Past American pairs- thoughts on some of them

AxelAnnie

Graceful men lift lovely girls in white!
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You're thinking of their sister Stephanie. She was a pair skater (last with John Zimmerman). It's Tiffany who tried ice dancing. I don't think Stephanie ever did. I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong.

I agree that Kristi and Rudy could have been world champions in pairs if they hadn't split. However, Rudi and especially Kristi had enormous success as singles. I still watch Rudy's win at Nationals and still get tears.
we are both sort of correct and wrong. Tiffany skated pairs with her brother Johnny. Then she turned to ice dance (when she got tall, and Johnnie didn't want to skate. You are right about Stephanie.

I loved the ice dance that Tiffany did (at least what I saw of her.

Tiffany was good friends with Sasha back in the day. In fact, Sasha's first car was purchased from Mr. Steigler's car dealer. (How is that for trivia?)
 

Simone411

Do stand. Do stand six. Do stand six feet from me.
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I thought Johnnie had a bright future as a commentator. :lol:

The Stieglers had potential, but unfortunately flamed out rapidly. Honestly, I always found them a bit overrated, even when they were at their peak. #hartsells4ever
I agree about the potential. They both performed at the 1997 Champions On Ice show. This wasn't the COI show, but a show I happened to catch on the USA channel. Tiffany was 13 and Johnnie was 14. They skated to Land of 1000 Dances.

Tiffany & Johnnie Stiegler

And it did flame out pretty fast. At that time, I thought they had a great future skating together.
 

AxelAnnie

Graceful men lift lovely girls in white!
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I agree about the potential. They both performed at the 1997 Champions On Ice show. This wasn't the COI show, but a show I happened to catch on the USA channel. Tiffany was 13 and Johnnie was 14. They skated to Land of 1000 Dances.

Tiffany & Johnnie Stiegler

And it did flame out pretty fast. At that time, I thought they had a great future skating together.
Thanks for that link. I remember that program. They were something else!
 

Lizziebeth

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Tiffany grew very tall and IMHO that was a problem for them to continue. I wish Tiffany would have tried ice dance right away because she had a lot of talent.
 

love skating

Clueless American
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Tiffany is still good friends with Sasha as she shows up sometimes in Sasha's instagram posts. I loved the Stieglers so much back in the day. I knew they didn't have the jumps, etc. to be top contenders, but I still loved everything they did!
 

Andora

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I'm so glad Watson & Oppegard were mentioned, despite the mirror skating! I've watched their Firebird from 1987 worlds so many times over the years, I could probably dance it alongside them. Their somewhat wild skating works brilliantly with the music, and some moves are really dynamic-- his steps out of the death spiral with her still in position, the final lift + dismount. Definitely my nostalgic favourite American team.

I still have hope for the Knierims. They really are a lovely team who have been dangerous to different favourites of mine in the past. :p I was all-in when they went to Savchenko, but what can you do? I hope they pull off a miracle and live up to their potential very soon. And it doesn't hurt that they're consistently the best-dressed skaters around.

It's interesting that they're with Meno & Sand for coaching, considering all four and their long-term issues with jumps, but if there's anyone who could relate to Chris on that note... M&S were boring to me during their time. I needed my lyrical skating to have SOME kick or triple jump to it! Also, how many times can you recycle programs? Nessun Dorma may have been their worst offender, but I got pretty sick of Fantasy Impromtu by the time they retired, among others. Time has given me a great appreciation for them, however: they were just beautiful when on with great styling overall.

But if Jenni & Todd send the Knierims out with Nessun Dorma for Beijing, all four are dead to me.

Ina and Zimmerman were my favourite. I liked them both and I also loved their Moskvina choreography with all the beautiful and innovative lifts and highlight moves. I never felt their styles really matched but I quite liked that for some reason. It worked with the programmes.
Their exhibition programmes were always lovely and they were exciting to watch live when they turned pro with their great lifts and ‘fly high say bye’ move.
I agree - I quite liked them together, even though I was sad for Jason Dungeon initially. I thought Kyoko blossomed a fair bit with John and their coaching team, looking like she thought-through things less. Credit to Ms. Ina for being a really great and underrated pair girl, imho, given little credit for things she did well outside of land jumps/throws. But I guess when your competition are either mega-graceful like Meno, Shishkova, Berezhnaya, or engaging and dynamic like Shen Xue, Sale and various U.S. up and comers...

