Figure Skating

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  • I used to watch figure skating religiously.  I think I probably stopped watching the annual competitions and stuck to the Olympics only around the time of Michelle Kwan.  This is because everyone and their mother told me I look like Michelle Kwan.  During the Salt Lake City Olympics, one guy even tried to use that as a pickup line: "Are you related to Michelle Kwan?  Because she's beautiful, and you're beautiful."  This backfired on him.

    It kind of bugs me that the quad is now almost de rigueur for men now.

  • Because I couldn't go without knowing, at the 1948 Winter Olympics in St Moritz the figure skating event was held outdoors. Looking at that sent me down the rabbit hole, Dick Button was a super dominant figure in ice skating, he was the first skater to complete many of the jumps that are so much a part of skating today.
    I believe he was the first to perform a double axel, and the first to perform a triple jump. So Ironically, he is sort of like the Elvis Stojko of Triple jumps! :)

  • It kind of bugs me that the quad is now almost de rigueur for men now.
    It bothers me a bit too. From what I understand, there was a lot of outrage for Evan Lysacek for winning the Olympics in 2010 without a quad (or maybe he just didn't land any cleanly? I don't remember) so they changed the scoring after the 2010 Olympics to give MORE credit to attempted quads. The result was that in 2014, all the men were attempting like, 3 quads each and falling, but yet getting more points than someone like Jason Brown who was not attempting them, but pulling off clean programs with triples and excellent technique. Hopefully they tweak it and find the right balance. 
  • violina23 said:

    Because I couldn't go without knowing, at the 1948 Winter Olympics in St Moritz the figure skating event was held outdoors. Looking at that sent me down the rabbit hole, Dick Button was a super dominant figure in ice skating, he was the first skater to complete many of the jumps that are so much a part of skating today.
    I believe he was the first to perform a double axel, and the first to perform a triple jump. So Ironically, he is sort of like the Elvis Stojko of Triple jumps! :)
    So why isn't it called a Double Button or a Triple Dick?! :-)  

    I'm semi-serious.
  • A Triple-Dick would be awesome... I want skating commentators to have to say that without laughing.
  • violina23 said:
    I believe he was the first to perform a double axel, and the first to perform a triple jump. So Ironically, he is sort of like the Elvis Stojko of Triple jumps! :)
    So why isn't it called a Double Button or a Triple Dick?! :-)  

    I'm semi-serious.
    LOL. That WOULD be awesome. But, he didn't invent the single jump, so he doesn't get the credit. Axel, Salchow, and Lutz are real people. However, "loop", "toe-loop" and "flip" were not as such named.... so I'd TOTALLY be cool with watching skaters perform triple-dick-double-button combos :)

  • I love this topic and love competitive figure skating.  I was captivated by Peggy Fleming when I was 8 and haven't stopped since.
  • I wan to see the triple-dick-double-button combo!

    But in the meantime, what would you say were "performances of a lifetime"?

    Different, but I'm thinking along the lines of when Nadia Comaneci was the first female gymnast to be awarded a perfect score of 10 at the 1976 Summer Olympics ... whether a skater received a deserved score or not, who would you recognize for an extraordinary program?
  • DeDe said:
    I wan to see the triple-dick-double-button combo!

    But in the meantime, what would you say were "performances of a lifetime"?

    Different, but I'm thinking along the lines of when Nadia Comaneci was the first female gymnast to be awarded a perfect score of 10 at the 1976 Summer Olympics ... whether a skater received a deserved score or not, who would you recognize for an extraordinary program?

    At that time getting a perfect 10 in gymnastics was almost unheard of, which of course made it all the more freaking amazing. Nadia deserved those 10's. Back to figure skating! Dick Button was really the cream of the crop of figure skating commentators. Knowledgable, entertaining, and confident. You could really tell how much he loved the sport by how he gently and lovingly educated us in the beauty and technique of the sport. This was someone who loved figure skating unreservedly and wholeheartedly and in the process made us love it too. He was the first of my gay pretend Uncles, of which Tom and Lorenzo are the latest.
  • Torvel and Dean's Bollero.
    Michelle Kwan's Scheherazade at National's.
  • Gemfemme said:
    ridiculous costume offering 
    image


    I remember this program from the Olympics. So hilariously, horribly wrong. Didn't he grab her hair and drag her like a caveman at some point? I grew up watching figure skating on Wide World Of Sports and I still watch it. I loved Tai and Randy, Dorothy Hamil, Scott Hamilton and Debi Thomas. I was crushed when Debi didn't beat Katarina Witt at the Olympics in the battle of the Carmen's. I had an irrational dislike for Witt. Still do.
    I like to think that this was the costume and routine that helped to drive a nail into the completely over the top, wacko direction in which ice dancing had moved.  I much prefer the ice dancing styles of the Canadian pair that took the gold at the Vancouver Olympics(Virtu and Moyer?) and Meryl Davis and Charlie White. Both pairs take the idea of translating ball room dance styles onto the ice and do it extremely well and fast.
    I've been a fan of figure skating for ages. Yes, Michelle Kwan NOT winning the gold broke my bitter kitten heart, but Tara Lipinski's commentary with Johnny Weir last year at the Olympics was a breath of fresh air.

