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Tonya Harding at the 1993 U.S. National Championships

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by essence_of_soy, Apr 29, 2010.

  1. neptune

    neptune Well-Known Member

    Thanks so much for the valuable info, CaptCrunch! :respec: I wonder where it originally came from? (And don't say the stork brought it. :lol:) AFAIK, this is the first time I've ever seen details about Tonya's skate there.

    That is shocking, but then again in a way, maybe not, considering how political the judging is. At that point, I suspect Tonya realized she'd need some "help" in order to do well at the Olympics. :EVILLE:

    I think Tonya's victory at SA was one of the worst things to happen to her, because it seems she became overconfident afterward. Unfortunately, she saved the best for first. :wall:

    Those events were usually covered pretty well in the USFSA magazine, but the details were normally published about two months after the event, meaning that they should have appeared in the February '94 issue of Skating. But maybe with all the hoopla surrounding The Whack, NHK just got lost in the shuffle.

    I don't know whether Chen and Bonaly fell in the SP, but if so, then I think one could make a case for Tonya winning the event. From the account, it seems that she skated as well as Nancy had at Piruetten a month earlier. So, for similar performances, Nancy again got all the glory, and Tonya got...well...4th place. :p
    Last edited: May 13, 2010
  2. neptune

    neptune Well-Known Member

    I suspect that Kristi's victory in Albertville wasn't ultimately that satisfying to her, because 1) she didn't skate her best and 2) her opponents didn't come close to skating their best. By contrast, I would think that Tara's victory in Nagano was hugely satisfying (even though Tara didn't get the greatest attention from the press and skating fans), because 1) she couldn't have skated better and 2) Michelle wasn't that far from her best. I personally think a great performance that doesn't win is worth more than just a "pretty good" performance that results in victory.
  3. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    I think Tara's victory is the most satisfying of anyone the last 3 decades outside of Yu Na Kim. Looking at the others:

    1980 Poetzsch- win was tainted some by the U.S media's negative coverage of it, and she clearly didnt skate her best. Won due to figures lead, 4th in short and 3rd in long programs.

    1984 Witt- barely won with just a pretty good performance, not her best. Mostly since Sumners popped a bunch of jumps that night.

    1988 Witt- was outshone by Manley and Ito in the LP (even though judges still placed her over Ito in the LP), controversial winner of the SP. Didnt skate her best, and won only by the 3 program format by being the most consistent.

    1992 Yamaguchi- well you covered that.

    1994 Baiul- controversial win with limited technical content and some obvious mistakes that night. Not even close to her best performance really.

    2002 Hughes- did have the competition of her life unlike the others I am mentioning, but only won through the favorites skating very subpar. Even in victory the judges scores and ordinals was just a reminder that she does not ever really control her own destiny on her own, which to a top skater is always a bit frusterating.

    2006 Arakawa- didnt skate her best and main rivals fell.

    I would say Kristi's in a way was probably the least satisfying win perhaps though. Poetzsch, Baiul, Hughes, and Arakawa were just thrilled to win at all. Witt in 84 still won with sort of a clean performance and it was her long awaited first global title over the newest American Ice Princess after losing the last 2 Worlds to U.S skaters. Witt in 88 was probably feeling a bit subdued with how things panned out in a sense but it was the historic 2nd gold. Kristi probably thought she was coming back to win in 94, especialy if she didnt win that night, and probably expected she would have to skate like she did at U.S Nationals to have a chance of winning over the super field that year. I am sure she was still thrilled to win but how it all played out, and having one of her worst performances of her whole skating prime and still winning easily probably left her almost a bit dazed and confused, not probably the way she ever imagined winning her Olympic Gold.
    Last edited: May 14, 2010
  4. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    Yeah she was so great there she might have felt like she was on a cloud and unbeatable. Basically thinking I won U.S Nationals killing Kristi who would win Worlds, I would have won Worlds if I didnt lose my concentration on that triple toe combo, and now I fixed the concentration thing from Worlds and killed Kristi again. She may have been so confident she figured she could ease up on training and still be in that unbeatable mode.

    I wish I could see that event on tape. However when skaters the judges have always been cool towards (Chen and Bonaly) are now being held up before you, that is a pretty troubling sign to how TPTB are now perceiving you.
  5. escaflowne9282

    escaflowne9282 Reformed Manspreader

  6. casken

    casken Well-Known Member

    Didn't that usually happen with the first skater in the LP under 6.0?

