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Lots of figure skating 1/10/04


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#76 carbro

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Posted 20 January 2004 - 09:53 PM

FF, you are right about Wylie being a relatively short man. A few years ago (oh, well, many -- Kristi Y. was a brand new pro), I saw "Stars on Ice," and was startled :wub: to discover that, standing side-by-side, Scott Hamilton was an inch or so taller than Paul Wylie. I had always imagined Wylie -- isolated on the tv screen -- to be at least 5'9" or 5'10". :shrug:

I also agree that Browning can be anything he wants to on ice. Any style, any character -- amazing range -- with complete fidelity. An amazing talent.

#77 Helene

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Posted 21 January 2004 - 02:17 PM

hockeyfan228, while Hamilton was far from his best in the 1984 free skate, I hope we are not suggesting that Scotty didn't deserve his gold. Them's fighting words, mister. :)

That's "Ms." to you :D

Hamilton certainly deserved the gold medal, because he won the competition with his performance in school figures, just as Beatrix Schuba deserved her gold medal. The difference between Hamilton and Schuba was that Schuba was a perfunctory free skater, while free skating was usually one of Hamilton's strengths. If I remember correctly, Orser was in about seventh place after the school figures, and I think that although he won the Short Program and possibly the Long Program, he was too far behind to win the gold medal. In total, over all three phases, Hamilton outscored Orser for the gold. Hamilton, though, expressed embarrassment at the time that he did not deliver a good free skate.

#78 dirac

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Posted 21 January 2004 - 02:36 PM

Thanks for the gender clarification, hockeyfan228 -- sorry! Orser won both the short and the long -- he was stunning-- but of course there was no way to pull up from seventh in the figures and win the gold. It's true that the free skate was usually Hamilton's strength; as a rule he had to pull up from second or third in school figures and had no problem doing so! This time he was first in figures, so to all intents and purposes he had the competition won right there. I don't think Hamilton was nearly as unimpressive as Petrenko, though -- only he'd been ill all week and it showed. I remember him coming off the ice and you could hear him tell Don Laws, "I'm sorry." Maybe the judges did hold him up a wee bit, but he'd been awe-inspiringly dominant over the preceding three years and I see no harm in judges taking such things into account when it's the Olympics at stake. Orser was already a favorite of mine although foreign skaters didn't get much US airtime in those days. I was rooting for him in '88. :)

#79 tempusfugit

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Posted 21 January 2004 - 04:19 PM

hockeyfan, interesting you mentioned Trixi Schuba-- surely the dullest gold medalist ever in women's Olympic skating-- one of the reviews at the time said that she "clanked her way to a gold medal"... As one who was appalled at the deletion of figures from figure skating (and compulsories from gymnastics), I'm afraid it was the success of skaters like Schuba which influenced that lamentable decision. The brilliant Janet Lynn, who with today's rules would have won in a walk at both Olympics and Worlds, and who has been an idol of many great later skaters including Boitano and Orser, barely won the bronze under the 60% compulsory rules. it's been said that the invention of the short program was intended to benefit her in her last amateur year at Worlds (1973)-- alas, she fell on both her double axels there. Hamilton was usually so dynamic in his free skating that his Olympic performance was most unusual (surely the reason he apologized), and as dirac said he'd been ill (cf. Caryn Kadavy in 1988).

#80 dirac

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Posted 21 January 2004 - 05:05 PM

I would attribute the gradual reduction and then elimination of figures more to the increasing influence of television ratings than anything else. There was no way to make them telegenic.

I don't know that Lynn would have won in a walk, necessarily. She could not reach the top spot on the podium under the rules then obtaining, and there's no question she would have a better chance today. However, Karen Magnussen and Julie Lynn Holmes were not pushovers. :)

#81 Helene

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Posted 21 January 2004 - 05:36 PM

However, Karen Magnussen and Julie Lynn Holmes were not pushovers.  :)

Karen Magnussen was another skater, like Orser, who received little broadcast time on US networks. I knew people who thought she was better than Janet Lynn, but I think they're now sharing space with Jimmy Hoffa for having breathed such a notion.

When I first started to watch skating in the 60's, if there was a total of two hours of coverage all year, that was a big deal. I tried not to miss a minute of the twenty or so they broadcast of US Nationals, North American Championships, European Championships, and Worlds during Wide World of Sports. There's more fluff piece time in today's broadcasts than there was of skating back then.

#82 Helene

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Posted 21 January 2004 - 05:38 PM

FF, you are right about Wylie being a relatively short man.  A few years ago (oh, well, many -- Kristi Y. was a brand new pro), I saw "Stars on Ice," and was startled  :) to discover that, standing side-by-side, Scott Hamilton was an inch or so taller than Paul Wylie.  I had always imagined Wylie -- isolated on the tv screen -- to be at least 5'9" or 5'10". :shrug:

I always thought Goebel was a very tall skater, until I saw him on the podium next to Plushenko, who's nearly 6' tall. Goebel's about 5'7" or so.

