View Poll Results: Years the USSR/Russia had a Real chance of sweeping the Olympic pairs podium?

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  • 1980- R&Z, C&S, P&L

    5 15.15%
  • 1984- V&V, S&M, A&K

    0 0%
  • 1988- G&G, V&V, S&M

    17 51.52%
  • 1992- M&D, B&P, S&N

    4 12.12%
  • 1994-G&G, M&D, S&N

    23 69.70%
  • 1998-K&D, B&S, Y&B

    9 27.27%
  • 2002- B&S, T&M, P&T

    1 3.03%
  • Other

    2 6.06%
Multiple Choice Poll.
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  1. #1

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    Years the USSR/Russia had a Real chance of sweeping the Olympic pairs podium?

    This is a multiple choice poll. Pick as many as you want.

    The USSR had a very deep well of world class/podium worthy pairs for 3-4 decades. Their incredible string of 11 OGMs started with the Protopopovs and the well did not dry up until 2006 (T&M won the OGM but there were no other medal contenders; P&T were only remote medal contenders, given the strong Chinese pairs). However, the USSR/Russia never swept the pairs podium at the Olympics. Many times they had a very realistic chance to sweep. What were those Olympic years?

    Note:

    A&K-Avstriskaya, Kvashnin
    B&P-Bechke & Petrov
    B&S-Berezhnaya-Sikharulidze
    C&S- Cherkasova-Shakhrai
    G&G-Gordeeva-Grinkov (as if we need this!)
    K&D-Kazakova-Dmitriev
    M&D-Mishkutenok-Dmitriev
    P&L- Pestova- Leonovich
    P&T-Petrova-Tikhonov
    R&Z-Rodnina-Zaitsev
    S&M- Selezneva-Makarov
    S&N- Shishkova-Naumov
    T&M- Totmianina-Marinin
    V&V- Valova-Vasiliev
    Y&B- Yeltsova-Bushkov
    Last edited by Vash01; 08-14-2013 at 04:57 PM.

  2. #2
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    1980- huge chance once Tai & Randy withdrew (was never going to happen had they skated). It very nearly did happen, but P&L were just barely passed by a veteran German pair, despite skating well. I actually would have had it the other way around, but oh well.

    1984- No chance. I have no idea why they even sent A&K when they had numerous more experienced pairs available. Anyway with them and a strong international field including Underhill & Martini, Baess & Theirbach, and the Carruthers it was never happening. It was a bit of surprise they even got a 2nd medal.

    1988- A decent chance had S&Z skated well.

    1992- A very small chance. S&N were newbies but had they skated perfectly they might have capatilized on all the mistakes from others and eked it out.

    1994- Possible but unlikely. Brasseur & Eisler were the reigning World Champions and were always likely to medal if they skated well based on their reputation. S&N had perhaps the competition of their life and still didnt quite make it. There were also other strong pairs in the field like Kovarikova & Novotny and Woetzel & Steuer, although both were having very poor years and were not likely to be factors. Still since they missed by only .1 I would have to vote this a yes. I would have had them 3rd.

    1998- Very possible. Woetzel & Steuer were injured and nowhere near their best at those Games, and very beatable. Meno & Sand were having a weak year. Yeltsova & Bushkov were also having a poor year, but could have easily completed the sweep had they skated like they did at Russian Nationals, but came nowhere close to duplicating that form at the Games.

    2002- No chance.



    I voted for 1980, 1988, 1994, and 1998.


    I also think Petrova & Tikhonov were strong medal contenders in 2006 and could have even won silver had they skated as well as they did at Worlds. They had better chances of a medal than they ever did in 2002 IMO. Still Obertas & Slavnov were not medal contenders, thus no chance of a sweep.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    1980- huge chance once Tai & Randy withdrew (was never going to happen had they skated). It very nearly did happen, but P&L were just barely passed by a veteran German pair, despite skating well. I actually would have had it the other way around, but oh well.

