Who were the greatest pro skaters of all time.

savchenkoboss

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I would say Yuka Sato and Brian Boitano. Although Kristi Yamaguchi, Kurt Browning, Denise Biellmann, Robin Cousins all merit an honorable mention.
 

soogar

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Rory Flack Burghardt was my fave. I think she accomplished a lot without a major title. Kurt Browning and Brian Boitano really grew as pro-skaters. I think they made more of a mark as professionals than they had when they were amateurs.
 

AxelAnnie

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I would have to put Scott Hamilton at the top of the list.
Kristi was wonderful........she worked hard, kept all her jumps.
Brian Boitano.....not enough ethereal words.
Kurt Browning....he never ever let up.
Yuka Sato was wonderful to watch with her soft landings.

And then there is Dorothy Hamil. If you ever had the joy of watching her skate live............... For me, she is on a different plane than others.
 

savchenkoboss

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Dorothy Hamill was an amazing pro skater, that is true. Some of her questionable pro competition wins bothered me though. I know there is more to skating than jumps, but so many competitions Sumners, Fratianne, Zayak, Biellmann were doing much harder jumps than her and she still won everyone. It seemed atleast partly political to me. The 86 World Pro Championships win over Sumners and 85 Challenge of Champions win over Fratianne imparticular were blatantly undeserved.

It is known Dick Button had a hand in the results of many pro competitions even before skaters took the ice. I enjoyed competitions he had no involvement with and the shows and tours more than his so called grand events like the World Pros, although thankfully atleast 70% of the time the results probably ended up reasonable inspite of Dick.
 

soogar

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Dorothy Hamill was an amazing pro skater, that is true. Some of her questionable pro competition wins bothered me though. I know there is more to skating than jumps, but so many competitions Sumners, Fratianne, Zayak, Biellmann were doing much harder jumps than her and she still won everyone. It seemed atleast partly political to me. The 86 World Pro Championships win over Sumners and 85 Challenge of Champions win over Fratianne imparticular were blatantly undeserved.

It is known Dick Button had a hand in the results of many pro competitions even before skaters took the ice. I enjoyed competitions he had no involvement with and the shows and tours more than his so called grand events like the World Pros, although thankfully atleast 70% of the time the results probably ended up reasonable inspite of Dick.
I think Dorothy's wins were rigged because she was a former OGM which unfortunately played a huge part in who made the next round in Landover.

Say whatever you want about Dick Button, but I really miss the Landover competition. Pro skating was killed when they allowed the ISU to sanction their events and they made 2 triples mandatory for competitions. So many good pro skaters were lost with that rule. I did not like seeing eligible skaters at pro competitions and it wasn't as if their presence improved ratings. There was a diverse group of pro skaters before the rule and then the pool was limited to only those with triples and we wound up seeing the same skaters over and over. Ugh Hatful of Stars. Love Yuka but they needed more skaters.
 

Vash01

Fan of Yuzuru, Three A's, T&M, P&C
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Many wins in the pro competitions were rigged, so I am not looking at wins.

Boitano and Yamaguchi- wins aside, they maintained their technical skills while developing their artistry

Gordeeva-Grinkov: As pros they really matured as artists

Robin Cousins- One of the greatest artists on ice, and he used the pro competitions to the fullest.

Yuka Sato and Caryn Kadavy developed a lot as performers as pros.

I will think of more later. This computer is about to kick me out.
 

Triple loop

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Dorothy Hamill was an amazing pro skater, that is true. Some of her questionable pro competition wins bothered me though. I know there is more to skating than jumps, but so many competitions Sumners, Fratianne, Zayak, Biellmann were doing much harder jumps than her and she still won everyone. It seemed atleast partly political to me. The 86 World Pro Championships win over Sumners and 85 Challenge of Champions win over Fratianne imparticular were blatantly undeserved.

It is known Dick Button had a hand in the results of many pro competitions even before skaters took the ice. I enjoyed competitions he had no involvement with and the shows and tours more than his so called grand events like the World Pros, although thankfully atleast 70% of the time the results probably ended up reasonable inspite of Dick.
I agree. In 1984 at Landover, Zayak should have beaten Hamill especially with her triples.
 

Andora

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There were a few pro eras that make it hard to choose who were especially outstanding. I don't remember seeing Robin Cousins skate much during the 1992-2002 pro skater heyday, but he ostensibly was fantastic.

