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  1. #1
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    How do you think Gordeeva & Grinkov would have fared at the Nagano Olympics?

    I know in Katia's book, My Sergei, she mentioned that Sergei wanted to compete at the Nagano Olympics. I was watching a bit of the pairs competition in 1998 last night, and I do wonder how they would have done, had he not passed away. Additionally, you do wonder whether the really strong era of pairs was starting to unravel, or whether it was still really strong and still improving. I'm just curious about how many of you think they would have done. I think they could have still rocked it and been contenders for a third gold medal. What do you think? They would have been a serious threat against Kazakova & Dmitriev. I wish I would have been able to see this.

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    They would have needed side by side triples in Nagano, honestly. I was never a huge fan of Kazakova and Dmitriev but I do feel based on the performances, their win was correct. Woetzel & Steuer were much better skaters though.

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    I think they would've done well if you just look at their skating skills and ignore everything else that we know about his back etc. They had sbs triples in 1990 (not always consistent) and in later years Katia did them as a pro, so it's reasonable to think they may have had them and as we know, all of their other elements were considered very strong, as was their artistic impression. I always thought they would've been right up there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by N_Halifax View Post
    They would have needed side by side triples in Nagano, honestly. I was never a huge fan of Kazakova and Dmitriev but I do feel based on the performances, their win was correct. Woetzel & Steuer were much better skaters though.
    NO way W&S were better skaters. They were slow, their movement across the ice was not smooth. IMO a clean G&G had a chance even without the sbs triples and the lack of a throw 3R (or throw 3t) because the other pairs made mistakes. Also you cannot ignore that the judges always marked G&G higher because of their perfect technique (remember 1994?). K&D skated nearly clean (except for one singled axel in the LP) but their death spirals were so so, and the throws were small. However, K&D's win was correct in 1998, based on how everyone skated, and K&D definitely sold their programs.

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    They definitely would've needed to upgrade to sbs triple toes, but other than that, I think they could've easily won in Nagano, assuming they remained in competitive shape and were consistent with the sbs triples.

    The field was pretty weak in Nagano. No other pair in 98 could match their lines, speed and unison...except maybe B/S, but they were so new and inconsistent then. K/D were an adequate pair, but a second-rate copy of the great M/D pairing IMHO. Definitely not a match against a clean G/G.

    Plus, the judges loved them and, as we saw in 94, they were more than willing to overlook some minor mistakes, so even then I think they would've been given a little margin for error.

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    As weak as the Nagano and 95-98 pairs field was they would have definitely needed side by side triple toes IMO. The judges really started emphasizing that alot more after 94 than they ever had previous, and it being allowed in the short was a sign they wanted to see the side by side jumping pushed forward more. As long as they could have remastered those they would have had a good chance of winning. I dont think the judges were going to let any team who couldnt do triple toes win in 98 though, not even the great G&G. It seems the only one who frequently got away with never doing the triple toe was Jamie Sale.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    NO way W&S were better skaters. They were slow, their movement across the ice was not smooth.
    I think Woetzel & Steuer are a team who were super lucky they didnt skate under COP as they would have struggled to even be a top 10 team (even in the weak 93-98 field) under COP. When I examine what they did most elements were weak. Twists were weak, both double and triple. Small throw triple toe, and big throw double axel but she often 2 footed and by then few teams were even doing that anymore. Weak lifts, so so to mediocre death spirals. Nice spirals, nice spins and jumps, when they didnt lose unision on them anyway. Simple and weak footwork.

    Then on PCS not many transitions or much overall choreography, mostly just stroking around with a few arm gestures between elements. Definitely not much performance, change of pace in the music selections, or interpreation. Their programs were often just one piece of music and level of skating with no variance. Not great skating skills, often poor ice coverage.

    I frankly never understood how they became a top pair, even in the field of the time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DBZ View Post
    They definitely would've needed to upgrade to sbs triple toes, but other than that, I think they could've easily won in Nagano, assuming they remained in competitive shape and were consistent with the sbs triples.

