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.
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
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
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.
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
Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program
Evan's Grease program. Funny, like Plushenko in 2002, he started the season of poorly with a bad program and then cahnged to Carmen for the games. Why is Carmen a backup?
Keeper of Bab's Death Stare...
Belbin & Agosto's "That's Entertainment."
Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program
I remeber that sasha cohen had a lot of problems with her Carmen dress in 2001. One she didn't like and then the next one somthing like her sleeve got caught and that's why she poped the quad....
I would put Michelle Kwan's-Bolero into this category. This music and choreography did not fit Michelle. While performing this piece of music at Nationals and Worlds she looked stiff. Michelle usually can skate to any music and do well but for some reason this piece did not work for her. I know she was nursing injuries at the time maybe that had something to do with it.
I remember Paul Martini making a snarky remark along the lines of "John Lennon would be spinning in his grave right now" during R&K's 1995 Worlds Beatles FD.
Originally Posted by maureend
I wonder what would have happened if S&P had kept their "Tristan and Isolde" LP for the 2002 Olympics instead of going back to "Love Story" or creating their new Orchid LP. As much as I liked "Orchid," I thought S&P did reuse a lot of choreography from "Love Story" and "Tristan and Isolde" in that program.
Originally Posted by maureend
And as for skaters reusing old programs, the judges didn't seem to penalize Viktor Petrenko for using the same LP three years in a row when he won the 1992 Olympics.
Back to the original topic of this thread, two other programs which fall into the "so bad the skaters themselves decided to change them mid-season" category:
The polka SP Brasseur and Eisler skated at 1993 Piruetten. Who the heck came up with that idea...during an Olympic year, no less! Thank goodness they immediately dumped that SP and came up with a new one for the rest of the season!
Elvis Stojko's original 1995/96 season LP, "The Last Of The Mohicans." I think he only skated this once, maybe twice, before switching back to his previous 1492 LP. I still don't know which was worse, the program or the costume. :sheesh:
And even though it was a pro program, I'd have to add Kurt's 1994/95 Rocketeer program, too. Out of all the programs Kurt's ever skated over the years, this was the only time I didn't think he was able to pull off the character he tried to portray. Granted, the costume and the fact Kurt never skated that program cleanly didn't help, either, but unfortunately, I don't think I would have liked this program much better if he had skated it cleanly. The theme and the choreography just didn't suit Kurt at all, IMO.
Last edited by astimegoesby; 07-21-2007 at 06:28 PM.
Joubert's Santa Maria sail from neck to waist. His worst season ever.
Suguri's Rach 2 was Horrendous. I've never even remotely been a fan of hers but damn... that really sucked
I wasn't a big fan of Susanna Poykio's Metallica instrumental this last season. I think even using another song would have been so much more effective, but One is so heavy going... I just didn't think she looked comfortable with her gentle skating style. Had she skated to Nothing Else Matters, I think she would have done a wonderful job with that.
I would add Stojko's Gladiator to the list. Escpecially when compared to Yagudin's , it was so lame.
These are great posts! The one that came to mind immediately for me was Miki Ando 2006 Olympics - I don't even recall what music she was using, but the costume was just yicky, even if she had skated will it would have been a distraction. Evan's Grease and leather costume is another good one that someone mentioned, as was Joubert's 'santa maria sale' as Joe pointed out.
In my heart, I'm actually Canadian....
Miki was having such a bad season all the way around that I don't think ANYTHING would have made much of a difference. Bear in mind, she hit the wall in both the short and long programs at Olys; this is how you KNOW she's just not having an easy time of it.
Originally Posted by emma
Anyway, my list, which I'm sure I may add to as more occur to me:
"The Miraculous Mandarin", Michelle Kwan -- Heaven knows Michelle doesn't miss often, but she was WAY off here. What this was about, I have no idea. What she was going for, who knows?? Fortunately, she only brought this one out once at major competition.
"Joan of Arc", Vanessa Gusmeroli -- The French are almost always weird when it comes to choreography (and that's not always a bad thing IMO), but this thing was dead in the water. Fortunately she had the wisdom to switch to her more accessible "Legends of The Fall" program at Worlds .