Then there's skaters who seemed transformed as pros, such as Bechke and Petrov. I could watch their Romance or Snowstorm over and over, but I couldn't tell you much about their amateur days. I'd actually say the same thing goes for Victor Petrenko, cheesy programs and all.

I would add Renna Roca and Gorsha Sur.
Yes, absolutely. They were amazing pros, though I hate to say they came in to their own. Roca & Sur were underrated as amateur competitors.
 

Triple loop

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My favorites are Scott Hamilton and Kurt Browning. They were always inventive and humorous. I miss that Landover event too.
 

AxelAnnie

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It is known Dick Button had a hand in the results of many pro competitions even before skaters took the ice. I enjoyed competitions he had no involvement with and the shows and tours more than his so called grand events like the World Pros, although thankfully atleast 70% of the time the results probably ended up reasonable inspite of Dick.
I love definitive statements that begin with "It is known.........." By whom? Can you add some links or proof?

Did you ever see Dorothy skate live?
 

AngieNikodinovLove

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Pro skaters?

1. Denise Biellman
2. Kristi Yamaguchi
3. Brasseur & Eisler
4. Oksana Baiul (stage presence only, not technical). She makes you watch her.
5. Irina Slutskaya (simply for that Hallmark Samson & Delilah number. NEVER saw her SO GOOD.)

and what the heck....

6. Lucinda Ruh, it was a professional where you really got to see her SHINE! Her jumps kept her from truly shining on the amateur level.
 

savchenkoboss

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I love definitive statements that begin with "It is known.........." By whom?
Basically every star skater who has an autobiography- Elizabeth Manley, Scott Hamilton, Ekaterina Gordeeva, Brian Orser, Brasseur & Eisler, Toller Cranston (who was an actual judge for many years, lol), Torvill & Dean, have admitted there is bigtime politics in the results of pro events, especialy those run by Dick Button, with the World Professional Championships being the worst of all. Manley and Isabelle Brasseur even said skaters always came in the same order as their appearance fee, and would even joke with each other about it backstage. That is more than good enough for me, especialy when it is obvious enough as a viewer to begin with. Toller Cranston in his book spoke of no longer being asked to the World Pros, which he had judged for years prior, all since he gave out a mark which was accurate for the performance that day but was not the mark he was "supposed to give". Like I said fortunately still a good portion of the time, 70% area maybe, the results end up atleast being reasonable enough, inspite of this.
 

savchenkoboss

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I think Dorothy's wins were rigged because she was a former OGM which unfortunately played a huge part in who made the next round in Landover.

Say whatever you want about Dick Button, but I really miss the Landover competition. Pro skating was killed when they allowed the ISU to sanction their events and they made 2 triples mandatory for competitions. So many good pro skaters were lost with that rule. I did not like seeing eligible skaters at pro competitions and it wasn't as if their presence improved ratings. There was a diverse group of pro skaters before the rule and then the pool was limited to only those with triples and we wound up seeing the same skaters over and over. Ugh Hatful of Stars. Love Yuka but they needed more skaters.
Cinquanta killed pro competitions with that change, but I think that was his ultimate goal anyway, even though he would never admit it. That man is satan.

Debi Thomas didnt win the OGM and she won the World Pros 3 times, probably atleast 2 of those which she didnt deserve, but I guess since they no longer had a reasonable active OGM winner, the most recent American World Champion and Olympic medal winner was who favored. I think when there is an OGM winner, yes they always have a big edge on all the ones who didnt win the OGM before the event even begins, and probably have to flop all around the ice like a fish to lose, particularly if they happen to be American. It would be interesting to see how differently Fratianne and Sumners are judged if one had won in Lake Placid and/or Sarajevo. I also love how they invited Biellmann to the Challenge of Champions every year, but never to the World Pros until 88. They probably knew the knowledgeable Landover crowd would loudly boo any year she didnt win with her vastly superior technical ability, so it was just easier to not invite her until she could lose with it still looking partly sane.
 

Vash01

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I can't believe I forgot to mention Bechke and Petrov. They were superb as pros.

Annenko & Sretenski really came into their own as pros and were among my favorite skaters (not just ice dancers). I have watched their Thanksgiving routine probably a hundred times.

