Pairs Discussion Thread 2019-20: “Two skating as one”

aftershocks

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If you are speaking of Mishkutuionok/Dmitriev, then you didn't actually read my post. I listed Dmitriev with both of his partners even tho' I didn't mention their names specifically (Kazakova is the second partner). As I said earlier, I give Dmitriev the most credit for being the driving force in those partnerships both creatively and personality-wise.

Did you not get that I included Gordeeva/Grinkov at the top of the list as well-rounded technically with personality galore! Since I was grouping Rodnina in as one of the exceptional Russian pairs skaters, I didn't overemphasize artistry and aesthetics in my general phrasing, because Rodnina was chiefly a bravura technician and athlete. Still, there's no way to ignore Rodnina's huge impact and influence on pairs skating, especially in athletic terms. She was fierce!

At the top of any list of all time great international pairs athletes artistically will always sit G&G and the Protopopovs (B/P) before anyone else. :encore: Then, in terms of Russian teams of that category, I would include Berezh/Sikh, et al. You didn't really read my post as I named B/S, G&G, et al., as having tech goods and personality. Of course, they all had artistry too, except Rodnina was not as exceptional aesthetically as the other Russian teams I named. I'm not sure what you think I said.

Russian teams can be skilled with the blade and still not express music well. That can be a subtle factor that some fans miss or make assumptions about because of the beauty of line, posture and technique. None of those qualities automatically translate to great musicality or artistic capabilities. We can agree to disagree on Tot/Mar, Evgenia/Vlad, and Zab/Enbert, especially in terms of the fact that none of these teams have managed to project any personality or connection together on the ice. You dismiss their weaknesses in those areas apparently because you love their classic lines. So be it.

Actually, Tot/Mar and Zab/Enbert have much better lines than Ev/Vlad -- let's be honest. :p Ev/Vlad are more athletic looking and also are very attractive physically in addition to being well-matched. Still, their lines aren't as long, lovely and gorgeous as Tot/Mar and Zab/Enbert. :)

ETA:
In general (and keep in mind this is a generalized observation), it's a conundrum and some kind of Murphy's Law that so many Russian teams with to-die-for technique lack charisma and personality, while a number of U.S. pairs teams are known to have sbs jump drawbacks, while possessing huge strengths in every other area of their skating, particularly many current U.S. teams. Pfund/Santillan and Cain-Gribble/LeDuc are fairly consistent on sbs jumps vs other U.S. teams. The young Lu/Mitrofanov also have good jumps and other elements, but they lack maturity and experience.

The Knierims, Denney/Frazier, and Calalang/Johnson especially need to shore up on the sbs jumps and also consistently ace their throws because they have blazing talent in every other aspect of their skating. D/F in particular have great lifts with good speed, height and distance on throws. The Knierims are excellent in their 3-twist and have height and distance on throws, and they have smoothed out their skating skills and are connecting more.

Calalang/ Johnson have been a revelation so far, and have great potential to blossom further. They can't afford to let the jump hiccoughs affect their forward progress. They have a lovely connection, wonderful speed and good skating skills, a consistent top-notch twist, and they are working on retooling timing on their throws as a new team. They have come on strong with great programs ever since they teamed last season. It's amazing that they trained in the same camp for years and never realized how good they would be together until the circumstances of having to split with their former partners led to them pairing.
 
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Japanfan

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Last season, Peng/Jin were a bit over-scored because they were the only top Chinese team on the GP scene for several seasons and the Chinese rep had to be upheld, even though P/J still have so far not lived up to their quality talent.
P/J deserved their silver at GFP last year, IMO. And their programs this year are both stunners, IMO. Interesting music choices and choreography. The programs can showcase their quality talent - I hope to see that at GFP or Worlds.

At the top of any list of all time great international pairs athletes artistically will always sit G&G and the Protopopovs (B/P)
I think S/Z belong on that list, and S/H look that they will get there as well. Some might argue that other pairs are GOATS as well. And Protopopovs are in a class of their own.

