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  1. #1
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    Chait/Sakhnovsky - Why their decline post-2002?

    I have always been confused about why Chait/Sakhnovsky's rankings dropped dramatically after 2002, and they remained in the 6th-7th for most of the rest of their careers. From what I hear, they were politicked into their high placements from 2000-02 - and into their bronze medal at the 2002 Worlds. After the 2002 Worlds scandal where they beat Drobiazko/Vanagas, the politics no longer worked for them, and they fell down in the placements. Is this what most people interpret has happened? Or do people feel that their 2000-02 placements were appropriate, but they dramatically fell out of favor because of the scandal after?

    It's a pity what happened because I did enjoy a lot of their programs - and thought their 2003 FD was their skating at their best. Where do you believe they should have been placed from 2000-06 given their actual performances?

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    shady, most people would probably agree with you that most of C&S' higher placements (including the bronze medal at 2002 Worlds) was due mostly if not entirely to politicks. Galit and Sergei were never forgiven for that; the political accusations resulting in the fall out over their medal over huge favorites D&V was one of the reasons for their backslide. Also to be honest, while Galit and Sergei did work to improve their (especially her) skating, there were teams who were quite good that legitimately moved ahead of them after the retirements of serveral key teams post 01/02 and 02/03. DenStavs, DelShoes, N&K were just three and during the 03/04 season Winkler/Lohse jumped ahead as well in their own somewhat controversial bronze medal win at Worlds in Germany (a number of people felt that was a going away gift) and B&A began their rise up the standings as well.

    Like you, I felt that their Lord of the Rings FD showcased an improvement in skating skills (particularly Galit) and presentation style. Their performance at the GPF that year was beautiful but by then the judges probably weren't inclined to ever again place them higher. It almost seemed as if along with the rise of several excellent teams C&S were black listed in a way. For at least two seasons after the world bronze, I recall some of their fellow dancers still giving them a hard time during competitions. It wouldn't be until the latter part of the 2003-2006 quad that I noticed the nasty comments come to a stop or at least diminish.

    I loved their Bolero FD (IMO one of C&S' best efforts) but my biggest memory of it was how Dick Button really ripped into C&S during the entire 4 minute skate in Torino. He compared their skating to Rosanne Barr's infamously horrible performance of the Star Spangled Banner at a baseball game. Dick was clearly IMO one of those people who couldn't get past 2002 Worlds.

    Whether you think the bronze medal was undeserved (where most seem to fall) or within the realm of possibility/not really that out of line, it marked the beginning of the end for Galit and Sergei as far as being considered among the group of medal contenders leading up to Torino.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carmen Ovsiannikov View Post
    shady, most people would probably agree with you that most of C&S' higher placements (including the bronze medal at 2002 Worlds) was due mostly if not entirely to politicks. Galit and Sergei were never forgiven for that; the political accusations resulting in the fall out over their medal over huge favorites D&V was one of the reasons for their backslide. Also to be honest, while Galit and Sergei did work to improve their (especially her) skating, there were teams who were quite good that legitimately moved ahead of them after the retirements of serveral key teams post 01/02 and 02/03. DenStavs, DelShoes, N&K were just three and during the 03/04 season Winkler/Lohse jumped ahead as well in their own somewhat controversial bronze medal win at Worlds in Germany (a number of people felt that was a going away gift) and B&A began their rise up the standings as well.

    Like you, I felt that their Lord of the Rings FD showcased an improvement in skating skills (particularly Galit) and presentation style. Their performance at the GPF that year was beautiful but by then the judges probably weren't inclined to ever again place them higher. It almost seemed as if along with the rise of several excellent teams C&S were black listed in a way. For at least two seasons after the world bronze, I recall some of their fellow dancers still giving them a hard time during competitions. It wouldn't be until the latter part of the 2003-2006 quad that I noticed the nasty comments come to a stop or at least diminish.

