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Meditation vs Love story at SLC Olympics

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by martyross, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. martyross

    martyross Well-Known Member


    Kind of old topic, I know…but I’m rather curious to hear what skating fans think of these two famous Free programs. just personal opinions about the performances without taking in consideration all the after-effects (that are recalled and discussed much more often). Which one do you prefer, from an artistic point of view? And who thinks that Sale-Pellettier deserved the gold above Berezhnaya-Sikharulidze? On a technical side, was Sikharulidze’s stumble between the Axel and the Toe, worth of a silver overall, considering that Sale-Pellettier had a fall at the end of the Short?
  2. Marco

    Marco Well-Known Member

    Fall and all, I think S&P deserved top 3 after the short program so the "control their own destiny" point was pretty moot.

    In the free, B&S's program was so complex and well executed compared to S&P's that the minor step out should not cost them the title. But it's just me.

    I am much more interested to know what would have happened if S&P skated to Orchid (and cleanly), which was a brilliant program and one that could rival Meditation.
  3. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

    It's not just you, it's me as well.

    Anyway, Love Story is a beautiful, and very pleasant program, but there is nothing difficult in term of choreo, transitions...only cross-overs.
    Meditation is not my favorite piece of music, but B&S had so much speed and complexity. There is no debate for me that B&S are superior in everything, it's not about this little toe at the end of the side by side 2Axel.
    So, it's funny to imagine that under CoP, B&S would have won easily, without any problem (large margin after the SP, and after the LP, IMO).
  4. PashaFan

    PashaFan Well-Known Member

    I so agree.
    For me Elena & Anton more than made up for their one minor error with difficult choreography, spins & lifts.
    I wish Jamie & David had skated to their Orchid routine in Vancouver. It had a lot of potential.
    I only got to watch the Grand Prix events & final of these two couples leading up to SLC two years ago.
    They were both inconsistent in their events.
    But for me, even now I would still have B/S with the Gold medal.
  5. maharbabackward

    maharbabackward Member

    Elena & Anton's program was a beautiful masterpiece. Technically intricate and mature. It really played to their strengths, and they hit some beautiful moves in the field moments that were gorgeous (combination of spread eagles, spirals, ina bauers). If you dissect element for element however, I think you'd have to give it to David & Jaime. The SBS double axels, split triple twist (B&S's triple twist was actually better than usual that day, but still was crashy) , the more difficult and intricate lifts, the better (and also the fact that there were two) death spirals. The SBS toes S&P had more difficult entrance but B&S were so in synch so I would tie them. The throws, Elena landed both a little bit forward whereas Jaime only did with the loop but I would tie them anyways. The spins, Jaime and David had difficult entrance but Elena and Anton had different positions so I will tie them again. The footwork I would give to Elena and Anton. So basically if we analyze element for element, the clear winners are S&P. Would Elena & Anton's advantage in what is now called PCS negate all the technical advantage?
  6. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

    S&P's throws were cleaner, but B&S had so much more amplitude.
    It's the same for sbs jumps. There is such a big difference in term of height between Sale and Pelletier, it has always been disturbing. B&S 3Toe was so synchro.
  7. Mafke

    Mafke Well-Known Member

    I'm happy to see the civil tone (so far) not necessarily so typical in discussions of these programs.

    I try to separate out "enjoyed more" from "better skating performance". I don't always succeed but I try.

    I enjoyed S/P more, which is a major feat considering how much I dislike the source material. But the speed and presence they had added up to more than the sum of the parts.

    I appreciate B/S's generally superior skating skills (as individuals, not all their pairs skills were better than S/P) but the minor errors that were almost always present bothered me more than similar errors by a lesser team would.

    Also, both the SP and LP of B/S were kind of similar in mood, maybe a little too similar, S/P showed greater stylistic versatility (at SLC).

    On the night (for me) B/S skated 90-95% of a more difficult program while S/P were around 105-110 % of a simpler one.

    Final : Kind of a toss up, I probably would go with S/P but I do understand those who would go with B/S.

    Basically it was a really close competition that would cause controversy no matter what the result.

    In the abstract that's good for skating as very close competitions and fans endlessly rehashing competitions helps support the idea that skating is interesting to follow.

    In this case, however, things worked out differently....
  8. Emdee

    Emdee Well-Known Member

    One cannot look at these two programs under COP. I think LS was choreographed by Lori Nichol who would have totally redesigned it if it was under COP.
  9. Jaana

    Jaana Well-Known Member

    I thought in 2002 and still feel in the same way: B/S should have won the gold medal and the Canadians the silver.
  10. A.H.Black

    A.H.Black Well-Known Member

    I was lucky enough to be in the stands that night. I also went to Logan where the Russians were training and watched Berezhnaya and Sikharulidze in practice a couple of days before the short program. I was also able to see Sale/Pelletier's amazing performance in the 2001 Four Continents program the year before in the Olympic arena.

