It's someone that left a lasting impression on the sport by doing something extraordinary- e.g. The Protopopovs changed pairs skating forever, Elvis Stojko made the quad jump routine, Midori Ito's triple axel, Torville-Dean's row of 6.0's for Bolero (a moment etched in skating history). Not every legend will be known to a casual fan, but the real fans will remember them and/or try to dig up their tapes or youtubes to watch what they did.
I usually do not include any of the current skaters on the list because their careers are still developing. One exception, however. Plushenko has already achieved the legendary status in spite of being a 'current' skater. His comeback in the 2010 Olympics and his efforts to skate in his 4th Olympics - yes, the efforts- are legendary. In the quad-jump era, I have not seen a skater with such longevity, and such passion for the sport that he undergoes numerous surgeries and rehabs just to be able to compete.
Currently there are skaters that could become legends- V&M, Chan, Yu na Kim, and possibly D&W (they are almost there, IMO). If D&W win the OGM in Sochi, they will definitely be legendary, in case their two world titles are not.
Some skaters are legends in their own countries, but not worldwide, and that is very understandable.
The bottomline is there is no fixed definition of a legend. Each one makes up his/her own definition. Some are limited to the country (like someone mentioned Korpi and Joubert). For a broader definition I would go for a wider fan base and a very long time frame to define it.
It's not that I don't consider Plushenko as a legend in figure skating.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9Gm-9Jd1u4 he advertised it in Japan in summer of 2012 ( the price: 11 000$)
Last edited by lala; 10-29-2013 at 06:55 AM.
It's important to be able to look beyond one's own preferences. I mean, I've never been a huge fan of Plushenko's skating, but it's obvious to me that his competitive record and influence make him a legend.
The only reason someone would leave Michelle off a list was bc she does not have OGM. But she has everything else and came close - 2 times - to the OGM. Her longevity in the sport - making THREE Olympic teams - pretty much medaling every year at worlds, is unmatched by any skater in any discipline. For anyone to say she should not be on a list of worldwide greats is just a travesty. Someone would only say that if they buy the media hype that OGM defines a great skater. It does not and should not and Michelle is a perfect example of that.
For 95% of people is the US, if you asked, name one great skater of the last 20 years- Michelle is who you would mention. Michelle defined the sport in the late 90/early 2000s. Indeed, if you asked that question 10 years ago I think most ordinary people in the world not just USA would mention her. Many people may not even know she never got OGM.
I generally agree with the original list (in the first post), though I'd add Michelle Kwan (she's become such an icon how can she NOT be included!) and Grishuk/Platov (I hated them throughout the 1998 Olympics thanks to the NBC "fluffs" but have since come to really appreciate them - plus, they did win 2 OGMs, and Pasha was memorable to say the least!).
I'd personally include both Yagudin and Plushenko, though if I HAD to pick just one I'd go with Plushenko. I loved Yagudin and rooted for him over Plushy during their rivalry and esp. the 2002 Olys, but Plushenko's definitely left more of a legacy in the sport with his quite successful comebacks, sheer determination and UNREAL jumping talent (I covet the athletic side more, so sue me =P). I was pretty annoyed with how the American media vilified him in Vancouver (that's a whole other topic), but he IS quite well known (as far as figure skaters go) and respected in other parts of the world. Actually, even in the U.S., he and Yagudin are like the only skaters other than Kwan that my friends who are no longer into fs and don't know any of the current skaters remember fondly - it was if nothing else a legendary rivalry.
You have a point about skaters being legends in their own countries but not internationally. I'd say that Denkova/Staviski will go down in history as the first Bulgarian skaters to win a worlds gold medal (well, they won two in a row!), what makes them legends from the Bulgarian point of view, for sure.
Michelle may be the one of the few skaters to not win OGM to be on a list of greats...and that just underscore what a great she is. To be considered among your sports greats without winning the pinnacle trophy is truly an extraordinary accomplishment.
IMO when the list of 'legendary' becomes really long, the word loses its meaning.
Also, I agree that context is important, as in legendary in a country, in the world, or in an era.
difficult to say now since I'm a FS fan. But when I started to watch FS back to the late 80's, the legends were :
I recall seeing both Yagudin and Plushenko at 98 Worlds and it was immediately obvious to me which was legendary. Side by side during practice it was easy to see that while Yagudin had It, Plushenko had IT.
But I also do think both of them are considered legendary around the world.
PLUSHENKO YOU ARE ALWAYS THE BEST