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Whose been the best since Katarina Witt retired?

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by Maofan7, Mar 17, 2011.

Who has been the best since Katarina Witt retired

Poll closed Apr 16, 2011.
  1. Mao Asada

    28 vote(s)
  2. Oksana Baiul

    1 vote(s)
  3. Midori Ito

    18 vote(s)
  4. Michelle Kwan

    176 vote(s)
  5. Tara Lipinski

    2 vote(s)
  6. Irina Slutskaya

    17 vote(s)
  7. Kristi Yamaguchi

    11 vote(s)
  8. Kim Yu Na

    143 vote(s)
  9. Sasha Cohen

    2 vote(s)
  10. Shizuka Arakawa

    7 vote(s)
  11. Sarah Hughes

    1 vote(s)
  12. Other

    1 vote(s)
  1. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Member

    When Katarina finished her Carmen program at 88 Worlds, it was a very sad moment as it marked the end of an era. Who would you say has been the best since Katarina finished?
  2. Carmen Ovsiannikov

    Carmen Ovsiannikov Well-Known Member

    Honestly, there have been a few ladies who IMHO were better than Katarina. I always felt that Katarina was a great performer especially under pressure but I never was all that impressed with her overall as a skater. One of her biggest assets was that she didn't allow nerves and the thought of what could be overwhelm her where her opponents who should have been able to beat her seemed to. Both Roz Sumners and Debbie Thomas weren't able to take advantage of their chances to beat Katarina and win the Olympics because they (and probably the media and coaches to an extent) placed far too much pressure on themselves

    From your list I would say that Kwan, Arakawa, Yamaguchi, Yu NA and even Sarah Hughes and Irina Slutskaya (technically in their cases) were better.

    I found Sasha personally more interesting as a skater than Katarina but she was another who psyched herself out time and again. Of course to be fair, most of the other ladies skated during times in which the jump content needed to win was more demanding that what Katarina needed to win.
    Rex and (deleted member) like this.
  3. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

    I agree with the previous poster.
    I don't think that Katarina Witt can be considered as a reference for a level of skater !
    For the palmares yes, but not for the skating.

    From the list, Michelle Kwan, Kristi Yamaguchi and Shizuka Arakawa were better than Katarina Witt, IMO.

    But as we had to choose only one, my vote goes to YuNa Kim. I'm a Kwan fan, but YuNa impressed me so much with her speed, glide, power. Even if I prefer to watch Michelle skating.
  4. RumbleFish

    RumbleFish New Member

    I have a lot of respect for Katraina Witt. I think her contribution to skating was bringing theatrics, flair, and sensuality to skating, establishing it as a pop culture.

    But skating wise, I always thought Denise Biellman was much better skater. Too bad she had to turn pro after her championship win in 81. Otherwise, she had excellent chance at winning gold in Sarajevo.
  5. wonderlen

    wonderlen New Member

    Didn't Katraina win her second OG with just a bunch of easy triples like Toeloop, Loop and Salcow??? I could hardly call that a blowout end of era performance. Maybe end of era for easy jumps and politically influenced judging.
  6. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

    Not even a loop. 2 3toes and 2 3sals. The 'Carmen' performance itself was a regression from '87 WSS, where she landed 5 triples including a 3loop, and skated with better speed, jump layout, artistry, and attack.

    It definitely wasn't a blow-out in '88. The judges placed Manley ahead of her in the LP 7-2 I think. The door was more than open for Debi Thomas to take the Gold.


    There have been many skaters who were technically better than Witt since she retired.

    There were skaters during her competitive day who were better as well. It's just none of them held it together when it counted like she did.
  7. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    I agree with the others. I dont think Witt was the best skater, just the best competitor. She might be the greatest champion in a certain sense, but not the best pure skater as far as ability.

    I would say of that list it would be one of Yu Na Kim, Yamaguchi, Kwan, or Ito depending on what you value. The best actual skater of the 80s was definitely Denise Biellmann regardless of her amateur medal count being dwarfed by Witt's. If Biellmann had stayed in, had been as mentally tough as she would be in the pros (which is just a guess), and developed competent enough figures, she would have destroyed Witt in the remainder of the decade.
  8. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

    Mostly Agreed. Actually, I believe Biellmann finished decently in Figures in '81 Worlds. At any rate, in the '81 - '84 quad, Biellmann should've been able to stay ahead of Witt in the Figures. Witt was usually only finishing around 8th or so at Worlds, but bumped up to 3d by Sarajevo.