    The field was pretty weak in Nagano. No other pair in 98 could match their lines, speed and unison...except maybe B/S, but they were so new and inconsistent then. K/D were an adequate pair, but a second-rate copy of the great M/D pairing IMHO. Definitely not a match against a clean G/G.

    Plus, the judges loved them and, as we saw in 94, they were more than willing to overlook some minor mistakes, so even then I think they would've been given a little margin for error.
    B&S had greater speed and even better unison. However, you are right that they were new & inexperienced and we saw what the Olympic pressure did to them. So G&G would have beaten them, even with just a throw 2A and throw 3S. IMO the judges would have placed G&G over K&D even with just the sbs 2A (not sbs 3t). We saw how partial the judges were to G&G in 94- a clean and perfect skate by M&D could not beat them. K&D were not quite as great as M&D, although they were very innovative. On technique alone G&G would have won over all the other pairs, if they skated clean. However, unlike in 94, I don't believe they could have afforded errors in 1998.

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    Quote Originally Posted by judgejudy27 View Post
    I think Woetzel & Steuer are a team who were super lucky they didnt skate under COP as they would have struggled to even be a top 10 team (even in the weak 93-98 field) under COP. When I examine what they did most elements were weak. Twists were weak, both double and triple. Small throw triple toe, and big throw double axel but she often 2 footed and by then few teams were even doing that anymore. Weak lifts, so so to mediocre death spirals. Nice spirals, nice spins and jumps, when they didnt lose unision on them anyway. Simple and weak footwork.

    Then on PCS not many transitions or much overall choreography, mostly just stroking around with a few arm gestures between elements. Definitely not much performance, change of pace in the music selections, or interpreation. Their programs were often just one piece of music and level of skating with no variance. Not great skating skills, often poor ice coverage.

    I frankly never understood how they became a top pair, even in the field of the time.
    IMO their (W&S) world championship was a gift. IIRC she made major mistakes on at least one throw. The field indeed was weak when they won in 1997. I don't think the judges wanted to crown Yeltsova-Bushkov repeat champions, and Y&B's mistake (he fell on the sbs 3t) gave them the opportunity to give the championship to another pair (W&S). K&D had not yet developed, but IMO even they had skated a better LP than either of these pairs (their mistake on sbs jumps - IIRC Artur doubled his toe jump was punished severely by the judges and that took them out of gold contention). B&S were so new that the completely fell apart in the LP. Meno & Sand had the opportunity but they blew it. W&S won by default in 97. In 1998 it became clear that other pairs were better than them. However, I give them credit for fighting through Ingo's injury and skating well enough to win an Olympic medal that year.

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    Artur had doubled the triple toe in the short program at the 97 Worlds as well which had them in 5th or 6th place as everyone else in the top 9 had skated cleanly. I am sure that is the main thing that cost them the gold, not the double toe in the long as the other pairs had worse mistakes and had worse programs. Had they done a clean short I am sure they would have been placed 1st in the long and given the gold for the exact same performance. After the short and not being even in the final flight, they were not in contention for the gold, and only had a shot at the bronze if others made mistakes to come, and were scored accordingly, even though their long program ended up being the best of the night.

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    Unfortunately, Sergi passed away more than 2 years before Nagano, which means it is hard to judge how competitive their skating world have been.

    However, Katia has said she had a consistent 3S, and skaters that were touched by the Soviet system seem to have an exception long shelf-life, which I attribute to having had better access to sports medicine.

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    I think they would have got silver or bronze, unless they added the SBS triples. If they did, they might have won the gold. They definitely would have beaten W/S no matter what, but I can't remember exactly what B/S did.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blue_idealist View Post
    I think they would have got silver or bronze, unless they added the SBS triples. If they did, they might have won the gold. They definitely would have beaten W/S no matter what, but I can't remember exactly what B/S did.
    They would have definitely beaten W&S, who had poor skating skills, and IIRC one mistake (on the 2A).

