Lisa Ervin- did she ever have big potential to become a star or not so much
One skater who is interesting to look back on is Lisa Ervin. She was a top junior competitor, winning 3 straight World Junior Silvers vs some superb competition- Bonaly, Sato, Hubert, Chen, Szewcenko. These were the podiums of her 3 World Junior silvers:
1991: Gold- Bonaly, Silver- Ervin, Bronze- Chen
1992: Gold- Hubert, Silver- Ervin, Bronze- Chen
1993: Gold- Kowai, Silver- Ervin, Bronze- Szewcenko
However she never mastered any jumps harder than the triple loop. She came 2nd at the 1993 Nationals but it was mostly through others mistakes. She skated a pretty good clean performance but only landing 2 triple toes and a triple salchow. She also had fallen in the short program there. Around that time skaters like Bobek and Kwan were coming up who could do all the triple jumps. At the 93 Nationals young Kwan landed 5 triples including the triple lutz, so far outjumped Ervin, even though she finished only 6th. Nicole Bobek landed only 2 triples and came 5th (although was also very close to 2nd or 3rd) but some observers felt she was ripped off, as her presentation already had much more spark and polish to it than Ervin's who was almost like a young Kwiatkowski clone.
In 1994 she plumetted backwards in a big way. At the 94 Nationals she was 7th, and she retired altogether after coming dead last of 5 (behind Kwan, Bobek, Kwiatkowski, and Ina) at some event called the Sun Valley Championships in summer 94. By then she had left Carol Heiss and was with the Scotvolds.
Did she never have true potential to be a star and a medal contender on the international scene. Or was she just an excellent junior skater who never had the athletic potential or spark in her presentation to be a top Senior lady, even had things gone right.
Considering she never acquired a 3Lutz or a 3flip, my response would be no. As a junior skater, she was able to get by with her easier content, but no way would that content be able to take her near the top in the senior division. Ervin never had the "IT" factor (the charismatic personality or the "wow!" moves) that oozed from Bobek. The USFSA's plan to teach Harding and Bobek a lesson on character in 1993 only served to backfire and leave them all with egg on their faces. As a result, the USA only fielded 2 ladies spots to the Lillehammer Olympics. Character alone doesn't win medals or precious Olympic berths.
Yes, I think that she 'never mastered anything harder than a loop' puts her out of contention for a high placement as a senior. I was just watching some of her videos in the 1993 thread, she had some nice spins, generally a quality skater. But even with the easier content she often made mistakes. Carol Heiss was never able to impart her own competitive fierceness and invincibility on her students, in particular Lisa and Tonia.
From memory, Ervin attempted the 3flip in Hull, Quebec at the 1992 World Junior Championships. Granted, she two - footed the landing but it was a jump she had been landing in practice. Lisa was also landing both the 3flip and the 3lutz in practice in Detroit at the 1994 US National Championships. It is a shame she had become so inconsistent by this point due to health issues which are well covered in Christine Brennan's book, The Inside Edge.
Originally Posted by museksk8r
I found Lisa to be a very elegant, mature and subtle skater. Along with Joanna Ng, it seems a shame she never really reached her potential.
I found she and Tonia skated the same way. Rushed, jerky crossovers, and very strange old fashioned jump technique. Tonia had all the triples and couldnt place top 5 at Worlds even when she skated her best (96 and 98 Worlds). So I dont think Lisa, basically a Tonia clone, would have been a contender at the World level even had she acquired all the triples. As it was she couldnt even do that, and probably would have never made another World team, even if she didnt slump.
Maybe had she not slumped in 94 she could have won the bronze at Worlds over Szewcenko who also had nothing harder than a triple loop, and had immature young artistry. That is only if she skated her very best.
Originally Posted by museksk8r
The U.S would have had only 2 spots for the 94 Olympics regardless. Bobek was a mess prior to 95 and missed the qualifying round at the 94 Worlds. Harding was not skating well enough to have any hope to medal at the 93 Worlds. Kerrigan was their only hope for 3 spots regardless who they sent, and she screwed it up.
- Rep Power
Probably 'no', but hard to quantify. I got the impression that skating was a passing activity for Lisa, that her concentration in the 90s was to get into Harvard and earn her degree. That said, IF she had been completely devoted to skating, she would've probably worked hard to upgrade her jump content. Then again, even with nothing more than a 3loop (IIRC) she seemed just as liable to bomb as any garden-variety head case, so even devoted and trying lutzes and flips would've likely been too much.
It was probably a passing activity since she knew her own limited potential. I think the same was true of Tonia. She focused more on school since she realized she didnt have the potential to be a big star to begin with.
Originally Posted by olympic