What if .... 2002 Olympic Ladies Competition

olympic

Well-Known Member
Messages
9,514
How would the results have shaken out if all of Kwan, Slutskaya, Hughes, Butyrskaya and Cohen skated cleanly.

I believe these 5 ladies were really the only ones with a legitimate shot at the podium.

I do think Kwan and Slutskaya would've moved ahead of Hughes to set up the battle for the OGM. A big question would be what would have happened to Hughes if Butyrskaya and Cohen were clean? Butyrskaya had speed, better ice coverage and a true lutz. She was also capable of a 3-3 sequence.

In the SP, I think -

1. Slutskaya - 3Z-2L; spins
2. Kwan - Lovely but Slute wins on the tech mark; plus she didn't have a signature SP for the season.
3. Butyrskaya - true 3Z
4. Cohen - Skated w. abandon; She and Hughes had similar issues in speed and flutz, but Cohen was slightly better packaged and impressed judges more.
5. Hughes - Egregious flutz and slow

In the LP-

1. Kwan - 5.8/5.9
2. Slutskaya - 5.9/5.8
3. Hughes - 2 3-3s
4. Butyrskaya
5. Cohen

3-5 are actually really tough if all were clean. Each had strengths and weaknesses that complemented one another.
 

Marco

Well-Known Member
Messages
14,629
Slute was clean in the short and still lost to Kwan with a flawed 3flip. So if Kwan cleaned up the flip it would only mean she would grab more ordinals. Cohen was already clean in the short and came 3rd. So I think the top 3 after the short will remain as they were in actual placements regardless of Kwan's flip.

In the free, the top 3 was going to be Kwan, Slute and Hughes in some order. Depends on whether you think a clean Slute would land 1 or 2 3/3s. She didn't attempt one at SLC. Remember the judges and the crowd were on Kwan's side (judging from the short program placements) so if she went clean with 7 triples and 3toe3toe and ended the program like at Nationals, she would probably win and get some 6.0s.
 

Tony Wheeler

Well-Known Member
Messages
7,406
Well, even though Slutskaya had an issue with the combo spin in the short (that she covered and shouldn't have gotten a deduction on anyway), Kwan's obvious problem with the flip should've put her behind IMO but she was still able to win there. If they were both 'clean', I have no doubt with that panel that Kwan still would've pulled it off.

Neither of Butyrskaya's programs did her any favors. The short came to a crawl towards the end with her weak elements, and her free skate never really got going. Should've opted to keep 17 Moments of Spring, honestly. Even though she was tentative and finished in a 5-4 split behind Hughes in the short, I think even a more relaxed program keeps her behind Sarah because it just didn't work-- coming from probably her biggest fan. Obviously all of Sarah's jump flaws should've had her way down in the standings, but they didn't).

I think if they were totally clean it would've been overall:

Kwan
Slutskaya
Cohen
Hughes
(Suguri)*
Butyrskaya

*I still think if Suguri skates clean, she's probably going ahead of Butyrskaya too just like she actually did. Her programs that year were 100x better than Maria's. But that means landing a loop that she hardly ever landed.

Only question would be whether Cohen gets the marks to pass Hughes and her two 3/3's. The judges were willing to do it at Nationals (obviously not with the same skates), and I still think the buzz was more-so around her.

ETA- Hughes only beat Cohen 7-2 with that panel, and Sasha skated after Sarah. I think a clean skate from Sasha puts her ahead.
 
Last edited:

briancoogaert

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,444
Michelle Kwan won the SP with a flawed Flip and a clean Slutskaya.
So, I don't see anything different with everybody clean !

Overall, this, IMO :
1-Kwan
2-Slutskaya
3-Cohen
4-Hughes
5-Butyrskaya
6-Suguri

;)
 

Weve3

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,060
In pretend-ville (while playing devil’s advocate) the results might have looked something like this:

1st: Cohen, if she had been able to skate her best which would have required successfully conquering the one constant glitch she unfortunately experienced at too many competitions. Plus, had she established a track record of clean and reliable competitive skating throughout, she would have won pretty much everything - including her Olympic debut. She was that highly regarded. Same for Alissa Czisny when she came onto the scene. Yet another what-if. :yawn: That is why what-ifs become tiresome and tedious. Anyway, I digress... Sasha could have realized quite the collection of gold hardware had she not suffered from what I began calling "the glitch" with her programs at competitions. Things would be going along just fine, then the inevitable glitch or hiccup would occur... :wall: The rest is history.