I also think they were a great precursor to Duhamel & Radford.

2. The Hartsells - Finally a USA team with some power.
I WANTED to like the Hartsells SO MUCH! I found her graceful and effervescent, but both were affable. I hoped they could get past that really unsteady-ness in their skating, plus anyone that skated to Malaguena at the time immediately got my love. It was the '90s, I was young, I didn't realize my error in judgement with the music. But per @Erin's story above... their Romeo & Juliet did NOT help. I'm baffled when sibling teams take on romantic-specific music like that. Loved her costume earlier in the season though!

3. Tiffany & John Steigler - SO MUCH potential there was.....
I was so disappointed they fizzled out! One of those "Too Hot To Skate" specials featured them in the mid-'90s, and she was clearly a star from the jump. Very poised at that age: her very similarly-styled Giselle didn't suffer too much against Ekaterina Gordeeva's around the exact same time. Another in the treasure chest of great American skaters who didn't find the right partner/timing.

4. Waitress & Truck Driver - so much intrigue, so much of a storyline... was like a mini "Dallas."
It's funny how you get to know certain teams. I lucked out seeing them more than a handful of times as pros on TV, and despite seeming generic, she had such a lovely smile despite standing on his shoulders in a lift that seemed like a bad idea. I don't think their past came up very often-- I had no idea they were such a story until just few years ago. It's... fun? ...to watch some old YouTube videos from before/after they would split/re-team. Who knows what they could have done without the drama? I'm sure there's a joke about he and Isabelle Brasseur learning how to be GREAT marriage partners from their respective pasts.
 
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SingleSal

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^Re Y/G, when you consider Kuchiki / Sand were WBMs at 1991 Worlds, then Y/G would have definitely been on the podium by 1991. No slam on K/S. It's just that Y/G had a much bigger rep and more experience. The bigger question is could they have beaten Brasseur / Eisler and Mishkutenok / Dmitriev at those worlds or in Albertville 1992. I know B/E rose to the top 2 executing big, powerful elements and M/D were the best Soviet pair with the Moskvina touch. I don't doubt that Y/G w/ more experience together could have beaten the no. 2 Soviet / Unified pair, Bechke / Petrov. So, they may have been OSMs at Albertville 1992. I don't know w/ Soviet hegemony if they would have won an Olympic title considering clean skates in Albertville by M/D.

Then, they could've won at 1993 Worlds with the top Russian pairs G/G and M/D out that year, but again, could they have beaten B/E. They wouldn't have won in Lillehamer 1994 with the aforementioned top 2 Russian teams back and bigger than ever.

But Kristi and Rudi had insane single elements. G and G never really could even do a triple toe while Kristi and Rudy were knocking off SBS triple flips which wouldn't be matched until decades later and even now is still pretty unheard of
 

olympic

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But Kristi and Rudi had insane single elements. G and G never really could even do a triple toe while Kristi and Rudy were knocking off SBS triple flips which wouldn't be matched until decades later and even now is still pretty unheard of
Yeah. But politics. See my initial post and 'Soviet hegemony', or Unified hegemony if you will in the case of 1992. Soviet / Russian / Unified teams owned pairs. I don't think a mirror-skating pair from the U.S. would have broken through or had the political clout to do so against a top, clean skating Russian / Soviet / Unified pair. I do think that in Albertville 1992 they had a shot against Bechke / Petrov, and a flawed Brasseur / Eisler who fell twice in their Olympic LP IIRC. By G and G if you mean Gordeyeva / Grinkov, no way! The 2 Russian pairs skating cleanly were going to dominate 1994.
 

clairecloutier

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I agree it's unlikely that Yamaguchi/Galindo would ever have beaten Gordeeva/Grinkov or Mishkutienok/Dmitriev. Particularly because, in the pre-IJS period, they would not have gotten the full benefit of trying harder side-by-side jumps. I could see the extra difficulty lifting their technical score by a little bit, but probably not much more than an extra tenth or two-tenths (if other teams skated well).

