Usova & Zhulin

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by lulu, Sep 9, 2013.

  1. lulu

    lulu New Member

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    U&Z are two time Olympic medalists, 1993 world champions and 4 time world medalists, an impressive tally by any definition. That being said U&Z are one of those teams where their medal count never really matched their level of talent, they just had the unfortunate luck of skating during a peak period in ice dance, but also against three of the greatest teams of all time-K&P, G&P, and T&D.

    In 1987-1988 B&B and K&P were unquestionably the number 1 & 2 team in the USSR and in the world, and U&Z were fighting for the third spot against A&S. A&S placed above them at both Soviet Nationals and Europeans and earned the third spot at the Olympics.

    The overcame A&S the following year, only to have to deal with the emergence of the Duchesnays during their creative peak, with their well regarded and iconic "Missing" program.

    At the 1991 World championships they had a gorgeous OD to "Summertime"-one of the best Original Dances of all time, IMO, and an an absolutely sublime free dance, but when it came down to ordinals and scoring, U&Z, who probably should of won that competition dropped down to third place.

    The next year they placed 3rd at the Olympics (I would of had them 2nd, with G&P in 3rd). With the retirement of K&P and D&D, U&Z were looking to finally cement their position as the number one ice dance team in the World. They won at Worlds, but G&P provided very tough competition. (While I'm very happy U&Z won, and think their routine was certainly gold medal worthy, I can fully understand the argument for placing G&P in first and thought their routine was both more difficult and on a personal level, liked it a little bit more than U&Z's great FD).

    They go into the Olympic year as defending World champions and previous Olympic medalists, only to have to then deal with not only the rapid rise of G&P but the return of the legendary T&D, with of course G&P overtaking them for the gold medal at the Olympics.
     
  2. KimGOAT

    KimGOAT Active Member

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    The thing about them is being arguably often undermarked, and having such a tough field, bad timing, they were also one of the unluckiest teams ever too. Think of some the events:

    91 Worlds- led after the compulsory and original dance. Took 4 1st place ordinals out of 9 judges in the free dance. Still the ordinals went such a way they dropped to 3rd with the Duchensays barely winning. Klimova & Ponomarenko who were only 3rd going into the final FD had only 2 judges place them higher than U&Z in the FD and even passed them for silver.

    94 Europeans- had the title wrapped up after beating Torvill & Dean 5-4 in the free dance ordinals. Gritschuk & Platov were too far back to have any chance to win. However G&P taking straight 1st places with two random 3rds created a situation T&D now had 6 2nds vs Usova & Zhulin having 2 1sts and 3 2nds, and T&D passed U&Z in the FD, took the title, G&P took silver, and U&Z dropped from gold to bronze by a fluke ordinal flip.

    94 Olympics- lost by .1 of a point. Had the bad luck to draw early to skate in both the OD and FD which probably hurt them.

    92 Worlds- seemed to be challenging Klimova & Ponomarenko after narrowly losing the OD 6 judges to 3. Were having an amazing FD performance but he fell, erasing any chances for a big upset over the Olympic Champions.
     
  3. KimGOAT

    KimGOAT Active Member

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    You are wrong on one thing. G&P were not tough competition for U&Z at the 93 Worlds. They barely took 2nd at that event, and didn't have a 1st place ordinal in any dance. After 93 Worlds U&Z looked like an easy lock for the 94 Olympic Gold, then suddenly he has another affair and their relationship is even worse than after the first one, their skating and programs go backwards in a big way, G&P suddenly rise a great deal in the judges eyes after looking like they were on the way down after the 93 Worlds, and T&D return as well.
     
  4. gk_891

    gk_891 Active Member

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    As stunningly artistic as U/Z were, I found them a little lacking technically as their programs often lacked content. Their 1994 programs were much better in that regard although their speed and flow really went downhill that year, probably because they had upped their difficulty. True, 1993 Worlds was no contest as it wasn't even close but I still would've had G&P in first after both the OD (which was ironically one of G&P's weakest ODs in their entire careers) and FD.
     
  5. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Julia, Elena, Anna, Liza, and Vera

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    I loved U&Z. They should have won at least one more title (world or Olympic). They may have been one of the few reigning world champs in ice dance to not win the OGM (FP&M were the other, I believe).
     
  6. zotza

    zotza allergic to brainless skaters

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    And Domnina/Shabalin in 2009..Moiseeva/Minenkov in 1975..
    The ice dance curse..If you win your first World gold medal a year before the olympics , you lose at the Olympics:cool:
     
  7. lulu

    lulu New Member

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    Thanks for the info re: 1993 Worlds, I guess just after watching the programs, I thought/assumed it was closer with the judging than it actually was. :p

    @Zotza, great point!
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2013
  8. Shyjosie

    Shyjosie Active Member

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    D/D shared this fate in '92.
    I, too, hold a great compassion for U/Z, loved their skating and admire their endurance considering they were let down cruelly after years with tough competition. Even though their '94 program was not quite as good as their former routines, they should have won in Lillehammer, IMO.
     
