Best Ever/Most Disappointing Events per Discipline
So, the usual threads have been popping up (Bonaly's Championship history being the icing on the cake) and after watching videos from the 1993 Worlds, I began wondering if that was the best ever ladies' competition? Perhaps not, but in that case, what were the best events ever for each discipline? No real criteria- mine is a high level of technical difficulty per the standards of the time, and a good portion of clean skates by the top contenders.
I have also included a most disappointing category, which I have seen discussed before in terms of the Olympics, but if anyone has some Worlds choices, that might be interesting to read. Keep in mind this isn't the WORST competition... Since, for instance, I had higher hopes for SLC than Lillehamer.
Having completed my list, I realize the most disappointing tend to be the Olympics, mainly because:
1) We expect so much out of this once-a-quad competition
2) The athletes tend to play the safe route, giving us programs that are usually not very memorable
3) The pressure usually leads to subpar performances
Also, I realize almost nothing of what I wrote below is new discussion, so I apologize. However, I am hoping others might have insights into other (mainly earlier) competitions or have knowledge of the happenings leading into these events to share?
1) 1996 Worlds
Legendary performances by Kwan and Chen, and reasonably clean skates from nearly everyone in the top 12, along with Lipinski's dazzling free skate. Slutskaya and Ito were subpar, but really, who cares? This was a competition worth watching and discussing indefinitely.
2) 1993 Worlds
Again, stunning performances from the top 10 skaters; unfortunately, this was a weak year for ladies skating so while athletes like Kulovana and Szewzchenko had great performances, they did so with technical merit that was a bit below the standards of that time. Additionally, Kerrigan and Chouinard melted down and they were 2 athletes who should've been contending for the podium.
3) 2010 Olympics
For COP, this was as good as it gets- Yuna was dominant, Asada made history and we saw best ever (or damn close) skates from Rochette, Nagasu, Lepisto, Flatt and Korpi. Even Ando was near-clean, if uninspiring. However, with COP comes the reality that "clean" is nearly impossible with the new demands, and we have stricter standards of edge calls, underrotations and levels. Kostner also bombed and she was certainly a top contender
4) 1998 Olympics
Great free skates from the top 10 athletes, Bonaly aside, but most were marred with at least 1-2 mistakes. Additionally, many top contenders bombed out like Bobek, Hubert and Lautowa, or were out with injury/illness like Szewzchenko and Czako.
1) 1992 Olympics
The field says it all. Top skates from Yamaguchi, Ito, Harding, Kerrigan, Bonaly, Sato, Chouinard, Chen, Preston, et al. would've no doubt soared to the top of this list. In the end, even the medalists had rough skates.
2) 2002 Olympics
1) 1988 Olympics
Boitano and Orser were clearly the class of the field and it seems to me that in men's competition, we so rarely get to see a clean head to head matchup of the top guys. These two brought their A game technically and artistically and really pushed the sport forward that year.
2) 2002 Olympics
Unfortunately, Plushenko's SP took the drama out of the free skate, but there were some incredible performances from Yagudin down to Weiss/Stojko, and this was the first Olympics where a quad (or even 2) was almost commonplace in men's free skates. Goebel landed 3 to sneak ahead of great skates from Honda, Abt and Eldredge.
1) 2010 Olympics
In hindsight, the performances weren't all that terrible, but considering the incredible depth of the field, the end results were rather anticlimactic. The free skates were actually rather well skated, but again, COP really makes even the cleanest performances seem irrelevant. Taka's UR, Weir's emptiness, Lambiel's loss of GOE and both Plushenko's uninspiring programs and Chan's sloppiness being propped up mar the overall impression. A Takahashi, Lambiel and Weir podium under 6.0 probably wouldn't be met with such disgust.
2) 1994 Olympics
2010 was essentially a rehash of this competition; incredibly deep field, with the best taking themselves out of contention. Urmanov and Stojko would've made great bronze medalists, but the top spots should've been fought between Petrenko, Browning and Boitano.
