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  1. #1
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    Do most skating rivalries come down to the artistic one vs the athletic one?

    At least in singles skating?

    Tara vs Michelle: Tara had her slew of 3-3s, Michelle had the artistry but this rivalry was over before Tara matured, who knows if she might've developed stronger artistry since she retired.
    Mao vs Yuna: Mao has her 3A but she has also worked hard on her artistry and while Yuna doesn't do anything new in terms of jumps, she is hardly a slouch either. This seems like the most balanced rivalry with both skaters having good qualities in athleticism and artistry.
    Tonya vs. Nancy: I don't really see Nancy as anything special in artistry but clearly over someone like Tonya who didn't exactly try very hard to be graceful.
    Brian Orser vs Brian Boitano: Orser was seen as the more artsy skater but again, not like either were slouches in both departments.
    Plushenko vs Yagudin: Yagudin definitely seen as the most artistic, Plushenko was the one pushing the tech but again the age difference and early retirement of Yagudin makes you wonder how this would've continued if they were still rivals in like 2004-05.

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    No!

    It's only comparative. All the examples you gave are rivalries based on almost equal skaters, and "artist" vs. "athlete" labels are almost forced upon them IMO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by berthesghost View Post
    No!

    It's only comparative. All the examples you gave are rivalries based on almost equal skaters, and "artist" vs. "athlete" labels are almost forced upon them IMO.
    I agree completely.

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    The athlete vs artist narrative is almost entirely a media construct in every situation. It's easier and more accessible to a general audience than actually breaking down the small-scale differences/similarities between the skaters.

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    Media likes to paint things in black and white, when in reality things aren't as clear-cut. It mostly comes down to preference.

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    Michelle v. Sasha - both were artists, it came down to which was the better athlete or at least the better competitor.

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    Anyone who thinks Mao isn't an artist need only watch her Chopin short program to be set straight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by moviechicko_o View Post
    Do most skating rivalries come down to the artistic one vs the athletic one?
    The athletic one. Technical merit (jumps) is the most important thing. Artistry is just the icing on the cake. An artistic skater without jumps is worthless. I can think of many high ranking skaters over the years who had nothing to offer but jumps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny_Fever View Post
    The athletic one. Technical merit (jumps) is the most important thing. Artistry is just the icing on the cake. An artistic skater without jumps is worthless. I can think of many high ranking skaters over the years who had nothing to offer but jumps.
    That's true. You really can't get to the top with just artistry, while people like Timothy Goebel and Sarah Hughes have won medals with like almost zero artistry. And a guy like Stojko was able to win multiple world championships because his jump content was that much higher than everyone else's at the time.

    Most of these rivalries are fairly balanced, it's just usually one person has a slight advantage in tech while the other has an advantage in artistry.

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    I think the media is usually the one positioned rivalries as "athleticism vs. artistry", although in some cases it was true (e.g. Tonya vs. Nancy). Also, while technical difficulty is fairly objective, perceptions of artistry are not and can vary from one person to another. For example, I never thought Irina Slutskaya was a beautiful, artistic skater, but nevertheless, there were (and still are) many people who feel that she was.

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    I agree with those who say that the media helps construct that perception and I was pretty annoyed with the commentators' insistence that D&W were more "technical" and V&M were more "artistic" in the Olympics. And also there's the vagueness of what people mean when they use the term "artistic." Does it just mean strong in the program components (since program components replaced "presentation" which was previously known as "artistic impression").

    Skating skills are often excluded as being more technical, and sometimes transitions also. But if we mean "especially strong on performance/execution, choreography, and interpretation" when we say "artistic" then that makes it even more ludicrous to say that D&W are more technical than artistic considering they got 10s from almost all of the judges on those components. If only particular styles are considered "artistic" regardless of how well they are executed (even up to a 10 or close to 10 level) then that seems pretty biased to me.

    There's also the fact that every elite-level figure skater has to be athletic. Calling the "artistic" skaters "artistic" as opposed to athletic denigrates their accomplishments as athletes and might be part of the reason why figure skating isn't seen as a sport. Likewise many "athletic" skaters have their own styles that they can execute very well but sometimes if they don't fall into a very particular stereotyped view of what an "artistic" style is then they're classified as "not artistic."

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    Every rivalry is different. I wouldnt say it is always that simple. The mark of a truly great skater is one who can play both the athletic and artistic one depending who their rival is. For instance Yamaguchi being the athletic one in her rivalry with Trenary and Kerrigan, and the artistic one in her rivalry with Ito and Harding. Then you have other rivalries that follow differently:

    Asada vs Kim- outrageous jump difficulty, better spins and spirals, and more polished and delicate artistry vs much better jump quality, consistency, and better skating skills and dynamics
    Kim vs Asada- vast superiority in both technical merit and artistry vs Putin and Shekhovtseva
    Slutskaya vs Hughes- technical ability vs technical consistency
    sale vs berezhnaya- pair elements strength + romantic artistry vs singles elements strength + beautiful aritstry

  13. #13
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    Kwan and Slutskaya is a good example of the athletic one vs the artistic one. Slutskaya was the superior technical skater in everyway- jumps, jump combinations, spins, footwork, speed and power. However the judges liked Kwans artistry much more which made it almost a tie. I thought it should have been a closer rivalry with the judges than it was. I preferred Kwans skating by far, but they were more evenly matched than the judges treated them, heavily biased towards and favoring Kwan. The nice thing though is Kwan also had strong technical merit, and while Irina had no artistry she had strong presentation too. So both were complete as well.

