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Have *so many* top skaters ever been THIS inconsistent?

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by Icetalavista, Feb 4, 2011.

  1. Icetalavista

    Icetalavista Active Member

    I've been watching skating for a long time and really can't remember a time when SO MANY of the top skaters could soar - or sink - or both - at a given competition. A list:

    Faiella & Scali

    I'm sure I've missed some.

    Is it just me, or does it seem like a lot more skaters are performing inconsistently these days? Is COP to blame, with so many requirements? Is it just a coincidence?
  2. DreamSkates

    DreamSkates Well-Known Member

    Isn't Czisny having her most consistent season to date?
    Abbott had an injury and very slow start to the season plus year after Olympics is sometimes a downer.
    Kostner was injured...Asada lost her confident at the Olympics...Ando? Nagasu stated she had "learned her lesson" but still has some maturing to get that competitive toughness so she won't melt at the wrong time.
    There aren't too many skaters who skate a perfect program every time. ???

    Or I could add, let's count the splatfests!
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2011
  3. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    No COP isn't to blame because the skaters should be used to it by now.

    The majority of skaters competing at top level who are totally consistent and mistake free has always been in the minority.

    I do get annoyed that many seem to have expectations that it has to be all about the jumps. There is so much more to skating than jumps. Skating is a bloody hard sport and there is so much a skater has to do - jump and spin on top of actually skate. And then they are expected to put in work on the music and movement.

    And you can't say that most of them don't work extremely hard at it and are passionate and dedicated to their sport. But they don't go out there to intentionally fall on their butts.

    I forgive skaters who can do all that stuff really well but maybe make a couple of mistakes because it is not as if I am getting out there and doing it. And I can still looked a program and think how good it is regardless of a couple of mistakes because I can appreciate the work that has gone into it. So let's cut them some slack.
  4. Twilight1

    Twilight1 Well-Known Member

    Yes.... off the top of my head... (and only the 90's because I remember most competitions from this decade)

    Men in 90's- Galindo, Urmanov, Candeloro, Barna, Wylie, Millot
    Women in 90's- Kerrigan, Harding, Ito, Chounaird, Sato, Chen, Bonaly, Bobek, Hubert
    Pairs- B&E, M&S, E&B, S&N, W&S, K&D, B&S
    Ice Dance- I can't think of any team that consistently had issues but G&P certainly had their share of spills...(but still won lol!!)
  5. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    Yes. 1993 comes to mind because it was also a post-Olympic year and thus the top skaters included some older skaters who had already been at the top but hadn't achieved their goals and were willing to stick around for the next Olympics (the two-year gap made that especially feasible) and a bunch of younger newcomers who hadn't yet proven which ones were going to make it for the long haul and which just had a good year that year.

    Also, it was early in the first generation that came to senior level post-figures, and for the ladies that meant a rush to include more triples than the previous generation could medal with.

    Look especially at the men's competition at 1993 Euros. Dmitrenko won by placing third in the long program, because no one else put two decent programs together there.

    Favorites heading into that season would have included Urmanov (redeemed himself with what would end up being his only world medal), Eldredge (sixth at US Nationals), Zagorodniuk (Dmitrenko got Ukraine's spot at Worlds), Candeloro (better long programs than short) . . . Stojko and Browning were about the only steadiest competitors out there.

    For ladies, Bonaly and Chen did pretty well that year. Sato did OK. Kerrigan won US Nationals with a so-so performance and bombed at Worlds. Harding didn't make the US team. Chouinard was inconsistent as always. Kielman didn't make much of an impact. Most of the other top ladies that year were newcomers, and few of them went on to establish a reputation for consistency.

    But I bet if you look at other post-Olympic years, you'd see similar volatility.
    RunnersHigh and (deleted member) like this.
  6. Cheylana

    Cheylana Well-Known Member

    I would consider adding Oda and Takahashi to the list. Not total headcases or anything but they've had their meltdowns. Oda does himself in time and time with those COP errors :wall:
  7. blue_idealist

    blue_idealist Well-Known Member

    I think they used ot be just as inconsistent, but now they're not judged by reputation as much, so it's more evident in the results
    mag and (deleted member) like this.
  8. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

    Oh the glorious past when the world was a much better place... :D
    jl and (deleted member) like this.
  9. loopey

    loopey Well-Known Member

    I kind of understand what you are saying. Back in the day consistent skaters like Kwan, Lipinski, Hughes, Eldredge, Kulik, Plushenko, Yagudin, Slutskaya, and Elvis all dominated podium spots because they had consistency. They may not have always skated completely clean, but in general they didn't have melt downs, and had more clean skates than mistakes. If you look at the top skaters/teams now, you could easily argue they don't have the same record of clean skating as the old days. I don't know that CoP has anything to do with it though, times have just changed.

