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Thread: What will the 2010/2011 Season bring the pairs skaters?

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    What will the 2010/2011 Season bring the pairs skaters?

    No narrative of the quad was as dispiriting as the pairs story. The retirement of Shen/Zhao really left a hole in the competition and no skaters really raised themselves up. No team has the “skating as one” that Shen/Zhao had (have) and the consistency of the top skaters (Kavaguti/Smirnov, Pang/Tong, Dube/Davison, Zhang/Zhang, Murkhtova/Trankov, Savchenko/Szolkowy) really did leave a lot to be desired. So while Shen/Zhao cruised to their gold medal at the Olympics (a long time coming for Mr. Bin Yao), the early part of the season actually held more promise for this group (P/T improving their URs, D/D having that gorgeous Nationals LP, S/S coming back of that disasterous TEB, M/T skating clean programs more times than ever before). So, with Shen/Zhao gone again, what do we see happening this season (I know, predictions are futile, etc ad infinitum)?

    1. How will the new team of Volosozhar/Trankov work out?
    Why is this such a good idea? People have responded so strongly to the idea of this team that it’s rather startling to me. Admittedly both were the stronger halves of their antecedent pairs, but it seems people are rooting for them much more than I’d have expected. Is it that lack of a truly GREAT pairs team (S/S and P/T are the closest we have right now, but can you imagine either joining the firmament of the Protopopovs, M/D, G/G, or Shen/Zhao?). Is it the hope for a Russian resurgence (for all the negativity surrounding the nation and figure skating, figure skating fans benefited from Yagudin, Plushenko, Slutskaya, not to mention the plethora of pairs and dance teams they’ve given us)? Or is it simply because YES, they are the stronger halves of the antecedent pairs (and in the case of Trankov, removed himself from what wasn’t a great situation, personally) and this new situation will likely be better for both, and could be better for us?

    2. Are Pang/Tong the new Chinese number one, or do the Zhangs get a comeback?
    Perhaps the most startling development of the 09/10 season was the unceremonious decline of Zhang/Zhang. I don’t want to call it dumping because that seems deliberate because that would be unfair to Pang/Tong who (a) had great programs and (b) skated much better than they’ve done in the past, but the decline of Z/Z and the re-establishment of P/T at the top seems very weird to me (removing Shen/Zhao from the equation). It’s easy to forget that Zhang/Zhang were ridiculously consistent this quad. From the 05/06 season to the 08/09 season, they missed the podium only once (2007 Worlds, and there they had an entire element ruled invalid). This season, they missed the podium THREE times. Pang/Tong, conversely, missed the podium three times in the same time frame (Olympics 2006, Worlds 2008, 2009), but not at all this season. I’ve always got the impression that most people felt that Pang/Tong were the more talented of the two teams, so maybe it was just, but fascinating nonetheless. And do either teams go onto Sochi? Both will be looking at their fourth Olympics then.

    3. Will Dube/Davison recapture their spark?
    Okay. Here is their 2008 Worlds SP. It’s not a perfect program, maybe not even a great one (though it’s stronger than I remember). But they’re skating with such feeling that was largely absent these past two seasons (Nationals 2010 LP excepted). Now, Bryce has gone on record (pre Worlds 09) stating that he’s questioned his commitment to the sport and thought about quitting. So really, what are the odds of them really regaining something (and I’m speaking as someone who basically spent this season defending them). The one advantage they have is that they’ll likely be the number one Canadian team for at least two seasons (I can’t imagine Moscovitch/Moore-Towers catching up before then and we have no idea about Duhamel/Radford). Part of me says yes. This is a team that has defeated every single team currently skating at least once at a major ISU event (with the exception of Savchenko/Szolkowy. I don’t consider the TEB a major ISU event and that was such a profoundly epic meltdown for the two it seems churlish to consider it.) This is a team that came back from one of the most truly painful looking on-ice accidents I can recall as well as personal issues off the ice (we see teams like Trankov and Murhktova breaking up over personal issues) to win a bronze medal at worlds with the cleanest, most engaging long program of the night (if we look at the archived thread here). I have to think they can still come back.

