Highlights of 1997 NHK

Pick your favourite moment(s) of 1997 NHK

  • An early season look at Kulik's Olympic programs

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Other - name in the thread

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    34
  • Poll closed .

Erin

Well-Known Member
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10,378
I had completely forgotten about this broadcast until I was uploading - it was on CBS, but basically looked and felt exactly like the broadcasts that would air on Lifetime in subsequent seasons (which @SpeedySucks confirmed is because it was done by the same producer!) - so it was basically the prequel to the Lifetime broadcasts. In case, like me, you haven't seen this broadcast in forever, here are the YouTube links:
Part 1
Part 2

Anyway, I picked out several of my favourite moments to put in the poll, although since I could only put ten options, not everything could make the cut, so feel free to write in other options in the thread (Dan Hollander's clean short program and Victor Kraatz's mullet were sad omissions from the list). There are also a few more ladies short and free skates and exhibitions from Japanese TV on YouTube, so I may check those out:
Ladies Short Playlist
Ladies Free Playlist
Exhibition
Takeshi Honda Free
 

Brenda_Bottems

Well-Known Member
Messages
535
Twenty four years after the fact,I still take umbrage with the USFSA for sending an unprepared and undertrained Sydne Vogel to this event. Several of us had it on good authority Amber Corwin (5th at 1997 Nationals) was originally intended to replace the injured Michelle Kwan at this event,but boardroom politics reared its ugly head yet again and Vogel was sent. She proceeded to skate dreadfully and finished in thirteenth (last) place—behind even an Australian (of all places!) and truck driver Canadian. An American lady losing to a Canadian lady in this era was unacceptable and appalling.

To further compound the absurd decision,I am quite confident that Miss Corwin would have placed top 5 in this event and provide an crucial springboard to her international career. I also feel bad for the Japanese,as they were denied a chance to see Miss Corwin's fabulous "The Birdcage" free skating.

As for the rest of these options: Pasha was a disordered floozy. The Japanese dull. The German girl had striking looks but ugly skating and dresses.

Scott Davis easily earns my vote. How I wish he could have improved upon this performance at Nationals and beat musclebound Michael Weiss to rightfully attend the Nagano Olympics. This program exudes class from start to finish.

-BB
 
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Erin

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Messages
10,378
Twenty four years after the fact,I still take umbrage with the USFSA for sending an unprepared and undertrained Sydne Vogel to this event. Several of us had it on good authority Amber Corwin (5th at 1997 Nationals) was originally intended to replace the injured Michelle Kwan at this event,but boardroom politics reared its ugly head yet again and Vogel was sent. She proceeded to skate dreadfully and finished in thirteenth (last) place—behind even an Australian (of all places!) and truck driver Canadian. An American lady losing to a Canadian lady in this era was unacceptable and appalling.

I'm surprised you didn't mention the most scandalous aspect of Vogel's NHK appearance - her costume malfunction! That was another item that I really wanted to put on the list of poll options, but didn't have room.
 
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alj5

Well-Known Member
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3,446
Favorite moments would be Scott Davis and Tanja Szewczenko.

Most memorable moment is the stupid Pasha fluff.
 

Erin

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10,378
I said to friends when I was making this thread that it was kind of pointless to make it a poll because I expected Pasha to run away with it. But I’m pleasantly surprised to see Scott Davis holding his own so far!
 

alchemy void

Slay Daša!
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25,197
Surprisingly, a few thoughts on the ladies:

I was pleasantly surprised with Fumie's LP here. I found the program and her skating to be significantly more mature and developed than Arakawa at this point, and was pleased to see the judges give her the nod in the LP over Arakawa, despite Shizuka landing 2 more "clean" triples (by 6.0 standards). It's a charming program--too bad we didn't get a chance to see it again. :( I feel like I need to retroactively wuzrob Fumie for not getting a chance at 98 Worlds, after Arakawa's nice debut at the Olympics. :drama:

Gusmeroli's "4 Elements" program is one of my all time favorites, despite it being less well known that some of her others. It checks almost all my criteria for my ladies skating: power and speed, colorful costume, cool messy hair, interesting angular choreography, meaningful transitions (the entrance to the sal and the spiral out of the axel are awesome), multiple music cuts including saxophone, and an overall unique/voidy concept. It's not the most polished performance ever but then again, that's low on my list of criteria.