    I had the great good fortune in the late 70's or early 80's to see John Curry's ice dancing show when they toured the U.S. and played the Kennedy Center-I took my mom, who had introduced me to the sport.
    I can still remember Curry's artistry and incredible charisma. Sadly, he died far too young from Aids.
    I'll have to look for USA Sports on our cable provider's list
  • violina23 said:
    ... and I remember there was a Japanese fellow that I liked too, but I can't recall his name.

    Would that be Yuzuru Hanyu?  He caught my eye during one of last year's competitions, and I literally did a double-take and said "Who is *that*?!", which startled my cat (the only other living being present) very much! 

    If that isn't the one you meant, then never mind {wry grin}. But Hanyu's skating is lovely to watch - and, I admit it, he's rather lovely himself...
  • violina23 said:
    OK, and I HAVE to link to the TLo posts on the skating costumes which NEVER fail to make me crack up aloud.

    ...
    Thanks for posting those - so funny, and so true!
  • edited March 2015
    I enjoy watching figure skating, though (outside of the Olympics) I'm more likely to watch it if I notice a competition while channel-surfing, rather than seeking it out deliberately. I've seen some amazing performances, with the most memorable including:

    Torvill and Dean - "Bolero" knocked me flat, but I've enjoyed everything they've done, especially the light-hearted "Hat Trick".

    Philippe Candeloro's "D'Artagnan" - his flair and dash made the performance even more dramatic.

    Alexander Abt - a Russian skater whose style impressed me, though sadly his career was plagued with injuries.

    Jeffrey Buttle's infectious grin won me over the first time I saw him skate.

    Of the current competitors, my favorite is Yuzuru Hanyu.

    I wonder who'll be next?
  • Yes! I think it was Hanyu :) Thank you.

    OMG, I remember Phillipe Candeloro! I feel like he did a Zorro routine too, my friend and I used to make fun of him.. haha :)

    Performances of a lifetime... of course since I'm the unapologetic fan,I have to present Michelle Kwan's 1998 nationals programs.  If you're wondering why the commentators seem so concerned about how she'll do, she was 6-weeks off a stress-fracture.
    SP:
    LP:

    Here is Torvill/Dean's Bolero program from 1984:


    In terms of ice dancing, I have the utmost admiration for the difficulty of the sport (it's WAY harder than it looks), but the difficulty is SO subjective, and since there is rarely any variation from performance to performance, or competition to competition, it's hard to get excited about it as a competitive sport.

    That being said, Davis/White's Olympic winning performance to Scheherazade, even if it was really a coronation for their past 4 years in skating, was really fabulous... the deepness of their edging and their speed/tightness are just breathtaking.


    If you can tune out all of Scott Hamilton's hyperbolic adjectives "special" " on fire!' etc, this is Jason Brown's program from Nationals last year, and he's absolutely adorable and seems like a genuienly good/sweet kid:


    I'm sure I'll think of some more I want to share later...








  • edited March 2015
    It looks dated now, but I loved this performance by Klimova and Ponomarenko at the time:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5O85swOkgj8
  • I adored Natalia
  • Huge Kwan superfan here. She had class and grace and lit up the arena whenever she skated. I only saw her in person once, but it was magical. She often brought her audiences to tears and always to their feet. Frankly, the sport just wasn't appealing to me without her, especially with the ludicrous scoring changes. 

