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Greatest European Ladies Singles Skater Of All Time?

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by Maofan7, Feb 21, 2012.

Greatest European Ladies Singles Skater Of All Time?

Poll closed Mar 23, 2012.
  1. Herma Szabo

    1 vote(s)
  2. Sonja Henie

    41 vote(s)
  3. Cecilia Colledge

    6 vote(s)
  4. Sjoukje Dijkstra

    0 vote(s)
  5. Gabriele Seyfert

    0 vote(s)
  6. Anett Pötzsch

    0 vote(s)
  7. Denise Biellmann

    7 vote(s)
  8. Katarina Witt

    71 vote(s)
  9. Oksana Baiul

    9 vote(s)
  10. Irina Slutskaya

    62 vote(s)
  11. Maria Butyrskaya

    8 vote(s)
  12. Other

    9 vote(s)
  1. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    Say what you will about Irina but she was a legit threat to win gold at every major event she entered from 2000-2006 (other than perhaps 2004 Worlds just back from a major illness) and a legit threat to atleast medal at every major event she entered in 1996-2006. I doubt very much someone like Witt would have been that strong a factor for so many years in the Michelle Kwan era.

    Henjie is hard to compare, she is from a whole different zone altogether. I am sure she was an amazing skater, but there are some horror stories of the kind of politics that went behind some of her wins, ones that would put even the work the Russian and German federations did for Witt and Slutskaya to seem like nothing. Her first World title came with 3 of the 5 judges being from Norway, and she won despite the 2 non Norwegian judges voting for the 5 time defending Champion Herma Plack, and her win created such an uproar that only 1 judge per country was ever allowed in the future. Some have said Maribel Vinson outskated her at times and lost, and most seem to think Cecilia Colledge had surpassed her by the mid 30s but was not allowed by the powers that be to ever win.
  2. Cyn

    Cyn Well-Known Member

    I voted for Henie, not just because of her skating skills, but because of the impact she had on figure skating.

    She's inarguably the most successful competitive Lady in Figure Skating history, with 3 Olympic Gold Medals, 10 World Gold Medals, and 6 European Gold Medals.

    In addition to that, Henie introduced wearing decorative costumes, particularly ones that dared to *GASP!* show off her legs, as well as being the first skater to wear white boots :swoon:, changing the style of dress from Mary Poppins clones into Tiffed :glamor:. She's also the skater who introduced the idea of using dance/choreography in her programs (hmmm….I wonder if she skated to Malaguena, Swan Lake, and Rach2? :p)

    Despite the controversy about her affiliation with Hitler and the Nazi Party, the skating movies she made helped to bring the sport (and the artistic glamor of it) to the mainstream public and create an interest in the figure skating. Without her contributions, there's a good chance we wouldn't now have the :eek: :drama: :rofl: costume voids we know and love so much
  3. PashaFan

    PashaFan Well-Known Member

    I agree about Henie. I've read some things about her that does IMO put a huge question mark next to her name.
    But about Witt. She was in a different era to Kwan & could only beat the skaters she was up against in the 80's. Also, there were probably things she had to overcome too. Two Olympic gold medals IMO put's her at the top. Slutskaya, Kwan & Kostner do not have that. Baiul does but did not have the long career.
    These day's the European girls struggle at the World's & Olympics.
    Europe have not had a female World Champion since 2005.
  4. caro-ira

    caro-ira New Member

    For me, it's Irina Slutskaya, despite the lack of the Olympic Gold.

    I also think Carolina Kostner should have been included in the list. ;)
  5. berthesghost

    berthesghost Well-Known Member

    Now we're going by gossip?
    Jon Jackson wrote something like irina wouldn't make top 10 at us nats! :lol: toller Cranston wrote that Peggy fell in her oly fs (hire a fact checker next time toller!) :lol: cupcake gave an interview about how she obviously outskated kwan at 03 worlds and wuz robbed by cheatin judges! :lol: and let's not even get started on Sandra and scot at Slc Olys! :lol:
    I can't believe a regular poster at fsu is putting stock in "well, people say...." :rolleyes: 50 years from now someone will be posting "well the French judge said that Stapleton intimidated her.." :lol:
  6. Karpenko

    Karpenko Not Impressed.

