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The three best professional pair teams

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by lulu, Dec 29, 2012.

Top 3 Pro Pair Teams

  1. The Protopopovs

    27 vote(s)
  2. Babilonia & Gardner

    5 vote(s)
  3. Underhill & Martini

    47 vote(s)
  4. Gordeeva & Grinkov

    83 vote(s)
  5. Bechke & Petrov

    24 vote(s)
  6. Brasseur & Eisler

    18 vote(s)
  7. Kovarikova & Novotny

    4 vote(s)
  8. Kazakova & Dmitriev

    8 vote(s)
  9. Leonova & Khavalko

    12 vote(s)
  10. Ina & Zimmerman

    7 vote(s)
  11. Berezhnaya & Sikharulidze

    27 vote(s)
  12. Write in:______

    10 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. lulu

    lulu New Member

    The ladies & men pro polls made me nostalgic for the golden days of professional skating. :D

    With that, who are the three best professional pair teams? "Best" can be interpreted anyway you want: based on based on longevity, creative growth, medals, technical skills, programs, audience appeal, or whatever other criteria you want to consider.

    There are some very worth pair teams that I wasn't able to properly list on the poll b/c I can only list 12 options (and some of my own personal favorites are relegated to the "write in" category.) :drama: Please feel free to 'write in' any pair not specifically listed. :mitchell:
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2012
    Maofan7 and (deleted member) like this.
  2. Cherub721

    Cherub721 YEAH!

    G&G - Their pro routines are some of the best ever, a total departure from their eligible stuff.

    L&K - So great and successful considering they never skated together competetively and hadn't really accomplished anything of note with their previous partners. There are other adagio pairs who teamed up later like Afanasieva/Dack or Hartshorn/Schweiding, but Leonova/Khvalko really stood out to me because they also included more traditional pairs moves and throws. Their "Bolero" was outstanding.

    K&D - I liked them as eligibles, but they didn't come into their own choreographically until 1998. The pros allowed them to grow artistically, and they even attempted quad throws.

    I basically went for couples I felt were better as pros. The Protopopovs for example were great as pros (with incredible longevity), but their style was the same as what I have seen from their eligible routines. B&S are one of my all time favorite pairs, and I liked most of their pro stuff, but never as much as their SPs/LPs. They used too many generic ballads and pop songs. If only they had gone more of a classical route like G&G, sigh. Kovarikova/Novotny were good too - but again, it was the same style they had before; they didn't grow in pros.
  3. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    This is pretty easy for me:

    Underhill & Martini- Yes they overscored sometimes in pros, and I dont think they deserved to be unbeatable like the judges made them out to be. However there is no doubt they were an excellent professional team and deserve to be rated as one of the top 3.

    Gordeeva & Grinkov- really grew even more as artists as pros which was evident in their comeback in 94 after several years of pro skating. Wonderful performers on both Stars on Ice, and dominant in pro competitions.

    Bechke & Petrov- a wonderful professional team, very unlucky to not win the World Pros more than once, and great performers on Stars on Ice for many years too.

    Brasseur & Eisler I enjoyed as a professional team, they had many very entertaining programs, even if not always fully appreciated by the judges. The restrictions in the rules being out the window meant we saw even more of their spectacular lifts too. Leonova & Khavalko were a wonderful story as pros, relative nobodies who became big stars, winning the World Pros twice. Kazahkova & Dmitriev grew further artistically as pros, even though they were inconsistent in pro competitions. The Protopovs and Babiliona & Gardner were great pro teams, but that is before the pro World, especialy the pairs, had much interest. The Carruthers were also a great pro team, and won the prestigious Challenge of Champions 3 times. Sale & Pelletier and Berezhnaya & Sikharulidze were both great pro pairs, especialy B&S IMO, but they came in when the pro skating World, especialy pairs and dance, was dwindling.

    Kovarikova & Novotny were a boring pro team. I enjoyed their classical and elegant style as amateurs, but seeing the same type of programs rehashed as pros was not inspiring. They were successful, winning 2 World Pro titles, which is just a reflection sometimes winning in pros does not make the best pro skaters. Meno & Sand were even more boring, predictable, and blah as pros, Barbie and Ken 2.0 on ice, a continuation of their amateur career with a tedious theme that had long ago lost all its lust. Pros should challenge and push themselves. Sato & Dungen were a nice pro team, and could have been a much better pair than Ina & Dungen ever were had they been together earlier and skated as amateurs together, too bad pro skating was being phased out by then. Miskutienok & Dmitriev were quite unispiring and blah in their brief time as pros, and I am a huge fan of theirs. Valova & Vasiliev had some interesting programs as pros, but were never very successful gaining favor, either as show skaters or in pro competitions.