    I loved their Bolero FD (IMO one of C&S' best efforts) but my biggest memory of it was how Dick Button really ripped into C&S during the entire 4 minute skate in Torino. He compared their skating to Rosanne Barr's infamously horrible performance of the Star Spangled Banner at a baseball game. Dick was clearly IMO one of those people who couldn't get past 2002 Worlds.

    Whether you think the bronze medal was undeserved (where most seem to fall) or within the realm of possibility/not really that out of line, it marked the beginning of the end for Galit and Sergei as far as being considered among the group of medal contenders leading up to Torino.
    I agree with all that.

    I guess I would say I do feel Chait & Shaknovsky improved a great deal as a team in the 2003-2006 team despite their falling placements. The do wish they had gotten the bronze they narrowly lost at the 2004/2005 Grand Prix final over a subpar Denkova & Stayviski which would have been a nice shining moment for them. Realistically World medals were never happening, nor any sort of contention at the Turin Olympics.

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    I actually like their earlier programs such as their Jewish folkdance in 98 and also their Paganini program. But I kind of felt they just didn't have a great program after. Bolero was okay. I agree that there were just better teams around that time.
    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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    Where would all of you think C/S should actually place during the 2000-02 years then? I thought they had difficult content, secure skating and skating with no stumbles/mistakes, and good presentation. Their style is sometimes a bit frantic which may not go well in the taste department for some, but I don't see why their placements during these years were very controversial (other than Nagano). Some of the teams below them were at a similar level from what I saw and could be arguably placed above them - but it didn't seem like a big difference to me. What did the teams below them have that made them better, and therefore deserving of placements over C/S? Just would like to know from people who have more expertise in ice dance.

    I actually didn't think 2005-06 C/S was that impressive - I didn't like either their Toccata or Bolero programs that much. I really liked LOTR though and thought they deserved better placements then they received - at least around the level of N/K and definitely above W/L in 2003.

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    I dont think they even belonged in the top 10 in 2000-2002. They were incredibly messy and had NO basic skating skills back then. I also dont think they had that much content, they just did things frantically and made it appear they did. Back then they werent even better than a team like Lang & Tschernaysaev who were regularly around 10th (after their improvements post 2002 they atleast became better than a team like that though). Given that they were vastly improved and I mostly agreed with all their placings (although I agree with Carmen they were being blacklisted too) of the 6th-8th territory generally from 2003-2006, there is no way they were even top 10 worthy before then IMHO.

    I do think there was massive sympathy for Drobiazko & Vanagas who had put up with so much BS in their careers, including recently at the Olympics where they finished 5th behind 2 teams who fell, and most people believe they deserved a medal. They had put up with it mostly quietly and were willing to just accept a 2nd World bronze with A&P and Fusar Poli & Margalio out of Worlds to end their career. To skate even better than SLC, where many felt they should have beaten both L&A and B&K (the gold and silver winners at those Worlds it turned out) in the FD, and be placed below Chait & Shaknovsky (and even those who think they deserved such high placings as 6th at the 2001 Worlds and 2002 Olympics, and 4th at the 2002 Worlds; I doubt anyone would even begin to suggest they deserved to beat D&V in Nagano) was the ultimate slap in the face, and something both they and the skating World could not stand. The power brokers which might have well included Galit's own father pushed things too far, and unfortunately C&S who were initially the beneficiaries of this, were the victims in the aftermath.

    While many had complained about the placings of both D&V (too low) and C&S (too high) for years, had D&V been 3rd at those Worlds and C&S 4th, D&V would have probably retired in peace with some sense of happiness with their 2nd World medal, and C&S might have even had their new position respected to a degree and been accepted even by their critics as one of the teams to beat moving forward. That result which was horrible and IMO could not be defended even by those who rate C&S and their skating much higher than I did in the early 2000s, was in the end a disaesterous one for both teams.
    Last edited by judgejudy27; 11-02-2013 at 07:08 AM.

