thanks for your opinions everyone.
Berezhnaya and Sikharulidze won fair and square. That's all that really needs to be said.
Their programs were amazing. Lady Caliph is the best pair's short program ever and Meditation is also so romantic and complex. It's also a far better program than S&Z's Meditation but that's a different subject entirely. They are so amazing and so missed.
As is apparent, many prefer B/S performance, and some prefer S/P performance. There is the unfortunate matter of the undue influence brought to bear in the judging of the event, and the resulting scandal, so "fair and square" is debatable, just as the perceptions of everyone who viewed the event in the arena and/ or on television vary to whatever degree, for whatever reason. I think B/S are amazing in many ways and I'm sure they are missed by many. There is no perfect pairs team, no perfect skaters (although Gordeeva/Grinkov, IMO come close).
An oldie but a goodie. I love resurrected debates!
B&S for the Gold. No contest. They deserved it anyhow under either code. The French judge muddied the waters of course but imo the Russians skated away from the pack after their SP. S&P's "Love Story" was a little too cheesy for my taste but they performed the heck out of it. B&S simply outskated them overall on the night imo even with the minor errors.
Last edited by Sasha'sSpins; 02-23-2012 at 11:06 AM.
Although both were great, I preferred S&P on the basis of the perfecly clean elements throughout the program...the twist, death spirals, throws, jumps, lifts...all were done spotlessly.
B&S had some loose ends despite the fact that their program was more complicated. That alone can't convince me that B&S were better that night.
Back in 2002, I was caught up in the media hype (also because it was my first time watching figure skating), so I didn't really know any better.
10 years later, knowing much more about figure skating, and rewatching both performances, I still think S&P definitely should have won that night (my opinion of course, which is why there was a huge debate). But close? definitely! B&S did not have as difficult a program as people are trying to make it out to be, there were lots and lots of empty crossovers throughout the program (same with S&P), but that described virtually all the pairs back in that era with very few transitions before and after elements so we certainly can't hold it against them.
B&S program had nice choreographic positions that they held throughout the program (e.g. spiral spreadeagle combination) and other beautiful moments, that one can argue made the program more complicated than S&P's program, which I do agree with and also why the decision was close. Had B&S skated their program to its potential and as well as S&P skated theirs, I would have no problems B&S winning.
Unfortunately, this was not the case, S&P were completely in sync with each other, their program was difficult in a different way requiring extremely precise timing and coordination between the two skaters for it to work, and they absolutely performed and sold the hell out of it. B&S on the other hand, as many have mentioned before, were extremely nervous which in itself is not a problem, but it showed glaringly through their skate. Not simply the step out of the double axels, but the throws were a little shaky, the whole performance as a whole did not have as much energy, and the overall presentation simply was not at the level it could have been and should have been on that night.
Comparing the elements, S&P had the edge in all of them, their lifts, throws, jumps, death spirals, everything was performed better and superior to B&S. On top of the stronger performance and execution that S&P had, in my mind, they were better that night. Actually, in terms of performance, I would argue that even Kyoko Ina and John Zimmerman were better than B&S that night, second best behind S&P, but that is a topic for another day.
I think B/S had better program overall, more difficult and more beautiful, slightly flawed. S/P skated clean and with perfect emotion but the program was way too simple for an olympic LP. They should have skated Orchid, but they could not handle the program. Any way, even Orchid could not compete with B/S's Meditation. So maybe went back to LS was a good decision, who knows. Orchid would do better for skating fans, but LS spoke better to the general audience, and it worked.
For me, it's Meditation. I was very impressed with the choreography and construction of that program, particularly the edge-work and intertwining steps surrounding the death spiral. There were so many shifts in weight, shifts in balance, changes of hold and position, constant extension above the hips and moments of continual movement.
I thought Love Story was skated very well, but with S&P, I always found certain aspects of their presentation to be quite unfinished. Jamie Sale's line always looked quite ragged to me, and his posture was terrible at times. They rarely extended above their hips. Their basic skills, edging/ stroking, and overall flow/glide really weren't bad, but not quite as strong as B&S. The program itself seemed to spend a lot of time standing in one place and mugging or setting up for jumps as opposed to really utilizing the ice well.
I found I agreed most with the Chinese and Polish judges who made sure to give S&P the technical mark, but gave presentation to B&S ,who had a program that ,IMHO, really paid better attention to the judging criteria of presentation under 6.0.
However, I can understand those who would have wanted to reward a cleaner skate as well. It was a close call in my eyes.
