Why didnt Meno & Sand achieve more.

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by Gabybackhand, May 7, 2013.

  1. Gabybackhand

    Gabybackhand Member

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    Meno & Sand were a really elegant and beautiful team but they never really seemed capable of winning a major title, despite winning 3 world medals. They were generally underdogs even in a rather weak pairs era where the top teams ahead of them wer Shishkova & Naumov, Eltsova & Bushkov, Kovarikova & Novotny, Kazhakova & Dmitriev, and Woetzel & Stuuer. That did they lack to become more of a threat than they were atleast.
  2. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    I love their skating. They were like fragile porcelain skaters on top of a music box. They achieved more than any American pair could have expected in the last 50 years.
  3. artsciboy

    artsciboy New Member

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    They lacked consistency, SBS triple jumps, difficult throws, etc. (yes, they attempted some of the big tricks, but were hardly consistent - hence why they'd go for SBS 2axels in the SP, etc.). Elegant lines, but they were also quite bland with their choreography.
  4. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    I disagree. They never won a world title. Babilonia-Gardner won world title in 1979.

    They never won an Olympic medal. Watson-Oppegard won a bronze in 1988.

    Both are within 50 years.

    The reason Meno & Sand did not win was they lacked consistency and they could not match the speed of the Russian and Canadian pairs. At the 1998 worlds when they had a chance to win, they did only a throw single axel. They were lucky to win back to back world bronze medals in relatively weak fields.
  5. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    Who the hell expected World titles and Olympic medals from Americans? Those were reserved for communist and former communist teams. It did happen ... like people winning the lottery happens.
    Last edited: May 7, 2013
  6. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    That is a very unfair statement. If you look at the quality of pairs skating, there was no comparison between the USSR/Russians and the Americans, after the Protopopovs changed the face of pairs skating. The Russians had superior speed, athleticism, lyricism and consistency. Watson-Oppegard actually won their Olympic bronze medal despite a fall, beating Selezneva-Makarov in 1988. There was no lottery there. They just happened to skate better, and technically stronger.

    Considering how deep the talent pool was in the USSR in particular (it continued for sometime after the breakup), it was not surprising that they dominated pairs skating and ice dancing for decades. During that time the Americans dominated the singles in men (until the mid-90's) and ladies (until 2002) but you conveniently ignore that, and don't accuse the Americans for it.
  7. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    There was nothing unfair about my comment. Note in my original comment I said "pair". It would have been more likely for Rodnina to win another World title in the third trimester of a pregnancy or Selezneva and Makarov getting 3rd instead of 4th at the 1988 Olympics despite Makarov competing with a broken knee.
    Last edited: May 7, 2013
  8. essence_of_soy

    essence_of_soy Well-Known Member

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    American pairs have a propensity for splitting up. In a way I am kind of sorry Meno and Wendland didn't stick together. I loved their short program from the 1992 Olympic Games and felt they had real long term potential.
  9. lulu

    lulu New Member

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    Speaking of Meno & Sand's former partners, I enjoyed this SP from Natasha Kuchiki & Todd Sand in 1991: http://youtu.be/9H5HElyfphA
  10. dorianhotel

    dorianhotel Member

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    They should have learnt the side by side triple toes sooner. Had they had that jumps they could have won the 95 and 96 Worlds. In 96 they might have won given the crappy event even as it was if he had not stepped out of his double axel in the short program. When the opportunities were there they often made mistakes. Their biggest blown opportunity of all was probably the 97 Worlds, which would have given them much more momentum going into the Olympic season.

    Their triple twist was also weak for a top senior pair. They were elegant and had nice lines, and some very nice programs at times, but they lacked technical power, and he wasnt strong enough physically to do the huge pair tricks of some other top pairs.
  11. screech

    screech Well-Known Member

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    Actually, the Canadians dominated singles in mens, not Americans (unless you meant North Americans). Browning won 3 world titles in the 90s (and a silver), Stojko won 3 as well, with an additional 3 medals, and his 2 O's medals.
  12. BreakfastClub

    BreakfastClub Active Member

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    Actually, it was really the US, Canada and USSR/ex-USSR that co-dominated men's skating for over a decade - Orser/Boitano/Fadeev in the 80s, then Browning/Petrenko w/Bowman & Eldredge in the late 80s early 90s, followed by Stojko/Eldredge/Urmanov & Kulik mid-90s thru 1998. Every now and then a Barna, Candeloro or Filipowski would crash a podium but these 3 countries dominated all the World and Olympic podiums from 1984-1998 (especially '84-'94).

