Nicole Bobek

AngieNikodinovLove

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I was impressed by Nicole Bobek's command of the ice, speed, size of her jumps, presentation and musicality, relating so well to the audience.

Nicole was my favorite skater from 95-98. Got soooooo nervous when she came on like I do for Amber now.

I also LOVED Tara and Michelle, so it was such a GREAT time to be into USA ladies figure skating.

Nicole had that wow factor..... and elements she did like no one else ..her spiral and layback.... She emotes, got into a character and had speed and immense height in her jumps... SHE LITERALLY HAD IT ALL!!

I think it was her free-spriritedness that hindered her.. coaches said she could have done a LOT more practicing, more focus etc. Then there were the distractions.. breaking and entering (while she was actively competing) and later the drugs. Such heartbreak.... I think the should be co-Patron Saint with Pogo of the #TTW NO ONE ever gave me more heartbreak than Bobek, and no one besides her and Tonya had more off ice bizarre incidents.

The ONLY time I ever went to a Stars On Ice (or one of those things) was in 98 or so at USC and it was so I could see Nicole Bobek. She had on the red outfit with the circle ring that connected her top and dress portion and I believe did the Gloria Gaynor number.
 

Marco

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Nicole's 1995 Worlds short program performance was my all time favorite performance of hers (closely followed by 1998 Nationals short program). She did have it all.

If she had kept it together she would destroy Michelle in the short, and probably stayed ahead in the free too with a 3/3 and 6 big triples vs Michelle's 7 smaller triples and smaller skating in general. If she had been a work horse, she probably could have gotten her technical issues fixed as well.
 

olympic

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Nicole's 1995 Worlds short program performance was my all time favorite performance of hers (closely followed by 1998 Nationals short program). She did have it all.

If she had kept it together she would destroy Michelle in the short, and probably stayed ahead in the free too with a 3/3 and 6 big triples vs Michelle's 7 smaller triples and smaller skating in general. If she had been a work horse, she probably could have gotten her technical issues fixed as well.
I was believing this but it seemed to be sacrilege to think anyone could best MK at her peak in 96-98 if she herself was clean ...
 

VGThuy

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I was believing this but it seemed to be sacrilege to think anyone could best MK at her peak in 96-98 if she herself was clean ...
Because if Kwan can beat the likes of Irina with big jumps and fast skating and who arguably had better skating skills (or at least showed off her edges better than Bobek) for decade, and since Bobek was never able to beat Kwan again after 1995 Worlds (even when both went clean in the SP), and the fact that Irina and Tara needed two 3/3 combos or a 3/3 and a 3/1/3 combo to beat Kwan near her best (not even her best).... Kwan was just the entire package when she was in her prime and totally devoted her time to skating (which I think she was distracted going into 2002 and then was playing catch-up that whole 2002 season which led to her being stick thin, having the SLC Oly play with her head, not being at her tech. best, and never seemed to gel with her LP). I think she had that rare mastery of her edges without needing the super soft knees that many of the best Japanese skaters had.
 
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olympic

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Because if Kwan can beat the likes of Irina with big jumps and fast skating and who arguably had better skating skills (or at least showed off her edges better than Bobek) for decade, and since Bobek was never able to beat Kwan again after 1995 Worlds (even when both went clean in the SP), and the fact that Irina and Tara needed two 3/3 combos or a 3/3 and a 3/1/3 combo to beat Kwan near her best (not even her best).... Kwan was just the entire package when she was in her prime and totally devoted her time to skating (which I think she was distracted going into 2002 and then was playing catch-up that whole 2002 season which led to her being stick thin, having the SLC Oly play with her head, not being at her tech. best, and never seemed to gel with her LP). I think she had that rare mastery of her edges without needing the super soft knees that many of the best Japanese skaters had.
See Irina to me was choppy albeit more technically ambitious while Nicole had a smoother stroke and a lot more presentation
 

olympic

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I admit Nicole could have beat Kwan and Lipinski if she had been a consistent performer.
Back to my original post, I agree but think it would have taken a consistent, well-performed LP w/ the ambitious jump layout of her 95 Worlds program which included a 3Z-3T. Kwan and Lipinski were so strong in their own rite.
 