    I still think PCS allows for reputation judging. Perhaps not as much, but it's obviously still there IMO. (and in a big way).
    Vash01 and (deleted member) like this.
  10. millyskate

    millyskate Well-Known Member

    In skating terms, someone who has medalled at 10 european championships in a row is not inconsistent. (Oh, and 6 world championship medals as well). I just don't get why people place him in the inconsistent category at all. He's not a jump machine like Plush. He doesn't come up with his best *every* time, but close enough to feature on the podium more often than not over a period of a decade.

    If you compare him to skaters of comparable ability, like Verner, Ando and Kostner, he sure has made the absolute best of what he has.

    To answer your question, I think it's just the nature of the sport. In the past, there were fewer skaters at the top and more biased judging, so the favorites could get away with messy performances and still win.
    Apart from Kwan and Plushenko, I can't think of any skater who skated clear or near clean every single time. And even PLushenko had his moments...he was just a long way ahead of the pack in terms of jumping ability.

    ETA: I would also remove Asada from the list. She's been struggling recently, but her results up until this season were consistent.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2011
    Vash01 and (deleted member) like this.


    Hmm, yes, I guess there seems to be more inconsistency in some of the top skaters of today than in the past. My non-intellectual position is that I'm going to blame it on the IJS because that's what I like to do. :)

    Though, I would take Ando off the inconsistent list.
  12. julieann

    julieann Well-Known Member


    ITA Again, what sport ever has perfection in 4 1/2 minutes? It's very rare, and even if we think it looked good or it won, I'm sure the athlete feels different.

    I don't like it when judges don't utilize the range enough, clearly skaters are not 8s across the boards (they can be) but most are not. Some can have a 9s in execution and a 6s in transitions but you rarely see scores like that.
  13. Sparks

    Sparks Well-Known Member

    Wouldn't it be easier to name the consistent skaters since 1988? The list would be shorter...
  14. pinky166

    pinky166 #teamtrainwreck #teamdiva

    Ando is consistent now but used to be a real headcase when she was younger.

    Mao belongs on the list, she's bombed her fall competitions the past 2 straight seasons, and even before that, she had her fair share of meltdowns in the FS such as 06 JW, 06 SA, 06 GPF and then at the 07 GPF she completely missed her 3lz in the SP. Joubert, like Mao consistently has good results, but he's a bit of a headcase as well in that he often makes big boo boos in at least one of his programs at any given competition. Takahashi also has good results but is capable of soo much better than what he usually delivers. His scores on the GP this season are reflective of that.
  15. DickButtonFan

    DickButtonFan New Member

    Don't forget to add Patrick Chan to your list :D
  16. millyskate

    millyskate Well-Known Member

    Both Mao and Joubert were pretty solid when they were are the top of their fields. When the competition showed up, their nerves took a hit.
    I don't think that skaters have become less consistent. There is just more competition, hence more nerves, and a greater variety of skaters medalling. I like it that way.

    Many skaters can deal with one oponent (for ex Joubert v Plushenko) . But when a whole load of them turn up (Lambiel, Buttle, Takahashi, Lysacek), it all becomes too much to handle.

    The same can even be said of Kwan. She was consistent when she was clearly the best, or when she was up against her old traditional rival Slutskaya. She was not consistent for the duration of Tara Lipinski's career, which, fortunately for Kwan, was rather short. When the competition got tough and Arakawa, Cohen and others were laying it down, she lost some of her fire.
  17. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

    People's memories are really selective. Watch old videos and you'll see only a few clean programs at each event. The same we've got today.

    And even if there is slightly more inconsistency nowadays, remember that before IJS skaters didn't have to push themselves as much. The emphasis was on jumps exclusively and less of them were being performed.

    She cheats her jumps all the time. I guess she's consistent in that, though. :p
    RunnersHigh and (deleted member) like this.
  18. Triple Butz

    Triple Butz Well-Known Member

    This doesn't really make any sense- she was consistent when she wasn't clearly the best? You have it backwards, she was the best BECAUSE she was consistent. In 1997, Michelle was considered the favorite and with Chen out with injury she would have been considered "clearly the best" as reigning world champion. It was due to boot problems and a changing body that Kwan was inconsistent, not because of her competitors. The competition got tough when Arakawa and Cohen started laying it down??? (When did Cohen ever lay it down??) I think Slutskaya and Lipinski were much better competitors than Cohen and Arakawa, but by 2004 and leading into 2005/2006 Kwan was a little bit older and clearly injured which is why she didn't deliver as many victories.

