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Profile: Tara Lipinski

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by Maofan7, Aug 3, 2013.

Which was the greater performance?

Poll closed Sep 3, 2013.
  1. Tara Lipinski at the 1998 Olympics

    32 vote(s)
  2. Michelle Kwan at the 1998 U.S. Nationals

    60 vote(s)
  1. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Member

    This profile takes a look back at Tara Lipinski's competitive career (1993-98)

    Tara Lipinski was born on the 10th June 1982 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She took up roller skating at the age of 3 (ultimately winning the U.S. primary girls freestyle in 1991 aged 9) and figure skating at the age of 6. Whilst the family moved to Sugar Land, Texas, due to her fathers job, as there were no training facilities there, Lipinski and her mother ultimately moved to Deleware so that Tara could be coached by Jeff Di Gregorio


    In 1994, Lipinski competed in the novice event at U.S. Nationals, finishing 2nd


    SP = Éclipse (René Dupéré) from Nouvelle Expérience (Cirque du Soleil), LP = Samson and Delilah

    Tara began the season by winning the U.S. Olympic Festival

    U.S. Olympic Festival - SP, U.S. Olympic Festival - FS

    Next, Tara competed at the Junior World Championships where she finished 4th (winner: Irina Slutskaya)

    Junior World Championships - SP, Junior World Championships - FS

    At the 1995 U.S. Nationals, Lipinski competed in the junior competition where she finished 2nd to Sydne Vogel

    U.S. Nationals - FS


    SP = On the Town, LP = Speed, The Prince of Tides

    Due to body changes and a growth spurt, Tara had problems with her jumps throughout the 1995/96 season.

    Lipinski began the season by competing at the Nebelhorn Trophy, where she finished 4th (winner: Shizuka Arakawa)

    Nebelhorn Trophy - Gala

    Next, Tara competed at the Junior World Championships where she finished 5th (winner: Elena Ivanova - in a Russian clean sweep of the podium). Following these Championships, Lipinski switched coaches from Jeff Di Gregorio to Richard Callaghan (moving to Detroit to train with him)

    Junior World Championships - FS

    At the U.S. National Championships, Lipinski placed 3rd in the senior competition (winner: Michelle Kwan)

    U.S. Nationals - SP, U.S. Nationals - FS

    Lipinski finished the season by competing in her first senior world championships where she placed 15th. She had been in 23rd after a disastrous SP, but an 11th place finish in the LP moved her up to 15th overall.

    World Championships - SP, World Championships - FS


    SP = Little Women, LP = Much Ado About Nothing & Sense and Sensibility

    The International Skating Union (ISU) had voted to raise the minimum age for participating in ISU senior events to 15 from the 1996/97 season. However, Lipinski, who was still only 14 at this time, was grandfathered into remaining eligible for ISU senior events as she had already competed in the senior World Championships before the new age requirement was introduced.

    Lipinski began the season by competing at Skate Canada where she finished 2nd to Irina Slutskaya.

    Skate Canada - LP

    Next, Tara competed in the Trophée Lalique where she placed 3rd (winner: Michelle Kwan)

    Trophée Lalique - FS

    Following on from this, Lipinski competed in the Nations Cup where she again finished 2nd to Irina Slutskaya

    Next, Tara beat Kwan into 2nd place at the U.S. National Championships. Lipinski had been in 2nd place behind Kwan after the SP. However, a clean LP featuring a 3R+3R combination (she had become the first ever female singles skater to land the combination at the 1996 U.S. Postal Challenge) meant that she won both the FS and the title (becoming, at the age of 14, the youngest ever U.S. national senior ladies champion). The 3R+3R combination would become Tara's signature element.

    U.S. Nationals - SP, U.S. Nationals - FS

    Lipinski's performances in the Champions Series events meant that she qualified for the Champions Series Final, which she won (Michelle Kwan 2nd, Irina Slutskaya 3rd), winning both the SP and the FS.

    Champions Series Final - SP, Champions Series Final - FS

    Lipinski again beat Kwan into 2nd place for the third time during the season by winning the World title. A poor SP by Kwan had left her in 4th place (Lipinski 1st). Although Kwan went on to win the FS, Tara's 2nd place in that section was enough to enable Lipinski to take the title (Lipinski would have had to have been 3rd or lower in the FS for Kwan to win the title). Both Lipinski and Kwan skated superb LP's, and in winning the title, Lipinski became the youngest ever world champion.

    World Championships - SP, World Championships - FS


    SP = Anastasia, LP = The Rainbow

    Lipinski began the season by finishing 2nd to Kwan at Skate America

    Skate America - SP, Skate America - FS

    Next, Tara finished 2nd at the Trophée Lalique (winner: Laetitia Hubert). Lipinski had led after the SP, but suffering from a severe cold, she made errors in her FS (doubling out on the 3Z part of a combination, missing the 2nd part of the same combination altogether, and singling out on the 2nd part of her 3R+3R combination) which meant that she finished 2nd in that section and dropped down to 2nd overall.