    I had never been much of a fan of Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze before the Olympics. In practice I was surprised at how much I enjoyed them. There was a quiet energy about them as well as amazing flow and speed. I came away thinking they would win if they skated the same way in the competition.

    In the actual performance, Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze did not have the same energy, speed or flow they had had when I saw them in practice. The nerves (especially his) were very much on the surface. They were tight. In contrast, Sale/Pelletier skated their best. I don't think it was quite as wonderful as the 2001 Four Continents skate but it was pretty close. I was a little disappointed they went back to "Love Story" for the Olympics as I thought they had progressed from that point and didn't need to go backwards. On the night, though, Sale/Pelletier had a much higher performance quality in all the intangibles and all the things you can see and feel live - that you can't see in a recording.

    I remember thinking that it would be close and I hoped very much the judges would give the gold to Sale/Pelletier. I was as disappointed as the rest of the audience but I can't say I was surprised. I always thought the judges who put Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze first were going by past impressions of great performances and not on the performance of that night.
  11. sequins

    sequins Active Member

    Back in 2002 I was on the band wagon and definitely thought S&P deserved the gold and I was happy when they got it. However today I see things a little differently.I did and still do enjoy S&P performance and program more than B&S but I do understand why people see B&S win as justified and the more that time passes I wish to god they had just left things the way they were and left S&P with the silver and the more I listen to them I think they sometimes wish the same.

    I thought back then as well as today that they should've went with 'Orchid'. I loved that program it's my fave of theirs ever and they gave up on it way to easily.
  12. maharbabackward

    maharbabackward Member

    Is it just me or are people irked by the addition of music to Meditation that Moskvina added.. the extra "flourishes"? I loved the subtleness of the GPF as flawed as it was .
  13. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    I disagree: I think that if Brian Joubert could get higher PCS than Jeffrey Buttle at 2008 Worlds, to give just one example, S&P's TR score would have been close to B&S's, despite the differences in complexity. I also think S&P's CH and IN scores would have been higher, due to the relatively subdued performance by B&S.

    I know that Love Story was a an old program, but Meditation was hardly new or innovative: many of the elements, including the stunning spread-eagle/spiral combination, were familiar from earlier B&S programs, and the flip-up-and-over lift entrance, which was perfectly appropriate for Chaplin -- the truly innovative program they did, a masterwork IMO -- was out-of-place in Meditation.

    Since Meditation was made so late in the year, Moskvina wasn't about to have them learn entirely new elements, and took ones with which they were familiar from Chaplin or other programs.

    I'm not surprised that they did, because she had been ill, and according to the book "The Second Mark", they had been having so much trouble in practice leading up to SLC, they thought of quitting. They sounded like train-wrecks leading up to the Olympics, and Orchid was too difficult to attempt under those circumstances.

    The actual ending of the music is quiet and very beautiful. The tacked on ending was disruptive, IMO.
  14. semogal

    semogal Well-Known Member

    I can't debate the technical elements of the two programs. But Love Story gives me chills every time I see the video. Meditation was just a pretty skate.

    What struck me in watching these two videos: no ugly catch foot positions in lifts or weird death spirals. I miss the purity of the pre-COP programs.
  15. nlyoung

    nlyoung Active Member

    I may be the only one but I'm just happy there were two gold medals awarded in the end as both were deserving for different reasons :)

    This way I didn't have to choose a favorite. ;)

    (... I wish the same could be true for dance this year. :cool:)
  16. casken

    casken Well-Known Member


    Even with the big splat on the throw, I always much preferred the GPF skate to the Olympics. Like you said, I hated the extra flourishes that were added as well as the new "ta-da" ending that was probably added to get more of a reaction from the American audience. I also much preferred the fitted off-white costumes to the billowy blue/red ones at the O's.

    As for the topic, I always agreed with B&S winning, and I've noticed over the years more people coming around to that viewpoint. S&P definitely had a few superior elements (most notably the one arm lifts and lifts with changing positions), but their program was far inferior with the stops, posing, constant skating side by side, etc compared to B&S who were constantly changing directions, weaving back and forth, and used elements and connecting movements together in interesting ways (sbs spin into combo spin, spiral into throw, etc) Not to mention the only way Jamie started landing her jumps was to pre-rotate them ala Amber Corwin. It's most noticeable on the double axel.
  17. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    ITA with your thoughts.

    While I always enjoyed watching B/S, I found S/P more interesting. Guess I have a soft spot for S/P who I feel had an outstanding professional career too. I think S/P skated more cleanly and confidently in the fp at SLC. S/P were epitome of North American style, and that ain't too shabby. Looking back, I find it more disappointing that Shen/ Zhao were kinda dismissed in being relegated to a distant third place at SLC, when all three teams were very good. That's why I'm glad The Second Mark told the story of all 3 pairs teams and treated them all as top rivals and close contenders. It was thrilling to see S/Z triumph at Worlds 2003 when they were finally considered favorites for the gold. They exuded magic despite Shen's injury -- they would not be denied.


