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  1. #1

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    Biggest upset/most unexpected result ever?

    In getting sidetracked in the U.S. Ladies thread I argued that a poster didn't deserve to be mocked for suggesting that no one was a lock for the Olympic ladies event from the U.S. The poster doing the mocking suggested that if we were going to even discuss that possibility, we might as well take into account the possibility of an asteroid hitting the earth. It would be considered an upset if Gracie and/or Ashley didn't make the team, but it's still early in the season, and even right now it wouldn't be a bigger upset than a number of others that have happened at U.S. Nationals.

    1996: Rudy Galindo's win
    2008: 14-year-old Mirai winning and Kimmie only being 7th (though we serious skating fans had known that Mirai had serious talent prior to that)
    2009: Brandon Mroz finishing 2nd ahead of Lysacek (who went on to win Worlds that year), with Weir (who had won bronze at the GPF) finishing only 5th.
    2010: McLaughlin & Brubaker finishing only 5th at Nationals, after being featured in a commercial for the Olympics and considered the heavy favorites for the title, and nearly locks for the team
    2011: Ryan Bradley winning after not competing all season and only deciding to enter Nationals relatively late in the game, as I remember. Dornbush and Miner finishing 2nd and 3rd, and neither Abbott nor Rippon making the world team.

    I also argued that if someone was arguing that Davis & White might not make the team, that it would be more understandable to mock them, because that would be the skating equivalent of an asteroid hitting the earth, and I doubted that any result in the history of figure skating had ever been as big of an upset as that would be.

    Some other REALLY unexpected results that I remember:

    Nobunari Oda not even qualifying for the free skate at 2010 Worlds, after doing fine at the Olympics and with no talk of any injuries.

    (Lu Chen not qualifying for the free in 1997 was also surprising, but we knew she wasn't at her peak).

    Laurent Tobel beating Alexei Yagudin in the qualifying round at 1999 Euros (OK, it was the qualifying round so Yags probably didn't give 100% but I remembered being really shocked by that ).

    Kulikova & Markov displacing Denkova & Staviyski from the podium at Skate Canada in 2002 (the latter of whom went on win Bronze at Worlds that season). I do remember really loving K&N's free dance at that competition.

    ETA: This probably belongs in the Trash Can now that I think about it.

  2. #2

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    Sarah Meier winning 2011 Euros was a huge surprise. She'd been injured so often toward the end of her career and probably wouldn't have competed were it not in Switzerland. Her goal, I believe, was top six. I don't think there was a skating fan alive who wasn't happy for her when the marks came up.

    Brian Joubert's first Euros medal was very unexpected, too; he was 17 and in his first senior season,had been third at French Nats, and had never medalled internationally before that.

  3. #3

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    Good ones. Also Lepisto's 1st place in the short program at Skate Canada was very surprising. It was her first major senior international and she had been 7th at Junior Worlds the previous season. (She couldn't hold it together in the free skate though).

  4. #4
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    A few that spring to mind:

    1976 Worlds: Susanna Drianno, 3rd Place
    1994 Winter Olympics: Paul Wylie, 2nd Place
    1999 NHK Trophy: Tatiana Malinina, 1st Place
    2000 Japanese Championships: Chisato Shiina, 1st Place
    2002 Winter Olympics: Sarah Hughes, 1st Place
    2004 JGP Budapest: Yuna Kim, 1st Place
    2006 Worlds: Kimmie Meissner, 1st Place
    2007 U.S. Nationals: Brooke Castile & Benjamin Okolski, 1st Place
    2008 World Championships: Jeffrey Buttle, 1st Place
    2013 Worlds: Denis Ten, 2nd Place
    Last edited by Vagabond; 10-29-2013 at 12:00 AM.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zemgirl View Post
    Sarah Meier winning 2011 Euros was a huge surprise. She'd been injured so often toward the end of her career and probably wouldn't have competed were it not in Switzerland. Her goal, I believe, was top six. I don't think there was a skating fan alive who wasn't happy for her.
    Brian Joubert's first Euros medal was very unexpected, too; he was 17 and in his first senior season,had been third at French Nats, and had never medalled internationally before that.
    Zemgirl, I still get tears in my eyes whe I remember that. Korpi was leading after SP, and I would have loved her to win, but it was such a great moment for Sarah (ok, I am crying now..)
    Brian was also a big surprise, but I remember thinking he deserved it.

