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Maria Butyrskaya- underappreciated skater

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by Vash01, Sep 28, 2012.

  1. Vash01

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

    It took me a while to warm up to Maria Butyrskaya, but over the years I came to appreciate her elegant, mature skating that trumped triple jumps (and she could land those too, including a 3 lutz from the correct edge).

    Her 1999 worlds LP Otonal is one of my favorite performances.


    I also loved her 2001 worlds LP performance to Seventeen moments in spring, which I saw live in Calgary. Unfortunately the judges placed Sarah Hughes higher than her.


    Her SP at 2000 worlds is one of the most elegant performances ever.


    I miss this kind of mature, elegant skating, even though her jumps did not always have smooth landings.
  2. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

  3. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    Maria is one skater I have seen live - at 98 Worlds. She was one of those skater who your eye was drawn towards, she just had that IT factor. Loved watching her in practise.
  4. fsfan22

    fsfan22 Member

  5. BittyBug

    BittyBug And the band played on

    Loved her entrance into the triple loop in that SP.
  6. MichaelK

    MichaelK Well-Known Member

  7. Vash01

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

  8. RFOS

    RFOS Well-Known Member

    Maria was ahead of Sarah in the free skate at those worlds (with 5 of the 9 judges placing her higher), though Sarah placed higher overall. (The short was a 5-4 split the other way, and Sarah placed higher in qualifying).
    Maofan7 and (deleted member) like this.
  9. OliviaPug

    OliviaPug Well-Known Member

    I agree. During that time period, Maria was a huge fave of mine. Her long legs gave her a very elegant style, but the stiff knees (which I believe were mainly due to nerves) did her in on her jumps and her overall fluidity. She's still one of my faves. She definitely had "it" and I liked her foray into costume designing. Even if her dresses weren't always liked by the mainstream, I always appreciated them ... and everything looked great on her!

    Maofan7 and (deleted member) like this.
  10. Jasmar

    Jasmar Active Member

    I have always underappreciated her :blah: Hunched and gawky - she was one of the less fluid skaters to me (in terms of edging, control, grace combined with strength).

    At least she wasn't a pwetty pwincess, though. That was always in her favor.
  11. Vash01

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

    I guess you liked Sarah Hughes who was even more hunched, gawky and could not even do a true triple jump.;)
  12. RumbleFish

    RumbleFish New Member

    I miss Maria so much. Figure Skating would be so much better with a true lady like her on the ice.

    Also, she had one of the best camel positions ever in my opinion.
    PeterG and (deleted member) like this.
  13. Plusdinfo

    Plusdinfo Active Member

    I'm not currently a proponent of the endless comparisons that go on among sportswriters and sports fans. Who is the greatest ever? Was that the best match ever? Shut up and do something more productive, I say. With that written, I feel that to properly contribute to this thread, I have to disclose that Masha probably evoked the strongest emotions in me as an admirer of figure skating.

    There's no doubt that Maria had flaws, but I think that her career was trashed far too often by many judges. When your results ultimately depend on the very judges who are overly harsh on you, how can you not exacerbate your already present nerves?

    I don't think there is another female skater who has been as sexy as Maria in terms of her presence on the ice. Of course, I am also biased because I find Maria's costumes, body, and looks to be sexy, too! Rather than cook some hot formula for a specific purpose, Maria seemed to have natural drama and sultriness.

    It's a shame that the professional scene was in shambles by the time Maria left 2002 Worlds because I think that she could have grown even more as a pro. For those who do like to backtrack and pose hypotheticals: what would Maria's results have looked like if she had had her federation's support? What would have happened to her confidence and performances if the judges had rewarded her presentation skills instead of throwing high marks to skaters like Slutskaya and Hughes?

    In the end, those questions don't matter to me because I'm able to rewatch Maria's skates and enjoy her musical selections, her choreography, and the fact that she seemed to feel each note better than her contemporaries.

    Aside: what happened in 1995? I think Wikipedia puts her as the Russian national champion, but I believe only Olga Markova went to worlds for that country. Is it because Maria was only (from memory) 7th at Europeans? And/or also because of her infamous 1993 worlds experience?
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2012
  14. alchemy void

    alchemy void blowing kisses with bitchface

    Thanks for sharing this particular performance, its easily the best she ever performed this particular program.

    As far as I'm concerned, this program (95-96 SP to blues) is the sexiest/steamiest ISU short program ever, by far...can anyone find anything that conpares? She also has the intense, never-smiling Hitchcock blonde look going on too.
  15. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    She was victimized by never having the Russian backing as their #1 skater. I dont think it is any coincidence the only 2 years she was a gold contender- 1999 and 2000, was when Slutskaya was AWOL (1999) and when she had the title of reigning World Champion (2000) and so the Russian fed. had to give her the backing as their #1 or co-#1 skater. Once she lost her World title with a flawed LP at the 2000 Worlds, and though she did not win Irina placed higher on the podium, she was doomed once again. I dont see why they couldnt have shared their support among more than 1 strong skater like they did in the other events.

    That said she definitely had her flaws. She was kind of clunky both in how she landed her jumps, and her overall skating which detracted from what could have been excellent artistry given her mature look and style other than the jerkiness, and some of her non jump elements (layback spin, spirals, footwork) werent all that great. She really didnt have enough to stay at the very top of the sport, politics aside, but she was still enjoyable to watch and at times gave some really memorable performances- 1999 Worlds, 2000 Worlds SP, 1998 Europeans, and 2000 NHK.