    This is my favorite of S/P eligible performances:


    Ultimately I feel that S/P and S/Z exhibited more passion and chemistry in their on-ice partnerships than did B/S, who while beautiful together somehow IMO did not fully express an emotional connection. Perhaps that is why the Chaplin (City Lights) program of B/S worked so well for them. It allowed them to convey the relationship between two characters other than themselves through interacting via telling a story.

  18. luna_skater

    luna_skater Well-Known Member

    Thanks for this review. I wish more people realized what a difference being there live makes.

    As a Canadian, I was rooting for S/P (not that all Canucks necessarily were) and had never been a big fan of B/S. I was watching from my couch at home. When B/S finished their free, I remember thinking both "wow" and "S/P are in trouble." When S/P nailed their free, I still thought it was going to be close, and while I was disappointed they were 2nd when the results came up, I wasn't shocked. So it's interesting to hear how the mood differed for someone who was actually in the arena.

    I think the thing that's always bugged me a bit about B/S is, like someone mentioned upthread, the small errors that are often present, and the fact that moves often feel unfinished to me. Skaters of their calibre really could have taken an opportunity to run away with the event, and didn't. In areas where S/P sometimes lacked complexity, they still displayed precision.
  19. Yazmeen

    Yazmeen Well-Known Member

    THIS! I will preface this by saying I realize that Elena recovered (amazingly) from a serious brain injury; however, there was always a disconnect to me when I watched these two. It sometimes seemed like both their minds were not in the same place, and these small errors would add up. The errors also seemed more distracting with them because their heads just sometimes didn't seem to be together to finish things off as a pair properly. They should have almost always crushed their competition, but mistakes just got in the way too many times.
  20. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    On the other hand, despite the flawed SBS jumps, their "Swan Lake" SP at Nagano was exquisite; it's still one of the most beautifully skated programs I've seen.
  21. Sk8tn

    Sk8tn Active Member

    Oh God, yes! Orchid should have been their Olympic FS! That is the one program of theirs that I still watch from time to time.
  22. martyross

    martyross Well-Known Member

    thanks for your opinions everyone.
  23. EBASKoroleva

    EBASKoroleva New Member

    Berezhnaya and Sikharulidze won fair and square. That's all that really needs to be said.

    Their programs were amazing. Lady Caliph is the best pair's short program ever and Meditation is also so romantic and complex. It's also a far better program than S&Z's Meditation but that's a different subject entirely. They are so amazing and so missed.
  24. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    As is apparent, many prefer B/S performance, and some prefer S/P performance. There is the unfortunate matter of the undue influence brought to bear in the judging of the event, and the resulting scandal, so "fair and square" is debatable, just as the perceptions of everyone who viewed the event in the arena and/ or on television vary to whatever degree, for whatever reason. I think B/S are amazing in many ways and I'm sure they are missed by many. There is no perfect pairs team, no perfect skaters (although Gordeeva/Grinkov, IMO come close).

  25. Sasha'sSpins

    Sasha'sSpins Well-Known Member

    An oldie but a goodie. I love resurrected debates! :watch:


    B&S for the Gold. No contest. They deserved it anyhow under either code. The French judge muddied the waters of course but imo the Russians skated away from the pack after their SP. S&P's "Love Story" was a little too cheesy for my taste but they performed the heck out of it. B&S simply outskated them overall on the night imo even with the minor errors.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2012
  26. Blair

    Blair Member

    Although both were great, I preferred S&P on the basis of the perfecly clean elements throughout the program...the twist, death spirals, throws, jumps, lifts...all were done spotlessly.

    B&S had some loose ends despite the fact that their program was more complicated. That alone can't convince me that B&S were better that night.
  27. ltnskater

    ltnskater Active Member

    This! S&P were perfect that night, B&S were not (and this was not just the step out of the double axel), in fact they were so far from perfect as many has mentioned before that it really detracted from their performance.

    Back in 2002, I was caught up in the media hype (also because it was my first time watching figure skating), so I didn't really know any better.

    10 years later, knowing much more about figure skating, and rewatching both performances, I still think S&P definitely should have won that night (my opinion of course, which is why there was a huge debate). But close? definitely! B&S did not have as difficult a program as people are trying to make it out to be, there were lots and lots of empty crossovers throughout the program (same with S&P), but that described virtually all the pairs back in that era with very few transitions before and after elements so we certainly can't hold it against them.

    B&S program had nice choreographic positions that they held throughout the program (e.g. spiral spreadeagle combination) and other beautiful moments, that one can argue made the program more complicated than S&P's program, which I do agree with and also why the decision was close. Had B&S skated their program to its potential and as well as S&P skated theirs, I would have no problems B&S winning.