  6. #6

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    Shizuka Arakawa:

    2003 Worlds 8th
    2004 Worlds 1st
    2005 Worlds 9th
    2006 Olympics 1st

  7. #7

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    Another major surprise was the Shibutanis winning the bronze at 2011 Worlds. Though that one makes me sad, as it happened because of P/B's fall.

    Quote Originally Posted by Finnice View Post
    Zemgirl, I still get tears in my eyes whe I remember that. Korpi was leading after SP, and I would have loved her to win, but it was such a great moment for Sarah (ok, I am crying now..)
    It's one of my favorite things that I've seen as a skating fan. I do hope that Korpi will have a similarly happy ending to her own career.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by RFOS View Post


    I also argued that if someone was arguing that Davis & White might not make the team, that it would be more understandable to mock them, because that would be the skating equivalent of an asteroid hitting the earth, and I doubted that any result in the history of figure skating had ever been as big of an upset as that would be.
    Speaking of Davis/White, considering it's ice dance and usually a team only won the ice dance title once the leading team had stepped down, them winning over Belbin/Agosto could be considered a big upset as well. Even though it may not have been skill-wise. Hierarchy-wise it was.

    And to stay in the realms of that - Virtue/Moir and Davis/White winning over Domnina/Shabalin in 2010 certainly was a big upset!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zemgirl View Post
    Another major surprise was the Shibutanis winning the bronze at 2011 Worlds.
    Let's flashback ten years, or so. Could anyone ever imagine a US ice dance team winning bronze at worlds and then not being a lock to make the team less than three years later when there are three slots available? I'll feel awful for the Shibutanis if they miss out on Sochi.
    Last edited by fenway2; 10-28-2013 at 07:36 PM.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zemgirl View Post
    It's one of my favorite things that I've seen as a skating fan. I do hope that Korpi will have a similarly happy ending to her own career.
    Oh yes!

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    1988 Olympics - Ice Dancing - the 14th place and 15th place teams (after the CDs) switched ranking after the OSP! Considering every other team (of the 20 total teams) had the exact same placements in CD, OSP, and FD, it has to be considered a major upset!!!

  12. #12
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    Lu Chen had a debilitating injury in 1997 but was forced by her Federation to compete. She could barely stand, let alone skate, and her result wasn't much of a surprise. It wasn't a surprise melt-down. It's amazing she was able to recover for the 1988 Olympics.

    It was considered an enormous surprise when Tara Lipinski, who was much hyped at the time, finished 23rd and barely made the FS at her first Worlds, but she in the FS and put herself on the map in a way that wouldn't have happened has she been 14the in the SP and FS.

    It may have been a surprise that Nagasu won in 2008, but not that Meissner ranked so low: even though she came in 1/2 in her GP's and made GPF (6th), her scores were in a pretty consistent range until Worlds, where she still would have come in 7th with her high score from Skate America. Her 2008 Nationals score was right in the middle of her international scores up to that point. The controversy at the time was sending her to Worlds over Hacker, one of the few times USFS took other results into consideration in appointing the Worlds team.
    "'Is this new BMW-designed sled the ultimate sledding machine for Langdon and Holcomb?' Leigh Diffey asked before the pair cruised to victory. I don’t know, but I know that sled is the ultimate Olympic Games product placement.." -- Jen Chaney

  13. #13

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    Was Vodorezova's first-place finish in the free skate at 1977 Worlds a big surprise? She did make a big impression at the Olympics the previous season, but I should think that the expectation would be a win for Fratianne or Poetzsch in that phase of competition.

