Unlucky skaters

Marco

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Re-watching 2010 Olympics men for the judging game, I am struck by how unlucky Nobunari Oda had been throughout his amateur career.

2005/6 - won Nationals, received the gold medal and presumably the sole ticket to Turino for Japanese men, only to be told the system did not recognize a IJS bug he had, and got downgraded to silver medal and lost his ticket to Turino.

2005/6 - pretty much did enough to win the bronze at Worlds but also did an extra combo and lost all value for the 3flip - losing out bronze to Evan Lysacek.

2007 off season - arrested over moped DUI and pretty much lost the entire 07/8 season.

2010 - he was so good in the Olympic short and was in medal contention, then in the free he was clean all the way til he broke his lace and fell on the 3loop, dropping him to 7th overall. He went on to single all jumps at Worlds short and did not make the free.

2011 - At Worlds he was again at medal position after the short, and in the free did 3toe3toe and then 3axel3toe - invalidating the entire axel combo - if he had done 3axel2toe instead, he would have won bronze over Artur Gachinski.

Despite never medalling at Worlds, he was always very consistent throughout his career, but the quick rise of Tatsuki Machida and Hanyu meant that he would lose out on going to Sochi.

I am not sure if "unlucky" was the right word since it was his fault for not studying the IJS rules and for the moped incident, but he could easily have been a 3 time Olympian and 2 time world medalist, potentially an Olympic medalist in 2010. As for now, he settled for just being a 4CC and a Jr World Champ (still impressive of course).

Any other skaters who could have easily accomplished more?
 

MsZem

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I am not sure if "unlucky" was the right word since it was his fault for not studying the IJS rules and for the moped incident, but he could easily have been a 3 time Olympian and 2 time world medalist, potentially an Olympic medalist in 2010. As for now, he settled for just being a 4CC and a Jr World Champ (still impressive of course).
This is what it comes down to - most of Oda's problems were of his own making. Lots of skaters had invalid elements in their careers, but Oda was the only one to make a habit of it.

To me Valentina Marchei was very unlucky in the Olympic seasons prior to Sochi; she missed out in 2006 after Silvia Fontana came back, and again in 2010 (despite winning Nationals) because Italy only had one spot and Kostner did win Euros... this also meant that Marchei missed out on Worlds in Italy that year. I also think that if she'd switched to pairs earlier, she would have at least have had a GP or Euro medal to her name.
 

misskarne

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I think timing plays into it. Mishin's comment about Alexander Abt, for example, was spot on: "A shining star born too early, or too late."

Too late - if he'd been a couple of years earlier he would have pre-dated Plushenko and Yagudin and their quad war.

Too early - if he'd been a few years later, he'd have come in after the Plushenko-Yagudin war.

Instead, he got caught in the middle of it.
 

LarrySK8

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494
Mark Mitchell.

I will also say here that Christopher Bowman was unlucky. USFS turned a blind eye to his cocaine abuse and addiction (in Betty Ford rehab for weeks prior to Calgary and barely skated beforehand - also noted in interviews how coked up he was in 1990 and 1991 <how he passed the drug test is ??>) and he ended up being supported by USFS, i.e. enabled. He was unlucky to be enabled and he was dead by age 40.
 

overedge

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I will also say here that Christopher Bowman was unlucky. USFS turned a blind eye to his cocaine abuse and addiction (in Betty Ford rehab for weeks prior to Calgary and barely skated beforehand - also noted in interviews how coked up he was in 1990 and 1991 <how he passed the drug test is ??>) and he ended up being supported by USFS, i.e. enabled. He was unlucky to be enabled and he was dead by age 40.

He was unlucky to have a substance abuse problem.
 

overedge

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Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov - all those injuries, and imagine having to pop your own shoulder back in and keep skating :eek:

Todd Eldredge also had bad luck in injuring himself and/or getting sick before or at important competitions. But he did win Worlds, so he did all right overall.

(Plus he was coached by Richard Callaghan for his entire career)
 

Vash01

Fan of Yuzuru, Three A's, T&M, P&C
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Shishkova-Naumov and Brasseur-Eisler in 1994. If not for the only time the pros were allowed to compete in the Olympics, they would have battled for the gold. Instead they had to battle for the bronze, which B&E won. S&N never won an Olympic medal.

Marina Kiellman (sp?) in 1994 would have represented Germany in the Olympics, if not for the return of Katarina Witt.