  7. #7
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    So many ice dancers signed that nasty petition at 2002 worlds against them. I didn't agree with them medaling but damn that must have hurt.

    D/V. Talk about overrated. I never understood the fuss. They always seemed so generic.

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    I liked both D/V and C/S. One of my favourite C/S dances was the Paganini one, didn't like their Bolero much at the time though. Perhaps I should revisit it all these years later and see what I think of it now. Anyway, I enjoyed their skating, even though there were weak moments. He was obviously the better skater than her, that was one of the most heard comments about them and people said that their speed was meant to hide such flaws, even after her skating improved a lot in the latter years. I'm not an ice dance expert, but there aren't many of their fd which I didn't like.

    By the way, all that row about C/S placing above D/V, what about 1999 when D/V had a better fd than F-P/M who still placed higher and nobody complained about that nor was there a petition. Petitions are important, even though the results are sometimes none, yet the effort should still be made for justice, but if we do that, we should be honest enough to hold everybody to that bar, if that makes any sense. Perhaps there was a bigger outcry when C/S placed above D/V because this time it was a missed medal.

    It annoys me like the 2002 Pairs Olympics case. Yes, it wasn't honest that certain people had decided before the competition who would win, yet, the winners weren't that horrible to not be title worthy. To me it was allright if B/S won just as it was allright if S/P won. In 2001 Worlds B/S were better than S/P imo yet they lost. People pick and choose when to make a big deal about someone losing or winning. If you want to open your mouth about someone not deserving a loss, then do it consistently and for every skater in every competition if this happens. Anyway, I've gone off topic. I shut up and back to topic.

    Thank you for the nice memories. I'll be visiting the fd again of C/S after so many years.

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    I remember her as having the scratchiest skating at Skate America, and Sergei dragging her around the ice. There were so many other dancers that just had better skating skills. (I think his were fine. His only issue was that he tended to look maniacal and ghoulish at the same time -- there was one under-the-skirts lift where he honest-to-god looked like a crazed gyn.)

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    ITA with most of the above. I actually liked C/S's skating at one point -- the 1492: Conquest of Paradise free dance, for ex. -- but was turned off when rich-daddy's wheelings/dealings came to light.
    Dick Button Historical Quote of the Month: "Good for you, Lucinda Ruh!"

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    The rich daddy dealing part reminded me of the distasteful Pappa Henie tactics. I don't know how much of that is true in the case of C/S, but if my rich daddy would have ensured a medal for me instead of me earning one, I wouldn't be proud of that and wouldn't want it. I don't understand the people who do that and feel great about themselves.

    His skating better than her, reminds of the opposite in the skating of F-P/M, in their case she was obviously the stronger skater.

    Is it me or were dancers in the '90s often like that, having too much difference between the skating quality between the partners?


    Interesting article about that Worlds:

    http://www.goldenskate.com/2002/03/2...ce-highlights/

    'Controversy erupted when Galit Chait and Sergei Sakhnovsky’s intricate and fast free dance to “Hava Nagila” earned the bronze medal by a 5-4 judging split with the “Eastern bloc” countries of Ukraine, Russia, Hungary, Italy, and Israel voting for Chait and Sakhnovsky. Amidst the media reports of bloc judging, the fact that the Israelis nearly beat the Lithuanians in the original dance– with the votes of non-Eastern bloc countries of Japan and Canada– was largely overlooked, as was the fact that the teams have been trading places for several competitions this season.'


    Boris Chait & Canadian funds controversy:
    http://newsgroups.derkeiler.com/Arch.../msg00087.html


    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2...dge-isu-events
    'Another Israeli judge, Katalin Alpern, lists her mailing address as Budapest, Hungary.

    The Lithuanian Ice Skating Federation made the first of several unsuccessful protests to the ISU after Skate America, where Kaplan gave Drobiazko and Vanagas fourth-place free dance marks of 5.2, 5.5. Kaplan's 10.7 total was the only combined score under 11, and his placement the only one below third for the Lithuanians, placed second by three judges and third overall.