1) 2002 Olympics
Drama aside, this was a rare occurrence in pairs where we not only have a deep and talented field, but clean performances, as well. Even P/T, former world champions, skated well and couldn't get past 6th. A clean quad from S/Z would've put this competition into near untouchable status. The top 3 are some of the best in history, T/M one of the most successful, and the rest of the top 10 had one of the most interesting American pairs in history, 2 World champions, and a multiple-medalist pair from China - a country that proved itself as a skating powerhouse at these Games. A shame the aftermath ruined the success.
2) 1994 Olympics
Could easily be switched with 2002, but the reinstatement factor kind of ruins it for me in the sense that this was a once in a lifetime moment where the best teams of all time could face off in a competition, whereas 2002 was a not-as-forced/man-made deep field. I also think G/G were technically a bit behind the times, and the quality dropped off a bit steeper after S/N, IMO.
3) 2001 Worlds
See 2002 Olympics; I/Z and the Chinese pairs vastly improved by SLC, IMO, but the programs of S/P and B/S were also a bit more challenging here.
1) 2000 Worlds
This should've been the start of a fantastic pairs field that was growing toward the epic 2002 showcase. Instead, B/S disqualified themselves, S/Z and S/P bombed, and competent yet uninspiring P/T won their only World title. Nice to see A/B win their only World medal, but they were much more of a 6th-8th kind of pair, IMO- and nothing wrong with that given the field!
2) 2010 Olympics
While COP has ruined pairs skating, IMO, this could've been a great fight between S/Z, S/S, P/T and K/S. Unfortunately, S/Z had one of their worst ever programs and skates (again, IMO) and S/S who had the best programs, were in the midst of worst ever season. Meanwhile, K/S also bombed out, making it an easy path to a medal for P/T.
1) 1997 Worlds
Fantastic, legendary programs from G/P, K/O and B/K; A/P were on the rise, M/L were still relevant and P/S finally cracked the top 6. I believe this was also the season of G/P's amazing Libertango OD.
2) 1998 Olympics
I go back and forth with this one... I think half the field was stronger in 1997 and the other half stronger here. A/P had a terrific Romeo and Juliet, P/S a wonderful and fierce tango, and FP/M had a nice program IMO, if not one that was worthy of as high a finish as it got. Meanwhile, G/P had a strong and difficult program and K/O had an incredibly theatrical interpretation of Carmen, but neither compared to their efforts the previous year. B/K were just OK to me. I also hated the OD theme and thought all of the dances were rather amateurish.
3) 1993 Worlds
Groundbreaking year for material. The free dances of U/Z, G/P and R/K were just fantastic and I can only imagine what we might have seen the next year had the ISU at least waited until 1995 to institute the ballroom is back ruling.
1) 2002 Olympics
While the field was much weaker than 1998, all the teams were capable of better material than what they showed up with. L/A coming 1 vote shy of becoming Olympic champions sums up the caliber of dancing showcased that night in SLC, as not only did the programs suck, so too did the performances.
2) 1994 Olympics
See 1993 Worlds; fantastic field suffocated by a poorly timed rule change. Not a single dance worth rewatching, which is a damn shame, as this should've been up there with the 1994 pairs event. The top 3 are 3 of the greatest ever and they were forced into programs that did nothing to showcase their strengths.
Where would you place 1992 Olympic Ice Dance competition? In my opinion, West Side Story doesn't come close to comparing with the masterpiece that was Missing (how I wish D&D would have performed Missing that year, I still would have given the OGM to K&P without a doubt, but Missing was such a fantastic and amazing program as well), but we also had K&P's "Air" U&Z "Four Seasons" and G&P's great program, which I personally thought was podium worthy.
1. 1994 Olympics- By far the most awesome event. Atleast 6 teams in the field who had or would win World titles in their career later on, plus a future 3 time World medalist (Meno & Sand), several promising and other future or past noteable teams. The top 4 were amazing, and most of the top 10 skated great.