One does wonder how poorly Vogel skated here to place 13th, considering Fumie placed 5th with 3 triples and Arakawa 6th with 4-5 triples. I don't see Hypothetical Amber Corwin beating either Suguri or Arakawa here, but 7th seems reasonable, assuming Malinina landed a couple clean triples and still had non-existent presentation at this point. I wouldn't mind seeing Liashenko's meltdown LP. Maybe she landed the loop? :shuffle:

I don't have much to add about the top 3 ladies here, other than Lu Chen and Butyrskaya's dresses here were much better than what they ended up wearing at the Olympics. I suppose Butyrskaya just added the white sheer sleeves to her dress, but I like this sexier version better, more contrast to the ice and I feel like it emphasizes her line more effectively. And Lulu's lilac wrap dress is stunning! One of my all time favorite dresses. Simple, elegant, regal. Just gorgeous. The burgundy dress at the Olympics was nice, too, but I feel like this one works so much better with the music and the program.
 
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VGThuy

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34,432
I think Lulu’s original dress really was prettier, but the burgundy one really made a bold, regal statement. She looked stately in that one. I miss dresses like Bute, Chen, and Kwan’s. They were costumes bordering on fashion. Most dresses these days are clearly heavy on the costume side and super blinged out to the point of generic.
 

Erin

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10,378
assuming Malinina landed a couple clean triples and still had non-existent presentation at this point.

I think it's safe to say Malinina had non-existent presentation because she had that awful Aladdin program that year (which she for some reason kept the next year).

I don't have much to add about the top 3 ladies here, other than Lu Chen and Butyrskaya's dresses here were much better than what they ended up wearing at the Olympics. I suppose Butyrskaya just added the white sheer sleeves to her dress, but I like this sexier version better, more contrast to the ice and I feel like it emphasizes her line more effectively. And Lulu's lilac wrap dress is stunning! One of my all time favorite dresses. Simple, elegant, regal. Just gorgeous. The burgundy dress at the Olympics was nice, too, but I feel like this one works so much better with the music and the program.

Agree 100% on Butyrskaya. I was never a fan of the sheer sleeves dress. For Lulu I love them both.

Watching Kulik now. My god, those jump landings just float. :swoon:

Somehow that costume has aged really well? Like most, I thought it was garish back in the day, but I kind of like it now. 🤷‍♀️

I'm still not crazy about the costume, but I agree on the jump landings. When I was younger, I was too caught up in the Canadian pro-Elvis hype to really appreciate his skating the way I should have. It's all so effortless. It's really a shame he wasn't around in a different era when we maybe could have seen him skate longer.


It's so bittersweet watching her here. Her fall 1997 season was so amazing, but it's hard to watch knowing that bad luck will hit again in 1998.
 
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SpeedySucks

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Messages
485
I'm still not crazy about the costume, but I agree on the jump landings. When I was younger, I was too caught up in the Canadian pro-Elvis hype to really appreciate his skating the way I should have. It's all so effortless. It's really a shame he wasn't around in a different era when we maybe could have seen him skate longer.
It really is a shame that he went pro immediately after Nagano. He was just finding consistency in 97-98 and had so much room left to grow and improve as an eligible skater. Since the ISU ended up sanctioning most of the pro events in 98-99, Kulik could have still made a lot of money by doing Pro-Ams that season and then returning to the GP circuit in 99-00. Kulik vs. Yagudin at his peak in Salt Lake would have been a great matchup.
 

Erin

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10,378

Yuri

Active Member
Messages
446
Although I reluctantly voted "Everything Pasha", it's with a bit of sadness at how CBS treated the entire situation for ratings and controversy. Frankly I had erased from my memory that CBS covered NHK in this manner for her, mostly remembering their hit piece (along with a similar one from cable partner TBS) on the 1997-98 Grishuk/Platov season.

