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1988 Olympics: Katarine Witt, Elizabeth Manley, Debi Thomas, and Midori Ito.

Updated on November 13, 2015

Katarina Witt in 1988

Katarina Witt in 1988

Can't be sure if Witt earned 8.0 in her short program.

Witt is powerful and proficient. However her details are much desired. If I give her 8.0 PCS, that may largely owe to her expressiveness.

The way Witt handles her body is embarrassingly poor for a top skater. Witt's efforts to cover up her deficiency are also pitiful. Witt loves to present a dramatic show, but that's too shallow and cheap.

On the other hand, Witt in free program shows her usual audacity and power. Of course, she again deploys dramas to save her stamina. I don't buy that. No matter how corny it seems, however, her way of salvaging works magic. Witt is definitely a smart player.

Witt's first jump combination is +2 GOE by the standards of her time.

Here Witt's PCS for free program is 8.5.

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Elizabeth Manley in 1988

Elizabeth Manley in 1988

In short program Manley beat Witt far and wide.

You can tell how Manley uses her body more easily and more proficiently than Witt. Manley is a skater better than Witt in bodily moves;she is more polished than Witt.

But Manley's lead may be marginal.

Manley's PCS for short program is 8.25.

In free program, Manley shows a higher degree of polishing, connectivity and general skating than Witt while Witt is better than Manley in handling jumps and putting up a show.

Another thing is that Manley's physiological disadvantage, being shorter than Witt, might have marked her down. Also Manley might have put up a show like Witt. Perhaps Manley's skating was too honest without sophistication,that might have earned her extra carrots.

Her PCS in free program is 8.5.

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Debi Thomas in 1988

Thomas could have been the best skater of the game, but she was not in her full capacity at the time. Her two-footed, step out and hands down would mark -3 in GOE.

Here, Thomas shows that she was a skater with the greatest potential and her inability to bring forth completeness to her execution ruined her chances.

As you can see in her, she had all balanced assets other skaters such as Witt, Manley or Ito lacked of, but she was unable to harvest fruits. You may say she was unlucky, but it is fair to say that Thomas hadn't matured to that level.

In this competition her PCS for free program is 7.5 which is much lower than her default PCS 8.25.

Debi Thomas in 1988

Midori Ito in 1988

Accurately speaking, Ito's jumps are not qualified for GOE due to her bad free leg position despite the fact that Ito's jumps show good height and strength.

A wrong habit is not a matter of mistake but offence to technical integrity. It's not a matter of deduction; it shouldn't be tolerated. Even to prevent the similar abuses, the principle of quality control has to be in force.

Her PCS is 8.0.

In her free program, Ito appears more impressive than in short program. Smooth and easy. Strong and proficient. Yes, Ito was indeed a skater with the best jumping technique at the time, except her free leg position.

However, Ito also shows that she has no line aesthetics due to her physiological handicap. Her arms and legs are not as efficient for artistic expressiveness as other skaters'. Ito's skating would earn points in jumps while losing points in other elements such as spin, line and extension.

Her PCS is 8.5.

Midori Ito in 1988

I think Witt's victory in 1988 is convincing unlike her 1984 Olympics. Despite Witt was surrounded by formidable challengers such as Elizabeth Manley or Midori Ito, Witt's performance seems as strong as her competitors.

On the other hand, Manley or Ito could have won as well. Except Debi Thomas, any of the trio could have claimed the crown.

It was a great battle among three big shots.

Who do you think is the real winner of the 1988 Olympics?

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