Russians dominated pairs for a long time and were almost always the best, but that has changed. People who started watching skating in the 2000s might have a different perception of pairs than people who started watching earlier. The 2002 pairs event/scandal suggested to at least some newer viewers that Russian dominance could be challenged.

There were two Chinese pairs and a German pair on the podium in the 2010 OG. 2014 was 'Putin's Olympics'. The Germans won gold and the Chinese silver in the 2018 OG. Could be two Chinese pairs on the podium in 2022, which is going to be a really exciting event.

To me, a field is always more exciting when there are multiple contenders for the three podium spots. I don't mind when a clear leader/leaders in the fields is is/are favorite(s). But even then, it's better when the skater(s) are challenged.

Things should change in a sport - that is how a sport moves forward.
 
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aftershocks

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P/J deserved their silver at GFP last year, IMO. And their programs this year are both stunners, IMO. Interesting music choices and choreography. The programs can showcase their quality talent - I hope to that at GFP or Worlds.

I think S/Z belong on that list, and S/H look that they will get there as well. Some might argue that other pairs are GOATS as well.

Russians dominated pairs for a long time and were almost always the best, but that has changed. People who started watching skating in the 2000s might have a different perception of pairs than people who started watching earlier. There were two Chinese pairs and a German pair on the podium in the 2010 OG. 2014 was 'Putin's Olympics'. The Germans won gold and the Chinese silver in the 2018 OG. Could be two Chinese pairs on the podium in 2022, which is going to be a really exciting event.
Certainly Chinese fed is pushing for having two pairs on the podium in Beijing, but hopefully with such depth in pairs internationally, the quality of the competition will prevent politics from overly influencing the results. Peng/Jin have a lot of quality, but they still have not consistently lived up to nor fully realized their potential. There have been flashes of brilliance mixed with messy performances. Granted that Peng is apparently injured at the moment. It is my opinion that in the absence of Yu/Zhang and Sui/Han on the GP the last three seasons, P/J have been pushed up a bit in their scores while at the same time, they simply haven't stepped through that open door of opportunity to truly shine. While P/J have excellent programs this season, they haven't yet performed those programs well.

Unless Yu/Zhang come back in fantastic form and with much more palpable connection to each other, at the moment I think there's possibly more chances for two Russian teams to be on the podium than two Chinese teams. At the moment, I don't think P/J nor Y/Z are better than James/Cipres either. Perhaps Chinese, French and Russians will make the podium in Beijing. There are all kinds of possible scenarios.

ITA that Shen/Zhou are on the list of greatest pairs teams. But once again, I was chiefly discussing Russian pairs teams. If we are talking about best pairs ever, the conversation changes and broadens. In any case, on my list of greatest ever, the Protopopovs and Gordeeva/Grinkov would still be at the top and then probably Savchenko/Szolkowy, Rodnina/Zaitsev, Babilonia/Gardner, Shen/Zhou, Sale/Pelletier, Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze, Underhill/Martini, Mishkutuionok/Dmitriev, Savchenko/Massot, Volosozhar/Trankov, Pang/Tong, Sui/Han, Meno/Sand, Ina/Zimmerman, Valova/Vasiliev, Kavaguti/Smirnov, Brasseur/Eisler, Duhamel/Radford, Wotzel/Steuer, James/Cipres, Starbuck/ Shelley, et al.

This list is only for the modern era though (1960s to current). It would look much different if we factor in greatest from earlier eras whom we have not seen perform and can only judge based on their accomplishments. Even then it would probably have to be broken down as pre- and post- WWII. Without having seen them but based on their accomplishments, the Brunets, the Jelineks, Barb Wagner/Robert Paul, Karol & Peter Kennedy, Jennifer & John Nicks, Dafoe/Bowden, et al.
 

Japanfan

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Certainly Chinese fed is pushing for having two pairs on the podium in Beijing, but hopefully with such depth in pairs internationally, the quality of the competition will prevent politics from overly influencing the results.
Doesn't politics always play a role, to a certain extent? Think Putin's Olympics.

