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Ladies singles hardest discipline to pick a greatest ever

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by judgejudy27, Jul 28, 2010.

  1. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    When people talk about the greatest ever in the various figure skating disciplines it seems easier to pick someone in pairs, dance, and mens. Even if there isnt one dominant consensus pick there seems to be 2 or 3 which everyone picks one of them as their choice. However it seems with the ladies there is much more disagreement and it is harder to find a greatest ever. When you look at each they all have something that make it hard to crown them as the greatest ever:

    Henjie- pre historic skater who competed when competitive times and technical demands of ladies skating were nothing like now. Also when politics was at an all time high.

    Witt- she has the best modern day record but nobody really believes she was the best actual "skater" that ever existed. Many dont even believe she was the best skater of her own time, just the best competitor and most dominant.

    Lynn- some have called her the greatest ever since she was such an amazing skater despite a competitive record which is highlighted only by an Olympic bronze and World silver due to her struggles with figures and sometimes competitive nerve.

    Ito- some have also called her the greatest ever despite a competitive record also less than historic due to figures, politics in the days of figures, and bad luck in big events.

    Kwan- some have called her the greatest ever but her lack of the biggest prize in skating- the Olympic Gold, is a problem.

    Yamaguchi- was a dominant skater for a long time, but most of that in the pros, only 2 years as an amateur. Could have compiled a record that would make a stronger case as the greatest ever had she stayed in longer. Her skating doesnt really inspire in the way Kwan and others did which would inspire many to call her the greatest ever either.

    Yu Na Kim- not around long enough yet, nor enough titles.

    Asada- same as Kim.

    Slutskaya- despite a long and brilliant career with no Olympic gold and only 2 World titles is the clear 2nd fiddle to Kwan of her own generation. Her greatest strength was jumping yet she isnt even considered close the greatest jumper of all time, probably the greatest jumper of her own generation which had almost no great jumpers.

    So I think of all the 4 skating disciplines the womens is the hardest one to pick a greatest ever in.
  2. miki88

    miki88 Active Member

    I don't think it's that hard. In terms of influence so far, I think it's done to Janet Lynn and Michelle Kwan. They have inspired the most skaters of a later generation to emulate their style. Midori was always known as the greatest jumper but less so for her overall skating.
    flutzilla1 and (deleted member) like this.
  3. ciocio

    ciocio Active Member

    Which criteria should we consider when we pick a "greatest ever"? In my opinion the greatest ever doesn´t exist. We have the most longevive, the skater with the most titles, but "greatest ever"?
  4. museksk8r

    museksk8r Holding an edge and looking dangerously sexy

    Like miki88, I think most look to Ito as the standard for athleticism and to Lynn/Kwan as the standard for artistry.
  5. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    Ito is certainly hands down the standard for athleticsm. I wonder how many years it will be after her until someone surpasses her 86-95 (counting her pro years) in jumping. And that certainly isnt really surpassing her as someone 50 years later in theory should be far ahead, but it will probably be atleast that long before someone merely reaches the same level.

    One has to wonder too if she would have started dominating skating competitively in 1986 had figures not existed. The whole mentality of how they judges free skating would have been different without figures.
  6. miki88

    miki88 Active Member

    Midori has a special place in ladies figure skating. She seemed to defy everything that defined what ladies skater should be like. (Bonaly also defied that image but she didn't have the skating skills to back her up.) I think Midori could probably beat some of the male skaters competing today. :p
  7. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    Midori would have won both the 1989 and 1990 mens World titles if there was only a final free skate (long program).
  8. The Accordion

    The Accordion Well-Known Member

    I love love love Midori Ito and not just for her jumping.

    But it is not fair to compare her accomplishments as a jumper to skaters under COP. Who knows who would have surpassed her as a jumper in the COP era when they must spend so much more time on all the other aspects of skating to be competitive?
  9. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

    Lasting influence would have to be considered in naming the 'greatest ever'

    Probably Sonia Henie is still the greatest ever - 3 olympic gold medals is unprecedented in singles competition. She was considered quite an athlete at the time. I also believe she also revolutionized skating apparel by wearing dresses at [or above?] the knees

    Peggy Fleming - I think [for better or worse] she ushered in the era of the ultra-feminine pretty princess which we still see as a judges'/TPTB favorite today, and she could still do most of the hard technical moves and mastered the figures to boot.