    Trophée Lalique - SP, Trophée Lalique - FS

    For the second year running, Lipinski won the Champions Series Final (2nd: Tanja Szewczenko - Kwan missed the final with a stress fracture to her left foot)

    Champions Series Final - SP, Champions Series Final - FS

    At U.S. Nationals, Lipinski finished 2nd to Michelle Kwan. Despite having only just recovered from the stress fracture to her left foot, Kwan put in perhaps the greatest performance of her career to regain the national title she had lost to Lipinski the previous season. A poor SP (with a fall on her 3F) left Lipinski in 4th after that section, but 2nd place in the LP (landing 7 triples) moved her up to 2nd place overall.

    U.S. Nationals - SP, U.S. Nationals - FS

    Next, at the 1998 Olympics, Kwan led after an excellent SP (with 8 out of 9 Judges placing her first), with Lipinski 2nd. However, Lipinski would go on to win both the FS and the Olympic title, despite Michelle performing a clean 7-triple jump program which left her in 2nd place in the FS and overall. The greater technical difficulty which Lipinski injected into her own clean 7-triple jump LP (which included a 3R+3R combination, and a 3T+half R+ 3S sequence) won her the title. In winning the title, Lipinski became the youngest ever ladies Olympic figure skating champion. Who should have won? This remains the subject of debate. Some prefer the greater artistry of Kwan, whilst others prefer what they consider to be the greater technical ability of Lipinski.

    Olympics - SP, Olympics - FS
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2013
    Dr.Siouxs and (deleted member) like this.
  2. skateboy

    skateboy Well-Known Member

    I always liked Tara and feel that her Oly LP was one of the great programs of all time.

    So I voted for her. Michelle's Nats LP was beautiful and perfectly skated, with a timeless quality, no doubt. The reason I vote for Tara is because she did have artistry (even it wasn't as polished as MK's) but, more than that, that technical content was out of this world (for the day). I don't know how many fans--of either skater--realize just how enormously hard a 3lp-3lp is, as well as the 3t-half loop-3s sequence at the very end of the program. It's not just a bit harder than anything any of the other girls did: as an athletic feat, it's in an entirely different league. That's why she gets my vote.
  3. Gabybackhand

    Gabybackhand Member

    Kwan from U.S Nationals would have won since her Olympic skate while outstanding, and a true feat for Tara to defeat, was still nowhere near her Nationals skate, and she still narrowly lost at the Olympics.
    flutzilla1 and (deleted member) like this.
  4. Gabybackhand

    Gabybackhand Member

    Maybe it is not a fair way to look at things as COP wasnt around then but I wonder if Tara's technical would stand out as so astonishing with flutz and possibly UR calls if it were scored under todays rules.
  5. all_empty

    all_empty Well-Known Member

    Literally just saw her two days ago at the Young Hollywood Awards but didn't get a chance to talk to her.

    Tara Reid was also there so people kept shouting "Tara."

    Tara [Lipinski] looked quite pretty in person. She's really grown into a lovely woman.

    I can't believe it's been 15 years since she won gold in Nagano. And while she'd probably be dinged for flutzing under COP, I can't think of another skater -- including Michelle Kwan -- who skated with such ambition, confidence and joy as Tara at such a young age.

    Had Tara stayed healthy, it would've been interesting to develop physically and artistically, getting bigger jumps, and skating against Michelle for more years.
  6. Lnt175

    Lnt175 Member

    Lipinskis skating hasn't aged well, but was incredible for the time. She would be deducted for the flutz. I don't know if they would UR any of her jumps, its possible, her 3lp/3lp looked clean. As for who should have won, skating order playing a role. It could have gone either way. Kwan had 2 big competitions like that one at worlds against Chen and here.
  7. falling_dance

    falling_dance Coaching Patrick

    Small correction: the 1996-7 CSF was held from February 28-March 2 1997. The first CS/GP final to be held before January took place later that year. From the 2003-4 season on, the GPF was consistently a December event.
  8. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Member

    Many thanks for pointing that out. They did the right thing when they finally settled on holding the final in December.

    I have corrected the error in the profile in the original post.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2013
    AxelAnnie and (deleted member) like this.
  9. Jessica

    Jessica Well-Known Member

    I so badly wanted Michelle to win the '98 Olympics. I attended the '98 Nationals where she skated her emotional unbelievable perfect ethereal program. However I knew that if Tara skated her free program the way she did at the Champions Series Final, Michelle would probably lose to her. Michelle needed more technical difficulty. Therefore, I voted for Tara.
    If I remember right, Tara won on a 9-2 vote (the American judge being 1 of Michelle's votes). I wouldn't call that narrowly losing.
  10. falling_dance

    falling_dance Coaching Patrick

    The German, Polish, and US judges gave Kwan first place ordinals. Lipinski won the first place ordinals of the Australian, Austrian, French, Hungarian, Russian, and Ukrainian judges.
  11. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    Remember, Michelle lost considerable training time because of the stress fracture she suffered during the season.
    She had to re-work her technical content to accommodate the injury,
  12. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