    Another favorite of mine was the Chinese duo Shen and Zhao.They started out shaky and inconsistent, but gradually evolved into a first class team. Some of the older ice dancing pairs were lovely to watch - Klimova and Ponomarenko back in the late 80s were mesmerizing. . 
  • This discussion made me finally break down and get a user name for this site.  I used to be a HUGE figure skating fan and had been since the 1964 Olympics - until the SLC Olympics caused the changes in scoring that from my perspective have been disastrous for the sport.  And personally I blame Scott Hamilton - and I'm only semi-joking.  He made such a huge deal about Sale and Pelletier losing to the Russians that it ended up triggering outrage that ended up changing the sport.  (Obviously others were also outraged but Hamilton had the biggest platform and the largest audience).  After watching the two performances I personally thought it could go either way and would have been satisfied had either won.  The Russians skated a much more difficult program and in my opinion the Canadians did not skate their best "Love Story" performance.  The net result of the controversy that ensued was that Ottavio Cinquanta, the President of the International Skating Union,  basically forced through the changes in the scoring system to what we see today.  Cinquanta, by the way, came from a speed skating background.  This at least is what I've read from figure skating fans far more knowledgeable about how this took place than I.  The new scoring system, while theoretically more objective is still very much subject to biases and interpretation and worst of all has caused an over-emphasis on jumps and too little on interesting choreography and artistry. 

    In recent years we've seen skaters consistently under-rated and over-rated on the international scene.  Johnny Weir arguably had some of the best skating in the 2010 Olympics both technically and artistically but came in sixth and there was definite speculation that he was downgraded because judges thought he was too "flamboyant."  Apologies to the Canadians here but Patrick Chan was consistently awarded better scores than many commentators thought he deserved but the judges always seemed to love him.  There are many other instances as well, including Plushenko's frequently inflated scores.

    My all time favorite skaters were probably Michelle Kwan and Paul Wylie, both of whom I thought deserved gold medals.  I was shocked when Tara Lipinsky won and to this day I don't believe her program or performance was superior to Michelle's.  I was not shocked that Paul Wylie took silver rather than gold as he had never done well in international competitions until the Albertville Olympics and for that reason alone they wouldn't have given him the gold.  I've also liked a lot of ice dancers over the years, from Torville and Dean to Judy Blumberg and Michael Seibert to Annisina and Peizerat to Davis and White.

    Largely because of my dissatisfaction with the current scoring system I don't watch much skating anymore though I will occasionally watch individual performances on YouTube. 

    Anybody else who used to be a fan of the Frogs on Ice website?
  • Hi Bob! Yes, I remember the name Cinquanta very well from back when I was more obsessive, and yes he had a speed-skating background since the ISU (International Skating Union) was an umbrella organization over both speed & figure skating. Kinda dumb considering the only thing they have in common is that they are on ice :).

    Your memory exactly matches mine re: Sale/Pelletier. That's exactly why, in a way, I think the new scoring system is a step in the right direction because it breaks down the technical difficulty in a way that is easier to quantify. I like that it encourages balance to the programs, with the bonus in the second half that rewards technical difficulty at the end of the program and not just at the beginning. And I like that quality and correctness of the jump (edging & complete rotation) matters, because someone like Tara Lipinksi wouldn't be able to get away with the poor technique. But, that being said, I don't like the fact that a poorly performed quadruple jump (two-footed, or fall) is rewarded more highly than a beautifully performed triple. And anonymity of the judges is always a fishy thing. So I think it's kind of a two steps forward, one step back kind of thing. It will ALWAYS be tricky in a sport that is skill-based and requires judging.

    and YES, I remember the Frogs on Ice website! You just triggered a ton of memories, in that way where I wonder what other information is hidden in the tomb that is my brain from 10 years ago... lol.


  • Thanks for starting this thread! I began figure skating at age 5 and though I didn't last beyond high school I have never stopped loving this "sport." Does anyone remember the days when a plump German would always win over the best free skaters because they got high scores in the compulsory figures? So much more fun to watch once they eliminated the figures from competitions. So many greats from many eras: Dick Button, Peggy, Fleming, Janet Lynn, Toller Cranston, Dorothy Hammill, John Curry, Brian Boitano, etc., just to name the free skaters. Just the costumes could be a separate thread!
  • violina23 said:
    I totally got into skating after the Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding thing. I think that may have been why I became a Michelle Kwan fan at a young age, because most people forget that she had come in 2nd at the nationals that year, and would have gone to the Olympics had they indicted Tonya sooner.  She was my age and adorable and I loved how she transformed herself from the jumper into the jumper AND artist.  ;)

    The irony of that Olympics was that although Tara had a more technically difficult program, had the scoring taken into account Tara's technique flaws (taking off on the wrong edge for her lutz jump, i.e. "flutzing", weaker spinning positions,  chronic under-rotations --- she would often rotate an entire turn before she even left the ice on her edge jumps), she would have been NAILED in today's scoring system. However, Tara played the game as it existed at the time, and even though I disagreed with it, it is what is is.  I may have been biased, but I thought Michelle handled the loss incredibly well, all things considered (especially as compared to a certain Nancy Kerrigan badmouthing Disney...haha). She was clearly crushed, but I remember her going on Jay Leno or something and saying "I didn't lose the gold, I won the silver".   And I admired her desire to continue after that defeat. While Tara had every right to say "Okay, I got what I wanted out of the sport, bye bye!", I think someone like Michelle will be remembered far longer as a legend of the sport, even without the gold medal. 

