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Baiul is underrated these days

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by KimGOAT, Sep 19, 2013.

  1. KimGOAT

    KimGOAT Active Member

    I am not her biggest fan but Baiul seems way underrated these days. People talk about her like she was some joke who the judges decided to elevate on top for no reason. Well she was a nobody before 93 Europeans. There is no way she was elevated for no reason. She isnt even a Russian, but a Ukranian which doesnt have much political pull in the sport. She must have had something very special to leapfrog a whole field of veterans, even if people dont see it now.

    I am not saying everyone has to agree with all her wins but she wasnt the joke people paint her as.

    I was surprised to see her having a ton of votes in the weakest competition threat either. Facing Kerrigan, Chen, Sato, Bonaly, and Choinaurd, all at or near their best is not weak competition. It was a very deep field even if there wasnt a skater in the top 5 all time in it.
  2. KimGOAT

    KimGOAT Active Member

    Baiul one has to say was the best lady artistic skater since Witt and Kadavy. Better than Yamaguchi and Kerrigan I think and much better than Ito, Harding, Bonaly, Manley in the artistic part of skating. Athletic part not as strong, but her jumps were much bigger and better done than Yamaguchi. Had she had more difficulty people would say she was a better jumper and skater than Kristi I think.
  3. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    I dont know if she is in the real World but she sure is on this forum. She is about the most not hated, but downplayed or diminished skater on this forum. Her skating did not stand the test of time, atleast for people here.
  4. Lnt175

    Lnt175 Member

    Baiul had great qualities to her skating. I'm not sure she is considered a joke, but her skating in 93 and 94 was pretty generic IMO. She had great speed, line, and at times almost like a ballerina on ice. But her LP consisted on what exactly, that was superior to her contempories. Yamaguchi as an amateur didn't have great artsitry, I agree, but she always had great in betweens and didn't rely on facial expressions alone. Ito is known as a jumper but even in 1988 had better presentation than Baiul.

    I don't think we ever saw how great Baiul could've been though. She had potential to skate a beautiful program with good dificulty, and had she not won gold and stayed in, she might have done just that.
  5. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

    Wasn't the 2nd mark in 1994 an Artistic mark? Not Presentation? They are not the same, not exactly. Baiul excelled at being artistic but I wouldn't say her presentation was as good as some of her closer competitors.
  6. bardtoob

    bardtoob Former Choreographer for Anna Maria Tragikova

    Okasana was always presented as a skater from "the former USSR", which was a more powerful position than being from China. She also was the first skater associated with the USSR to win at such a high level in Ladies singles.

    She was very nice to watch, and had better speed and flow across the ice than Bonaly.

    I think she was about as consistent as Nancy Kerrigan.

    She was held up at times with little reason. Her programs lacked field moves and jump combinations.

    She still has an Olympic Gold Medal and World Championship, there is no reason to pity her.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2013
  7. Marco

    Marco Well-Known Member

    She wasn't underrated given what she actually did at the two big events she won.
  8. Dr.Siouxs

    Dr.Siouxs Well-Known Member

    Oksana (along with Kurt and Yuka) captivated me in a profound way as a child. They are the origins of my admiration of the sport and I'll always treasure them. Next year marks the 20th anniversary of my fanhood.

    :oksana1: Legend
    FunnyBut and (deleted member) like this.
  9. smarts1

    smarts1 Well-Known Member

    Well... Wasn't there that story that she didn't even know what a bracket was and someone (I think Kurt) had to teach her later during a tour? Who knows what the h*** Galina was teaching her during their times together, but obviously Galina taught Oksana nothing. It showed because her LP was empty beyond lots of posing.
  10. Lnt175

    Lnt175 Member

    Yes, although it really was some of Baiuls Technical marks that were questionable even more so than AI. She definitely had artistic qualities, but I'm not sure I'd say she displayed much of it in her LP besides her showmanship.
  11. Jessica

    Jessica Well-Known Member

    Oksana had such a short career as an amateur. After winning the OGM she went pro where she had little success. I remember seeing her in person a couple times at the World Pro in D. C. Both times she had really bad performances. Between her pro skating and her personal problems, I've always felt sorry for her but never thought of her as a joke.
  12. barbk

    barbk Well-Known Member

    Oksana Baiul had worse jumps than Sarah Hughes, and neither of them would have many of the jumps ratified as triples under today's standards.

    Katia Gordeeva was a skater you could enjoy watching just skate around -- forget the jumps, and Oksana Baiul was similarly a skater who was just incredible to watch. I remember her body movements (particularly her arms) being hypnotically beautiful. Had she been held to a higher standard on her jumps I doubt she'd have won at the Olympics. But, times were different.
  13. TripleWallie

    TripleWallie Member

    I think it's because of the perception of her status relative to other World+Olympic champions. She doesn't rank near the top of many "best ever" list despite having the two most prized titles in figure skating.
  14. Primorskaya

    Primorskaya Trummerlotte

    Well, maybe there aren't enough Ukrainians on this forum :p

    Personally, like siouxdonym said upthread, she (along with G&G) is the reason I started watching FS. Whatever you want to call it, she had "it".
    We can try to compare then-and-now standards and depth of field till the end of times, there are completely irrational factors at play here, as often in this sport. Her 94 SP is something I can and will re-watch many, many times, and knowing she didn't do any crazy-difficult moves in it won't diminish my enjoyment at all. But then I really don't like bean counters.
    It's not like she's the only one who got away with serious mistakes anyway...

