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Yuka Sato: a puzzling career

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

  1. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    I like Josee alot, but I think Chouinard is overrated by some people. She is a good skater when she is on but not only was she wildly inconsistent but even skating her best she usually wasnt good enough. As far as her competitive place (I am not talking about skating style) she was basically Fumie Suguri without any of Fumie's consistency or tenacity. At the 93 Worlds she skated clean in the short program and ended up a distant 4th, barely over Chen on a split vote, and above Sato who did only a triple loop combo. At the 94 Worlds in the short she skated clean in a depleted field missing the 3 Olympic medalists and still was a distant 3rd to Sato and Bonaly. Even had she done a clean long she would have probably never been battling for more than a bronze at any major event, even in 93-94 which arguably had no dominant or truly great skaters at the time (Sato and Chen flourished as skaters be it as amateur or pro much more after 94). She was never seen as a potential leader or major event winner.

    In the pro events she did well in some but that is mostly since she was one of the only women doing a triple lutz as skaters like Ito and Yamaguchi did not compete in most of her events (although she never came anywhere near beating Kristi in a pro competition, while Yuka beat Kristi many times in them), and most of the others were either 80s era skaters, undertrained pros (Baiul, Kerrigan). The aging Denise Biellmann even doing much easier jumps and with widely disliked (by the judges) artistry still managed to beat a clean Chouinard in some events. Of course give Josee credit for capatilizing on those opportunities and not letting herself go to waste as a pro like Nancy and Oksana and others did. At the World Pros she made only 2 appearances and came 5th and 4th.

    I cant see never see her coming close to Kwan or Chen from the 96 Worlds, and to beat someone like even young unpolished Slutskaya (even with 1 fall) would require her to skate a clean or almost clean competition which is pretty much impossible for her anyway. Even if you doubt Sato's chances to a degree I am 110% sure Sato would have been a much bigger potential threat for either the gold or a medal at the 96 Worlds than Josee would have been, even with home ice advantage.
  2. krenseby

    krenseby New Member

    In the ladies field, the 1999 event was quite bizarre. You had Lipinski and Bonaly being the top skaters at the event, but the thing is neither of them had anything professional or polished about their skating. Lipinski and Bonaly were amateurs through and through, both of them mostly relying on jumping skills and not really all that advanced in presentation and pure skating.
  3. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    Once they began allowing pro ams in the fall of 98 it killed pro skating forever. It was ridiculous seeing for instance Kwan and Yagudin easily win the so called World Pros that year. Not that there skating wasnt professional in nature (much more than Lipinski or Bonaly) but they were still full fledged amateurs for a long time to come and it killed the whole concept of professional competition. Many of the pro (pro am) events had almost all eligible amateurs and 1 or 2 pros that finished last. The judges scored it just like amateur competition too, the most triples wins.
  4. krenseby

    krenseby New Member

    Well, didn't Michelle feel that she was not really competing against the other skaters but really coming to show how much more impressive her jumping arsenal was and that these other ladies were really not fit to challenge her? I wonder what her approach to the competition was. Could she even look at those other ladies as competitors or did she just think of that event not as a competition but rather as a fun outing more like a cheesefest?
  5. Triple Butz

    Triple Butz Well-Known Member

    But Josee beat Kwan and Hughes at the 2000 Canadian Open :rofl:
  6. Triple Butz

    Triple Butz Well-Known Member

    I think her "approach" was that she skipped the GP that season for the first time since leaving the junior ranks and she wanted to get a LP performance under her belt before Nationals and Worlds. She could have won the technical program with a much easier 2-3 triple exhibition, but she chose to put out her lp to gear up for the end of the season eligible competitions. She had already debuted her sp in several other pro-ams that season. It was because of her absence on the GP that season the the ISU invented the "seeded skaters" list, forcing top qualifiers in the World Championships to skate in GP events.
  7. krenseby

    krenseby New Member

    Ok, so she basically just saw it as a practice session, or in other words like a cheesefest that's the perfect opportunity for her to get herself ready for more serious competitions. Just like I thought. Basically, she didn't care whether she was at Marshalls Challenge, the Hershey's Kisses Challenge, or the World Pros.
  8. falling_dance

    falling_dance Coaching Patrick

  9. Triple Butz

    Triple Butz Well-Known Member

    That's like saying the GP series is a "practice session" for worlds. I think she took it seriously as a competition, but obviously she was thinking ahead at the same time. She has said time and time again in interviews that she doesn't pay attention to what other skaters are doing, she focuses on her own abilities and what she knows she can do.
  10. Marco