    Hartsworth & Swidling (spelling) were an even bigger underdog succcess story in pros, similar to how someone like Rory Flack Burghart was amongst the women.
    euterpe and (deleted member) like this.
  4. Habs

    Habs Well-Known Member

    Underhill and Martini are tops for me... they were a superior pro team.

    Another pair that stands out is Hough & Ladret. They weren't anything special as amateurs but they really blossomed as pros. They had great skills, great programs and really made the most of the pro circuit. Outstanding career.
  5. AnnieD

    AnnieD Active Member

    I know there's a general feeling of negativity towards Sale & Pelletier, but seriously how could they not have been included on this poll? Some of the teams here barely skated professionally and S&P were far more creative and interesting as a pro team than they were when they were eligible, as well as being on the pro circuit for a decent length of time.
    puglover likes this.
  6. lulu

    lulu New Member

    That probably was a bit of an oversight on my part. Unfortunately, there were a lot of good pairs that could not be explicitly listed on the list b/c there were only 11 poll options. Most of the pairs specifically listed, with the exception of B&S and I&Z, are those who placed/competed at various World Pro functions, during the Landover/Hallmark World Pro years.
    Although they are not specifically listed, S&P, and any other pair not specifically listed, are included under the catch-all 'write-in' category. No disrespect, wuz robbing, negative vibes, hexes, etc. intended. ;)
    What is your favorite S&P pro routine? :)
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2012
  7. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

    Protopopovs, Gordeeva&Grinkov, Brasseur&Eisler.
    I know few of us voted for Brasseur&Eisler, but they were THE pro team when I was young. With funny exhibitions.
  8. honey

    honey Well-Known Member


    These are some of my favorites
    Elite syncopations http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SkAZ85BHfl8
    Who wants to live forever http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1XeOvsEsHyo
    The blower's daughter http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=plpp&v=ZESNZqkM_tk

    Beyond S/P, G/G would be my pick. The Man I Love is :swoon:. Reverie is also wonderful http://youtu.be/jr22fWqi6xg
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2012
  9. euterpe

    euterpe Well-Known Member

    I saw S&P at SOI a couple of years ago and it was a travesty of pairs skating. They looked as if they'd been forced at gunpoint to skate together. They never looked at one another and their facial expressions were grim. They were NOT entertaining.
  10. blue_idealist

    blue_idealist Well-Known Member

    Underhill and Martini.. they were better as pros than amateurs. Gordeeva and Grinkov, since a lot of their programs were so beautiful, more beautiful even than a lot of their amateur programs. Brasseur and Eisler, since their programs were always entertaining and full of a lot of tricks. I want to give an honourable mention to Leonova and Khvalko, since they only formed as a team as pros and kept pace with most of the teams that had been together winning medals since the amateur level.
  11. AnnieD

    AnnieD Active Member

    Bearing in mind that a couple of years ago they were going through a break up and divorce, that's not particularly surprising. That doesn't negate their entire professional career which came up to that point.

    Lulu, I think my favourite S&P pro routines would probably be the Blower's Daughter and Who Wants to Live Forever. They were both wonderful programs, S&P were really at their best at the point they skated these.

    I also absolutely loved G&G as pros. The variety in the programs they chose, along with their line, connection and phenomenal skating ability will probably remain unmatched forever.
  12. Mozart

    Mozart Well-Known Member

    I loved Bechke and Petrov.They were awesome as pros!
    euterpe and (deleted member) like this.
  13. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

    Underhill and Martini had some crazy chemistry together. They did the best leap-of-faith move of any of the pairs. (And Paul had quite a hot body that he showed off handsomely in the "When A Man Loves A Woman" number :hat1:)
  14. lulu

    lulu New Member

    Eys, Eys, he did.
  15. snoopysnake

    snoopysnake Well-Known Member

    My write-in is Shen & Zhao. I wish we could have seen them more, but I can't leave them out.
  16. Vash01

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

    For me, G&G and Bechke-Petrov were clear choices. I had to choose between the Protopopovs and B&S. I picked P&P due to their longevity (they are still skating!), even though I love B&S and I think they had some beautiful pro routines in SOI and in competitions. It could have gone either way.

    I would have added to the list Sato-Dungjen, but not voted for them. Yuka did not even skate pairs as eligible, but she looked amazingly comfortable doing the pairs elements. I love M&D but their pro career was too short, and not very successful.