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    Re: What will the 2010/2011 Season bring the pairs skaters?

    Why is this such a good idea? People have responded so strongly to the idea of this team that it’s rather startling to me. Admittedly both were the stronger halves of their antecedent pairs, but it seems people are rooting for them much more than I’d have expected. Is it that lack of a truly GREAT pairs team (S/S and P/T are the closest we have right now, but can you imagine either joining the firmament of the Protopopovs, M/D, G/G, or Shen/Zhao?).
    I love S/S, they weren't their best last year, but I think they are under appreciated. But as for V/M people think that they have the potential to be a great team. They are both gorgeous skaters, very balletic like and expressive and also strong technically and I think people are excited to see what they can do.

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    Skating is art, if you let it be. Blades of Passion's Avatar
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    1. How will the new team of Volosozhar/Trankov work out?

    I think they will be excellent. I see them being on the podium at 2012 Worlds.

    2. Are Pang/Tong the new Chinese number one, or do the Zhangs get a comeback?

    Yes, Pang/Tong are the Chinese #1. They have always been better than the Zhangs in terms of their artistic capability, it's just Pang's jumping ability that has held them back. Her technique seems to be better now, so I think they will stay on top for the Chinese up through 2014 barring injury. What's funny about the Zhangs is that she is an absolutely beautiful girl but they simply lose interest in their Long Programs. They can't sustain emotion. I predict they will remain off the World podium until retirement (aside from 2014 Worlds potentially, when lots of pairs retire after Olympics) unless Pang/Tong are hampered by serious injury.

    3. Will Dube/Davison recapture their spark?

    No, they won't. However, since we're talking about it, I believe Dube/Davison should have WON the World Title in 2008. That SP you linked was fine, but their LP at 2008 Worlds is artistically one of the very best Pairs Long Programs we've seen the past 5 years and technically it's the best they've ever done as well. Savchenko/Szolkowy at 2008 Worlds were literally the most overscored I've ever seen a team get overscored. They won the LP by like 6 points with an incredibly boring program that featured a step-out on the combination jump and a double fall on their solo side-by-side jump. So dumb. They should have finished 3rd. Conversely, I think Savchenko/Szolkowy's SP at 2009 Worlds is one of the 3 best Pairs Short Programs of the past 5 years (the other two being Shen/Zhao in 2007 and 2010).

    More about Savchenko/Szolkowy - I predict they will skate well this coming season, but not win Worlds. After that disappointment their skating will become depressed for the 2012 season and they'll be off the World podium altogether.

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    Re: What will the 2010/2011 Season bring the pairs skaters?

    Quote Originally Posted by ImaginaryPogue View Post
    3. Will Dube/Davison recapture their spark?
    Okay. Here is their 2008 Worlds SP. It’s not a perfect program, maybe not even a great one (though it’s stronger than I remember). But they’re skating with such feeling that was largely absent these past two seasons (Nationals 2010 LP excepted). Now, Bryce has gone on record (pre Worlds 09) stating that he’s questioned his commitment to the sport and thought about quitting. So really, what are the odds of them really regaining something (and I’m speaking as someone who basically spent this season defending them).
    Yes, they will. As has been reported by PJ Kwong http://apps.pjkwong.com/blog/ , D/D have really stepped up their training this year and from all accounts look to be a completely different pair. They are training with Doug Ladret part time as Annie Barabe is pregnant and he has given them a spark. Doug has been a great influence on them and is looking at them with a "fresh pair of eyes" so to speak. They are training unique lifts which have very difficult entrances going into them.

    From reading some practice reports, their SP is to The Mask of Zorro and they are keeping The Way We Were for their LP. As long as Jess can get back her triple sal (or perhaps replace it with a different jump), this year we could absolutely see a refreshed and hungry D/D.
    Last edited by i love to skate; 07-26-2010 at 11:51 AM.