    Marco Well-Known Member

    I don't care if Michelle treated it as a practice session or not. She unleashed that perfect East of Eden at 1999 World Pro - that's all I care about.
    jamesy and (deleted member) like this.
  11. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

    I know Pro skaters cared about winning and all that jazz, but were there any established criteria or standards for which the judges had to go by in order to actually differentiate the performances? Or was it just up to the particular judge's (usually a skating personality) discretion to create his/her own standard?
  12. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    As far as I know there was no rulebook (except some requirements or limits on the elements) and no formal or consistent training for pro judges. Different competitions sometimes had different rules. Mainly it was just up to the skater-personality judges to rank the skaters according to their own impressions of technical merit and artistry, based on their own experiences as skaters (and sometimes coaches).

    Of course there were usually only 4-6 skaters per event, so ranking didn't get that complicated, but the scoring was usually done by adding up scores, not ordinals.

    I don't know if there was always someone who filled the equivalent of the referee role. Either that person or a representatitive of the competition organizer (e.g., perhaps Dick Button himself for the competitions that he organized) might give some reminders before the event about what to look for, what kinds of qualities to reward.

    Now, the pro-ams that used ISU judges would have had more consistency in their short program segments, but I don't think there was much more training or consistency for how to judge the interpretive programs.
  13. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

  14. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

    Yuka made the right choice.
    She was older than Lu Chen, and didn't have consistent Lutz and Flip. Her step sequences, so fast, and her excellent skating skills were known at the time she was amateur.
    She decided to turn pro, and finally, she is a very well known pro skater and now, a coach.
    She had a good amateur career, and a good pro career.
  15. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Yuzuru, Medvedeva, T&M, Shibs, P&C

    Kristi was an exception in the pro field because she maintained her jumps even as a pro. Most pro ladies did only two triples (toe, plus salchow or loop) and a double axel. Yuka was the same level jump wise but her basic skating, footwork and musical interpretation created a very good pro career for her. I agree about the world pro judging though. It was horribly biased and subjective. There were no established rules and the judges just picked their favorites, regardless of how anyone skated.
  16. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Member

    Skating Lesson's new interview with Yuka Sato
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013
  17. escaflowne9282

    escaflowne9282 Reformed Manspreader

    I still wish she'd have worn a hat at least once during the three seasons she used HFOS.

    I think I'm probably the only person who vastly preferred her amateur skating to her pro skating.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013
  18. Bournekraatzfan

    Bournekraatzfan Well-Known Member

    Sato is one of my all-time favourites (those knees! Those edges! Those neat little feet!) and i am happy she went pro when the pro scene here was still thriving in NA. I got to watch her all the time, and those match-ups with Kristi are some of my favourite figure skating memories. I really enjoyed the interview manleywoman did with her (thanks again for that, manleywoman!)...Yuka seems at peace with everything, and i love seeing her share her expertise with the current generation of competitive skaters. And while i prefer her as a singles skater, it has been a treat to watch her in pairs.
    spikydurian and (deleted member) like this.
  19. Lnt175

    Lnt175 Member

    Sato had an incredible pro performance to Kitaro a Japanese composer. One of the best choreographed programs IMO,

    I think she made the right choice. I do think she could have been competitive in 95 worlds against Chen and Bonaly, but I think landing 6-7 triples per LP was a challenge for her. Chen was always consistent up until her tumble in the 96-97 season. Sato didn't show that until her pro career, but even there she had to get rid of the Lutz eventually.

    Sato also won the World Pros over Yamaguchi in 01, although they called it the Hallmarks Championships.
  20. FunnyBut

    FunnyBut Well-Known Member

    Yes, with a fall she beat a clean Kwan and Hughes, a accomplishment no one else ever repeated.:shuffle::rofl:
  21. clairecloutier

    clairecloutier Well-Known Member

    Yuka is such a fantastic skater, but as a competitor she wasn't that strong. Despite her amazing skills, she always came up short in the biggest competitions, except at 1994 Worlds. So I think when she won there, it was just a good, natural place to end her career. It gave her the chance to keep skating and making money as a pro while not having to deal with the stress of amateur competition, which she didn't enjoy anyway. Jeff Buttle, another amazing skater who didn't enjoy competition, made the same choice after winning 2008 Worlds.
  22. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    The rules of that event were different and unique. The first mark was not even based on difficult jumps but how the technical moves affected the inpretation of the program, and the second mark was all about doing as unique and interpretive a program as possible. Kwan did a traditional pretty routine which was well suited to any event but that one, so I understand how Josee with a fall beat her. Of course it wouldnt have happened in any other style of event.

