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Rank the Skating Skills of these Senior Ladies

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by smarts1, Jul 14, 2012.

  1. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    Leaving out her toe jumps, which did indeed have glaring flaws, how was Sarah Hughes's SKATING at the peak of her competitive career noticeably below par for a senior lady? I'd certainly move her up by a couple of categories in your hierarchy.

    For the other two here as well, I think when you say "below par for a senior lady" you mean a world-class, medal-hopeful senior lady.

    There are lots of senior ladies who compete nationally, or even internationally if they're from small countries, who do some triple jumps, but are weaker than those.

    To me, "bad for a senior lady," means deserving of Skating Skills scores in the 3s or 4s. Even if Cohen was overmarked in that area when she competed under IJS, she was surely better than that.

    I should also add that I have an issue with this question as it was asked in general. It's hard to rank the "skating skills" of skaters who had long careers because their skill level did not remain stagnant. E.g., Michelle Kwan of 2003 was a very different skater from Michelle Kwan of 1993. But the differences don't have to be even that glaring.

    Even from one competition to the next in the same year, or from one program to the next in the same competition, some skaters will show visible differences in how well they're skating, sometimes connected to the success of the jumps and sometimes not.

    So we may be thinking of different performances when we disagree about the quality of a particular skater's skating.

    It would be more meaningful to rank or compare the skating skills of specific performances. We could all look at the same videos and compare the same things. But posters who have seen some or all of these skaters live have more significant data to go by than what's evident on video. However we haven't all seen the same performances live, so again we're not all going to have the same impressions.

    And then, quite apart from this thread, skating skill is a complex enough category that there will always be differences in which aspects any one observer notices most or weights most strongly when evaluating.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2012


    Carolina Kostner

    Michelle Kwan
    Mirai Nagasu
    Akiko Suzuki

    Mao Asada
    Yuna Kim
    Joannie Rochette
    Laura Lepisto
    Irina Slutskaya

    Everyone else asking to be ranked

    Will there be a Men's version of this thread, too? ;)
  3. smarts1

    smarts1 Well-Known Member

    ^ There was, but that died out...
  4. doubleflutz

    doubleflutz New Member

    She always seemed extremely stiff, usually quite high in her knees, and she used lots of two-foot skating and not a lot of interesting choreography, bladework wise. I think in this list she kind of suffers a bit because she wasn't a COP skater given when she retired, and unlike Michelle or Ira, she didn't really push the envelope in terms of her footwork/transitions/overall choreography for a 6.0 skater of her era. Compared to skaters who grew up under COP and have equivalent level skating skills, she wasn't performing programs that were that difficult, and compared to the ladies on the list who did compete in 6.0, all of them have better skating skills and most of them consistently did harder programs than she did.

    Well, yeah. I thought that was a given, given who's on the poll. Other than Surya, they're all far better than the standard needed to, say, pass the Gold Moves test.

    To me the COP footwork/programs vs 6.0 programs definitely throws a monkeywrench into it, too. Whether you like COP or not, most of the programs are just head and shoulders above 6.0 programs in terms of the actual skating demanded, so I feel like that has to count for something.
  5. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    See, and my impression at the time was that Hughes had softer knees and used a lot more edge-based transitions than many of her peers -- e.g., Butyrskaya, Cohen, Sokolova, Volchkova, Kirk -- even Suguri's skating seemed stiffer and shallower to me, albeit faster -- as well as her sister and Alissa Czisny, whom you put into higher categories. So I guess we weren't even seeing the same things, let alone interpreting them the same.

    Move S. Hughes up by two groupings and I'll agree with your rankings but not with how you label them.

    In which case, the range of skating skills should go from outstanding down to above average (or "acceptable/average for a world-class senior lady" not for "a senior lady" in general as you stated), certainly not down to Bad.

    For the most part we're talking about skaters who would deserve at least 6.0 ("above average") on the IJS scale.

