1997 Worlds Ladies LP - Lipinski/Kwan/Slutskaya

olympic

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Between the holidays, cold weather and ********* sequestration, I have more than enough free time.

I was perusing old skating videos and watched Slutskaya's LP from 97 Worlds for the first time (I never watched 97 Worlds in their totality because a lot of personal issues were going on in my life at the time). Wow. That was quite a 3S-3L and but for the opening 3Z which had a deep knee bend, it was quite a barnburner. She even showed decent stretch and extension which I honestly never really expected from her.

The British announcers made a case that she could very well have wedged herself between Kwan and Lipinski in the LP and given Kwan the gold medal / world championship. In the end of course, the judges placed her 3rd and the Lipinski became the youngest world champ ever. But, the breakdown revealed that Slutskaya garnered 3 or 4 1st place ordinals, and the rest of the judges placed her 3rd.

Do you think these ladies were properly placed in the LP at 1997 Worlds? Should Slutskaya have been 2nd? I don't remember the exact marks but her jumps were the best of the evening while Kwan probably had the best overall performance. The British announcers kept on about Lipinski's small jumps. Slutskaya winning or 2nd in the LP would have brought her up to bronze (I think). As it was, she remained off the podium while Gusmeroli held on to bronze.


Just curious as to everyone's opinions ... Thanks!
 

tony

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I think the free skate was judged fairly as far as the top 3 go. It was a good vehicle for Slutskaya but it still was just 6 triples and that Lutz was landed almost in a shoot the duck position.

However, I think Gusmeroli should've run away with the short and I think even Krizstina Czako makes a case for 2nd place. There were several built-in deductions with Lipinski's skating regarding the SP required elements, even if Vanessa was a no-name at that point.

Beyond the top 3 in the free skate, I think Gusmeroli, Lautowa, Czako, Hubert, and Butyrskaya were all clumped pretty closely together. Lautowa had the best technical skate by far but was still young and skating to an old Butyrskaya program- same choreography.

Overall, I think I'd have had it Kwan - Lipinski - Gusmeroli for the final standings.

Also remember- Slutskaya got 3 1st place ordinals. Had she gotten 5, she would've been the winner, not Kwan. Not one single judge had the final standings as Kwan being the winner on their score card.
 
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meggonzo

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Also remember- Slutskaya got 3 1st place ordinals. Had she gotten 5, she would've been the winner, not Kwan. Not one single judge had the final standings as Kwan being the winner on their score card.
I thought Kwan had won the free skate? Am I thinking of a different competition?
 

Erin

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However, I think Gusmeroli should've run away with the short and I think even Krizstina Czako makes a case for 2nd place. There were several built-in deductions with Lipinski's skating regarding the SP required elements, even if Vanessa was a no-name at that point.

I was fine with the top three in the free skates too, although I think there are arguments can be made for the top three in any order. I had Czako in first after the short, but would be fine with Gusmeroli second behind Czako. I thought Czako’s 5th in the SP was the worst judging decision of that event, although it ended up not mattering when she bombed the free.
 

tony

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Wasn't Irina 6th in the short? Wouldn't she need Tara to finish 4th or lower in the free to win?
Yeah, you're right! IDK why I thought Irina would've won, she would've been 2nd over Kwan with Tara still winning.

I have no idea where I first got that idea, but I've sure had it for a long time. (Maybe I was dreaming that Gusmeroli actually won the short...)

ETA- still, no judges opted for the Kwan win, which would've had to be a Kwan-Slutskaya-Lipinski free skate result. Slutskaya had no 2nd places.
 

jamesy

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Did Irina skate after Michelle and Tara? I thought one of the reasons why she didn’t get some 2nd places was that some judges marked Michelle and Tara too close together and couldn’t mathematically put a skater between them.
 

tony

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Did Irina skate after Michelle and Tara? I thought one of the reasons why she didn’t get some 2nd places was that some judges marked Michelle and Tara too close together and couldn’t mathematically put a skater between them.
Yes, it was going to be almost* (see below) impossible to slide Slutskaya between the two unless a judge was ready to throw a 6.0 at Irina for either mark, and we know that wasn't going to happen. They all ended up with three first place ordinals each, and the three judges that gave Irina first all placed Michelle second. Irina would've needed 2nd place ordinals from at least two more judges that had Lipinski second, so that only leaves judges 3, 6, and 7, and none of them left any room without a 6.0.

