I'm not sure what got me thinking on this topic, but I was thinking today of how the "wrong material" (i.e. music, choreography, even costume choice) can sink your chances, esp at an Olympics. Since it's summer... what programs sunk skaters before they started - and why? Also probably useful to discuss real winners - esp for skaters on the bubble.


DANCE

1. Usova/Zhulin '94 Free "Nina Roto" medley (If I weren't watching it in my friend's dorm room, I would have burst into tears when I saw the incomparable Usova in a housedress at the European championships. Granted, in more sophisticated outfits, taking out only the final SBS ftwk sequence - it looked like a new program. But it still wasn't them.) Coach who erred: Natalia Dubova

2. Krilova/Ovsiannikov '93 Free "Carmen" (Weird doesn't win the Olympics, beauty does. All those nasty lift exits!) Coach who erred: Natalia Linichuk. Genadi Karponosov.

3. Annenko/Sretenski '88 Free "Soviet special music) (Somebody made this music special for them - to ensure they wouldn't get a medal because politiks meant they couldn't anyway? the music was deadly, there was no theme, though their edges, line, etc. were all there) Coach who may not have had a choice: I believe Akkermann (after Pakhomova's 87 death)

4. Bourne/Kraatz '98 "Grease" OD - (no difficulty, sloppy)
Bourne/Kraatz '98 "Riverdance" FD (emphasized weaknesses, ftwk, lack of unison, posture problems)
Bourne/Kraatz '02 OD - (2 unrelated pieces, sarcastic tango music but not matched in expression, posture, dressed like Flamenco Barbie)
Bourne/Kraatz '02 FD "Michael Jackson" medley (Kraatz dressed like MJ, her like extension Barbie, feeling the need to use all MJ music (see N/K for how to get it better - well the last piece was a loser, but... )
Coach who erred: Natalia Dubova. Tatiana Tarasova.


5. Fusar-Poli/Margaglio '02 Free "I Will Survive"/disco medley (emphasized weaknesses, no depth, no tension)
Coach who erred: Forgot his name.

6. Dushenays '92 "Friendly Goat" Polka OD (Paul trying to look perky.)
Dushenays '92 "West Side Story" FD (Ok, they were defeated before they started, so the performance wasn't super, but the program only had excellent highlights - not a great program)
Error: Skotnikcy. Dean. (Skotnicky repeated this suddenly go conservative when there's a chance to win with Rahkamo/Koko the deadliest Beatles memory in the universe's history '95 Free)

7. Drobyazko/Vanagas '02 Free "last cry" - good grief my ears still hurt.
coaches' error: Elena Chaikovskaya

MEN
1. Plushenko '02 Free. (he changed it, but "carmen" still wasn't a program.)
Coaches' error: Aleksei Mishin

2. Stojko '02 Free (he brought back the '94 program, stood around a bit less, but looked worse and he'd lost IMO fairly the first time round)
Coaches error: Uschi Kezhler (But then she choreod it the first time>)

3. Barna '92 Free "hamlet" - Actually, I really liked this program But it required perfect skating and was really tough to sell. Something lighter (like his wonderful, incredible OP) might have worked better.

4. Urmanov '94 Short - COSTUME. The collar is why he wasn't accepted by North American media commentators until 1996, and others until 97 or even later. On the other hand, it's their issue.
Coaches' ?error? - Aleksei Mishin

WOMEN
1. Butirskaya '02 Free - Too bad it took her until Euros to debut it, somebody could have told her not to "outgrace and outelegance" the field, but skate a tango, something with tempo changes and tension.
Coaches' error: Elena Chaikovskaya

2. Thomas '88 Free "I forgot to comb my hair" look communicates not ready - the rest didn't matter.

PAIRS
1. Shishkova/Naumov lost the bronze in '94 Olympics by one vote in the free "Die Flaudermas". great program - lots of in-betweens, good big elements, lifts, etc. Neater, cleaner looking costumes might have got them that UKR vote.
Coaches' error: Ludmila Velikova

2. Petrova/Tikhonov '06 Free "Nina Roto". Should have been a fun program, but it wasn't. Just a collection of elements and costume not related to the program.
Petrova/Tikhonov '02 Free "Chess" - actually it was til that point, their best program in terms of choreography and organization. The spiral sequence, heaviness of the music and costumes that made them look heavier than they were - deadly.
Coaches error: Ludmila Velikova

3. Sale/Pelletier '02 Free "love story" - Running and ducking, but first of all, they wore gray! Secondly, they skated a 3-year old program - to judges' perceptions - that's regression. On the other hand, their really nice Flower FP wouldn't have worked against a clean or even more serious 1-error B/S skate because you can't "outelegance" B/S if you're S/P. So choosing to emphasize their distinctive positives was the right choice, just they needed a choreo breakthru of the scale of "Love Story" that showed their development and let them wear better colors
Error: Sally Stapleford