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  1. #1
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    Grishuk & Platov

    In his book, "Figure Skating's Greatest Stars" (published 2009) Steve Milton has this to say about Grishuk & Platov:

    “They were at the epicenter of ice dancing for more than half a decade, but history’s jury has yet to pass full judgment on Oksana Grishuk and Evgeny Platov. Chances are that the sheer weight of their competitive achievements will outlive the raw memories of their volatile reign. “

    Almost 16 years since they won their last eligible competition-the 1998 Olympics, what is your assessment of G&P's career and their impact on the sport? How would you compare their impact to other great ice dance teams?

    IMO, G&P, along with T&D, K&P and V&M, are the four greatest teams in ice dance from the modern ice dance era. In terms of sheer medal wins, G&P dominated the field unlike any other team since T&D. Do you think this dominance is explained more because G&P were that good of a team, or because the quad that they dominated over was comparatively weaker than other quads? In other words, if G&P had to skate against teams such as V&M, D&W, K&P, A&P while everyone was at the pinnacle of their skating ability, how would G&P fare? (I know G&P skated against K&P and A&P, but G&P were still a relatively up and coming team at the time they competed against K&P, while they same is in reverse for G&P and A&P).

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    I do think they are one of the greatest ice dance teams of all time but many will do everything possible to discredit them because they beat Torvill & Dean and Oksana, during her crazy Pasha days, became an unlikeable person. let's not forget the affair with Alexander Zhulin although I personally think he should've shouldered more of the blame and vilification. Many of their programs while skating under Natalia Linichuk were rather second rate like their 94, 95, and 96 free dances (although i loved their 95 OD). But there's no questioning their skills. They had very strong edges, an incredible strength of stroke that enabled them to gain drive and speed with very little pushing, fluid handholds, and extremely strong free legs. I also think Platov is one of the best of all time when it comes to posture, line, and extension.

    In terms of how they were stack up if competing against peak other great teams, it's too hard to say because the skating requirements were very different. I think 98 G&P against 92 K&P would've been very close. I would give peak G&P an edge over peak A&P. Not 100 percent sure about today's couples though. It all depends on how well their strengths and abilities are packaged and shown-off in a given program. As I mentioned, many of G&P's free dances while skating under Linichuk didn't really utilize their running edges or strong backs and free legs. Their programs under Dubova were much better choreographically but they were still gelling together as a team. They were perhaps at their best under Tarasova but Platov had a lot of knee problems and thus, they weren't always in show-shape (as Tracy Wilson would say) like at the 97 Worlds. I would give V&M the edge against G&P while they were being coached by Dubova or Linichuk but it'd be much closer during the era while they were coached by Tarasova.

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    The fact that they could fall and still win gold was so harped on! Under 6.0 falls meant more than now so maybe that was a more legit criticism but it's not like they didn't have the best skills in a lot of areas. I am not even going to bother with comparing them to cop teams that much. They had speed and she had great twizzles. Like even in their commentary that said gp didn't deserve to win Nagano Wilson said they really excelled in some areas. They had a misstep in a cd in nagano and still placed first. What should the penalty had been?

    In 1994 they beat t/d where they were apart longer than rules allowed a few times so what was the proper placement in the fd.

    Should Bourne kraatz won everything? Lol. How about k/o winning nagano like Wilson wanted?

    There was a total change in the top teams from 1994 to 1998 in the middle of the quad! Like 2006-2010. Aside from g/p of course.

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    Quote Originally Posted by caseyedwards View Post
    The fact that they could fall and still win gold was so harped on! Under 6.0 falls meant more than now so maybe that was a more legit criticism but it's not like they didn't have the best skills in a lot of areas. I am not even going to bother with comparing them to cop teams that much. They had speed and she had great twizzles. Like even in their commentary that said gp didn't deserve to win Nagano Wilson said they really excelled in some areas. They had a misstep in a cd in nagano and still placed first. What should the penalty had been?

    In 1994 they beat t/d where they were apart longer than rules allowed a few times so what was the proper placement in the fd.

    Should Bourne kraatz won everything? Lol. How about k/o winning nagano like Wilson wanted?