    Back to original topic - Todd Sand was just getting too old by the time he partnered with Jenni. I give him all the credit in the world for trying to learn a triple toe after the age of 30, but they pretty much maxed out what they could do technically due to his age and their lack of power/speed. Their success is attributable to the brilliance of John Nicks and Mr. Nicks (as always) knowing exactly how to package a skater or team in way that would maximize their strengths (for Meno/Sand their presentation, lines, carriage) and having them well trained for competition pretty much at the limit of their abilities (and IMO sometimes perhaps past their abilities, which is when they'd make mistakes.)
    PeterG and (deleted member) like this.
  13. casken

    casken Well-Known Member

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    He couldn't jump.
  14. leafygreens

    leafygreens Well-Known Member

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    I agree.
  15. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

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    They looked slow and tentative compared to other teams. They didn't have the biggest difficulties (throw triples or sbs jumps). I think they have achieved very, very well, considering their potential. ;)
  16. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    One thing that they did achieve that not too many have is a decent pro career. They were on SOI (and I think CSOI some years as well) for years, back when the tour was 40+ dates, plus they did the pro competitions, and if memory serves, a few guest starring roles on all the tv specials we used to enjoy.

    All in all, not a bad career at all.
  17. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, I was not clear. I meant North Americans (not just US Americans).

    In the ladies though I meant US ladies.
  18. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

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    I think they tried hard to package themselves in the same elegant mode as the top European pairs, but I didn't buy it; I don't think the international judges bought it either. Todd, for one, hunched his upper body, and physically for a male pair skater, he looked slight out of the ice. I thought overall they were boring ... one of my fridge breaks.
  19. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

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    Well they were riding the crest of skating popularity in the aftermath of Nacy&Tonya scandal. And beside Kyoko & Zimmerman, what other top American pairs with any sort of name recognitions were available for SOI and those made-for-tv competitions? The producers weren't going to get "nobodies" to fill those slots.
  20. lulu

    lulu New Member

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    I think this is precisely the reason why I didn't care for Meno & Sand's skating. :shuffle: I did however, really enjoy Natasha Kuchiki and Todd Sand's SP from 1991.
    That being said, M&S's competitive accomplishments, even during a period of transition in pairs skating, is certainly nothing to sneeze at, three world medals is impressive.
  21. manhn

    manhn Well-Known Member

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    I friggin' loved Meno & Sand. Their 95/96 short program is one of the greats of that decade, IMO. OMG, that spiral sequence...an indication that extreme flexibility is not required to make a great spiral.

    But their triple toes were rarely attempted--let alone successful. And a throw 2A was not difficult enough.

    For me, it was never about M&S not having achieved enough. I think they were quite underappreciated by the US. Maybe it was due to Michelle/Tara, underappreciated nonetheless.
  22. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    Their timing was right. SOI was a popular tour back then and they did come up with some interesting programs in it. The other US pairs that achieved more at the world level did not have the benefit of a SOI or a COI tour. Their careers ended when they retired from the amateur ranks (Babilonia-Gardner did tour later in their career, but it was already too late).
  23. museksk8r

    museksk8r Well-Known Member

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    That's basically it in a nutshell. Meno/Sand were still performing side-by-side 2Axels along with an easier side-by-side double jump when all the other top pairs had moved on to performing side-by-side 3toes along with side-by-side 2Axels. Also, other pairs were performing 2 sets of throw triple jumps while Meno/Sand were still doing throw 3Salchow and throw 2Axel. It sent the judges a message that the two of them couldn't keep up with the technical advances of the sport.
  24. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    Obviously. The original OP asked why didn't they achieve more, and while others were talking about their competitive career, I thought it worth pointing out that they enjoyed a fruitful professional career as well.
  25. NadineWhite

    NadineWhite Well-Known Member

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    To answer the question posed in the title of this thread, they were skating against G&G and all the dominant Russian pairs at the time, not to mention Canada's #1 pair team of Brasseur & Eisler, period.