Interestingly, out of the three judges that had Slutskaya 1st, two of them had the option of slotting her in 2nd between Michelle and Irina. Michelle would've needed more help, but those judges were still giving Tara the win with Irina's 1st place ordinal - I wonder if their math was as bad as mine.
 

VGThuy

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NVM. Tony answered the question already.

One thing I remember the FIRST time I ever watched anything from 1997 Worlds, in the days pre-YouTube, I bought one of those Kwan compilation tapes and it was my first time ever seeing Kwan's exhibition to "Winter". I just remember thinking it's so obvious why so many people thought that if Kwan just got her shit together, she'd be the undisputed champion in Nagano. There was actually some non-Dick/Peggy/Terry commentators on some broadcast that pretty much said that on YouTube. Her skating was just so sublime at that exhibition. I do wonder to this day if "Lyra Angelica" was the right Olympic vehicle because I'm unsure if it really showcased Kwan's edges and lines the way her previous LPs and her Winter exhibition did.

Also, Tara improved too. Actually, watching Tara's progress pre-Callaghan (hate to give him credit but...) to after she joined him, you see one of the best transformations. I think in some ways it was more impressive than Kwan's 1996 transformation because you saw that Kwan's skating and development would have evolved that way outside of the make-up, costumes, and bun because the foundation was there. However, Tara was seriously a clunky skater who had tons of spunk and by 1998, she was just looking way smoother, more polished, and well-rounded than I would have expected from seeing her in 1994-1996.
 
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olympic

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Yes, it was going to be almost* (see below) impossible to slide Slutskaya between the two unless a judge was ready to throw a 6.0 at Irina for either mark, and we know that wasn't going to happen. They all ended up with three first place ordinals each, and the three judges that gave Irina first all placed Michelle second. Irina would've needed 2nd place ordinals from at least two more judges that had Lipinski second, so that only leaves judges 3, 6, and 7, and none of them left any room without a 6.0.

Interestingly, out of the three judges that had Slutskaya 1st, two of them had the option of slotting her in 2nd between Michelle and Irina. Michelle would've needed more help, but those judges were still giving Tara the win with Irina's 1st place ordinal - I wonder if their math was as bad as mine.
Thanks. This is a perfect explanation as to why using Slutskaya as a spoiler just wasn't going to work technically even if the judges felt like it was a 2nd place performance: No room between Lipinski and Kwan.

Watching videos of this competition also made me remember Michelle's career and it seems like her 96 and 97 programs were just so well constructed and I don't want to say anything negative, but the programs seemed to get simpler for lack of a better word starting in 98. I thought SOTBS in 01 was one of her best performances. That 3T-3T was her best that I'd seen
 

Lizziebeth

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Yes, it was going to be almost* (see below) impossible to slide Slutskaya between the two unless a judge was ready to throw a 6.0 at Irina for either mark, and we know that wasn't going to happen. They all ended up with three first place ordinals each, and the three judges that gave Irina first all placed Michelle second. Irina would've needed 2nd place ordinals from at least two more judges that had Lipinski second, so that only leaves judges 3, 6, and 7, and none of them left any room without a 6.0.

Interestingly, out of the three judges that had Slutskaya 1st, two of them had the option of slotting her in 2nd between Michelle and Irina. Michelle would've needed more help, but those judges were still giving Tara the win with Irina's 1st place ordinal - I wonder if their math was as bad as mine.
Tony, your explanation of this brings back what I disliked about 6.0 judging. The whole idea of 'ranking' skaters when there were so many competitors always bugged me. The current system has many issues, but the ordinal system could be confusing!
 

VGThuy

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I think the programs were still pretty full. I think her programs started getting much more streamlined once she started UCLA and then started living more life outside of skating going into 2002. Even after she dropped out of UCLA and took that break from university, I think skating wasn't getting any easier for Kwan. Then we found out she had chronic hip injuries from at least 2004 according to Arutunian who said some days Kwan couldn't even train due to the pain.

The Red Violin looked better at Skate America (and even garnered her a 6.0 in presentation from an Eastern Euro judge with a fall and probably the last time she received unanimously strong (talkin' 5.9s) presentation scores she received from an international panel until SLC 2002 SP but then it was pre-Slutskaya comeback). However, by Worlds, she sacrificed some nuances in that program for speed (and moving her increasingly problematic triple loop from the middle of the routine to the beginning thus making the program much more front-loaded than it was before), and it did work but Kwan was clearly taken aback by how her scores looked in comparison to what she received earlier that season pre-GPF. Still, compared to her competition, that program had content.