  14. #14

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    This sounds like a Trash can thread. I don't mean that it is 'Trash'- far from it. It's just that the topic is more suitable for the TC forum, rather than GSD (yes, I am nitpicky).

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vagabond View Post
    A few that spring to mind:

    1976 Worlds: Susanna Drianno, 3rd Place
    1994 Winter Olympics: Paul Wylie, 2nd Place
    1999 NHK Trophy: Tatiana Malinina, 1st Place
    2000 Japanese Championships: Chisato Shiina, 1st Place
    2002 Winter Olympics: Sarah Hughes, 1st Place
    2004 JGP Budapest: Yuna Kim, 1st Place
    2006 Worlds: Kimmie Meissner, 1st Place
    2007 U.S. Nationals: Brooke Castile & Benjamin Okolski, 1st Place
    2008 World Championships: Jeffrey Buttle, 1st Place
    2013 Worlds: Denis Ten, 2nd Place
    This post reminds me of when Tatiana Malinina won the GPF in '99. Actually, her results for that entire '98-99 season were pleasantly shocking (the NHK win, the win at Four Continents, and 4th at Worlds).

  16. #16
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    Butyrskaya 99 Worlds?!? It was a forgone conclusion Kwan would win if she even just showed up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alchemy void View Post
    Butyrskaya 99 Worlds?!? It was a forgone conclusion Kwan would win if she even just showed up.
    I remember Peggy Fleming saying on the air that Michelle Kwan would have to leave the building for anyone else to come in first.

  18. #18

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    Paul Wylie and Petr Brana winning silver and bronze, and Kurt Browning not on the podium at all, at the 1992 Olympics.

    Petrova-Tikhonov winning worlds in 2000 ahead of S&Z and S&P (B&S were absent)

  19. #19
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    Butyrskaya's win over Kwan at the 99 Worlds would have to be one of the biggest I agree. Maria had never been a real threat to Michelle before, and while there was hype in the early season she might be the one to challenge her that year, she had a year full of inconsistent skating, and had just lost the Grand Prix final in a big upset to Malinina with some huge splats. Although truth be told I had a funny feeling before it began Maria would win those Worlds and predicted so to many people, and was told I was crazy, and lo and behold it happened.

    Petrova & Tikhonov winning the 2000 Worlds was an upset in a way, but it shouldnt have been in retrospect with B&S out. They had been by far the most consistent team of anyone that year, including Berezhnaya & Sikharulidze who were now out. They had won all 3 of their grand prix events, no other team had won more than one. They had been the only team to do 3 clean programs at the Grand Prix final (nobody else even did more than 1) although still placed 4th. They were 2nd behind B&S at Europeans, but had won the short program. Sale & Pelletier had been dead last at the Grand Prix final and lost both their meetings to P&T this year, so I am not sure especialy why they were more favored, although to some they were.

    While none of the 3 actual medalists were a huge upset, Plushenko not being on the podium at the 2000 Worlds was a huge upset. Given his consistency and dominance that season he was heavily favored to win over Yagudin, and at worst people thought he would never come lower than 2nd. As it turned out the 3 medalists all made mistakes over every program (minus Yagudin's clean short) and Plushenko still had enough problems in the final free skate to not medal. Yagudin with a mistake filled final free skate won gold, and Stojko missing his signature quad attempt in everyone of the 3 programs still managed silver.

    Kwan winning the 2000 Worlds felt like a surprise, especialy after being 3rd in the short and drawing 1st to skate in the long. I would have expected one of Butyrskaya or Slutskaya to win for sure at that point, and Kwan to probably end up with only the bronze, but Kwan had an amazing free skate, and had the performances and placings of the other two to go exactly right according to the math, to come out the winner.

