View Poll Results: Greatest North American dance team of all time?

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  • Bourne/Kraatz

    57 41.30%
  • Belbin/Agosto

    38 27.54%
  • Wilson/McCall

    10 7.25%
  • Blumberg/Seibert

    15 10.87%
  • O' Connor/Millns

    2 1.45%
  • William McLachlan as an individual

    0 0%
  • Lorna Dyer and John Carrel

    0 0%
  • Judy Schwomeyer and James Sladky

    1 0.72%
  • other

    15 10.87%
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Thread: Greatest North American dance team of all time?

  1. #1
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    Greatest North American dance team of all time?

    Who is the greatest North American dance team of all time in your opinion? North American success in ice dancing does not come easy, but considering its short history as an Olympic sport it is also not as sparse as some might think.
    North American have produced 3 Olympic medals in the 9 Olympics ever held in ice dancing: Americans Colleen O'Connor and James Millns winning bronze in 1976, Canadians Tracy Wilson and the late Rob McCall bronze in 1988, and recently young U.S team Belbin and Agosto winning the highest Olympic medal for a North American team thus far-a silver. Others have had heartbreaking near misses of the podium, Americans Blumberg and Seibert finished a very controversial 4th in 1984, losing the bronze by 1 judge. In 1998 Canadian team Bourne and Kraatz also finished a very controversial 4th, losing the bronze by 1 vote in the 1st compulsory dance, in a year there was clear evidence of "bloc judging", 4 years later Bourne and Kraatz again took 4th place, losing the bronze by 2 votes after falling and failing to capatilize on a fall by the World Champion Italians right before them.

    Bourne and Kraatz while twice falling just short of the Olympic podium have North Americans only gold at a Worlds, winning in their final amateur competition at the 2003 Worlds. To go with that they have a silver from the post-Olympic 2002 Worlds, and 4 World bronzes for a total of 6 World medals.
    The very young Belbin/Agosto of the U.S have a World silver and World bronze already to go with their Olympic silverr. O'Connor and Millns also have a World silver and World bronze to go with their Olympic bronze. Wilson and McCall won 3 straight World bronzes from 1986-1988 giving them a streak of 4 straight bronze medals in World and Olympic competition. With Bourne/Kraatz not winning an Olympic medal it is still the only medal for a Canadian team in dance. Blumberg/Seibert also took 3 straight bronzes at Worlds from 1983-1984, ironicaly beating the same team who was controversialy put over them for the bronze at the 1984 Olympics at both the 83 Worlds and 84 Worlds. Also at the 83 Worlds slipping from 2nd to 3rd on a 5-4 split in the free dance, in a similar way to what happened to them from 3rd to 4th at the 1984 Olympics.

    One of the great North American dancers, moreso then a particular team might be William McLachlan of Canada, who won 5 World medals at all 5 Worlds held from 1957-1962(1961 was canceled due to the horrable plane crush which killed the entire U.S skating team of that year)split among 2 different partners, skating for Canada. McLachlan and Geraldine Fenton took silvers in both 1957 and 1958, and a bronze in 1959. Then teamed with Virginia Thompson they took a silver in 1960 and a bronze in 1962. He never had an opportunity to win an Olympic medal as the Olympics were not held for ice dancing until 1976. Another North American team with some real pre-Olympics success would be Lorna Dyer and John Carrell of the U.S, who took silvers at the 1965 and 1966 Worlds, and a bronze in 1967. Also Americans Judy Schwomeyer and James Sladky who won silvers at the 1969 and 1970 Worlds, and bronzes at the 1971 and 1972 Worlds, making them the only North American team to win consecutive silvers at Worlds and four World medals in the same streak(Bourne/Kraatz had a streak of 4 straight World bronzes, and consecutive gold and silver at Worlds, but in seperate streaks, not combined). American team Carol Peters and Daniel Ryan medaled at the first 2 Worlds ever held in ice dancing(the first Worlds in the sport was 1952, making it by far the last discipline to be included in Worlds, just as it was by far the last to be included in the Olympics). They took bronzes in both 1952 and 1953. Another American dance team who was regularly near the podium when dance first became a World Championship discipline would be Carmel Bodel and Edward Bodel who took 4th places in both 1952(right behind Peters and Ryan)and 1955, but also a bronze medal in 1954. A big rival of Canadians Fenton/McLachlin in the late 50s were the American team of Andree Anderson and Donald Jacoby who won bronze at the 1958 Worlds right behind Fenton/McLachlin, then silver just over Fenton/McLachlin in 1959. Another Canadian team Paulette Doan and Kenneth Ormsby would pull off that same silver-bronze feat at Worlds with a silver at the 1962Worlds and a bronze at the 1963 Worlds.

    Of minor note would be the other North American teams to win a World Champonships medal, or not but come close more then once:

    1957 Worlds - Canadians Sharon McKenzie and Bert Wright take bronze in their only ever appearance at Worlds.

    U.S dance team Joan Zamboni and Roland Junso-take 5th at the 1955 Worlds, followed by 4ths in both 1956 and 1957.

    2006 Worlds-Canadians Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon take silver.
    Last edited by slutskayafan21; 10-07-2006 at 11:06 PM.

  2. #2
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    First of all, I have to "give props" for recognizing some of the top dancers from "way back when". i.e, MacLachlan, Carrell/Dyer, etc, in this poll; frequently in these polls, "ancient history" is disregarded and it's nice that some of the "old school" gets mentioned now and again.

