In short, 1994 was kind of a mess, so it seemed like the perfect choice for our first throwback event. Our judges assessed the ladies free skate in context - how they think it should have been scored in 1994, although there was at least one admission that it's maybe been too long to truly remember how that 6.0 thing works - and through the lens of modern, 2016 skating.
Here are our judges!
Amanda is on Twitter.
Emily is on Twitter.
Justine is busy coaching and writing about skating. You can also find her on Twitter.
Kathy video recaps skating events at Lutz and Glory with fellow judges Bronwyn and Will. She's also on Twitter.
Matthew can be found dancing with the Cincinnati ballet and will be joining the St. Louis Ballet next season. He's on Twitter.
Click below to keep reading our rejudging of the ladies free skate at the 1994 Olympics!
Amanda: Yes, but not recently.
Emily: Yes! I was glued to the TV in '94! I remember it fondly, as I had my first ever skating competition the same week. I was channeling my inner Nancy, rocking a constant bun with matching scrunchie and insisting I only do Kerrigan spirals :)
Justine: I don't think so.
Matthew: Haven't we all :)
Be honest: how much of this event did you actually watch?
Amanda: All of the top 9.
Emily: Top 9 Free Skates.
Justine: All 9 FS's.
Kathy: All of it
Matthew: Top 9 ladies
Amanda: I'm going with Chen Lu. She had good choreography and landed two triple lutzes. I preferred her performance to both Nancy's and Oksana's. I can see why those two were gold and silver, and the result could have gone either way due to the judging system at the time, but I thought Chen Lu had the best free skate.
Emily: In '94 I gave the edge to Kerrigan. Watching the programs today, I found Lu's by far the most interesting technically. I wasn't a fan of Baiul's program then, or now!
Justine: I think I have to give it to Oksana. She wasn't as refined as Nancy, but she beat her technically, even without the 3-3 Nancy had. She was fast and energetic and her style reminds me a lot of all the young Russians we've seen of late. Makes me laugh that you could just throw jumps in as you see fit back then. I'm totally ok with her being an Olympic Champion.
Kathy: Since everything is relative, I'll say that Nancy Kerrigan's program was the most compelling of the night, equal parts sophisticated and crowd-pleasing. Granted, Oksana had a more difficult layout, but Nancy's jumps were cleaner overall (aside from their respective doubles). Do I agree with Nancy's music cuts? Not entirely, but by the ending pose she had sold me on pretty much everything, even her bits of wacky arm choreography *gasp*.
Matthew: Kerrigan could be dull as a dishwasher, but in Lillehammar she was at her best, against the odds. She had less spark than Baiul, but overall her skating and certainly her jumping was much stronger. The debate really centers around whether Kerrigan should have been ahead of Chen and Sato in the LP, but I wasn't blown away by either of their performances. Kerrigan, besides the doubled flip, was pretty much foot-perfect the rest of the skate and skated with more confidence than any of her past performances. The triple lutz with the fist pumping is a highlight.
Amanda: Katarina Witt's artistic impression marks should have been much higher than what she received. 5.1 from the Ukrainian judge was just ridiculous. I also think that Yuka Sato's technical scores could have been higher. She did 2 more triples than Tonya Harding, and their scores were about the same, so she should have scored higher.
Emily: Lu Chen and Yuka Sato were underscored on the Artistic Marks.
Justine: I'd probably say Yuka Sato. She fought for a few things but was clean. And her skating was light and joyous. Just lovely! I'd have had her on the podium.
Kathy: Tanja Szewczenko's. While it wasn't a perfect program by any means, I thought the 5.4s in both technical merit and artistic impression were unwarranted, especially since Surya, who had a noticeably more shallow connection to her music, received all 5.6s and 5.7s in the latter category.
Matthew: Sato. She was 5th in the LP and I would have easily had her top three in that phase; she was clearly shafted from not being in the final warm-up group. I don't like her skating like Vanessa Riley did, but Sato showcased deep, expansive edges and strong elements. In terms of an individual judge's marks, the Ukranian judge giving Witt a 5.1 for artistic was a travesty.
Amanda: Tonya Harding should not have gotten artistic impression marks as high as 5.5 and 5.6. Her performance was severely lacking in musicality and expression, and she skated to the Jurassic Park soundtrack, so points off for that as well.
Emily: I'm not certain I even understand the old judging system anymore! I guess, I wouldn't have given the artistic edge to Baiul.