2nd: Kwan
3rd: Slutskaya
4th: Hughes
5th: Butyrskaya
6th: Suguri

However, depending on who comprised the judge’s panel, ;) Slutskaya might have won silver or possibly gold when taken into consideration the politics involved. Think Sochi. If that seems unlikely or unrealistic because of Kwan and those Olympics being in the USA, do not be so sure about that. Things happen. :judge:Remember what happened in pairs? Also, Kim was supposed to win her second Olympic title if she stayed on her feet - and she did not. Medvedeva was supposed to defeat Zagitova (the newcomer) - and she did not. This, all according to many fans and pundits. However, skating has never been that predictable, that cut and dry. Sometimes, judges have a different perspective - or skaters are simply out-skated. The reality is that Hughes rose to the occasion and won the day becoming the 2002 Olympic champion — which is the beauty of the sport! The fix is not always in play, but skating is very subjective and biased. I will leave it at that.

ETA: with all due respect and absolutely no offense intended, these kind of threads can be interesting and fun, but it is a way to take a swipe at those who did win from some of the fans who wished they hadn't. Kind of a nod and a wink thread. There have been ongoing efforts to tarnish, downplay and dilute the achievement of those who have won the big titles — especially the Olympic title. These threads have popped up on more than one occasion and will most likely pop up again in some form. No problem, just an observation. 👀
 
Last edited:

olympic

Well-Known Member
Messages
9,514
In the SP, I considered a correction to Slute's flawed spin and harder jump content to put her ahead of Kwan, but I suppose that Kwan's flawed solo 3F being clean meant that she would've retained the lead.

Butyrskaya was hard to judge because if she had been 'on', she may have seen a big rise in her marks. She had the true outside edge on the Lutz, and skated faster than Cohen or Hughes at that time when she was committed. It seemed like her programs suffered some sort of malaise that year, so I gave her 3rd considering not one mistake but positive commitment to the entire SP.

I think with Kwan and Slute's mistakes in the LP keeping them close to Hughes anyway, that they would've easily passed her. I don't consider 2 3-3s from Slute, but if she were less nervous, she would've been 'on' and may have completed one. She skated after Kwan and with Kwan clean, she would've probably attempted one. The big boondoggle for me was 3-5
 

kwanatic

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,708
No doubt in my mind Michelle would have won in SLC had she gone clean. The judges wanted her to have that title so if she skated cleanly, in front of a home crowd, I don't think anyone could have beaten her. SLC was hers to lose and, unfortunately, she lost it.

They'd probably put Slutskaya 2nd out of respect for her seeing as she was the reigning world silver medalist at the time.

I feel like 3rd would have been a bit tougher. Personally I'd have had Sasha over Sarah, but given that Sarah was the bronze medalist at the time and this was Sasha's first big international competition (IIRC), I think Sarah would have taken bronze and Sasha would have been 4th. All 3 Americans in the top 5.
 

Miki89

Well-Known Member
Messages
163
In many ways, 2002 was harder to take than 1998. If Michelle skated clean, the gold was hers but alas....:(
 

Vagabond

Well-Known Member
Messages
15,925
How would the results have shaken out if all of Kwan, Slutskaya, Hughes, Butyrskaya and Cohen skated cleanly.
There's a difference between skating cleanly and skating one's best.

Cohen's best top-level international Free Skates were never clean, but there were times when she skated about as well as she could have done under the circumstances. Salt Lake City was one of those times. Even so, she finished lower than Kwan, Slutskaya, and, of course, Hughes. Had Butyrskaya skated cleanly, she would no doubt have finished higher than Cohen, at least in the Free Skate. She might possibly have skated higher than one or more of the other three too.

Few Singles skaters, however, skate cleanly or skate their best at the Olympics. That is the nature of the event.
 

olympic

Well-Known Member
Messages
9,514
I agree that if clean and both programs skated to the best of her ability, Kwan would have won OGM.

It would have been interesting to see Slute skating immediately after a clean Kwan with a 3T-3T. I don’t recall her ever having a firm jump layout that season. She seemed to be playing with different 3-3s with a low attempt rate (let alone success rate) Did she complete a successful 3-3 at all that year? I seem to remember one at the 2001 GWG. But I don’t see a scenario where she would have beaten Kwan.

I think Hughes would have done enough to snatch bronze depending on 5th in the SP. I never saw Fumie skate her SP to know if Hughes should have been further back. But Hughes with 2 3-3s had the performance of her life and don’t think Bute or Cohen could do enough in the LP.

