A nice clip of Punsalan & Swallow's Worlds FD 1998 was just linked on youtube. I love how their lifts come down just where they should with respect to the music.
P&S were 5th in both CD's at Worlds and yet finished 6th to this open, sloppy program by FP/M where Maurizio is seldom off 2 feet-even if they performed this better at Worlds (which I don't know, I don't have a clip), it would still be a travesty. This is a result I am totally unable to explain.
So yes, P&S were underrated, in my book.
Doris, like yourself and others I agree that P&S were underrated during the 97/98 season. However in general if we count the entirety of their eligible career IMHO they were not.
After they debuted their race car program they spent the years in between that and the Oblivion FD skating to tepid, bland uninteresting Latin routines. Every darn year. It also took P&S some time to improve their technical skills to the point they were at when they skated to Oblivion. People comment on how Igor's coaching choices hurt the teams he's currently training but those teams are still doing much better than P&S did back then. I always wondered what on earth Igor (and P&S) were smoking that made them believe that skating to generic Latin routines every year was a good idea.
True, the judges weren't going to do P&S any favors but they and Igor did themselves no favors with their choices.
P&S, and for that matter S&Z, were in a cleft stick. 1994 to 1998 was the period of time when FD routines were supposed to be ballroom dances. Trouble is, only in the US was that taken all that seriously. P&S were usually in a battle with R&S for the one spot at Worlds-and to get that spot, you had to win US Nationals. And to win US nationals, you had to have an FD that went down well in the US--I have no idea how Race Cars managed to get through that wall of general disapproval for 'show' programs. But definitely, after Race Cars, the walls closed in.
I've been watching FS since about 2001, and I do think Lang/Tchernyshev were slightly underrated (not significantly, though). In the 2000-2001 season, they were polished, extremely fast (did you see their World Championships FD that year?), and had difficult lifts and innovation. Their footwork was reasonably difficult, in my opinion, and had interesting steps. I often felt they should have been a place or two higher at Worlds than they received.
Certainly, they were passed by a couple teams the next two years largely because of injuries. At the Olympics, for example, I thought they should have been 10th (I don't see how N/K were ahead of them, and how they were ahead of Grushina/Goncharov through 2 phases is beyond me).
Belbin/Agosto were overrated in their earlier years, then undermarked in their later years. I think we can all agree on that. Gregory/Petukhov were sometimes undermarked (such as in the 03-04 and 06-07 seasons), but they were overmarked in the seasons in between those. N/B were certainly robbed of an Olympic spot in 2006, that was for sure.
The problem was that L&T never even once skated their "Storm/Air on a G String" FD clean. The mistakes ranged from a number of small balance checks and stumbles, to PPt whacking Naomi in the head with his leg which resulted in her stumbling (U.S. Nat'ls), finishing off the music (at 4CC's) to more stumbles which caused them to finished after the music (Worlds). Even at the Goodwill Games in August/September when you would think that having had an entire season to skate the program should have helped, L&T missed out on a bronze in Brisbane because of yet another very obvious stumble.
I have to say that it annoys me a tiny bit that L&T have ridden a wave of sympathy and generated so many wuzrobbed claims. On paper this is a team who was capable of more than what they showed but when it came time to bring it, L&T seldom did. I won't rehash the discussion that took place here regarding some of the other factors in L&T's failure to do as well as they should have but L&T seemed to have really been able to use being NA to their advantage when it came to being seen as the hardworking, supertalented but constantly cheated American dance team. I often felt that if their names weren't followed by "USA" some would be more honest about some of L&T's shortcomings. I admit that is one of the reasons I've never been a total L&T fan.
I do think that like DelShoes the judges might not have been open to L&T regardless but L&T gave the judges plenty of openings to mark them down.
I watched the 84 Olympic dance event again. I am sure I feel Blumberg & Seibert were robbed of a medal that year.
Although, in 'compensation', they were awarded the bronze at Worlds for a skate that was not nearly as good as their Olympics performance. So they were overgraded at Worlds, and undergraded at Nationals that year with respect to K&P.
OTOH, I would have had them higher than B&B both outings in 1984. B&B wouldn't have recognized a beat if it were hammered out on their heads with the drumsticks at that point in their careers. And it was most distracting in their Moiseev Dances FD that year, because the timing of those pieces is so fast in any case. If B&B were on the beat at any time in that FD, it was probably due to random chance.
The judges were actually pretty pro L&T at first. They debuted in the top 10 in their first year at worlds, which back then *usually* only happened for the best of the best teams (G&P, U&Z, Krylova and partners). They also wound up 4 spots ahead of the second ranked Canadian team (Lefebvre & Brunet)who they lost to just a month earlier at 4CC. Ironically, L&B then complained that they were under marked at worlds and specifically listed L&T as a team that was over marked by the judges.
Which they got a 6.0 for. No wonder they thought they were under marked by the international judges with the marks they were getting at home.The problem was that L&T never even once skated their "Storm/Air on a G String" FD clean. The mistakes ranged from a number of small balance checks and stumbles, to PPt whacking Naomi in the head with his leg which resulted in her stumbling (U.S. Nat'ls),
It's always amusing to compare Susie Wynne gushing over their 2000 World's performance and the completely underwhelmed "Meh" reaction of the Brit Eurosport commentators.and because of Susie Wynne's bias.
I agree. I think Lang and Tchernyshev were very underrated.