Unlucky skaters

sonsofanarchy

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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.

I don't know, Midori was so revolutionary that just 1 world title and an Olympic silver does not really come anywhere near recognizing how much she revolutionized the sport, particularly jumping and athleticsm.
 

overedge

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I don't know, Midori was so revolutionary that just 1 world title and an Olympic silver does not really come anywhere near recognizing how much she revolutionized the sport, particularly jumping and athleticsm.

Someone's influence on the sport is not only measured by how many medals they won. John Curry only won one Olympic medal and one world championship, but he changed what skating looked like. As did Ito.

And for Curry, that record has very little to do with luck. Curry hated competing, and only stayed in amateur skating until he got enough visibility/reputation to do what he wanted to do outside of the competitive skating world. He left when he wanted to, and probably would have left earlier if he'd won Worlds or Olympics sooner.
 

Aerobicidal

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My choice would be Adam Rippon. The year he won U.S. Nationals, he should have won by a much larger margin. Also, his quad attempts were often judged far too harshly (just as Vincent Zhou's often are).

There are no other U.S. male single skaters from the last ten years I would choose.

The other name that comes to mind is Elena Radionova. She was very unlucky that, the season when she had a Titanic free program with ludicrous voiceovers that should have been the WTF program of the year, Jorik Hendrickx had an even more WTF Titanic free program with even more ludicrous voiceovers.
 

all_empty

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My choice would be Adam Rippon. The year he won U.S. Nationals, he should have won by a much larger margin. Also, his quad attempts were often judged far too harshly (just as Vincent Zhou's often are).

There are no other U.S. male single skaters from the last ten years I would choose.

The other name that comes to mind is Elena Radionova. She was very unlucky that, the season when she had a Titanic free program with ludicrous voiceovers that should have been the WTF program of the year, Jorik Hendrickx had an even more WTF Titanic free program with even more ludicrous voiceovers.

I had never seen the Jorik program before.

It reminds me of when you have two video players open and you can't figure out where the second audio is coming from...it's that bad lol.

 
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Louis

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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.

I look at skaters' achievements relative to their skill / performance level. A skater as dominant as Ito would've won more medals and championships in almost any other period of history. There were several unlucky elements that caused her to (IMO) have lesser results than her skill would indicate.

I love Trenary, but she was very, very, very lucky to have her one World title. Her bronze medal from 1989 was lucky, too. To be honest, I think she'd have done worse without figures. She skated well at 1987 Worlds and 1988 Olympics, but not top 3 even in SP + FS with today's standards of judging. In 1989, her free skate would have dropped her like a rock (perhaps out of the medals), and in 1990, her short program would've probably only left her in bronze medal territory.
 

allezfred

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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)

According to his Twitter, he is a MAGA type now so I can’t bring myself to feel sorry for him. :shuffle:
 

puglover

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One who comes to my mind is Takahiko Kozuka. I know he did have success - World Junior Champion, 2011 Worlds Silver Medalist and several Grand Prix medals but I found him to be such a beautiful skater and it never came together for him the way I thought it would. I think he suffered with inconsistency but it seemed like so did most of the men he competed against.
 

viennese

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Trenary was unlucky.

She had a horrific injury (collision/lower leg blade slice) that would have been career ending for anyone else. People forget about it because it wasn't caught on video. I could not believe that she came back so soon the next year (1986?) and skated quite well. The next couple of years were probably her best in terms of confidence.

She always seemed like an athlete who got caught up in her own head when she was expected to win. But she was one of the last of the all-around skaters who excelled at compulsory figures and artistic skating. I'm sorry that we didn't get to see more of her pro skating, where she seemed to have more fun.

**Also unlucky to compete often against one of the all time greatest: Midori Ito
 
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overedge

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Sasha Cohen. In position to win gold over and over and wanted it so badly, but some mental block - certainly not being underprepared - caused her to be one of skating's most famous "bridesmaids" (I hate that expression!). The look of pain on her face just killed me.