    I may be the only one on this board that did not care for Underhill-Martini. I often found their routines vulgar. I loved their 'Yesterday' however.
  17. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    I wonder how Sato and Dungen would have done as a pairs team had they gotten together as amateurs in the early 90s somehow and competed for the U.S or Japan if there was any way that was feasible (which it probably isnt, but the whole thing is a fantasy idea anyway so who cares). I definitely think they would have been a better pair than Ina & Dungen who had terrible unision, absolutely no speed, often disjointed choreography and programs, and of course no chemistry on ice at all (forget lovers, they didnt even like each other they admited, and it definitely showed through), and they were 4th at the Worlds and Olympics, and probably would have medaled at the 98 and 99 Worlds had they not missed the 98 Worlds due to a fluke injury and split up.
  18. lulu

    lulu New Member

    Thanks so much for your responses. :)

    I think the key for being a great professional pair, for me, at least, is stretching your comfort level-skating to different types of music/styles, growing as artists and performers.

    With that in mind, my first choice would be Gordeeva & Grinkov. Yes, except for that first year when they went up against Underhill & Martini, they dominated the professional competitions and they maintained their technical skills as well. But, even more than that, they took their skating to a whole different level with their professional programs. I think going to T.Tarasova really did help stretch and improve them as artists and performers. The Tarasova routines not only contained more creativity than their prior eligible routines, they branched out and skating to a more diverse selection of music: whether it was the drama of Scheherazade or the beauty of Meditation from Thais. A few years later they would perform their most iconic routines: Reverie, TMIL, Vocalise and Out of Tears. My personal favorite though, is Requiem, I think they were hitting another turning point as artists with that routine.

    2nd: Bechke & Petrov, As with Underhill & Martini, another great professional pair team, B&P truly shined as pro skaters.
    I lurve B&P's Samson & Delilah routine, every move just melts into the next. :swoon: I also think even though they were in M&D's shadow for much of the eligible career, and G&G's shadow for their early pro career, they truly came into their own as pro skaters and really developed a distinct style of their own: seamless, great lines and gorgeous choreography. I do see a similarity, in a broad sense, between B&P and U&M's career. Both had average/good (depending on your definition) eligible careers, and each of the teams had breakthrough performances as eligible skates (U&M as the 1984 Worlds, B&P as the 1992 Olympics), but it was as professional skaters that both teams truly made a name for themselves.

    3rd: Kazakova & Dmitriev Inconsistent and uneven as performers/competitors, yes. But they were also attempting quad throws at a time when the quad was still relatively uncommon in single skating! They also had moments of absolute brilliance and some of the best pro routines. The Matrix was brilliant not only in its use of a prop, but also the entire story line. It was another routine that I felt took pairs skating to another level in terms of story telling and creativity. For a different reason than B&P, K&D were also very much in the shadow of M&D for much of the eligible career, but as professionals they weren't anything like M&D. I felt they truly found their own niche as pro skaters. They had fabulous on ice chemistry as pro skaters. I also appreciate the diversity of their programs as pro skaters.

    Honorable mentions: Hartshorn & Sweiding-fabulous adagio pair skaters. Their 1492 routine is one of my favorite routines. I also enjoyed Enigma and T.V. Tunes as well. T.V. Tunes may be a bit cheesy, but it SO much fun, I love it. :cheer: L&K-similar to H&S, but they also won World Pros! Their Bolero program is gorgeous as well. I would love to see more adagio pair skating. Hough & Ladret, thanks for mentioning them Habs! They had fantastic chemistry and their Sade program is hawt. :smokin:

    Honorable, Honorable mention: The Protopopovs. What an amazing career-and they're still performing. I don't think I can come up with enough superlatives, but I think it's suffice to to say that they are incredible skaters.

    While I wouldn't consider them one of the best pro pairs of all time, I thought Selezneva & Makarov had great pro routines: Money Makes the World Go Round and Night on Bald Mountain. The SelMaks do this one move where Larissa looks even more flexible than Natalia M! I thought they had the potential to be great professional performers as well.
  19. Vash01

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

    Nobody mentioned the Carruthers. They had a fairly long pro career, but they were always competing against G&G and U&M, so they could not really break through to win anything. I liked the move where Kitty does a spiral, with one skate on Peter's shoulder. Their Sun & Moon program was quite good, but their eligible career was much better than their pro career.

    I did not care for Hartshorn & Sweiding and Hough & Ladret. Whenever I saw them in the same show as G&G and some other top pairs, the difference in the quality of skating was very clear.