    It was a 6-3 split, and I think it was telling that Tara had to have the skate of her life with a 3/3 and a 3/0.5/3 combination to beat a slower-than-usual Kwan with no 3/3. I think it wasn't just that Tara had those combos but that she skated that routine the best she ever had and probably skated the best she ever had that convinced 5 of the judges who gave Kwan the first place mark in the SP to go with Tara that night.
  13. bardtoob

    bardtoob Former Choreographer for Anna Maria Tragikova

    It annoys me that the title of this thread is "Profile: Tara Lipinski" but it is really a Michelle Vs Tara poll.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2013
    PeterG and (deleted member) like this.
  14. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Member

  15. BmcC102

    BmcC102 Active Member

    Both performances were amazing! I voted for Tara, because she did her best when it counted the most. :)
  16. fenway2

    fenway2 Well-Known Member

    Same here. I came here hoping to talk about Tara like the other skater profile threads and it's just another excuse to invite negativity. Hopefully someone can start a real appreciation thread for her.
  17. Judge Dred

    Judge Dred Active Member

    You silly grumps, the post that started the thread is the profile! A lot of time, effort, and work obviously went into it. Just because a poll was added that you don't like the result of is no reason for you to throw your toys out of the pram. Grow up, get a backbone, and stop being moaning minnies. This is a forum after all. Users ask questions, argue, and debate. Thats why the forum exists in the first place. You don't throw a tantrum when you read a point or see a poll result you disagree with. On the contrary, you set out a reasoned well argued case presenting your opposing point of view. Don't like the result? Well instead of crying into your cornflakes, start arguing your case and provide reasons to other members to vote for Tara. The reason why I voted for Tara is that whilst Michelle's skate was the more accomplished, Tara produced hers when it mattered most and was therefore better. The guts to go out there and produce when it matters is the x-factor that separates the two.
  18. bardtoob

    bardtoob Former Choreographer for Anna Maria Tragikova

    Would you expect any different from the Oscar the Grouch of FSU.

    I never said I do not like the results of the poll. I like Michelle Kwan's skating.

    I actually don't like the poll question because it is BORING :yawn: and I do not think that Tara needs to always be presented in contrast to Michelle Kwan.

    If you feel this way, why are you throwing a tantum about my comments? Are you a hypocrit?

    Why would I cry in my cornflakes if I favored Tara? She was on the box.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2013
  19. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

    Well, figure skating isn't always quite that objective, is it? Two judges could have voted in Kwan's favor thus giving her the gold. It really depended upon their own judgment and mood at the time.
  20. leafygreens

    leafygreens Well-Known Member

    Not only this, but Tara's "double" toe loop was actually a single! I can't believe she ever got credit for that jump.
  21. orientalplane

    orientalplane Mad for mangelwurzels

    Could you explain what you mean by this?

    Which double or "single" toe loop are you talking about?
  22. honey

    honey Well-Known Member

    I think early on as a junior and first year senior she had a horrible toe-axel, but by the time she won worlds it was gone.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2013
  23. personwhoishere

    personwhoishere Well-Known Member

    Can I just say how much I LOVED that Olympic SP of hers? I don't know how anyone could have watched that and said she was only a jumping bean with no artistic sensibilities. Quite a lovely and expressive program, although it doesn't hurt that I adore that soundtrack. I didn't really start following figure skating until about a year and a half after these Games so I didn't remember it that well. Thank you to Maofan7 for starting this thread and posting all these vids :)
  24. leafygreens

    leafygreens Well-Known Member

    Yeah I guess you would call it a toe axel. It was very egregious in many of her performances.
  25. Lnt175

    Lnt175 Member

    Well in the judging system some of Taras jumps would be URed (although the 3lp/3lp seemed fine to me) and she did not have a real Lutz. She was far from the only one, and for the time she did what she had to according to the rules, but IMO her LP did have some flaws in it.

    ETA I just saw that the poll is comparing Lipinskis OLympic program to Kwans Nationals performance, an even harder comparision to make. I'd give the edge to Kwan here even though Lyra is not my favorite program of hers.
  26. BmcC102

    BmcC102 Active Member

    As others have pointed out, she fixed it during the 96 off season. Other than 97 Nationals, from the fall of 96 through her pro careers, she didn't "toe axel" anymore. Too bad Kimmie Meissner and Amber Corwin could never correct theirs!
    Maofan7 and (deleted member) like this.
  27. Lnt175

    Lnt175 Member

    Lipinski fixed alot of her jump problems. Her axel got mch better after she opened up on it at the 97 CSF. Its too bad she dropped it from her repertoire as a pro, as she seemed to getting better at it. Her salchow also got better when she got older.
  28. AxelAnnie

    AxelAnnie Well-Known Member

    Lipinski by a mile! That long program is just a run-away best ever.

    As the articles say, she skated with total abandon and joy, and technical content that could not be denied. They all wanted to give it to Michelle.......Michelle thought it was hers (and it was) - Tara just didn't get that memo.