I do think SOTBS was one program where the streamlining approach worked in the program's favor. It's my personal favorite ladies LP and I think is the perfect marriage of music, performance, and technical display while skating to then-never-used-before Dvorak and Villa-Lobos music as opposed to using something more bombastic or dramatic or audience-friendly. I truly loved the element placements in this program and I don't think it was constructed as predictably as most ladies skating programs at the time. Same with Butryskaya's "17 Moments in Spring". I still don't know any other program constructed similarly to Butyrskaya's "17 Moments in Spring". Regarding, SOTBS, I don't know what was going on in 2000 Skate America, but that program wasn't complete at all. It was like a half-done project presented at science fair or something.
 

tony

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Tony, your explanation of this brings back what I disliked about 6.0 judging. The whole idea of 'ranking' skaters when there were so many competitors always bugged me. The current system has many issues, but the ordinal system could be confusing!
It tended to work out well most times, but another thing that bothered me is how the individual marks started to make less and less sense at the end. Carolina Kostner at the 2004 (last 6.0) Worlds is probably the biggest example I can come up with. She skated last, made 3 huge mistakes including a massive fall on a Lutz, and was awarded many 5.8s and even a 5.9 for technical merit because the judges were completely boxed in and wanted to give her 5th or 6th rather than drop her from the top 10.

We were always told that it’s only the ordinal that matters, which is completely true, but the creative marking to get to it would’ve been just as annoying/confusing to a casual fan, I’d think.
 

VGThuy

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It tended to work out well most times, but another thing that bothered me is how the individual marks started to make less and less sense at the end. Carolina Kostner at the 2004 (last 6.0) Worlds is probably the biggest example I can come up with. She skated last, made 3 huge mistakes including a massive fall on a Lutz, and was awarded many 5.8s and even a 5.9 for technical merit because the judges were completely boxed in and wanted to give her 5th or 6th rather than drop her from the top 10.

We were always told that it’s only the ordinal that matters, which is completely true, but the creative marking to get to it would’ve been just as annoying/confusing to a casual fan, I’d think.
And quite honestly, if the ordinals were all that mattered, then they should have allowed judges to tie skaters and then give off their ordinals in a tie-breaker fashion. Of course, IMAGINE the exploitation of that system. It would be ripe with politicking.
 

Lizziebeth

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It tended to work out well most times, but another thing that bothered me is how the individual marks started to make less and less sense at the end. Carolina Kostner at the 2004 (last 6.0) Worlds is probably the biggest example I can come up with. She skated last, made 3 huge mistakes including a massive fall on a Lutz, and was awarded many 5.8s and even a 5.9 for technical merit because the judges were completely boxed in and wanted to give her 5th or 6th rather than drop her from the top 10.

We were always told that it’s only the ordinal that matters, which is completely true, but the creative marking to get to it would’ve been just as annoying/confusing to a casual fan, I’d think.
And I recall that it was tough for relatively unknown or unheralded skaters to get anywhere under that system if they had an unexpectedly good skate. They could be marked low enough to allow room for more well known skaters.
 

tony

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And I recall that it was tough for relatively unknown or unheralded skaters to get anywhere under that system if they had an unexpectedly good skate. They could be marked low enough to allow room for more well known skaters.
Also, skating early in a competition so judges could 'save room', and the first skater typically got the same marks from all judges as the average was displayed on the screen, etc.

If the start order by world ranking rules were around for the 6.0 days, I bet we would've seen even less high-ranked surprise performances. They would've 'saved room' up until the final 2 flights.
 

NAOTMAA

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LOL opened the video of Slutskaya, and first thing is Peggy saying "she desperately needs to improve her artistry". LOL. Talking about being mean (if maybe true)
Peggy could be a real mean girl when she wanted to be. And if she wasn't stating it plainly she was doing it passively. The only golden girl who was true sunshine and lollipops was Dorothy Hamill :D


And about Michelle's programs becoming more simple post 1998 that was mentioned above people have to remember when she was attempting complex chorography Irina was getting 5.9s for doing nothing but simply skating fast. Michelle was criticized for being slow. She had to sacrifice the chorography for speed if she wanted to compete because the judges weren't giving proper recognition to what she offered.
 

bardtoob

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The only golden girl who was true sunshine and lollipops was Dorothy Hamill :D

Here is Ms. Sunshine and Lollipops commenting on this same Fantasy on Ice program:

Irina Slutskaya (RUS) - 1996 Skate Canada International, Ladies' Long Program​


Irina Slutskaya (RUS) - 1996/1997 Champions Series Final, Ladies' Free Skate​


Irina's layback spin among other things reminds me a lot of Dorothy Hamill, like what a Dorothy Hamill would have looked like if she had competed 20 years later.
 