ETA- All the skaters who were supposed to compete in the World championships in 2020. The ********* resulted in the cancellation of the event. Some skaters may never get another chance.
 

gkelly

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Shishkova-Naumov and Brasseur-Eisler in 1994. If not for the only time the pros were allowed to compete in the Olympics,

Well, skaters who had turned pro were allowed to reinstate as eligible skaters for a narrow window of time 1993-95, so most of those who used the opportunity to compete at the Olympics did so in 1994.

But once they were reinstated, either before or after 1994 Olympics, they were welcome to compete at 1998 or beyond, assuming they did nothing new to lose their eligibility again and assuming that they qualified for their countries' Olympic teams.

Artur Dmitriev took full advantage of that opportunity!

The likes of Roca and Sur (assuming his citizenship was sorted in time for 1998 Olympics) or Midori Ito would have been welcome to continue on to 1998, but they chose to return to the pro ranks before then instead.

ETA- All the skaters who were supposed to compete in the World championships in 2020. The ********* resulted in the cancellation of the event. Some skaters may never get another chance.

Very true.
 

overedge

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If anything, Brasseur & Eisler were lucky in 1994 because they got to do another Olympics. They said in their book that as soon as they realized they could do two Olympics within two years, because of the Winter Olympics schedule change, they went for it.
 

sonsofanarchy

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Nancy Kerrigan was another lucky in that sense. She says herself absolutely no way she had any interest in staying on until 1996, and only there being a Games only 2 years away in 1994 convinced her. And even then it took her coaches persuading her and Yamaguchi announcing going pro (apparently she had no interest in staying if Kristi stayed) to convince her to stay on. Without the Olympic being 2 years away she is done after 92, and definitely not the Celebrity and star she is today.
 

sonsofanarchy

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Shishkova-Naumov and Brasseur-Eisler in 1994. If not for the only time the pros were allowed to compete in the Olympics, they would have battled for the gold. Instead they had to battle for the bronze, which B&E won. S&N never won an Olympic medal.

Brasseur & Eisler's good luck more than balances out their bad luck. They mentioned in their book they would have retired for sure if they missed the 1990 worlds. As it was after a disaesterous skate at the 1990 Nationals they made the 3rd spot on the team by a mere one tenth of a point over Menzies & Wheeler. If that flips the other way their career is over then and there. As it was they went on to a surprise silver at worlds behind Gordeeva & Grinkov and ahead of Miskutienok & Dmitriev, nearly winning the free skate, and their career took off from their, both a stellar amateur career and the lucrative pro career that never exists now. And Lloyd was close to retiring a bunch of times, and only got together with Isabelle by fluke when he chatted up with Josee Picard at a random junior event in Quebec. It was a chance sort of thing, by then he had finished his 3rd successful partnership, had bad knees and was considered done, but Isabelle had just lost her junior partner and that chance try out when he thought he was done happened.

Also possibly being gifted the bronze at the 92 Olympics on reputation alone for absolutely disaesterous skates. And as someone mentioned there being an Olympics in 94 which they probably would not have stayed in for, and missing the gold already at the 90, 91, and 92 worlds, they might never win a world title now either, as I am not sure if they stay for the 93 worlds for one last try at the world gold or not if there wasn't a 94 Olympics. Yes they were unlucky with the reinstated pros coming back in 94, but they had enough good luck up until then to balance that out.

Shishkova & Naumov on the other hand, their career was nothing but bad luck. Missing the podium often in their early years due to the depth of Soviet pairs and being the #3 or #4 Russian pair. Their best ever season of skating being 93-94 in the year you had 2 of the best teams in history return and an insanely deep overall field causing them to miss the podium at the Olympics, although they did get their lone world title this year. Controversially losing the world title in 95 to Kovarikova & Novotny who had major mistakes, but were given a gift to compensate for their controversial Europeans loss to Woetzel & Steuer in Germany. Going into the 96 worlds as the clear favorites after going unbeaten that season, only to have a subpar competition, but all the other contending pairs had subpar event and major errors as well, and winding up 4th despite 4 1st place ordinals and nearly winning. Then losing favor with the Russian fed and missing the team for both the 97 worlds and the 98 Olympics it looked like they would be favored to win a few years earlier. One of the unluckiest and underrated teams ever. A shame as they are such incredibly nice people, are great coaches today, and coach their son who is a very promising young skater, it is a great family story which could have been even more amazing if they had the success they arguably deserved.
 