I still think CBS did a major disservice to figure skating fans by pretending that Bourne/Kraatz were EVER a serious challenge to unseat Grishuk/Platov--or Krylova/Ovsyannikov, for that matter--for Olympic Gold. I don't recall B&K ever threatening to defeat either G&P or K&O in any element of an ice dancing event, much less the entire competition. The honest story was whether or not G&P, given their coaching switch from Linichuk to Tarasova, would be able to hold off their ever-improving rivals K&O who remained at U Delaware with Linichuk, given Pasha's histrionics in the 1997-98 season and Evgeny's ongoing knee issues. K&O had from time-to-time earned a 1st place vote or two in the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons over G&P, and even defeated them in the Original Dance at the 1996 Ultimate Four Pro Am when Evgeny suffered a fall. CBS should have focused on that drama, instead of creating a false narrative that B&K were part of the bloc-judging debacle that cost them a gold or silver medal at Nagano.

The real competition for the 1998 Olympics, and for the next four years, was whether B&K could hold off for the bronze medal both Anissina & Peizerat (they didn't, except with their Riverdance FD) and even Lobacheva/Averbukh (who eventually overtook them as well), who clearly would benefit from an East Bloc push once G&P retired (and K&O as well, but prematurely due to injury). B&K finished 5th behind both A&P and L&A in one compulsory dance, which ultimately led to their 4th place finish despite finishing 3rd in the free dance. But CBS and Tracy Wilson kept insisting that B&K were the true rivals of G&P, creating another anti-Russian angle in favor of promoting North American couples (as well as the legendary but aging Brits, Torvill & Dean, in 1994). It's sad to me as this unfairness was a contributing factor to the premature demise of Grishuk & Platov before they should have enjoyed a long, successful professional career like Klimova & Ponomarenko and Torvill & Dean, despite not being North American, in the pro tours and competitions.

But CBS instead decided to poke fun at Pasha and undermine Grishuk & Platov's gold for the 2nd straight Olympic Games in a truly cringeworthy edit in the Olympics version of their fluff pieces, which makes the NHK version look tame in comparison.
 

tony

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Messages
9,669
Although I reluctantly voted "Everything Pasha", it's with a bit of sadness at how CBS treated the entire situation for ratings and controversy. Frankly I had erased from my memory that CBS covered NHK in this manner for her, mostly remembering their hit piece (along with a similar one from cable partner TBS) on the 1997-98 Grishuk/Platov season.

I still think CBS did a major disservice to figure skating fans by pretending that Bourne/Kraatz were EVER a serious challenge to unseat Grishuk/Platov--or Krylova/Ovsyannikov, for that matter--for Olympic Gold. I don't recall B&K ever threatening to defeat either G&P or K&O in any element of an ice dancing event, much less the entire competition. The honest story was whether or not G&P, given their coaching switch from Linichuk to Tarasova, would be able to hold off their ever-improving rivals K&O who remained at U Delaware with Linichuk, given Pasha's histrionics in the 1997-98 season and Evgeny's ongoing knee issues. K&O had from time-to-time earned a 1st place vote or two in the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons over G&P, and even defeated them in the Original Dance at the 1996 Ultimate Four Pro Am when Evgeny suffered a fall. CBS should have focused on that drama, instead of creating a false narrative that B&K were part of the bloc-judging debacle that cost them a gold or silver medal at Nagano.

The real competition for the 1998 Olympics, and for the next four years, was whether B&K could hold off for the bronze medal both Anissina & Peizerat (they didn't, except with their Riverdance FD) and even Lobacheva/Averbukh (who eventually overtook them as well), who clearly would benefit from an East Bloc push once G&P retired (and K&O as well, but prematurely due to injury). B&K finished 5th behind both A&P and L&A in one compulsory dance, which ultimately led to their 4th place finish despite finishing 3rd in the free dance. But CBS and Tracy Wilson kept insisting that B&K were the true rivals of G&P, creating another anti-Russian angle in favor of promoting North American couples (as well as the legendary but aging Brits, Torvill & Dean, in 1994). It's sad to me as this unfairness was a contributing factor to the premature demise of Grishuk & Platov before they should have enjoyed a long, successful professional career like Klimova & Ponomarenko and Torvill & Dean, despite not being North American, in the pro tours and competitions.

