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  1. #1

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    Shishkova-Naumov: the unluckiest pair?

    In the true sense the unluckiest pair would be one that had a career ending injury (Paul Binnebose, for example), or missed a golden opportunity due to an injury, like Tai & Randy. However, I want to talk about a pair that did not have an injury, and yet they turned out to be very unlucky.

    I was watching some of my old tapes this weekend and I happened to watch Shishkova-Naumov's LP (skated to Schubert's Unfinished Symphony) at the 1995 worlds. It was loaded with technical difficulty, and they delivered it. The only flaw was they finished a couple of seconds behind the music. Sandra Bezic's comment was (why do I even take her seriously?) - the audience isn't moved; technically it was flawless. I believed then, and I believe now that S&N should have won over Kovarikova-Novotny (I liked them too) who had a mistake on a sbs jump, and technically their program was not as demanding. It was close, but not in terms of the judges marks. S&N were really held down to leave room for K&N.

    I noticed them for the first time at the 1992 Olympics. Loved their SP skated to 'Take Five'. I thought 1994 would be their year, but the pros returned- G&G and M&D. So S&N were pushed down. They lost a close decision for the bronze to Brasseur & Eisler because B&E were the reigning world champions (JMO- why they lost), so they did not even win an Olympic medal. That was very unlucky. They should have been contending for the OGM in 1994.

    I used to like S&N. They were not comparable with other great Russian pairs like G&G, M&D, B&S (R&Z and P&P were another generation, IMO), but they were a very good pair. Shishkova had beautiful positions and pointed toes on the lifts, spirals and everything she did. Their jumps and throws were not always solid, but they were not horribly inconsistent either.

    They were also unlucky in terms of ice time. During that time Russia did not have that many skating rinks, I think, and their practice time was limited to 2 hours a day.

    IIRC after the 1996 worlds where they did not even medal, they turned pro. It looked like their fed was not supporting them. Even as pros it seemed like no matter how well they skated, they never got good marks from the judges.

    I wish Shishkova-Naumov had had more success than they did. They did win a world championship, and a world silver, but they were good enough to win more.

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    loved them

    OH, I remember when their training time was reduced and they just didnt have the time in Russia to really prepare. I loved this pair. This is one of those just flat out, last sould survivor really RUSSIAN looking pairs. You could see the hours of balet and years of perfecting of their technique.

    not to be a debby downer but i hated how some of the russian pairs wore those ugle white boot covers. yuck LOL

  3. #3

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    I found them technically very good but they just didn't have any charisma. For me they were one of those teams that if I was rewatching events I would just fast forward through.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

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    I seem to recall that they were pretty slow compared to the other Russians as well, but I might be misremembering...

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    I really liked these two for soem reason. I seem to remember them getting some majorly dodgy marks/ordinals at the 96 worlds LP....

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    Kovarikova & Novotny's World title in 95 was payback for them undeservedly losing the European title with a much better performance to home country favorites Woetzel & Steuer a month earlier. Shishkova & Naumov had also been 3rd at those Europeans and 3rd in the short program at Worlds so the judges were probably not even seriously considering them for the gold, but looking at those other 2 teams (W&S ended up bombing their LP at Worlds skating right after K&N and dropping from 2nd to 5th).

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    Kovarikova & Novotny's World title in 95 was payback for them undeservedly losing the European title with a much better performance to home country favorites Woetzel & Steuer a month earlier. Shishkova & Naumov had also been 3rd at those Europeans and 3rd in the short program at Worlds so the judges were probably not even seriously considering them for the gold, but looking at those other 2 teams (W&S ended up bombing their LP at Worlds skating right after K&N and dropping from 2nd to 5th).
    That is how I remembered it as well...a 'late' medal I call it.
    I was pleased that they were able to win World gold in 1994.

    A dance team I loved but that couldn't crack the World 'top 3' were Annenko and Sretenski. They were 7th/4th/4th/4th at Worlds.
    Nice for her to be currently involved with the successful dance program in Detroit.
    She was married to Peter Tchernyshev, IIRC

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    They were promising in '91 Worlds and '92 Olympics, placing exactly where you'd expect a very good #3 Soviet / Russian Pair to place - Fifth. Perhaps they were being primed by the Russian Fed. to take over as #1, but Mishkutenok / Dmitriev and Gordeyeva / Grinkov decided to return for Lillehamer which kept them as #3 and off the Olympic podium.

