Great long programs by pairs in the Olympics

Vash01

Fan of Yuzuru, T&M, P&C
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There were many great long programs by pairs in the Olympics. Not all won the OGM.

I didn't include Rodnina for all three because I have not seen her three OGM winning programs in full. I do remember her 1980 LP which was on a figure skating VHS, but that too was not complete.

Still, I/Z 1980 should be on the list. Their speed and power was amazing.

Belousova Protopopov - their beauty cannot be compared with other pairs. It was a different era.

From 1984 to the present.

First 1984 - I have the least knowledge of this.

I don't remember Valova Vasiliev at all, so I can't comment on them. I have watched the Carruthers silver medal skate and it was good.

Now the rest, but in random order.

Savchenko Massot (2018) -(I have to look up the title of the music). Awesome in choreography and execution.

Tarasova Morozov (2022) Lighthouse - one of the most beautiful

Mishkutenok Dmitriev (1994) Rach2 and (1992) Liebestraum. I can't choose between these two as the better one. Even with mistakes, Liebestraum was iconic In its beauty. Rach2 was clean and more exciting.

Gordeeva Grinkov (1988) and 1994 Moonlight Sonata. The 1988 LP was perfect, but I preferred Moonlight Sonata with a couple of tiny flaws. Much more mature.

Bechke & Petrov 1992 Nutcracker. One slight two foot on a sbs jump but very elegant.

Kazakova Dmitriev 1998- Except for one sbs single axel, this was a very good skate. Worthy of their OGM. Oksana was as flexible as Natasha, and they had some other creative moves.

Totmianina Marinin (2006) A great achievement skating clean, after their horrific fall at SA (was it the season before the Olympic season?)

Brasseur & Eisler 1994 - very courageous. Clean despite her injury.

Berezhnaya Sikharulidze (2002) Meditation from Thais - most difficult choreography of their time. one small mistake (step out of 2A by Anton). It was eclipsed by their sublime SP Lady Caliph.

Volosozhar Trankov 2014 - it was a great skate. One small error (slight hand touch on the first throw). Very emotional.

Stolbova Klimov 2014 - they were so good, I thought they would be the next Olympic champions. It was not meant to be.

Pang Tong (2010) - many felt they should have won

Shen Zhao (2002) and (2006)- Their 2006 was better than their 2002 (almost successful quad throw) and 2010 (OGM).

Sui Han (2018 & 2022). One error on sbs jump both times, but different results. In 2018, it was tough to beat S/M even though they were in 4th after the SP. The mistake on a jump cost SH the gold.

Duhamel Radford 2018. Clean skate with quad throws and difficult tech content.

Shishkova Naumov 1994 - Skated well..... sadly they didn't make the podium but the 1994 Olympics were just different because of the return of the pros.

Sale Pelletier - different opinions. Clean but choreography was too simple, even by the 2002 standard. Well skated Though.

Mishina Galliamov 2022 - Once again, they proved that they are among the most consistent pairs.

Honorable mention:

Knierim Frasier 2022 - Really good Olympics for them. Clean skates.

Meno & Sand 1994 - they were so happy with their clean skate (I hope my memory is correct).

Ina Zimmerman 2002- their candle lift was awesome

Peng Jin 2022- very well skated in the IE. Their TE skate made me doubt them.

Boikova Kozlowski 2022 - except for a mistake on the throw this was a very good skate.

Valova Vasiliev 1988 - I really liked their Snow storm at the worlds. At the Olympics they were not clean, but no way they could have beaten GG, even with a clean skate.

Did I leave out anyone?
 
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bardtoob

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Belousova Protopopov - their beauty cannot be compared with other pairs. It was a different era.
I will agree with you that they are not quite comparable because they were trying to live up to the standards of their day. However, they also were trailblazing a lot of the prescribed elements and aesthetics we expect today.

I remember watching some pairs programs from the 1960 Olympics and earlier and wondering "What the heck am I looking at? Date night at the roller rink?" Here is Belousova and Protopopov in 1960 looking so . . . so . . . preppy. They could exchange uniforms with Sale and Pelletier and skate to "Love Story".

 
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bardtoob

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I don't remember Valova Vasiliev at all, so I can't comment on them. I have watched the Carruthers silver medal skate and it was good.
I think the Carruthers were in medal winning position because others unexpectedly went splat in the SP while they didn't. Otherwise, I think they would have been in the top 6.
 

tony

But it just doesn't fcuking glide
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As far as leaving anyone out—I did note that Shen & Zhao’s 2003 Worlds LP was inexplicably missing.

Probably my all-time favorite pairs program! :)
Not an Olympics skate. However, in 2002, had she held that throw 4S....
 

asdf334

Active Member
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Shen Zhao (2002) and (2006)- Their 2006 was better than their 2002 (almost successful quad throw) and 2010 (OGM).

I thought the 2002 skate was a bit weak for their standards. Zhao really struggled with some of those lifts.
 