But CBS instead decided to poke fun at Pasha and undermine Grishuk & Platov's gold for the 2nd straight Olympic Games in a truly cringeworthy edit in the Olympics version of their fluff pieces, which makes the NHK version look tame in comparison.
Well, remember that B/K won the 1997 Champions Series Final over K/O ... in Canada .. just as they ended up doing in 2002 at home just before the Olympics (over A/P and FP/M), and I'm sure many in the North American continent saw that as fair judging and a sign of things to come ;) But even as a pre-teen, I was tired of how B/K were always being thrown out as victims on US television. We've rehashed this in many different threads over the years, but Judy Blumberg tore into this team like no other team during the 1998 Worlds OD, pointing out how simplistic and below-par their skating and choreography was. To this day, Ive never heard a commentator be so harsh throughout a program.

It only got worse, 1998 Canadian Open their music was supposedly played too fast and the time deduction made them lose to the brand new team of Usova/Platov (another mini-'scandal'), and then we got the continued BTS drama during the 1999-2000 GP series where the producers went above and beyond to show B/K complaining -- mind you, with absolutely horrendous content that season.

North American television in general was trying to play up the fact that Riverdance was so audience friendly and that must be a sign of who should win. No one except for Blumberg really went out of their way to say 'Well no, the content behind the skate is bad', and the constant playing up how great they were just caused audiences to believe there was some kind of injustice when there really wasn't one.

And no one else needs to bring up the Senft thing. Remember- she went along with it and only blew the whistle after her outlandish ordinals and not getting what she wanted. Yeah, some hero. If anything, a bloc judging panel saved it by NOT handing B/K a medal.
 

mjb52

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4,760
As good as Memorial was, I really wish K/O could have reversed their programs with Masquerade Waltz in the Olympic year and Carmen in the previous one. I think they would have been much tougher competition at Nagano that way.

The way North American tv handled this whole era of dance is a huge part of why I stopped watching the sport for many years.
 

VGThuy

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34,432
I remember when ABC tried to adopt the CBS narrative that Anissina/Peizerat robbed Bourne/Kraatz. After the OD, Judy Blumberg was no longer on the commentary team and instead of was Terry and Dick Button. When it was A/P's turn to skate, Terry, who was probably under orders from ABC, tried to goad Dick into repeating that narrative and to criticize A/P's opening minute of that dance as some criticized as "time-wasting", but Dick didn't bite. Instead, he went on and on about how Anissina/Peizerat's FD was one of the greatest dances of all time, and kept gushing about it throughout the performance.
 

tony

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9,669
I remember when ABC tried to adopt the CBS narrative that Anissina/Peizerat robbed Bourne/Kraatz. After the OD, Judy Blumberg was no longer on the commentary team and instead of was Terry and Dick Button. When it was A/P's turn to skate, Terry, who was probably under orders from ABC, tried to goad Dick into repeating that narrative and to criticize A/P's opening minute of that dance as some criticized as "time-wasting", but Dick didn't bite. Instead, he went on and on about how Anissina/Peizerat's FD was one of the greatest dances of all time, and kept gushing about it throughout the performance.
I think Judy was only working for ESPN, so that's why she likely wasn't pulled into the FD on ABC. Judy, Chris Bowman, and Bob Varsha did the commentary for the mens and ladies free skates in a separate ESPN broadcast of Worlds that year, for example. And yeah, Dick also gushed about A/P and shut the narrative down once again. In all honesty A/P maybe should've been fighting for silver at the Olympics and gold at Worlds anyways-- yet they got stuck with 4th in the FD in Nagano somehow.