    ETA - the '81 - '84 quad is interesting: An unusual no. of top skaters retired during the quad, not waiting for Sarajevo = Claudia Kristofics Binder [AUT] - a master of figures and would've probably dominated this portion of the comp up through Sarajevo, Kristiina Wegelius [FIN] - usually strong in figures and the SP, Deborah Cottrill [GBR] - a great, athletic free skater w/ a 3 loop and pretty strong figures. Denise Biellmann [SUI] - who may have been a prohibitive favorite for Sarajevo Gold, Carola Paul [GDR] - who I believe was a strong free skater. Figure all of them competing in Sarajevo along with a healthy Elaine Zayak [USA] not injured in '83 and at her 'fighting weight', and the comp would've been much more interesting than it was. I wonder where everyone would've finished along with Witt and Sumners.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2011
  9. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    Dont forget Tracy Wainmann who many were picking as a favorite for the 84 gold when she first emerged in 1980-1981 and had already won some international events as 12 and 13 year old. Also had Elena Voderezova not had all her health problems.

    84 Olympics for ladies was strange. Kira Ivanova had been out of international competition for years and had never finished top 10 at Worlds yet wins the Olympic bronze. Manuela Rueben comes in as the European silver medalist. Elena Voderezova who had also been out for years and was a shadow of herself is in strong medal contention and probably would have medaled had she even given her usual mediocre standard of free skate performances by then. Anna Kondrashova who was a bit of unknown then also had a great shot at the bronze, and then winning silver at Worlds. Tiffany Chin who was almost an unknown coming into the season looking like the best free skater in Sarajevo to many. Claudia Leistner coming in as the World silver medalist but I think not even making the top 10.
  10. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

    I know, in retrospect, the comp wasn't all that grand. All the top talent was retired, injured, recovering from injury, or just subpar. Hell, even a very young Midori Ito was out because she bombed JPN Nats.
  11. falling_dance

    falling_dance Coaching Patrick

    Ay. Out of the '84 Olympics and no trip to Worlds in 1985 due to injury. ((((Ito fans during the mid-80s))))

    I rather wish that Sumners had been able to put it all together in Sarajevo.
    bardtoob and (deleted member) like this.
  12. blue_idealist

    blue_idealist Well-Known Member

    I voted for Michelle Kwan, who I actually think was a lot better than Katarina Witt. I would say that Yu-Na Kim is definitely a better skater than her too, and maybe some others on this list as well but I'd have to think about it some more. I watched some of Katarina's old performances and they didn't really strike me as that wonderful, although of course they weren't bad. I agree with others that say she was the best competitor if not necessarily the best skater. Of course, I have to admit that I don't really like ladies' skating from the 80s in general. It seems.. odd. I don't know how else to describe it, but I prefer the style of today. I don't mind men's and pairs performances from back then, but I don't enjoy the dance either. The dancers and ladies seem kind of wooden? somehow.. the only ladies' program from the 80s I really enjoy is Elizabeth Manley's 1988 FS, and maybe a few programs from Denise Biellman. For dance it's just T&D.
  13. miki88

    miki88 Active Member

    This raises an interesting question about Witt's long lasting appeal. I think a lot of ladies on the list are better than her in terms of pure skating skills. But she had a lot of charisma. She's far more charismatic than Shizuka, Yamaguchi and Ito. In fact, I don't think Shizuka had the influence or the accomplishments to be listed as one of the greats.
  14. nubka

    nubka Well-Known Member

    Yu-na. Bring on the 3/3 combinations...! :):):)
  15. mysticchic

    mysticchic Well-Known Member

    My ex always thought she was the best skater in Playboy
    Beefcake likes this.
  16. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

    Another thing to consider about Witt - In '88, Kadavy was slotted to compete just after Manley. If Kadavy had competed and skated lights out with her artistry and 2 3 loops [2x - 3l seq., 3loop - 2toe] would the judges have also placed her ahead of Witt's 'Carmen' in the LP like Manley? Or would the judges have somehow held Witt up with the 2d mark to keep the 'Battle of the Carmens' a possibility??
  17. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    The interesting thing is Kadavy could not have won a medal of any color based on the factored placings going in even had she won the long program, bumping Thomas to 5th, that is unless the judges then placed Thomas 6th in the long behind Trenary (she beat Jill in the long on only a 5-4 split as it was).

