Thursday, July 09, 2009

Top 10 Most Thrilling

Sports Illustrated just put out a list of the Top 10 Most Thrilling Figure Skaters. The skaters are ranked as follows:

10. Sasha Cohen
9. Duchesnay and Duchesnay
8. Scott Hamilton
7. Torvill and Dean
6. Michelle Kwan
5. Katarina Witt
4. Gordeyeva and Grinkov
3. Gillis Grafström
2. Dick Button
1. Sonja Henie

I think I have a different definition of the word thrilling...some of these skaters don't come close to my definition. Some skaters I felt left off the list...

  • Jozef Sabovcik - They didn't call him Jumpin' Joe for nothing.

  • Urbanski and Marvel - One of the most athletic Pairs teams ever.

  • Shen and Zhao - Speaking of Pairs teams...some of the biggest throws ever.

  • Denise Bielman - I'm fairly certain she created thrilling for ladies skating.

Anywho, you can weigh in here or in the comments below. Who's on your thrilling list?


jumping clapping man said...

although i appreciate that this is highly subjective, i'm shocked by the list. as you suggest, the word is just too open to interpretation.

COHEN in the top 10???? i think asada or kim should have trumped that. in fact, i'd put asada or kim as high as 5th or 6th.

also, as much as i love kwan and G&G, i don't think of them as thrilling. kwan is a fierce competitor, consistent, and artistic. G&G were sublime, spiritual and beautiful.

even torvill and dean weren't thrilling...they were inventive, iconic, and passionate.

i'd put bonaly, stojko, yagudin, boitano (tano lutz and spread eagle), ruh (for her spins), annisina and peizerat, klimova and ponomarenko, eisler and brausseur, bauil, takahashi, browning, (and as you suggested) beillman and shen/zhao under "thrilling".

thrilling suggest a sense of danger, abandon, and an on-the-edge-of-your-seat gasps!

Aaron said...


I think you nailed my sentiments perfectly.

Ice Charades said...

Does "Thrilling" mean not necessarily the best? Memorable?

Just off the top of my head I think of Philipe Candeloro. The Godfather and 3 Musketeer routines were thrilling to me. Not the greatest skater, but an amazing entertainer. Also Shen/Zao were/are amazing. Their win in DC, even though she was so injured.

I'm so glad you put Jozef Zabovcik "the bobbin czech" on the list. He can jump. I've seen him do a quad on a tiny patch of ice.

I think you should put together the Axels, Loops, and Spins list after you've compiled a bunch of comments.

This is a great conversation for everyone to sink their teeth into.


jumping clapping man said...

Philipe, yes!

And, how could we leave out Zhang/Zhang, and Martini/Underhill (CAN)?

meepmeep said...

Count me in for Candeloro. And for the ladies, I'm simply shocked Midori wasn't included. She more or less defined "thrilling" in skating, especially during an era where her jumping ability stood out particularly well.

Ice Charades said...

Now that I've had a (long) weekend to think this over, we need to add Toller Cranston to the list.

He's Philipe Candeloro's predecesor.

I can still clearly remember (and that says a lot for this old showgirl) the 1972 Tour of Champions where Toller Cranston stole the show. Dorothy Hamill was there too, but we didn't "know" her yet. Toller had by far the most encore performances. After about 5 numbers in a row, he started doing as many Russian split jumps as he could, or Arabians in a row with the audience counting out loud.

Gordie McKellen was big too, but Toller was the star of the show that year.