  9. leapfrogonice

    leapfrogonice Active Member

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    Hard to imagine what kind of training temperament they must have had to maintain given the "issues" they had off-ice. Their strongest skating seemed at times a product and expression of the tensions and energies, but they also came up egregiously short at the end of their professional career with some pretty half baked programs, which remain the last thing they did and the first thing some remember. Still wondering whose idea it was to bring that mylar heart-balloon onto the ice and release it during the program.
     
  10. jenniferlyon

    jenniferlyon Well-Known Member

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    I think what hurt U&Z in 1994 was the program they chose. They tried to be cutesy and lovey-dovey, which didn't work for them. They should have chosen something classical and elegant, or artistic and quirky. Maya was wearing a flowered dress with a lace collar, for pete's sake!
     
  11. lulu

    lulu New Member

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    I appreciate it when skaters move out of their comfort zone and try new styles, but yes, I think they would of been better served with a more balletic/artiste program such as 1991 1992 or a blues program such as in 1993. But with the ISU deciding to have a return to more traditional/ballroom dancing that season, they weren't really able to show off their best assets.
     
  12. leapfrogonice

    leapfrogonice Active Member

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    Just curious, so many ways to spell the name Maya/Maia. Which was the way she officially spelled it?
     
  13. blue_idealist

    blue_idealist Well-Known Member

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    I always wondered about that too. There are often alternate spellings for the Russian skaters' names, such as Evgeni and Evgeny.
     
  14. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    Considering the short history of Olympics Ice Dance quite a few reigning World Champions did not win the OGM:

    1976- Moiseeva & Minenkov came in as the 75 World Champions and lost to the legendary Pakhomova & Gorshkov. However they only won the 75 Worlds with P&G out, so it never felt like they were the favorites to begin with.

    1992- Duchensays

    1994- Usova & Zhuliln

    2002- Fusar Poli & Margalio came in as the reigning World Champions and barely held onto the bronze after a fall.

    2010- Domnina & Shabalin came in as the reigning World Champions and left only with the bronze.

    The 80s was the best time for the reigning World Champions in ice dancing as all 3 prevailed at the Games. Overall though only 5 of 10 of reigning WC have gone on to Olympic Gold in ice dance the next year. A surprising fact given the nature of dance judging pre COP (and pre COP it was only 4 of 8, so still only half). One fact that holds true, the reigning World Champion has never missed the Olympic podium the next year in ice dance history however.
     
  15. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Julia, Elena, Anna, Liza, and Vera

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    That's true of most disciplines. The glaring exception is Kurt Browning missing the Olympic podium Twice, after entering as the reigning world champion each time.

    I will have to think of more examples, if there are any. It could make another thread. :)
     
  16. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    Emmerich Danzer missed the 68 Olympics podium coming in as 2 time World Champion (and winning the post Olympic Worlds too). He won the free skating at the Olympics too, but was 4th after figures and barely stayed in 4th place overall despite winning the free skate. Sergei Volkov missed the podium at the 76 Olympics, despite coming in as reigning World Champion. Vladimir Kovalev came into the 1980 Olympics as World Champion and WD after the figures, but sitting in 5th he was never going to medal as all his sucess came through leads after figures. Donald McPherson of Canada was the reigning World Champion at the time of the 1964 Olympics but had retired after winning the 63 Worlds and wasnt even there. Donald Jackson the previous years winners from Canada had also retired long before the Games, making it an unusual event with virtually no skaters of past history or winnings.

    Those are the only examples I can think of right now. It is funny how most or all of the reigning World Champions to miss the Olympic podium are in the mens singles.
     
  17. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    I guess Opika von Méray Horváth was technically the reigning World Champion going into the 1920 Olympics as the winner of the last World Championships held in 1914 (the rest from 1915-1921 cancelled due to the War), and she won the last 3 Worlds at that point, but she was retired and didnt compete at the 1920 Olympics. This would be a good thread I agree.
     
  18. kwanoverrated

    kwanoverrated Active Member

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    Another one is Shishkova Naumov in 1994 who won Worlds but lost any medal of color at Olympics same year.
     
  19. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Julia, Elena, Anna, Liza, and Vera

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    The Olympics took place before S&N won their world title. Had they won the bronze at the 94 Oly, B&E would have been the reigning world champs that did not win a medal at the Olys.