However, it's still possible that Yamaguchi/Galindo could have been in medal contention at Worlds/Olympics--if not getting the top spot. And we'll never know how much better Kristi/Rudi might have gotten if they had continued pairs post-1990.
 

essence_of_soy

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I had the pleasure of seeing Kristi Yamaguchi & Rudi Galindo win the 1988 World Junior Championship pairs' title live and in person. Their pair and individual elements were out of this world.

Politics may have had a lot to do with them splitting up, because in an interview with Tamara Moskvina at the 1989 World Championships in Paris, she mentioned how much of a threat they were to her teams (Bechke / Petrov, and Mishkutenok / Dmitriev)

I really thought Y & G should have won the free skate that year over Gordeeva and Grinkov. Yet they never seemed to get justifiable marks for the content they put out.

Starbuck and Shelley were another favourite team of mine. I particularly loved their technical program to Slaughter On Tenth Avenue that they skated at the 1987 World Pro in Landover.
 
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AngieNikodinovLove

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^^ She probably is. But was fun to see them put a routine together! Was unexpected.

Fun:



^^ I actually prefer this type of Pairs skating rather than todays circus acts. This program really is quite gorgeous, this is when figure skating was figure skating. Today is more Ringling brothers on ice.

I’ve always thought Nancy looked the best and radiated the most joy when she did these pairs routines!

Another one: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=RKr7b4YP2IU
 
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^^ She probably is. But was fun to see them put a routine together! Was unexpected.

Fun:



^^ I actually prefer this type of Pairs skating rather than todays circus acts
Next time I have trouble sleeping I'll be sure to re-watch these vids. :shuffle:
 

bardtoob

Clichy Competitive Audition Protocol Auditor
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Politics may have had a lot to do with them splitting up, because in an interview with Tamara Moskvina at the 1989 World Championships in Paris, she mentioned how much of a threat they were to her teams (Bechke / Petrov, and Mishkutenok / Dmitriev)
I have heard some speculation that the move to completely eliminate compulsory figures in 1990 instead of reducing their value again was intended to encourage great singles freeskaters, like Yamaguchi and Galindo, to not pair; presumably such pairings were/could/would happen to avoid compulsory figures in competition.
 
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florencewind

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Yeah. But politics. See my initial post and 'Soviet hegemony', or Unified hegemony if you will in the case of 1992. Soviet / Russian / Unified teams owned pairs. I don't think a mirror-skating pair from the U.S. would have broken through or had the political clout to do so against a top, clean skating Russian / Soviet / Unified pair. I do think that in Albertville 1992 they had a shot against Bechke / Petrov, and a flawed Brasseur / Eisler who fell twice in their Olympic LP IIRC. By G and G if you mean Gordeyeva / Grinkov, no way! The 2 Russian pairs skating cleanly were going to dominate 1994.
There is also more to pairs than side by side jumps. If it were just side by side jumps then Petrova & Tikhonov should have won all the major events they were in they didn't mess up in.

Yamaguchi & Galindo did not have a huge or impressive twist like the Soviets or Brasseur & Eisler who for all their faults had amazing tricks in lifts, twists, very difficult death spirals, and sometimes throws that Yamaguchi & Galindo did not have outside of the jumps. Their lifts were alright but not super difficult. Their throws weren't the biggest or strongest. Their pair elements would have needed to become more spectacular to rise up to the very top.

And artistically they had a lot of development left needed when they stopped too.

As for their prospects at future events it would depend how much they improved. They had not improved any from 89 to 90, and looked weaker in 90 than 89 honestly. To beat Bechke & Petrov for silver at the 92 Olympics they would have had to improve a ton considering at the 89 worlds they couldn't beat B&P who badly botched their performance, and B&P skated the best they ever did in Albertville. Unless they had made huge improvements they weren't ever beating a perfect Braseur & Eisler at the 93 worlds either.

The other question is are you assuming they stay together and Kristi does both singles and pairs? In that case I am not sure if they ever rise above around 5th in the world. If it a scenario she quits singles and focuses only on pairs (never was going to happen) then that is more interesting to speculate.
 

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