    B&S did sbs 3t, 2A-2t sequence, throw 3S and throw 3R, all of which were harder than G&G's elements (except for the 2A-2t sequence; G&G could have easily added that), but with their mistakes it would have been easy for a clean G&G to beat them.

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    Remembering the personalities and nature of competitiveness demonstrated by G & G, in my mind, they would have won easily by coming to Nagano TOTALLY PREPARED to SKATE MUCH BETTER THAN LILLEHAMMER.

    In 1994, Sergei made so many mistakes. In the SP, he flubbed the sbs spin. In the LP, he made at least two big mistakes including performing a single jump instead of a double and I believe a lift was troublesome. No champion should get a Gold medal performing a single jump or botching a lift.

    My guess? Sergei would want to come back and skate perfectly, which is what they would have tried to do. They would have won easily.

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    That's what she said in the book. He wanted to compete to redeem himself. I still watch their 94 SP (Flamenco) and still think it's light years beyond what anyone does today.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PairSk8Fan View Post
    Remembering the personalities and nature of competitiveness demonstrated by G & G, in my mind, they would have won easily by coming to Nagano TOTALLY PREPARED to SKATE MUCH BETTER THAN LILLEHAMMER.

    In 1994, Sergei made so many mistakes. In the SP, he flubbed the sbs spin. In the LP, he made at least two big mistakes including performing a single jump instead of a double and I believe a lift was troublesome. No champion should get a Gold medal performing a single jump or botching a lift.

    My guess? Sergei would want to come back and skate perfectly, which is what they would have tried to do. They would have won easily.
    Is there any reason why you would think they showed up unprepared in '94, then? They should have known Mishkutenok/Dmitriev would be formidable competition.. really, more formidable competition than K/D, theoretically.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blue_idealist View Post
    Is there any reason why you would think they showed up unprepared in '94, then? They should have known Mishkutenok/Dmitriev would be formidable competition.. really, more formidable competition than K/D, theoretically.
    I know the question was not directed to me, but I will address it anyway.

    They were not unprepared at all in 1994. They were very well prepared, but from what Katia said after the competition, Sergei was very nervous. He did not sleep well the night before, and during the performance he was worried about Katia. That led to the small mistakes he made. I think he learned from it, and wanted another chance for a perfect skate. Sergei was a perfectionist, from what I read about it.

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    99% of the time, he was a perfectionist and made no mistakes, but for some reason, had a little bit of a challenge at the 94 Games.

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    It's not clear if he wanted to be perfect on the doubles or do tougher triples and do well on them. Even if he was better on the doubles the triples were coming fast and furious! K/D and B/S were doing really really well and I basically think G/G would have had much much tougher competition for the Russian title then maybe they could have even envisioned!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    I know the question was not directed to me, but I will address it anyway.

    They were not unprepared at all in 1994. They were very well prepared, but from what Katia said after the competition, Sergei was very nervous. He did not sleep well the night before, and during the performance he was worried about Katia. That led to the small mistakes he made. I think he learned from it, and wanted another chance for a perfect skate. Sergei was a perfectionist, from what I read about it.
    I didn't think they were underprepared for '94, I was just curious why the other poster might have thought that. Thanks for the background info.

    Now I'm starting to wonder how M/D would have done in '98 if they were there. I guess maybe B/S wouldn't have been there if M/D were. K/D did win the Russian Nationals in '98, didn't they, or was it B/S?

    EDIT: Wow, didn't realize K/D were only 3rd at Russian Nationals in 1998. I guess they would have been the ones who wouldn't have been at the Olympics if M/D had been at Russian Nationals and within the top three. Funny that Eltsova/Bushkov won the Russian Nationals that year but were the only Russian team not on the podium at the Olympics. It would have been strange if the Russian team was G/G, M/D, and E/B, lol.

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