    :oksana1: (any excuse to use this) <3 <3 <3
  15. TripleWallie

    TripleWallie Member

    I think it's because of the perception of her status relative to other World+Olympic champions. She doesn't rank near the top of many "best ever" list despite having the two most prized titles in figure skating.
  16. Loves_Shizuka

    Loves_Shizuka The Stolbova/Klimov and James/Cipres Uber

    I think it's because she came and went almost in the blink of an eye. Essentially we saw one LP from her - an LP that today just looks a tad empty - and hammy.

    In comparison to the likes of Kim, Kwan, Witt, Arakawa, Asada, Kostner, Slutskaya et al., all of whom had relatively long careers and went to (or will do) at least two Olympics, Oksana didn't put so much out there for people to "get their teeth into". Aside from the O's, I believe she competed in Euros twice, one worlds, Skate America once and the Nations Cup twice. And that was about it. I guess when someone competes so little they have less of a chance to make that lasting impression in comparison to those I mentioned. Her professional outings haven't helped her "legacy" either unfortunately.

    That's not to take away from her obvious skills and talents - her SP in 1994, for example, is a much better showcase of what she was truly capable of. So even though she'd already bagged the two biggest medals a skater can get, it's a shame she didn't hang around after Lillehammer - especially considering the troubles she'd go through soon after. Who knows where her skating could have gone as she matured and learned. Her vs Kwan vs Chen in 1996 could have been :swoon: ... but it wasn't to be.

    It also leads me to wonder what might have been had Kerrigan won in Lillehammer - would Baiul have still retired? From the outside it seemed one of the issues for her was "too much, too soon", for which she didn't seem to have the tools to cope with. In hindsight it seems that decision may have been a pivotal moment for her (...or maybe not)

    ETA: According to wiki, she finished 12th and 10th in the USSR champs in 90 and 91. To go from being 10th in your "country" to winning worlds two years later is :eek: :respec: (I wonder what the standard was like at those Soviet champs; I don't recall many prominent Soviet ladies in the late 80's/early 90's, other than Lebedeva maybe?)
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2013
  17. Mafke

    Mafke Well-Known Member

    I think she was hugely talented and had the potential to become one of the all time greats. But her single LP doesn't hold up very well and with the benefit of hindsight it's hard to overlook the problems.

    Basically she was rewarded too much too quickly by judges and lost any motivation to stay eligible and work on the (very big) gaps in her skating and some questionable technique and .... well we know what happened.

    I put her next to Harding in the 'What might have been" group.

    There's also the bad advice from Galina problem. IIRC Soviet (and/or post Soviet) skating coaches received a percentage of former students skating income and (dare I say?) I think Galina was thinking more of the money than of Oksana.....
  18. Marco

    Marco Well-Known Member

    For me, I just don't think she deserved to or at least decisively won those 2 titles.
  19. Loves_Shizuka

    Loves_Shizuka The Stolbova/Klimov and James/Cipres Uber

    I also think there's an element of Baiul being "the one who very questionably beat Kerrigan" in 1994.
  20. Jammers

    Jammers Well-Known Member

    Oksana did pretty damn good for someone who trained in bad conditions in a poor country compared to someone like Kerrigan who had the best of everything. Problem with Bauil is she had no adult supervision once she won the OGM and then she came to the US made tons of money and was allowed to do whatever she wanted. Perhaps it was too much too soon but i think if she had had a stable loving family she wouldn't have gone off the rails like she did. I have yet to see a skater since who had the presence she had on the ice. She probably would have benefited from better coaching too. The moment she stepped on the ice at Worlds 1993 you knew she had "it".
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2013
  21. cbd1235

    cbd1235 Well-Known Member

    I actually think Baiul was one of the best ever in terms of line and skating abilities. She absolutely captivates me. Definitely in my top 2 with Michelle Kwan.

    On the other hand, I'm usually embarrassed to bring her up since she seems ridiculed by almost everyone haha.
  22. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Yuzuru, Medvedeva, T&M, Shibs, P&C

    On this board she is very underrated and hated by many. A lot of the comments here would imply that she was not even a senior level skater. She skated in 1994 under 6.0 but she is being evaluated based on COP rules. She had wonderful basic skating skills, and she was always in a perfect position, no matter what she was doing (according to some here, she was not doing anything at all). She had wonderful arm movements that expressed the music. Her jumps had very good height, and her lutz was done from the correct edge. Her flip was also done from the correct edge, and she had lovely salchows and loops. She had a wonderful flow on the ice. Her presence on the ice was extraordinary. There are only a few skaters that can touch the audience the way she did (some others- Kwan, Galindo, Petrenko, Slutskaya). It's all a part of the package.

