The Russians are dominating every event right now, but that looks to change very soon.
In the past the Russians have always had a "successor" to the previous Russian Champion in every discipline.
Lets look at some comparisons..
LADIES: (supposive successor in Parenthesis)
1994: No Competitor (Maria Butyrskaya by default)
1998: Maria Butyrskaya 3rd (Irina Slutskaya 5th)
2002: Irina Slutskaya 2nd (Viktoriya Volchkova 9th)
2006: Irina Slutskaya, Elena Sokolova, Victoriya Volchkova more than likely the LAST olympics for them all.
1994: Alexei Urmanov 1st (Oleg Tautarov 11th)
1998: Ilia Kulik 1st (Alexei Yagudin 5th)
2002: Alexei Yagudin 1st (Evgeni Plushenko 2nd)
2006: Evgeni Plushenko also may retire but who knows, but who is left...Ilia Klimkin?
1994: Goordeeva/Grinkov 1st (Shishlova/Naumov 4th)
1998: Kazakova/Dmitriev 1st (Berezhnaya/Sikha 2nd)
2002: Berezhnaya/Sikha 1st (Tot/Marinin 4th)
2006: Totmianina/Marinin 1st (Obertas/Slavnov) have actually dropped from placements they have had in the past.
Yes there are some circumstances where you can have an Ilia Klimkin come out of nowhere...but it just doesn't happen that often. Russian Skating is more vulnerable than it has EVER been. Compared to some of the other countries, they are really vulnerable.
Most likely after the olympics....
Japanese men/women will be fine
American men/women/pairs/dance will all be fine (pairs if nam/partner stay)
Russian seem to be in danger in every discipline
Canadians pairs will be ok
Chinese pairs will be fine
I DO think this is the end of an era
I am not worried. Whether dominance continues or not. I see no reason why others are afraid of more Russian dominance. Give me artistic skating any day, I will be happy. Why are people are so biased? I enjoy skating in general, not just a single country skating.
How would you like if somebody started a thread " American ladies dominance at Olympics, can it continue?" I don't think a lot of Russians would be jumping in posting how much they hope it ends.
Klimkin has stated that he plans to stick around till 2010 and he is using Turin as an experience (the interview was given after he bombed the short, poor guy). I think Russia has a deep field of junior guys. Ladies is another story. I think pairs and dance will be ok. We are not seeing a lot internationally because the big guns make it to the world stage and youngsters stay home. Once the stars retire, there is always somebody who will step up.
4 years can make a big difference.
PS - Maria was not 3rd in 1994. Lu Chen won the bronze.
The Russian well seems to be drying up in all disciplines. In pairs and dance they have one or two possible top teams but they don't have an abundance of great skaters anymore. By contrast, other countries are developing better skaters than they did in the past (Chinese in pairs, USA in dance, Japan in ladies, US & Canada in men). After Plushenko's retirement there is no new star on the horizon. I don't see Klimkin (too many injuries), Dobrin or Griazev filling that void. Uspenski- if he develops- may, but it 's hard to tell right now.
There is no lady that is medal worthy after Irina's retirement. Viktoria is back from an injury but I don't see her as championship material.
I don't think the Russian pairs dominance will continue after the retirement of T&M (and Pet-Tik who were world champions in 2000). I just don't see Obertas & Slavnov filling that void. Mukhartova & Trankov are the reigning world junior pairs champions but they don't even look like a Russian pair in their skating. Unless the Russian fed does something special to get young kids interested and motivated to skate pairs, I don't think there will be a Russian pairs champion in 2010 Olympics.
In my heart, I'm actually Canadian....
I think Russia will always have at least one top of the line pair for at least the next 2 or 3 Olympics to come. I think Obertas & Slavnov (or Obertas and possibly a new partner, given her record in this department) can carry them through 2010, and of course they have some prospects in the Junior department (tho, granted, this has a lot to do with the fact that only about 4 countries seem to be even competing in Junior Pairs anymore). And we should remember that in '94, no-one would have envisioned Bereznaja & Sikharulidze teaming up and becoming the Next Big Thing (and almost gold medallists) of '98. We've been hearing "Russia is dead, Russia is dead" in skating for many years now and it doesn't seem to be true yet.
I think the country to watch over the next 4 years, tho, in Pairs, is going to be CANADA -- and right in time for Vancouver '10. They have so much talent in this category now, and these pairs can only get better in the next 4 years. Plus, unlike the US, they seem to be able to put a new partnership together and get good results and good skating out of them in their first season. Russia might be able to put together a gold-medal worthy team and another top 5 team, but I think the days of their incredible depth in the category is over, even if their winning days aren't. China a couple of seasons ago had a couple of promising pairs in the pipeline, but they seem to have tapered off and I wonder even how long their overall strength in this category is going to continue; at this point, I certainly wouldn't bet on them to go 2-3-4 in Vancouver like they did the other night. And as for the US, the less said, the better.
re. the "Moskvina minute". Interesting how long that can take, tho. In the case of B/S, it took about 6 months. In the case of Ina & Zimmermann, it took about 3 1/2 years......