    I remember something about a "base mark" being established for the first skater and the judges marks being adjusted to that and they usually wind up being consistently in the 4 range across the board?
  7. Marco

    Marco Well-Known Member

    On the other hand it meant Yamaguchi was the only one who withstood the pressure and performed well enough in both programs. Kerrigan and Bonaly bombed the lp after nailing the sp, and Ito and Harding only skated strong in the lp after falling in the lp. It's a different type of satisfying because she was the reigning world champion then and she did what she was expected to do (win).

    Lipinski's victory was definitely satisfying because she beat Kwan against all odds (momentum, sentiment etc) but then she was the slight underdog between her and Kwan as co-favorites and Kwan beat her both times they met that season.
  8. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    I do have a copy of most of the NHK TV coverage of 1993 NHK and I just watched the SPs. They showed Chen, Sato, Koiwai, and Bonaly. Yes, Bonaly and Chen both fell on their 3Lz and didn't do combinations. Sato did 3Lz-2T with a double three in between. Koiwai skated clean with 3Lo combo. Sato was strongest all around.

    I have no idea how Harding actually skated in either program. Or the other skaters who weren't shown.

    Here are the results for each program.

    That doesn't really answer any questions, except my question about who was the Ukrainian lady who was 2nd after the SP. Not knowing Japanese, all I could from the broadcast was that it was a Ukrainian skater, but I couldn't make out the name as it was spoken or as it was written in Japanese characters. Didn't sound like "Ivanova" but I guess that is what they said. Anyway based on her Olympic programs she also had a 3Lz at that time, so I'm guessing that she also landed her jumps successfully.
  9. neptune

    neptune Well-Known Member

    I do think Yu-Na Kim's victory must have been very satisfying to her, but is there any particular reason you think it would have been more satisfying than Tara's? After all, Asada didn't really skate her best, so there wasn't that much suspense.

    Plus she seems to have had a non-existent pro career. All your other assessments made sense too.

    I could see that. And as Dick said concerning Evan, what he'll probably remember the most in the future is his clean performance. So that part would have to be disappointing to Kristi as well.

    Yes, Tonya probably would have won Worlds if she hadn't missed that combo. In fact, I wonder why she didn't win the SP, where the first mark was the tiebreaker? Was she less than stellar on some of the elements?

    That's what I think. And even before 1991 Worlds, apparently she took a week off training, against her coach's advice. So becoming overconfident seemed to be a weakness of hers, even though, in an interview later that fall, she cited overconfidence as a potential pitfall if she had attended Lalique and won there.

    Maybe once gkelly uploads it to YouTube. ;)

    That's for sure.

    Well, Tonya's marks were definitely pretty base. ;)

    My original comment was in reference to another comment made by a well-known skater (can't remember exactly who it was) that, for a victory to be truly satisfying, you want to skate your very best on a night when your opponents also skated their very best. But certainly in other ways I'm sure Kristi got satisfaction from her victory, as you mentioned.

    That's bizarre that Koiwai too ended up behind both Bonaly and Chen.

    That's weird they never showed Ivanova. Also, I wonder whether the comments about Tonya's performances were observed in person or from TV. Somehow, I suspect if this competition had been in the U.S., Tonya would have gotten much better marks.
  10. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    She was the favorite and won by skating her absolute best under that pressure. That is a very rare thing. Tara also had alot of pressure on her but not the pressure of being the favorite.

    Asada did skate her best in the SP and Kim had to follow directly after and still rocked it. Then in the LP Kim skated before Asada so had no idea Asada would miss anything. She had to skate so well to leave nothing to chance
    and that is what she did.

    I think Kristi was always overscored in the short program compared to Tonya and I dont know why. I have no idea how she beat Tonya in the short program of the 89 and 1990 Nationals either, especialy since Kristi didnt even have much artistry yet (her later perceived edge) and she certainly didnt have stronger elements.

    At the 91 Worlds though Tonya skated really early. It was pretty amazing she was able to pull the marks she did skating so early in such a strong field that year. Kristi lucked out and skated near the end after anyone remotedly important, so with that draw it was a virtual certainty she would beat Tonya in the short if both went clean. I think if they skated in the same flight Tonya might have come out ahead.