    Janet Lynn - Did not win a major international title but I think her style of free skating is what brought about the SP/lessened the importance of figures, to give skaters like her more clout and greater chances for wins in World/Olympic competitions. We still see this effect today.

    Midori Ito - Of course, she landed the 1st 3x and her style brought about the idea that the technical mattered, too.

    I think it's still too early to install Yu Na or Mao in the Halls of Legend - I think Mao may be remembered for fusing great jumps like the 3x -and- pretty ballerina style. Yu Na is technically amazing but what would make her a lasting legend?
  10. attyfan

    attyfan Well-Known Member

    Greatest ever, IMO, was Madge Sayer ... without her, no ladies event at all.
  11. Spinner

    Spinner Where's my book?

    I love crazy "what-if" stats like this. ;) Like OGM for Orser in 84 sans-figures, 90 US Champ Wylie sans-figures...
  12. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    In other words as things stand now despite that Yu Na has the slightly better competitive record and is generally viewed as the more dominant skater competitively speaking Mao's skating would leave more impact on history than Yu Na's. It is an interesting viewpoint, and I see where you are coming from too.
  13. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

    Dorothy Hamill might not have the collection of 1st place medals that some of the others have but when I watch the way she moves across the ice today I would definitely classify her among some of the best skaters ever.
  14. miki88

    miki88 Active Member

    It's too soon to tell as of now since their careers aren't over yet. I think it really depends on how much their respective styles influence later generation of skaters. I think it's great that these two have very different styles in their skating, although it's probably one of the several factors that create such a division among the fans.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2010
  15. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    A skater like Cohen never managed to win a World title and unlike Lynn doesnt really have a valid excuse of any sort for not doing so. She wasnt even either an exceptional athlete/jumper nor a great basic skater. Yet her flexability moves, spins, spirals, in many ways influenced the next generation of skaters. Many skaters today copy moves that she incorporated. So does that mean she made her mark in history? I am not saying one way or another, just that things like that make an interesting perspective.
  16. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

    Of course she made her mark in history. She gets brought up in every single one of these threads, people are still copying her moves, and the very fact that her fan base is so huge, she was so well-known, and she's still controversial despite never winning any major championships save the GPF once says a lot about her ability to inspire, influence, and piss people off.
  17. miki88

    miki88 Active Member

    I think Sasha is an influential skater. I just don't see her on a greatest ever list. All skaters who have made a name for themselves will inevitably have an influence on skaters of a later generation. The question is who has more or the most? (If you're looking to name the greatest). As it stands right now, Michelle Kwan is the most well-known skater of the modern era. She has left an influence on countless younger skaters who have named her as their idol, including the current Olympic Champion. Michelle's influence is inevitably tied to Lynn's since that was her idol. I think another factor that can determine legacy is to see which skaters will be dominating the scene in the future. If these future dominant skaters cite Yuna as more of an influence than Mao or vice versa, then her legacy will shine brighter. It's case of how the future controls the past. :)
  18. floskate

    floskate Vacant

    Agreed but I would extend that time period back a few years to 1981-82 when she landed the worlds first 3-3 combo by a lady, aged 12. She also had all 5 triples bar the axel at this time. Her 6 triple 1984 Skate Canada LP including all 5 triples was by far the greatest technical skate by a lady at that time.
  19. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    It is amazing, it sounds like she could have already competed with Zayak, Witt, and Biellmann jumps wise when she was only 11 and 12 years old.
  20. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

    Yes. Don't get me wrong. Yu Na is top-notch and deserved her wins. She is technically brilliant. But stuff of legends is usually something that will stand out decades to come. Off the top of my head, people may be discussing 'that ballerina like lady who still did a 3x in the SP and 2 3x's in the LP in Vancouver' more so than 'that gal from Korea who did everything perfectly, but I can't recall what exactly she did. She just won.'
  21. floskate

    floskate Vacant

    If Ito had skated at 1981 Worlds by which time she most definitely had triple flip, loop, sal and toe - well she could have skated the hardest LP aged 11. When you put it into that kind of scenario you realise just how ahead of her time she really was.

