Unlucky skaters

Simone411

Do stand. Do stand six. Do stand six feet from me.
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17,392
Laetitia Hubert. She had the skate of her life with her original program at the 1992 Olympics. I thought "Wow!" because she was spectacular. The judges had her in 5th place.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xh13Rlf1IfI

When it was time for her Free Skate, I thought she would have another spectacular program. I felt so sorry for her because it turned out to be a disaster; one fall after another. I believe she must have been so excited and had too much adrenaline going into it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emddH834Nqg
 

viennese

Just found out she was skating here 1 week ago
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1,691
@essence_of_soy I remember seeing an interview with Conway where she said that her training was also being partially paid for by her mum working multiple jobs, and that she also felt pressure to do well because she didn't want to waste her mum's hard work (or words to that effect).

That is agonizing pressure and probably not uncommon in elite sports - athletes are always on the edge of losing federation funding, relying on parents, aware of their family's finances. At a certain level it has to get into their heads and affect their performances.

Skaters know that they must move up, maintain their placements (and their funding) or get out of the sport. That is a hell of a lot of pressure on someone who is high school age.

ps
I think that is why I have such respect for Maria Butyrskaya. She was definitely not the No. 1 skater for Russia and she kept fighting. Her world title victory must have been sweet.
 

Judy

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2,888
I have been watching a lot of past events uploaded by @Erin lately. One competition of particular interest was Skate Canada 1987. Years ago when I saw the 1988 Olympic Games on television, Conway had the most spectacular meltdown in the short program, and it baffled me how she had won bronze against Debi Thomas (who won) and Liz Manley (who took silver) barely four months earlier.

Finally seeing this event, Conway was really good. She skated a solid free, included three triples, two toe loops and a first rate triple loop.

The pressure on her must have been intense. Not only knowing money was being spent on her training with the most politically savvy coaches in the world (Carlo and Christa Fassi), but that Great Britain was desperate for the next best thing after a winning gold with John Curry in 1976, Robin Cousins in 1980, and Torvill & Dean in 1984.

In 1991, I always thought she should have won bronze in the European Championships, and potentially bronze at the World Championships ahead of Kerrigan, Ito, Bonaly, and Chouinard as well.

Speaking of which, Josee Chouinard was a skater hobbled by nerves at big events. She certainly had the talent to do so much better, as did Tanya Bingert, another strong short program skater from Canada, who seemed to crumble under pressure.

Yes I remember meeting Josee after the Olympics and her saying she just wanted to be happy. Sometimes it’s not all about winning medals.
 

Foolhardy Ham Lint

Well-Known Member
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5,909
That is agonizing pressure and probably not uncommon in elite sports - athletes are always on the edge of losing federation funding, relying on parents, aware of their family's finances. At a certain level it has to get into their heads and affect their performances.

Skaters know that they must move up, maintain their placements (and their funding) or get out of the sport. That is a hell of a lot of pressure on someone who is high school age.

I can't imagine the elite competitive level is a lot of fun. It must feel like a job at times.

No wonder some of the skaters prefer the rough and tumble of touring once the season is done.
 

overedge

G.O.A.T.
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30,222
I can't imagine the elite competitive level is a lot of fun. It must feel like a job at times.

Carol Heiss used to tell Tonia Kwiatkowski to pretend when she skated that "it was just another day at the office". What she meant was for Tonia to feel comfortable by imagining she was at her familiar rink at home with all her friends there, but I always thought that was an interesting choice of words.

Given the amount of training that elite skaters do on and off-ice, and the time planning around that - plus all the other "work" like choosing music and costumes, deciding where to compete, deciding which promotional opportunities or other appearances to do - it is very much like a job. And then there's all the financial and administrative work around keeping all those things going as well.
 

Foolhardy Ham Lint

Well-Known Member
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5,909
Carol Heiss used to tell Tonia Kwiatkowski to pretend when she skated that "it was just another day at the office". What she meant was for Tonia to feel comfortable by imagining she was at her familiar rink at home with all her friends there, but I always thought that was an interesting choice of words.

Given the amount of training that elite skaters do on and off-ice, and the time planning around that - plus all the other "work" like choosing music and costumes, deciding where to compete, deciding which promotional opportunities or other appearances to do - it is very much like a job. And then there's all the financial and administrative work around keeping all those things going as well.

Tonia always struck me as a level headed skater who was very realistic about her own potential and goal - setting ability.

After a humiliating experience at the 1993 World Championships, it was so great to see her make the World Team again in 1996 with a brilliant skate at that year's National Championships.
 

overedge

G.O.A.T.
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30,222
Tonia always struck me as a level headed skater who was very realistic about her own potential and goal - setting ability.

After a humiliating experience at the 1993 World Championships, it was so great to see her make the World Team again in 1996 with a brilliant skate at that year's National Championships.

She was an incredibly accomplished skater. She passed the gold tests in dance, figures, and freeskate, and I think may have passed a high level test (possibly bronze) in pairs as well.

I think I've mentioned this before, but I saw her perform as the guest performer in the gala at 1998 ISI Worlds. She got on the ice to warm up - this was on a NHL-size rink - and she took three strokes and was at the other end of the rink. I have never seen anyone skate with that much power, speed and precision. Plus she was super nice. She stayed after the show to sign things and talk with all the kids, and she didn't leave until everyone had gotten their chance to meet her.
 

Marco

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14,871
In terms of timing Medvedeva and Chan. They both peaked mid-cycle for the Olympics. Chan was unbeatable 2011 and 2012, and Medvedeva 2016/17, but by the time the Olympics rolled around in 2014 and 2018 they had been technically bypassed.

Chan may have been unlucky to have peaked at the wrong years, but he had his share of 'good luck' when a whole bunch of top skaters retired after 2010, making his climb to the top that much easier and commanding sky high PCS. Incidentally Hanyu wasn't invincible at Sochi - if Chan had skated the way he did at the French GP that season he would have won easily - remember Hanyu was not even a world champ by Sochi. So perhaps Chan wasn't unlucky in 2014 so much as he simply didn't seize the moment - this was coupled with some unconventional coaching choices.
 

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