    As for the Olympics this past year -- at least there IS some transparency with the scoring system in that we can see the breakdown of the technical elements. When there was that Pairs controversy with the Canadians vs. Russians, even though wrongdoing HAD taken place, there WAS an argument to be made that the Russian pair had a technically superior program, and it was hard to see that from the arbitrary numbers.  I think something similar is what happened with YuNa Kim vs. Adelina Sodnikova (sp). They were VERY close when it got broken down technically. That's when, I guess, emotion kind of takes over, and maybe Adelina's energy was the real difference.  Plus, I think a lot of the skaters suffered from the addition of the whole "team" competition. It kind of killed their momentum/excitement because by the time they got to the individual competition, the novelty and energy wasn't there. So many of them seemed to peak in the team competition (Jason Brown, Gracie Gold..)

    As for the current crop of US skaters... I absolutely ADORE Jason Brown. He just seems like a sweet human being, and I really hope the approach of waiting on the quad pays off. This year's program isn't quite as exciting as last year's Riverdance number, but it was so nice to see him win his first title!  Something about Gracie Gold kinda annoys me, but I'm not sure why. Her skating itself COMPLETELY appeals to me (she skates with Frank Carroll, Michelle Kwan's old coach) and I love how she moves, but I get this kind of "entitled" vibe to her that I'm not sure if it's even fair of me to attribute that to her. I think she needs to move on from fairy-tale programs. Enough Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty and Phantom of the Opera -- do something edgy, girl!

    Ashley Wagner... she is rough around the edges, and the fact that being named to the team meant someone else got bumped didn't shine her in a great light, but she BROUGHT it to the nationals this year, and if she has that kind of fire, I think she can do well at Worlds.

    In terms of the rest of the world skaters -- I adored that little Russian Girl Lipniskaya ALL of the Olympic season... I thought her Schindler's list program was stunning. But she seemed to be another victim of "too much" hype with the team competition, and her skating lost ALL the magic when she started making mistakes. There is an adorable Spaniard named Javier something-or-other that I like on the men's side... and I remember there was a Japanese fellow that I liked too, but I can't recall his name.

    Ahhh, so fun to talk about this you guys....hope my ramblings make some kind of sense.
    Excellent comments that make complete sense. Good for Jason Brown -- so tired of seeing men who fall on the quad and then can't get their program back on track. I really loved Carolina Kostner in the Olympics -- epitome of graceful skating combined with athleticism, and she finally put it all together then if I'm remembering it correctly.
  • When it was asked for the best programs we remember, I, like everyone else, immediately thought of the Torvil & Dean Bolero routine from 1984.  It's pretty amazing to me that 30 years later, that is the routine we all remember.  Talk about a classic.

    I also fondly remember Gordeeva and Grinkov.  Maybe it was the dimples? :-)
  • BobPSP said:
    This discussion made me finally break down and get a user name for this site.  I used to be a HUGE figure skating fan and had been since the 1964 Olympics - until the SLC Olympics caused the changes in scoring that from my perspective have been disastrous for the sport.  And personally I blame Scott Hamilton - and I'm only semi-joking.  He made such a huge deal about Sale and Pelletier losing to the Russians that it ended up triggering outrage that ended up changing the sport.  (Obviously others were also outraged but Hamilton had the biggest platform and the largest audience).  After watching the two performances I personally thought it could go either way and would have been satisfied had either won.  
    Not me, I was SICK of that Love Story program long before it got to the Olympics and I was pretty pissed by the "splitting the gold medal" outcome. If there was cheating, the Russians should have been disqualified. I know that's harsh, but nothing like knowing that cheating for your team will get them disqualified to stop the widespread corruption in the scoring system.

    I thought their program was better, and I was satisfied that their scores were higher. I think they should have won WITHOUT the boost that their coach or whoever was trying to get for them, which makes the asterisk next to their name all the sadder.
  • Sadly I've stopped seriously watching skating since Shen & Zhao finally won the pairs title in 2010. Those were a pair I admired since their rough rough years of 1998 when they did throws on a whole different level then everyone else but took a few years to blossom to into the total package.