    Irina got way too much flack for not being polished. She was a dynamic skater, I always wanted to wring her neck when she tried something soft pretty and flowy because it was like she was giving in to her critics. And then I wanted to wring the judges necks for giving her 6.0's. ;) There is still yet to be a skater in the past ten years who had that dynamic spark that Irina had. She never really got a program that did it justice, the one I think that came closest to showing how good Irina could be was this program:

    I always rooted for Kwan over her, but she had a dynamic star power that really shined through when she was on and performing to the right programs.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2012
    Vash01 and (deleted member) like this.
  7. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    These arent just solo random people saying crazy things (especialy ones with no credability like jaded former judge Jon Jackson). Many credible people have written and implied the same things on Henjie, some of her wins, and some of the events that transpired.
  8. PashaFan

    PashaFan Well-Known Member

    You are right. It's a fact.
    It's a shame that somebody who achieved what she did on the ice will always have that said about her.
  9. Nomad

    Nomad Celebrity cheese-monger

    IIRC one of those people was Henie's own brother.
  10. Moka-Ananas

    Moka-Ananas Man's Ruin

    Slutskaya. Love her. Can't stand Witt.
  11. DimaToe

    DimaToe El Chen-te Fernández

    My heart will always belong to Queen Masha:glamor:, when she was on it was just pure magic:swoon:.

    Oh, and shout out to Bonaly, she was also a fantastic skater, even without the basics :cool:
  12. Dilng

    Dilng Well-Known Member

    :lol: That sums it up for me. I liked Witt in her early years competing, but she became annoying and then I got to the point where I couldn't stand her either!

    Totally agree with JudgeJudy27 about Henie.
  13. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Member

    In terms of Surya Bonaly and Carolina Kostner not being included, the maximum number of options in a poll is 12. This poll includes 11 skaters plus an 'other' option. The key thing for me as to why Bonaly and Kostner were not included in the poll ahead of the 11 that were, was that Bonaly never succeeded in becoming a world or Olympic champion, and Kostner has not yet become a world or Olympic champion. She may yet still do so. In terms of the records of the 11 that are on the list:-

    Herma Szabo - 1 Olympic title, 5 world titles
    Sonja Henie - 3 Olympic titles, 10 world titles, 6 Euro titles
    Cecilia Colledge - 1 world title, 3 Euro titles, favourite for the cancelled 1940 olympics
    Sjoukje Dijkstra - 1 Olympic title, 3 world titles, 5 Euro titles
    Gabriele Seyfert - 2 world titles, 3 Euro titles, favourite for 72 Olympics had she not retired
    Anett Pötzsch - 1 Olympic title, 2 world titles, 4 Euro titles
    Denise Biellmann - 1 world title, 1 Euro titles - would have won more, but retired
    Katarina Witt - 2 Olympic titles, 4 world titles, 6 Euro titles
    Oksana Baiul - 1 Olympic title, 1 world title
    Irina Slutskaya - 2 world titles, 7 Euro titles
    Maria Butyrskaya - 1 world title, 3 Euro titles - would have been more, but was competing in an era which included Kwan & Slutskaya.

    Hence, there was simply no room for Bonaly and Kostner in the poll. The 11 that did get in quite simply have better records than them. However, Kostner's career has not yet finished and if she does win world and Olympic titles over the next few years then that could all change. It is also worth noting that there were several other world and Olympic champions that didn't make the final 11, who I would say were also ahead of Bonaly and Kostner, such as:-

    Trixi Schuba - 1 Olympic title, 2 world titles, 2 Euro titles
    Jeannette Altwegg - 1 Olympic title, 1 world title, 2 Euro titles
    Madge Syers - 1 Olympic title, 2 world titles

    There are also several others who became world champions who did not make the final 11, and who are also arguably ahead of Bonaly and Kostner.