    But for me, what makes Ito one of the greatest of all time is what else she brought to the sport; insanely difficult transitions when no one apart from Zayak was doing any transitions into triples, some very good spins particularly her scratch and combo spin, ultra difficult step sequences and lots of linking moves between elements but also her own brand of artistry which was the ability to electrify audiences as and when she chose with charisma to burn. To talk about Ito in terms of just jumps is totally missing the point of her skating IMO. What's so sad is that so much was denegrated about her skating for whatever purpose it may have suited those people who did so.....well even she started to believe that all she was good for was jumping. :(
  22. miki88

    miki88 Active Member

    Really? I feel the exact opposite regarding Vancouver. All the media talk about is Mao's triple axels while basically ignoring her other qualities. I hope it's the case that people in the future can remember the balletic and airy qualities of Mao's skating.
  23. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    Probably since the politics and her troubles with the very valued compulsory figures made it impossible for her to be on top for a long time to come, and so TPTB had to come up with excuses (eg- supposably weak artisty, weak this or that) in order to keep television audiences and casual fans from going into an outrage.
  24. Seerek

    Seerek Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure how old she was at the time but the 1980 NHK exhibition clip of Midori Ito showed as much technical content as Denise Biellmann had in the long program in the actual competition that year. I think Denise actually said she was happy she didn't have to compete against Ito that year!
  25. Bostonfan

    Bostonfan Well-Known Member

    Unless you base it on a definied criteria such as most combined World and Olympic gold medals, then there's no such thing as picking a "greatest ever". The lack of a clear, objective set of criteria makes it a subjective argument. So why bother other than for the love of debate?

    The question is more about "icon" status rather than "greatest".
  26. BmcC102

    BmcC102 Active Member


    Thank you. I totally agree with every word.
  27. blue_idealist

    blue_idealist Well-Known Member

    Michelle Kwan immediately comes to mind when I hear greatest ever, although it is true that she does not have the Olympic Gold medal. I think that all her world titles, the way she skates and her career longevity pretty much make up for her lack of an Olympic gold though, at least in my mind. Slutskaya? No way.. she was a good skater, but definitely not the greatest ever. I don't know enough about Henie, just that she won a lot of titles, but the technical content was so easy then. Witt is just not as good a skater as Kwan if you compare the two side by side, even though Witt won the OGM twice.
    kwanette and (deleted member) like this.
  28. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    I guess my point is when you talk about greatest ever you have:

    Pairs- most just instantly say Gordeeva & Grinkov. Some others will say Shen & Zhou now or the Protoppopovs. Maybe Miskutienok & Dmitriev have a few backers as greatest pair ever. That is it really.

    Dance- Nearly everyone says either Torvill & Dean or maybe Klimova & Ponomarenko.

    Men- Nearly everyone says Yagudin now it seems. Some would say Dick Button who was so far ahead of his time. That is it really.

    But for ladies there is alot of mixed discussion when the topic of greatest ever comes up.
    It is hard to give the unofficial title to any one skater for all the things I said about the key people to consider.
  29. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    One cant really compare the technical content of someone in her prime in the early and mid 80s to someone in her prime in the late 90s and early 2000s. That said I wholeheartedly agree that I find Kwan a much superior skater to Witt inspite of the OGMs. Many people at the time said Witt was never even the best skater of her own era, just the best competitor. People like Thomas and Kadavy to me overall look like much better skaters, yet Witt still found a way to rise up and beat ever their best at the 87 Worlds. Witt is probably the greatest competitor in womens skating history, and that is how she carved out her own place in skating history with less than the best technique or style in pretty much everything she did.
  30. bardtoob

    bardtoob Former Choreographer for Anna Maria Tragikova

    Cecelia Colledge always comes to mind . . . the first lady to do a double jump, first to perform the "Colledge" that is a one-footed Axel by either a man or woman, inventor of the layback spin, inventor of the camel spin including the flying camel that involves a change of foot, inventor of the one handed {{choke}} "Beillmann" Spin . . . There is so much that she invented in the CoP but not a single thing officially named after her. If anything, the camel spin should be named after her as the Colledge is an Axel, the layback spin in a upright spin, but camel spin is basic class of spin in and of itself that is performed by both men and women.

    ETA: I will also point out that k9henrydog on Youtube claims that she was the first to introduce the modern Spiral to freeskating, that is a Spiral TRACING IN THE ICE made in a position above the ice where the free leg is higher than the hip . . . even if there is a version of the CoP out there where so called "technical experts" tried to define a "regular spiral" as something exclusively related to the position above the ice :rolleyes:
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2010