Justine: I really can't stand Tonya. Such a drama queen. There were a few nice jumps but otherwise not much else I enjoyed. I also didn't enjoy Chen Lu as much as I thought I might. Some very nice jumps but otherwise a rather unmemorable performance.
Kathy: Oksana Baiul's. For the number of near-perfect artistic marks she received, I would've liked to have seen a greater range of expression than she showed in her free skate.
Matthew: Baiul since there wasn't anybody else. Baiul was overscored and not deserving of OGM, but oddly I'm not much bothered because Kerrigan was unmemorable. Her panache helped make her Broadway program appear much better than it really was. Though I have to chuckle at the 5.8s and 5.9s technically, did the judges go blind during the two-foots and the improvised last 30 seconds?
Amanda: Yuka Sato had a great performance, and if she had not made a costly mistake in the short program, could have been on the podium. Her footwork towards the end of the program was super fast and would have been level 4 under IJS.
Emily: I loved Sato's skate! There were some obvious jump issues, but she had beautiful movement and presence on the ice.
Justine: I thought Yuka was fantastic. Her dress was very reminiscent of Evgenia's FS this year. Just beautiful. I also really enjoyed Surya. Technically she was pushing the sport forwards. That half loop combo would fit right in today!
Kathy: Yuka Sato, easily. Her performance was confident and nuanced, albeit a little frantic at times. She did a great job of projecting out into the audience and using her music to its full impact.
Matthew: Sato's, though Szewczenko's was stronger than I remembered and Witt's program was by far the most moving.
Here is how these free skates were actually ranked:
1. Oksana Baiul
2. Nancy Kerrigan
3. Chen Lu
4. Surya Bonaly
5. Yuka Sato
6. Tanja Szewczenko
7. Tonya Harding
8. Katarina Witt
9. Josée Chouinard
Amanda: Nancy Kerrigan "barely" in second
Emily: Szewczenko: I was so very bored the whole program!. I want to put Chouinard much higher, entirely because she got so very screwed! Her jumps were around(ish), so she would be higher with the current judging system. And her spins! I was so surprised by the Yuna Camel, should it be the Josée Camel?
Justine: Nancy Kerrigan - lovely spirals. Tanja Szewczenko - well skated but unmemorable. Katarina Witt - lovely skating, but lacking technically. Josee Chouinard - poor girl having to skate like she did.
Amanda: Man, Josee Chouinard really got hosed. I think that Tonya should have been able to restart, but she should have had to skate immediately after she fixed her boot issue. Letting her go at the end of the group seems pretty unfair to the other skaters, especially Josee.
Emily: Oh my....no. She should have been allowed to pick up where she stopped, but the complete restart was unfair. But that 3 lutz was huge the second time around! Poor Josée Chouinard! I didn't remember they forced her to skate early!
Justine: No. What a weird circumstance, I don't think I knew this happened. Josee never should have had to skate before her. They should have given Tonya the 2 min (or whatever the rule is now) to fix the problem and then continue where she left off. Or she should have been disqualified. I think what happened was rather unfair. I feel no sympathy for her.
Kathy: Of course! She couldn't have been expected to continue without risking serious injury to herself. A malfunctioning lace is no joke.
Matthew: In the heat of the moment I probably would have. The rules were incredibly lax back then, and Tonya tested them to the limit, competition after competition. With billions watching and television executives around the world expecting to see Tonya skate, there was much more tied to this decision than just ethics. I would've respected a referee with the balls to prevent Tonya from skating, but given the circumstances it was a justifiable decision, if not necessarily a fair one to Chouinard and the rest of the skaters in that group.
Amanda: All the qualities of Yuka Sato's skating would do very well in today's system. She has strong skating skills, her jumps would get mostly positive GOE, and she had great footwork.
I think Chen Lu's performance would also do well. Her program was technically solid and well-choreographed.
Emily: Chen Lu's program had good flow, connecting steps and overall cohesiveness. The spins obviously are not at 2016 levels, but please someone bring back the crazy kick illusions she does in the flying camel mid program. I had to replay that spin multiple times.
Justine: Oksana is reminiscent of young Elena Radionova and Nancy reminds me of Carolina Kostner. Nancy's 3T-3T and Oksana's speed and determination would fit in today. I think all Oksana would need are some more combinations.