    There was a total change in the top teams from 1994 to 1998 in the middle of the quad! Like 2006-2010. Aside from g/p of course.
    I still had G&P in first after the golden waltz CD in spite of their error. The most important aspect to that dance is the timing and they had the sharpest and fastest timing. K&O's timing was great too but I found their waltz rather awkward looking (especially her strange back posture) and I thought she struck a very unattractive position when the man dips the woman and she's parallel to the ice. A&P's waltz was good but their timing wasn't nearly as strong. I can understand K&O winning the OD but definitely not the FD. I'm not sold on the content of that FD relative to not only G&P but also A&P. And her expression in both the OD and FD is just vomit-inducing for me.

    Bourne & Kraatz were not champion material during that era so no, they should not have won everything. They were slow, skated most of their programs hand to hand or side by side, had poor posture (probably to compensate for their deep knee bends) and rather second rate unison. I also found their expression to be really wimpy.

    In 1994, I can understand any placement of the top 3. If you were to go strictly by the books, you'd have to go with U/Z even though they were really slow and laboured in the last section and they were so many dumb dumb moments that were almost embarrassing. T&D's FD was far and away the most difficult but there was a question if some of the assisted jumps were lifts and that last final lift. There's no question that the content was jaw-dropping but that program bored me in some ways. Both U/Z and T/D looked geriatric compared to G&P IMO. The biggest issue with G&P's rock'n'roll FD was that although there were moments of brilliance, those moments were very poorly weaved together and there were too many open spaces in the choreography (like those illegal separations). And although it greatly utilized their speed and power, the program failed to showcase their running edges, posture, and free legs (all of which were beautifully displayed during the compulsories though). What I did like about it was that it was still ballroom but it was youthfully exuberant and jazzy rather than stuffy and conventional. But overall, I didn't really like any of the free dances that year so I could take or leave any particular placement in that portion of the competition.

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    Oh yes, Oksana had amazing twizzles. Their speed was amazing as well.

    Looking back at their career, my least favorite FD was probably their 1996 Latin music FD. In addition to The Feeling Begins and Memorial, I also really enjoyed their earlier FDs,
    Zorbra the Greek, the 1992 FD and St. James Infirmary Blues.

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    I just wish I liked Memorial more than I actually do. Something was totally missing for me in that FD and I'm not sure what it is. I think a part of it is that it was sort generic Tarasova (heavy music, overdramatic expression, etc.). I also thought they should have lost the OD to K/O. I hated their Elvis OD (from the choreography to their expression to their costumes). I wish A/P performed their OD the way they did at Worlds (same with their FD) because then a strong case could have been made that A/P should have been first in the OD with K/O second and G/P third. That would have made the Nagano FD very interesting coming in.

    That is not to say that they weren't the class of the field because, IMO, they were. I just wish their competition was stronger to make it more interesting.

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    I loved their ice dance. They were not in the classical K&P or K&O style, but they had great skating skills and performance ability. My most favorite performances of them:

    OD: 1995 worlds
    FD:Memorial
    Ex:You'll see

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    I don't know what I like better, their 1995 OD to Girls Girls Girls or their 1997 Libertango OD.

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    Some of their programs will stay in the History of ice dancing : 1997 Passion, 1997 Libertango, 1998 Memomial and even 1995 Quickstep.
    They had amazing speed and intricate footwork. That's how ice dancing evolved after they retired. So yes, they changed the sport. 1999-2002 was a quadrennial of speed in ice dancing.

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    I'd like to have a definition of "modern ice dance ear". I guess it means '76 and onwards, when ice dancing became olympic. But I might be wrong?

    Quote Originally Posted by gk_891 View Post
    I do think they are one of the greatest ice dance teams of all time but many will do everything possible to discredit them because they beat Torvill & Dean and Oksana, during her crazy Pasha days, became an unlikeable person. let's not forget the affair with Alexander Zhulin although I personally think he should've shouldered more of the blame and vilification.
    I agree with all of this, Oksana was blamed and bitched on for so much that wasn't related to her/their actual skating. Beating T/D in '94 shouldn't be seen as a crime if the judges explained their decision (what they did; and moreover, it would have been the judges' crime, not G/Ps).

    There was so much said about Oksana when she bacame Pasha, and heavens I don't want to know how much of what she allegedly said was only laid in her mouth by some yellow press journalists. But some people seem to think that forever repeating how unlikable she was would make that a fact.