    Kaplan gave second place to Chait and Sakhnovsky, who finished second by a 4-3 margin.

    The Lithuanian federation asked that Kaplan's Skate America marks be voided and replaced with those of the substitute judge, which would have given Drobiazko and Vanagas second place. There was a prize money difference of $8,000 between second and third.

    At the 2002 world championships, where Chait-Sakhnovsky were third to the Lithuanians' fourth, the prize money difference was $16,500. Alpern, one of the decisive votes for her country's team, was heard by several witnesses to exhort other judges to vote for the Israelis, according to a letter sent to ISU President Ottavio Cinquanta.'
    Last edited by sadya; 11-02-2013 at 09:12 PM.

  12. #12
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    Gotta admit I was a complete D/V fanatic, so my opinions might be a little biased here. This forum might know me as a passionate D/W fan, but the love I have for Meryl and Charlie is nowhere near the obsession I had about Rita and Povilas. And to this day D/V are the only team I'd take over D/W anytime.

    To even consider C/S as D/V's rivals was a complete insult for the latter. Skating skills of those two teams were heaven and earth. D/V were technically and artistically in another league and I would say only second to A/P during their time. Even with the way the Lithuanians kept being undermarked (or simply robbed many times), they ALWAYS placed above C/S, before AND after 2002. Like judgejudy said, losing bronze to them in Nagano, after giving what many believed was one of their best FD performances ever, was the ultimate punch in the face, not only for Rita and Povilas personally, but for the entire sport of ice dancing and its fans. I don't think a single soul back in 2002 even considered the possibility of D/V finishing off the podium, not with the gold and silver SLC medalists absent.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJxl0yhiGyo

    Galit and Sergei were very good at playing the victims, but really, were they fooling anyone? I honestly don't know what kind of politicking was going on, but if 38 ice dancers thought it was a riddiculous disregard towards D/V, there must have been some truth to it.

    And then C/S dropped behind many other teams the following years. Do I feel sorry for them? Not a bit. Their Nagano bronze is probably the biggest skating controversy I've seen to date and I do believe karma came back to bite them in the butt.

    When D/V returned for the 2005/2006 season, they placed above C/S at all events again, delivering the ultimate proof something was really off about C/S's high placements earlier in their career.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fenway2 View Post
    So many ice dancers signed that nasty petition at 2002 worlds against them. I didn't agree with them medaling but damn that must have hurt.
    What was nasty about it? That result wasn't fair and everybody knew it. It's not like Boris Chait has ever been subtle about his politicking. The drama backstage had always been . That medal was just the straw that broke the camel's back. And even the referee of the FD has supported that protest.

    What happened in the evening following that petition (Boris Chait getting drunk and going crazy threatening to kill people) only cemented C/S's fate. The silence was broken, people were really pissed off and nobody was going to give C/S any favours any more.

    I remember C/S really surprising me with their Lord of the Rings FD, the following season. It was different, choreographically quite complex and better than anything they've done before. It looked to me like they really wanted to prove themselves and take it to the next level. Sadly they scrapped it after an unsuccessful Euros performance IIRC (although maybe it was for the best as that program didn't play to their strengths).

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    Quote Originally Posted by mia joy View Post
    When D/V returned for the 2005/2006 season, they placed above C/S at all events again, delivering the ultimate proof something was really off about C/S's high placements earlier in their career.
    This is a great point. An old and past their prime D/V who had been retired for 4 years could not even be challenged by C/S not at their peak (as far as actual skating, not placements). Even at the Olympics where D/V had a fall, and despite being undermarked atleast a bit in all their events just like their first career, C/S could never come that close to beating them. So it makes it obvious back in 2002 there never could have been any competition between the two teams without something else at play.