That said, I usually find I can at least understand the top placements, if not agree with them. There are only a few occasions when I have found judges' decisions egregious (occurred during Putin's Olympics). In general, I find the judging better under CoP as compared to 6.0.

I think politics does come into play frequently among novices and juniors, who don't generally have the kind of hype or lack of hype that seniors do. And haven't established themselves as a skater who usually rank a certain way (although that probably can change at the lower levels, not only seniors). It's possible that parents may have more liberty to 'encourage' judges at the lower levels.

There was a documentary some years ago about how fixed dance judging was at the lower levels. Though that was prior to CoP, so hopefully judging at the lower levels is more fair now.

Peng/Jin have a lot of quality, but they still have not consistently lived up to nor fully realized their potential. There have been flashes of brilliance mixed with messy performances.
That could be good thing for P/J as it may mean they have not yet peaked.

Positioning within the Olympic cycle is important. I worry that S/H have or will have reached their peak before 2022, but Sui is also a force to be contended with. Sui/Han have been groomed for 2022 Gold, and I'm sure they are going to fight hard for it.

Unless Yu/Zhang come back in fantastic form and with much more palpable connection to each other, at the moment I think there's possibly more chances for two Russian teams to be on the podium than two Chinese teams. At the moment, I don't think P/J nor Y/Z are better than James/Cipres either. Perhaps Chinese, French and Russians will make the podium in Beijing. There are all kinds of possible scenarios.
I would love to see J/C get an Olympic medal. But as is the case with S/H, I worry about positioning within the Olympic cycle. Then again, pairs (and dancers) tend to have greater longevity than singles.

For sure the Russians will be in the mix. I don't really have an opinion as to whether P/J are better than J/C. As to Y/Z, I'm also not sure as they have been absent for while. Z is getting on in years, but like Sui, he has shown that he is a force to be contended with. I therefore wouldn't count Y/Z out.

Granted that Peng is apparently injured at the moment. It is my opinion that in the absence of Yu/Zhang and Sui/Han on the GP the last three seasons, P/J have been pushed up a bit in their scores while at the same time, they simply haven't stepped through that open door of opportunity to truly shine. While P/J have excellent programs this season, they haven't yet performed those programs well.

Unless Yu/Zhang come back in fantastic form and with much more palpable connection to each other, at the moment I think there's possibly more chances for two Russian teams to be on the podium than two Chinese teams. At the moment, I don't think P/J nor Y/Z are better than James/Cipres either.
The book 'The Second Mark' described how much Bin Yao loved to win, especially after (in his perception) being disgraced when he finished dead last with his partner at Worlds and the Olympic games - they were China's first pair, and learned from watching the Russians in videos, with no help from coaches, choreographers and other support staff outside of China. There were so clueless that his partner came onto the ice at one practice with coins in her pockets, and they spilled all over the ice. Bin Yao remembers someone in the audience laughing at he and his partner, and came home with the vision of building a pairs school in China. When S/Z and P/T stood gold and silver on the podium in 2010, it was also Bin Yao's medal.

I would think that Hongbo now shares Bin Yao's passion for winning. Not to say that Russia doesn't have that passion, but it's different in that China has long been the underdog (although that's changing). The sentiment that Russia "is the rightful home of pair's gold" (said by Tat, I believe?) was true for a long time, but now, appears arrogant, IMO. Totally opposite of the underdog mentality. The Chinese pairs are a force to be reckoned with.

This should or could make for a very exciting pairs competition in 2022. Whether P/J or Y/Z are better than P/C is arguable, I suppose, and a matter of perception to a certain point, at least with regard to P/J. I personally think P/J have surpassed Y/Z at this point, but will gladly have Y/Z cause me to question that view.

Grandpa is possibly past his prime, but he will competing for the pride of a nation in Beijing, as will P/J and S/H.

As they say in 'The Hunger Games': "may the odds be in your favor".

And possibly some new or unexpected pairs will be in the mix, making the competition all the more exciting.

Seems like a long wait for 2022!
 
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aftershocks

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^^ Well, sure GOATS in pairs should be a short list, and honestly to be fair, we'd really have to know more about other eras and the best skaters in those eras so that a true list of greats would actually be inclusive. As it is, for earlier eras we have to rely on stats and the names and stories we've heard.