    About the husband-stealing: yes, it takes two to tango. It was certainly a terrible situation for Usova, but again, it shouldn't be a criterion when judging G/P's skating. (U/Z's performance in '94 was much more marred by the private trouble, and as well with them, these behind the scenes incidents should not make any judge add or subtract points).
    Last edited by Shyjosie; 05-02-2013 at 08:59 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VIETgrlTerifa View Post
    I don't know what I like better, their 1995 OD to Girls Girls Girls or their 1997 Libertango OD.
    Both are magnificent ODs. Both should go down as amongst the best ODs of all time. Such close positions, intricate footwork and choreography, and incredible speed and power.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shyjosie View Post
    I'd like to have a definition of "modern ice dance ear". I guess it means '76 and onwards, when ice dancing became olympic. But I might be wrong?
    That's what I was thinking. And by that measure, I would include Pakhamova & Gorshkov as among the "greatest" before Virtue & Moir, just for leading the way. But lulu may have had other definitions in mind. (I still wouldn't include V&M as top 4 just yet, in terms of long-term impact on the sport)

    As for Grishuk & Platov, I liked some of their performances and disliked others . . . and was indifferent to some more. For me, they had the misfortune of peaking during a period when the ISU rules for free dances were insisting on what I considered boring themes, so just being the best technically in a style that didn't interest me didn't make me a big fan.

    But technically, the couple of times I saw them live they blew me a way with how they flew over the ice so effortlessly, like the ice just melted away under their feet. I attended the 1994 Olympics eager to see a showdown between Torvill & Dean vs. Usova & Zhulin, but G&P absolutely convinced me that they owned the free dance that night. It was exhilarating to watch.

    In terms of long-term impact, the emphasis on required twizzles (from both partners) in the free dance and on side-by-side step sequences in the OD, introduced the year after they retired, were probably inspired at least in part by strengths of this team. And in the last two years of their career they did lead the departure from the all ballroom-all the time free dances of the mid-1990s.

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    My favorite G&P move in 'Memorial': He is in spread eagles and she skates between his blades, getting VERY low position, and they do it three times in a row. It's effortless, fast, and smooth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    My favorite G&P move in 'Memorial': He is in spread eagles and she skates between his blades, getting VERY low position, and they do it three times in a row. It's effortless, fast, and smooth.
    I must admit that I haven't watched each and every program of theirs. But it's exactly this move I'll always remember when thinking of G/P in general and Memorial in particular.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    That's what I was thinking. And by that measure, I would include Pakhamova & Gorshkov as among the "greatest" before Virtue & Moir, just for leading the way. But lulu may have had other definitions in mind. (I still wouldn't include V&M as top 4 just yet, in terms of long-term impact on the sport)
    I was actually thinking of ice dance from 1980 (roughly from the start of T&D's international career onward) just because I'm less familiar with teams that came before T&D. But I think Shyjosie's start point of 1976 for the start of modern ice dance makes more sense and is probably the starting point most people would refer to. Yes, P&G do deserve major recognition for their contribution to the sport, not to mention their impressive medal collection-1st Olympic gold medal in ice dance and 6 world titles. I guess I was trying to say (perhaps in a rather cumbersome way ) that G&P are IMO, among the very best ice dancing teams ever.

    Thanks for your impression of seeing G&P skate live, that must have been absolutely amazing to be able to see teams such as T&D, U&Z, and G&P skate live at the Olympics.

    This is one of my favorite G&P exhibition programs: http://youtu.be/dUdP1356OSo

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    My favorite G&P move in 'Memorial': He is in spread eagles and she skates between his blades, getting VERY low position, and they do it three times in a row. It's effortless, fast, and smooth.
    Seriously, that was awesome. I love "Memorial" - it's just so intense. I think St. James' might be my favourite of their dances, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lulu View Post
    In his book, "Figure Skating's Greatest Stars" (published 2009) Steve Milton has this to say about Grishuk & Platov:

    “They were at the epicenter of ice dancing for more than half a decade, but history’s jury has yet to pass full judgment on Oksana Grishuk and Evgeny Platov. Chances are that the sheer weight of their competitive achievements will outlive the raw memories of their volatile reign. “
    That's so true. I'm so happy that they've come to be remembered as one of the great dance teams. When I first started posting, they still had so many haters. If you ever read RSSIF or Skate Fans back in the day, you wouldn't even understand how they were on the podium. The general consensus was they did not deserve even one World or Olympic title... R&K were better and then K&O (but of course once K&O actually did start winning stuff, they were bad too ).