My feelings about her are kind of like @allezfred 's :violin:for Eldredge. I heard some pretty awful things about her during her competitive days from adult skaters at the same rink. In retrospect, especially given what she talked about in the "Weight of Gold" documentary, she was probably desperately unhappy and lashing out. But she had so many opportunities that other skaters could only dream of, that I wouldn't label her as unlucky.
 

gk_891

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Anissina & Peizerat to an extent. I thought they were always on the wrong end of politics.I thought they should've been World and European silver medalists in 1996 as they skated very ambitious programs that had very impressive content. But with the push for K&O since they were the second Russian team and the Worlds being in Canada in 1996 favouring B&K, it left them off of the podium. One other competition from that season that had some seriously bad judging was the European championships as A&P were actually beaten by Romanova & Yaroshenko of all teams. Something was amiss for sure.

I remember them getting the thumbs down for their 1996-1997 material but looking back at the programs fairly recently, I was surprised at how much I liked them as their programs had excellent content. I actually had them in second at both Europeans and Worlds that season. But instead, they placed a disappointing fourth at Europeans and they barely hung onto fifth at Worlds. That left them in an even worse position as that was the pre-Olympic year. They had a short turn around time to rebuild their reputations but they came up with some absolutely brilliant programs. And while they finished 3rd at the Olympics and 2nd at Worlds, I actually thought they should've placed 2nd in Nagano and 1st at Worlds. Their OD was far and away the best that year and that FD had seamless content, way more so than K&O's Carmen.

It was such a close competition in 1999 between them and K&O. But looking back, while K&O's jungle free dance was a very good idea, it was not well put together as almost the entire dance was skated hand to hand or side by side. I thought A&P were the clear winners. And while they finally won Worlds in 2000, they scandalously lost to the Italians in 2001 and they just barely won the Olympics in 2002 even though they were leagues better than the team that almost beat them (Lobacheva & Averbukh).

Of course, their careers were nothing to sneeze at with an Olympic bronze and gold medal, one World gold, and three World silvers, etc. But I thought they should've won a lot more.
 

Vash01

Fan of Yuzuru, Three A's, T&M, P&C
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Rudy Galindo. His story had a happy ending but he went through a lot prior to that. The real bad luck was very early. He had a great future in pairs, skating with Kristi Yamaguchi,but in their first senior year their coach got a fatal illness (brain tumor?). He died before their second year as senior. They went to John Nicks, but Kristi, who was competing in singles too, hada problem of her own. Her coach got married and moved to Canada. Kristi and Rudy were in a tough situation, with Kristi going to Canada frequently. It was too much to handle. It showed up in their results at worlds. No medal. Surprising mistakes on subs jumps, which used to be their strength.

She had to choose and she chose singles. Rudy was left without a partner. He switched to singles but it was almost like starting over. In pairs he and Kristi were the top. In singles Rudy had to climb up against skaters who were already near the top. In his family there were deaths. He fought through it all, with his sister as his coach, and had that magical performance of Swan Lake at the US nationals. He followed that with a bronze at worlds in 1996.

What if his first coach had not been ill? What if Jristi’s coach had not married a Canadian? What if Kristi didn’t have to focus on just one discipline due to the stresses in their lives? What if she had picked pairs instead of singles? These things are due to luck.

I am happy that Rudy had a happy ending, but overall he could be considered one of the unlucky skaters.
 

Vash01

Fan of Yuzuru, Three A's, T&M, P&C
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Tanja Szewczenko often had bad luck too with her injuries en illnesses.

She was so unlucky! She was sick at the Olympics (I don’t remember the year). Her coach told her to withdraw even though she could have skated. His logic was that a poor performance would lower her ranking in the world. Sadly she never got another chance, I think because of her health issues.

Caryn Kadavy came down with fever before the LP at the 1988 Olympics. She was a contender for a bronze. She did not go to an Olympic again. She did have a successful pro career, however. Not too unlucky, but she missed a chance to win an Olympic medal.
 

Marco

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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 don't know what it says about Marchei's form that season that she lost the spot to Fontana who wasn't even able to have a 7th jumping pass in Turino. And Italy ladies only had 1 spot for 2010 Olympics and Worlds because Kostner bombed 2009 Worlds with all those single jumps. Then again, if Marchei was always just going to have to rely on another countryman to qualify a spot for her, then perhaps she didn't lose the spot because of Kostner - she just didn't earn it on her own.