    2000 NHK was a huge turning point in her career, she totally outskated Slutskaya and was robbed of victory, had she won there she would have been the only top skater to win all her grand prix assignments with Slutskaya winning only 2 after a loss to Maria, Kwan won only 1 after a loss to Slutskaya at Skate Canada. This would have set her up as possibly being the gold medal favorite going into the Grand Prix final and Europeans. Instead her confidence and momentum was wrecked for good and she was never the same again, especialy already being 28 years old and in the twilight of her amateur career.
  16. Vash01

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

    I remember that competition and I was quite upset about those results. I was a big fan of Irina, but that result was unfair to Maria. I liked them both; they had very different styles and strengths in their skating. I often felt bad for Maria because somehow the judges just did not want to give her the marks she deserved.
  17. Clay

    Clay Well-Known Member


    Anyone who saw her skate in person/in practice knew she had great basics. Her edges were solid and she was unbelievably smooth. Competitions were another story, but mostly in regards to her jumps.

    NHK was a horrible memory. So was placing below Sarah Hughes in the short program in 2002.

    Somewhere, there is a clip of Maria landing a triple axel in the warm up for the exhibitions in 1996.

    Oddly enough, my favourite program was Swan Lake. It had great power and the arm movements were not overdone.
  18. Vash01

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

  19. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    It was tough being a late bloomer in ladies skating under the reputation based 6.0. Tonia Kwiatkowski, while not as good a skater as Maria, is another who was often undermarked since she started skating her best in her mid 20s. It was important to make your mark as a teenager and go from there (or win the Olympics at 15 or 16, whichever came first). Arakawa was the only late bloomer I can recall in the ladies event who wasnt undermarked.
  20. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

    IMO, the turning point was before.
    She was not even considered as a gold favorite at 2000 Worlds (although she was the current World champ).
    When Irina went back in shape in 1999, Russian Fed decided that Slutskaya would be their favorite to beat Kwan.
  21. TID

    TID New Member

    Me too!
    I'm a big fan of her.Her aility to be women in girls is really something to watch.
    aliceanne and (deleted member) like this.
  22. PashaFan

    PashaFan Well-Known Member

    Thank you so much for starting this thread. She is still one of my most favourite skaters. The people who hated her never understood just how much she gave to her skating. True feeling & honesty.
    Judgejudy27 you are so right about the NHK Trophy in 2000. I have that event on DVD & watch it many times. It was an awful result.
    Even when she skated really bad & made many errors Maria was still a skater you could not take your eyes away from.
    Her SP from the Worlds in Nice in 2000 is still one of the greatest SP's in history.
    Also her SP at the 2002 Europeans.
    Even thought I liked Slutskaya & loved Kwan I always felt the judges held maria back.
    It's a pity she never won an Olympic medal.
    Maria always skated better in SP's rather than the free skate.
    For me, my favourite free program she did in terms of choreography was the one she used at the 94' & 95' Europeans & the 94' Goodwill games.
  23. leapfrogonice

    leapfrogonice Active Member

    Loved her toe point, but sometimes just wished she would soften her knees, especially on jump landings.
  24. Plusdinfo

    Plusdinfo Active Member

    Have you seen that posted anywhere?
    Thanks in advance for any info.
  25. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    I agree going into 2000 Worlds Irina was possibly already Russian #1 again, however Maria was World Champion so they had to split the support. Remember Maria won the short program of those Worlds decisively, so it is obvious she still had a chance of being a gold medalist at that point.

    I would also like to say IMO Maria was totally robbed of the Olympic bronze in 1998. Even though Maria made mistakes and was far from her best that night, and even though Chen stood up most of her jumps which was amazing given her recent history, still with her series of stalked, barely rotated, or underrotated jumps and terrible spins I would have given Chen a 5.3 for technical merit. It was a purely sentimental medal choice IMO. I also thought Maria's artistic scores for her free skate were too low, even if her program was nothing like her performance to it at Europeans or the next years Worlds, it still was artistically better than a 5.5 or 5.6.
  26. love_skate2011

    love_skate2011 Well-Known Member

    Maria looked much different when she was younger and the jumps were mostly
    still clunky

    but I did began appreciate her more as she got older, she was a late bloomer but she had wonderful skating, I agree she looked womanly not a girl skating on the ice, her short hair really suited her
  27. Alex Forrest

    Alex Forrest Banned Member

    Yep, and you and JJ have made the case. I would just be repeating you. 2000 NHK was a disgrace. But the entire skating world saw the wind go out of Maria's sails then and there. And then enter the 'gray mouse' who took the bronze at Worlds that year.

    As for 98 Olys, maybe she deserved it. Chen was UR and not spinning too well. But that is sport, had she done her Euros performance, she'd be an Olympic medalist. I still think she should have beaten Chen for the bronze, but it was a happy ending for Chen, so I don't mind. Chen deserved a hug on her way out with that medal.
  28. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

    Plus, it's sort of validating to have the 3 previous World champions be the Olympic medalists.
  29. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

    I appreciated the look of glamour and sophistication that Maria (and Olga Markova) brought to skating something that their more girlish looking contemporaries lacked.

    Whenever I look at Maria it appears that her legs are disproportionately long below the knee. I think when she bends her knee it doesn't bring her as close to the ice as say Yuka Sato. Her long legs do give her a very tall appearance and presence on the ice.
  30. dinakt

    dinakt Well-Known Member

    I've always loved Maria B, and was a big fan.
    Would not say she's underappreciated, though- she is a big star in Russia.
    PeterG and (deleted member) like this.