    I have never seen a campaign against any ice dancers carried out in the media as nasty as the one against Grishuk & Platov. Playing their CD in a split screen with B&K as if they were at all comparable, all the fluff pieces making fun of her, making her out to be a slut, etc. All of the bloc judging stuff from CBS in Nagano. They seemed to get all the heat for all of the "Skating while Russian" garbage that was promoted in the 90s. Admittedly, a lot of her off ice behavior added fuel to the fire, but their skating didn't deserve that type of disparagement. Dick Button, surprisingly, was one of the few American commentators who really valued their skills.

    For me, they are probably the greatest because of their sheer versatility. When I think about V&M or A&P, I have a particular picture of a certain style in my mind. There's nothing wrong with having a signature style, but for A&P in particular they really went with that one style in. every. program. G&P have been the up-and-coming voidy ones, the controversial ones, the classic ballroom dancers, the ones with a flair for the dramatic, the ones with tons of transitions, classical dancers, and everything in between. Most ice dancers do mostly romantic FDs, but G&P didn't rely on that, even though they had great sexual chemistry.

    I agree with what's already been written about their skills, but I'm not emphasizing it so much because once we get to that level of the top 5 or so dance teams, IMO personal preference becomes more of a deciding factor.


    Do you think this dominance is explained more because G&P were that good of a team, or because the quad that they dominated over was comparatively weaker than other quads? In other words, if G&P had to skate against teams such as V&M, D&W, K&P, A&P while everyone was at the pinnacle of their skating ability, how would G&P fare? (I know G&P skated against K&P and A&P, but G&P were still a relatively up and coming team at the time they competed against K&P, while they same is in reverse for G&P and A&P).
    I don't think it was a weak quad at all. On paper, 1994 was a very deep field, although in actuality T&D and U&Z's FDs, IMO were not that strong, and the dancing in 1998 was actually much better. They have skated against the very best teams and destroyed most of them (except K&P). I mean, it was a big thing even making it out of Soviet Nationals their first season together, and taking top 5 in the world.

    Having to skate against teams like K&P and U&Z really helped their development. IMO, it is the reason they broke away from the folkier programs and had such a difficult FD in 1992 and then experimented with Shanti Rushpaul in 1993. Because they had the skating skills to back that up, they rose quickly. They had a bit of luck in 1994, but they also had to be really good to beat the reigning World Champions and former Olympic Champions at a time it was unheard of to win the Olympics without any other big title to your name. I don't at all buy that they got the gold because Russia wanted them to stay another four years, because if that were the case, K&P would've won in 1988 and K&O in 1998. At that time, the OGM was still considered a coronation.

    They had an incredible sense of timing when it came to the trends in ice dance and their coaching changes. Oksana was often considered (by herself, anyway ) as the Madonna of ice dance. Madonna was known for picking up trends right when they were on the cusp of exploding and then helping them get the rest of the way there, making her an innovator. G&P were never that long legged, balletic type of ice dance team, so they took that ballroom trend in 1994 and pushed it to the limit with speed and footwork they knew no one else could match, really reinventing the sport. Unfortunately, a lot of the teams who later came to be known for speed have not had the same underlying basics, so I think a lot of people somewhat dismiss G&P and that style as being all about speed to hide flaws.

    I don't consider their 1995 and 1996 FDs all time classics, but they were still pretty great. Nobody has rhythm and timing like they do. It took guts to perform a Fred & Ginger type routine the year after T&D, and in England. I see that dance as similar to V&M's Funny Face or K&P's Mack the Knife... I don't care to see that type of thing every year, it's just not my cup of tea, but I am happy to see a really great interpretation of that style once in a while. Tap dancing with edges is really hard, and theirs was one of the better attempts. I've recently gotten really into their 1996 FD. I think the OTT costumes from Worlds gave me a bad impression of the program. I like this version from Skate America (go back to the start to see a cute fluff piece with K&O)... it flies across the ice, it's fun, the timing is great, it's always moving in unexpected ways...

    With that said, had they stayed in that mold forever, it would've gotten old, so again, they went to Tarasova and completely reinvented themselves again. 1998 was such a great year, probably in no small part due to G&P's own influence. K&O and A&P were already at an excellent level. In almost any other year, Carmen and R&J could have been Olympic gold medal FDs, but G&P had so much speed and complexity (it annoys me so much when people lump them in as one of those Russian couples who used drama to compensate for doing less with their feet... actually that trope pisses me off, period, but especially when applied to G&P). They did so well with a very American Elvis OD juxtaposed with a very "Russian" FD. They definitely had shades of T&D, K&P, and B&B at different times in their skating, by design I'm sure.