    Having said that, I would have, however, to disregard these choices, for a couple reasons. (1) Many of them were more than a little before my time so I've never seen them in action, and (2) If you look at international dance results from the 50s and 60s, the only countries on the podium, by and large, were either British or North American; overall competition from Europe was minimal at best, so therefore the North American couples of the 50s and 60s certainly had less top of the line competition to contend with; this does not necessarily diminish their accomplishments, but does put them in a different perspective.

    (Incidentally, there is a fabulous, tho hard to find, book called "Figure Skating History: The Evolution of Dance on Ice" by Lynn Copely-Graves, which gives detailed accounts of just about every dance competiton, national or international, held prior to 1990. One of the many things one can find out in this book is that the non-British European couples were MILES behind the British and North Americans for many years; for all practical purposes in the early days, the British and North Americans were seniors and the rest were novices)

    Anyway, to answer the question posed by this poll:

    My temptation is to go with Bourne & Kraatz. Certainly their record speaks for itself and it is definitely arguable that they should have won more than just one World title. (And an Olympic medal or two) But, as judging of ice-dancing often goes (and I think this question would qualify as a variation of "judging"), it can often come down to style preference. Bourne & Kraatz did a lot of terrific stuff -- but, IMHO, the stuff they did THE FIRST HALF of their career, while they were on their way up, was much more interesting and fun to watch than the stuff they did in the second half. When I saw some of the things they were doing early on, I was completely blown away -- and expected some completely phenomenal things out of them in future years, but for whatever reason, they rather disappointed me; I will admit this has to do with the rather high level I was expecting from them -- I truly thought, the first time I saw them, I was looking at the next Torvill & Dean, but I don't think they really came close.

    So I have to with Blumberg & Seibert. This was a truly terrific duo that seemed to get better every year; I still consider "Scheherezade", their 84 Oly free dance, to be very nearly on par with T & D's "Bolero" and "Barnum". And, for me personally, it was actually B & S, rather than T & D, that got me to actually LIKE ice dancing to begin with. I thought of Dance as a tedious, boring genre until my first look at B & S at the 1981 Nationals; they were great then and just got better. T & D actually did nothing for me until they came up with "Barnum", which was 2 years later. So Judy & Michael get my nod on this one.

  3. #3
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    Actually reading a book that infoed a bit more of the history of ice dancing the other day your comments are right on in the pre-Olympic days. British and Americans were very dominant back then, partialy because alot of the Eastern Europeans really were not that focused on ice dancing back then. So that would have helped those countries for sure.

    Blumberg/Seiberg's 84 Olympic free dance(I saw the 84 Olympic competition on tape, I did not start following skating until 88)was exceptional. Looking at the performances of the 2 Russian teams that were put on the podium ahead of them it was a travesty they did not win atleast the bronze, I would have even given them the silver. In an interview afterwords they said the judge that cost them the Olympic bronze in a 5-4 split, was the same one who cost them the silver at the 83 Worlds on a 5-4 split. Judy looked like she was fighting tears and said that judge never had really gone there way in the past.

  4. #4
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    I think it's also important to look at quality and nature of the free dance. The couples of the 50s and 60s had so many restrictions on what they could and could not do, they were basically doing compolsury dances with a few embellishments, so it's really hard to do a comparison. Even if, say, Doan & Ormsby (who by many accounts had marvelous technique, with Paulette Doan being an early version of a Tatiana Navka in that she captured a lot of attention) had come up with something along the lines of "Bolero", there was no way on earth they could have gotten away with actually performing it in competition. In those days, it would have been shocking even in exhibition. Had the rules allowed for more creativity during that period (if they even allowed much creativity at all), I think it would be a more level playing field to compare the 50s and 60s duos with the 70s/80s/90s couples.

  5. #5
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    Aside from B/K and B/A - the rest are really before my time...

    other = Roca & Sur, because I'm biased lol

  6. #6
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    Duchesnays, no contest! Even though they ended up skating for France, I do think of them as North American.

    I haven't seen Bloomberg and Seiberg, so I can't comment; but both B&A and B&K look rather bland and so ordinary next to Duchesnays. Just my humble opinion.

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    I have known Jim Millns for years, and he is a wonderful person, so my vote is for O'Conner and Millns!

  8. #8
    Skate With Me Teresa Dawn's Avatar
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    Bourne & Kraatz

  9. #9
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    Bourne & Kraatz!!!

    The ONLY North American team to ever win the World Championships... (2003)

    North America has a good shot this year too though... I'm thinking about Dubreuil & Lauzon and Belbin & Agosto...

  10. #10
    Figure Skating Is A Dangerous Sport Dee4707's Avatar
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    Bourne & Kraatz

  11. #11
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    I chose B/A because they and B/K were the only two teams on the list that i know about.... Anyway, I could never get over how bad B/K posture was. IMO they also always lacked content and I don't think that they really deserved ot win an olympic medal (Although they whined enough about it). JMO

  12. #12
    In my heart, I'm actually Canadian....
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    The one major criticism I always had about Bourne & Kraatz was that, for a top-5 couple, until their last season, their LIFTS were NEVER anything to write home about. They were definitely not one of the top couples in THAT department; it was especially notable since their main rivals at home in their last few seasons were Dubreil/Lauzon, who had some of the best lifts around.

  13. #13
    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
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    For some reason, I never liked B&K. I like D&L much better.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ptichka View Post
    For some reason, I never liked B&K. I like D&L much better.
    Other way round for me .Never liked D/L.

  15. #15
    Mrs. Roman Kostomarov icedancingnut31's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ptichka View Post
    For some reason, I never liked B&K. I like D&L much better.
    I agree with you! There is a reason that Bourne and Kraatz are sometimes called Boring and Crap

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