Cohen obviously captures the imagination of the judges and was rewarded generously but she never would’ve landed a clean 3-3, so I think she goes behind Hughes overall even if clean. She also had her issues with a flutz, speed and shallow patterns
 
Last edited:

Marco

Well-Known Member
Messages
14,629
Slute was toying with 3sal euler 3sal in practices, IIRC. She wasn't going to attempt a 3sal3loop or 3lutz3loop. The GWG attempt of 3sal3loop was very visibly cheated but was still the closest one for her all season.

Hughes was changing her layout all season and at one point (GPF and Nationals?) was going for 3sal3loop and 2axel step 3toe, only to eventually revert back to her 2000 layout and finally make it work. (IIRC SLC was the first and only time she landed the 3toe3loop)

Kwan was toying with 3sal3loops and 3lutz3loops according to practice reports throughout the season but it was clear she wasn't going to attempt anything more than a 3toe3toe.

Cohen was going for 3flip3toe at GWG and then switched to 3lutz3toe by SLC. I don't think she had landed a clean one at competition by that point.

Suguri was going for 3lutz3toe at GWG but then IIRC never seriously attempted it again that season (or ever).

Bute was going for 3toe euler 3sal with some good success rate for over 2 seasons.
 

olympic

Well-Known Member
Messages
9,514
^Part of the reason I believe that with everyone clean in the scenario, Bute would've been a player
 

Tony Wheeler

Well-Known Member
Messages
7,406
I don't think she would've - not with those programs. She skated right after Hughes in the long and I have no doubt she would have stayed behind her even with a 7 triple skate. Then when it came time for Sasha (and the fact that two judges still put Cohen ahead of Hughes), I think a clean Cohen goes in front of both of them.

Slutskaya's free skating does not hold up at all for me anymore. The short programs were usually marvelous, but not so much the longs. But, in the environment as it was in 2002, I think a few of the judges probably would've handed her 1st place ordinals and more than enough 2nd's to still end up with silver.

Suguri was in the final free skate group until the very last skater, Sarah Meier, beat her in the short but then lost out to Fontana IIRC. So it caused Suguri to fall behind Sebestyen at the last second. Considering she skated first of the final 12, I think a completely clean skate from her makes her very competitive with Butyrskaya's crap program. There's not always a lot of love for Fumie and her staying in for as long as she did, but her 2001 and 2002 programs in particular were all really wonderful.

ETA- checking the ordinals, Suguri skated 2nd in the short and lost out to Butyrskaya 5-4. More ETA- Cohen lost to Slutskaya 6-3 in the short program! This is someone brand new in major internationals versus one of the most competent short program skaters of all-time. Fairly confident the judges were absolutely ready to put Sasha on the podium if she was clean, even over Hughes' performance.
 
Last edited:

Marco

Well-Known Member
Messages
14,629
Suguri's Ave Maria and Moonlight Sonata were absolutely wonderful. Too bad about the skate orders and the messy ordinals.

About Cohen vs Hughes - one was brand new to championships and didn't even go to GPF before; the other was the reigning World and GPF bronze medalist and beat Kwan and Slute at the same comp earlier in the season. I can see the judges going with Cohen in the short given comparable jumping content (they both skated early?) but I wouldn't be so sure for the free if Hughes did 2 3/3loops and Cohen only did 3lutz3toe.

And I agree both Bute and Slute had horrible long programs.
 

olympic

Well-Known Member
Messages
9,514
I don't think she would've - not with those programs. She skated right after Hughes in the long and I have no doubt she would have stayed behind her even with a 7 triple skate. Then when it came time for Sasha (and the fact that two judges still put Cohen ahead of Hughes), I think a clean Cohen goes in front of both of them.

Slutskaya's free skating does not hold up at all for me anymore. The short programs were usually marvelous, but not so much the longs. But, in the environment as it was in 2002, I think a few of the judges probably would've handed her 1st place ordinals and more than enough 2nd's to still end up with silver.

Suguri was in the final free skate group until the very last skater, Sarah Meier, beat her in the short but then lost out to Fontana IIRC. So it caused Suguri to fall behind Sebestyen at the last second. Considering she skated first of the final 12, I think a completely clean skate from her makes her very competitive with Butyrskaya's crap program. There's not always a lot of love for Fumie and her staying in for as long as she did, but her 2001 and 2002 programs in particular were all really wonderful.