I could definitely refine and limit my list, but those are my greatest faves of all time with a few obligatory nods to teams such as Valova/Vasiliev who I never cottoned to, but who looking back, I realize were very good (a bit better for e.g., than Tot/Mar in terms of projecting). The other part of this is, there are also some very good teams who may not have broken through in a big way. So lists can be largely about hardware or about actual skill and talent, or about most memorable performances, or all of these things combined. Winning or medaling in figure skating is often based on luck and timing, as well as being impacted by politics and performances on the day (which are influenced by yet another level of factors).

Separate lists could also be compiled based on individual categories, including artistry, athleticism, unison and longevity, which again would significantly pare back who gets included. For e.g. the best pairs divas in the world would be a very short list, made up of Rodnina and Savchenko since they both were great champions with two different partners. I'd also include Katia G., and maybe Sui for her fierce strength of will and desire. Meagan Duhamel also displayed fierce will and desire. Vanessa James is gracious, courageous and determined. Tai Babilonia is beauty and strength personified. Barb Underhill displayed pure badass brilliance. Oh and I'd have to also put in a mention of Stolbova for her determination, as well as Kavaguti for her amazing and long-suffering desire.

We all have our faves and our opinions. Any number of things can happen. Based on what's transpired to date, James/Cipres have so far accomplished more than P/J and Y/Z, with J/C having the advantage as a team that has been together longer. Zhang has been a warrior with his previous partner, but I don't see him being as good as Zhou, Tong, and Han, except that Zhang does display tenacity and fierce desire. As I said, it would be cool if Y/Z come back and surprise us with a real connection matched by some brilliant skating. It remains to be seen. Honestly, P/J have a lot of quality, but they are getting on my last nerve as much or more than T/M. Both of these teams have huge talent and have received gifts from the judges without yet fully and consistently delivering the goods (for whatever reasons).

Again, what's going to happen is a crapshoot. That's why we debate, and that's why we watch. ;)

ETA:
Yep politics generally always plays a role in figure skating. I was simply being hopeful that the quality of performances might be able to trump political machinations and expectations.
 
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Mad for Skating

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To me, it’s very hard to determine what makes a pair deserving of PCS. There are so many different qualities that fall under the umbrella of PCS scores.

Sui/Han could deserve high PCS because they have a stunning emotional connection that can move the audience to tears.

Tarasova/Morozov could deserve high PCS because they have incredible skating skills.

James/Cipres could deserve high PCS because they have innovative programs with difficult transitions.

Peng/Jin could deserve high PCS because they have great chemistry and charm on the ice.

These days, it’s almost impossible to define what “PCS” is actually judging.
 

aka_gerbil

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T/M have sometimes acted as if they are entitled to always win.
I have followed a lot of skaters and teams for a long time now and I’ve seen a lot of entitlement, but not one time have I ever seen or read anything come from T/M expressing anything even hinting at sounding entitled. My impression is that they come across as some of the more humble competitors.

I liked both T&M. You may find them boring. We are just different, with different tastes.
This. I value stellar technique and skating skills, so to me, watching t/m is exciting. Also, as an introvert myself, I’m drawn to their more introverted style.
 

Japanfan

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T&M have just never captured me - perhaps because their 'Candyman' just didn't work. IMO.

The previous T&M never captured me either, I found watching them about as exciting as watching paint dry. However, their unison was a thing of beauty, and I think I appreciate it more now than I did when they were competing.
 

Perky Shae Lynn

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T/M have sometimes acted as if they are entitled to always win. I blame the judges in part for over-rewarding T/M when they didn't deserve overly high scores. T/M are thus paying for that now in lowered confidence. Plus, if they aren't getting along personally that's another drawback for them. Sure, they can still turn things around.
This is a bizarre comment. T/M have never had an entitled attitude. They are shy, soft-spoken and non-confrontational. Your typical wallflowers. They only get frustrated with themselves. IMO, they could benefit from having a little more attitude. If they felt "entitled" it would mean they'd believe they are good enough to win.