2. 2004 Worlds- so many great performances, and the 3 medalists in the LP were completely spectacular. The Zhangs were IMO their best ever this year, despite finishing 5th.
3. 1983 Worlds- the 3 medalists were all superb, and there were arguments for any of the 3 winning. The Carruthers were also great despite finishing 4th.
1. 1984 Olympics- Was supposed to be another great 3 way fight for gold but Baess & Theirbach and Underhill & Martini took themselves right out of it after the short program. Some of the very popular and pleasent Soviet teams of that quad were bumped off the team in favor of Selezneva & Makarov (who I also like and won a surprise bronze here) and some junior team I never heard of again. That was super dissapointing too. Lots of messy skates here, and even the winners didnt skate up to their top. Carruthers were the highlight since they were the only ones with a skate of a life, even if silver was the right result for them.
Cant say much about the 95-98 period as I rarely expected much given the field, and got as expected.
1. 2004 Worlds- spectacular skates from nearly everyone. Lambiel would have easily won the 2010 Olympics if he had his long program from here but placed only 4th in the long and 4th overall. Johnny Weir would have won silver at the 2006 Olympics with his LP here but took 5th or 6th.
2. 1991 Worlds- The top 5 were all superb.
3. 1988 Olympics- Just due to the Battle of the Brians at its peak and both were great that night, Boitano at 100% of his best and Orser at 95% of his and that was the difference.
1. 2010 Olympics- so much talk about the great field but it sure didnt materalize and ending with Lysacek as Olympic Champion says it all.
2. 1992 Olympics- maybe even should be number 1 over 2010. An extremely deep and strong field but didnt materalize. People thought Wylie was robbed of gold with skates that would have been lucky to take 6th place at the 91 Worlds.
1. 1991 Worlds- I loved the drama and the extremely close battle between the top 3 where any of them could have won. The op 3 free dances and original dances were all great, even if the Duchensays new Missing didnt have near the impact of their 90 one for me, and I did not agree at all with their win ultimately. Lots of other really good teams and memorable dances like R&K`s Batty Bride and Punsalen & Swallow`s Race Car one. Lots of teams who would later make even bigger impacts.
2. 2010 Olympics- sensational high level of skating with many great teams, lots of former and future World Champs, the defending silver medalists, and others. Virtue & Moir winning with an all time great performance at home topped it off.
3. 1997 Worlds- very good event, and the atmosphere of the crowd added to it a great deal. Krylova & Ovsiannikov`s Masquerade Waltz is maybe my all time favorite dance program ever, and Bourne & Kraatz`s and Gritschuk & Platov`s are probably my favorites from their whole careers too.
4. 1994 Olympics- Was an exciting battle between 2 of the best 4 teams ever (G&P and T&D) and the best team to never win the Olympics, more than 1 Olympics or Worlds, and perhaps the hard luck team of all time (U&Z). The only FD I found dissapointing was U&Z and was a bit dissapointed they didnt win this one, but I did love the programs of both G&P and T&D and consider them among their best, even if others dont feel that way.
1. 1988 Olympics- BORING event, both the performances, programs,and judging and complete lack of competitive drama, even for dance standards. Strong teams and quality but just didnt interest even a small amount, and I only include events that I have some high hopes for as dissapointing. Had high hopes after 87 Worlds which was a very strong event with more placement changing and uncertainty (even if small) of the results, and more interesting programs including Annenko & Stretenski`s best amateur free dance.
2. 2009 Worlds- Delobel & Schoenfelder being out when they probably would have defended their title, was devastating, and happy to see Domnina & Shabalin win after French D&S won in 2008 when they probably would have had they been able to compete (so it was like a switch off and the 08 event was also dissapointing) but they were injured and nowhere near their best anymore so it was almost a bittersweet win. Belbin & Agosto just missing out again and looked devastated about it. Davis & White robbed behind an injured and subpar Virtue & Moir. Khohlova & Novitski dumped after their best season. Just blah.