    1984- No chance. I have no idea why they even sent A&K when they had numerous more experienced pairs available. Anyway with them and a strong international field including Underhill & Martini, Baess & Theirbach, and the Carruthers it was never happening. It was a bit of surprise they even got a 2nd medal.

    1988- A decent chance had S&Z skated well.

    1992- A very small chance. S&N were newbies but had they skated perfectly they might have capatilized on all the mistakes from others and eked it out.

    1994- Possible but unlikely. Brasseur & Eisler were the reigning World Champions and were always likely to medal if they skated well based on their reputation. S&N had perhaps the competition of their life and still didnt quite make it. There were also other strong pairs in the field like Kovarikova & Novotny and Woetzel & Steuer, although both were having very poor years and were not likely to be factors. Still since they missed by only .1 I would have to vote this a yes. I would have had them 3rd.

    1998- Very possible. Woetzel & Steuer were injured and nowhere near their best at those Games, and very beatable. Meno & Sand were having a weak year. Yeltsova & Bushkov were also having a poor year, but could have easily completed the sweep had they skated like they did at Russian Nationals, but came nowhere close to duplicating that form at the Games.

    2002- No chance.



    I voted for 1980, 1988, 1994, and 1998.


    I also think Petrova & Tikhonov were strong medal contenders in 2006 and could have even won silver had they skated as well as they did at Worlds. They had better chances of a medal than they ever did in 2002 IMO. Still Obertas & Slavnov were not medal contenders, thus no chance of a sweep.
    I agree with most of your assessment. IMO Y&B had a realistic shot at a medal in 98 because they beat both K&D and B&S at the Russian nationals but they had a poor SP which pretty much out of medal contention.

    In 2006 I doubt that the judges would have placed P&T (Rus) higher than two out of the three Chinese pairs, regardless of how anyone skated. I agree that Obertas & Slavnov were too new. Had she stuck with Sokolov, Obertas and Sokolov could have actually medalled.

  4. #4
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    Petrova & Tikhonov were not that many points from a medal despite a poor LP where they popped two jumps and stumbled out of a lift. Based on the Zhang's poor effort which was lucky to get silver, and Shen & Zhao winning bronze with mistakes (albeit not huge ones) in both programs, I think they could have easily won a medal, and if you add the points for their mistakes alone they are already there.

    I agree Julia Obertas should have stayed with Sokolov. She ditched him like a hot potatoe after a rough LP at the 2003 Worlds where they had a great shot at the bronze. That combined with Slavnov being her boyfriend, and her diva personality at the time, and she went to him, but it was a bad move for her career. I agree Obertas & Sokolov could have potentially medalled in 2006 if they kept developing. Although Julia was totally losing her technical consistency by 2006, but Slavnov was never a medal winning pairs skater.

  5. #5

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    USSR came so close with those 1-2-4 rankings! Had to be frustrating in 1980 and 1988! Sure they were winning Gold which is most important and is actually winning the event but how about the podium medal ceremony where there could have been like three soviet flags and a podium of all soviet skaters!

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by caseyedwards View Post
    USSR came so close with those 1-2-4 rankings! Had to be frustrating in 1980 and 1988! Sure they were winning Gold which is most important and is actually winning the event but how about the podium medal ceremony where there could have been like three soviet flags and a podium of all soviet skaters!
    In 1988 in particular Selezneva-Makarov were reigning Olympic bronze medallists but they lost to Watson-Oppegaard who even had a fall (can't remember if it was in the SP or LP). That must have been very frustrating.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by caseyedwards View Post
    USSR came so close with those 1-2-4 rankings! Had to be frustrating in 1980 and 1988! Sure they were winning Gold which is most important and is actually winning the event but how about the podium medal ceremony where there could have been like three soviet flags and a podium of all soviet skaters!
    In 1988 Selezneva-Makarov were the reigning Olympic Bronze medallists and they lost to Watson-Oppegard, who even had a fall (I think in the SP). That must have been very frustrating.

