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  1. #1
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    Baiul is underrated these days

    I am not her biggest fan but Baiul seems way underrated these days. People talk about her like she was some joke who the judges decided to elevate on top for no reason. Well she was a nobody before 93 Europeans. There is no way she was elevated for no reason. She isnt even a Russian, but a Ukranian which doesnt have much political pull in the sport. She must have had something very special to leapfrog a whole field of veterans, even if people dont see it now.

    I am not saying everyone has to agree with all her wins but she wasnt the joke people paint her as.

    I was surprised to see her having a ton of votes in the weakest competition threat either. Facing Kerrigan, Chen, Sato, Bonaly, and Choinaurd, all at or near their best is not weak competition. It was a very deep field even if there wasnt a skater in the top 5 all time in it.

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    Baiul one has to say was the best lady artistic skater since Witt and Kadavy. Better than Yamaguchi and Kerrigan I think and much better than Ito, Harding, Bonaly, Manley in the artistic part of skating. Athletic part not as strong, but her jumps were much bigger and better done than Yamaguchi. Had she had more difficulty people would say she was a better jumper and skater than Kristi I think.

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    I dont know if she is in the real World but she sure is on this forum. She is about the most not hated, but downplayed or diminished skater on this forum. Her skating did not stand the test of time, atleast for people here.

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    Baiul had great qualities to her skating. I'm not sure she is considered a joke, but her skating in 93 and 94 was pretty generic IMO. She had great speed, line, and at times almost like a ballerina on ice. But her LP consisted on what exactly, that was superior to her contempories. Yamaguchi as an amateur didn't have great artsitry, I agree, but she always had great in betweens and didn't rely on facial expressions alone. Ito is known as a jumper but even in 1988 had better presentation than Baiul.

    I don't think we ever saw how great Baiul could've been though. She had potential to skate a beautiful program with good dificulty, and had she not won gold and stayed in, she might have done just that.

  5. #5

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    Wasn't the 2nd mark in 1994 an Artistic mark? Not Presentation? They are not the same, not exactly. Baiul excelled at being artistic but I wouldn't say her presentation was as good as some of her closer competitors.
    -Brian
    "Michelle would never be caught with sausage grease staining her Vera Wang." - rfisher

  6. #6

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    Okasana was always presented as a skater from "the former USSR", which was a more powerful position than being from China. She also was the first skater associated with the USSR to win at such a high level in Ladies singles.

    She was very nice to watch, and had better speed and flow across the ice than Bonaly.

    I think she was about as consistent as Nancy Kerrigan.

    She was held up at times with little reason. Her programs lacked field moves and jump combinations.

    She still has an Olympic Gold Medal and World Championship, there is no reason to pity her.
    Last edited by bardtoob; 09-20-2013 at 01:51 AM.

  7. #7
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    She wasn't underrated given what she actually did at the two big events she won.

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    Oksana (along with Kurt and Yuka) captivated me in a profound way as a child. They are the origins of my admiration of the sport and I'll always treasure them. Next year marks the 20th anniversary of my fanhood.

    Legend

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    Well... Wasn't there that story that she didn't even know what a bracket was and someone (I think Kurt) had to teach her later during a tour? Who knows what the h*** Galina was teaching her during their times together, but obviously Galina taught Oksana nothing. It showed because her LP was empty beyond lots of posing.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigB08822 View Post
    Wasn't the 2nd mark in 1994 an Artistic mark? Not Presentation? They are not the same, not exactly. Baiul excelled at being artistic but I wouldn't say her presentation was as good as some of her closer competitors.
    Yes, although it really was some of Baiuls Technical marks that were questionable even more so than AI. She definitely had artistic qualities, but I'm not sure I'd say she displayed much of it in her LP besides her showmanship.

  11. #11

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    Oksana had such a short career as an amateur. After winning the OGM she went pro where she had little success. I remember seeing her in person a couple times at the World Pro in D. C. Both times she had really bad performances. Between her pro skating and her personal problems, I've always felt sorry for her but never thought of her as a joke.

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    Oksana Baiul had worse jumps than Sarah Hughes, and neither of them would have many of the jumps ratified as triples under today's standards.

