View Poll Results: Top 3 Pro Pair Teams

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  • The Protopopovs

    25 27.17%
  • Babilonia & Gardner

    4 4.35%
  • Underhill & Martini

    43 46.74%
  • Gordeeva & Grinkov

    77 83.70%
  • Bechke & Petrov

    19 20.65%
  • Brasseur & Eisler

    18 19.57%
  • Kovarikova & Novotny

    3 3.26%
  • Kazakova & Dmitriev

    6 6.52%
  • Leonova & Khavalko

    11 11.96%
  • Ina & Zimmerman

    6 6.52%
  • Berezhnaya & Sikharulidze

    24 26.09%
  • Write in:______

    10 10.87%
Multiple Choice Poll.
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  1. #1
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    The three best professional pair teams

    The ladies & men pro polls made me nostalgic for the golden days of professional skating.

    With that, who are the three best professional pair teams? "Best" can be interpreted anyway you want: based on based on longevity, creative growth, medals, technical skills, programs, audience appeal, or whatever other criteria you want to consider.

    There are some very worth pair teams that I wasn't able to properly list on the poll b/c I can only list 12 options (and some of my own personal favorites are relegated to the "write in" category.) Please feel free to 'write in' any pair not specifically listed.
    Last edited by lulu; 12-29-2012 at 03:59 AM.

  2. #2
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    G&G - Their pro routines are some of the best ever, a total departure from their eligible stuff.

    L&K - So great and successful considering they never skated together competetively and hadn't really accomplished anything of note with their previous partners. There are other adagio pairs who teamed up later like Afanasieva/Dack or Hartshorn/Schweiding, but Leonova/Khvalko really stood out to me because they also included more traditional pairs moves and throws. Their "Bolero" was outstanding.

    K&D - I liked them as eligibles, but they didn't come into their own choreographically until 1998. The pros allowed them to grow artistically, and they even attempted quad throws.

    I basically went for couples I felt were better as pros. The Protopopovs for example were great as pros (with incredible longevity), but their style was the same as what I have seen from their eligible routines. B&S are one of my all time favorite pairs, and I liked most of their pro stuff, but never as much as their SPs/LPs. They used too many generic ballads and pop songs. If only they had gone more of a classical route like G&G, sigh. Kovarikova/Novotny were good too - but again, it was the same style they had before; they didn't grow in pros.

  3. #3
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    This is pretty easy for me:

    Underhill & Martini- Yes they overscored sometimes in pros, and I dont think they deserved to be unbeatable like the judges made them out to be. However there is no doubt they were an excellent professional team and deserve to be rated as one of the top 3.

    Gordeeva & Grinkov- really grew even more as artists as pros which was evident in their comeback in 94 after several years of pro skating. Wonderful performers on both Stars on Ice, and dominant in pro competitions.

    Bechke & Petrov- a wonderful professional team, very unlucky to not win the World Pros more than once, and great performers on Stars on Ice for many years too.


    Brasseur & Eisler I enjoyed as a professional team, they had many very entertaining programs, even if not always fully appreciated by the judges. The restrictions in the rules being out the window meant we saw even more of their spectacular lifts too. Leonova & Khavalko were a wonderful story as pros, relative nobodies who became big stars, winning the World Pros twice. Kazahkova & Dmitriev grew further artistically as pros, even though they were inconsistent in pro competitions. The Protopovs and Babiliona & Gardner were great pro teams, but that is before the pro World, especialy the pairs, had much interest. The Carruthers were also a great pro team, and won the prestigious Challenge of Champions 3 times. Sale & Pelletier and Berezhnaya & Sikharulidze were both great pro pairs, especialy B&S IMO, but they came in when the pro skating World, especialy pairs and dance, was dwindling.

    Kovarikova & Novotny were a boring pro team. I enjoyed their classical and elegant style as amateurs, but seeing the same type of programs rehashed as pros was not inspiring. They were successful, winning 2 World Pro titles, which is just a reflection sometimes winning in pros does not make the best pro skaters. Meno & Sand were even more boring, predictable, and blah as pros, Barbie and Ken 2.0 on ice, a continuation of their amateur career with a tedious theme that had long ago lost all its lust. Pros should challenge and push themselves. Sato & Dungen were a nice pro team, and could have been a much better pair than Ina & Dungen ever were had they been together earlier and skated as amateurs together, too bad pro skating was being phased out by then. Miskutienok & Dmitriev were quite unispiring and blah in their brief time as pros, and I am a huge fan of theirs. Valova & Vasiliev had some interesting programs as pros, but were never very successful gaining favor, either as show skaters or in pro competitions.

    Hartsworth & Swidling (spelling) were an even bigger underdog succcess story in pros, similar to how someone like Rory Flack Burghart was amongst the women.

  4. #4

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    Underhill and Martini are tops for me... they were a superior pro team.

    Another pair that stands out is Hough & Ladret. They weren't anything special as amateurs but they really blossomed as pros. They had great skills, great programs and really made the most of the pro circuit. Outstanding career.

