Yes - wouldn't it be nice it if the answer to the question to where have all these promising single skaters gone was: to be become successful pairs skaters . When I watched Nat'ls it was obvious that some of the skaters were never going to get their triples solid enough to be really competitive as singles, but they have good fundamentals and presentation. I often think they could be good pairs skaters, though as SB says there is a whole other skill set they have to master too. A great and inspiring coach could do a lot
this happens everytime though, every season new juniors are stepping in and skaters transition
and those who can't keep up will be pushed at the back of the pack,
True, sky_fly20, that's life. Thank goodness for the ones that don't put all their eggs in one basket and have a life outside skating, and can re-invent themselves, go to college, or even get a regular 9-5 job like everybody else, have a fallback plan. It's the parents I feel sorry for, those that took out second & third mortgages to pay the bills, and are still paying on them, even though their promising prodigy child is no longer such in figure skating. But they knew the chances going in; my only hope is that the child can help pay back those expenses by taking a job on a cruise ship, a figure skating tour, etc. Of course if the parents are independently wealthy no worries.
Back to pair skating, like Serious Business writes it's not as easy as it sounds, several dynamics are involved. The girl has to be small enough (both height & weight) so the guy can lift & throw her, and the guy has to be big enough (both height & muscle) to do so. But most importantly, as Peter Carruthers & even Dick Button have said in the past "the girl must be fearless"! She's going to be lifted 12 feet off the ground and thrown that far across the ice, no time for trepidation or fear. She's gotta be prepared to have her chin split open at least once, and maybe even dropped and knocked unconscious (e.g. Katia Gordeeva). Likewise, the guy has to be just as fearless, knowing that one trip or catch of the ice on his blade can result in brain injury (e.g. Paul Binnebose). It's not for the faint of heart.
By the way, I recall Katia writing in her book that she wasn't a strong singles skater, and that's why she was assigned to pair skating. She was a decent singles skater, but not amongst the best, therefore pair skating it was.
Katia can skate solo without more than a double axel and hold our attention. She just flies softly over the ice. She gets better with age.
With regards to pairs vs dance.... one of the reasons for the resurgence of dance is the recent sucesses. Naomi and Peter brought a spark to American dance after Punsalen and Swallow and Roca and Sur. For whatever reasons, they just seemed so fresh - however, note that only 1/2 American. Then we had Tanith and Ben - again 1/2 American. There was an extended period of time where there were many female dancers who couldn't find American partners. I think it was the sucess of Tanith and Ben that brought more attention to ice dance at the rinks in the US, which has helped to bering stable dance teams again.
Americans Pairs skating needs a successful team to spark a revival, as well. Inoue and Baldwin were interesting and successful, but they didn't acheive the magic off the teams they were competing against. Before them, Ina/Zimmeran, Ina/Dungen, Meno/Sands, etc. My point is that it's been a long long time since an American pairs team has had a realistic shot at any color medal at the international level, let alone gold.
Singles skaters who make it to their late teens with no triples know that they're not going to be champions or stars in that discipline, so they usually make other career plans.