View Full Version : Inspiration for Today's Pairs Skaters
08-07-2010, 05:55 AM
The most exciting pairs team today for me are Savchenko & Szolkowy. Pang & Tong had great routines at the Olympics and Worlds, and it will be fun to see what they might do if they plan on continuing. I've loved watching the great connection between Shen & Zhao, and their uplifting mastery on the ice. G&G simply one of the greatest pairs of all time. But today, for me, Savchenko & Szolkowy in collaboration with their coach, Ingo Steuer, have raised the bar in pairs figure skating. I look forward to seeing what they will do this coming season.
It's sad to hear about the break-up of McLaughlin/ Brubaker. Hopefully, Rockne will find another partner. For a short time, I believe Tai Babilonia had been a mentor for them (someone to talk with who had been there, done that). Tai has a great interview from last year on manleywoman's podcast in which she speaks about giving advice to Rockne and Keauna. She had asked them, "How much do you want it?" and "What do you feel right now?" Tai shared her experiences with Keauna, and told her she understood that feeling of being overwhelmed. She counseled Keauna and Rockne to have patience, and work on improving and not worry or think too much about winning. That's good advice for all skaters. One thing Tai emphasized for all U.S. pairs: "Stay together doing the tough times and the growth spurts, because you will have a better chance of succeeding in the end." The important thing Tai noted was that both sets of parents, the coach, and the pairs team must all be on the same page. Tai also stated that if you come to a point where you're not happy and you don't feel you really want it, then you should get out.
Here's some inspiration for pairs skaters of today. Watch those pull Arabians, the cartwheel lift, split jumps, and the spread eagles into ina bauers! Tai and Randy didn't have the speed of Rodnina and Zaitsev, but they had superb command, precision, artistic flair, finished moves, and unparalled unison.
08-07-2010, 02:07 PM
I quit watching after the first half. But man it felt like watching skating in slow motion :) They have some cool tricks and look polished. Just it was slow and boring for me.
08-07-2010, 02:54 PM
As for me, I got annoyed by the constantly same stiff position of their arms and lack of arm movements... although there were some pretty cool elements indeed, their synchronization was awesome, but to me they looked like a pair or robots. I mean, if you add today's teams' softness and artistry to those elements and tricks, you might have sth great indeed ;)
But as for Aliona and Robin, for me they're already perfect, artistically the best pair I've ever seen. Almost like ice dancers ;) Another pair I have huge hopes about is the new Volosozhar/Trankov. I really believe they have all it takes to become even better then the German team. But we'll see.
08-08-2010, 03:56 AM
I think you have to remember that skating styles have changed very much from what they used to be 30 years ago.
Tai and Randy were beautiful, with probably some of the best unison you will ever see on a pairs team.
08-08-2010, 06:28 AM
Oh, babbyrabbit and mia joy, to me you guys sound a bit spoiled and jaded in regards to the accessibility of seeing skating today, and all the CoP busyness of current skating. Yep, Tai and Randy were not speedy skaters, but they were extraordinary during their era, and their accomplishments still stand the test of time. Of course, you are both entitled to the way you happen to view skating through the lens of today, and without any historical perspective.
Also, I was not suggesting that S&S lack anything or that they need to make significant changes (Ingo always comes up with something outside the box for his team). I do believe that all skaters would benefit by watching skaters from past eras, and by learning in general about the sport's history. There is definitely something in this performance by Tai & Randy that is inspirational. Yes, the music selection and cuts are different from the way it's done today, and even their costumes are dated (of that era). Still they are great role models of that time. You really should read the excellent book about their career: "Forever Two As One," by Tai and Randy with Martha Lowder Kimball.
Thanks for your fair assessment of Tai and Randy, and for your perspective re the different skating styles/ eras AussieWilly.
08-08-2010, 03:14 PM
I, too, agree that it is worth it to appreciate the skaters of the past for the very foundation on which modern skating is built. Of course, skaters today do much more, skating has evolved as it should have.
Tai and Randy were extraordinary and I agree that watching their performances from back then has merit for current pair skaters. To see their unison and the vision of "two skating as one" is remarkable. Every pair should strive for that. And twenty years before Tai and Randy, pair skaters didn't even do high overhead lifts or triple throw lifts. The throws were very small and the lifts more of a swinging lasso type around the man's shoulders.
I'm glad pair skating has become the exciting, thrilling spectacle it is now and I'm also glad to see the arm movements and dance quality they use. But it never hurts to watch the skaters of old and learn from them.
08-08-2010, 06:34 PM
Thanks for your thoughts, tapdancer.
Here are links to Rodnina and Zaitsev, in case some of today's younger generation never heard of or saw them skate. Their speed, unison and innovation made them unbeatable. The below 1980 program is when they came back after having a baby together. They didn't miss a beat, and actually had improved in terms of their connection together on the ice. Their speed was remarkable (and wasn't that a young TAT at end of the first video?)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWzQYjgudz4 an earlier 1978 performance
It's interesting to compare the evolution of pairs with these S&S performances below:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ipkwkZBK2Q 2007 Euros
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ipkwkZBK2Q 2010 Olympics sp
And down memory lane with the gorgeous, incomparable G&G-- watch "the joy in Ekaterina's face" speed, unison everything -- unforgettable moments:
Shen and Zhao -- out of the shadows; this performance always sends chills up my spine; such a thrilling, glorious celebration of their love for each other and their joy for figure skating, even in the face of Shen's injury ... amazing!
Pang & Tong in 2010 reinvented themselves, displaying the mastery of Shen & Zhao and the innovation of S&S, combined with their own wonderful qualities.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjXqhh_eT-o&translated=1 (Worlds sp)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TshejVS3S8 (lp from Worlds, not as great as at the Olympics, but that video is restricted)
What do all of these performances have in common? Great music combined with beautiful choreography and a palpable connection between the pairs (underneath it all, the hard work, sacrifices, and staying together through thick and thin)!
Note that Pang & Tong have been together for 17 years! Shen and Zhao went from last to first over a ten-year period. During their 2007 Euros performance, S&S were going through an extremely difficult time during which they determinedly stayed loyal to their coach. The threesome have remained together and elevated the sport. When Tai & Randy reached their peak at Worlds in 1979, they got there after a period of several years of adjusting to Tai's growth spurt (when things were not going great for them). During that difficult period, they could have quit, but they stayed together and became a part of skating history.
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