ETA- checking the ordinals, Suguri skated 2nd in the short and lost out to Butyrskaya 5-4. More ETA- Cohen lost to Slutskaya 6-3 in the short program! This is someone brand new in major internationals versus one of the most competent short program skaters of all-time. Fairly confident the judges were absolutely ready to put Sasha on the podium if she was clean, even over Hughes' performance.
See bold. I thought the skating order in the LP was -

1. Butyrskaya
2. Hughes
3. Sebestyen
4. Cohen
5. Kwan
6. Slutskaya

I agree that an all-clean event would've led to Kwan and Slutskaya being 1-2

The only flaw that I recall to Sasha's program was the fall on the 3-3. I never figured that Sasha would've landed a 3-3, so I considered a clean 3-2 from her and probably no big change to her marks, at least not enough to lift her above Hughes. If it came down to judges deciding between Cohen and Hughes, it is hard to imagine that a newcomer would've been lifted to bronze at an Olympics. JMO.

Butyrskaya was a mess, but her issue was when she relaxed her knees, she could land her jumps like 3-3 sequence and a true lutz, and I know she carried more speed and had better ice coverage than Sasha. I thought all that taken together would've resulted in huge change to the execution of her LP, and a much better marks with a much different placement.

IDK. 1-2 are easy to figure out. I have trouble with 3-5
 

essence_of_soy

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,515
Michelle's talent as an artist was really put to the test in 2002, by making such a trite vehicle as Scheherezade (by her unique standards) very good.
 

Tony Wheeler

Well-Known Member
Messages
7,406
@olympic - yes you’re right! Butyrskaya was first off the warm-up.

I think the judges really were ready for Cohen. IIRC in Lalique earlier in the season (featuring Hughes, Butyrskaya, and Cohen), Sasha was one judge away from winning the whole thing. Butyrskaya won overall with Hughes having to play catch-up from the short. And in the Olympics, if two of the nine judges were swayed to put the newcomer with a mistake ahead of Hughes’ winning skate, I’d think at least three more would have done it with a clean and energized program from Sasha. It wasn’t even close in the short, and Hughes was the reigning world bronze medalist/GPF medalist.
 

miffy

Well-Known Member
Messages
9,897
I think the only one I feel certain of would be Kwan in first. If she hadn’t fallen no one would have beaten her.

I think 2nd depends on whether they were just clean, or clean with 3-3’s -Butyrskaya, Slutskaya & Cohen. As exciting as Hughes was on the night, if the others were clean with 3-3’s I think she would have been 5th as I think the judges did prefer the other ladies.
(At the time I thought that while Sarah rightfully won the free Irina was robbed in the short, should have beaten Kwan. But Irina was so unrefined and dull in the free that I don’t feel it would have made a pleasing gold medal performance anyway so I never felt too bad about it).
 

attyfan

Well-Known Member
Messages
8,574
I think the only one I feel certain of would be Kwan in first. If she hadn’t fallen no one would have beaten her ....
... (At the time I thought that ... Irina was robbed in the short, should have beaten Kwan. ... ).
I've always thought that if Irina had beaten Kwan in the SP (as she should have), Michelle would not have fallen. She had a great track record of putting out her best FS when behind in the short
 

VGThuy

Well-Known Member
Messages
32,173
I just remember Sasha’s Carmen LP looking awful and seemed almost improvised. I remember the pattern not being particularly curvy either. I think some of the judges who went gaga over her in the SP would have been convinced to move over to Hughes in the LP. Hughes’ SP skate was strange for her. It was a weird program with a shaky skate full deductions if the judges wanted to be harsh, which some were.
 

AngieNikodinovLove

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,312
How would the results have shaken out if all of Kwan, Slutskaya, Hughes, Butyrskaya and Cohen skated cleanly.
So all Ive read so far is the first sentence and Im responding..... LOL

I have no idea yet as to the rest of your post...

Cleanly wouldnt have mattered mostly.

Kwan and Slutskaya were nervous nellies at those games and werent free. Hughes was.

Hughes still wins. She didnt let the pressure affect her at those Games like the Vets did.

And Hughe's 2 3/3s in the free in those days was considered Bionic Woman.

Under 6.0 Cohen is considered too brand spanking new for judges to give her legit scores. Cohen coulda put both her legs behind her head for a spiral sequence and judges would be like "5.4." lol
 

AngieNikodinovLove

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,312
ANL summary:

Hughes skated with freedom like Baiul and Lipinski before her and Kim and Sotnikova after her. (And an Oly judge loves it.)