  5. #5

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    I know there's a general feeling of negativity towards Sale & Pelletier, but seriously how could they not have been included on this poll? Some of the teams here barely skated professionally and S&P were far more creative and interesting as a pro team than they were when they were eligible, as well as being on the pro circuit for a decent length of time.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnnieD View Post
    I know there's a general feeling of negativity towards Sale & Pelletier, but seriously how could they not have been included on this poll? Some of the teams here barely skated professionally and S&P were far more creative and interesting as a pro team than they were when they were eligible, as well as being on the pro circuit for a decent length of time.
    That probably was a bit of an oversight on my part. Unfortunately, there were a lot of good pairs that could not be explicitly listed on the list b/c there were only 11 poll options. Most of the pairs specifically listed, with the exception of B&S and I&Z, are those who placed/competed at various World Pro functions, during the Landover/Hallmark World Pro years.
    Although they are not specifically listed, S&P, and any other pair not specifically listed, are included under the catch-all 'write-in' category. No disrespect, wuz robbing, negative vibes, hexes, etc. intended.
    What is your favorite S&P pro routine?
    Last edited by lulu; 12-29-2012 at 04:30 PM.

  7. #7
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    Protopopovs, Gordeeva&Grinkov, Brasseur&Eisler.
    I know few of us voted for Brasseur&Eisler, but they were THE pro team when I was young. With funny exhibitions.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnnieD View Post
    I know there's a general feeling of negativity towards Sale & Pelletier, but seriously how could they not have been included on this poll? Some of the teams here barely skated professionally and S&P were far more creative and interesting as a pro team than they were when they were eligible, as well as being on the pro circuit for a decent length of time.
    ITA!

    These are some of my favorites
    Elite syncopations http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SkAZ85BHfl8
    Who wants to live forever http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1XeOvsEsHyo
    The blower's daughter http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=plpp&v=ZESNZqkM_tk

    Beyond S/P, G/G would be my pick. The Man I Love is . Reverie is also wonderful http://youtu.be/jr22fWqi6xg
    Last edited by honey; 12-29-2012 at 03:32 PM.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by AnnieD View Post
    I know there's a general feeling of negativity towards Sale & Pelletier, but seriously how could they not have been included on this poll? Some of the teams here barely skated professionally and S&P were far more creative and interesting as a pro team than they were when they were eligible, as well as being on the pro circuit for a decent length of time.
    I saw S&P at SOI a couple of years ago and it was a travesty of pairs skating. They looked as if they'd been forced at gunpoint to skate together. They never looked at one another and their facial expressions were grim. They were NOT entertaining.

  10. #10
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    Underhill and Martini.. they were better as pros than amateurs. Gordeeva and Grinkov, since a lot of their programs were so beautiful, more beautiful even than a lot of their amateur programs. Brasseur and Eisler, since their programs were always entertaining and full of a lot of tricks. I want to give an honourable mention to Leonova and Khvalko, since they only formed as a team as pros and kept pace with most of the teams that had been together winning medals since the amateur level.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by euterpe View Post
    I saw S&P at SOI a couple of years ago and it was a travesty of pairs skating. They looked as if they'd been forced at gunpoint to skate together. They never looked at one another and their facial expressions were grim. They were NOT entertaining.
    Bearing in mind that a couple of years ago they were going through a break up and divorce, that's not particularly surprising. That doesn't negate their entire professional career which came up to that point.

    Lulu, I think my favourite S&P pro routines would probably be the Blower's Daughter and Who Wants to Live Forever. They were both wonderful programs, S&P were really at their best at the point they skated these.

    I also absolutely loved G&G as pros. The variety in the programs they chose, along with their line, connection and phenomenal skating ability will probably remain unmatched forever.

  12. #12
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    I loved Bechke and Petrov.They were awesome as pros!
    The mind of the performer is a very strange thing.
    ~James Galway

  13. #13
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    Underhill and Martini had some crazy chemistry together. They did the best leap-of-faith move of any of the pairs. (And Paul had quite a hot body that he showed off handsomely in the "When A Man Loves A Woman" number )

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by orbitz View Post
    Underhill and Martini had some crazy chemistry together. They did the best leap-of-faith move of any of the pairs. (And Paul had quite a hot body that he showed off handsomely in the "When A Man Loves A Woman" number )
    Eys, Eys, he did.

  15. #15

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    My write-in is Shen & Zhao. I wish we could have seen them more, but I can't leave them out.

  16. #16

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    For me, G&G and Bechke-Petrov were clear choices. I had to choose between the Protopopovs and B&S. I picked P&P due to their longevity (they are still skating!), even though I love B&S and I think they had some beautiful pro routines in SOI and in competitions. It could have gone either way.

    I would have added to the list Sato-Dungjen, but not voted for them. Yuka did not even skate pairs as eligible, but she looked amazingly comfortable doing the pairs elements. I love M&D but their pro career was too short, and not very successful.

    I may be the only one on this board that did not care for Underhill-Martini. I often found their routines vulgar. I loved their 'Yesterday' however.

