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Brother-Sister partnerships (pairs and ice dance)

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by Vash01, Mar 25, 2012.

  1. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Yuzuru, Medvedeva, T&M, Shibs, P&C

    Brother & sister don't always make successful pairing in figure skating. It may be because they can't appear romantic, and it limits their expression somewhat. Still, there have been some good partnerships. Interestingly none of these are Russian.

    Peter & Kitty Carruther - Olympic silver (pairs)

    Otto & Maria Jelinek - not sure if they were world champions (pairs)

    Paul & Isabel Duschenay (sp?)- Olympic silver (ice dance)

    Maya & Alex Shibutani - world bronze (ice dance), and hopefully more to come

    John & Sinead Kerr - not sure of their highest finish (4th in world?)- ice dance

    Steve & Danielle Hartsell- US nationals champions

    Beck & Beck (German ice dance team)- not sure of their highest finish

    Tiffany & Johnny Stiegler- Not sure if they even medaled at the senior level at the US nationals

    I am sure there are a lot more.
    paskatefan likes this.
  2. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

    I think successful sibling teams have to think outside the box because romantic programs are not an option - which is good, because there are too many romantic/passionate programs anyway.

    The Kerrs won two Euros medals and finished 5th at 2010 Worlds; 6th that year were another brother-sister team - the Zaretskis. For both teams it was their best result at Worlds.

    Other (not as accomplished) sibling teams include the Reeds, the Beiers and the Hermanns.
    topaz and paskatefan like this.
  3. blancanieves

    blancanieves Well-Known Member

    Perhaps it's because the Russians see dance (skating) as an inherently romantic art form, especially when performed by a couple.

    I know that dance/movement can express all different kinds of ideas and moods. I just couldn't dedicate years of my life to doing something that continuously censored expressing the full range of emotions within myself. It's one thing to be versatile, but I would be very frustrated if exploring the sensual male/female dynamics of life through music/dance was a big no no.
  4. Shyjosie

    Shyjosie Well-Known Member

    Brother-sister-teams fascinate me.
    Some weeks ago, I found this article, many of the teams above are mentioned.


    Of course, it must be hard to constantly select the music and the themes, moves and expressions and avoid anything romantic. But the brother-sister-teams who were/are involved in figure skating for many years give impressive examples of what's possible apart form romance on ice. Even a tango can be skated without appearing romantic, just think of the Duchesnay's Valentine's Tango they wowed the audience with in '88.
    I think, if a brother and a sister are determined to make a team and skate together, they'll overcome these obstacles, see the merits in it and find their own way of creating interesting routines.
    paskatefan and Minister Thea like this.
  5. essence_of_soy

    essence_of_soy Well-Known Member

  6. mikemba

    mikemba Active Member

    Very interesting; very well stated.

    I think the challenges for an ice dance couple are greater than those for pairs. First, with dancers, the nature of ice dance is more physically close and artistic than pairs skating. Second, romantic themes are sometimes required for ice dancers whereas pairs teams can pick their themes for both short and long. Although Duchenay and Duchenay's tongue-in-cheek tango was a clear success, that was quite a rare skill to be able to make a tango comical.
  7. easilydistracte

    easilydistracte Geezette

    Natalie & Wayne Seybold: they were on the 1988 US Olympic team and, with the retirement of both Watson & Oppegard and Wachsman & Waggoner at the end of the 1988 season, were generally expected to become the 1989 US pairs champions. However, they were beaten by Kristi Yamaguchi & Rudi (the way he spelled it at the time) Galindo.
  8. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Yuzuru, Medvedeva, T&M, Shibs, P&C

    Well said. I think the Duchesnays were very creative in coming up with routines that were interesting without being romantic. I was never their fan due to their lack of great basic skating skills, but their programs were always interesting- the African drums (88 Oly), Dream & Reality FD (89 worlds)- one of my favorites- , Missing (90 & 91 worlds). They came down a bit in their 92 Oly FD by choosing a more traditional music (West side story) but they skated the brother & sister characters instead of the usual romantic ones. They definitely pushed ice dance in a different directions, so the future dance couples could try different themes.
  9. SmallFairy

    SmallFairy #teamtrainwreck #vladmorosovsfreckles #teamjapan

    Don't forget Bestandigova & Bestandig! They don't have top notch results (top ten at Euros?), but they were so voidy!
    shah likes this.
  10. love_skate2011

    love_skate2011 Well-Known Member

    The Reeds and the Shibutanis :cool:
    paskatefan likes this.
  11. TwizzlerS

    TwizzlerS Well-Known Member

    I believe Ron Luddington and John Nicks both competed with their sisters.
  12. overedge

    overedge Janny uber

    John Nicks did, but Ludington competed with his now-wife.

    Another US brother-sister pair were Karol and Peter Kennedy (world champions in 1950 and Olympic silver medalists in 1952).
  13. skatemommy

    skatemommy Well-Known Member

    Ron and Cindy Kauffman competed pairs in the 70's. I hear their fights on the ice were legendary! Loved their pair camel spin, he would spin over her for a revolution. The Sladky's (ice dance 70's) were married, not siblings, correct?

    ETA: Ginger and Archie Tse competed pairs in the late 80's. Bronze at Nats I think. Does anyone know where they are now?
  14. lavenderblue

    lavenderblue Active Member

    I'm amazed they haven't been referenced yet, but Madison and Keiffer Hubbell, who did see some nice results nationally but who are much more likely to benefit post-split, given what Madison's already accomplished with Zach -- though I remain bitter about the dashing of the Crone/Hubbell possibility.

    They, of course, were also a team wherein the brother/sister element was something of a detriment, given Madison's more natural performance style.
  15. 5Ali3

    5Ali3 Active Member

    The Stieglers twice won the pewter medal at Senior Nationals.