When Johnny and Tara commented 2010 Worlds together (their first event), the in-between segments still had a hot mic and they were specifically told to be very pro-USA in their commentary. And then someone skated, probably Makarova, and he even blurted out 'I know they told me to be pro-US but....'. So I'm sure even in 1998 (and 2002) the orders were the same to push the scandal or the injustice constantly, but when suspicious results happened that favored Americans or Canadians, then just act like it was 'finally' fair ;)
 

Foolhardy Ham Lint

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5,823
I think Judy was only working for ESPN, so that's why she likely wasn't pulled into the FD on ABC. Judy, Chris Bowman, and Bob Varsha did the commentary for the mens and ladies free skates in a separate ESPN broadcast of Worlds that year, for example. And yeah, Dick also gushed about A/P and shut the narrative down once again. In all honesty A/P maybe should've been fighting for silver at the Olympics and gold at Worlds anyways-- yet they got stuck with 4th in the FD in Nagano somehow.

When Johnny and Tara commented 2010 Worlds together (their first event), the in-between segments still had a hot mic and they were specifically told to be very pro-USA in their commentary. And then someone skated, probably Makarova, and he even blurted out 'I know they told me to be pro-US but....'. So I'm sure even in 1998 (and 2002) the orders were the same to push the scandal or the injustice constantly, but when suspicious results happened that favored Americans or Canadians, then just act like it was 'finally' fair ;)
Much as I admire Judy Blumberg's skating, she gets my vote for worst commentator on Planet Earth.

Let's not only state the obvious, but say it three or four different ways to clarify your point, beat it with a rock, then interrupt your co-workers while they're talking to state it again.
 

thvu

Usova's Apprentice
Messages
5,211
What‘s nuts to me about the whole A&P vs B&K thing is that B&K’s FD was laughably simplistic. Was there anything more difficult in Riverdance than a choctaw or single twizzle? And even those were few and far between. This isn’t even something thats “subjective”. It was such a terrible FD lacking any competitive integrity. Subpar skating skills + no content + tons of posing.

Edit: And Pasha. Everything Pasha. I loved how she said she could learn Riverdance in a week and do it better. She wasn’t wrong!
 
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Brenda_Bottems

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Messages
535
The excessive B+K bashing in this thread is nearly distressing as Sydne Vogel's last place finish behind a Canadian!

But even as a pre-teen, I was tired of how B/K were always being thrown out as victims on US television.
Well sweetie,as a quadragenarian in the late 90s,I found it refreshing when commentators would challenge the status quo and exhibit critical thinking skills. Miss Lipinski and Weir should take note.

It's sad to me as this unfairness was a contributing factor to the premature demise of Grishuk & Platov before they should have enjoyed a long, successful professional career like Klimova & Ponomarenko and Torvill & Dean, despite not being North American, in the pro tours and competitions.
Earth to Yuri. "Unfair" television coverage was not the cause of the demise of Grishuk & Platov,my dear. Marilyn Monroe's Miss Grishuk's outlandish,unstable, and unlikeable behavior was the primary reason she had the least notable professional career of any Olympic medalist in history. She has no one to blame but herself.

I remember watching Memorial and thinking, someone call that crazy drunk girl an Uber before she hurts herself.
Thank you. Crazy intoxicated girl is an apt description. Conversely,B+K actually DANCED. It might have not been quite as difficult as Pasha+Partner, but they actually danced and expressed the music.

However,I will admit if G+P competed in speed skating with bonus points awarded for gaudy sacrilege,then yes—they deserved to win the Olympics.

-BB
 
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VGThuy

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Messages
34,432
Memorial was very difficult and I admire all the crap the choreo made Pasha go through because it looked difficult as eff...but as an actual dance program...I can see why ice dance was in danger of losing Olympic accreditation and was suffering from lower viewership.
 

allezfred

Lipinski Stole My Catchphrase
Staff member
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58,082
Memorial was very difficult and I admire all the crap the choreo made Pasha go through because it looked difficult as eff...but as an actual dance program...I can see why ice dance was in danger of losing Olympic accreditation and was suffering from lower viewership.
Ice dance losing is its “accreditation” at the Olympics was another North American media narrative that had no basis in fact just like the Bourne/Kraatz were robbed stuff. Isn’t it noticeable how quiet that got when North American dance teams started winning? ;)
 

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