    In view of that I thought they did F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S. In fact there's been no other US pair team since them that can even come close imho. Their record speaks for itself: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jenni_Meno
  26. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

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    All things considered, Jenni and Todd have had a great deal of success and indeed (after first meeting and falling head-over-heels in love) they have seemingly reached all of the goals they set for themselves on and off the ice. It was risky to split-up with their former pairs partners and strike out together. They did it and together they achieved what many thought would be impossible both short term and long term. Added to that, they are absolutely gorgeous looking in person and on the ice. :)

    They had a satisfying professional career together, and they are raising handsome sons. And they are also having some success as figure skating coaches. Best of luck and continued success to you, Jenni and Todd!
  27. Seerek

    Seerek Well-Known Member

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    I think a key turning point in Meno/Sand's career would have been placing as the 2nd placed US pair (5th) at 1997 Worlds to Ina/Dungjen (4th).
    Had they skated a better LP, the judges would have likely kept them on the podium over Kazakova/Dmitriev (and considering the mistakes of Eltsova/Bushkov and Woetzel/Steuer, maybe even up to silver)
  28. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

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    Short answer: they weren't good enough.
  29. moebius

    moebius Well-Known Member

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    Simple. They had cardboard skating personality. Stiff and no emotion.
  30. skateboy

    skateboy Well-Known Member

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    I think they had a pretty decent career, considering his age and that they didn't skate together all that long.
  31. Karina1974

    Karina1974 Well-Known Member

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    No access to YouTube right now or I'd look it up myself, so... please tell me that isn't the one there they used a horribly hacked up version of "Blue Danube" - whoever did the music editing for that program had absolutely no clue about musical continuity.
  32. NYScorp6

    NYScorp6 Member

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    Lack of speed and side by side triples.
    They also weren't able to or didn't try to break out of their comfort zone.
    All that being said their long program @ the 95 Nationals in Providence was stunning and brought the crowd to their feet. Then it seemed they kept going backwards to the same program over and over again. Which surprised me due to the fact Mr. Nicks was their coach.
  33. manhn

    manhn Well-Known Member

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    I love their "Blue Danube", but I was referring to their "Fantasy Impromptu" (Chopin).
  34. SmallFairy

    SmallFairy Well-Known Member

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    Yes, they just kept skating to Turandot year after year...
  35. Yazmeen

    Yazmeen Well-Known Member

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    I have to smile at this thread; I had a friend who wasn't a huge skating fan but who loved Sand when he was with Kuchiki and LOATHED Jenni Meno because "she set her sights on Todd and STOLE him," LOL.

    Personally, I like them but thought they were rather bland compared to their contemporaries. Very white bread.
  36. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

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    They didn't have the difficulty. They were consistent with less difficulty. When they medaled at Worlds it was typically because of others mistakes and/or a depleted field (1998).
  37. Louis

    Louis Tinami 2012

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    One thing people haven't mentioned is the frequent injuries they suffered. Todd Sand was fairly old for a pairs skater and couldn't ever seem to stay healthy. And then Jenni, who was normally a rock, had an injury during 1998 that affected her all season. Bottom line, they were never able to train long enough to build momentum. They'd spend the entire season battling to regain elements, versus trying new ones. Over the years, their programs got simpler.

    I thought they looked best in 1996-97 when they went to Rodnina during one of Nicks' retirements. They skated faster, tried the triple toes consistently (and landed them often), and had more difficult lifts and choreography. Didn't seem like they could quite handle it, though.

    The throw double axel wasn't as big of a problem in those days. It didn't hold back Woetzel and Steuer. And, until Berezhnaya and Sikharulidze, none of the top pairs was doing throw triple loop. In those days, a big double axel with a nicely held landing could carry as much weight as a small throw triple toe.
  38. stevlin

    stevlin Member

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    Judging was very crooked back then.
  39. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    They were so boring. My Mom called them Ken & Barbie.
  40. campbellka

    campbellka New Member

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    I remember after Sergei Grinkov passed away, I was interested in Meno & Sand because they were another pair who was in love and thought they may duplicate some of the same imagery I had seen with G & G. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. I don't know what it was. I can't put my finger on it. While it was obvious they were in love, they seemed very conservative in displaying it on the ice, like it was something they wanted to hold onto for themselves. I just remember G & G skating like they didn't have a care in the world and that they would stare into each other's eyes and still skate magically. They were touted somewhat as being the American version of G & G which I thought was a bit silly. Both couples were different.

    As far as their skating, all of the performances I saw involved a mistake by either or both of them, mainly in jumping. I think they could have gone further.