Fadeevfanboy

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1994 was insane. The final flight were all incredible and could have won in virtually any other year. Even Meno & Sand had the long program of their lives to come 5th, just had no chance of a medal due to the insane field.

Bechke & Petrov had such a great performance in 92. Very meaningful with their history of falling apart under pressure. Such a beautiful and technically sound performance to Nutcracker. Granted they had less pressure here as Miskutienok & Dmitriev and Brasseur & Eisler were the teams who had all the attention going into the event, and after those 2 there were a lot of teams, not only Bechke & Petrov, that were given decent chances of sneaking in for a medal. So Bechke & Petrov were pretty UTR going in, their only world medal was a bronze way back in 89, which likely helped them. They still had to do it though, with all their critics and doubters due to their inconsistency, and they sure did.

Miskutienok & Dmitriev had one of the all time best pair programs in terms of very difficult and well done choreography, musical interpretation, originality, and plain magic in 92. And while they didn't skate it perfectly (due to the side by side jumps only, but they didn't fall atleast), it still was very well done and created that same magic at the 92 Olympics.

A great personal performance would have been Meno & Wendland in Albertville. They came only 11th (probably 5 spots or something too low, but that is expected as they were pretty much nobodies to the judges and skating community, even amongst US pairs they were totally overshadowed by Urbanski & Marvel and 91 world bronze medalists Kuchiki & Sand), but they really skated their best and very clean performances, and were one of the only teams to do so. This was the last time we would see them as both Kuchiki & Sand and Meno & Wendland broke up to create Meno & Sand. I was sad about that. Personally was never a big fan of Meno & Sand, as they had too much of a the generic Barbie & Ken feel, and while they were a quality and beautiful pair, there is only so many times I can stand seeing something like Nessum Dorma from them. I do wish this team had stayed together and we could have seen what they could do in future years but that was never happening with Jenni and Todd falling in love, and understandably wanting to skate together.

Nagano had few great performances to remember. Just a flat and dissapointing event. While I was never a fan of Woetzel & Steuer I commend them for getting through the competition with a serious shoulder injury on his part, and somehow skating well enough to medal and nearly silver. What an accident ridden career this team had from start to finish, disaester seemed to follow them wherever they went at times. So a great performance as far as courage, even though they skated nowhere near their best, but that was never even possible in the circumstances. And even though I generally don't enjoy them, but I sure admired what they and Elvis Stojko both did here. True guts.

I was also happy for Kazahkova & Dmitriev finally putting it all together in a big event for the first time since teaming up really. And getting the gold on top of that was icing on the cake for them. It was also the first time Kazahkova got rightly recognized as a very good skater who brought something to the partnership and not just the great Artur's tagalong. I still prefer Natalia like most would, but Oksana finally got her due as a skater and how hard she worked to make their partnership a success. It could not have been easy going from just a low ranking Russian team to skating with the legend with big expectations. And of course the great Artur Dmitriev even more fully cemented his legacy. Maybe not the best male skater ever in pairs, but almost for sure the best male competitor ever in pairs, the same way Rodnina is for the women.

While I agreed with Berezhnaya & Sikhardlidze winning originally with their far more difficult program, Sale & Pelletier definitely had their best ever performance to their famed Love Story program in Salt Lake City. Also in a real rarity Jamie nailed all her side by side jumps perfectly, and the ones in the long program in perfect unision to David. Usually she is missing most of them, and still given/gifted gold medals by the judges anyway (which is yet another reason the whole SLC controversy annoyed me). Not here though. Jamie had her best jumping outing ever by far, to complete an overall great performance under a lot of pressure. As a Canadian that saw Jamie often in singles, and saw how much she struggled with any consistency on even a triple toe, triple salchow, or double axel as a singles skater even, this was a huge triumph for her to nail the triple toe and double axel sequence 3 times in unision with David with a world of pressure on her. While still keeping the theme of Love Story perfectly, even if the choreography wasn't that challenging.

And Berehznaya & Sikhardlize of course. One of the most complex and difficult choreographed pair programs ever. And to still pull off almost all the tough technical elements, difficult throws and jumps, required of top contending pairs now with all that, was incredible. Truly OGM worthy even with the mistakes.

Ina & Zimmerman had an outstanding performance and huge personal victory. Probably the most energetic and spirited skated of the night. I honestly think they had a great case for the bronze with neither Shen & Zhao or Totmianina & Marinin skating great that night. Although politically that was probably never happening. I wish they had gotten 4th atleast. This was a case the placement really didn't matter though, the performance in their final season, and after all their problems since pairing up, was all that really mattered.

Totmianina & Marinin in 2006. Really delivering under insane pressure, and for all their critics skating two technically extremely difficult programs perfectly, without a foot wrong. With flawless unision in both, and well done and thought out choreography. They navigaged their only couple tricky spots like the lift and twist, which aren't great, but got through without any problems. Their programs both built to the end and very OGM worthy.