    Was she invited to Lalique? I dont remember, but if she was and that was her official reason for not going who knows if it was the truthful one or not. She had alot on her plate as far as her personal life, her marriage was really in shambles at various times that year, she had injuries and wasnt always as well trained as she was at Skate America, etc....It may well be she didnt feel in right shape or point in time to want to face Yamaguchi and Ito, despite how well she had skated at Skate America not that far earlier.

    It doesnt surprise me at all. Koiwai doing only a triple loop combo and just being out of juniors, I would be surprised if the judges would have actually placed her over Bonaly and Chen with just a missed combo jump. Whether they should have is another matter, but I certainly wouldnt expect them to actually have.

    Chen's short program that year was also beautiful that year. Bonaly's short program was very good for her style of skating and disguised alot of her flaws. Koiwai was a clunky looking skater but showed alot of potential. She basically dissapeared for good though after Rena Inoue bumped her off the 94 Japanese Olympic team.

    DORISPULASKI Watching submarine races

    Tonya's 1991 Worlds SP was on youtube:


    She received a standing O, but skating in the first flight is not good for the marks in 6.0.
  12. Quintuple

    Quintuple papillon d'amour

    Aww, Tonya was so good in her '91 Worlds SP!

    Whoa! Alexei Tikhonov skated for Japan at that competition! Shen and Zhao may be the only pair there to have stayed together throughout! And another competitor there went on to be in porn!
  13. IceKween

    IceKween New Member

    I always liked that SP of Tonya's. Yamaguchi's SP was good too. I think what put Kristi over Tonya there wasn't just that Tonya skated early. Yamaguchi had much more polish than Tonya. Tonya was always a raw energy skater, but finesse was never part of her package.

    Who was the competitor that went into porn?
  14. CaptCrunch

    CaptCrunch New Member


    I think the starting order was the difference in the placements between Yamaguchi and Harding. Harding skated 3rd out of 37 and Yamaguchi skated dead last. I too thought Harding should have won the SP that day. Close call though.

    FWIW, Shen/Zhao did not compete at 91 worlds. Their first worlds was 94.
  15. Seerek

    Seerek Well-Known Member

    I think in that particular World Championships (1991), I suspect the judges pretty much short-listed those ladies who they knew were going for 3 lutz combinations in the original program and were ready to give them high marks if they were clean regardless of the order of skate. Anyone outside of Ito, Bonaly, Yamaguchi, Harding that would have fit in this category? (perhaps Chen and Kiellmann)
  16. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    Kiellmann was doing a triple lutz combo and I think she skated cleanly, and of course she was in her home country, and was still placed below Worlds newbie Kerrigan with a double toe-triple toe combo. In her case I dont think it matters much just since she is Kiellmann. Chen was only 14 years old so I suspect it mattered even less what she was doing.
  17. neptune

    neptune Well-Known Member

    That's true, but this was a technical program. The most important thing is doing the elements well, not polish. And I think Tonya's elements were enough better than Kristi's to make up for the difference in polish.

    I think there were several reasons Kristi was placed ahead of Tonya:

    1) Skating order
    2) Reputation (this was Kristi's 3rd Worlds, but only Tonya's 1st)
    3) Ladylikeness, packaging, and polish ("good girls" and ladylike skaters
    always seems to be preferred in the staid world of women's figure skating)
    4) Looks and build (I doubt judges consciously thought about this, but unconsciously it probably played a role; being petite is usually considered more "ladylike" too)
  18. Morry Stillwell

    Morry Stillwell Well-Known Member


    Actually I always wanted to know what happened at 93 NHK. It was referenced in the Tonya/Nancy TV movie but there are no videos of the event anywhere online, nor are there any competition reports. I can't believe that Harding skated totally clean and only placed 7th considering she made two errors at the Olympics a few months later and came in 10th, unless 6 other skaters were squeaky clean at NHK.[/QUOTE]

    Tonya did not want to skate NHK for reasons not expleained at the time. She tried to get a bye to Nationals out of Pacific Coast Sectionals. This was part of the "bullet in the back" farce during Pacific Coast Sectionals.
  19. neptune

    neptune Well-Known Member

    That's true.

