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The Shishkova & Naumov vs Kovarikova & Novotny rivarly
This was a great and little talked about rivalry in the pairs event in the 90s. They were almost always 1 place in results it seemed. Shishkova & Naumov seemed to be the team that kept Kovarikova & Novotny off the European podium every year. From 91-94 Shishkova was 3rd and Kovarikova 4th each Europeans. In 1995 Kovarikova & Novotny finally beat Shishkova & Naumov at Europeans 2nd to 3rd, but K&N were very upset since they should have won that year but lost to German team with Europeans in Germany. Kovarikova & Novotny beat Shishkova & Naumov at 92 Olympics and 92 Worlds, placing 4th to 5th and 2nd to 5th. K&N were also upset at the Olympics though where they were robbed of silver or bronze medal. Shishkova & Naumov beat K&N at the 93 Worlds in K&N's home country after K&N fell in the short, 3rd to 4th. Then Shishkova & Naumov won Worlds in 94, but Kovarikova & Novotny won a controversial victory over Shishkova & Naumov to win the 95 Worlds after falling.
Both teams were similar in that they had beautiful lines and positions, and strong technical abilities, but both lacked the extra oomph and the speed, power, and dynamics to challenge the true greats like Gordeeva & Grinkov and Artur Dmitriev. It is too bad both teams did not stay in for 98 and stay at their best. I would have liked to see those two teams to be the ones fighting for the gold medal there. Had there been a 96 Olympics I am pretty sure K&N would stay in and these would be the two fighting for the Olympic Gold that year.
Both teams were underrated. I am not sure why, other than they lacked excitement, a big enough name, or enough political support.
I didn't see this as a rivalry, may be because until 94 & 95 worlds they were not really gold medal contenders. Both had enough skills to beat B&E in 93, but they didn't. At the 92 Olympics they were viewed as the future- lovely to watch, and with potential to develop. Neither pair had the presence and/or charisma of some of the great pairs of the past. I liked both of them for their posture, lines and finer pairs skills, but the media did not really promote either pair. S&N were forgotten by their fed after their 94 world title. K&N turned pro after their 95 world title. So they did not really compete for the title past those two years, and in 94 all the talk was of G&G, M&D, B&E and Isabelle's injury. The pairs field didn't have a real rivalry until the arrival of B&S and the maturation of K&D (particularly Kazakova). It was a relatively lean period in pairs, as I recall, with no pair that was in the same class as the past great pairs. I wish K&N and S&N had received more attention. They were both lovely pairs. I would have taken them over W&S and Y&B any day.
K&N made a mistake retiring so soon. They finally got their consistency together in 95 even though they didnt skate their best at Worlds. The pairs field only got weaker and they would have had a good shot at winning another one or two World titles and even winning the 98 Olympics. Although he would have been 34 years old by then.
Ah, lovely couples and a great slightly off the beaten path topic.
Bet they were all FURIOUS when Gordeeva/Grinkov came back in 1994.
I don't think they would have won the 98 Olympics- they were not exactly a model of consistency, but I agree with at least one more world title- may be two- for them. They should have stayed past 1995, but may be they wanted to capitalize on their 95 world championship by turning pro. At that time there actually was a pro circuit, and they won a pro title (though unfairly, IMO). Also Rene was 12 years older than Radka, which may have been a consideration also.
Originally Posted by judgejudy27
Well IF K&N entered the 98 Olympics as 2 or 3 time World Champions (which they would have been if they won 1 or 2 more Worlds) the 98 Olympic Gold would be theirs if they just stood up and skated fairly cleanish. Skating judging was highly reputation and rank and file based back then remember. If you were the one who was supposed to win, you always did unless you messed up. That is why a team like Brasseur & Eisler who established themselves so highly in 90-91 were often held up and overmarked, despite their many weaknesses. That is why Miskutienok & Dmitriev were undermarked at the 94 Olympics, not even coming close to G&G and even ridiculously losing 2 judges to B&E, after not doing so hot that season until then, while G&G had a flawless season until then. That is why Woetzel & Steuer won the 97 Worlds despite a really crappy performance, they had been the best team that season while Y&B who skated better at Worlds had struggled prior to Worlds..
Originally Posted by Vash01
The only team better who emerged was Bereznaya & Sikharulidze, but skating judges would rather see a team who has been around and on top all quad than one who just emerged last moment, and B&S had major problems and didnt win in Nagano anyway. The Kazahkova & Dmitriev team was never amazing, even in Nagano when they won. Kovarikova & Novotny if they were still on top and skated well, would have definitely been able to beat them IMHO.
OK I know that is very speculative since as you said they were never consistent, and it purely a guess to whether they could have remained as consistent as they were in 95 and continued to improve and not decline as he got older. They might have won again in 96 and then started to fade. It is all a guess, but I am surprised given the weak field at the time they didnt atleast go on as a year by year sort of thing, but as you said they probably wanted to capatilize on the skating boom and 98 is a long ways away, and there is no way of knowing how much can change in 3 years, so it probably didnt seem worth it. Now had there been a 96 Olympics I am sure they would have stayed for that.
Another person who should have capatilized on the skating boom was Bonaly who I read in Beverly Smith's book was offered 1 million total from various sources and competitions to go pro, but backed down due to a threat from the French federation she would never be allowed back (which seems moot as reinstatment was azed in summer 95 for those didnt go back immediately anyway). I feel sad for her seeing as how her amateur career went downwards and by 97 the French were basically begging her to retire while now nowhere near as marketable and not competitive as an amateur anymore, and how she missed out on the skating boom and alot of extra money. She would have been a great pro skater, she still is even in todays diminished pro state. Usually after an Olympics are when big decisions are made but after 1995 was the time alot of skaters had to make big decisions what to do for good (Baiul, Sato, Gritschuk & Platov, Usova & Zhulin, Bonaly, Kovarikova & Novotny).
Last edited by judgejudy27; 09-14-2013 at 11:31 PM.