    Off the top of my head, other brother-sister pairs from the U.S. who successfully competed at Senior Pairs:
    - Peggy and Hugh Graham
    - Karol and Peter Kennedy (five World medals and an Olympic silver)
    - Ida and Ray Hadley, who perished on Sabena 548
    - Cynthia and Ron Kauffman (three World medals)
    - Melissa and Mark Militano

    Brother/sister pairs face a number of challenges that unrelated pairs don't, such as the entire financial burden falling on one family, but a key limitation that no one has mentioned yet is genetics: a mother and father who produce a male child with the genetics to be tall and broad-shouldered are unlikely to also produce a [younger] female child who is short and small-framed. The Carruthers faced almost all the challenges of other brother/sister pairs, but I think they're a slight exception to the general guideline that it's difficult for brother/sister pairs to excel at the senior level, because they're genetically unrelated. However, they weren't deliberately matched up like most genetically-unrelated pairs, so as with most brother-sister pairs, there was a significant amount of luck involved their adult sizes being appropriate for pairs. [And for all of the criticism leveled at the Hartsells, I'm more impressed with their accomplishments as the years go by: they may have been the only genetically-related pair who won medals at the Senior level with adult bodies in the triple twist era. (Does anyone know if Melissa and Mark Militano did a triple twist? I know that she did one with Johnny Johns, but I'm not sure if the Militanos did one.)]

    As for Soviet/Russian pairs - it hadn't occurred to me before, but I can't think of any brother/sister pairs. I wonder if this is less related to the inherent tension about program choices, but rather to genetics: my understanding is that skaters in the Soviet Union were selected as children on the basis of physical ability and family size, which would make it unlikely that a brother and sister would both be predicted to have the ideal pair frame as adults. I'm speculating - but I'm quite curious to hear from anyone who knows more about this than I do!

    FWIW, I checked the wikipedia records for Russian and Soviet Nationals, and the only possible brother/sister team that I found was Raisa and Alexander Gandelsman, who won in 1937 and 1939, also medaled in 1933 and 1941. I think we can safely assume they didn't do a triple twist :lol: , but does anyone know if they were brother/sister or husband/wife?
    viennese and Scrufflet like this.
  16. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    There was also the Becherer twins from Germany who competed at 1988 Olympics. And Liz and Peter Cain represented Australia at worlds back in the early 80s.

    Don't forget the Weiderman Twins. And the Van Waldenbergs. :)
    AnaBM, GarrAarghHrumph and N_Halifax like this.
  17. judiz

    judiz Well-Known Member

    Roman and Sasha Zaretski, brother and sister Israeli ice dance champions.
    paskatefan likes this.
  18. googooeyes

    googooeyes Active Member

    Great thread!
    Otto & Maria Jelinek were 1962 world champions. They also had a silver & 2 bronze medals. Canada also had the Garossinos in the early 80's and the Sopers in the 70's. Also Val and Sandra Bezic.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
  19. Seerek

    Seerek Well-Known Member


    Exactly, and there have been several examples of junior pair sibling teams who have to eventually split up once they got to seniors because the female sibling ended up becoming too tall.
  20. RumbleFish

    RumbleFish New Member

    Kerrs are my favorite. Their programs were interesting enough to have viewers concentrate on their skating and performance, and forget all about how they were siblings.
    paskatefan and N_Halifax like this.
  21. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    Or because the male sibling ended up not becoming tall enough. (E.g., Brian Wells)

    Even so, given the demographics, if they want to continue with other partners, it's easier for a short man to find a pair partner than a medium-sized woman.

    An ideal partner matched in size, skill, style, and commitment, with which to win international medals -- that's hard for anyone to find!
  22. 5Ali3

    5Ali3 Active Member

    This is an excellent point and cannot be underscored enough. (I might add, "matched in work ethic and with complimentary personalities and maturity.")

    The importance of luck as a factor in a successful partner match is seriously underrated.
    clairecloutier likes this.
  23. Habs

    Habs Well-Known Member

    This happened with Dylan and Kira Moscovitch. Granted, she retired from injuries, but the writing was on the wall.
  24. Moka-Ananas

    Moka-Ananas Man's Ruin

    Madison & Keiffer Hubbell
    paskatefan likes this.
  25. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

  26. rhumba

    rhumba New Member

    The German dance team, Hermann.
  27. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

    One thing I liked about the Duchesnays was their physical similarity. I think it gave them unusual symmetry and synchronicity. When they did their mirror image program you couldn't tell where one skater began and the other ended. I think the downside of today's pairs and ice dancing is that all of the athleticism requires Gorilla/Flea pairing which makes symmetry and synchronicity difficult.

    I don't find it terribly romantic when the female is sommersaulting over the male's shoulder, or he is spinning her upside down with his leg between her's, or she has her leg wrapped around his neck, so I think the whole romance question is moot at this point. While I admire the skill of today's skaters, I don't find any of them romantic.
    clairecloutier likes this.
  28. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

    I don't think that's necessarily true, at least not in ice dance. Virtue/Moir aren't that far apart in height, for instance. And while dance teams without much of a size difference might find some elements more difficult, it allows for other possibilities, like cool reverse lifts (e.g Hurtado/Diaz).
  29. TwizzlerS

    TwizzlerS Well-Known Member

    They had a wonderful exhibition number to a medley of Science Fiction TV/movie music in which they acted out going to outer space. I tried to search for a video clip but I guess it was performed too long ago.
  30. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Yuzuru, Medvedeva, T&M, Shibs, P&C


    However, I have to disagree with you somewhat in the relative heights/size when it comes to ice dance. The ice dancers don't have the huge difference in heights we usually see in pairs.