Vash01

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Brasseur & Eisler's good luck more than balances out their bad luck. They mentioned in their book they would have retired for sure if they missed the 1990 worlds. As it was after a disaesterous skate at the 1990 Nationals they made the 3rd spot on the team by a mere one tenth of a point over Menzies & Wheeler. If that flips the other way their career is over then and there. As it was they went on to a surprise silver at worlds behind Gordeeva & Grinkov and ahead of Miskutienok & Dmitriev, nearly winning the free skate, and their career took off from their, both a stellar amateur career and the lucrative pro career that never exists now. And Lloyd was close to retiring a bunch of times, and only got together with Isabelle by fluke when he chatted up with Josee Picard at a random junior event in Quebec. It was a chance sort of thing, by then he had finished his 3rd successful partnership, had bad knees and was considered done, but Isabelle had just lost her junior partner and that chance try out when he thought he was done happened.

Also possibly being gifted the bronze at the 92 Olympics on reputation alone for absolutely disaesterous skates. And as someone mentioned there being an Olympics in 94 which they probably would not have stayed in for, and missing the gold already at the 90, 91, and 92 worlds, they might never win a world title now either, as I am not sure if they stay for the 93 worlds for one last try at the world gold or not if there wasn't a 94 Olympics. Yes they were unlucky with the reinstated pros coming back in 94, but they had enough good luck up until then to balance that out.

Shishkova & Naumov on the other hand, their career was nothing but bad luck. Missing the podium often in their early years due to the depth of Soviet pairs and being the #3 or #4 Russian pair. Their best ever season of skating being 93-94 in the year you had 2 of the best teams in history return and an insanely deep overall field causing them to miss the podium at the Olympics, although they did get their lone world title this year. Controversially losing the world title in 95 to Kovarikova & Novotny who had major mistakes, but were given a gift to compensate for their controversial Europeans loss to Woetzel & Steuer in Germany. Going into the 96 worlds as the clear favorites after going unbeaten that season, only to have a subpar competition, but all the other contending pairs had subpar event and major errors as well, and winding up 4th despite 4 1st place ordinals and nearly winning. Then losing favor with the Russian fed and missing the team for both the 97 worlds and the 98 Olympics it looked like they would be favored to win a few years earlier. One of the unluckiest and underrated teams ever. A shame as they are such incredibly nice people, are great coaches today, and coach their son who is a very promising young skater, it is a great family story which could have been even more amazing if they had the success they arguably deserved.

ITA about Shishkova-Naumov. They were one of the unluckiest pairs. They were often robbed. They were even robbed in pro competitions.
Kovarikova-Novotny OTOH one of the lucky pairs. Their mistakes were often forgiven. In a pro competition they missed the boundary of the ice and fell. The judges allowed them to reskate the whole program. They skated clean and the judges placed them over Bechke & Petrov who had consistently skated very well. K&N received a gift (again).

S&N should have repeated in 95 as world champions. It seems their fed did nothing to promote them politically.
 

sonsofanarchy

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ITA about Shishkova-Naumov. They were one of the unluckiest pairs. They were often robbed. They were even robbed in pro competitions.
Kovarikova-Novotny OTOH one of the lucky pairs. Their mistakes were often forgiven. In a pro competition they missed the boundary of the ice and fell. The judges allowed them to reskate the whole program. They skated clean and the judges placed them over Bechke & Petrov who had consistently skated very well. K&N received a gift (again).

S&N should have repeated in 95 as world champions. It seems their fed did nothing to promote them politically.

I remember that World Pro Championships. It was hilarious. They were leading after the first round, they started their program with some mistakes, then that accident you spoke of. For some unexplainable reason they were allowed to start from the very start, even though the early part of their program was not affected by the mishap. They skated even the early part much better and got some 10s and won.

I don't think S&N were ever who the Russian fed saw as their #1s for some reason. I felt bad for them. People even make remarks like when they lost the 95 worlds that they deserved it for wearing their last seasons short program costumes which they called tacky, but people don't realize that is because their financial hardships at the time meant they literally could only afford so many new costumes. They seem like amazing and caring people and wonderful parents and coaches, in addition to great skaters.
 