  8. #8
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    It was Selezneva & Makarov who had a disaesterous fall in the SP, on a simple double flip jump. This put them in 6th place and they were the only pair in the top 9 who did not skate cleanly. If anything the judges were generous as they had the 2nd highest presentation scores (over Valova & Vasiliev) even with the fall. In the long program they had several mistakes as well but still pulled up to the 4th place. Watson & Oppergard had one nasty fall in their long program, which was their only mistake in the competition.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucafXhDo05A
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-HJjczmZmw

    Selezneva & Makarov had a real shot to have won the 87 Worlds the year beefore IMO. Gordeeva & Grinkov actually won with surprisingly low marks that year, and Valova & Vasiliev came 2nd also with low marks and had already been beaten by S&M at Europeans. This would have helped them a huge amount going into the Olympic season. Even as it was though S&M would have probably won the silver at the Calgary Olympics (over V&V who didnt skate very well) if they had duplicated their 88 Worlds performances which were excellent.

  9. #9

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    I really liked S&M at the 84 Olympics when they were new. I thought some day they could become world champions, but they did not. They had the skills; just didn't have the luck on their side- JMO.

  10. #10
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    They had bad timing. In 1985 they were already starting to strongly challenge V&V and quite possibly would have overtaken them to become the Russian and World #1 team soon if G&G hadnt emerged. When G&G emerged in 86 they became the forgotten Russian team though. Every year the remainder of their careers they were the #3 Soviet pair politically, including their final season in 1990 when a young Miskutienok & Dmitriev were seemingly already favored over them. The only exception was the 88-89 season when they had to miss Worlds anyway.

    Some insiders said in 1983 they were considered better than Valova & Vasiliev, yet they had to miss those Worlds with an injury and V&V won and established themselves as the dominant Soviet team.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    In 1988 Selezneva-Makarov were the reigning Olympic Bronze medallists and they lost to Watson-Oppegard, who even had a fall (I think in the SP). That must have been very frustrating.
    Then I wonder if they were thinking judges were being ultra political!

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by caseyedwards View Post
    Then I wonder if they were thinking judges were being ultra political!
    S&M did not skate well. W&O had a fall but rest of their skating was good. I don't think it was politics.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    S&M did not skate well. W&O had a fall but rest of their skating was good. I don't think it was politics.
    But what about 1980?

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by caseyedwards View Post
    But what about 1980?
    IIRC they were too young in 1980 so they did not go to the Olympics (1984 were their first Olympics)

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    IIRC they were too young in 1980 so they did not go to the Olympics (1984 were their first Olympics)
    They didn't mean just S/M but rather the soviet skating establishment on inability to sweep the podium and get stuck at 1-2-4.

  16. #16
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    They never had a real chance of sweeping the podium because the establishment doesn't like sweeps at the Olympics. The third ranked pair simply would have been held down, as IMO happened to S&N in 1994. Theoretically, under CoP three pairs could have such high technical content as to force the sweep, but there's still a lot that can be done with PCS and GOE.

  17. #17
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    I voted for 1988 and 1994.
    IMO, 1994 was probably the best chance for them, and Shishkova&Naumov skated well enough to medal.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cherub721 View Post
    They never had a real chance of sweeping the podium because the establishment doesn't like sweeps at the Olympics. The third ranked pair simply would have been held down, as IMO happened to S&N in 1994. Theoretically, under CoP three pairs could have such high technical content as to force the sweep, but there's still a lot that can be done with PCS and GOE.
    They did not have COP/PCS/GOE back then.

    Had the third pair skated well, I don't see why they would not have swept.

    In 94 S&N made a few mistakes in their LP and B&E (reigning world champs) skated clean, which sealed their fate.

  19. #19
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    I don't recall any mistakes from S/N in the long, but I do recall a visible brush with the second foot on one of B/E's throws.
    Stylistically, I prefer S/N but understand the charms of B/E. I do wish that Isabelle and Lloyd spent more time polishing their programs...they rarely hit a pretty position...

  20. #20
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    Yeah, I'd have to rewatch S/N and again, but I had them beating B/E in the LP.

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