    I can't think of anyone who was mentally tougher than Michelle, and I think her inspiration and will power to perform well under pressure came from within herself. She didn't seem to be too concerned about what the other skaters were doing. Take a look at the way she would warm up. I've been to a lot of skating competitions and a lot of times you can tell during the warm up what jumps and which parts of the program are going to be problematic in the actual competition. I've never seen a skater have a terrible warm-up but have a tremendous outing in the actual program as many times as I have with Michelle. Sometimes she would miss the axel, loop, or lutz combo 5 or 6 times in a row, but just tick them off like nothing when the music came on. It was truly extraordinary and a quality I haven't seen in any other skater for a long time.
  19. millyskate

    millyskate Well-Known Member

    Oh dear, I criticized th Kween ;) I mean that having a cushion boosts confidence.
    Kwan at her best v Slutskaya at her best = Kwan knew she would most likely be marked the highest.
    The same can't be said v Arakawa or Lipinski.

    Kwan was a very consistent skater. I'm not convinced she would have been had she been faced with opposition of the quality Mao faced in Yuna. Knowing one has the judges backing in case of a clean program does wonders for confidence.
    IMO, for both Mao and Joubert, the sense that they don't have the judges behind them as much as others has really damaged the performer confidence they had at the start.
    It seems to me to be a different phenomenon than for Verner or Kostner, who have always been head cases.
  20. Triple Butz

    Triple Butz Well-Known Member

    This just isn't factually correct.

    Kwan and Slutskaya both skated flawless LPs in 2002 at worlds and the judges went with Slutskaya. Slutskaya also won the sp pretty much every time they faced off between 2000 and 2002 when both landed similar content. In both 2000 and 2001, had Slutskaya been clean I actually think the judges would have given her the nod. In fact, Slutskaya beat Kwan at all of their GP matchups in 2000, 2001, and 2002, and it was only at worlds that Kwan forged ahead. There was at no time any guarantee that clean Kwan=gold medal.

    Also, I see you've dropped Cohen from your list...:slinkaway

    In 2004, Kwan landed just 5 triples to Arakawa's 7 (including 2 triple/triples) and STILL was just one vote shy of winning the Long Program. What does that tell you about the way the judges viewed these two skaters?

    You can call me a Kwaniac if you want, but I'd suggest that you look at the actual wins and score cards (facts) before you make a generalization based on your overall impressions.
  21. millyskate

    millyskate Well-Known Member

    Oh, I'm totally going on my overall impressions :eek: It's 4h30 am and I have insomnia.

    My initial point was that Kwan coped well as long as she was the front lady with Slutskaya - but that having more or different competitors around her didn't work out so well. IMO the 2002 win was totall about giving Irina her turn after all the Kwan turns, a bit of a token for lifetime achievement (not that I minded, I was a fan).

    I mentionned Cohen because she did finish ahead of Kwan at worlds, and IMO she was one of many factors meaning Kwan did not skate with her usual spark and commitment - just by virtue of being there and being considered a possible gold medal prospect.
    Yes, Kwan was older by that stage - but aren't Joubert, Takahashi, Verner and Kostner also well past their prime and carrying a bunch of battle wounds?

    Kwan was a great competitor. Do I think it's easier to be a great competitor when you get a bunch of 5.9s and 6.0s when you skate clean? Absolutely. And I'm not saying it wasn't deserved. Her overall quality of skating meant that she knew a clean performance would be rewarded, most likely of gold. That's quite a nice incentive, compared to the mental games someone like Asada now has to contend with: will my triple axel be downgraded? Will they slash all my loop combos? And will my components be 5 points lower than Yu-Na's even if I skate great?

    I also believe that naturally inconsistent skaters like Bereznaya/Sikharulizde, Savchenko/Szolkowy and Chan were helped into becoming semi consistent skaters thanks to the confidence building high marks received for messy performances early on in their careers.

    And finally, I agree with Ziggy: old championships were just as "messy" as the recent ones. In the 90s, I remember getting majorly excited everytime someone landed two jumps in a row.
  22. Vash01

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

    I completely disagree with your list. It sounds like you just threw in a bunch of names without actually looking at their careers.

    Urmanov was not inconsistent until a groin injury pretty much ended his career.

    Milot was never a top level skater. Galindo and Wylie did have problems until they put it together eventually.

    How can you list Ito among the inconsistent skaters? She was one of the most consistent jumpers. Harding was less consistent, but still a very strong jumper.

    Chen Lu had one bad season, when she had problems with her coach. She was one of the more consistent skaters.

    Yuka Sato never had meltdowns like the other skaters mentioned by the OP (KOstner, Czisny, etc.)

    Bobek, Hubert and Chouinard were the only ones with real problems.

    Interestingly you left out the one lady that consistently had inconsistency problems- Sasha Cohen.

