Pj's all-time top 10: Ladies | Figure Skating | CBC Sports

Figure SkatingPj's all-time top 10: Ladies

Posted: Thursday, November 3, 2011 | 01:07 PM

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Canada's Barbara Ann Scott, left, won Olympic gold on the outdoor rink at St. Moritz in 1948. (Chris Ware/Keystone/Getty Images) Canada's Barbara Ann Scott, left, won Olympic gold on the outdoor rink at St. Moritz in 1948. (Chris Ware/Keystone/Getty Images)

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Let's face it, I've seen more than my fair share of skating in my life, which may be why CBCSports.ca challenged me to come up with a list of who I'd choose to skate in a fantasy competition between the 10 best of all time in each of the four disciplines.

To make it even tougher, I've ranked the skaters in order of how they'd finish in this magical event if I were the sole judge.

I'll start the series this week with the ladies.
Let's face it, I've seen more than my fair share of skating in my life, which may be why CBCSports.ca challenged me to come up with a list of who I'd choose to skate in a fantasy competition between the 10 best of all time in each of the four disciplines.

To make it even tougher, I've ranked the skaters in order of how they'd finish in this magical event if I were the sole judge.

Agree? Disagree? Feel free to set me straight with your own top 10. I want to hear from you! Leave your comments at the bottom of this page or give me a shout on Twitter.

I'll start the series this week with the ladies. Click on their names to see video of them in action.

1. Barbara Ann Scott, Canada (1948 Olympic champion; 2-time European and world champion; 4-time Canadian champion)

Aside from being the most gracious person I have ever met, put skating on the map for a generation of little girls, their daughters and granddaughters. As a coach, I'll be forever grateful for that. The only Canadian woman to win Olympic figure skating gold.

2. Yu-Na Kim, South Korea (2010 Olympic champion; 2009 world champion)

Mesmerizing combination of vixen and debutante who holds the record for highest score in the short, free and overall. Could beat most of the field with her skate guards on - she's that good.

3. Dorothy Hamill, United States (1976 Olympic and world champion)

Skated at my rink for a few summers when we were kids. Watching her saved me a huge amount of time and pointless effort, because I knew I'd never be able to free skate like her. But I would be able to rock the "Dorothy Hamill Wedge" hairdo.

4. Katarina Witt, East Germany (1984, '88 Olympic champion; 4-time world champion)

Love the fact that she seemed like she was daring the audience to not watch her. The first to establish a rapport, while skating, with the audience. The most famous skater to establish a different kind of rapport as a centrefold.

5. Sarah Hughes, United States (2002 Olympic champion)

A perfect performances when it counts is very rare in skating, but Hughes delivered one of them on that  special night in Salt Lake City, where the stars were aligned and she owned the event. Never happened again for her.

6. Sonja Henie, Norway (1928, '32, '36 Olympic champion; 10-time world champion.

The idol of Barbara Ann Scott, Henie went on to be one of the highest-paid Hollywood actresses of her day. Given the weight of the costumes of her day, and the inconsistencies of outdoor ice surfaces, I'm impressed at the height of her jumps and speed of her spins.

7. Michelle Kwan, United States (1998 Olympic silver medallist; 2002 Olympic bronze medallist; 5-time world champion)

When she skated her Salome program on her way to becoming the 1996 world champion, she became the first skater for me whose choreography and music were an integral part of the program and not just a backdrop for jumps and spins. Thanks, Lori Nichol!  Also gets full marks for her diplomatic missions promoting education and American values as an unpaid emissary since 2006. 

8. Elizabeth Manley, Canada (1988 Olympic silver medallist)

I'm a sucker for an underdog. Manley showed up in Calgary virtually ignored by the pundits as a result of some disastrous results preceding the Olympics. I know I wasn't the only one on a couch in Canada who was yelling "Go Liz!" at the TV.

9. Midori Ito, Japan (1992 Olympic silver medallist; '89 world champion)

As the first woman to perform a triple/triple jump in competition as well as a triple Axel, she belongs on this list. Landing over the boards and on the camera in the corner after a triple Lutz combination at the 1991 worlds and then apologizing to the cameraman after her skate earns Ito top spot on "Most Polite Athletes Ever" list.

10. Karen Magnussen, Canada (1973 world champion, '72 Olympic silver medallist)

I'm fascinated by anyone who can have stress fractures in both legs and continue skating before being diagnosed. Spending several weeks in a wheelchair in 1969, Magnussen decided to continue her skating and reached the pinnacle of her career a scant three years later. My vote for one of the gutsier sports comebacks. (As an aside, she was my childhood skating hero and one of the few people to render me speechless when I met her in 2010. It was like being a nervous 10-year-old again!)

Want to see Battle of the Blades in person? Follow Pj Kwong on Twitter next week, and answer her question for your chance to win tickets.

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