    In terms of what I mean by a "great skater" - it includes all sorts of factors including the quality of their skating, their competitiveness, their temperament, and their overall record (i.e. the overall 'package' taking all aspects into account). That is, what makes a 'great' figure skater for me is someone who has the ability to produce quality skating, who has a great competitive temperament, and who can deliver the 'goods' as it were in terms of medals on the world stage at the most important events (i.e. the Olympics and worlds). Bonaly and Kostner's great weaknesses were that they were not able to win a world or Olympic gold medal (Kostner may yet still do so), and their competitive temperament failed them at key moments. Moreover, in terms of Bonaly, she had great jumping technique, but there were many problems with other aspects of her skating which others have already alluded to in this thread. As for Kostner, she has for the most part had problems with the more difficult jumps, and has for some time now been skating with content which has been significantly scaled back in terms of difficulty.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2012
  14. ioana

    ioana Well-Known Member

    :confused: I believe that makes her a very good jumper, excellent back-flipper, but still a mediocre skater.
  15. query5

    query5 New Member

    i am torn between herma szabo 5 world titles and olympic gold, plus a world title in pairs and katarina witt..
    i chose both but can only vote for 1 so i refrain from voting.
  16. bardtoob

    bardtoob Former Choreographer for Anna Maria Tragikova

    To me, this is the most debatable poll. Stiff competition.
  17. Ares

    Ares Guest

    I voted for Maria Butyrskaya. She holds a couple records for being old and Russian (1st Russian woman to win World title, oldest woman to win Euros and Worlds) but mostly I just voted for her because she was always a rockstar and most enjoyable of this list for me to watch. :glamor:
  18. reflect

    reflect New Member

    whole post:cheer2:

    The definition of "greatest" is different of "my favourate". "favourate" can be subjective as well as artistry, and we can just count the uber's number for each skater in this forum.

    But "Great" or "Greatest", there should be some standard such as titles, record, technique creation, influence to the sports, etc. JMHO.
  19. museksk8r

    museksk8r Holding an edge and looking dangerously sexy

    Witt, Butyrskaya, and Kostner! :encore:

    I appreciated Slutskaya's athleticism. :)
  20. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    Haha at Biellmann being below Baiul and Butyrskaya in this poll. That has to be some joke. In her 30s she could still skate circles around both of them. Maria was probably one of the flukiest 1 time winners ever, a hugely inconsistent skater who managed to peak and have her only good LP ever in a super weak transition year with nobody there except Kwan. She did have a chance to repeat her win in a strong field the following year, but of course there was almost no chance of her doing a good LP two years in a row so not really.

    I might have even included Bonaly on the poll over Butyrskaya. She does have more European titles, and 3 top 2 World medals to 1 for Maria. She was also a gold contender much more often in her career than Maria was.
  21. PashaFan

    PashaFan Well-Known Member

    Do you show up at childrens birthday parties just to burst their balloons?!
    Why do you have to trash something that someone else has worked hard for?.
    Maria was not the most talented skater in the World but she EARNED her World title. She had no control over how anyone skated OR who was there.
    Kwan won the World title the year before when everyone else skated poorly but she still deserved it.
    Maria was a fighter. I respect that.
    To call her win in 99' a fluke just shows how little YOU respect others.
    That's sad.
  22. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    She deserved her World title and I am happy for her, but she is still not in the league as these others on the list.

    If we arent going to subjectively evaluate skaters victories vs one another, and their sheer abilities, what is the point of even having these threads in the first place. Yes she is a World Champion and always will be, but she did win in a transition year with almost no top skaters there. She was never even really one of the top skaters of any era other than the short transition period between generations, she was clearly behind Kwan, Chen, Slutskaya, Lipinski, Bonaly, and Baiul at first, then was clearly behind all of Kwan, Slutskaya, Hughes, in the second. She has only one top 2 finish at Worlds and Olympics. She wasnt hardly ever a real threat for the top of the podium. Compared to the others on this list she is just not at the same level. Even some who werent included like Bonaly are better. For her to have more votes than Biellmann and even Baiul is funny for me. Also what stood out about her skating as great. Not jumps, not spins, not footwork, definitely not spirals, not basic skating, her artistry was too awkward and stiff to be called great, maybe on ice maturity.