In general, I find your post very uncomfortable. It would make Don Cherry proud. Every nation has a different skating style, but to make a sweeping generalization about "Russian pairs" as having arrogant entitled personalities says a lot more about you than them. Perhaps you see what you want to see to support your personal biases.
 
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Japanfan

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Yep politics generally always plays a role in figure skating. I was simply being hopeful that the quality of performances might be able to trump political machinations and expectations.
I am being positive in saying that I think this is generally true. Not because the players who machine the politics have integrity - more so because they know the fastest pony when they see it, and invest in that pony.
 
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NAOTMAA

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This is a bizarre comment. T/M have never had an entitled attitude. They are shy, soft-spoken and non-confrontational. Your typical wallflowers. They only get frustrated with themselves. IMO, they could benefit from having a little more attitude. If they felt "entitled" it would mean they'd believe they are good enough to win.
If anything they got the complete opposite problem. They don't believe in themselves enough. They might say things in interviews but they show the opposite on ice. The really do look like the suffer from low self esteem sometimes. Their the prime candidates a councilor would recommended those self help programs to. "I can do anything! I am a winner! I believe in myself!" :lol:
 

Colonel Green

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I have followed a lot of skaters and teams for a long time now and I’ve seen a lot of entitlement, but not one time have I ever seen or read anything come from T/M expressing anything even hinting at sounding entitled. My impression is that they come across as some of the more humble competitors.
Yeah, I’d call them about the farthest from entitled. Honestly, if anything, they come across as having a real lack of self-belief that makes it hard for them to perform at the level they’re obviously capable of doing.
 

Vash01

Fan of Yuzuru, Three A's, T&M, P&C
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This is a bizarre comment. T/M have never had an entitled attitude. They are shy, soft-spoken and non-confrontational. Your typical wallflowers. They only get frustrated with themselves. IMO, they could benefit from having a little more attitude. If they felt "entitled" it would mean they'd believe they are good enough to win.

In general, I find your post very uncomfortable. It would make Don Cherry proud. Every nation has a different skating style, but to make a sweeping generalization about "Russian pairs" as having arrogant entitled personalities says a lot more about you than them. Perhaps you see what you want to see to support your personal biases.
ITA. Actually T&M don't have that confident feeling and that is their downfall. Calling them 'entitled' is laughable. They are the opposite of that. They were always relegated to 2nd or 3rd in Russia and they seem to still carry with that with them.

I can't think of a Russian (or any other nation) pair that was arrogant- meaning no talent but expected to win. Most of the championship caliber pairs were confident but they always worked hard and never took anything for granted.
 

Vash01

Fan of Yuzuru, Three A's, T&M, P&C
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If anything they got the complete opposite problem. They don't believe in themselves enough. They might say things in interviews but they show the opposite on ice. The really do look like the suffer from low self esteem sometimes. Their the prime candidates a councilor would recommended those self help programs to. "I can do anything! I am a winner! I believe in myself!" :lol:
Did you mean 'They are'? I agree with the rest of your post.
 

NAOTMAA

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Did you mean 'They are'? I agree with the rest of your post.
Yes I did but I changed what I was writing so many times before posting my words got mixed up :lol:

As for T/M I do think they will bounce back at Rostelecom. They always seem to skate well at home and I'm sure the crowd will lift them up. It always does wonders for ones confidence to be on friendly territory. Anything that can potentially get them out of the rut their currently in is good.
 
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AxelAnnie

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To me, it’s very hard to determine what makes a pair deserving of PCS. There are so many different qualities that fall under the umbrella of PCS scores.

Sui/Han could deserve high PCS because they have a stunning emotional connection that can move the audience to tears.

Tarasova/Morozov could deserve high PCS because they have incredible skating skills.

James/Cipres could deserve high PCS because they have innovative programs with difficult transitions.

Peng/Jin could deserve high PCS because they have great chemistry and charm on the ice.

