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Yuka Sato: a puzzling career

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by krenseby, Jul 27, 2011.

  1. DBZ

    DBZ Well-Known Member

    I agree, which is why I don't really understand this mentality that Yuka was "lucky" to win her world title, because in any other year, she would've been creamed by the competition.

    I just don't see how skaters like Nancy, Oksana, Surya, Lu Chen, etc., were so head and shoulders above her.

    The girl could skate like nobody's business. She had the best edges in the field, well-choreographed programs and wonderful musicality. And when she was on (like at 94 worlds) she could be a threat for gold no matter who was competing IMO.

    Her only issue was consistency, but then whose wasn't in 1994? The entire ladies field that season struggled with consistency. No one was putting two clean skates together, and results were all over the place.

    Absolutely...*IF* she could maintain the consistency she showed at 94 Worlds.

    I think it's logical to assume she would've improved artistically along with the rest of the field.

    Take her SP from this pro competition, for example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiqKBgGr0CM

    Now replace her loop combo with a clean lutz combo...don't you think the quality and maturity of that program would've challenged for top 3 in any worlds from 95-98?

    I personally do. She was a quality skater through and through. If she landed the difficult triples, I don't see why she wouldn't be in the running for gold.
  2. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

    I recall that a couple of Yuka's triples at the Olympics and at Worlds, especially the lutz and flip, had eeked out, pitched forward landings. I thought her presentation was cute back then but it wasn't sophisticated and nothing that made me go "WOW". I think she could've medalled in a few Worlds after 94, but I don't see her standing at the top of the podium.
  3. Ozzisk8tr

    Ozzisk8tr Well-Known Member

    Hatfull of Stars as a routine was more like a bowlfull of vomit. As a skater however I think Yuka would have done much better post C.O.P. as her basic skills were sublime. I loved her skating.
  4. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

    From the sounds of it, I should feel lucky that I never had to suffer through Hat Full of Stars during its heyday. I absolutely love Yuka though and loved that Manleywoman interview. In the interview, Yuka says she always had an ideal of what she wanted her skating to be, and it clearly showed. Her edges were/are incredible.
  5. Nours

    Nours Active Member

    One more totally wrong things I hear about Surya... Actually she wanted to turn pro after the 1994 Olympic season but FFSG and TF1 who just bought all the skating tv rights for four years made her stay.
  6. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    It is too bad Surya did not turn pro sooner. I read she had some huge money offers after the 95 Wrolds. Her amateur career would just go down the drain after 95 as both her jumping and skating diminished in quality, and the likes of Kwan, Lipinski, Slutskaya, and an ever more artistic Chen emerged. Even in Europe she was clearly surpassed by Slutskaya and Butyrskaya.
  7. CaptCrunch

    CaptCrunch New Member

    Made her stay? You mean by paying her something like $750,000 to stay as an eligible skater. Candelero too was well paid to continue to skate to 1998. Skaters were getting big bucks those days to continue to compete. Just like Kwan, Lipinski, and Eldredge all had million dollar contracts with the USFSA to skate in their pro-ams.
  8. allezfred

    allezfred Master/Mistress of Sneer Staff Member

    Thank goodness Bonaly didn't retire after 1994 or we'd never have gotten The Backflip in Nagano.
  9. Proustable

    Proustable New Member

    I think Sato would've been competitive for a couple more seasons at least (for podium spots if not the title).
  10. Cheylana

    Cheylana Well-Known Member

    Summer, baby! :summer:
  11. paskatefan

    paskatefan Well-Known Member

    I first heard of Yuka during the 1992 Olympics. TNT channel (I think) was showing the second flight of ladies during the afternoon, and I remembering being very impressed with Yuka back then. IIRC, she finished 7th at those Olympics.