    I think if Kadavy had skated her best she still would have been placed only 4th in the long program behind Manley, Witt, and Ito however. Based on the short program she had little political push behind her for that event, she was probably perceived as the #3 American even below Trenary going in. And there is no way the judges would have placed Ito or Kadavy 2nd in the long program as Manley winning the gold was an unthinkable scenario to the judges IMO, so they would make sure Witt or Thomas was 2nd in the LP even if they ceded Manley the LP that night.

    I think if Thomas had skated her best she actually would have been placed 2nd in the long program behind Manley which would have bumped Witt to bronze (and given Thomas gold overall). Of course Thomas winning the long program if she skated her best was possible too which would have atleast salvaged Witt silver.
  18. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

    You make a lot of interesting points. It was pretty obvious by the SP standings that the judges slightly favored some over others when all were clean, and that Kadavy was going to be on the losing end of the stick. A shame that Thomas and Trenary were preferred because Kadavy had the overall package [of course, that was when she was 'on' and she was a bit of a headcase]. But, I liked Thomas just as much. It was also weird that even if she had a longer international history and a world medal, Trenary was preferred.

    In fact, watching youtube videos of the Kadavy's SP, you can tell by her body language she was a bit deflated in the K & C when she saw her marks. It would be interesting to know if Fassi was pushing one of Trenary or Kadavy more to the USFSA and Internationally.
  19. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    I dont think Trenary was that big a favorite of the judges at the time either. She landed a triple flip combo in the short (even if very shaky) and end up only 6th in the short, and her figures placings were below people like Witt and Manley who were probably not better at figures. I think Thomas was by far the USFSA golden girl at the time, and neither Jill or Caryn had much hope other than a bronze if others imploded. Trenary was favored over Caryn since she was seen as their future. Of course nobody could forsee that figures would be eliminated altogether (though there was talk of it) and that Jill would never learn any new triples along with getting injured.
  20. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

    I was also wondering where judges / TPTB saw Manley relative to Trenary and Kadavy. Kadavy was reigning world bronze-medalist and I remember reading published predictions for the '88 Olympic Games, which listed Witt and Thomas as gold and silver favorites, then those publications traded between Trenary and Kadavy for bronze, not mentioning Manley. I thought Manley was considered a headcase leading up to Calgary, but I could be wrong: She bombed the LP in '87 but I think she finished well in both '85 and '86 Worlds, so she was always there, just beneath the podium.
  21. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    The judges at the time always liked Manley alot more than Trenary and Kadavy. Manley may have won the 86 World title with her free skate had she not blown both figures and the short program (she was 3rd in the free despite not skating in the final flight). And she probably would have won the 87 World title had she skated her long program including the triple lutz cleanly. She consistently and easily beat Kadavy and Trenary when all skated clean programs, even with lesser jump content in some programs. In Calgary she nearly took 2nd in the short program over Thomas despite an easier jump combo and a noticeable bobble in the camel spin.

    I can see people not expecting Manley to skate as well as she did, but if she skated well she was always going to be marked higher than Trenary and Kadavy regardless how they skated, especialy on home ice. I think the short program in Calgary is a good indication how the powers that be saw the 3 relative as Manleys short was quite ordinary and clearly weaker than Kadavy and no better than Trenary probably.
  22. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

    I accidentally voted for Irina Slutskaya when I meant to vote for Michelle Kwan, but it looks like it won't make much difference.
  23. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    I am surprised Ito doesnt have alot more votes. I thought she was a big favorite on this forum.
  24. floskate

    floskate Vacant

    She is, but when I saw this thread and looked at the options I immediately thought Kwan, just because she was such a great competitor, as Witt was. Maybe that's what people were comparing. I mean, when it comes to actual skating, there are a lot of skaters since Witt who i would rank above her. A LOT! :shuffle:
  25. Loves_Shizuka

    Loves_Shizuka The Stolbova/Klimov and James/Cipres Uber

    ^Agreed, and that was my first thought. Witt was great at many things, but in terms of actual skating, you're talking Ito, Yamaguchi, Kwan, Slutskaya, Arakawa, Kim and Asada who, IMO, are better.
  26. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

    I also think that it's quite telling that people more about Witt's competitive strength as opposed to her skating strength. It seems to be "common knowledge" that many of Witt's competitors were superior to Witt in terms of skating. For those of you who actually watched skating during Witt's heyday, was that actually the case or is that something some people (like Christine Brennan) made up?