These days, it’s almost impossible to define what “PCS” is actually judging.
It is 6.0 in disguise.
 

aftershocks

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To me, it’s very hard to determine what makes a pair deserving of PCS. There are so many different qualities that fall under the umbrella of PCS scores.

Sui/Han could deserve high PCS because they have a stunning emotional connection that can move the audience to tears.

Tarasova/Morozov could deserve high PCS because they have incredible skating skills.

James/Cipres could deserve high PCS because they have innovative programs with difficult transitions.

Peng/Jin could deserve high PCS because they have great chemistry and charm on the ice.

These days, it’s almost impossible to define what “PCS” is actually judging.
I think we can start by recognizing that ISU judges rarely if ever score fairly. It's mostly about landing jumps and having high quality elements and difficulty. PCS automatically is high if you have the tech advantage combined with consistency and political rep. It matters how athletes perform on the day, but all of these other factors are in the mix re scoring.

As well, of course there's subjectivity, buzz, and how well practices go at events, which judges are often swayed by. If you are a proven champion team who judges feel are reliable that will also keep PCS scores in a consistent high range regardless.

Among high level teams, it is possible to break down each PCS category and score based on how good teams actually are in each category, but that never happens. We especially see how it never happens in singles. But across all disciplines scores are managed, particularly on PCS. Everyone is kept within a certain range, regardless of how good or how poor they are in separate categories. Ice dance judging is another animal all unto itself! :drama: I doubt the move to consolidate PCS categories will change much, except to further extend scoring manipulation control and power to the judges.

It's always interesting how fans end up making excuses for the judges and for the mostly asshat way figure skating is scored. We are so used to the subpar, dishonest unfairness that we become blind and forgiving to it. Let's also not forget the unavoidable emotional component of fs fandom. That's a huge factor in all of our debates.

There's tremendous depth now across disciplines, so that adds to the difficulty of how skaters are scored. If a number of teams skate well, the scoring will boil down to skater rep and fed clout. If mistakes are made, that will complicate outcomes. Skaters at lower ends of the rep totem pole will be dropped more readily in the scoring for their mistakes than top-rated, championship level skaters.

I have my favorites, but I also try to look at skaters fairly and honestly in terms of their abilities in every category, and how they perform on the day. Peng/ Jin are indeed delightful personality-wise, but they don't always carry their charisma through in their performances. They have quality elements too, but they've put it altogether only a few times. I realize that Peng is injured at the moment, but in my view they haven't consistently stepped up to the plate and truly commandeered their talent in the same way that Sui/ Han do every time out. Even when S/H are a little shaky, they show dynamism, desire, energy and strength of will. P/J do not. P/J are a bit lackadaisical in the intensity and dynamism categories. But conversely, P/J always act as if they deserve high scores, and the same goes for T/M.
 

Spun Silver

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That comment about Peng and Jin is truly offensive. And I don't think there is the slightest foundation for it. And for that matter "the same goes for T/M." Take up your concerns with the judges - don't smear these wonderful skaters.
(And since I am aware of @aftershocks's habit of putting down other skaters in order to elevate J/C, I'll just add that I'm a big fan of J/C as well.)
 

aftershocks

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Is there any actual evidence of this? Or is it just your own bias against these skaters?
Because everything points toward the latter 🙄
Since you never like anything I have to say oleada, your bias shows up every time you highlight something you don't like that I've said. So there's that. :p
 

oleada

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Since you never like anything I have to say oleada, your bias shows up every time you highlight something you don't like that I've said. So there's that. :p
Ah, an ad hominem attack because clearly there’s no evidence for what you said. I ask again: what evidence is out there to say that Peng/Jin and Tarasova/Morozov are entitled and act like they should get higher scores?
 

aftershocks

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This is a bizarre comment. T/M have never had an entitled attitude. They are shy, soft-spoken and non-confrontational. Your typical wallflowers. They only get frustrated with themselves. IMO, they could benefit from having a little more attitude. If they felt "entitled" it would mean they'd believe they are good enough to win.