    Katia Gordeeva was a skater you could enjoy watching just skate around -- forget the jumps, and Oksana Baiul was similarly a skater who was just incredible to watch. I remember her body movements (particularly her arms) being hypnotically beautiful. Had she been held to a higher standard on her jumps I doubt she'd have won at the Olympics. But, times were different.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marco View Post
    She wasn't underrated given what she actually did at the two big events she won.
    I think it's because of the perception of her status relative to other World+Olympic champions. She doesn't rank near the top of many "best ever" list despite having the two most prized titles in figure skating.

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    Well, maybe there aren't enough Ukrainians on this forum

    Personally, like siouxdonym said upthread, she (along with G&G) is the reason I started watching FS. Whatever you want to call it, she had "it".
    We can try to compare then-and-now standards and depth of field till the end of times, there are completely irrational factors at play here, as often in this sport. Her 94 SP is something I can and will re-watch many, many times, and knowing she didn't do any crazy-difficult moves in it won't diminish my enjoyment at all. But then I really don't like bean counters.
    It's not like she's the only one who got away with serious mistakes anyway...

    (any excuse to use this) <3 <3 <3
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marco View Post
    She wasn't underrated given what she actually did at the two big events she won.
    I think it's because of the perception of her status relative to other World+Olympic champions. She doesn't rank near the top of many "best ever" list despite having the two most prized titles in figure skating.

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    I think it's because she came and went almost in the blink of an eye. Essentially we saw one LP from her - an LP that today just looks a tad empty - and hammy.

    In comparison to the likes of Kim, Kwan, Witt, Arakawa, Asada, Kostner, Slutskaya et al., all of whom had relatively long careers and went to (or will do) at least two Olympics, Oksana didn't put so much out there for people to "get their teeth into". Aside from the O's, I believe she competed in Euros twice, one worlds, Skate America once and the Nations Cup twice. And that was about it. I guess when someone competes so little they have less of a chance to make that lasting impression in comparison to those I mentioned. Her professional outings haven't helped her "legacy" either unfortunately.

    That's not to take away from her obvious skills and talents - her SP in 1994, for example, is a much better showcase of what she was truly capable of. So even though she'd already bagged the two biggest medals a skater can get, it's a shame she didn't hang around after Lillehammer - especially considering the troubles she'd go through soon after. Who knows where her skating could have gone as she matured and learned. Her vs Kwan vs Chen in 1996 could have been ... but it wasn't to be.

    It also leads me to wonder what might have been had Kerrigan won in Lillehammer - would Baiul have still retired? From the outside it seemed one of the issues for her was "too much, too soon", for which she didn't seem to have the tools to cope with. In hindsight it seems that decision may have been a pivotal moment for her (...or maybe not)

    ETA: According to wiki, she finished 12th and 10th in the USSR champs in 90 and 91. To go from being 10th in your "country" to winning worlds two years later is (I wonder what the standard was like at those Soviet champs; I don't recall many prominent Soviet ladies in the late 80's/early 90's, other than Lebedeva maybe?)
    Last edited by Loves_Shizuka; 09-20-2013 at 09:59 AM.

  17. #17
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    I think she was hugely talented and had the potential to become one of the all time greats. But her single LP doesn't hold up very well and with the benefit of hindsight it's hard to overlook the problems.

    Basically she was rewarded too much too quickly by judges and lost any motivation to stay eligible and work on the (very big) gaps in her skating and some questionable technique and .... well we know what happened.

    I put her next to Harding in the 'What might have been" group.

    There's also the bad advice from Galina problem. IIRC Soviet (and/or post Soviet) skating coaches received a percentage of former students skating income and (dare I say?) I think Galina was thinking more of the money than of Oksana.....

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by TripleWallie View Post
    I think it's because of the perception of her status relative to other World+Olympic champions. She doesn't rank near the top of many "best ever" list despite having the two most prized titles in figure skating.
    For me, I just don't think she deserved to or at least decisively won those 2 titles.

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    I also think there's an element of Baiul being "the one who very questionably beat Kerrigan" in 1994.

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    Oksana did pretty damn good for someone who trained in bad conditions in a poor country compared to someone like Kerrigan who had the best of everything. Problem with Bauil is she had no adult supervision once she won the OGM and then she came to the US made tons of money and was allowed to do whatever she wanted. Perhaps it was too much too soon but i think if she had had a stable loving family she wouldn't have gone off the rails like she did. I have yet to see a skater since who had the presence she had on the ice. She probably would have benefited from better coaching too. The moment she stepped on the ice at Worlds 1993 you knew she had "it".
    Last edited by Jammers; 09-20-2013 at 12:02 PM.

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