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    I don't understand how 2006 proves anything. The whole question here is whether C&S were unfairly held down in the years after their controversial medal - placing behind D&V in 2006 could be another symptom of that. This entire thread is about perceived unfair judging (whether talking about before or after the 2002 season), so to operate under the assumption that the 2006 judging was fair is a logical fallacy.

    If the medal they got in 2002 was unfairly awarded then I think they more than paid for it in later years. The funny thing to me is that D&V were hardly exceptional technically. They had plenty of problems themselves, especially on Rita's side, and their FD that they choreographed themselves in 2002 was very artistic but didn't have a lot of substance.

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    Easy .. Boris Chait bought every judge, and tried to buy coaches.,Fed heads...,
    To this day pappa Boris is still trying to buy judges & skater to help his
    Daughter career .. But then again I guess that's the way the skating ball bounces.. Can't fault him 4 trying trying trying...,

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    I think lord of the rings was choreographed by
    Platov ..And they did improve a lot when he coached them...But by then the damage was done.
    They were marked damage material by all coaches who tried to help. To bad

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    Where would all of you think C/S should actually place during the 2000-02 years then? I thought they had difficult content, secure skating and skating with no stumbles/mistakes, and good presentation. Their style is sometimes a bit frantic which may not go well in the taste department for some, but I don't see why their placements during these years were very controversial.
    Coming out of Nagano, the obvious next OGM team was Krylova/Ovsiannikov, but their career ended due to injuries. Ice dance was in a weird state after that because so many of the contending teams had one partner distinctly better than the other. One one hand there was Anissina/Peizerat who were both good and getting better. There were Lobacheva & Averbuk who were both good, but suffered from bad music/choreo choices and unstable coaching, and Bourne/Kraatz, who were also similarly good, but seemed to stagnate, with bad music and choreo choices and a weird obsession with that hydroblading concept that has thankfully disappeared from dance. (I don't think they were helped ugly Groucho Marks lean Bourne so often adopted when they skated in waltz holds, either to make herself look shorter than Kraatz or maybe to keep her hips and feet well away from his.)

    On the other hand, there was Margaglio, who was a distinctly weaker skater than any of the above and spent much of their programs being pushed and dragged around the ice by Fusar-Poli. While Vanagas was a strong skater, Drobiasco was not, with notoriously scratchy blades. Chait/Saknovsi fall in this group; while he was really good, Chait was a much weaker skater than any of the above, with weak bladework and famously poor extension.

    I think all this just made it really hard for the judges to figure out what to do with these teams. Rumors at the time were that their placements were not just politiks, but were also thanks to Daddy's bankroll. I have no idea if that was true, but it is interesting that after the SLC judging scandal, whatever influence they had over the judges seemed to disappear.

    To me, the question is not so much why their decline but how in the world they were ever seen as a top 5 team to begin with. (Then again, I rarely understood Fusar-Poli/Margaglio's high finishes either.)

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    But I'm still struggling to wonder why the teams that were below them from 2000-02 were actually that decidedly better. In SLC, Denkova and Staviski were the only team that probably could be legitimately be placed above them, from what I see. W/L and L/T didn't compete that season due to injury and had predictably watered-down programs. G/G had the content, but they were slow and struggled with it. N/K were glaringly lacking in content, in my opinion, and I thought their OD was particularly weak that year. I have no idea why the judges even give them higher marks than D/L or D/S. I just don't see what about the teams below C/S - other than D/S - was so much better than what C/S did. And C/S did improve significantly during the 1999-00 season when they rose up the rankings, did they not? Probably not enough to merit a jump to 5th, but enough to jump several spots.

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    I remember SVT's commentators always referring to Povilas Vanagas as "the worlds best ice dancer". They really loved his blades and basic. Equally they would also particularly mention Sergei Sakhnovsky in that department (tough definitely never as "worlds best"), then point out Galit as being a lot weaker. It's so interesting how all the different partnerships across borders turned out... D/V, C/S, D/S, A/P...

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