In general, I find your post very uncomfortable. It would make Don Cherry proud. Every nation has a different skating style, but to make a sweeping generalization about "Russian pairs" as having arrogant entitled personalities says a lot more about you than them. Perhaps you see what you want to see to support your personal biases.
There's lots of bizarre comments on the Internet. And a whole lot to feel uncomfortable about in the world of figure skating and in the world in general. So you feel like pushing back on something you've decided to pick out that I've said, fine. Get it off your chest. We see things differently. You have your fave skaters for whatever reason and I have mine for reasons I freely share. I'm not afraid to differ from the status quo and to be strongly opinionated. Sometimes viewpoints can come across as harsh or are misinterpreted negatively. There are a lot of emotions involved. And some of those emotions have to do with competing opinions about personal fave skaters, and often there are posters who bear dislike for those posters who share strong opinions which don't fall in line with status quo thinking. So it's a mixed bag.

It's certainly possible to over-analyze what we see in the competitive realm. I try to be thoughtful, fair and honest across-the-board about what I see. I have strong opinions and I'm not afraid to share my opinions. I'm aware that doesn't mean I'm always right. Nothing stays static in figure skating, so I always try to keep that in mind with my assessments.

I was speaking in broader, general terms regarding what I perceive in the kiss 'n cry at times from both T/M and P/J which in some respects is understandable because a lot of what I am perceiving is by virtue of their feds having a lot of expectations of them, and because both Russian and Chinese feds are used to dominating and being on top in pairs skating and they want to preserve and to further their dominance.

I singled out specifically P/K and M/G as seeming to exhibit defiant, almost petulant expressions and attitudes. But I also qualified that comment by noting their demeanor is possibly a result of having to battle huge depth of talent among Russian pairs. In that sense, they probably are putting on game faces at competitions which may come across as arrogant. Certainly, the way Pavluchenko was staring daggers in the kiss 'n cry at SA was very off-putting. She looked ready to kill someone with her eyes. But then when she saw the scores and realized they were in second and hadn't dropped to third behind the Americans, D/F, a huge smile broke out on her face. I've also previously said that Khodykin was much more lighthearted and relaxed in the kiss 'n cry at SA than his partner. Now it could be that Pavluchenko understandably was frustrated by the mistakes they'd made in their fp which kept them out of first, but I got the sense she was worried about being dropped to third behind D/F who had a breakout performance in front of a home crowd. In fact, it could be argued that D/F on the basis of strong elements (aside from their sbs jumps) and strong programs choreographically, should probably have prevailed in front of P/K at both GPs, but they didn't.

In regard to T/M, I certainly do not think they are showing arrogance or entitlement in the kiss 'n cry. I was speaking in more general terms based on previous season kiss 'n cry reactions. Still, I've never gotten any sense of T/M feeling or acting arrogant, which is different from showing confidence and feeling that you are the best and therefore expecting to receive high scores because you generally do. This season T/M were great at the Russian test skates, but they haven't otherwise gotten off to a good start. They are looking tentative and a bit confused and frustrated in the kiss 'n cry. I would attribute a lot of this to simply needing to adjust to a new training environment. And there may also be an adjustment they are experiencing in their off-ice relationship which impacts their on-ice performance. I've met T/M in person and they indeed seem like very nice people who are shy and a bit modest in some respects.

IMO, T/M have a right to feel proud and confident about their abilities. They are not my favorite pairs team, but I admire what they are strong at, and when they skate sublimely they deserve their tech scores, SS scores, and PE, but I do not think they deserve consistently high scores on CO and IN, which they tend to always receive by virtue of their exceptional technical strengths. At their best, T/M can give a SS/ top-notch elements clinic with jaw-dropping precision. But they've never been the best at showing any connection, nor at skating well-devised programs that tell a story. It is disappointing and sad to see a team with T/M's abilities not skating their best, but one of the reasons I don't have a huge amount of sympathy for them is because as soon as they put it together the way they can, the judges WILL give them the scores, and then some!