Skibean

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I remember that even Yagudin mocked Irina’s skating. Peggy may have been harsh, but I don’t know she was incorrect.

I always felt Kwan should’ve won. She had the most complete program and really was the best skater, but that fall in the SP was costly.
 

NAOTMAA

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^^^^
Michelle didn't fall in the SP. She had a big step out in the middle of her combination. A big no no

I've always thought her 96-97 programs were highly underrated and unfortunately they were overshadowed by the troubles of the season and the loss of her national/world titles. Dream of Desdemona was stunning and I personally thought Taj Mahal was more then just Salome 2.0, I actually think its better. Her 98-99 programs (Carmen/Ariane) were fantastic too but rarely talked about. The 95-2001 time period wasn't just some of Michelle's best but Lori Nichol's too!
 
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Foolhardy Ham Lint

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Michelle really faced her biggest challenges in the 1996/1997 season.


The only golden girl who was true sunshine and lollipops was Dorothy Hamill :D
This isn't a criticism of her commentary.

But I am reminded of a moment at the 1996 Trophee Lalique where Stephane Bernadis tripped and fell forward onto his bits, prompting Dorothy to respond, "I can't even imagine what that must feel like."

Her co-commentator in Paris that day, Peter Carruthers said, "Don't go there, Dorothy."

 
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olympic

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^^^^
Michelle didn't fall in the SP. She had a big step out in the middle of her combination. A big no no

I've always thought her 96-97 programs were highly underrated and unfortunately they were overshadowed by the troubles of the season and the loss of her national/world titles. Dream of Desdemona was stunning and I personally thought Taj Mahal was more then just Salome 2.0, I actually think its better. Her 98-99 programs (Carmen/Ariane) were fantastic too but rarely talked about. The 95-2001 time period wasn't just some of Michelle's best but Lori Nichol's too!

Peggy could be a real mean girl when she wanted to be. And if she wasn't stating it plainly she was doing it passively. The only golden girl who was true sunshine and lollipops was Dorothy Hamill :D


And about Michelle's programs becoming more simple post 1998 that was mentioned above people have to remember when she was attempting complex chorography Irina was getting 5.9s for doing nothing but simply skating fast. Michelle was criticized for being slow. She had to sacrifice the chorography for speed if she wanted to compete because the judges weren't giving proper recognition to what she offered.
I get that and you make a very good point, but I remember commentary in real time on the previous iteration of this board and Kwan fan boards back in the early 00's that her programs were simpler and more disappointing (paraphrasing). I always rooted for MK and was part of the fandom, definitely against Tara, Sarah, Sasha, Irina, et al. I kind of left the fan group around '03
 

VGThuy

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Peggy could be a real mean girl when she wanted to be. And if she wasn't stating it plainly she was doing it passively. The only golden girl who was true sunshine and lollipops was Dorothy Hamill :D


And about Michelle's programs becoming more simple post 1998 that was mentioned above people have to remember when she was attempting complex chorography Irina was getting 5.9s for doing nothing but simply skating fast. Michelle was criticized for being slow. She had to sacrifice the chorography for speed if she wanted to compete because the judges weren't giving proper recognition to what she offered.

^^^^
Michelle didn't fall in the SP. She had a big step out in the middle of her combination. A big no no

I've always thought her 96-97 programs were highly underrated and unfortunately they were overshadowed by the troubles of the season and the loss of her national/world titles. Dream of Desdemona was stunning and I personally thought Taj Mahal was more then just Salome 2.0, I actually think its better. Her 98-99 programs (Carmen/Ariane) were fantastic too but rarely talked about. The 95-2001 time period wasn't just some of Michelle's best but Lori Nichol's too!

Truer words have never been spoken.
 

Skibean

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For some reason I’ve always thought she fell. I think I need to rewatch. I finally rewatched Nagano Olympics. I still would’ve had Michelle take the gold, but Tara skated better than I gave her credit for.
 

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