    I may be in the minority here, but I liked "Hatful of Stars." Please don't throw tomatoes at me! :lol: :D
  12. manhn

    manhn Well-Known Member

    Although the "no-name" part is certainly arguable, there were non-American and Canadian pairs and dance teams like Natalia Annenko and Genrikh Sretenski, and Elena Leonova and Andrei Khvalko who did very well for themselves relative to their international success.
    Vash01 and (deleted member) like this.
  13. Triple Butz

    Triple Butz Well-Known Member

    That program is one of my favorites EVER. Haters, back off!!
  14. blue_idealist

    blue_idealist Well-Known Member

    That was a memorable program for me. Not my favourite or anything, but it was good.
  15. Bournekraatzfan

    Bournekraatzfan Well-Known Member

    THIS. Yuka is one of my all-time favourite skaters, and I am thrilled to see her share her knowledge with a talented crop of younger skaters.

    Gosh, this thread makes me really miss the pro scene 90s...I loved the exposure pro skaters got at that time, and I felt skaters like Yamaguchi, Sato, and Chouinard really blossomed on the pro circuit.
  16. Bournekraatzfan

    Bournekraatzfan Well-Known Member

    some favourites:

    "Angel Standing By"-showed off her lightness, her ease of movement, the gorgeous run of her edge...and her natural feel for the music

    "Brazilica"-showcased those wicked feet--clean, sharp, lightning-fast
  17. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

  18. figurefan

    figurefan New Member

    No need to understand it...That's why they call this section The Trash Can. ;)

    I remember when Yuka and Jason did some pairs stuff together as pros. They were actually quite good.

    I find nothing puzzling about her career. She had success as an eligible skater, went on to success in the pros and dabbled in pairs. Now she is part of a coaching team that has already produced a couple of National Champions. I would actually call it a well rounded career.
  19. krenseby

    krenseby New Member

    But what is meant by success in the pros? I mean wasn't the ladies field in pro competition weak to the point that pretty much any top 10 competitor from Worlds could walk in and win the World Pros?
  20. falling_dance

    falling_dance Coaching Patrick

    OTOH, why is 1996 Worlds remembered as featuring one of the greatest ladies' competitions ever? It's true that there were a number of impressive performances--particularly strong SPs for the time--but it's really just about the top two finishers. As far as a top-ten lady walking in to win at Landover goes, I'm not sure I can see Elena Liashenko, Marie-Pierre Leray, or even Maria Butyrskaya and a very young Irina Slutskaya beating Yuka Sato and Kristi Yamaguchi, even bearing in mind the advantage of the smaller field. (For one thing, the limited number of jumping passes would obviate the Oly-eligibles' clearest technical advantage.) Granted, Sato and Yamaguchi competed at the same World Pros just three times (1994-6), but their competing against each other counts for something. Heck, Hughes and Butyrskaya didn't beat Sato in 2002.

    Of course, another thing that's meant by "success in pros" is that Sato gave a number of memorable performances, like the Spartacus TP at 1995 World Pros and Song of the Homeland at the 2002 Hallmark Championships. That Sato surely made decent money and a lot of people were watching at home didn't hurt, either.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2011
    figurefan and (deleted member) like this.
  21. TheIronLady

    TheIronLady Well-Known Member

    Going out on a high note used to be the ideal.
  22. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    I tend to agree. Yamaguchi and Sato in their pro form at the time would have been competing with Kwan and Chen in 96, and dusting the rest of the field at the 96 Worlds. Slutskaya had little girly programs, took a huge fall on her side on her triple lutz, and still won the bronze easily by a wide margin.

    Meanwhile any of Yamaguchi, Sato, and Ito in their late 94 pro form would have probably thrashed the field at the 95 Worlds.

    The World Pros around that time was not a weak event at all. That goes for all the disciplines. In all of them the top skaters were comparable to the top amateur, and in some events like the pairs and dance they were much better.