    But when you're the "it" girl, you get special bonuses. ;)

    At least none of this affected the final result.


    She said that basically she wanted to go to the Olympics "fresh." If she went to Lalique and had a very bad skate, that might carry over. Similarly, if she went and rocked everything, she might get overconfident. All of that does make sense.

    That's plausible too.

    It seems that '94 was the year for "bumping." ;)
  20. neptune

    neptune Well-Known Member

    But why would Kielmann be placed below Nancy Kerrigan, who wasn't very well known at that point? Incidentally, I think '91 Worlds was the last time that Tonya finished ahead of Nancy in competition.

    Yeah, at that point in her career, she could've just sat on the ice and colored it with crayons, and her scores probably wouldn't have been much different. :)
    Last edited: May 15, 2010
  21. CaptCrunch

    CaptCrunch New Member

    Kielmann had a big hissy fit about her placement after the SP. She went to the German press and openly complained about finishing 6th and behind Kerrigan. She thought she should have been top 5 and skated in the last group for the LP.

    BTW I agreed with Kerrigan being ahead of Kielmann in the SP. Kielmann was like a moose on skates. She had no line, no extension, no finesse to her skating. Kerrigan had a very good SP that year, she had good skating skills, was musical, and was well packaged. Much more so than Kielmann ever was.

    I can't remember what happened to Lu Chen in the SP but she had a bad one and was 12th after the SP. Maybe she fell on her 3lt combo? Can't remember.
  22. neptune

    neptune Well-Known Member

    At first when I read this, I thought it said: "She went to the German police..." :eek: :lol:

    There were only 5 in the last group?

    I'm glad that Lisa Kerrigan's performance went over so well. Oh, wait a minute--you're talking Nancy Kerrigan? ;) I typically don't think of her skating as musical, but I'm glad her SP was so strong that year.

    Not too shabby for her very first Worlds, though.
  23. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    Since Kiellmann just wasnt ever that good. She had difficult jump content but her jumps were technically weak and poor quality, and her overall skating quality was poor. There is a reasons she never won a World medal even being one of the early women to have a full set of triples, even getting handily beaten for the World bronze in 94 by a teenage teammate who was still immature on ice and couldnt do anything harder than a triple loop (I dont count an always two footed triple lutz). It is amazing how weak the German women became after Witt and Grossman's career flaming out. Kiellmann, Neske, and Lang as their top trio. :yikes:

    True. :lol: I think once they got more familiar with her Chen scared TPTB though as she was already so good and could already skate everyone in the World on occasion at just 15 (eg- the LP of the 92 Olympics). I dont think they were ready for a Chinese skater as up and coming dominant skater though. That is why a much inferior skater like Baiul was coronated in that role instead after the retirements and changing of the gaurd. I honestly dont think the plan of TPTB I dont think the plan of TPTB was ever for Chen to ever even win a Worlds, and if Bobek fallen twice in her LP at the 95 Worlds it never would have happened. I think she deserves alot of credit for Shen & Zhou's success as she helped pave the way as the first Chinese to be that successful. There was an underlying Asian countries bias in skating at the time. Not so much totally against them, but that they werent North America or the traditional European powers from Russia, Austria, Germany, France, Norway, Britian, and some others was all.
  24. Quintuple

    Quintuple papillon d'amour

    I was talking about '93 NHK, which was the results link I quoted.

    Lance Travis
  25. casken

    casken Well-Known Member

    If I recall it was rather :yawn: too.
  26. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    Wow Lance Travis did porn? I had never heard that before now. I liked him and Steigler and was dissapointed when they split.
  27. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

    LOL. Don't forget that Neske and Kiellmann were on the European podium between 1989 and 1993, which is not bad.
  28. casken

    casken Well-Known Member

    Well, it was just nudie shots. :yawn:
  29. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    True but in an era where 8 of the top 10 finishers at the 92 Olympics were from outside Europe.
  30. neptune

    neptune Well-Known Member

    Dagmar Lurz could probably have come out of retirement and still beat them. :lol: And ever since Szewczenko retired, unless my memory fails me, Germany hasn't really had any ladies' skaters of note.

    I agree.

    It seems that Baiul came along at the perfect time, and Chen at a very inopportune one. If Chen had been from the U.S., she probably would have medaled in Albertville, with no figures to hold her back.