    Unfortunately, this was not the case, S&P were completely in sync with each other, their program was difficult in a different way requiring extremely precise timing and coordination between the two skaters for it to work, and they absolutely performed and sold the hell out of it. B&S on the other hand, as many have mentioned before, were extremely nervous which in itself is not a problem, but it showed glaringly through their skate. Not simply the step out of the double axels, but the throws were a little shaky, the whole performance as a whole did not have as much energy, and the overall presentation simply was not at the level it could have been and should have been on that night.

    Comparing the elements, S&P had the edge in all of them, their lifts, throws, jumps, death spirals, everything was performed better and superior to B&S. On top of the stronger performance and execution that S&P had, in my mind, they were better that night. Actually, in terms of performance, I would argue that even Kyoko Ina and John Zimmerman were better than B&S that night, second best behind S&P, but that is a topic for another day.
  28. skatingfanfun

    skatingfanfun Member

    I think B/S had better program overall, more difficult and more beautiful, slightly flawed. S/P skated clean and with perfect emotion but the program was way too simple for an olympic LP. They should have skated Orchid, but they could not handle the program. Any way, even Orchid could not compete with B/S's Meditation. So maybe went back to LS was a good decision, who knows. Orchid would do better for skating fans, but LS spoke better to the general audience, and it worked.
  29. escaflowne9282

    escaflowne9282 Reformed Manspreader

    For me, it's Meditation. I was very impressed with the choreography and construction of that program, particularly the edge-work and intertwining steps surrounding the death spiral. There were so many shifts in weight, shifts in balance, changes of hold and position, constant extension above the hips and moments of continual movement.

    I thought Love Story was skated very well, but with S&P, I always found certain aspects of their presentation to be quite unfinished. Jamie Sale's line always looked quite ragged to me, and his posture was terrible at times. They rarely extended above their hips. Their basic skills, edging/ stroking, and overall flow/glide really weren't bad, but not quite as strong as B&S. The program itself seemed to spend a lot of time standing in one place and mugging or setting up for jumps as opposed to really utilizing the ice well.

    I found I agreed most with the Chinese and Polish judges who made sure to give S&P the technical mark, but gave presentation to B&S ,who had a program that ,IMHO, really paid better attention to the judging criteria of presentation under 6.0.
    However, I can understand those who would have wanted to reward a cleaner skate as well. It was a close call in my eyes.

    I also thought Orchid was a beautiful program. I loved the pairs spin and the counterpoint footwork in particular. That program was so beautifully phrased and used up the ice surface very constructively. S&P had a nice use of connecting steps, more intertwining body movement, and more variations in hold and motion than they did with Love Story . They managed to skate with their same bravura/connection without giving any of that up. Love Story felt like such a cop-out in comparison. ::shrugs::
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2012
  30. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Thanks, ltnskater for your thoughts. I completely agree with your post, #27. I agree with your post #26 too, Blair. I also agree that Ina & Zimmerman were often under-regarded for their excellence. Even at the 1998 Olympics, I felt Ina & her former partner Jason Dungjen deserved to be in third place ahead of B/S in the sp.

    S/P and B/S were close competitors. S/P were the epitome of North American style which combines grace, artistry, and athleticism at its best.

    Also, skatingfanfun, could you please provide links to where S/P and their coaching team said that they had decided not to perform Orchid at the Olympics because S/P could not "handle" the program. I believe S/P switched back to LS, not b/c it was simpler, but b/c it was a popular, memorable program that they probably knew like the back of their hands by that point. Just b/c LS was comfortable for S/P does not mean they could not "handle" Orchid. After looking at Orchid, I would not be surprised if Moskvina was inspired by S/P's Orchid program to create Meditation program for B/S. Some of the moves and general theme are similar. There is especially a similarity between the costumes of S/P for Orchid and what B/S wore for Meditation. Moskvina was also inspired by S/P's Love Story apparently, since she used the same music for her current pairs team a couple of seasons ago.

    I feel that a lot of the criticism of LS being "way too simple" is based on looking at the program through IJS-centric eyes. Funny how we forget that free programs were supposed to be free with no necessity for "difficult transitions" or complex choreography requirements. In fact, that is in part one of the reasons why IJS was born, in order to give the judges leeway to give extra points for difficult elements (not to mention helping to cloak judges in anonymity), and to disregard falls (hands down w/o butt touching ice, :lol:) and other so-called minor errors, in the overall scheme of things. Of course, IJS has proven to have been a long and winding road to Abysmal Falls, a step-out off the edge of nowhere and down into Alice's rabbit hole, or into a worm-hole, which has been a short-cut to "50 years" (as David Kirby said) of readjustments to get things right.