Vagabond

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In pairs, I'd go with Lubov Ilyushechkina and Xiaoyu Yu.
Yu was a beneficiary of good luck, when Jin Yang and she were undeservedly allowed to compete at 2010 World Juniors as China's third pair even though China was entitled to only two entries. The ISU didn't notice the mistake until after the Short Program, with the result that the team that should have been placed sixteenth, Zabijako & Muhhin, missed the final. Z&M are the unlucky ones, especially Muhhin, whose career ended not long after that debacle.
 

overedge

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"Being robbed" in a competition isn't bad luck like getting hurt before a big competition, a partnership breaking up, etc. At least someone who is robbed in a competition actually made it to the competition :lol:
 

clairecloutier

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Yu was a beneficiary of good luck, when Jin Yang and she were undeservedly allowed to compete at 2010 World Juniors as China's third pair even though China was entitled to only two entries. The ISU didn't notice the mistake until after the Short Program, with the result that the team that should have been placed sixteenth, Zabijako & Muhhin, missed the final. Z&M are the unlucky ones, especially Muhhin, whose career ended not long after that debacle.


All that being the case, the good luck ran out about 5 years ago for Xiaoyu. :saint:
 

Andora

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One of the unluckiest and underrated teams ever. A shame as they are such incredibly nice people, are great coaches today, and coach their son who is a very promising young skater, it is a great family story which could have been even more amazing if they had the success they arguably deserved.

I loved their Ave Maria SP, but S&N were unlucky to be quiet, insular, bordering on boring skaters, coming in after some truly eye-catching & inspired Russian pairs, imho.
 

Louis

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Laetitia Hubert - she would have won bronze medals at BOTH 1992 and 1998 Worlds under the OBO system. (1998, because Butyrskaya would have been too low in the short program to catch her.) Crazy flip-flopping ordinals screwed her both times.

Angela Nikodinov - World competitor at 1999, 2000, and 2001 Worlds and then missed the Olympic season. And then we all know what happened after. :(

Kurt Browning - 4x World Champion but no Olympic medal of any color despite three tries. Has anyone else even come close to this?

Midori Ito, to an extent - unlucky to have competed in figures (should have won several Worlds); unlucky to have bombed figures at 1990 Worlds and have lost by the slimmest of margins to a skater with a double toe-double toe combination in the short program; unlucky to have skated programs that would've been competitive for gold 30+ years later and only have one World title and an Olympic silver. The skater farthest ahead of her time in the history of the sport, IMO.

Caryn Kadavy - I'm not sure anyone else has withdrawn from the final group of an Olympics free skate?

Alexei Urmanov - I'm not sure anyone else has ever withdrawn from Worlds after leading the short program. (Though he had his share of good luck in 1994!)
 

VGThuy

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When I think of bad luck, I only think of timing ("I was born too soon and started too late!"), and competing against someone better at that certain point in time when they were better; having the rules changed that puts you at a disadvantage (or competing at a time before subsequent rules would have given you better results); or force majeure. I don't know if I count injuries, COPing yourself out of medals, or just being beaten by someone better outside of timing issue (like with Eteri skaters when those who hit 16 at the right Olympic peak) count. Maybe injuries depending on the timing.
 

sonsofanarchy

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When I think of bad luck, I only think of timing ("I was born too soon and started too late!"), and competing against someone better at that certain point in time when they were better; having the rules changed that puts you at a disadvantage (or competing at a time before subsequent rules would have given you better results); or force majeure. I don't know if I count injuries, COPing yourself out of medals, or just being beaten by someone better outside of timing issue (like with Eteri skaters when those who hit 16 at the right Olympic peak) count. Maybe injuries depending on the timing.

So Jill Trenary? She came in strong but when it was crowded at top with star veters like Witt and Thomas already dominant, then would have been well positioned to be fighting at the top until 92 except for the removal of school figures which forced her to try and learn new jumps she wasn't realistically going to learn at that point of her career.

Actually come to think of it Midori Ito is a better example. She could have become dominant as early as 1986 without school figures, and when they were removed people had improved enough to finally come close to competing with her jump wise (Yamaguchi, Harding) and she was also worn down by injuries and pressure, and bad luck at the 91 worlds and extreme pressure at the 92 Olympics.
 
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overedge

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Jill Trenary and Midori Ito both won world championships, and Midori won an Olympic medal. Maybe they each could have won more under different circumstances, but IMO skaters at that level of achievement are not unlucky by any definition.
 

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