  17. #17
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    I wonder how Sato and Dungen would have done as a pairs team had they gotten together as amateurs in the early 90s somehow and competed for the U.S or Japan if there was any way that was feasible (which it probably isnt, but the whole thing is a fantasy idea anyway so who cares). I definitely think they would have been a better pair than Ina & Dungen who had terrible unision, absolutely no speed, often disjointed choreography and programs, and of course no chemistry on ice at all (forget lovers, they didnt even like each other they admited, and it definitely showed through), and they were 4th at the Worlds and Olympics, and probably would have medaled at the 98 and 99 Worlds had they not missed the 98 Worlds due to a fluke injury and split up.

  18. #18
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    Thanks so much for your responses.

    I think the key for being a great professional pair, for me, at least, is stretching your comfort level-skating to different types of music/styles, growing as artists and performers.

    With that in mind, my first choice would be Gordeeva & Grinkov. Yes, except for that first year when they went up against Underhill & Martini, they dominated the professional competitions and they maintained their technical skills as well. But, even more than that, they took their skating to a whole different level with their professional programs. I think going to T.Tarasova really did help stretch and improve them as artists and performers. The Tarasova routines not only contained more creativity than their prior eligible routines, they branched out and skating to a more diverse selection of music: whether it was the drama of Scheherazade or the beauty of Meditation from Thais. A few years later they would perform their most iconic routines: Reverie, TMIL, Vocalise and Out of Tears. My personal favorite though, is Requiem, I think they were hitting another turning point as artists with that routine.

    2nd: Bechke & Petrov, As with Underhill & Martini, another great professional pair team, B&P truly shined as pro skaters.
    I lurve B&P's Samson & Delilah routine, every move just melts into the next. I also think even though they were in M&D's shadow for much of the eligible career, and G&G's shadow for their early pro career, they truly came into their own as pro skaters and really developed a distinct style of their own: seamless, great lines and gorgeous choreography. I do see a similarity, in a broad sense, between B&P and U&M's career. Both had average/good (depending on your definition) eligible careers, and each of the teams had breakthrough performances as eligible skates (U&M as the 1984 Worlds, B&P as the 1992 Olympics), but it was as professional skaters that both teams truly made a name for themselves.

    3rd: Kazakova & Dmitriev Inconsistent and uneven as performers/competitors, yes. But they were also attempting quad throws at a time when the quad was still relatively uncommon in single skating! They also had moments of absolute brilliance and some of the best pro routines. The Matrix was brilliant not only in its use of a prop, but also the entire story line. It was another routine that I felt took pairs skating to another level in terms of story telling and creativity. For a different reason than B&P, K&D were also very much in the shadow of M&D for much of the eligible career, but as professionals they weren't anything like M&D. I felt they truly found their own niche as pro skaters. They had fabulous on ice chemistry as pro skaters. I also appreciate the diversity of their programs as pro skaters.

    Honorable mentions: Hartshorn & Sweiding-fabulous adagio pair skaters. Their 1492 routine is one of my favorite routines. I also enjoyed Enigma and T.V. Tunes as well. T.V. Tunes may be a bit cheesy, but it SO much fun, I love it. L&K-similar to H&S, but they also won World Pros! Their Bolero program is gorgeous as well. I would love to see more adagio pair skating. Hough & Ladret, thanks for mentioning them Habs! They had fantastic chemistry and their Sade program is hawt.

    Honorable, Honorable mention: The Protopopovs. What an amazing career-and they're still performing. I don't think I can come up with enough superlatives, but I think it's suffice to to say that they are incredible skaters.

    While I wouldn't consider them one of the best pro pairs of all time, I thought Selezneva & Makarov had great pro routines: Money Makes the World Go Round and Night on Bald Mountain. The SelMaks do this one move where Larissa looks even more flexible than Natalia M! I thought they had the potential to be great professional performers as well.

  19. #19

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    Nobody mentioned the Carruthers. They had a fairly long pro career, but they were always competing against G&G and U&M, so they could not really break through to win anything. I liked the move where Kitty does a spiral, with one skate on Peter's shoulder. Their Sun & Moon program was quite good, but their eligible career was much better than their pro career.

    I did not care for Hartshorn & Sweiding and Hough & Ladret. Whenever I saw them in the same show as G&G and some other top pairs, the difference in the quality of skating was very clear.

    Totmianina-Marinin are not listed here. There were no pro competitions after they turned pro. They were amazing as pros. They really grew artistically without losing any of their technical ability.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    Nobody mentioned the Carruthers. They had a fairly long pro career, but they were always competing against G&G and U&M, so they could not really break through to win anything.
    Actually that isnt really true. They won the prestigious Challenge of Champions 3 times, the biggest pro event alongside the World Professional Skating Championships, in fact until the early 90s it was viewed as the biggest pro event by many people. They also beat Underhill & Martini to win their first of three:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N40VaQ_8-jM

    They beat Valova & Vasiliev to win their other two. I would have to respectfully disagree with you actually on one thing, I think the Carruthers had a better pro career than an amateur career. As amateurs they truly won nothing other than their U.S titles and the surprise Olympic silver. Winning the Challenge of Champions 3 times, and some other pro events, they were bigger winners as pros.
    Last edited by judgejudy27; 12-30-2012 at 08:11 AM.

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