A strange thing for me to see at last year's Worlds was how Cohen could have been a nesting doll inside of Kwan, and Kwan could have been a nesting doll inside of Hughes :D

#83 tempusfugit

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Posted 21 January 2004 - 06:27 PM

Yes, Goebel looks TALL until..... grin
very true about Cohen and Kwan, who are both tiny. Cohen is gymnast size.
Wylie's carriage is excellent and certainly belies his actual height...
Karen Magnussen was a lovely skater, but IMO nowhere near Lynn in technical ability, imagination, originality, or versatility. Lynn could jump in both directions; she attempted triples when almost no other woman would have dreamed of it (in the Sixties); some of her footwork sequences would be hard for skaters today... and then there was her line. Slavka Kohout, her coach, was remarkable. alas, the one thing she could not give Lynn was command of figures.

#84 dirac

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Posted 21 January 2004 - 06:35 PM

Tell me about it, hockeyfan 228. :) It was the glory days of Wide World of Sports and Jim McKay, and not only was there not much skating, but what you did get was often chopped up -- the middle of programs, but not the beginning or the end. You saw an itty bitty clip of Orser and someone would say, "That was a promising young Canadian, Brian Orser! We'll be seeing a lot more of Brian!" Uhhh...could we see more of him, like, now, fellas? Just a little bit? Please?

As for the Sorrows of Janet, those are the breaks.

#85 carbro

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Posted 21 January 2004 - 08:37 PM

I always thought Goebel was a very tall skater, until I saw him on the podium next to Plushenko, who's nearly 6' tall.  Goebel's about 5'7" or so.


:D Ha! You know how you sometimes see someone famous in person, and it takes a second (you're about to say hi), before you realize I know him, but he doesn't know me? Such was the case about six weeks ago, as I encountered him -- face to face -- while crossing the street here on the Upper West Side. And he was Goebel -- all 5'7" or 5'8" of him. :)

A strange thing for me to see at last year's Worlds was how Cohen could have been a nesting doll inside of Kwan, and Kwan could have been a nesting doll inside of Hughes :)


Great image, Ms. HF!

#86 vagansmom

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Posted 22 January 2004 - 01:36 PM

And Sarah Hughes herself, the "tall girl" on the circuit at the time, was nearly always listed as a towering 5'3" (although I did hear one report setting her height at 5'5").

#87 Funny Face

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Posted 22 January 2004 - 03:43 PM

As to Goebel, he is an engaging enough young man, but I can never get behind his skating because of the kyphotic spine! Rounded and hunched. It's painful to watch, and shame on his coach(es) for not addressing that at this stage of his career. Now, if it's genetic, I apologize, but I think this looks like a case of bad carriage, and he's not the only skater by a long shot. But it's particularly prominent with him. I mention this because it is a problem figure skaters share with classical dancers. It may not look like much of a problem in class, but once a dancer takes the stage with that kind of back -- heaven help us. They need to find those 'pull down' muscles right beneath the 'wings' of the back. I know I harp on this constantly, but I will continue to do so until we stop putting a disproportionate amount of emphasis on getting en pointe and get our young dancers to realize the need to work on many other aspects of ballet.

One of my favorite teachers told me she used to watch an Elvis film before she had to perform in order to get inspired as a performer herself. I have to watch footage every so often of Dorothy Hamill to reaffirm a sense of carriage.

#88 dirac

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Posted 22 January 2004 - 05:29 PM

I read that Timmy's coaches and choreographers, past and present, have done everything in their power to help him improve his posture, and I don't doubt it. I fear he's just a hopeless case. He does have a pretty jump when it's working, though. With other skaters, you hold your breath when they go up for the quad, but when Goebel is in good form you can just relax and enjoy the jump -- he tosses it off. This in itself helps his presentation, IMO, although it can't compensate for all the other stuff.

#89 mom2

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 07:52 AM

Anyone see the Four Continents on the weekend? I watched some, but missed the men's....reading the paper today it sounds like there was quite a mess with the scoring for Buttle to come out number one (I had just assumed that he was back to his old self when I saw the results).

Tutu14, you must have watched part of it!

I was quite proud of the new Canadian ladies' champ, Cynthia Phanuef (sp)? This was her first international event as a senior - she had some errors, but overall a performance to be proud of I think. And interestingly enough - she still outscored Jennifer Robinson who is slated to go to Senior Worlds (the new Canadian champion will go to Junior Worlds). Hmm. Not an easy decision for Skate Canada to have made, and I understand their rationale....let's just hope that Robinson has a great skate on that day!

#90 Helene

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 11:36 AM

I saw 4C's on CBC this weekend. The Men's event was a bit of a mess. Buttle won the LP with two 1st-place ordinals, and a big mix of the rest. Unfortunately, ordinals are adjusted as the skaters progress, and they aren't published under the interim system. So I don't know what Sandhu's, Jahnke's, Takahashi's, or Lysacek's final ordinals were, compared to Buttle's.