    The pairs list sounds totally meaningless. Most of these pairs had some good and some bad performances, which is typical of pairs skating.

    K&D were not that inconsistent, except in their first season, which is not unusual for a new pair.

    B&S had some real melt downs but they had enough strong skates to win championships. So you can't put them in the same bracket as Carolina who never won a world championship, and Alissa who never stood on a world podium.

    Of all the ice dance teams you found only G&P inconsistent? They were among the best ice dancers. Also in ice dance you are not going to see that many falls because there are not jumps and throws (high risk elements). At least you did not just list all the ice dance teams, like you did for the other three disciplines.l
  23. Triple Butz

    Triple Butz Well-Known Member

    I think consistency has a lot more to do with training habits than anything else. Champions like Kwan didn't start landing their jumps after receiving top marks, they received top marks because they started landing their jumps.

    Besides, what about all of the skaters who say it's a lot more difficult to defend a title than it is to earn one for the first time? Look at a skater like Hughes: she knew a clean skate was still not going to get 5.9s and 6.0s and would likely finish behind Kwan, Slutskaya, and even Butyrskaya, yet she did it time and time again.

    Every competition has a different type of pressure from competitors, skating federations, media hype, gaining funding, lack of training, injury, personal issues, and countless other sources. True champions like Kwan, Slutskaya, Lipinski, Boitano, Yagudin, Plushenko, Lysacek (hate mentioning him but he did know how to compete) Stojko, and others were able to adapt to multiple situations, find inner focus, silence their nerves and compete.
  24. Vash01

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

    Kwan did not build confidence because she received 5.9 & 6.0s. She was rewarded with those marks because she consistently landed her jumps and was artistic too (for the second marks). She could handle the pressure of competitions; Cohen could not. That was the difference. Mental part of the competition has always existed; it did not come about because of COP.

    About the 90's- you were excited if someone landed two jumps in a row? Did you ever watch Midori Ito skate or Tonya Harding or Kristi Yamaguchi? Oh, and Michelle and Irina also skated in the 1990's with great consistency.
  25. bbkenn

    bbkenn Well-Known Member

    I think Kurt Browning (another skater of the 90s) was very consistent until he had that back injury in 1992. Then had that fabulous program in 1992, but bombed the short and did not win as many expected. He's gone on to be one of the best skaters of all time, but he did have a period of inconsistency, I believe, related to injury resulting in a loss of confidence.
  26. bardtoob

    bardtoob Former Choreographer for Anna Maria Tragikova

    Judges saw underrotations prior to the IJS and judges considered that one skater was forced off the ice by a potentially dangerous nut job intruder in a tutu.
  27. wingnut

    wingnut Active Member

    What a silly thing to say. He's only been to 3 Worlds and has 2 silver medals. Don't think you can consider such a young skater "inconsistent" when he's still developing- and much faster than anyone would have expected.

    Joubert doesn't belong on the list either for the reasons listed above; 10 straight medals at Euros and 6 straight at Worlds. In fact, he's by far the most consistent since Plushenko left in 2006 and seems to peak at Worlds.

    Sandhu must be added to the list. Unless you want to slot him under being consistently inconsistent. I remember their being a debate a couple years ago about who bombs more: Sandhu or Verner. I was arguing Sandhu but I think Verner has overtaken him at this point.
  28. clarie

    clarie Well-Known Member

    Sandhu........inconsistent?...........He was always consistent........consistent in his inconsistency! ;) How heartbreaking it was to be a fan of his.
  29. misskarne

    misskarne #AustraliaForTheTeamEvent

    Don't get me wrong, I love Ilia Kulik to death, but looking back on his career I'm not sure he should be counted as "consistent". There was the Euros gold in 1995 and the Worlds silver the following year, then he had a really splotchy timeframe up til the Olympic season.

    He was, however, consistently amazing.

    wingnut, I get what you're saying, but I think the issue a lot of people has with Chan's "consistency" is his ability or lack thereof of consistently skate clean. I know it's not all about the jumps, but a man who can't land his 3A properly deserves that tag. Let's face it, a 3A should be a basic skill for someone high-ranked at Worlds.
  30. galaxy

    galaxy Active Member


    I'm a little :confused: about Asada being on the list.
    As mucn as I admit that she is always a very slow starter, although she is still pretty young, she is already Olympic Silver Medalist, two-time World Champion (and when she won these titles both times she didn't have a coach.) , two-time GPF Champion and two-time Four Continent Champion (she competed 3 times at 4CC and each time she competed without a coach, but still managed to win 2 titles and one bronze medal). She won 4 consecutive Japanese titles (at such a tough competition!). But she is still put on the list. I wonder what more you could have expected from her? :confused:
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2011