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  1. #1
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    The Duchesnays at the 1994 Olympics?

    Did the Duchesnays ever say why they didn't try for the 1994 Olympics? It was only two years after Albertville so I'm surprised they didn't give it a shot. Did the French Figure Skating Federation try to persuade them to return for Lillehammer? Would they have been competitive in 1994? It was such an odd year with strange results that you never know. What do you think might have happened had the Duchesnays returned in 1994? They probably wouldn't have won and probably wouldn't have medaled, but could they have played spoiler in any portion of the ice dancing event and affected the overall standings in any small way?

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    The Duchensays would have seen their rank plummet as quickly as the 92 worlds had they continued. They were only being held up in Albertville due to having to protect them as reigning World Champs and longtime global fan favorites, in their home country. Even then they didnt win, even with the judges bending over backwards to try and gift it to them. Even in 91 they had already declined from the 88-90 peak but they were given a bit of a joke world title as a lifetime achievement award and recognition for their innovation and what they brought to the sport in previous years; and also by default since Klimova & Ponomarenko were out of favor with nearly everyone and struggling, and the judges just didnt seem quite ready to go with Usova & Zhulin for the title even as leaders going into the free dance. I agree with what Sergei Ponomarenko said that they would have been anywhere from 3rd to 5th at the 92 worlds had they skated the same as the Games. They retired at the right time. They were technically on decline, they artistically werent groundbreaking anymore or coming up with great ideas or programs any longer, and they no longer had any reigning champions status, over the top worldwide crowd frenzy for their new and groundbreaking ideas, or events in their home country to hold up their declining and no longer special in anyway skills.

    I imagine at the 94 Games they would finish anywhere from 4th to 6th and be no higher than 4th in any program. So no they wouldnt shake up the overall results between the top 3 or changed any of them. If they returned after a break, as opposed to just continuing through, they would be 6th or 7th at the Games. They arent technically talented enough to take any significant time off and mantain the best of their already marginal technical skills.

    I dont remember if there was a French judge though. If there was, and if she/he placed Grischuk & Platov 1st in the FD, this judge would of course place the Duchensays 1st in every dance, thus bringing G&P to no longer having a majority of 1sts in the FD, and giving both the FD win and overall gold to Usova & Zhulin who would now win based on a higher number of combined 1sts and 2nd than G&P in the FD. So that is the one impact they would have. Otherwise nothing.
    Last edited by angelflies; 06-03-2014 at 05:52 AM.

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    I think they were so mentally exhausted after the games their hearts were not in it any more. They had a death in the family leading up to them and enormous pressure at the event competing in France. Plus I don't think Isabelle coped very well with it all. So regardless of the skating, I am pretty sure the other factors would have been more influential in them not competing any further.
    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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    I just checked the winter olympics site and yes 1 of G&P's 5 1st place ordinals in the FD was the France judge. This judges 1st place ordinal in the FD for the Duchensays (even if they finished 10th) would now lose G&P the free dance to Usova & Zhulin, and also lose them the overall gold to Usova & Zhulin. So the Duchensays not coming back for the 94 Olympics cost Usova & Zhulin the gold medal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by angelflies View Post
    I dont remember if there was a French judge though. If there was, and if she/he placed Grischuk & Platov 1st in the FD, this judge would of course place the Duchensays 1st in every dance, thus bringing G&P to no longer having a majority of 1sts in the FD, and giving both the FD win and overall gold to Usova & Zhulin who would now win based on a higher number of combined 1sts and 2nd than G&P in the FD. So that is the one impact they would have. Otherwise nothing.
    So other than potentially changing the entire podium at 1994 Olympics, they wouldn't have made any impact on the standings?

    I'm teasing. Thanks for the great analysis by the way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by angelflies View Post
    I dont remember if there was a French judge though. If there was, and if she/he placed Grischuk & Platov 1st in the FD, this judge would of course place the Duchensays 1st in every dance, thus bringing G&P to no longer having a majority of 1sts in the FD, and giving both the FD win and overall gold to Usova & Zhulin who would now win based on a higher number of combined 1sts and 2nd than G&P in the FD.
    What makes you so sure about that? Not all judges give into unfair national bias.
    "I hit him with my shoes... if he had given me the medal like I told him to, I wouldn't have had to hit him!" -- 8-year-old Rhoda Penmark in "The Bad Seed"

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    Interesting analysis. Though I wouldn't be so sure that the French judge would have given the Duschesnay 1st places if the rest of the judges panel had given them no better than 4th ordinals. Ok for the biaised judging idea but not that much biaised. Maybe the French judge would have put them 2nd vs less than 4th for other judges, therefore making no change to the actual podium.