Mark Mitchell.

He got skipped for the Olympics once when he hadn't even been to Worlds at that point and wasn't that established internationally. I am sure it's tough on him but honestly it is quite a fair decision to send Eldredge and Wylie. For me, he simply wasn't competitive enough - all the other US men were either doing 2 3axels / lutzes or 3/3s - while Mitchell himself would rarely even repeat a triple higher than a 3loop and would rarely attempt a combo harder than a 3flip2toe. His skating was breathtaking to watch though but his other competitors were also strong on presentation.

Ross Miner. Timing is everything.

It was one time and for me, a very justified decision to send Zhou over him, even more so than the Mark Mitchell case. He was actually lucky that the USFS sent him instead of Abbott to Worlds in 2011.

I will also say here that Christopher Bowman was unlucky.

On results alone, I think he was lucky to have accomplished as much as he did with the training habits and attitude he had. He didn't achieve more due entirely to his own making. It wasn't the judging system, it wasn't wrong timing. He was a grown man and I don't think it's fair to say he was unlucky that other people didn't intervene enough / enabled him. In fact, he probably received more intervention and attention simply because he was a top athlete. It's a sad case all around though.

For everyone citing injuries, there is a difference between skaters injuring themselves during ordinary training and missing competitions or under-performing at the worst timing, and those injuring themselves trying risky elements behind their reach and with questionable technique. For me, Kavaguti & Smirnov fall into the latter category.

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.

Was literally saving this for you to post, @Louis . :p

Angela Nikodinov - World competitor at 1999, 2000, and 2001 Worlds and then missed the Olympic season.

Same for Anna Pogorilaya.

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

This takes the cake. Well, 2 serious tries anyways. Was he supposed to be in medal contention in 1988?

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!)

I hope by good luck, you meant that the 3 big veterans all faltered in the short, and not that he lucked out beating Stojko?! He beat Stojko 8-1 but for some reason this was always pegged as a close race in which Stojko wuzrobbed.

Besides 1997 injury and consequentially missing the entire 1998 season, another bad luck seems to be the fact that he wasn't able to garner much love from the judges even after the big win in 1994. He was a solid skater all around and despite some good skating in 1995-7, the judges didn't seem to regard him as a champion.

All in all, he was a pretty unlucky guy.

A skater as dominant as Ito would've won more medals and championships in almost any other period of history. There were several unlucky elements that caused her to (IMO) have lesser results than her skill would indicate.

It wasn't just figures or the fact that she came from a weak federation. It was mostly skating culture and perception. Ito and Harding simply didn't fit into the mold of a classical skater and as a result their elements, their speed and complex programs were overlooked. They weren't raw athletes like Bonaly. On the flip side, Trenary and Kerrigan definitely lucked out as a result. The performances that they medalled with in 1990 / 1992 respectively were pretty shocking.

Tanja Szewczenko often had bad luck too with her injuries en illnesses.

I think it is more than balanced out with her winning a world medal in 1994 with just a 3loop combo in the short.
 

sonsofanarchy

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Rudy Galindo. His story had a happy ending but he went through a lot prior to that. The real bad luck was very early. He had a great future in pairs, skating with Kristi Yamaguchi,but in their first senior year their coach got a fatal illness (brain tumor?). He died before their second year as senior. They went to John Nicks, but Kristi, who was competing in singles too, hada problem of her own. Her coach got married and moved to Canada. Kristi and Rudy were in a tough situation, with Kristi going to Canada frequently. It was too much to handle. It showed up in their results at worlds. No medal. Surprising mistakes on subs jumps, which used to be their strength.

She had to choose and she chose singles. Rudy was left without a partner. He switched to singles but it was almost like starting over. In pairs he and Kristi were the top. In singles Rudy had to climb up against skaters who were already near the top. In his family there were deaths. He fought through it all, with his sister as his coach, and had that magical performance of Swan Lake at the US nationals. He followed that with a bronze at worlds in 1996.

