Alice Sue Claeys, the U.S. girl who skated for Belgium.
She skated a super free program at the 1992 World Championships. She kind of faded then returned to the United States in the mid 90s and competed there for a bit.
What is the minimum achievement for a breakthrough, is there a rough consensus?
Maybe we'd add Tania Szewczenko on the list, she had a couple of medals, but disappeared too soon. Kristina Oblassova. Alena Leonova, Ksenia Makarova? Kanako Murakami is hopefully fighting her way back to the top? The Swiss spinners Lucinda Ruh, Nathalie Krieg were beautiful to watch, but never learned the hardest triples, and Denmar's Mikkeline Kierkegaard also quit after trying pairs in Germany.. Maybe Jennifer Kirk, Katy Taylor, and also Emily Hughes? And Stefan Lindemann?
Last edited by Kati; 02-27-2014 at 01:01 PM.
I think that a number of those mentioned did "breakthrough" as far as they could.
Tomas Verner was European champion in 2008 and won two other European medals, Evelyn Grossman won European gold and silver, Alena Leonova won World silver, and Stefan Lindemann won World and European bronze.
Verner was hopelessly inconsistent, Grossman knew that with Surya Bonaly in the mix she wouldn't win again, Leonova has almost certainly won as much as she's ever going to, and Lindemann was never going to win gold at any championships because by that time Plushenko and Lambiel (and others) were dominant.
IMO the four above probably achieved all that they could given their talent.
Last edited by orientalplane; 02-27-2014 at 02:06 PM.
As a team, I might mention Navka & Gezalian. Of course, Navka found major success with Kostomarov years later but Navka & Gezalian seemed poised to be medal threats in the early 90s. They won Skate American in 1991, placed 9th at the 1993 Worlds with an interesting tango free dance (I personally had them several places higher) and then 5th at the 1994 Worlds (I had them at least 4th). Gezalian wasn't quite at Navka's level but I still thought they were a very promising team. But allegedly Natalia Dubova found out that Navka and Alexander Zhulin were having an affair sometime shortly after those worlds and so to avoid a scandal, she sent this team back to Moscow where they trained on their own. A year later, they showed up to Euros and Worlds looking heavier, out of shape, and skating the exact same free dance which is rare in ice dance. Not surprisingly they fell down the rankings and the pair broke up soon after. And Navka drifted away from Dubova but became world and olympic champion later on (as many of Dubova's students seem to do after leaving her).
Sometimes, the skaters who knock our collective socks off right out of juniors, like Ilia Kulik, do go on to win big events, and sometimes they just get derailed by growth, injury, poor work ethic, or other issues. And sometimes, people reach that "nearly" level only by getting everything they could out of their talents and abilities. Those folks IMO were never really poised to break thru because they already had maximized their potential.
Still, I guess you can "break through" at any level. A lot of the kids who look good as intermediates never break thru at the junior level, too.
Last edited by Susan M; 02-27-2014 at 04:43 PM.
It's true that that not every skater out there has the same level of potential. Jennifer Robinson, for example, was considered to have maxed out on her potential by finishing in the top ten, and Joannie Rochette maximizing her talent meant a World Silver Medal and an Olympic Bronze.
Artur Cachinski is a good example, he won bronze but then seemed to go downhill.
A few people mentioned Emily Hughes but honestly I never thought she was poised to do anything more than she did. if anything, I think she sort of overachieved and basically just had a lot of name recognition due to being Sarah's sister.
Gacinski is 20? I thought he was older, OK then. He can still resurge.
Krikanova & Platov - 3 time junior world champs in ice dance which is still a record but after they won the 3rd gold medal, Evgeni said that she apparently lost that competitive fire and had other priorities in life (like getting married and having children)
Yukari Nakano - I'm hesitant to mention her as she's had a perfectly respectable career but she never made it to the Olympics and I don't believe she's ever won a world medal (please correct me if I'm wrong about that), she perhaps could've achieved more
Romanova & Yaroshenko - they seemed moderately promising in 93 and 94 but after that, they seemed to lose whatever spark they once had (and I thought they were badly over-scored throughout the rest of their amateur career)
Verdict is still out on Takahiko Kozuka, though with Oda and Daisuke retiring he can re-emrge. Gacinski is also TBD as his career isn't over yet.
I agree about Romanova/Yorashenko, I think they said it was because they never had a judge on their panel
Yukari Nakano too, there was some controversy over Miki Ando being chosen in 2006 over Nakano because Nakano placed higher than Ando at nationals and at the Grand Prix Final, winning bronze over Ando who was fourth. That's how deep Japan was back then.
Bebe Liang & Rohene Ward.