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    I think they were so mentally exhausted after the games their hearts were not in it any more. They had a death in the family leading up to them and enormous pressure at the event competing in France. Plus I don't think Isabelle coped very well with it all. So regardless of the skating, I am pretty sure the other factors would have been more influential in them not competing any further.
    I agree with everything written above. As far as I know Isabelle suffered from depression after 1992 Olympics. I think she wasn't strong enough mentally to continue competing. Of course it didn't help that probably they both realised that their chance for winning more titles was very slim.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fenway2 View Post
    Did the Duchesnays ever say why they didn't try for the 1994 Olympics? It was only two years after Albertville so I'm surprised they didn't give it a shot. Did the French Figure Skating Federation try to persuade them to return for Lillehammer? Would they have been competitive in 1994? It was such an odd year with strange results that you never know. What do you think might have happened had the Duchesnays returned in 1994? They probably wouldn't have won and probably wouldn't have medaled, but could they have played spoiler in any portion of the ice dancing event and affected the overall standings in any small way?
    It's only been quite recently that I've read people musing about this question, and I haven't ever read anything along the line that they had seriously considered continuing or a comeback for the '94 games. It was some weeks after Albertville that they announced their retirement from amateur skating, and they never competed at pro competitions. In Toller Cranston's short biographies it's said that Isabelle couldn't even bear thinking of competing - what's quite understandable considering her last competition experiences. So I guess that another amateur competition would have been the last thing they would have taken on.
    I'm not so sure they wouldn't have made any difference. After turning pro, they did marvellous programs, like in thier TV special The Planets. The Rumba as OD/OSP would have suited them fine. Agreed, it would have been very difficult.

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    The other thing to consider is that the Duchesnays' biggest strength had been Christopher Dean's choreography. In the run-up to the 1994 Olympics Isabelle and Christopher were in the process of a divorce.

    If Dean had been busy training and choreographing for his own comeback and the Duchesnays had been training with other sources of choreography... Well, it would have put as much soap opera attention on the British and French teams as the whole Zhulin/Grishuk affair had put on the Russians. I don't think it would have helped Torvill & Dean's placements.

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    I loved the exhibition program they skated to Beethoven's Seventh Symphony.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4zXCnxE7W8

    That would have made a terrific free dance in 1994, although since their retirement from eligible competition, dance seemed very ballroom oriented that year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skateboy View Post
    What makes you so sure about that? Not all judges give into unfair national bias.
    I am basing that on the French judges scoring at the 92 Games. This judge had the Duchensays 1st in every dance, even the compulsory dances where they finished only 3rd, and no other judges had them 1st. This just also had Klimova & Ponomarenko, the winners of every dance at those Olympics, no higher than 3rd in any dance, and tied for 4th with Engi & Toth (who were 7th in that dance) in the first compulsory dance. No other judge had K&P lower than 2nd in any dance, and no other judge didnt have them 1st in the compulsory dances.

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    Quote Originally Posted by angelflies View Post
    I am basing that on the French judges scoring at the 92 Games. This judge had the Duchensays 1st in every dance, even the compulsory dances where they finished only 3rd, and no other judges had them 1st. This just also had Klimova & Ponomarenko, the winners of every dance at those Olympics, no higher than 3rd in any dance, and tied for 4th with Engi & Toth (who were 7th in that dance) in the first compulsory dance. No other judge had K&P lower than 2nd in any dance, and no other judge didnt have them 1st in the compulsory dances.
    That is biaised judging indeed ! However that is giving 1st places for a pair that was ranked 3rd. Would it have happened with other judges giving no higher placement than 4th overall ? That seems a little too much of biaising, especially since in 1994 the Duchesnay were not gold medal contenders anymore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Artifice View Post
    That is biaised judging indeed ! However that is giving 1st places for a pair that was ranked 3rd. Would it have happened with other judges giving no higher placement than 4th overall ? That seems a little too much of biaising, especially since in 1994 the Duchesnay were not gold medal contenders anymore.
    Well technically we dont know that the Duchensays were not gold medal contenders anymore. We all seem to be agreeing they wouldnt be, but it is still speculation on our part. They werent there so we will never know for certain.

    Another factor I forgot to mention is they wouldnt have Chris Dean's choreography anymore. If they could prove to be even real contenders without Dean's choreography, even competing against Christopher Dean, that would already elevate their respect level to a whole new level, but I am not sure they could have managed it.

    One correction btw. I was slightly wrong, the French judge did have K&P 1st in the 2nd CD. Maybe a weak attempt to give credability to the rest of her marking for the event.

