ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Great Skaters: Elaine Zayak and Midori Ito

Updated on August 9, 2014

Elaine Zayak

During the 1980s some skaters awed the audience with their extraordinary jump technique. Among them was a skater who even forced the ISU to change the rules.

Her name was Elaine Zayak.

Elaine Zayak was a skater whose physical handicap became her motive of skating. When Zayak was three years old, she lost two toes. As a therapy to rehabilitate her balance, skating was recommended by a doctor, but Zayak's skating grew beyond just a therapy.

In the 1980s, triple jumps were the key to win the competition, and that's Zayak's strength. At thirteen, Zayak won both U.S. Junior Championships and the World Junior Championships.

In the 1982 World Championships , Zayak landed six triples in the free program to win the title beating Katrina Witt. It was the first time that any lady skater landed six triple jumps in competition.

Zayak's success inspired many more to attempt triple jumps in the competition. Eventually the ISU modified the rules to limit the number of jumps in the program.

After the rule change, Zayak couldn't overcome the tough challenge from Rosalynn Sumners and German skater, Katarina Witt.

Elaine Zayak in 1984

What do you think is the best quality of Zayak's skating?

See results

Elaine Zayak in 1980

Midori Ito in 1988

What do you think is the greatest strength in Ito's skating?

See results

Midori Ito

After the rule change that specifically targeted at Zayak the ISU succeeded in keeping her at bay.

It is because the judges were easily persuaded by the number of triple jumps, and the measure was to prevent from turning figure skating competition into jumping competition.

But there was another skater who dwarfed Zayak. It was Midori Ito.

Midori Ito was a skater who slapped the ISU in the face.

Ito wasn't a traditional type of female figure skater. Like Zayak, Ito was a small figure, rather stocky, but her power and control in jump was unprecedented, hardly imaginable in ladies figure skating.

Ito demonstrated a superb proficiency in jump. Her jump was high, fast, and strong. Ito was a kind of skater that defied the ISU's vision in Katarina Witt and ladies figure skating.

In the context of figure skating debate between the ISU and skaters in the post Janet Lynn, Witt was the answer close to the definition of ladies figure skating.

Three factors contributed to Katarina Witt's success. The rule change that targeted to contain Zayak's jumping advantage, Biellmann's early retirement, exhausted from the weight of her fame, and the ISU's psychological resistance to jumpers' dominance.

But it was Midori Ito that presented a new mode of figure skating. Midori Ito was a sensational jumper, often jumping more powerful than men. Ito broke the barrier of ladies figure skating by succeeding triple axel in competition for the first time.

Ito was perhaps the most powerful jumper in the ladies figure skating history. Ito's speed, height and power was simply incomparable.

Ito's physiological conditions, however, have two sides, naturally. While her small and stocky shape helped her exceed in jump, she suffered greatly in other elements.

Moreover, Ito's acrobatic jumping technique was more suitable to men than women and its stylistic affinity to gymnastic athleticism tended to contextually negate aesthetics of ladies figure skating.

Modori Ito in 1989

What do you think is the weakest element in Ito's skating?

See results

Your Expertise to Flaunt

Who do you think is better if the two skaters produce programs of virtually equal quality?

See results

Vote for your choice

Who do you think is a better jumper?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)