    I always liked Chen Lu and recall that showdown at the world champs when MIchelle Kwan just managed to edge her out. It was beautiful and exciting, and as Dick Button said, everything a finale should be. 2 greats doing their best and just waiting the outcome. I always felt after that loss, the judges seemed to underscore her in the artisty side which always perplexed me.

    I too am one of those who never cared for Nancy Kerrigan. I wasn't a fan of Tonya Hardy either but I guess appreciate her blue collar side more. After the whole 1994 debacle, I felt Kerrigan came across as a passive aggressive bitch who lacked self-awareness and never took responsibility for her offputting and unsportsmanlike behavior.  It particularly bugged me the people in the sports community that came to her defense about her public action or lack thereof. 

    Kerrigan has NEVER apologized for or acknowledged any of the graceless comments she has made that has gotten her into trouble-not even today. She and her defenders keep trying to blame it on other people or the public simply misunderstanding her. I recall the next morning after the competition, they brought up the whole incident of her being all bitchy about Oksana Baiul. All she had to do was admit, in a moment of weakness, she behaved unsportmanslike and unfairly cast a shadow on Oksana's victory and apologize. That's all was needed to diffuse the situation, a simple "I'm sorry". Instead she scoffed at whole incident as if she did nothing wrong and couldn't understand what all the fuss was about!

    It's that attitude that has gotten her in trouble and it's one she probably still has today

    And speaking of graceless attitudes, Kerrigan is only surpassed by Bonaly and that pushy mother of hers. Surya was a powerful athlete who could do impressive tricks. She was the best competitor in Europe at the time but she was never a great skater. She could never manage great edges, flow and bodylines. Her defiance and behaviour when she lost to Yuka Sato, a woman who could literally and effortlessly skates rings around Bonaly, showed her to be the temperamental brat that her mom had fostered
  • ChrisP said:
    Thanks for starting this thread! I began figure skating at age 5 and though I didn't last beyond high school I have never stopped loving this "sport." Does anyone remember the days when a plump German would always win over the best free skaters because they got high scores in the compulsory figures? So much more fun to watch once they eliminated the figures from competitions. So many greats from many eras: Dick Button, Peggy, Fleming, Janet Lynn, Toller Cranston, Dorothy Hammill, John Curry, Brian Boitano, etc., just to name the free skaters. Just the costumes could be a separate thread!

    Janet Lynn! So much joy when she skated. She was lit up from within on the ice. I also loved Tollar Cranston. His theatricality and energy on the ice were incredible.
  • violina23 said:
    Any BK's follow figure skating? I used to be OBSESSED in high school, I ran a cheesy Michelle Kwan geocities fan page back in the late 90's. I lost track for a while, but it seems like since the last Olympics, NBC has been starting to carry the Grand Prix series throughout the season, and also the major competitions (nationals, worlds, Europeans, etc).

    And as much as I had major sour grapes in high school when Tara Lipinski won the Olympics over my beloved Michelle in 1998, the commentating team of Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir has been amazing for the sport. While I'm well versed enough to be able to identify the jumps without help, Johnny in particular is amazing at explaining the technical details of what is going on, what went wrong, how an error impacts the scoring, etc. NBC was really smart to bring them on full-time.

    And I still think of TLo every time I see ridonkulous outfits, particularly from the men. You couldn't make some of this stuff up.... :)

    Anyways, World Championships are coming up! Anyone else watching and have favorites?
    I'm still bitter over Oxana Biaul taking gold over Nancy Kerrigan. 
  • Great, everyone. Now I'm watching ice skating instead of doing what I should be doing. :)

    Gordeeva and Grinkov were my absolute favorites. Their 1994 long program remains one of the best I've ever seen. I remember watching this competition after the Olympics when the cameras caught them backstage as they were getting ready. You could just tell how much they loved each other. Hard to believe it's going to be 20 years this November since he died.

    As for skaters of today, I love Jason Brown and can't help but root for Ashley Wagner.

    Maybe this is just me but it REALLY weirds me out when brothers and sisters are pairs. I just can't with the Shibutainis.
  • I haven't followed skating in years although I always watch the Olympics.  Just popped in to say Torvill and Dean's Bolero never fails to bring tears of joy to my eyes, no matter how many times I've watched it.
  • Do any of you remember when Denise Biellmann first did her trademark move (Ironically named the Double Dick!  Just kidding of course, was the Biellmann Spin).  I thought that she was so limber and double-jointed that we would rarely see anyone else do it, yet all the ladies do it now (often twice per program).  It was really special to see it early on.  I was also blown away the first times I saw Oksana Baiul do a doughnut spin (also very common now). 
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