IMO, it's been too often that T/M were given overly high scores with mistakes. And any bias against them you think I have stems in part from T/M being so unfairly and blatantly over-rewarded at 2017 IDF. Even T/M knew they hadn't skated well. But by being rewarded like that, it can end up making any skater feel like they can do no wrong and always deserve to be rewarded. On the other end of that though, when there are fan and skating community reactions against the unfairness of such scoring, it can cause skaters to lose confidence. The judges hugely over-rewarded T/M's Candyman program almost every time out, which ultimately did not help T/M. I blame the judges for that. Those high scores for a poor program sometimes filled with mistakes, may have in part led to T/M losing confidence and beginning to struggle. But other factors are obviously involved in T/M's slow start this season. I wouldn't be surprised to see them regain their confidence and skate well. What I'm looking for though is more personality and projection. We can see from their exhibitions that they are capable of expressing more deeply felt emotion and connection. So they need to make that happen in their competitive performances.
 
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aftershocks

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That comment about Peng and Jin is truly offensive. And I don't think there is the slightest foundation for it. And for that matter "the same goes for T/M." Take up your concerns with the judges - don't smear these wonderful skaters.
(And since I am aware of @aftershocks's habit of putting down other skaters in order to elevate J/C, I'll just add that I'm a big fan of J/C as well.)
I do not put down other skaters in order to elevate J/C. James/Cipres do not need any help from me to excel in this sport. Just because they are one of my favorite pairs teams because I find their skating exciting and charismatic, does not mean I don't respect the talent of other skaters.

I have unfairly received push back because I have spoken out about some of the biased commentary I have seen directed against J/C. When I see it, I will point it out. And others can continue to say it doesn't exist.

Perhaps Peng/Jin are one of your favorite pairs teams, so you are taking exception against my perceptions. As I said, it is possible to misread kiss 'n cry reactions. And on the other hand, skaters have to feel good about what they can do and they need to believe in their abilities. I am not saying that P/J are not nice people or that they aren't sportsmanlike. That they expect to win and think they are better is something they should feel. In terms of entitlement, I was speaking more broadly about the feeling I get, and some of that is coming from their federation and the recent Chinese pairs legacy of dominance, that has been hard-won and deserved.
 

aftershocks

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Ah, an ad hominem attack because clearly there’s no evidence for what you said. I ask again: what evidence is out there to say that Peng/Jin and Tarasova/Morozov are entitled and act like they should get higher scores?
Nope, you are always negative toward everything I say oleada, for whatever reason. So I'm not giving your ad hominem attacks much credence.
 

oleada

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So now it's Peng/Jin, Tarasova/Morosov, Pavlyuchenko/Khodykin and Mishina/Galliamov who are all petulant based on your own projection or idea of what their emotions could be! It can't be that they're disappointed in their own performance or have their own internal thoughts or come from cultures where smiling all the time isn't common. Honestly, this reeks of "they beat my favorite teams so I'm going to hate on them" :barrel

In actual pairs news, I'm looking forward to seeing Stolbova/Novoselov debut on the GP. Should be interesting to see how they've progressed since the test skates. Their camp has been so quiet.
 

Perky Shae Lynn

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In actual pairs news, I'm looking forward to seeing Stolbova/Novoselov debut on the GP. Should be interesting to see how they've progressed since the test skates. Their camp has been so quiet.
Me too. I am dying to see how they have progressed.
 

Mad for Skating

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I have followed a lot of skaters and teams for a long time now and I’ve seen a lot of entitlement, but not one time have I ever seen or read anything come from T/M expressing anything even hinting at sounding entitled. My impression is that they come across as some of the more humble competitors.



This. I value stellar technique and skating skills, so to me, watching t/m is exciting. Also, as an introvert myself, I’m drawn to their more introverted style.
Tarasova/Morozov may have benefited from some overscoring, but they aren't entitled. They seem like two humble people just doing their best, and the rest is up to the judges. They have no control over the scores they get, and after hitting such high marks, of course they're going to be disappointed with anything less.
Also, I'm really sick of the whole "If the skater isn't smiling, she must be an entitled, arrogant snob!" narrative. You rarely hear scandals about cross-country skiers not smiling after they finished off a podium in a race, so figure skaters shouldn't be held to different standards just because it's an artistic sport.
 

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