    Also, for those of us who had to watch 1980s skating through youtube or other videos, do you find Witt to be inferior to her competitors? As for me, I sort of do, but I don't know if it's because I'm unfairly judging Witt through a contemporary skating lens and comparing her with her record which gives a viewer a sort of expectation about her skating. I can say that I greatly preferred Cadavy and Ito over Witt. But again, maybe it's because I started really watching skating in the late-90s and prefer certain things over others.
  27. Loves_Shizuka

    Loves_Shizuka The Stolbova/Klimov and James/Cipres Uber

    ^I've watched 88 a few times, and in my not very qualified opinion, I found Thomas and Ito to be far better skaters.
  28. floskate

    floskate Vacant

    Interesting points. I think it's true that she was never the package that her contemporaries were but she had a few things going for her that others did not. When she first came on the scene she was only about 14 I think but what she did have above some of her contemporaries in 1981 - 83 was consistency on her bread and butter triple jumps. Other than Biellmann and Zayak, most skaters were doing either triple sal or triple toe and some attempted both but they weren't very consistent. Witt had a wonderful triple toe with tons of speed in and out; very powerful. Her sal technique was more suspect but she pretty much always landed one of the two and again, when it worked, the quality was high. Plus she was also pushing the technical boundaries of the sport by doing combo's such as her 2z-3t. She was teh second woman ever to land a clean triple flip in a World championship and she also had a triple loop although she had way more success with the flip. As an example of this, at the 1983 Europeans she actually planned a 6 triple LP (2 toes, 2 sals, flip and loop). She doubled the flip and fell on the loop but still this was waaay more than anyone else was attempting at the time other than Zayak and she was going through her fall from grace with the USFSA and the judges. (Of course Ito was already doing this and more in juniors.)

    She also was stunningly beautiful. :swoon: She could sell a program like no one else at the time, even when the program was utter crap - this is the girl who went out and skated the hell out of the Muppet theme :lol:. By the time she won the Olympics, she had a lot of political push which no doubt helped her figures scoring in Sarejevo :shuffle: but she did deliver in the short and free and presented an allure that no other girl had. Sumners was the better basic skater but she had nowhere near the star quality that Witt had. I do think that her ability to 'sell' the sport and increase its popularity certainly helped her get the marks from judges. She was the ideal postergirl. She could skate very well, she was consistent, she had a mysterious allure to westerners due to coming from behind the iron curtain and she was drop dead gorgeous and many men just couldn't help but fall in love with her.

    She also had a killer instinct. The stories are famous of course and while I do believe that Chin, Thomas, Kadavy, Trenary Manley and Ito were all MUCH better skaters, Witt had it all over them in terms of competitive nerve. She always did what she needed to do to win, whether that was improvising to someone else's music in practice, cutting them up on the ice, flirting with the judges or whipping off a triple loop to win back Worlds when no one believed she could do it. She was gifted a few times too of course, most notably beating Ito at 1987 NHK where Midori landed 7 triples in a competition with no figures. :mad:

    She was impossibly glamourous with a natural beauty and star quality that could knock you down flat at 30 paces, and tended to make the American girls look like overdone pageant queens with huuuge hair. I loved her, but even as a kid watching her all through the 80's, her back crossovers got on my last nerve. :lol:
  29. essence_of_soy

    essence_of_soy Well-Known Member

    A true testament to Katarina's competitive drive, during the free skating warm - up at the 1987 World Championships, she actually fell on the triple loop. So, to go out and land it when it mattered, showed her 'all or nothing' spirit.

    I think that's why I love the super model era so much. The ladies looked like women and not 4'9" transplanted gymnasts.
  30. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

    I think Witt's skating style in the early 80s was workmen like when compared to skaters like Roz and Tiffany. During the 84 Olympic Dick said that Roz floated above the ice while Katerina dug into the ice. I didn't care for Kat's Gerschwin LP in 84 and 85 but no one else stepped up to skate better. There was a definite attempt to be more graceful in 84 when comparing it to her 83 LP.

    87 World LP was Witt's best performance. Everything came together. It didn't matter in that LP that her back was hunched or she was pumping across the ice or the lack of extensions, lines, etc. The program, the performance, even the bat-winged outfit ... everything just worked. I don't think anyone could say that Witt that year in her LP was "inferior" to anyone else. (The frenetic SP was another matter though, LOL.)

    88 Carmen was so-so as a program choreographically. I know she only did 3toes and 3sal, but those triples were huge, had great speed coming in and out, and covered great distance though.

    I think if you break Witt's skating down into pieces then yes one can argue that she was "inferior" to skaters like Roz, Chin, and Kadavy. But judging Witt's skating in its entirety then she was superior than all of those mentioned skaters.