    IIRC, the ordinals were very close between S/N and B/E for the Bronze. I think it was 5-4 in the LP. I would bet had one or both of M/D and/or G/G had stayed retired, Olympic judges would've placed S/N above B/E for Gold or Silver. But as #3, the judges wouldn't have a Russian sweep of the podium.

    They were '94 World Champs. But as explained above, they were surprisingly kept behind Kovarcikova / Novotny at '95 Worlds [who were retiring]. I do wonder about the politik that would keep a flawed Czech team behind a clean #1 Russian pair. Could Rodnina have been politiking hard for the Czechs?? The Czechs with this swan song were gifted the gold??

    And to be left off the podium in favor of Eltsova / Bushkov and even an American Pair like Meno / Sand at '96 Worlds was a big message to them. The Russian Fed obviously favored one pair over the other and that feeling trickled down to the all-important panel at '96 Worlds. Interestingly, IMO they had a wide-open shot at battling for the title of #1 Russian pair on paper at least- Eltsova / Bushkov were not THAT strong, Berezhnaya / Sikharulidze and Kazakova / Dmitriev were either non-entities or only in the infancies of their partnerships. So, the cards must've been stacked high against them, cuz they got the point and decided to retire.

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    I think hindsight & nostalgia is affecting some of you. I agree that her toe point & positions were exquisite. But they were also very inconsistant & very slow, & more often than not, very boring.

    I disagree that they "deserved" the 94 Oly bronze. Other things being equal, I think B&E's ability to keep you awake during their programs had to be worth something. B&E were not as polished but they were exciting & innovative. Isabelle was injured for the 94 Worlds or else S&N may not have been able to beat them. And even so, their win was controversial at the time.

    They were better (and more watchable) than Elksova & Buskov, but both teams were IMO workmanlike & extremely lucky to ever have a World title.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sedge View Post
    That is how I remembered it as well...a 'late' medal I call it.
    I was pleased that they were able to win World gold in 1994.

    A dance team I loved but that couldn't crack the World 'top 3' were Annenko and Sretenski. They were 7th/4th/4th/4th at Worlds.
    Nice for her to be currently involved with the successful dance program in Detroit.
    She was married to Peter Tchernyshev, IIRC
    I LOVED Annenko & Sretenski. I could not understand why they turned pro after placing 4th at the 1988 Olympics. With the retirement of B&B and W&M, they would have moved into at least the 3rd place. Usova-Zhulin were the surprise in 1990, with their talent, but A&S could have established themselves one year earlier and the two pairs could have fought out for the 2nd & 3rd places. Of course each would have to contend with the Dushenays at that point.

    In any case, A&S had an excellent pro career. I still remember their 'Thanksgiving' program- one of the most beautiful ice dance programs ever.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by taf2002 View Post
    I think hindsight & nostalgia is affecting some of you. I agree that her toe point & positions were exquisite. But they were also very inconsistant & very slow, & more often than not, very boring.

    I disagree that they "deserved" the 94 Oly bronze. Other things being equal, I think B&E's ability to keep you awake during their programs had to be worth something. B&E were not as polished but they were exciting & innovative. Isabelle was injured for the 94 Worlds or else S&N may not have been able to beat them. And even so, their win was controversial at the time.

    They were better (and more watchable) than Elksova & Buskov, but both teams were IMO workmanlike & extremely lucky to ever have a World title.

    It's not true that they were "very slow". I saw them skate live at Skate America in Dallas and they were head and shoulders above the rest of the field (sorry, can't remember what the field was). Compared to B&S or G&G they were slow and they did not display the command of the ice the way the top Russian pairs did, but in 94, they were the top Russian eligible pair that did not get the support of their fed.

    I don't remember S&N's win at worlds in 94 as being controversial. B&E were slower and very limited by Isabelle's injury. The only exciting thing about B&E was their daring lifts. S&N were clearly the better pair of the two, with their finer points. Neither pair was particularly consistent. The entire pairs field was weak from 94 to 97, so it was not surprising that Yeltsova-Bushkov(96), Woetzel-Steuyer(97), and Kovarikova-Novotny (95) won the world championships. I never considered Meno & Sand a top pair and they were lucky to get the silver in 98 (K&D and I&D were both out due to sickness)S&N were no worse than these pairs, but they always seemed to get the short end of the stick. Worlds in 96 was one of the worst results I have seen.