    Another good example is Yamaguchi vs Ito. Yamaguchi the artistic one and Ito the technical one. Yamaguchi also had great technical merit too though.

    Another would be Yagudin vs Plushenko. The artistic Yagudin vs the athletic Plushenko.

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    If you want to see how the artist v. the athlete is a media construct, look at Nancy Kerrigan. She went from being labeled the artist in 1992 with Yamaguchi against Harding and Ito to the athlete in 1994 against Baiul (it was more of a post-hoc explanation as to why Kerrigan with better jump content lost to Baiul).
    "Corporation, n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility." - Ambrose Bierce

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    What was Kerrigan considered in her rivalry vs Yamaguchi. The athlete or artist or was she considered inferior in both.

    I watched the coverage of the 94 Europeans the other day and Trenary and hammond potrayed Nancy was the great athlete and jumper who lacked Baiuls artistry when talking during Oksana skating, but then potrayed her as the gorgeous artist who lacked the jumping ability of Bonaly while they showed her skate, in looking ahead to the Games.

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    I watched the coverage of the 94 Europeans the other day and Trenary and hammond potrayed Nancy was the great athlete and jumper who lacked Baiuls artistry when talking during Oksana skating, but then potrayed her as the gorgeous artist who lacked the jumping ability of Bonaly while they showed her skate, in looking ahead to the Games.
    Compared to Oksana, Nancy was stiff, unexpressive, and bad at interpreting music, but a gorgeous artist compared to someone as wretched as Bonaly, so there's not really a contradiction there.

    I think commentators used/use a lack of "artistry" as a lazy, catchall term to let uninformed viewers know that a skater like Bonaly sucked despite landing big jumps. It would have been more accurate to explain that Bonaly's technique was atrocious - she hulked around the ice on the flats of her blades, she sacrificed choreography in order to spend an eternity setting up her jumps, she couldn't hold a position in a spin or center a spin to save her life, etc. But who has time to explain all that?

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    To be fair, compared to Oksana Baiul pretty much every female skater looks like a potato sack on the ice. Watching Oksana skate was like watching a ballet performance at the Bolshoi.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuzytalent View Post
    Every rivalry is different. I wouldnt say it is always that simple. The mark of a truly great skater is one who can play both the athletic and artistic one depending who their rival is. For instance Yamaguchi being the athletic one in her rivalry with Trenary and Kerrigan, and the artistic one in her rivalry with Ito and Harding. Then you have other rivalries that follow differently:

    Asada vs Kim- outrageous jump difficulty, better spins and spirals, and more polished and delicate artistry vs much better jump quality, consistency, and better skating skills and dynamics
    Kim vs Asada- vast superiority in both technical merit and artistry vs Putin and Shekhovtseva
    Slutskaya vs Hughes- technical ability vs technical consistency
    sale vs berezhnaya- pair elements strength + romantic artistry vs singles elements strength + beautiful aritstry
    Putin? Lol what a hilarious contribution to topic discussion!!!

    Lol lol

    I mean in the media yes it does return to athlete vs artist but artists must have athlecism. And when It comes to atheists like stojko its mostly because their artistry is rejected by the cognicienti

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xela M View Post
    To be fair, compared to Oksana Baiul pretty much every female skater looks like a potato sack on the ice. Watching Oksana skate was like watching a ballet performance at the Bolshoi.
    What that heck? Oksana makes me think of Vaudeville . . . a little of this, a side show interlude, a little of that, a big finish . . . LOW AND BEHOLD, YOU HAVE A SHOW!!!

    Of course, the only program from Oksana I like is the SP from the 1992-93 season to Spanish music. Does anybody know that name of the music?
    Last edited by bardtoob; 03-13-2014 at 10:28 PM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by bardtoob View Post
    What that heck? Oksana makes me think of Vaudeville . . . a little of this, a side show interlude, a little of that, a big finish . . . LOW AND BEHOLD, YOU HAVE A SHOW!!!

    Of course, the only program from Oksana I like is the SP from the 1992-93 season to Spanish music. Does anybody know that name of the music?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bH0CAPzef8 I think it's my turn to ask... what the heck are you talking about?!

    There has never been a skater as graceful, artistic and musical as Oksana Baiul (with all my love for Pasha Grishuk, I have to disagree with her on her comments about Baiul)

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