    Anyway I rather U&Z winning than G&P in 94 so I choose to believe the French judge put the Duchensays 1st in the FD costing G&P the gold to U&Z. Since the judges marked T&D's FD so low at the Games, maybe the Duchensays are 3rd in the FD (but still out of the medals overall) to make it more believable. Moniotte & Lavanchy were almost 4th in the FD, so the Duchensays who would probably always be above them coming 3rd in the FD only is believable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Willy View Post
    I think they were so mentally exhausted after the games their hearts were not in it any more. They had a death in the family leading up to them and enormous pressure at the event competing in France. Plus I don't think Isabelle coped very well with it all. So regardless of the skating, I am pretty sure the other factors would have been more influential in them not competing any further.
    Absolutely right.
    They never planned to compete post Albertville. Even in Albertville it was difficult for them. They were really exhausted, especially Isabelle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    The other thing to consider is that the Duchesnays' biggest strength had been Christopher Dean's choreography. In the run-up to the 1994 Olympics Isabelle and Christopher were in the process of a divorce.
    This seems to be some people's favourite statement here. Dean's choreographies helped them a lot to bring out the best in them, no question. But at the end of the day, they had to skate it with their skills and expression, regardless of who created it. Before their collaboration with Dean and after their breakup with him they well proved that they were capable of skating sophisticated, beautiful arrangements and it didn't matter who the choreographer was.

    Quote Originally Posted by essence_of_soy View Post
    I loved the exhibition program they skated to Beethoven's Seventh Symphony.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4zXCnxE7W8

    That would have made a terrific free dance in 1994, although since their retirement from eligible competition, dance seemed very ballroom oriented that year.
    I love it, too. It was mentioned in one of the YT comments that it might have made a good FD. But I think there are too many illegal lifts and tricks and it would have had to be altered in many places to make a competitive piece of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by angelflies View Post
    Well technically we dont know that the Duchensays were not gold medal contenders anymore. We all seem to be agreeing they wouldnt be, but it is still speculation on our part. They werent there so we will never know for certain.

    Another factor I forgot to mention is they wouldnt have Chris Dean's choreography anymore. If they could prove to be even real contenders without Dean's choreography, even competing against Christopher Dean, that would already elevate their respect level to a whole new level, but I am not sure they could have managed it.
    Well, it's all up to our speculation, isn't it? It seems weird, I admit. But consider, there are choreographers apart from Dean, and also just think how many gold winning skates there were in ice dancing that had not been choreographed by Dean. Quite a lot. Imo, the Duchesnays became even better technically as pros, I noticed how much impact other coaches' and choreographers' influence had.

    Btw: Isabelle actually was at the '94 Olys. As a commentator. (She didn't comment on the ice dancing event, though. Not sure here.)
    Last edited by Shyjosie; 06-03-2014 at 05:14 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shyjosie View Post
    Well, it's all up to our speculation, isn't it? It seems weird, I admit. But consider, there are choreographers apart from Dean, and also just think how many gold winning skates there were in ice dancing that had not been choreographed by Dean. Quite a lot.
    The point isnt that nobody could win without Christopher Dean though. The point is that the Duchensays probably couldnt. I loved the Duchensays but lets face it, they are far below the technical level you would normally see of a championship dancer. They needed the amazing choreography Dean gave them to stand a chance. Yeah many others wouldnt, but those many others who won big titles are better technical ice dancers than the Duchensays, something even you as a fan can surely admit.

    Torvill & Dean werent even winning in 94. They were a distant 3rd in the end at the Olympics considering they were blown away in the event deciding free dance. They really finished 3rd at Europeans but a flukish ordinal flip gave them the gold instead of 3rd. So it wouldnt be a case that is who the Duchensays would have to beat to win, that is who they would have to beat to just even win the bronze medal at events that year.

    Maybe if the Duchensays were back the Russians would have protected Usova & Zhulin as their #1 over G&P since they would have another team to worry about, not just T&D. They may have felt G&P were better suited to facing T&D than U&Z, but they may have felt even more strongly U&Z were better suited to facing D&D, and thus kept reigning World Champs whose turn it was to win the Olympics U&Z at #1 as was customarily done. That is the only possible change I could see the Duchenays being there possibly making.

    The other is I could see the Duchensays beating Grischuk & Platov in the OD in Lillehammer which would probably give Usova & Zhulin the gold medal for certain. And maybe mixing up the already crazy ordinals at Europeans and creating who knows what results there.
    Last edited by bumblebeevich; 06-05-2014 at 04:58 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by angelflies View Post
    I agree with what Sergei Ponomarenko said that they would have been anywhere from 3rd to 5th at the 92 worlds had they skated the same as the Games.
    Wait? What?
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    Sergei Ponomarenko sure liked to mouth off about his rivals. Why all the hostility toward a team he beat?

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    The Duchensays in great shape probably would have come 3rd in the OD over G&P and 3rd in the FD over T&D considering how poorly their FD was received by the judges. This would have given U&Z the gold medal over G&P. So they would have made a big difference. If T&D were 3rd in the FD above the Duchensays they might have given T&D the silver too since G&P probably would have never won the FD over U&Z had they finished only 4th in the OD anyway. So they could have helped bump G&P all the way down to bronze, but for sure cost them gold to U&Z.

    The Duchensays would have factored into the overall medals race but would not have medaled themselves unless they beat U&Z in the OD (very unlikely) or T&D in both compulsory dances (possible, but also unlikely).

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