    However, I think their worst luck really was at the 94 Olympics. That was the only time the pros were allowed to skate in the Olympics and that would have been S&N's best opportunity to win an Olympic gold or silver in a relatively weak field (B&E, M&S, K&N were their competition). In Katia's book 'My Sergei' she mentioned that Vadim was bitter about it. Who can blame him?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Willy View Post
    I found them technically very good but they just didn't have any charisma. For me they were one of those teams that if I was rewatching events I would just fast forward through.
    Totmianina and Marinin came to my mind, very similar ´style´

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    T&M were very different from S&N. T&M were very consistent, and she had beautiful edges on her landings of the throws- one of the best I have seen. Except for the lifts, T&M were a very strong pair. S&N were not as consistent technically. They did have more feeling in their skating than T&M. Actually I liked both pairs for what they did well. I am not focusing on what they didn't do well. I liked T&M more than I did S&N. Part of the reason why S&N lacked the command or charisma may have been that nobody with authority (like their fed or the judges) gave them a vote of confidence and they probably did not feel very confident. I loved some of their performances though. At Skate America they were very good, and around 1995-96 they had a SP skated to Ave Maria that was lovely. There was a lightness about them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nlyoung View Post
    I seem to recall that they were pretty slow compared to the other Russians as well, but I might be misremembering...
    Of course, compared to G&G or even Mishkutienok&Dmitriev, anyone else looked slow.
    But not compared to Eltsova&Bushkov, IIRC.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    I was watching some of my old tapes this weekend and I happened to watch Shishkova-Naumov's LP (skated to Schubert's Unfinished Symphony) at the 1995 worlds. It was loaded with technical difficulty, and they delivered it. The only flaw was they finished a couple of seconds behind the music. Sandra Bezic's comment was (why do I even take her seriously?) - the audience isn't moved; technically it was flawless. I believed then, and I believe now that S&N should have won over Kovarikova-Novotny (I liked them too) who had a mistake on a sbs jump, and technically their program was not as demanding. It was close, but not in terms of the judges marks. S&N were really held down to leave room for K&N.
    I always struggle with this result - K&N really did have a much more intricate program, better-choreographed, and skated with more speed & power. There's an argument that they should have started with a much higher base mark than S&N and that the mistakes weren't enough to pull K&N below S&N. But I also just really wanted K&N to win, partly because of their highway robbery at Euros that year, and partly just because they really had the nicest programs. I also felt like over the two programs, they were the best pair (under COP, they could have had a fairly significant lead after the short) so on the whole, I just can't get too upset about S&N not winning Worlds in 95.

    IIRC after the 1996 worlds where they did not even medal, they turned pro. It looked like their fed was not supporting them. Even as pros it seemed like no matter how well they skated, they never got good marks from the judges.
    They actually stuck around for two more years, but didn't make the Russian team in either 97 or 98, once Berezhnaya & Sikharulidze came on to the scene. Between B&S, Elstova & Bushkov (as the most successful Russian team at 96 and 97 Worlds) and Kazakova & Dmitriev, it was tough to get on the Russian team.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    I LOVED Annenko & Sretenski. I could not understand why they turned pro after placing 4th at the 1988 Olympics. With the retirement of B&B and W&M, they would have moved into at least the 3rd place. Usova-Zhulin were the surprise in 1990, with their talent, but A&S could have established themselves one year earlier and the two pairs could have fought out for the 2nd & 3rd places. Of course each would have to contend with the Dushenays at that point.
    Annenko & Sretenski did stick around for the 1988-89 season, but they got passed by Usova & Zhulin at 89 Euros before not showing up at Worlds. U&Z were actually the surprise of 89, not 90 (debuting in 2nd at 89 Worlds before dropping to 3rd behind the Duchesnays in 90). I don't know the details on why A&S didn't go to 89 Worlds, whether they were injured or if they saw the writing on the wall after Euros. There was some controversy around their programs that season (at Skate Canada, there was discussion of whether their Charleston was really a Charleston or more of a ragtime number) and the Duchesnays weren't at Euros, so maybe they decided there wasn't much point in going to Worlds to finish 4th again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Erin View Post
    I