    As for Hughes, many top skaters have won over her going clean with their own flawed performances over the years. Especialy Kwan and Slutskaya.
  23. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    As for Yuka had the state of professional skating been like today I think she would have stayed in, maybe even for 98, and seen how things went and how far her career could have progressed. I honestly think before her surprise World title that was her plan all along. It was her unexpected win and the pro boom at the time that made the move to pros inevitable. As a World Champion she now had marketing power and could get invited to all the big Championships. She even got invited to the World Pros her very first year despite that she didnt even skate well her first year as a pro (except the Challenge of Champions where she finished 2nd over Yamaguchi and barely losing to a clean Ito with a clean triple axel by .1). Had she won even the silver behind Bonaly I think she wouldnt have gone pro at that point, as she wouldnt have the clout to get invited to as many of the big events yet. As it was though the likely rewards staying in were not high enough to offset the chance to take ful advantage of the pro boom going on.

    As for her prospects if she stayed in it is always hard to say. She would have had a chance to defend her World title in 95 as Chen won the gold with only 5 triples and being only 3rd in the short program. I think after that things would have gotten more difficult unless her jumping and consistency in competition continued to improve, which seem unlikely given that she was never a super talented jumper (for top amateur standards, as a pro she was one of the best jumpers) or a super strong competitor in the amateur ranks. I agree with the poster who said she probably would have had only a chance for the bronze by the 98 Olympics, and that wouldnt have been worthwhile staying in that long and missing out on all she got to experience as a pro for.
  24. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

    Listening to her Manleywoman interview, Yuka said her goal was always to do Stars on Ice or do some sort of elite professional tour. Her father told her that in order even be considered, you have to be a World Champion. So, once she got a World Title, she got to live her dream of being a pro skater. I love that interview because they discussed her philosophy of skating. Yuka said she always knew the type of skater she wanted to be and what she felt were important aspects to develop, such as edges and ease of movement among other things. It's great to hear that a skater already had an idea of what kind of skater he or she wanted to be even from an early stage. It probably helped that her parents were elite Japanese skaters who practically raised her on skates as well.

    That is not to say she didn't have some sort of competitive edge, though, as she obviously does. She also mentioned that she still remembers her SP mistake in Lillehammer like it was yesterday, but she laughed as she said that.
  25. Lnt175

    Lnt175 Member

    I agree about Chouinard being overrated. She had moments of greatness, but it never lasted beyond a short program or occassionally skating well at Canadian Nationals. As I said before she was the 90s version of Cohen IMO. Even Cohen though at her peak was at least podiuming at alot of big competitions .Chouinard looked better than ever when she came back to Amateur competition after turning pro, and taking advantages of top skaters having lackluster skates in the GP series (including even Kwan), but at Canadians she went back to her old habits and bombed. i think at worlds she would have done the same or similar.
  26. Jessica

    Jessica Well-Known Member

    Slightly OT--Did I read somewhere that her and Jason split up? If so, that's a disappointment as I thought they made such a cute couple. If they did split, do they still coach together?
  27. leapfrogonice

    leapfrogonice Active Member

    I actually enjoyed this interview. It was almost funny to see Jenny and Dave dial down their snark in a meaningful way. It was as if Yuka's classy quiet elegance would have made their normal clowning around seem so grotesquely unprofessional and ... well... clown-like.

    Yuka truly developed in many wonderful ways as a professional Her triple loop was a think of beauty - not risk or worry. Her musicality was so enjoyable.
  28. itoaxel

    itoaxel Banned Member

    Cohen atleast won medals at big events even though she dissapointed people by never winning and usually not skating cleanly. Josee couldnt even do that. Not only could she not skate clean and win Olympic and World golds, but she couldnt limit her mistakes to just a couple like Sasha and win silver and bronze medals in World events. She was a great skater though. I wish she had the tough competitive mind of say a Kristi Yamaguchi.