    Totmianina-Marinin are not listed here. There were no pro competitions after they turned pro. They were amazing as pros. They really grew artistically without losing any of their technical ability.
  20. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    Actually that isnt really true. They won the prestigious Challenge of Champions 3 times, the biggest pro event alongside the World Professional Skating Championships, in fact until the early 90s it was viewed as the biggest pro event by many people. They also beat Underhill & Martini to win their first of three:


    They beat Valova & Vasiliev to win their other two. I would have to respectfully disagree with you actually on one thing, I think the Carruthers had a better pro career than an amateur career. As amateurs they truly won nothing other than their U.S titles and the surprise Olympic silver. Winning the Challenge of Champions 3 times, and some other pro events, they were bigger winners as pros.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2012
  21. Vash01

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

    Thanks for the correction. I did not see them as pros until after the 88 Olys, so I must have missed most of their pro career.
  22. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    Peter Carruthers is one of my favorite commentators btw. I wish he did more events, rather than many of the hobsnobs who have been given that spot on major skating broadcasts the last couple decades. How anyone would want the likes of Sandra Bezic, Scott Hamilton, Dick Button in his advanced age (he used to be good but he has sucked royally since the late 90s), Kurt Browning, and Dorothy Hamill who are all absolutely dreadful is beyond me.
    Vash01 and (deleted member) like this.
  23. nlyoung

    nlyoung Active Member

    S&P did go through the messy divorce period, but I think that the last year or so before they retired they had gotten back some of their old spark and seemed to be enjoying themselves again. Having seen them live several times they were certainly an entertaining pro couple and had the skills to back it up.
  24. Cherub721

    Cherub721 YEAH!

    Sato had nice throws, but I don't believe she did all the elements with Dungjen (eg, I don't recall them doing a twist). Being pro they had the opportunity to just skip elements they didn't like and concentrate on doing elegant (albeit very boring) routines. I don't think Olympic competition would've been so easy for them. As you said I&D did make 4th at an Olympics, and I really can't imagine Sato & Dungjen outdoing them by winning a medal. If you mean better as in more pleasant to watch, then that is possible.
  25. Vash01

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

    It's quite clear that had they competed as an eligible pair, they would have worked on the twist, and other required elements. You are correct in that as pros they could pick what they wanted to include in their programs. I was actually quite surprised that Yuka was able to perform so many pairs elements as a pro, despite the fact that she never skated as a pair before. At least some other singles skaters had done some pairs skating in the past (e.g. Paul Wylie), but not Yuka.
  26. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    I think Sato could have learnt elements like the triple twist. She clearly picked up the pairs elements very quickly in such a short time to do what she did, so had a real innate talent for pairs it seems. She might have had even more natural talent for pairs than singles, considering how long it took her as a senior skater to master the top singles skater things like the triple lutz and triple flip, but she never found the right partner to do pairs I guess, but it was often said in telecasts her dream had always to be a top pairs skater, but in Japan that is a very difficult thing for the girls to manage as there are almost no capable men going into pairs for the girls.
  27. zilam98

    zilam98 Well-Known Member

    too bad. i wish she met dunjen when she was younger and in the amateur circuit. she could've been the star of the team. which top teams would they have been up against then?
  28. Vash01

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

    K&D, B&S, W&S- the three Olympic medallists in 1998,


    in 1994-1997 a weaker pairs field (Y&B, W&S, M&S, Z&S and brand new K&D), except at the 1994 Olympics. If Sato & Dungjen been skating in 94-97 (Ina & Dungjen paired up before 1994- I first saw them at the Olympic festival in 1993), there would not have been Ina-Dungjen, and S&D might have competed. They could have been world medallists.
  29. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    The 1998 Olympics wasnt even a great event. K&D won an overwhelming victory with a very good performance but hardly one of the all time best, and they had more memorable performances to that same program in the 96-97 season (GP final were they were robbed of winning, and Worlds were a silly doubled toe by him in both programs cost them the title), using it a second year it lost some of the lustre it had in its debut year. Berezhnaya & Sikharulidze succumbed to nerves and had some major mistakes in both programs, while Woetzer & Steuer were badly injured and thus understandably very subpar even for their IMO never particularly great standards. A top flight team skating well would have had no problem atleast medaling at the 98 Olympics either, especialy one who already had the reputation of skating well and winning medals previous seasons before that one. With the performances that event, Ina & Dungen probably would have even medaled with their U.S Nationals LP which was their best ever but unfortunately they came nowhere near duplicating at the Games, and as I said while completely random speculation and no way of knowing, I could easily have seen Sato & Dungjen being a better and far more pleasing team than Ina & Dungjen ever were.

    BTW who is Z&S referring to.
  30. Proustable

    Proustable New Member