    Bonaly it's hard to say. She was able to make up with speed and athleticism for deficiencies in technique. Snark as we might about the weak edge quality, I suspect that several of the skaters on that list would have been unable to do this

    I'll agree with you there, certainly in aggregate if not every specific case.
  6. Marco

    Marco Well-Known Member

    Hughes would stack up well against second tier skaters of the time like Cohen, Sokolova, Volchkova and Kirk, but not against Kwan IMO. Butyrskaya did have stiffer knees and less complexity in her skating, but overall I think she had better edge quality and posture. I don't think Hughes looked effortless or controlled at all while skating. I would put Hughes around the same league as Slutskaya and Suguri (maybe between them), although Slutskaya usually gained more power from each stroke.
  7. Triple Butz

    Triple Butz Well-Known Member

    I pretty much agree with that. Hughes had good edges, above average speed, got down in her knees well, but like Slutskaya it looked laborious.
  8. bartek

    bartek Active Member

    You must be watching a different Slutskaya than me. She's very fast and pawerful yet efortless and controlled at the same time. Besides, she has perfect mastery of one foot skating and multi-directional skating, and sure, solid deep edges.
  9. lauravvv

    lauravvv Well-Known Member

    Once again - thank you for this thread, smarts1. I am really interested in this part of figure skating technique, more so than in jumps, I must admit. A really interesting read.

    And it would be great if you could make a new SS thread for men, as mine died down so quickly.
  10. Triple Butz

    Triple Butz Well-Known Member

    We've been through this on other threads, but you obviously don't know what "effortless" means. One important hallmarks of FS, which makes skating special and different from any other sport, is the ability to glide across a surface without looking like you're trying and without the quick or jerky muscle movements that you would see in a runner or sprinter on regular ground. When a skater is quickly pumping their back up and down and swinging their arms to and fro, you can clearly see the muscles at work and the effort required to gain momentum. That is the definition of laboriousness, not effortlessness.


    I am actually surprised at the number of people who are ranking e.g. Kiira Korpi above her.

    There are very few female skaters who have the security and blade control that I've seen from Kwan. It's what made her Spiral so exquisite.

    I'm also a little surprised how low Asada has been ranked on several lists. Her blade dexterity and precision is incredible at times. The only reason I didn't list her higher is because other skaters have demonstrated greater speed (which she has clearly improved on recently.) She's also one of the few women who have attained Level 4 Steps.
  12. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

    Although I am probably talking to a wall here, given that you have your own definition of "skating skills" that does not comport with that used by the ISU, I'm going to take another shot at this. There are people here, including the OP, who are interested in what the ISU thinks.

    Components with Explanations

    By and large, though not entirely, "skating skills" are just what the term implies -- skills at manipulating the skate across the ice, and this is particularly true of "effortless glide."

    What goes on above the ankle does have some relevance to skating skill, particularly with respect to how well the skater balances his or her weight on the skates, as is shown in the videos to which TripleWallie linked upthread.

    I would agree that, above the ankle, Slutskaya could be very far from effortless, but that point relates to other program components, particularly these:

    Anyone who wants to start a thread about the Performance/Execution and Interpretation elements, please go right ahead.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2012
    gkelly and (deleted member) like this.
  13. Triple Butz

    Triple Butz Well-Known Member

    1) Sarah Hughes, whom I referenced in my earlier post did not compete under the current rules you referenced.
    2) I never said Slutskaya had "poor" skating skills.
    3) I never mentioned "skating skills" in the post you quoted or the one that bartek quoted before it.
    4) In fact, I complimented Hughes and Slutskaya on their deep knee bend, good edges, and speed.
    5) What I was talking about was "ease of movement" which, under the current rules, is indeed a P/E component.
    6) It actually seems we agree so I have no idea what you're talking about, or why you assume you're talking to a brick wall.
  14. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

    Because of this:

    I have a feeling that you and I have each misunderstood things the other one dashed off and posted here. I'm sorry for my role in any confusion or hurt feelings.

    And, yes, I think we do actually agree, or would if we were sitting down chatting face-to-face.
  15. Triple Butz

    Triple Butz Well-Known Member

    I can agree to that ;)
  16. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    And it would probably be a lot easier to reach agreement sitting down in front of the ice where the skaters are skating than relying on videos and memories of having seen different performances/practices live at different points in their careers.