What if his first coach had not been ill? What if Jristi’s coach had not married a Canadian? What if Kristi didn’t have to focus on just one discipline due to the stresses in their lives? What if she had picked pairs instead of singles? These things are due to luck.

I am happy that Rudy had a happy ending, but overall he could be considered one of the unlucky skaters.

Kristi having a dissapointing showing in both pairs and singles at the 1990 worlds, missing the podium in both and having unusual falls in both, pretty much ensured she wasn't going to continue both another season. She was far too ambitious to be happy continuing with 4th, 5th, even 3rd place finishes in two different events. And when you combine her prospects were probably always a bit better in singles, her singles coach moving to Canada, having the chance to skate at the same rink as Kurt Browning if she chose singles, and figures being phased out majorly helping her chances in singles while nothing of the equivalent (like say side by side triples of any kind being allowed in the pairs short) happening in pairs, it was pretty clear which way she was always going to go.

It was bad luck for Rudy who had already given up his singles to focus more on pairs, while she had of course kept up her singles. In 88 he beat Todd Eldredge for the World Junior title, but after 2-3 years off singles he now was far behind people like Todd and had a huge mountain to climb to ever catch back up (which he did, but it took him another 5 years).
 

VGThuy

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It wasn't just figures or the fact that she came from a weak federation. It was mostly skating culture and perception. Ito and Harding simply didn't fit into the mold of a classical skater and as a result their elements, their speed and complex programs were overlooked. They weren't raw athletes like Bonaly. On the flip side, Trenary and Kerrigan definitely lucked out as a result. The performances that they medalled with in 1990 / 1992 respectively were pretty shocking.

I agree stongly with most of your post, but this part here, I disagree with somewhat...I mean Tonya had "complex" programs? I honestly think the judges were ready to give Ito or Tonya the gold had they been in top condition...or at least they would have been in contention for gold against a clean Yamaguchi and the ordinals would have done what they done. Tonya lost some favor by Albertville but had she been on a roll and seemed like she was prepared for most of the season, I don't think she would have lost that favor. Ito's loss of confidence and having to deal with heavy pressure seemed to haunt her for a while seemed to bog her down in Albertville, but the judges did do her some favors there (unlike Tonya who should have placed third in the LP - at least - but Nancy would have still came away with a medal even if that happened unless Nancy placed lower than 4th).
 

MsZem

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I don't know what it says about Marchei's form that season that she lost the spot to Fontana who wasn't even able to have a 7th jumping pass in Turino. And Italy ladies only had 1 spot for 2010 Olympics and Worlds because Kostner bombed 2009 Worlds with all those single jumps. Then again, if Marchei was always just going to have to rely on another countryman to qualify a spot for her, then perhaps she didn't lose the spot because of Kostner - she just didn't earn it on her own.
Marchei can hardly be blamed for the loss of the second spot in 2009 given that she missed most of the season due to injury. Considering Marchei's placements in the preceding two seasons, it's certainly possible that if both had skated they would have combined for 28 or less. But one spot meant she'd have need to finish ahead of Kostner at Euros in 2010, and that would have been a tall order.
 

sonsofanarchy

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With the mistakes Yamaguchi and Ito both made, if Harding had duplicated her 91 Skate America performance minus the silly double axel fall in the short, she would have won the gold for sure. A huge wasted opportunity. Her whole not only career but life would be different.

I do think Harding was mostly rewarded when she delivered, but was pretty much never given gifts or help when she didn't. Which is probably a large source of frustration for her when she sensed or felt someone like Kerrigan often was.
 

gkelly

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Alexei Urmanov - I'm not sure anyone else has ever withdrawn from Worlds after leading the short program.

I don't think so. But Alexander Fadeev withdrew from 1988 Worlds after leading the figures.

For me, he simply wasn't competitive enough - all the other US men were either doing 2 3axels / lutzes or 3/3s - while Mitchell himself would rarely even repeat a triple higher than a 3loop and would rarely attempt a combo harder than a 3flip2toe. His skating was breathtaking to watch though but his other competitors were also strong on presentation.

Probably a skater who would have done better under IJS, where PCS could outweigh lower jump content. At least at times when the scale of values allowed that and the judges were not pegging the PCS to the jumps.