Sandhu attempted a load of technical difficulty, but he did not land a clean combo or solo jump in his LP: turns out of the 4T into two-footed 2L with stumble, combo, two-footed T's in the 3A/3T and 3F/3T and solo 3F or 3Z, one pop 3A, fallout of 3S and 3L. He started to improvise towards the end to up his jump content, and left out some of his more interesting choreography, and went out of synch with the music on his straightline footwork. He also went off balance on his final combo spin, but didn't fall. He looked really loose to me.

Buttle dropped a lot of technical content: he tripled his 4T attempt, but landed it, and did beautiful solo 3F and a lovely 3S to 3T sequence. He also popped a 3L attempt to a 1L, and improvised a sequence by adding a 3L to it, with not much flowout. His 3A attempt was flawed, with a tilt, turn out on the landing, and IIRC, a hand down. However, his trademark moves in the field -- lovely solo spread eagle and beautiful moves in the field/spiral combination -- spins (most of them), and footwork really carried him through. The differences between the two skates, in my opinion, was that Buttle's mistakes were mostly jump downgrades, which didn't affect the flow or the rest of his elements, and he really sold his program, while Sandhu's faulty landings and last-minute program changes marred the flow and balance.

IMO Jahnke had the finest overall skate: his pre was spot on, even though this program doesn't have the zip of last year's Cinderella. He had a 3Z/3L combo -- the hardest combo landed cleanly -- fine spins and footwork, and terrific flow, carriage, and tension in his movements. His only misses were a tilted 3A and a popped 1A, but he landed all of his other jumps.

Lysacek had a technically packed program -- like Sandhu he attempted 3 combos; unlike Sandhu he landed them, but I'm not sure if he underrotated the 3T at the end of his 3A/3T combo. He has good spins, with a few interesting positions. His interpretation was a little weak; Rachmaninov's 2nd Piano Concerto is too hackneyed for a younger skater without that much pizzazz. Physically he resembles a young Plushenko -- tall with long legs -- but with his flailing arm movements he's picked up on what I think was Plushenko's worst habit. He was missing the in-between content that adds the difficulty to Buttle's, Sandhu's, and Jahnke's choreography. But, I don't think he looked so juniorish that the fine points of his program should have been behind a flawed program like Sandhu's.

I think this explains the crazy ordinals: judges could have had any mix of rankings for Buttle, Lysacek, Takahashi, Sandhu, and Jahnke, and it looks like they did. (CBC did not broadcast Takahashi's fourth-place LP.) The majority of the judges had Buttle in second, but the mixture may have been second to whom?

Phaneuf had a difficult short -- she fell on the combo attempt -- but she skated the long beautifully. She reminds me a bit of Carolina Kostner. Her program is very gentle and age-appropriate. I think that Joannie Rochette skated the most complete program, with elegance and speed, but she could not land the lutz. Robinson's LP was mixed, although having seen her live (not at 4C's) made me appreciate the in-betweens in her skating. She's not very fast, but she has an even flow. I don't like Ota's skating very much; I think she does a lot of thrashing cross-overs to gain speed, and I'm not sure her jumps were fully rotated. But she was so far ahead of Phaneuf in the SP -- deservedly so -- that she won the competition. It was a little bit like SLC -- the leaders (Corwin and Nikodinov) had their chances, but they didn't take them. (Phaneuf's scores were in the range of Hughes' Olympic LP scores.) Nikodinov downgraded her Giselle program, but she didn't quite fall apart after her first mistake, as she's been apt to do in the past. The title was her's for the taking, and she didn't.

The irony was that jumps won the Ladies' program, while choreography and interpretation won the Men's program.

There was a "Calling All Canadians" feature during Saturday's broadcast; viewers were encouraged to send in their questions for Jennifer Robinson. One practically asked her how she could get up in the morning knowing that she'd be going to Sr. Worlds, while Phaneuf was going to Jr. Worlds. According to Robinson and Phaneuf, Phaneuf's coach made the decision. The reasoning is that Phaneuf is likely to earn at least one additional spot in Jr. Worlds for next year before moving onto Seniors, and that to exposure the up-and-coming Juniors to international judges and experience is more important for the long-term future of Ladies' skating in Canada. Phaneuf's coach is also still working on her competitive mentality; when she started to tighten up, her coach switched her performance costumes to her practice costumes, because she had been skating practices so well. (Practice costumes for up-and-coming skaters are monotone versions of the performance costumes, sans glitter and sequins. Kind of like dancers dressing up for Balanchine.)

I have to agree with this reasoning. Tara Lipinski almost didn't qualify in her first Sr. Worlds; she was as competitive and motivated as Phaneuf, but her nerves got the best of her. Canada needs at least two Sr. Ladies' spots to be able to flow the best young skaters into Seniors. Last year Rochette was the up-and-coming skater, and people were ready to write off Robinson. But Rochette ended in 17th place; only Robinson's top ten finish (9th place) -- granted, a gift from an overrated performance in the weaker qualifying group -- earned Canada a second Ladies' berth for this year's Worlds. Until a Canadian Ladies' skater can earn that second spot on her own, and as long as Robinson skates better than the younger skaters, I think she'll be on the team, especially working towards an Olympic year.


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