    Despite her young age, she had a deep emotional connection with the music and the audience. You only have to watch her 'Swan' exhibition at the 94 Olympics to see that. Tracy Wilson once said - "Our sport is very fortunate to have her". Some comments by commentators were - "Music flows through her", "Her flow on the ice is fantastic"- Those are not something to sneer at.

    She did not realize her enormous potential for many reasons but to imply that she was nothing when she won the OGM 94 amounts to a strong dislike. I did not agree with her 93 world title, but a silver would have been fine. In 94 I was not that impressed with Kerrigan; she was wooden and robotic, with some unattractive moves. It was a very close decision, as it should have been. It could have gone either way, and there is no need to hate Oksana for that.

    Outside this board, I have no idea how others view her. I have not seen her skate in years, and I was not impressed with her post-2000 pro routines when I did watch her. The changes in her body made some things more difficult for her but her personal issues may be the main reason she did not realize her potential as a skater and artist.
    AxelAnnie and (deleted member) like this.
  23. PairSk8Fan

    PairSk8Fan Banned Member

    This seems true. One of the reasons she is diminished, and maybe some extent Tara Lipinski as well, is that they won the largest of all competitions while they were changing and yet to be at their mature forms as women, skaters and artists. Oksana is not at all the balletic skater she was when she won, and she seems to have gone on to prefer a more Pop Diva approach to her numbers as a professional.

    Maybe it is the skating after 1996 or so that she produced that is under-appreciated. I think she is unique in her dance studio, in-front-of-a-mirror style of choreography, which I appreciate. If she were a consistent jumper I would have enjoyed her pro skating much much more.
  24. kwanatic

    kwanatic Well-Known Member

    Oksana was a favorite of mine when I was younger. My mother absolutely adored her so that's who I cheered for. I was only 7 or 8 when she won the Olys in 1994 and I didn't know anything about technique, edges, moves in the field, etc. I just knew she was pretty and bubbly and I liked her. Plus, I never liked Nancy Kerrigan. She always looked so damn mean to me...plus I remember her making the news with her really bitchy attitude during the parade at Disney World. Disney World is heaven for a child so to see her calling it all "corny" and "dumb" was shocking:eek:. As a kid I didn't care for her before the Olympics and I flat out hated her after that. In hindsight, watching the performances from Lillehammer, I probably would have given Nancy the gold over Oksana...but I was thrilled Oksana won. I still am.

    Oksana (along with Kristi) was responsible for drawing me to the sport. There was just something about her that really captivated me. I do think her career was too short and that has a lot to do with her reputation on these kinds of forums. I really enjoyed her early professional skating. She wasn't that great of a competitor but I loved her programs: the tribute to Sergei, her duet with Viktor Petrenko, and her programs to "Sadness" and "The Feeling Begins" were all amazing and are still some of my favorites today.

    I see Oksana as more of an artist. She had a number of lovely programs and she really knew how to bring the drama and emotion to the ice when she skated. For that, she'll always be one of my favorites...:D
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2013
  25. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

    No, it has been known since 1993 that she has no turns in her programs. And it has been pointed ou in 1999 in COI tour by Brian Boitano.
    Oksana Baiul is a fantastic skater, with fabulous speed, control, height in the jumps, and beautiful spins. But her LP was only about theatre on ice, with nothing with the feet. And technically, she didn't show the talent she could have on spins, and her landings on jumps were questionnable.
    Her SP in Lillehammer was brilliant (except the 2-footed landing on the combo) ;)
  26. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Yuzuru, Medvedeva, T&M, Shibs, P&C

    Oksana had wonderful spins (6.0 type; not the COP types where you are forced to change positions, at the cost of musical interpretation and quality of spins). Until then most ladies - with the exception of Biellman- were just doing the standard spins. Oksana brought beauty to the spins, spirals, by using her flexibility and the ability to hold a great position on the ice. She was not a consistent jumper and probably lacked confidence, but she was capable of beautiful landings as witnessed in her 3lutz in the LP.
  27. Loves_Shizuka

    Loves_Shizuka The Stolbova/Klimov and James/Cipres Uber

    Was Oksana the first to do the donut spin?
  28. bardtoob

    bardtoob Former Choreographer for Anna Maria Tragikova

    Cecelia Colledge did that spin 75 years ago.
  29. Bournekraatzfan

    Bournekraatzfan Well-Known Member

    I was a kid when Oksana won her titles and I fell in love with her sense of movement and her connection to the music. Her Lillehammer Black Swan is one of my all-time favourite Olympic performances. And I continued to enjoy her Pro performances, especially some of her work with Sarah Arakawa. Her interpretation of "Meditation" even surpasses B&S's for me, which is saying a lot. I miss her and wish we had an opportunity to see her skate these days.

    Thanks. I always assumed Oksana was the first.
  30. PairSk8Fan

    PairSk8Fan Banned Member

    Now here is reference to a very underappreciated skater. Colledge was the first to do camel and layback spins, donut spin and a double jump in her programs.