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    Re: What will the 2010/2011 Season bring the pairs skaters?

    Quote Originally Posted by i love to skate View Post
    As long as Jess can get back her triple sal (or perhaps replace it with a different jump), this year we could absolutely see a refreshed and hungry D/D.
    I don't know about the triple sal, but back at Stars on Ice in April I attended the warm-up practice and both of them were trying a triple toe-triple toe sequence. The fact that both were trying it and attempted it several times each makes me believe they were planning on including it into their LP this year.

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    Skating is art, if you let it be. Blades of Passion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by i love to skate View Post
    As has been reported by PJ Kwong http://apps.pjkwong.com/blog/ , D/D have really stepped up their training this year and from all accounts look to be a completely different pair. They are training with Doug Ladret part time as Annie Barabe is pregnant and he has given them a spark. Doug has been a great influence on them and is looking at them with a "fresh pair of eyes" so to speak. They are training unique lifts which have very difficult entrances going into them.

    From reading some practice reports, their SP is to The Mask of Zorro and they are keeping The Way We Were for their LP.
    Mask of Zorro is not music they will excel at, IMO, and their best performance of "The Way We Were" last season (at Canadian Nationals) was still pretty boring.

    They basically just had a great 2007-2008 season as a result of being so motivated to prove themselves after the terrifying incident of his blade slicing her face the previous season. Well, that, and their Long Program was one of the best choreographed pairs Long Programs in recent memory and it suited their sensibilities as skaters perfectly.

    I doubt they will have a program that good ever again or be in a position where their emotions are flowing as freely as they were during the 2007-2008 season. That was their shining moment and they deserved to win 2008 Worlds.

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    Constable , Costume Police colleen o'neill's Avatar
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    Re: What will the 2010/2011 Season bring the pairs skaters?

    ..D/D..Who's their choreographer for Mask of Zorro ? I'm willing believe ( hope) that they can embrace a new expression..but since the LP is really the biggie, I'm very disappointed that they're keeping TWWW. I thought it bordered on bathos..and I know, people cried at Nationals, and I didn't see it in person..but that still doesn't convince me ( since I know there can be a tendency to over-sentimentality in skating audiences. It's sort of like group hysteria...been there..) I do hope they can rework it to overcome the sappy music..but most of all, they have to lose those drab, dowdy , unflattering costumes. One can feel just as nostalgic in a dress of some becoming colour as in a grey one , or ( in Bryce's case) some sort of pants /shirt combo that actually fits. Really, did we have to suffer through those baggy trousers with the gaping pockets all season long - just so he could put his hands in his pockets for one brief pose ?...Someone step in please.

    As to V/T..I'm really looking forward to this. They both have so many good qualities. And they should be in a good place emotionally , starting fresh. I'm no fan of Morozov's choreography, but now and then he manages to break out of his repetitive mould ,so...fingers crossed.

    Back again, re Z/Z.. ( life keeps interrupting me ). I'm with those who feel this team has been a bit underrated recently. I think their one big hurdle is that Dan needs serious work on her expression..Hao has the capability ,you can see he's willing to try ,but she holds him back in this regard. They wouldn't have to turn her into the greatest actress on ice for there to be a real, positive change.Even a little improvement would go a long way. I hope they're working on it.
    Last edited by colleen o'neill; 07-26-2010 at 04:36 PM.

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    Re: What will the 2010/2011 Season bring the pairs skaters?

    Quote Originally Posted by bekalc View Post
    I love S/S, they weren't their best last year, but I think they are under appreciated. But as for V/M people think that they have the potential to be a great team. They are both gorgeous skaters, very balletic like and expressive and also strong technically and I think people are excited to see what they can do.
    Because it was Maria M and then Max I almost always mistakenly put M when it should be T for Trankov. LOL! She is totally amazing and she could be skating with a novice and I would be excited! Trankov is so good as well - His falls at the Olympics and Worlds were so rare but I really think it might have been because he wanted out of that team and wasn't all there! I can't wait for Volosozhar and Trankov! It should be really really exciting!