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Brenda_Bottems

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I agree but think it would have taken a consistent, well-performed LP w/ the ambitious jump layout of her 95 Worlds program which included a 3Z-3T. Kwan and Lipinski were so strong in their own rite.
That is quite the leap from "consistent ambitious programmes" to a stellar 17th placement at the Olympics. Other talented American ladies of that era,like Amber Corwin and Brittney McConn,would have killed to receive even a fraction of the plethora of chances Miss Bobek was repeatedly gifted by the USFSA.

-BB
 

ErikWilliam

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That is quite the leap from "consistent ambitious programmes" to a stellar 17th placement at the Olympics. Other talented American ladies of that era,like Amber Corwin and Brittney McConn,would have killed to receive even a fraction of the plethora of chances Miss Bobek was repeatedly gifted by the USFSA.

-BB
No Stacey Pensgen?!?! Sydne Vogel??? Who is Brittney McConn??!!
 

Vagabond

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Who is Brittney McConn??!!
Brittney McConn 1998 U.S. Nationals Free Skate

Brittney Anne McConn Bottoms (born June 17, 1980)[1] is an American former competitive figure skater. She placed fourth at the 1998 World Junior Championships[2] and won the Nebelhorn Trophy later that year. Her highest senior-level placement at the U.S. Championships was seventh, which she achieved three times. McConn retired from competition in 2001. She became a member of U.S. Figure Skating's International Committee.
Brittney Bottoms. Brenda Bottems.
Brenda Bottems. Brittney Bottoms. 🤨

Sheer coincidence, intentional red herring, or has someone blown her cover? :unsure:

:watch:
 

AxelAnnie

Like a small boat on the ocean...
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That is quite the leap from "consistent ambitious programmes" to a stellar 17th placement at the Olympics. Other talented American ladies of that era,like Amber Corwin and Brittney McConn,would have killed to receive even a fraction of the plethora of chances Miss Bobek was repeatedly gifted by the USFSA.

-BB
Thanks for the links. I had not heard of her.....what a pleasure to watch.
 

UGG

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Nicole, at her best, was the definition of ladies' skating. She was strong and powerful, yet elegant and sophisticated at the same time. Prior to Kwan's transformation in the fall of 1995, Michelle looked like an elementary school girl by comparison.
Welll...Michelle technically was a 9th grader the year of her transformation...so...it’s not so strange that as a 7th/8th grader she also skated like one.
 

fsfan2480

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After a couple of good summer competitions, Bobek had a disastrous fall, landing nothing harder than toe or salchow (and sometimes not even that). She then came under heavy criticism (including from many in the USFS) by skating in the Nutcracker tour over Christmas instead of training for Nationals. The pre-Nationals coaching change didn't do her favors either. She went into Nationals with a lot of people seriously fed up and rooting against her.

If there was any outrage about her not receiving a bye (I wasn't online until the following years), her disastrous performance at Centennial on Ice - where she fell on all three jumps in the short program, doubled everything in the free skate, and finished last in both segments - quieted any second-guessing. Those performances would have had her last at Worlds, without a doubt.

I do think Bobek at her best would have been a multiple-time World medalist / champion. Her technique wasn't bad by 90s standards and wasn't a barrier when she was actually in shape, which was rare. She unfortunately crash dieted very often and spoke about being bulimic in the period leading up to 1998 U.S. Nationals. She was on fire in those practices, landing 3Lz3T, 3F3T, and 3T3T plus 2A2A sequence. Her actual competitive performances, as good as they were, were a let-down compared to the firepower she was showing in practice. The program itself, as originally choreographed by Robin Cousins, was not bad, but had become unrecognizable to the point that he was distancing himself from it.

Louis, get out of my head. Everything you wrote here is exactly as I recall, as well. I was obsessed with Nicole back in the mid-late 1990s. Still love her. But while Tonya/Nancy got me INTO figure skating, Nicole quickly took over as my true love. Everything about her was wonderful - personality, looks, skating skills, speed, flow, artistry, huge jumps, great spins, that je ne sais quoi thing that very few have.

I followed her career very closely - for as much as one could back then without proper internet, etc.

