Wimbledon. Top 5 I would say is the best anyone without an Olympic Gold medal could possibly even be considered as.
Lets break down Kwan and Kim's careers by event:
Biggest event- Olympics. Kim wins
2nd Biggest event- Worlds. Kwan wins
3rd Biggest event- Grand Prix final. Kim wins
Overall- Kwan 13 losses in 7 seasons in her prime (96 season to 2002 season), Kim 5 losses in 5 seasons in her prime (2008 to 2013 season minus the 1 season she skipped). Kim wins
The only place Kwan has done better is the 2nd most important event. Kwan isnt even the best skater of her own era at the biggest and 3rd biggest events. Lipinski, Hughes, and Slutskaya have better Olympic records, and Slutskaya has a much better Grand Prix final record and more overall grand prix wins. Had Slutskaya won one of the two Olympics she had a chance to win, or one of the two Worlds where she barely lost to Kwan, Kwan probably wouldnt even be considered the best skater of her own era. Kim is by far the best skater of her own era at each event, including Worlds, despite winning "only" twice.
Longevity is also overrated. If anything I find Kwan's 5 World titles less impressive given that she had to skate for 12 years and could only win back to back Olympic or World golds once in that long, even being favored by judges as the dominant skater almost that whole time, and could not win an Olympics despite being on top for the period of 3 Olympics. She was not as dominant as any of the following when you think about it:
Fleming- 3 Worlds and Olympic Gold all in a row.
Heiss- Olympic silver, then boom 5 Worlds and Olympic Gold.
Yamaguchi- 2 Worlds and Olympic Gold all in a row, then 4 World Pros in 5 years.
Kim- although Kim too is less dominant than some of these I must say.
Witt- 4 World titles and Olympic Gold in 4 year span, only 1 loss.
Those are only the modern day skaters.
When people review Kim's World record one should also use some context. She has won only 2 Worlds, but was completely dominant in her 2 victories, even more dominant than Kwan in her 2 most dominant in 1998 and 2003, and dont make me laugh by even implying tougher competition as the field both those years were a collasal joke. Kim has won the long program at Worlds 4 times and the short program 4 times, yet gotten only 2 titles out of that. She has 2 golds, 2 silvers, and 2 bronzes, in only 6 World appearances, and lost the gold by less than 2 points twice. So 2 World titles is really a harsh indicator of her performances at Worlds. Kwan at Worlds has won the short program only 3 times and the long program 5 times so has won only the same number of programs as Kim, and that was in 12 appearances at the event vs only 6 for Kim.
Kwan is still overall better at Worlds with her 5 titles but it is not enough to overcome her inferiority relative to Kim in every other aspect of her career.
Oh good grief - could we please just stop. They are both amazing skaters. To each their own in your special appreciation of one vs the other and in deciding what factors matter in determining whose "best". They would both shrug their shoulders and shake their heads in response to this thread. Really hard to believe that any skating fan would not embrace and appreciate them both - they sure seem to honor each other with their obvious and profound appreciation of one another.