1. 2010 Olympics- just an insane level of technical and artistic skating from almost the whole field. Yu Na Kim with the best free skating performances in Olympic history winning, and Joannie on home ice winning bronze so soon after her mothers death. Nagasu having what will probably be her shining moment ever in the sport. Lepisto having what may have been hers too, despite the controversial World bronze a month later. Just great all around.
2. 2001 Worlds- I was there live and it was a spectacular night of skating. The whole final flight were virtually clean and outstanding. Kwan winning with one of her best ever performances, fighting off a challenge from a strong Slutskaya who had dominated that year. Nikidinov nearly getting a medal, but sadly losing it in the last 90 seconds. Short programs from the top 8 were all amazing.
3. 1993 Worlds- What is funny is people mock the 93-94 period alot but this was actually a great event. Of the top 10 only Kerrigan and Chouinard didnt deliver. Bonaly with her best performances ever. Chen was outstanding, especialy in the LP, and also good enough to have won. Baiul at the time a breath of fresh air, and even if her win is questionable, probably her cleanest amateur competition she would ever have to win the World title. Preston with her best ever performances, and only lost a top 5 finish by a terrible and unlucky ordinal flip which bumped her 3 whole places. Szewcenko with her debut and a spectacular and completely clean LP with 5 triples. The veteran Kiellmann with the LP performance of her life, right after her young teammates great skate. Kulovana with the skate of her life in the LP in front of her home crowd, and a top 10 finish. The field may lack a superstar, but it sure didnt lack great performances and moments.
1. 2006 Olympics- The battle between Cohen, Arakawa, and Slutskaya was shaping up to be a very exciting one but it fell flat in the end with Shizuka coasting to gold with only 5 triples. Suguri, Ando, Kostner, were all dissapointing to various degrees too, and it was sad for Fumie to still skate cleanish and quite well and miss a medal to some splatfests, and seeing her understudy Shizuka overshadow her in a big way for the 2nd time in their careers, which summed up her career in a sad sense. Very dissapointing age rules kept Asada who would have been a huge factor out, and that Kwan couldnt skate in one final Olympics even if a medal was unlikely.
2. 2002 Olympics- so much excitement for the final LP but very few inspired performance and of course Hughes would be an ok bronze or even silver medalist ending up as the Olympic Champion
Last edited by judgejudy27; 09-09-2013 at 05:09 AM.
I had an almost identical description typed but erased it as I felt I had addressed too many events at that point. I have no clue where I would fit it in. Had U/Z been considered K/P's biggest threat and the Duchesnays been scored appropriately, it would've been one of the best, IMO. But, given that the Duchesnays were reigning World Champs and showed up with such garbage - and were then gifted a silver - changes the dynamics, IMO. You didn't say were you would put it?
Originally Posted by lulu
JJ: the 1995-1998 era of pairs is exactly why I put the caveat that most disappointing is different than worst. Had G/G reinstated in 1996, S/N gotten the respect they deserved (1994-1996 World Champions, and a part of the 1997 and 1998 teams ahead of K/D and E/B respectively), K/N continued and M/S stayed healthy, it could've turned out respectably. Far too many if's, and we ended up with E/B and K/D as World and Olympic Champions... Need I say more?
That said, in spite of the lack of talent worldwide at the time, an event like 1998 Worlds was still pretty disappointing. The last minute withdrawals of K/D and I/D turned a depleted field into an embarrassment. M/S nearly won a world title with SBS double axels and Peggy Schwarz, god bless her, became a World medalist. Yikes.
Tough question! JJ mentioned the 1991 Worlds, which was also a fantastic competition. Depending on my mood, it's probably between 1991, 1992 and 1997 for the top spot.