Who are the Chinese stocked with? The Zhangs are their main young team. No doubt they will hang around. Shen and Zhao should retire b/c they were on their last limb out there and Pang and Tong are up there as well. There's only so many pairs one Chinese coach can produce. At least the Russians have many good pairs coaches and their results at the past few junior worlds indicate that Russia is better stocked than China.
Originally Posted by rob43
Russian skating, especially pairs, has ceased to be artistic and become boring. T/M were not artistic. Artistry is about risk-taking. They were tentative to the point of being slow, and some of their positions were outright ugly (their spiral in particular should have been slammed hard. It was unattractice and not even overly difficult.) The Chinese, on the other hand, especially Z/Z, took risks and were INNOVATIVE. They had different positions, especially on lifts, while it's sadly obvious T/M are still too scared to do anything with the lifts. And unlike Moskvina's pairs, they didn't even look particularly graceful doing it. Totminanina in particular has no expression--she's just punching a clock. It's sad, but the Russians keep trying to be G & G, and it's just not going to happen.
As for the "Russian pairs is so balletic", don't make me laugh. If ballet were as stagnant as their recent pairs, it wouldn't have changed since Diaghilev was promoting Nijinsky (who was great because, again, he pushed the envelope.) Ballet is not about robotic repetition of elements, either, or getting muscled into positions just because.
Is he really??? That's the best news I have ever heard!!!!
Originally Posted by STL_Blues_fan
[quote=Vash01After Plushenko's retirement there is no new star on the horizon. I don't see Klimkin (too many injuries), Dobrin or Griazev filling that void. Uspenski- if he develops- may, but it 's hard to tell right now.
I think the Russians have a lot of promising boys that need more time to develop. Is Plushenko definitely retiring? He has spoken of going until 2010 in some interviews and retiring in other interviews. Dobrin and Uspenski, as well as the zillion other very talented boys who don't see the light of day have tons of potential. I don't know what is going on with Gryazev but he was promising as well. I hope that bombing Russian Nats will put some fire inhis belly. I think that Gryazev's problem is that he doesn't seem to want it enough; too placid.
If Klimkin gets his act together, WOW.
Back to Pairs: Protopopovs (I keep wanting to say Pommegranates), G&G and B&S - that was pure Russian magic which for me is more important than Russian dominance. All the other russian pairs are for me pure standard run-of-the mill robotic performers. Not saying they shouldn't win; just that they should only appear on a list of winners - not on a list of greats.
[QUOTE=Joesitz]Protopopovs (I keep wanting to say Pommegranates) /QUOTE]
It will be a sad time for skating if there are no more Ilia Kuliks, Bereshnaya&Shikeralidze's, Ekaterina Gordeeva's or Alexei Yagudin's in the future.
Joe, what about Dmitriev with both partners? I understand that you could find them a little "over-the-top", but robotic they were not (IMHO). Also, when you're saying G&G, my guess is that you're talking about their pro career and '94 Olympics. Their '88 Olympic performace was I think more technical then anything else; at that time they haven't yet shaken off the Zhuk enough to be truly artistic.
Originally Posted by Joesitz
I was very happy to read this as well. here's the link to the interview (in russian):
Originally Posted by soogar
he states his plans to skate till Vancouver games in the very last sentence of the interview.
Ptichka - You'll forgive me as I was not following figure skating for many years due to work. My pleasure in watching G&G is basically from re-runs and clips of them and the 94 Olys. I found them absolutely beautiful romantic skaters, and they certainly became special for me.
Originally Posted by Ptichka
I'm not clear on Dmitriev. Is that Rodnina? If so, then like Tai and Randy I found those pairs to be excellent old fashion Pairs. Memorable, but not all that special.
If not, who is/was Dmitriev and his/her partners and when did they skate?
You have to understand, that my taste in any art form is more with the lyrical than with the WOW. I do enjoy WOW, but an overdose turns me off. I prefer to applaud an artist at the end of a performance rather than Wowwing them throughout the performance.
If not, who is/was Dmitriev and his/her partners and when did they skate?
Artur Dmitriev was the gold and silver medal winner in pairs skating with Natalia Mishkutenok at the '92 and '94 Olympics, as well as the gold medalist in pairs with Kazakova at the '98 games. I definitely think his name needs to be mentioned as one of the great Russian pairs skaters. After all, he is the only man to win gold with two seperate partners - no small feat.
I agree with those who feel as though the Russian pairs skaters of today just are not of the same quality of G&G, M&D and B&S. The skaters today do seem so robotic and forced. When I saw T&M's gold-medal winning performance, it did nothing for me. It wasn't moving or entertaining. I knew they would win b/c they had no errors, but their performance was pretty slow and their spins looked dismal. I'm no expert, and even I could see that their spins were not in sync or difficult.
Rodnina's partners were Ulanov and then Zaitsev. Of course, they were Zhuk's students, so indeed there wasn't much but technical content there.
Originally Posted by Joesitz
Main question about Dmitriev has already been answered, so I won't go over that again. I would say that Dmitriev epitomizes much of Moskvina's style. I would say that he (with both partners, but especially with Mishkitenok) is probably my favorite all time pair skter. Much as I loved B&S, I was always very nervous watchnig them; D&M seemed more confident on the ice.
Also, if you get a chance, look at G&G's '88 Olympic performace. I think you'll see what an incredible evolution that team went through between then and '94.