Pang & Tong had a great outing in 2006 after a couple seasons of inconsistency after their world bronze in 2004. I think they got screwed and should have won silver over both the Zhangs and Shen & Zhao, who both had mistakes, but politically they were #3 Chinese team at the time, so it was what it was.

Pang & Tong again in 2010. And this time got rewarded for it by winning the LP and the silver medal. This team really peaks well for Olympics it seems. Both times coming out of the shadows of other Chinese pairs to shine and skate their best.

Volosozhar & Trankov in 2014. The pressure on them was insane, especialy being in Russia. A couple minor errors on the throws but still almost clean, and an inspired and beautiful performance, with their trademark ginormous triple twist and huge throws.

Stolbova & Klimov were a huge surprise in 2014 in winning silver. Skating out of their skin, and not putting a foot wrong in either program. A great moment for Russians overall to see their 2 top pairs skate so well and go 1-2 on home ice. Sadly this would be one of the last times we would really see them shine as injuries curtailed there potential after the Olympic season.

Savchenko & Massot in 2018. Her long quest for that Olympic Gold completed. When it looked like the dream already died in the short program when he did a double salchow. Had one of the all time best pairs long programs to come from behind and edge out the very popular Sui & Han. A super inspired and emotional skate, and that triple twist which was just insane.

Sui & Han/Tarasova & Morozov/Mishina & Galliamov- All 3 of these teams delivered at or close to their best, with a lot to prove and a lot of pressure. This is recent so I won't bother going into detail. Just an amazing podium and great to see all 3 happy with their medals, even though all 3 would have been targetting gold, and only 1 can get it.
 

floskate

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Regarding Rodnina and her three Olympic performances - in 1972 Ulanov singled the salchow in the short but most of the judges were watching her and didn't even deduct anything. Then in the free she totally biffed their axel-loop-euler-2sal combo when she fell out of the axel and nearly crashed into Ulanov, yet they still didn't score anything lower than a 5.8. In all honesty the 1972 Olympic champions should have been Smirnova & Suraikin who were clean in both programs, other than the tiniest of bobbles in their free skate. R&U were faster sure, but S&S were no slouches either. Speed alone wasn't enough to give Rodnina the OGM in Sapporo IMO given the other issues.

In 1976 Zaitsev (who literally never made a mistake) fell out of the sbs double axel, but the event as a whole was not well skated so they won easily. 1980 was their cleanest performance and most technically advanced with a great triple twist, sbs double axels and some incredible lifts.
 

Fadeevfanboy

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Regarding Rodnina and her three Olympic performances - in 1972 Ulanov singled the salchow in the short but most of the judges were watching her and didn't even deduct anything. Then in the free she totally biffed their axel-loop-euler-2sal combo when she fell out of the axel and nearly crashed into Ulanov, yet they still didn't score anything lower than a 5.8. In all honesty the 1972 Olympic champions should have been Smirnova & Suraikin who were clean in both programs, other than the tiniest of bobbles in their free skate. R&U were faster sure, but S&S were no slouches either. Speed alone wasn't enough to give Rodnina the OGM in Sapporo IMO given the other issues.

In 1976 Zaitsev (who literally never made a mistake) fell out of the sbs double axel, but the event as a whole was not well skated so they won easily. 1980 was their cleanest performance and most technically advanced with a great triple twist, sbs double axels and some incredible lifts.

Wasn't any team with Rodnina in it automatically politically favored by the Soviet Union over any non Rodnina team? I assume that is why Rodnina pretty easily beat her former partner Ulanov in 73 and 74 whenever they met, although they were probably the superior team anyway. And probably why she still won in 72 when their teammates had a much better outing. I imagine she had a margin for error, those rare times she ever needed it, as usually she was a rock and didn't. And politically the Soviets held power over everyone by then, even East Germany who also had considerable power, but less than Soviets. Hence why Witt had to fight sometimes to hold off mediocre Soviet female skaters, who couldn't stand up, and Hoffmann lost so often to Kovalev and other Soviet men.
 

floskate

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Wasn't any team with Rodnina in it automatically politically favored by the Soviet Union over any non Rodnina team? I assume that is why Rodnina pretty easily beat her former partner Ulanov in 73 and 74 whenever they met, although they were probably the superior team anyway. And probably why she still won in 72 when their teammates had a much better outing. I imagine she had a margin for error, those rare times she ever needed it, as usually she was a rock and didn't. And politically the Soviets held power over everyone by then, even East Germany who also had considerable power, but less than Soviets. Hence why Witt had to fight sometimes to hold off mediocre Soviet female skaters, who couldn't stand up, and Hoffmann lost so often to Kovalev and other Soviet men.
Oh without a doubt. The age old Moscow vs St. Petersburg schools of skating. But it wasn't just Sapporo, R&U made significant errors at the 1970 and 1971 Worlds also - they were not the consistent team that history would have us believe they were. Once she teamed with Zaitsev she came into her own and was much more consistent.
 

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