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    Re: What will the 2010/2011 Season bring the pairs skaters?

    I see grand prix podium finishes for Cong/Sui.

    I'm actually most intrigued by the American pairs, though they are all still very much in the developing stage.
    In particular:
    Toth/Zhang
    Dobbs/Jacobsen
    Rockne + ??

    Its a bit frustrating, because both Felicia and Amanda are such strong skaters and we know they can put out triple toes AND land their throws consistently. They also have pretty decent extension and musicality. Same Britney Simpson. So....where are all the quality men? If the US is going to be able to compete, the men need to step it up!
    Last edited by cornell08; 07-27-2010 at 10:45 AM.

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    Re: What will the 2010/2011 Season bring the pairs skaters?

    I think Z/Z will continue to do well, I think they have what it takes to be on top again but they have to want it bad enough and I'm not sure they do. If they don't light a fire under themselves P/T will be better at ever competition.

    I hope the Americans will continue to move forward they seem to be on the right path.

    D/D look great but need better choreography, that is easy enough to change.

    S/S had a bad year (some teams would have killed for a year like that!) but it wasn't what they were hoping for, it happens. They will be back better than ever.

    I'm on the fence about V/T, am I the only one who liked Stanislav Morozov?!? I realize he checked out of his skating career a few years ago but I think he will make a great coach for those two. I pray for Maxim's sanity, the first time in the K&C with scores he doesn't like might just send him over the edge. I hope they win a ton of competitions as a pair. Although I really hate Nikolai Morozov’s pairs chorography. I hope to see them skate soon.

    I am also excited to see Maria Mukhortova, we haven't heard from her in a while and I really liked her even better than Maxim. I also can't wait to see the other new Russian pairs.

    I hope K/S do well this year, they have come so far in the 3 1/2 years since their first competition and now that pesky shoulder problem is taken care of they both can concentrate more on skating and not making sure body part stay in their sockets.

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    Re: What will the 2010/2011 Season bring the pairs skaters?

    The judges are now willing to place top teams with several mistakes above clean Z/Z. I think they are toast.
    D/D was never that good to begin with. They had one great world years ago. They are a non factor.
    P/T can be quite inconsistent, especially P. So I don't think they can repeat what they had earlier this year.
    S/S is on the way down.
    I predict K/S to take the title soon.
    V/T can fight for top 5 or top 6 with D/D. There's no way they can place above the likes of K/S, P/T, and S/S.
    Mukhortova is pairing up with a really weak partner. I don't see them doing better than the American pairs.

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    Re: What will the 2010/2011 Season bring the pairs skaters?

    I think that V/T, if skating well, can be among the top pairs in the World. They have huge potential.

    I can't see D/D challenging for anything unless they regroup, particularly her. Their style of programs is always the same: no choreography, fainting schoolgirl routine snoozefests that they can't even skate clean anymore. Wish he'd find a new partner. Same for the Zhangs: they're really not that good, and they're not as consistent anymore.

    I hope S/S can improve their consistency, and I think them and Pang and Tong will remain the top 2 pairs in the World. But IMO, S/S are much better, and if they skate cleanly, they should win, regardless of crap judging like at 2010 Worlds.

    I can't see Simpson/Miller making any kind of impact: they don't have the technical goods, and they're not anything special. Zhang/Toth have more potential: how much, I don't know. As for Denney/Barrett, I hope they improve their unison, pairness, skating skills, death spiral, etc....That said, their music choices this year are dulltastic.

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    Re: What will the 2010/2011 Season bring the pairs skaters?