Cheated landings werent even on the radar then so Hughes 3/3 extravaganzas is amazing.

Also ANL gonna say it: Hughes does not get the credit she deserves. Her only weakness IN MY opinion was the spiral.. but Irina and Maria were also a disaster with it.... so.....

If Kwan and Irina skated cleanly... outcome doesnt change.... They were rusty, tight and deer in headlights. Olys is a different ballgame when it comes to skating "free" and "lights out." ANNNNNNDDDDDDDDD.....ANL also gonna say... Hughes free was more sophisticated than Kwan and Irina's free. 02 free programs for Kwan and Irina were my least favorite of all time for both of them.
 
Last edited:

essence_of_soy

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,515
I've always thought that if Irina had beaten Kwan in the SP (as she should have), Michelle would not have fallen. She had a great track record of putting out her best FS when behind in the short
Agreed. MK seemed to perform better chasing, than being chased.
 

Vagabond

Well-Known Member
Messages
15,925
Cheated landings werent even on the radar then
Not true.

In the Short Program, judges were required to give an underrotated jump a deduction of 0.2 to 0.3 points. They were also required to deducted 0.1 to 0.3 for a jump with the wrong takeoff.


This is probably why the Russian judge marked Hughes tenth in the Short Program. 🇷🇺 :judge:

While there weren't the same sort of mandatory deductions in the Free Skate, judges were still supposed to consider underrotations and entry edges.

All the same, Hughes won that gold medal fair and square. 🥇 (y)
 

Marco

Well-Known Member
Messages
14,629
I wonder if Slute's spirit was hurt when she went clean and lost to Kwan in the short, hence leading to some even more uninspired skating by her in the free. Ironically the same happened with her vs Cohen 4 years later.
 

Weve3

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,060
So all Ive read so far is the first sentence and Im responding..... LOL

I have no idea yet as to the rest of your post...

Cleanly wouldnt have mattered mostly.

Kwan and Slutskaya were nervous nellies at those games and werent free. Hughes was.

Hughes still wins. She didnt let the pressure affect her at those Games like the Vets did.

And Hughe's 2 3/3s in the free in those days was considered Bionic Woman.

Under 6.0 Cohen is considered too brand spanking new for judges to give her legit scores. Cohen coulda put both her legs behind her head for a spiral sequence and judges would be like "5.4." lol
:rofl: Your posts are the best thing that have happened to this thread! :40beers:
 

AngieNikodinovLove

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,312
This is probably why the Russian judge marked Hughes tenth in the Short Program. 🇷🇺 :judge:
LOL, doubt it. The Russian judge had the Russian interest of the Russian women.

(Pairs and Dance scandal anyone?)

Now if an Italian or Australian or Canadian judge had done that it would be more believable
 
Last edited:

Tony Wheeler

Well-Known Member
Messages
7,406
Not true.

In the Short Program, judges were required to give an underrotated jump a deduction of 0.2 to 0.3 points. They were also required to deducted 0.1 to 0.3 for a jump with the wrong takeoff.


This is probably why the Russian judge marked Hughes tenth in the Short Program. 🇷🇺 :judge:

While there weren't the same sort of mandatory deductions in the Free Skate, judges were still supposed to consider underrotations and entry edges.

All the same, Hughes won that gold medal fair and square. 🥇 (y)
Underrotated jumps were a thing, but you know damn well most judges looked the other way and as long as the skater stood up, they were alright. Hughes probably never landed a fully-rotated flip or Lutz in her life yet she was top 7 in the world four times, and on the podium twice including her Olympic gold. Had they been a serious issue and scored how they were suggested to be scored, she couldn't have pulled off many of the technical scores throughout the short programs that she did (check 2001 Worlds especially). Same thing with her and everyone else's flutz issues- only some judges decided to care, typically when it seemed to benefit skaters from their own nations.

Also, Kwan would've never ever won the short in SLC if the judges cared that much about them. :p
 
Last edited:

Vagabond

Well-Known Member
Messages
15,925
Under 6.0, judges cared about entrances on edges on jump entrances when it suited them. They ignored them when it did not suit them, which was most of the time. Marking Hughes down for these reasons suited the Russian judge very well in Salt Lake City. To assert that underrotations were "not even on the radar" in 2002, however, is to disregard reality.
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Top
Do Not Sell My Personal Information