Besides 1997 injury and consequentially missing the entire 1998 season, another bad luck seems to be the fact that he [Urmanov] wasn't able to garner much love from the judges even after the big win in 1994. He was a solid skater all around and despite some good skating in 1995-7, the judges didn't seem to regard him as a champion.

My sense was that judges were willing to reward him when he skated well, but he wasn't able to rise to the occasion at 94, 95, or 96 Worlds.

All in all, he was a pretty unlucky guy.

But in hindsight, perhaps unlucky to have won that Olympic title before he was ready for it.

It was bad luck for Rudy who had already given up his singles to focus more on pairs, while she had of course kept up her singles. In 88 he beat Todd Eldredge for the World Junior title,

Galindo beat Eldredge for the 1987 World Junior title, along with bronze in pairs; Eldredge won the men's title in 1988. In 1988 Galindo did not compete singles at Jr Worlds, but did win the pairs.
 

miffy

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Did Rudy ever look for another partner? I know finding someone as petite as Kristi with triple jumps would have been pretty hard, I just wondered if he had considered it.
 

LarrySK8

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Rudy Galindo. His story had a happy ending but he went through a lot prior to that. The real bad luck was very early. He had a great future in pairs, skating with Kristi Yamaguchi,but in their first senior year their coach got a fatal illness (brain tumor?). He died before their second year as senior. They went to John Nicks, but Kristi, who was competing in singles too, hada problem of her own. Her coach got married and moved to Canada. Kristi and Rudy were in a tough situation, with Kristi going to Canada frequently. It was too much to handle. It showed up in their results at worlds. No medal. Surprising mistakes on subs jumps, which used to be their strength.

She had to choose and she chose singles. Rudy was left without a partner. He switched to singles but it was almost like starting over. In pairs he and Kristi were the top. In singles Rudy had to climb up against skaters who were already near the top. In his family there were deaths. He fought through it all, with his sister as his coach, and had that magical performance of Swan Lake at the US nationals. He followed that with a bronze at worlds in 1996.

What if his first coach had not been ill? What if Jristi’s coach had not married a Canadian? What if Kristi didn’t have to focus on just one discipline due to the stresses in their lives? What if she had picked pairs instead of singles? These things are due to luck.

I am happy that Rudy had a happy ending, but overall he could be considered one of the unlucky skaters.

and in the ISU background - the figures were eliminated. They were her singles weakness and in 1991, she would have been ranked very highly based on prior SP and LP results at Junior and Senior Worlds. I would have advised her to stop Pair Skating also and go for the Singles Gold, which she did.

In regard to Pairs - they competed at Worlds twice against G&G; B&P; B&E and Makarovs. They knew their Pair skating ultimately would not compete for Gold with those teams. I would have advised Rudy to go for SIngles too, as he had the triple axel.... and no more figures! He was also World Junior Champion calibre in singles?
 

Coco

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I would mention Elena Radionova but not for the WTF program reason.

She is a classic example of a skater who was born too late, on a team of ladies born one year to late for the most part. If you look at how strong Russian Ladies were in the 2013-2014 season, it's sad that they only had 2 spots for Sochi. I'm glad that she got to skate at the 2014 OG Gala, because at least she got some part of the OG experience.

She would have been 10x the star Lipnitskaya was because she was, especially when she was shorter, a simply magical, charismatic skater.
 

Erin

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Re Browning:
This takes the cake. Well, 2 serious tries anyways. Was he supposed to be in medal contention in 1988?

No, not at all. His 8th place in 1988 was a huge success for him after finishing 15th the year before. He didn't quite skate perfectly (missed the quad and kind of a messy triple axel), but he skated very well, really the best of his Olympic outings even if it was his lowest finish.

Some of my picks that I don't think have been mentioned:
  • Yukari Nakano - she missed out on the Olympics twice in controversial decisions and also didn't medal at 2008 Worlds in what was a questionable decision
  • Morgan Matthews - seemed like she was on track to make the 2006 Olympics when the team had a fall at the worst time. Then subsequently had issues after teaming up with Gislason in terms of a release for either one of them and I believe had to retire due to a serious hip injury.
 

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