Between 1984 and 2006, the USSR/Russia dominated Ice Dance, winning all but 1 of the Olympic titles in the event during that period. The exception was 2002, won by Marina Anisina & Gwendal Peizerat of France, and even then Marina Anisina originally came from and skated for the USSR/Russia. Furthermore, between the retirement of Towler & Ford in 1969 and the rise of Torvill & Dean, the USSR also dominated the event, winning the 1976 and 1980 Olympic titles. Hence, the USSR/Russia, have won 7 of the last 10 Olympic titles in the event
After 2006, the balance of power in Ice Dance began to shift decisively towards North America, with the rise of Virtue & Moir, and Davis & White.
So, what went wrong with Russian Ice Dance, and what can they do to start producing world and Olympic champions in the event again?
A major factor behind the decline in my view was the emigration of many top quality coaches from Russia during the 1990's and early 2000's, after the collapse of the USSR. During that same period, there was also a sharp decline in investment in the sport in Russia. However, after winning the right to host the 2014 Olympics, there has been a huge injection of money into the sport and there has also been improvements in the coaching system and the way the sport is organised. Will this turn matters around in Ice Dance for Russia?