I also thought Orchid was a beautiful program. I loved the pairs spin and the counterpoint footwork in particular. That program was so beautifully phrased and used up the ice surface very constructively. S&P had a nice use of connecting steps, more intertwining body movement, and more variations in hold and motion than they did with Love Story . They managed to skate with their same bravura/connection without giving any of that up. Love Story felt like such a cop-out in comparison. ::shrugs::
Last edited by escaflowne9282; 02-25-2012 at 03:40 AM.
Thanks, ltnskater for your thoughts. I completely agree with your post, #27. I agree with your post #26 too, Blair. I also agree that Ina & Zimmerman were often under-regarded for their excellence. Even at the 1998 Olympics, I felt Ina & her former partner Jason Dungjen deserved to be in third place ahead of B/S in the sp.
S/P and B/S were close competitors. S/P were the epitome of North American style which combines grace, artistry, and athleticism at its best.
Also, skatingfanfun, could you please provide links to where S/P and their coaching team said that they had decided not to perform Orchid at the Olympics because S/P could not "handle" the program. I believe S/P switched back to LS, not b/c it was simpler, but b/c it was a popular, memorable program that they probably knew like the back of their hands by that point. Just b/c LS was comfortable for S/P does not mean they could not "handle" Orchid. After looking at Orchid, I would not be surprised if Moskvina was inspired by S/P's Orchid program to create Meditation program for B/S. Some of the moves and general theme are similar. There is especially a similarity between the costumes of S/P for Orchid and what B/S wore for Meditation. Moskvina was also inspired by S/P's Love Story apparently, since she used the same music for her current pairs team a couple of seasons ago.
I feel that a lot of the criticism of LS being "way too simple" is based on looking at the program through IJS-centric eyes. Funny how we forget that free programs were supposed to be free with no necessity for "difficult transitions" or complex choreography requirements. In fact, that is in part one of the reasons why IJS was born, in order to give the judges leeway to give extra points for difficult elements (not to mention helping to cloak judges in anonymity), and to disregard falls (hands down w/o butt touching ice, ) and other so-called minor errors, in the overall scheme of things. Of course, IJS has proven to have been a long and winding road to Abysmal Falls, a step-out off the edge of nowhere and down into Alice's rabbit hole, or into a worm-hole, which has been a short-cut to "50 years" (as David Kirby said) of readjustments to get things right.
I never cared for Love Story or the Orchid program either. I always felt Tristan and Isolde was easily the best program that S&P had, but that doesn't seem to be a widely shared opinion.
As I have said in another thread before, Orchid really was just a better rearrangement o elements from Triatan & Isolde, in which S/P skated quite brilliantly so I don't buy the argument that it was too difficult for them. It was just that they nailed Love Story at GPF and won over B/S, and massively bombed Orchid at Canadians that year that tipped them over to favor using LS at the Olympics.
Orchid could have been an amazing program if they had stuck with it but I always felt that Jamie was very fragile & the Love Story programe was a safety net for her. She felt comfortable with that.
Nationals that year for them was awful & they looked stunned afterwards.
Elena & Anton on the other hand stayed with their Chaplin programe then changed it to Meditation.
I truly loved both & even though at the time I did not agree with a second set of gold medals being given, now I think it was the best outcome for everyone.
Well, if we're going to compare the programs for me it's a no brainier. Meditation is a work of art, every detail was studied and it's the epitome of what Pairs Skating should be, IMHO. Love Story is a nice program, though I don't think it had the research and choreographic detail of the former.
About the performances, it's true S/P were cleaner and sold their programs exceptionally well but B/S superior skating skills, lines and athletic ability are very evident. Also, quite shallow comment but I find the costumes of the Canadians totally uninspiring.
I know it was the Olympics and it was Russia vs. Canada (N.America) but I actually find more controversy in the decision of Worlds in 1999 when that was a clear athlete/artist situation where the Chinese far outskated B/S and had a program as complex as them (though not as polished, again)
The original result should never have been tampered with; it was right from the start! Elena and Anton were and are the best!!
They needed to act quickly.
If you look at the three major championships Jamie & David competed-Worlds in 00', Worlds in 01' & the Olympics in 02'. Jamie made an error in each of the short programes. I thought that Elena & Anton should have won Worlds in 01' (but none of my friends did). Jamie fell in the short & singled out on the axel in the free. Elena & Anton were perfect in the short & had a slightly dodgy split twist in the free.
If Elena & Anton skate perfectly IMO they are way better than Jamie & David.
Back in 2002, I was a newbie fan and liked Shen and Zhao of the top pairs. But I thought then - and still do now - that Meditation was the better program, Elena and Anton the better skaters, and the mistakes minor enough that they should have won as they did: on the second mark.
Last edited by falling_dance; 02-25-2012 at 06:09 PM.