Surya Bonaly Profiled On "Losers"

Louis

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Interesting point re: the deliberate cultivation of an exotic image. Some of the statements, especially from Peggy Fleming, sounded really bad :yikes: in isolation, but are less bad when you consider the Reunion Island hoax and the other stories team Surya put out about her non-traditional upbringing. I suspect Peggy, Dick, Scott, etc. were just repeating what team Bonaly put out in their press releases.

Re: Bonaly v. Sato, I think Sato was clearly better. That said, there are plenty of nitpicks with Sato's skate -- her "flip" was the worst kind of lip (the most severe "e" probably warranting at least a -3 in today's system), and a lot of her jump landings were very pitched or unsteady. While her axels, salchows, and usually loops were nice, her toe jumps never looked right and were rarely landed well.
 

Erin

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I finally was able to watch it yesterday. I can definitely understand why Surya felt like an outsider and thought the documentary did a good job of pulling out the comments from commentators that emphasized this. But I was frustrated that the documentary perpetuated the myth that it was her “outsider status” that was the reason she was marked down and not her basic skating. Scott Hamilton got into it a little bit with his discussion about the long pauses before jumps as being something that was a legitimate problem with her skating but that was about it. That said, I’m glad she had a great pro career and she seems happy now and lives in a great city. Loved seeing her do the death spiral too!

ETA - re the cartoons, it appears to be a stylistic choice as I’m watching the curling episode now and they are using the cartoons there too.
 
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Erin

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I liked the cartoons. :slinkaway
I liked them for the most part too, although I did find them a little bit odd during the Olympics but I still enjoyed them. At times they were a little bit amusing, like Nancy’s missed jump at the Olympics being kind of over exaggerated.
 

asdf334

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E.M. Swift once said of Surya... "The European champion, Bonaly, is a marvelous jumper and spins nicely, but she runs into trouble in between, when she actually has to skate. She might as well be on double runners as she glides stiff-leggedly from one trick to the next—the best of which, a back flip, is not allowed under the rules."
 

Japanfan

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E.M. Swift once said of Surya... "The European champion, Bonaly, is a marvelous jumper and spins nicely, but she runs into trouble in between, when she actually has to skate. She might as well be on double runners as she glides stiff-leggedly from one trick to the next—the best of which, a back flip, is not allowed under the rules."
To be fair, the same could have been said about many other skaters, and the same is true for many skaters today.
 

DBZ

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But I was frustrated that the documentary perpetuated the myth that it was her “outsider status” that was the reason she was marked down and not her basic skating.
Totally agreed. I think this "documentary" did a lot of its own back flips around the actual facts to suit that outsider narrative, especially in regards to her 94 loss at worlds to Yuka.

The New Republic writer even stated she "skated clean." No. She. Did. Not.

That's just not true and totally misrepresents to the watching audience what actually happened. She put her hand down on the loop, two-footed her first lutz and badly under-rotated the 3toe on her 3flip/3toe combo. Plus, her spins were slow and wobbly and her edging over the ice completely flat. Not even close to a clean skate, by far.

If anything, Surya succeeded despite her poor skating skills, and was awarded numerous titles by these so-called biased judges.

9 French Titles, 10 Grand Prix Titles, 5 straight European titles...man, these judges really held her back from winning anything.

I think Surya was an exciting skater to watch, but I don't think we need to turn a blind eye to her severe shortcomings as a skater in order to appreciate her contribution to the sport.
 
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antmanb

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So I decided to watch this and sadly most of the skating was covered by the cartoons.

It was nice to see Surya - and I echo whoever said it was great to see her doing a death spiral.

Since the documentary was kind of lacking in proper footage I went back and watched a bunch of her performances, and honestly speaking she had made a lot of improvements in her basic skating by Nagano, even though the injury had set her jumps back as much as they had. I remember my 19 year old self being OUTRAGED!!!!!! that she'd had the audacity to do a backflip at Nagano....whereas the me of now chuckled and thought well done.

Honestly going back and watching 6.0 programmes, I can't understand how anyone thinks they were better than the skating we get now. So many skaters outside of the medals had back pumping choppy cross overs between the jumps, with barely held spins and very one directional skating. I understand the arguments that programmes today are busy for box ticking purposes sometimes at the expense of the music, but programmes under 6.0 largely ignored the music too, had telegraphed jumps, and despite all of the skaters having to competitively demonstrate the ability to execute every type of turn in every direction, they sure did like to include three turns and mohawks in their dominant direction :shuffle: All of that to say - Surya doesn't come across as badly when I looked up various competitions from the past as I thought at the time.
 

Erin

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I remember my 19 year old self being OUTRAGED!!!!!! that she'd had the audacity to do a backflip at Nagano....whereas the me of now chuckled and thought well done.
I was 17 at the time and I LOVED it even though I had never been much of a Surya fan before that (although I had softened to her by then, given she was a bit of an underdog coming back from an injury). But I thought the backflip was a fun way to say goodbye to her eligible career, and thought "good for her!" and didn't even really think of it as thumbing her nose at the judges until I came online and saw other interpretations. I rewatched the skate this morning and it was a pretty messy skate even before the back flip so she really didn't have much to lose by adding it and I felt like it really energized the end of the program and the crowd loved it. And I can't see that it cost her much more than maybe a place or two in the end so I'm glad she did it.
 

antmanb

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I was 17 at the time and I LOVED it even though I had never been much of a Surya fan before that (although I had softened to her by then, given she was a bit of an underdog coming back from an injury). But I thought the backflip was a fun way to say goodbye to her eligible career, and thought "good for her!" and didn't even really think of it as thumbing her nose at the judges until I came online and saw other interpretations. I rewatched the skate this morning and it was a pretty messy skate even before the back flip so she really didn't have much to lose by adding it and I felt like it really energized the end of the program and the crowd loved it. And I can't see that it cost her much more than maybe a place or two in the end so I'm glad she did it.
Yes absolutely. I was rather more conforming aged 19...my rebellious years took a long tome to come through. I don't know why I thought I remembered her Zayaking by doing a third triple toe or salchow in Nagano but I hadn't remembered correctly (maybe she did in previous competitions when she was coming back?). Honestly given the state of her injury I was pretty surprised she even attempted the flip and loop (as underrotated as they were).
 

MacMadame

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My response to the backflip at the time was: :rolleyes: That assessment hasn't changed. I wasn't outraged but I didn't think "good for you!" either.
 

Japanfan

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Honestly going back and watching 6.0 programmes, I can't understand how anyone thinks they were better than the skating we get now. So many skaters outside of the medals had back pumping choppy cross overs between the jumps, with barely held spins and very one directional skating.I I understand the arguments that programmes today are busy for box ticking purposes sometimes at the expense of the music, but programmes under 6.0 largely ignored the music too, had telegraphed jumps, and despite all of the skaters having to competitively demonstrate the ability to execute every type of turn in every direction, they sure did like to include three turns and mohawks in their dominant direction :shuffle: All of that to say - Surya doesn't come across as badly when I looked up various competitions from the past as I thought at the time.
I agree with all of the above. And I'll add that when I look at pair lifts in old programs, I'm aghast. The lady is up and down without really holding the position in the air. There is no time for changes of position and rotation. Lifts are way more exciting and challenging today.

The downside to the busyness of CoP programs is simple movements performed beautifully aren't rewarded as well as they used to be, while difficult movements that lack aesthetic appeal are rewarded well.

However, the choreographic sequence should allow skaters to perform such moves -theoretically, in any case.
 

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