    1) I'm hoping that it works out well, but I think some people are being overly optimistic about this new team, saying they'll win Worlds and stuff. Tatiana and Maxim are excellent skaters but it remains to be seen how they will gel together. It's hard to imagine a team in their first season together beating the likes of Pang and Tong and Savchenko and Szolkowy.

    2) I don't think the Zhangs will have a comeback. They've really fallen out of the judges' favour. Even when they skate clean, they get low PCs marks making it almost impossible for them to get on the podium no matter what they technically do. Not that I'm saying they deserve higher PCs marks; they are rather bland. I think this is karma for them being overscored in the past, like at the 2006 Olympics, for doing big tricks like the quad throw which they got a lot of credit for then even though technically it failed.

    3) Sadly, I think not. They've been stagnant the last few seasons and I get the vibe that they aren't getting along personally. I know they used to date and they broke up. Things just seem tense between them. Furthermore, it seems like Jessica is never going to nail that triple salchow and I don't know why they keep going for it. Why not do a 2A and land it? It's almost guaranteed she will fall on the 3S. I mean, I don't hope for them to fizzle out but at this point it's not looking so good. Who knows though, I could be wrong and Doug Ladret could do something to relight their fires.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ImaginaryPogue View Post
    Is it the hope for a Russian resurgence (for all the negativity surrounding the nation and figure skating, figure skating fans benefited from Yagudin, Plushenko, Slutskaya, not to mention the plethora of pairs and dance teams they’ve given us)?
    ???
    I wonder what negativity around "the nation and figure skating" you mean? Is it the negative articles about Russian figure skating in the Canadian press?


    I also think that pair Volosozhar/Trankov should be really strong. The only doubt is that they are trained by a little known coach. At least to me. I would be more optimistic about them if they work with Tamara Moskvina. Cannot wait to see them on competitions. According to the ISU rules, they will not be allowed at Worlds this year. Does anybody know the first event (besides Russain nationals) we will see them?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ellen View Post
    ???
    I wonder what negativity around "the nation and figure skating" you mean? Is it the negative articles about Russian figure skating in the Canadian press?


    I also think that pair Volosozhar/Trankov should be really strong. The only doubt is that they are trained by a little known coach. At least to me. I would be more optimistic about them if they work with Tamara Moskvina. Cannot wait to see them on competitions. According to the ISU rules, they will not be allowed at Worlds this year. Does anybody know the first event (besides Russain nationals) we will see them?
    1. I thought they'd be allowed at worlds because she (Volosozhar) sat out at Turin (specifically so she and her new partner could compete together for whatever nation, as it was clear she'd be competing for a country that wasn't her own)

    2. To answer your first question, Ellen, I'm more referring to a historical (past ten years or so) perspective, but yeah, there was a considerable amount of negative press in the run-up to Vancouver. Domnina/Shabalin came off the worst. When they won bronze at the OG, Rod Black (Canadian commentator with Kraatz and Robinson), Black was a little magnanimous, but he kept mentioning the OD costumes as the reason they didn't do better (as opposed to the fact that Shabalin was dealing with a career-ending injury that limited the training, choreography etc they could actually pull off). Kraatz actually said that the performances of the Canton quartet heralded a "incredible brotherhood between Canada and the United States against the rest of the world." Truthfully, I think that disregards the rather complicated relationship between Canada and the United States (I have a friend who was rooting for Domnina/Shabalin just so that the USA wouldn't get two medals in ice dance; if the Olympic hockey final was between Russia and the USA, more Canadians would cheer for Russia, in my mind) and I think catering to animosity between the three nations (in terms of winter sporting events, not social/political stuff) makes it easier for media friendly hooks. And for those unfamiliar with figure skating, Salt Lake lingers and yeah, Russia shouldered the weight of the blame for that, again, imo.

    I think Turin and Vancouver both hugely benefited from non-controversial results (with the exception of Lysacek vs Plushenko, and I don't think either result would've really hurt the sport's perception, truth be told, but Lysacek winning certainly helped.)

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