"Moon River", Tonya Harding -- Tonya, Lord knows, never was one for listening to ANYONE, so why on earth did she succumb to criticism for "lack of artistry" and then come up with this?? It's not the program was all that bad, it's just that Tonya was no ballerina, did not need to be, and any attempt to try to be was just unconvincing, something akin to really bad casting in a movie.
(Actually, any program wherein a skater attempts to go against their natural style always, to me, seems to fall flat for this very reason. Other examples would be Yoshie Onda's program after Josee Chouinard took over as her coach; I adore Josee, but she was trying to turn Yoshie into the same type of skater she was and sorry, it just ain't gonna happen. I also found most of Viktoria Volchkova's programs unconvincing for similar reasons; she just doesn't strike me as the balletic type and would have done well to tend more toward athleticism-oriented programs as opposed to the Bolshoi approach.)
The only one that comes readily to my mind among the men (aside from Evan Lysacek's early version of "Singin' In The Rain", which amazingly enough he actually WAS able to make something out of by the end of the season) would be whatever on earth Ivan Dinev, usually pretty talented, was doing during the 01-02 season. Greek taverna mariachi music with a lot of standing about and capering, I mean, really, what WAS that?????
The circus routine that Petrova & Tikhinov did a couple of years ago. It drew a mystifying amount of raves, but to me, it was completely dead in the water from the get-go.
"I Will Survive", Fusar-Poli & Margaglio -- First of all, if you're going to insist on using this, at least use the Gloria Gaynor version, and not some cheesy Eurodisco knockoff. And then the clapping sequence toward the end. I mean, REALLY. The whole thing was just PURE SCHLOCK. And way below the level of free dance one should expect from reigning World Champions at the Olympics. No wonder they got knocked down to 3rd; had they not been the WCs they probably would have been knocked down a lot more than just 2 notches.
"Bolero", Chait & Sakhnovsky -- And not just for the obvious reasons regarding Torvill & Dean. What was really irritating about this one, to me, was the fact that if you watched this one with the sound off, it was actually a quite good free dance. The problem was, IMHO, it just didn't match the music. It was like they were skating to an entirely different piece of music altogether. If you're going to have the nerve to skate to this (at the Olys no less) at least make sure the choreography makes a lot more sense. I can think of about 3 pieces of music that this dance would have been much more suited for.
"Carmen", Krylova & Ovsiannakov -- I have no problem with Drama In Ice Dance. I do have a problem with pure unadulterated ICE DRAMA. This thing was so dang weird I thought something had been slipped into whatever I was drinking when I was watching it. And coming on the heels of their classic and fabulous "Masquerade Waltz", it was one of the most disappointing free dances I've ever seen, IMHO.
"Funeral For A Friend", Navka & Kostamorov -- This I believe was their first FD after re-teaming in 2000 or 1999, whenever that was. The whole thing looked like a (barely) glorified compolsury dance. I haven't taken a skating lesson in 30 years, but I could have gone out there with my cousin's cat and skated a much more interesting FD. The fact that this finished 12th at the 2001 Worlds was pretty much an indication that these two were the chosen ones for the Torino Olympics. [That being said, however, I will say that they did improve a lot over the next few seasons and I actually liked every FD they did since. Nonetheless, THAT free dance alone didn't even belong in the top 20 that year, and I saw all 24 of the finallists.]
As far as costume choices -- if I had all day, I would list them. But once I get started on THAT, I'm not gonna stop and this post is long enough as it is...
Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program
really? it wasn't as good as her great Karl Jenkins program but very pleasant and she carried it well. her I didn't she win worlds and skate well in torino even though finishing fourth.
Originally Posted by escaflowne9282
I agree. I don't think she every got comfortable with it. Every performance was somewhat different. I also read that it did not resemble the original choreography that Chris Dean did for her. The injuries really affected her ability to perform it as Chris envisioned.
Originally Posted by demarinis5
Suguri's Rach 2 really was not great. It was just a bunch of crossovers along with a short part in the middle of the program where she pretends to be cradling a little bird/gerbil/frog/whatever it may have been. Her Short Program that season was excellent, though.