    As for the idea of any top 10 skater from Worlds winning the World Pros, LOL! Skaters like Kwiatkowski (although kudos to her excellent career best performances at Worlds this year), Yokoyo, Vorobieva, top 10 finishers at the Worlds that year, would have stuck out like a sore thumb at the World Pros and placed a distant last, unless they still invited Katerina Witt. Ito skated miserably at Worlds with only 2 clean triples in the long program, and still placed 6th or 7th. A washed up Bonaly with mediocre performances and a fall in the short program placed 5th.
  23. Coco

    Coco Well-Known Member

    I think all the skaters from the non-traditional powers (Sato, Chen, Tanja S.* Bonaly at her best, etc.), these skaters really forced significant improvements in judging.

    I guess I don't know enough about skaters finishing #3-#8 prior to '84, but it seems like the skaters I listed put TPTB in a position of needing a more equitable scoring system. They were too good to be denied forever, and there just weren't enough opportunities to reward them.
  24. figurefan

    figurefan New Member

    She made good money and won competitions, I would consider that a success. I guess one could argue the quality of the competitors could have better but as falling_dance pointed out she had memorable performances and made decent money.
  25. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

    I also agree that they would've both been ahead of a young Slute and everyone else, but Chen and Kwan were in peak form w/ much improved artistry and 6 - 7 triples respectively. KY without a 3sal would've really needed the 3-3 in '96 to compete with them. Was she still capable of that? [but then again, KY staying amateur successfully thru '96 would've probably built her rep with the judges]. Sato, I'm not too sure about: She had the SS but what about her technically could've placed her even or shot her ahead of the above 3??

    Also, not to stray too far OT, but wasn't Chouinard a good pro skater in the 90s? Could she have competed with the above and been ahead of someone like Slute in '96?
  26. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    Is the question how Yamaguchi and Sato would have done at Worlds ca. 1996 skating under ISU rules, or how the Worlds top-10 skaters would have done at World Pros under a format with fewer jumps and more importance to artistry?
  27. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

    Yuka was only doing three different triples as a pro: sal, toe, loop. The lutz was a rare jump for her. She wouldn't have been competitive technically with the top 5 skaters in the eligible rank.

    Kristi would have done alright since she did all the triples minus the sal and axel, and the judges liked her.

    World Pro judging was always highly suspect. The judges definitely had their favorites and wouldn't have placed a Liashenko, for example, above more established stars who skated technically below par but othwerise solid programs.
  28. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    Chouinard reinstated and competed on the Grand Prix Champions Series in 1995-96. She beat Slutskaya convincingly at Trophee de France

    and was right up there with her at the series final

    So she might have been able to contend for a medal at Worlds. Or she might have bombed like she did at Canadians that year, losing the title and the one ladies' spot at Worlds to Jennifer Robinson. Or anything in between.

    In the end she just went back to being a pro where there was less pressure.
  29. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    Kristi and Michelle competed agaisnt each other at the Ultimate Four in fall 1996. In the short program both skated cleanly with the same jumps and Kristi won on a 3-2 split. In the long Michelle skated cleanly again and Kristi fell apart in her Tango number. She would definitely be competitive in the short program, I dont know about the long. Her jump consistency would probably be waning with age at that point. However she would have the reputation factor in her favor if she were amateur, she would have a history of past titles and been around alot longer than Michelle or even Lu.

    The lutz was not a rare jump for Yuka in the 94 and 95 fall pro seasons btw. She usually landed it. She started to lose it for good in fall of 96. I would also assume all the top pros would be doing atleast slightly more jump wise if they training for amateur instead. Even Boitano whose body was too beat up for amateur competition and was the dominant pro at the time tried more jump content in his amateur programs than his pros when he returned.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2011
  30. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member


    You may have seen a '96 Worlds competition with a 3-way battle among Kwan, Chen, and Yamaguchim, and both young Euro champ Slutskaya and Sato in a best-of-the-rest situation just off the podium, as well as extreme wild card Chouinard anywhere between medal threat to out of the top 10!