    PS- yes Kwans 98 World title is by far her least impressive but nobody really cares when she has 4 other spectacular ones, and when she has a good chance to win any year anyway.
  23. PashaFan

    PashaFan Well-Known Member

    I agree about the others you have listed as above her apart from Hughes.
    Hughes IMO cheated a lot of her jumps & never touched what Maria could do in artistic terms.
    Bonaly was a much better jumper than many including Maria but never on the artistic mark.
    For me purely on the second mark, Maria was a beautiful skater. I never found her awkward like Slutskaya. But each to their own.
  24. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    If she were smoother and emoted more she wuold have been a great artist. She had pretty lines and positions, and had a style and maturity. She also sensed and interpreted music well, and her choreography was usually strong. However she also had a stiff and slightly awkward quality, and she had a coldness to her presentation as Peggy Fleming said.

    The thing about Surya is she atleast had something that set her apart, for 3 years she was doing and consistency landing much tougher jumps than anyone else. Maria never had something that set her apart from all other top women.

    As for Hughes what set her apart was her consistency, for 2 years she was the most consistent skater on the planet, including Kwan or Slutskaya. When up against Marias massive inconsistency, with Maria losing substantial ground and ceasing to any longer be a threat to Kwan and Slutskaya, and that Hughes was trying tougher jumps and combinations than Maria, and with Hughes also having superior spins and spirals, this allowed Hughes to pass Maria by even if Maria had better jumps (when landed) and better artistry. I prefer Marias skating but there is no question Hughes was a much bigger force and contender at the money end of the quad (00-01 and 01-02 seasons) than Maria was. Maria winning the bronze in SLC would have seemed as big an upset as Hughes winning the gold was.
  25. BmcC102

    BmcC102 Active Member

    Although Henie and Kat are probably the best, my favorite is Carolina Kostner! Gotta love her programs.
  26. PashaFan

    PashaFan Well-Known Member

    In SLC I would have had Maria ahead of Sarah in the short, but then I would have had quite a few skaters ahead of Sarah in the short.
    Sarah's programes IMO were not special in terms of choreography, Maria's IMO was. If you seperate the technical & the artistic you would have two completely different competitions.
    Kwan would have had won an artistic Gold in Nagano. Rochette an artistic Gold in Vancouver.
    I find Maria more interesting to watch than Sarah & even though both have now gone from competitive skating when I still look back at their skating I still feel the same.
    In the early 90's I found Tonya Harding a great technical skater-but inconsistent & Nancy Kerrigan a great artistic skater. All in all I would prefer to watch Nancy.
    The same for Midori Ito Vs Kristi Yamaguchi or Michelle Kwan Vs Tara Lipinski.
    It depends on what makes you watch figure skating.
    What Floats Your Boat;)
  27. Marco

    Marco Well-Known Member

    Kostner. She has it all.

    As accomplished as Witt was, I wish someone would point out that she really isn't that good a skater. Competitor, yes. Performer, yes. Star, yes. Skater, not really.

    Slutskaya had strong elements and skills, but somehow the total was always less than the sum of its parts.
  28. PashaFan

    PashaFan Well-Known Member

    Witt as a pro skater cleaned up her lines & looked much better than in the 80's.
    I was quite shocked (Having only watched Witt since the 90's as a pro) when I watched her on Youtube, how bad her leg positions were in spins & spirals.
    Debbie Thomas was much better than her in that respect.
    But in the 80's IMO she was much better & consistent than everyone else.
    And being a beautiful as she was also helped her.