Kathy: Surya Bonaly's. Something about the technical and choreographic layout of her program (that backloading! ending on a Biellmann!) just screams 2016. Either she was a woman ahead of her own time, or she's had way more influence on the evolution of figure skating than we've given her credit for.
Matthew: I don't think any skate in '94 was well suited to today, but Sato's LP might have been the easiest to transform into a IJS program. She already had strong SS and generally high jumps, so her PCS were competitive and her jumps deserved decent GOE (aside from an "e" on the flip). Chen had a good jump layout on paper with the two lutzes, but a suspect edge on that jump as well as under rotations would have hampered her.
Amanda: Katarina Witt. She gave a lovely and thoughtful performance, but two triple toes and a triple loop are nowhere near competitive today. Would that even be competitive in Novice? I honestly don't know, but she definitely wouldn't make it to the Olympics again.
Emily: Harding's Jurassic Park medly was almost comical. So many crossovers and long jump setups.
Justine: This is a hard question as things have changed so much. Technically Katarina wouldn't make it out of Sectionals with that content. But artistically most of them are lacking in comparison of what we see today. Where are the transitions!?!
Kathy: Katarina Witt's. While I enjoy her skating as a whole, I can't see it fitting in with the programs of today, which tend to be chock-full of transitions and in-between skating. Katarina's free skate, on the other hand, had very basic turns, a lot of pausing, and even more posing. All of these elements combined made for a pretty repetitive program, that made you feel like you'd somehow seen it twice in one viewing--not a common occurrence in today's skating, which usually has the opposite problem of trying to cram too much content into a single 4-minute slot.
Matthew: Witt. Her technical content was out of place even in 1994, though I loved her program. And for entirely different reasons, Bonaly would have been buried today. The IJS has moved so far away from the skater she was; it's no coincidence we haven't had a skater like her since.
Amanda: Chen Lu and Yuka Sato. I think they were skaters who have a lot of the qualities that do well under the IJS.
Emily: With out a doubt I would have to say Surya Bonaly. Can you imagine what she would bring to the ice in 2016? You know she'd be throwing side toe hops into triple axels and quad salchows. Her music would be a frantic folk songs done to a techno beat.
Justine: I would like to see Oksana go head to head with the Elena and Evegenia and the other youngsters of today.
Kathy: Chen Lu, for purely selfish reasons. Her skating is such a joy to watch, and I find myself gravitating toward her programs again and again as a palate cleanser in the middle of each new season. She is the ultimate combination of power and elegance on ice, and it would've been a great testament to the timelessness of her skating to see them be given their proper due under IJS scoring.
Matthew: I always think about how Tonya Harding (as a personality) couldn't exist today, at least in figure skating. But as an athlete she sure could have: she was outrageously talented. Hardly in top shape in '94, Harding still showed glimpses of her best: that lutz is still one of the greatest ever. If she were in fighting form and would have trained combos more seriously (she never competed anything more difficult than a 3T-3T), her athleticism would still excel today.
Amanda: Elizaveta Tuktamysheva has always given me '90's vibes. Maybe it's because she skated to Jill Trenary's music from 1990 Worlds, but I definitely see Tuk fitting in well during that time.
Emily: I sometimes think Pogorilaya looks straight out of the 1990's.
Justine: Also a hard question. My first thought was Elizaveta, as most of what I remember from her recent FS is lots of crossovers in a circle into jumps. Which is exactly how programs were constructed at this time!
Kathy: Mao Asada or Carolina Kostner. Both have the classic lines and energetic step sequences that figure skating in the 90s seemed to favor.
Matthew: Kostner could be plucked into just about any generation and been a top contender.
Amanda: I will always wish that Kristi Yamaguchi had stuck around for another two years and competed in 1994. I think she could have won.
Emily: I love 1990's skating fashion. Nancy's dress is easily one of my favorite skating dresses ever. So simple, so elegant. Lu's dress had some interesting beading on the chest...not where I would have placed the "tassels". Baiul's shoulder fur! Witt's lace dress showed off her ample features. Tonya's blades, certainly a fashion choice! And God bless all the lutz edges! Last but not least, can we go back to ending programs with either a basic scratch or backspin? It made me so very nostalgic!
Justine: Wow the hair and the dresses! Oksana yikes! Nancy, Yuka and Katarina looked lovely.
Yikes, 1994 was a long time ago! Do you agree with our 2016 judges or did you think they got it right in 1994? Leave us a comment to let us know, then sign up to judge a future event!