    Gritschuk & Platov winning the 94 Olympics felt like an upset to me, although I guess it shouldnt have been given that they nearly won Europeans. I still figured at the Olympics the judges would go with either the sentimental favorites and supposed Russian #1 Usova & Zhulin, reigning World Champs; or the legendary Torvill and Dean who had won Europeans that year. When G&P dropped to 3rd after the OD, it seemed even more likely it would be 1 of those other 2 coming out on top, with the best G&P could hope maybe moving up to silver.

    Cohen coming 2nd at the 2000 Nationals was a huge surprise. I dont think anyone picked that before the 2000 Nationals. Even her 2nd at the 2002 Nationals over Hughes was a big surprise. Before Nationals most had her fighting with Angela for the 3rd spot on the team, and Hughes to challenge Kwan for the title this year. Conversely her coming down in 3rd at the 2003 Nationals when Kwan and Hughes had barely competed and Hughes was clearly out of shape was a surprise, as was her not winning the 2004 Nationals after dominating the grand prix.

    Arakawa winning the 2006 Olympics was a pretty big surprise if one were to tell you before the event. All the talk was about Slutskaya, Cohen, home country girl Kostner, and before she WD Kwan (albeit everyone knowing she was a long shot but still garnered talk). Not so much when the competition actually began as she had won all the practices in Turin. However pre Olympics one wouldnt have picked her to win over Slutskaya and Cohen, as she had been relatively quiet since her World title, and the biggest talk of the Japanese was Mao Asada, who would have been their best hope of gold, not being able to compete due to age.

    Brian Boitano's win at the 86 Worlds was a huge upset. He needed all of Fadeev, Orser, and Sabovcik to bomb in their free skates to win, and that is what happened. He wasnt even a big name up to that point, and had been only 5th in the short at those Worlds (despite a clean skate). Fadeev was so far ahead after the figures and short he needed to place 3 or 4 long program placings below to be passed by him for instance (but skated so poorly he did).

    The mens results of the 92 Olympics were a huge surprise all around. Browning as low as 6th, Eldredge way down in 10th (even though people knew both were injured, I dont think anyone believed if they deemed themselves ready to compete they would do this poorly), and of course Wylie's shock silver. Petrenko winning was not a surprise really, but that he was able to win with such a poor performance for his standards was somewhat. That Barna was able to win the bronze with such a mediocre and flawed performance was as well.

    It may seem funny to say now but Miskutienok & Dmitriev's victory at the 91 Worlds was a surprise. The hype had been strong on Brasseur & Eisler winning that year, taking advantage of the good fortune they had to have the previous years Worlds at home which likely boosted their result and momentum, but M&D's amazing rendition of Dreams of Love could not be denied, especialy after Lloyd singled a jump. I remember being so happy with the result I danced around, as the B&E hype machine on both CBC and NBC had been nauseating, and I didnt even like them at that point (I warmed up to them some in later years, even though Eisler's poor sportsmanship always irritated me).

    Bourne & Kraatz winning the 97 and 2002 Grand Prix finals over Krylova & Ovsiannikov (97) and Anissina & Peizerat and reigning World Champions Fusar Poli & Margalio (2002) was a pretty both surprise both times. Lobacheva & Averbuhk who had never been higher than 3rd in any major meet, and had missed most of that season injured, winning silver and nearly gold at the 2002 Olympics was also a pretty big surprise.
    Last edited by judgejudy27; 10-29-2013 at 06:04 PM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    Butyrskaya's win over Kwan at the 99 Worlds would have to be one of the biggest I agree....... ........ Lobacheva & Averbuhk who had never been higher than 3rd in any major meet, and had missed most of that season injured, winning silver and nearly gold at the 2002 Olympics was also a pretty big surprise.
    This entire post is the kind of post that brings me to FSU. It has history, editorial and other comments and is entertaining and informative, as opposed to the "reputation comments" and other posts by folks like antmanb, Robeye, siouxdonym and misskarne (for example) which are pablum and direct some kind of venom or ignorant name calling at posters and do not demonstrate any knowledge of the sport, only superficial fandom.
    Brava Judge Judy.

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