    Annenko & Sretenski did stick around for the 1988-89 season, but they got passed by Usova & Zhulin at 89 Euros before not showing up at Worlds. U&Z were actually the surprise of 89, not 90 (debuting in 2nd at 89 Worlds before dropping to 3rd behind the Duchesnays in 90). I don't know the details on why A&S didn't go to 89 Worlds, whether they were injured or if they saw the writing on the wall after Euros. There was some controversy around their programs that season (at Skate Canada, there was discussion of whether their Charleston was really a Charleston or more of a ragtime number) and the Duchesnays weren't at Euros, so maybe they decided there wasn't much point in going to Worlds to finish 4th again.
    Yes, it was 1989- thanks for the correction. In Sun Valley, where I frequently went to those outdoor FS shows, I remember that after the 1988 Olympics, one night they have Klimova-Ponomarenko (Olympic silver medallists at that time) and an unknown pair named Usova-Zhulin who were announced as the next 'stars'. They truly were wonderful even then. It was not a surprise that they won the silver at the 1989 worlds with their 'Mars-Chopin-Mars' free skate. I still think if A&S had stuck around, they had a realistic chance of winning the world bronze. Their resume is lacking in a world medal.

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    A&S probably would have won silver at the 89 Worlds had they stayed around. The heirarchy in the Soviet Union (remember this is dance pre COP) would have kept them over Usova & Zhulin for a couple years, deservedly or not. Granted I didnt see Europeans in 89 so not sure how they skated there, if they skated well and still lost then maybe the torch had passed already.
    In 1990 they would have dropped below the Duchensays too if still around.

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    Shishkova & Naumov actually dominated the 95-96 season until Worlds, not losing an event. It was shocking that when all the top pairs made mistakes in the free skate they got no benefit of doubt from many of the judges. Eltsova & Bushkov were the only top pair to not fall, their errors were a hand down on a throw and a small step out on a simple double jump. What surprised me most was Woetzel & Steuer winning silver with a sliding fall on a throw double axel, singling their only side by side double axel tries, and possibly a two footed throw. They were majorly held up (they pretty much always were overrated though)

    I think they lost at the 95 Worlds since many pairs- Kovarikova & Novotny, Woetzel & Steuer, Eltsova & Bushkov, even Meno & Sand, had better seasons going into Worlds.They had alot of problems throughout the season and nobody saw them as the top pair going in as a result. They were probably already dethroned in the judges minds before the event even began, despite that they put it all together at Worlds. To win this year they would have needed both the Czechs and Germans to bomb for the judges to give it to them (skated as badly as Woetzel & Steuer did at the 95 Worlds, not just be a bit off like K&N were). Not saying this is right of course but the result didnt surprise me even after seeing how the pairs skated. It would have been a big upset for S&N to win after the season they had going into Worlds. They also skated 1st in the final flight of 4 with K&N, W&S, and E&B yet to come. As they werent seen as the frontrunners at that point the judges were leaving room for potentially all 3 pairs to beat them if they also skated cleanly, making getting the winning marks nearly impossible even when they ended up being the only of the final 4 to skate cleanly.


    The worst thing for Shishkova & Naumov is 1994 was when they really hit their peak. And it was the only year the pro reinstatement was allowed. It did bring extra excitement to the whole sport, and of all the events the pairs was the most improved by it. Still it was unfair to the skaters in a large sense and rotten luck for a team like Shishkova & Naumov. They probably would have been Olympic and World Champions in 1994 had it not been for the reinstated pros and might have retired on the spot in that case and had a lucratrive pro career.

    By 97-98 they were past their prime so staying or making it back to the top would have been nearly impossible. Ironically their only real hope of getting on the World and Olympic teams was not knock off Kazahkova & Dmitriev who ended up winning the 98 Olympics. Eltsova & Bushkov actually won Nationals in both 97 and 98, so must have been highly in favor by the federation at the time of the 98 Nationals, but fallen completely out of it by the time of the 98 Games (where their scores were low even for how they skated). Berezhnaya & Sikharulidze were 2nd at Nationals both years and were not only the most talented pair of the whole group, but obviously the future as these others were all nearing the end of their amateur careers.
    Last edited by judgejudy27; 07-05-2011 at 09:16 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loves_Shizuka View Post
    I really liked these two for soem reason. I seem to remember them getting some majorly dodgy marks/ordinals at the 96 worlds LP....
    You are right about this.. They got 4 first place ordinals, 2 4th places and the rest second and third and somehow dropped down, so this was ordinal flips at it's finest. Their Don Quixote program that year was entertaining so no idea why they didn't get more benefit of the doubt..

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    Usually the guy in the pair team has lousy extensions, but Naumov's extensions was every bit as good as his wife's. I don't think they were the most dynamic team on the ice, but I rather watch them than B&E though.

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