My biggest questions surround July 1995-October 1995. What in the world happened? She skated amazingly well in July/August for the Champions of Ice Tour - looking fabulous and with an easy Triple Flip in spotlights. Then she competed in that International Team Challenge looking in the best shape of her life and won the competition easily. She won the Metropolitan Challenge on September 22nd. She still looked in great shape and landed a Triple Lutz and Triple Flip with ease in the Long Program. THEN ... fast forward 3.5 weeks later to Detroit for Skate America and she not only looked out of shape and unhappy, but couldn't land a Triple to save her life. What in the world happened within those 3.5 weeks!?!? She then went on a week later to the Starlight Challenge in NYC - which I attended, threw a rose to her, and she waved back (I could've fainted haha) - and she did not skate well there, either. I believe she landed a Triple Sal or a Triple Toe, maybe even both, but I'm not even sure of that. In November, she did "better" at Nations Cup. But she still looked out of shape and unhappy. It was after this - and performing on Nutcracker on Ice with an ankle injury - that she parted ways with Richard Callaghan (which I always thought was her biggest mistake in her entire career).

1996 Nationals killed me. She looked "better" than October-Nov 1995, but I don't know what kind of performance she would have pulled off in the Long Program there had she skated it. And wowww how prophetic that she wasn't picked for the 1996 Worlds team, allowing Tara Lipinski to get a jump start on her career.

I was ecstatic with her form and results in 1997 and early 1998 with Carlo and then Christa Fassi, but then Carlo unfortunately died and Nicole seemed to have other setbacks and injuries leading up to the Olympics. Her triumphant performance at 1998 Nationals was something to behold. I had such high hopes for Nagano. But then what happened between Nationals and the Olympics??? I can't imagine she would slow down training. And yet, she didn't look as IN shape. I always equated Nicole's poor performances to her "not being in good enough shape". But I don't know if that was the issue between January and February 1998! Maybe it really was her nerves and not always training issues. ???

In late 1998 I was THRILLED that she went back to Callaghan. She looked well-trained and determined again. She did well in those late '98 competitions (landing her nemesis, Triple Loop - consistently) and, word was that she was doing those multiple Triple triple combinations leading up to 1999 nationals again. She was also going to premiere her new Long Program to music from Titanic. I was salivating. THEN, she got her career-ending ailment.

Love Nicole. Always will. I follow her on Instagram and am so happy that her life has turned out well. But my biggest question remains to you Louis :) ....... what do you think happened to her between 9/22/1995 and October 17/1995. It was like night and day.
 
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VGThuy

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Didn't Nicole have an injury she was dealing with in Nagano, as well? Christa Fassi didn't seem very surprised by her disastrous SP showing there. She had a look like "well, it is what it is. Nothing we could have done about it."
 

ErikWilliam

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Didn't Nicole have an injury she was dealing with in Nagano, as well? Christa Fassi didn't seem very surprised by her disastrous SP showing there. She had a look like "well, it is what it is. Nothing we could have done about it."
Well, I remember there was talk during Nationals that while she was doing all those 3/3s in practice that she injured herself and hence had to scale down her FS. She was already on the can of Campbell's Soup and Kwiatkowski was likely to bomb anyway (which of course she did...) so Bobek was pretty much guaranteed a spot on the Olympic team. Her injury worsened afterwards and there was talk to CHJ of Kwiatkowski being ready to go if called as 1st alternate. Anyway, Bobek showed up for opening ceremonies, had a blast in many dorm rooms of other athletes, practiced like crap, skated like crap, but heck, she is an OLYMPIAN for life.

As for that period during 9/05-10/05, maybe after training so long (for her) she just needed a break and started eating again. I'm not sure if there were concerns of meth use at that time, but her dieting was always either nonexistent or disordered. It's amazing she accomplished so much.
 

fsfan2480

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Interesting info about 1998 Nationals practices and injuring herself - and then not getting better before Nagano.

As for 9/22/1995-10/17/1995 ... sure, she could have slacked off in her training. But who slacks off in their training/habits RIGHT before the new season and testing out new programs? I still find that period of time so, so odd.
 

Lemonade20

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Interesting info about 1998 Nationals practices and injuring herself - and then not getting better before Nagano.

As for 9/22/1995-10/17/1995 ... sure, she could have slacked off in her training. But who slacks off in their training/habits RIGHT before the new season and testing out new programs? I still find that period of time so, so odd.
She could have been overwhelmed, it's a lot of pressure.
 

aliceanne

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I remember seeing Nicole and Michelle live on a pre-Olympic tour in 1994. The were 15 and 13. Nicole’s athleticism was on a level with the men (strength, speed, ice coverage), but she landed her jumps on her butt. Michelle’s skating was perfect, but extremely tiny, as was she.
 

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