    No one could catch up to them because they were always growing. It's such a shame their pro career fizzled, Oksana in particular. I enjoyed her with Zhulin, then she disappeared for years. She returned to do DOI in 2006 and she was in incredible shape. Now she hasn't skated again in a few years, but she still looks good. I wish she/they had more of a T&D or K&P type pro career.

    They definitely had some of the best ODs ever too. They (we!) were lucky they grew up in the period after OSPs but before required elements, where they had the freedom to really dance in the OD. Everything from polka to tango was foot perfect. I don't understand the people that think B&K, or only North Americans, "really dance[d]." Again, I think G&P were sometimes painted with a wide brush that was used to villainize many Russian skaters in that era, and were not really judged on what they put on the ice.

    I feel they deserved all their wins, but they certainly were lucky that they got credit for their skating skills even with mistakes and falls, because not all skaters do, and that they were able to take time off for injury without any political blowback.

    Quote Originally Posted by gk_891 View Post
    T&D's FD was far and away the most difficult but there was a question if some of the assisted jumps were lifts and that last final lift. There's no question that the content was jaw-dropping but that program bored me in some ways.
    Was it really that difficult? I watch it and I don't see tons of close face to face holds and the program is pretty open. I always cringe at this, especially since it's recycled from 83 (?). What does impress me is how acrobatic they were with the lifts, especially given their age and retirement, so if you meant that, I agree.

    I'm not saying G&P didn't have their own problems in 94... I agree with the critiques, just think they were better in spite of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    My favorite G&P move in 'Memorial': He is in spread eagles and she skates between his blades, getting VERY low position, and they do it three times in a row. It's effortless, fast, and smooth.
    The Nagano FD was the first time I ever watched ice dance. I was at this move in particular, as well as A&P's reverse lifts. The good old days.

    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    That's what I was thinking. And by that measure, I would include Pakhamova & Gorshkov as among the "greatest" before Virtue & Moir, just for leading the way. But lulu may have had other definitions in mind. (I still wouldn't include V&M as top 4 just yet, in terms of long-term impact on the sport)
    I find it hard to place P&G. If the modern era begins in 1976, that's right when they retired, so are they really part of it? I love everything I've seen from them, but there's so little. If they have a career full of Masquerade Waltz level FDs, then wow, but they could be more like K&P whose work prior to 1991 is not interesting to me. I always found it curious that T&D (and Blumberg & Seiberg, somewhat) got a lot of credit for the trend of dancing to one piece of music, bucking the trend set by the Russian ice dancers, when there is such a beautiful dance as P&G's 1976 FD just one Olympics before them. I see the huge leap in quality between L&K and T&D, but not so much between P&G and T&D... so again, there it would be helpful to have a better idea of what P&G were doing throughout the 70s.

    It's also hard to judge between G&P and K&P because they are so different, yet amazing technically. G&P have the best medal count, with only K&P and P&G having a possible argument there. I don't blame K&P being second from 85-88 entirely on waiting your turn. They were better technicians, but B&B's Carmen, Paganini, and Polovetsian dances were masterpieces. Had they changed up their style a little earlier, B&B were NOT unbeatable for them. Considering G&P in 1998 had a similar style to B&B in 88, but better, I think they could've beaten peak K&P. K&P are like the opposite of G&P, they kind of waited around for B&B to retire, and for teams with more innovative choreo to start passing/challenging them, and changed it just in time to win the OGM (thank goodness because what a tragedy it would be if they didn't have one). I like G&P's spunk.

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    Thank you so much for your post.

    I do think that the choice of costuming for their 1996 FD did in my case distract me from enjoying the program , but for me at least, it was weaker when compared to their other free dances, which included some absolute masterpieces-Memorial, The Feeling Begins, and for me at least, St. James Infirmary Blues.

    ITA with you regarding G&P's versatility.

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    They are my all time favorite dance team or skaters for that matter. The speed, passion and versatility was amazing!

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    Was it really that difficult? I watch it and I don't see tons of close face to face holds and the program is pretty open. I always cringe at this, especially since it's recycled from 83 (?). What does impress me is how acrobatic they were with the lifts, especially given their age and retirement, so if you meant that, I agree.
    Jaw-dropping was probably an overstatement but it was definitely much more difficult than G&P's free dance. But otherwise, I really agree with your assessments concerning G&P. You'd think some people thought they were the devils or something.

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