Originally Posted by JJS5056
1997 Worlds was also the first competition I watched "in real time," so it's hard for me to imagine sentiment toward some of the older events. For some, it's obvious, like 1994 Pairs. But, for something like 1992 Ice Dance, it's hard to rate whether fans were more amazed by Bach than they were disgusted with WSS.
I haven't heard as much praise of K/P's free dance in 1991, but perhaps D/D having a decent program balances it out. And, I would be tempted to consider 1992 a disappointment given the withdrawal of a top contending team and the fall of U/Z. JMO, of course!
I would also like to hear opinions of how COP has changed the overall impression of a competition, or even a performance. Seems as though we have lost the forest for the trees and have been trained to nitpick down to the entry edge, or 1/8th of a rotation, which keeps us from ever being lost in the magic or moment... Or, maybe, it's that even skaters are less likely to give us those magical moments when they know they might've ruined their chances when they popped a triple-triple or missed a rotation on their flying camel and lost a level? Or, a less doom-and-gloom outlook would be that the demands are just so much higher that cleaner performances are hard to come by... Which at least gives hope to the day that once skaters grow up with the system and training/coaching habits have evolved, we will one day reach a point where the tech requirements of the current system become second nature and the focus becomes, once again, on creating magical performances to rise above the field? The closest we have seen seems to be 2010 Ladies, so maybe Sochi will bring us some of these moments. I think pairs and dance are most likely.
Again, that's likely a whole different topic.
Alot of people didnt really like K&P`s 91 FD. That is why there isnt as much praise of it. Others loved it. It drew real mixed reviews, including from the judges. The Duchensays 91 program was Missing 2 and it was still pretty good, but already below their groundbreaking 88-90 work, but much better than WSS. Usova & Zhulin had the most enjoyable and beautiful FD at the 91 Worlds and came into it in the lead over K&P and D&D, although K&P were the technically strongest performance. It is hard to explain the Duchenays win other than it was their turn I guess. The Duchensays are sure lucky they won the 91 Worlds. If they hadnt (even had they been 2nd behind U&Z but over K&P at the 91 Worlds) they would fighting to hold off G&P for the bronze at the 92 Olympics given their skating there.
Any dance competition that had 3 teams legitimately in contention for the gold like in both the 91 and 94 major events, it already becomes the best for me. Since that is so shockingly rare in the event. You are already happy enough when there are 2.
And what do you guys think about the 2003-2005 period in dance? For me it was when I totally lost interest in ice dancing. It's not even about the technical level of teams from that period, more about them and their programs being so forgettable and dull. I cannot name one dance program from that time that I would remember and/or love.
I started following ice dancing again in 2006 just for the sake of the Olympics and mostly because of D/V's return. That year was already better, the field was very deep, but then again, the most memorable thing about that competition was still the OD's festival of falls.
I feel like from 2007 ice dancing has been growing incessantly and very possibly the 2014 Olympics will be one of the best dance events I've seen. Even though we all know two places on the podium are already taken, the battle for bronze should be very exciting.
For me the best ever was the 2010 Olympics because I was there! The best of the best was the Dance Final, when V&M won the gold. Scott was the most excited I have ever seen a skater, and I was right there with him. It was the experience of a lifetime and one I never expected to have.
Best ever pairs event, and best ever even IMO: 1994 Pairs, for all the reasons JJ stated
I also thought the 2003-2005 period in ice dancing was kind of flatlined and dull. The 2006 Olympics was exciting going in since it felt like 7 or 8 teams could medal going in but alot of the excitement died with the OD problems of almost every contender.
Around 2003-2005 (maybe a bit earlier), a lot of the dance programs became so dramatic and dark. They just weren't fun anymore. Plus, Navka and Kostomarov were good, but they just weren't exciting. Denkova and Staviski did bring some excitement though.
Originally Posted by mia joy
Say that again! DenStas virtually caught my eye, they were so exciting and powerful and their "Adagio"- music was just tailored for them.
Originally Posted by blue_idealist
1980 Olympics. Pairs. Tai and Randy (injury) withdrawal.