Adding to the list- Ilia Kulik. He was young when he won the OGM but he created some great and creative pro routines. His beautiful jumps remained beautiful even as a pro.
 

dramagrrl

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Kurt Browning and Kristi Yamaguchi.

Also Gordeeva & Grinkov, Underhill & Martini (so many memorable and iconic pro programs!), and Scott Hamilton. Brian Orser also had many memorable pro performances and two very good skating television specials that aired on CBC in Canada.

I also want to mention Christine Hough & Doug Ladret, because they were pretty much a C-list team when they were in eligible competition, but they shone as pros. They never had a ton of technical difficulty, but their presentation skills and showmanship were amazing. They never seemed like the fill-in awkward cousins when they were in the SOI cast beside Olympic and World gold medalists (unlike certain others in the same category *cough*StevenCousins*cough*).
 

savchenkoboss

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I can't believe I forgot to mention Bechke and Petrov. They were superb as pros.

Annenko & Sretenski really came into their own as pros and were among my favorite skaters (not just ice dancers). I have watched their Thanksgiving routine probably a hundred times.

Adding to the list- Ilia Kulik. He was young when he won the OGM but he created some great and creative pro routines. His beautiful jumps remained beautiful even as a pro.
Bechke & Petrov really blossomed as pros. They became more innovative, and seemed much better able to handle their nerves and compete effectively.
 

Maximillian

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Debi Thomas didnt win the OGM and she won the World Pros 3 times, probably atleast 2 of those which she didnt deserve, but I guess since they no longer had a reasonable active OGM winner, the most recent American World Champion and Olympic medal winner was who favored.
Debi has alluded to as much in interviews, basically saying that she skated at the big pro comps until the 'next American Olympic sweetheart came along', to suggest that her appearance fees, etal. were such to make it worth her while to fly in on weekends while still in school. It also helped during that time ('89-'92) that Witt wasn't available to compete at those events
 

Simone411

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This is just a few of the greatest pro female skaters that would be on my list.

This was from the 1999 Improv-ice. It was Katarina Witt's birthday, and Joey McIntyre showed up to sing to her. The other Pro ladies that were present to celebrate Katarina's birthday were Caryn Kadavy, Ekaterina Gordeeva, Surya Bonaly, Lu Chen and Nicole Bobek.

1999 Improv-ice - Ladies with Joey McIntyre
 

blue_idealist

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I completely forgot about Elena Leonova/Andrei Khvalko, whom I believe weren't even together as amateurs but were amazing as pros.
 

savchenkoboss

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Debi has alluded to as much in interviews, basically saying that she skated at the big pro comps until the 'next American Olympic sweetheart came along', to suggest that her appearance fees, etal. were such to make it worth her while to fly in on weekends while still in school. It also helped during that time ('89-'92) that Witt wasn't available to compete at those events
Yes she got lucky (pro career wise) to come in a time there had not been an American OGM (or an OGM winner since Poetzch and Witt were both unavailable) since Hamill in 76, and Hamill was retiring from pro competitions when Thomas was just starting her pro career. That is why ironically despite that her skating as a pro showed bigtime decline and was mainly a hot mess, she won the World Pros 3 times somehow.

Thanks for pointing that out, it basically confirms the scenario I already layed out to how Dick Button pro competitions were judged and how it was tied in to appearance fees as others have said in their autobiographies. It also explains why Debi chose to be pro only 4 years, and go full time to medical studies/career right after.
 

aliceanne

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Curry-Cranston-Cousins for the men. Caryn Kadavy, Rory Burghardt, and Lucinda Ruh for the women.

Dorothy Hamill was initially known for her technical abilities (which the next generation soon surpassed), but I think her edges and flow improved tremendously over the years as a pro. Even non-skating fans noticed her. But yeah, Dick Button catered to her and Peggy Fleming because they had name recognition with the general public. A lot of OGMs wouldn't compete in his pro events if they weren't guaranteed to win because they felt it would diminish their reputation as an OGM.

Rudy Galindo, Denise Biellmann, and Gary Beacom were also pro skaters I looked forward to. Torvill/Dean were creative, and nothing could surpass the soap opera that was Usova/Platov vs. Grishuk/Zhulin.

It is hard for me to say with contemporary skaters. They have so few show opportunities, they usually do watered down competition programs when on tour. I guess it isn't worth paying a choreographer for show programs. Most of them are still competing so they don't have much time either.
 

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