Kovarikova & Novotny- one of the most underrated teams ever
The team of Radka Kovarikova & Rene Novotny were one of the most underrated pairs teams of all time. They deserved many more medals and titles than they won. They definitely were robbed of the Olympic bronze in 1992 to the always overrated team of Brasseur & Eisler.
I'm glad to see a thread about this splendid Czech pair. I always loved them. (And how could we forget them for mention on the Most Beautiful Pairs thread?) I'm glad they won a world championship, and that they turned pro during a time of televised pro competitions, so we in the U.S. could watch them. They had such splendid chemistry on the ice (and off, too, of course, but that doesn't always translate to on-ice electricity). I don't know enough to agree or disagree about the Olympic bronze, but they did honor to the sport and to their country, and they were delightful to watch.
I mentioned them in that thread
Originally Posted by Olympia
They also went head to head with Shishkova and Naumov and Brasseur and Eisler in 1994 Oly. Their competitors Wotzel & Steuer, Eltsova & Bushkov, etc. in the 90s all won a World Title at some point or another. S&N outskated K&N in 1995, but the judges went for K&N. K&N deserved to be Euro Champs that year, but W&S had home ice advantage. They were definitely overlooked for many years or rewarded when they shouldn't have been.
They did recycle their programs often. They had much more potential but didn't have the strongest mental game until winning Worlds in 1995, and they promptly and wisely retired. Out of the 90s pairs (post M&D G&G and pre-B&S), they were probably the most classical and elegant.
Classical and elegant--that is an apt description of them! I have a recollection of their skating to Mozart at least once, and doing well by the music.
Of that period, I also enjoyed Wotzel and Steuer very much. They were innovative and more modern-dance in their sensibility, and when Steuer began to coach Aliona and Robin, it wasn't hard to see his sensibility and approach in their innovative, rather avant-garde programs.
Shishkova/Naumov and Eltsova/Bushkov I always found rather businesslike, especially after that spectacular period with Gordeyeva/Grinkov and Dmitriev and his two partners. What a breath of fresh air Berezhnaya/Shikarulidze were when they came along in the late 1990s, so graceful and so connected to their music.
That was really a period of spreading the wealth:
Originally Posted by BlackPack
Kovarikova Novotny- 1 World title, 1 near miss of European title (lost in 5-4 split)
Shishkova Naumov- 1 World title, 2 near misses of World titles, 1 Grand Prix final title
Eltsova Bushkov- 1 World title, 2 European titles
Kazahkova Dmitriev- 1 Olympic title, 1 European title
Brasseur Eisler- 1 World title, 2 Olympic medals
Woetzel Steuer- 1 World title, 1 Olympic medal, 1 European title, 1 Grand Prix final title
The ironic thing was Woetzel & Steuer, IMO the poorest of all those teams, ended up with probably the best line of achievements.
I agreed with K&N's World title in 1995 btw. They had only 1 mistake and S&N had a godawful program that year with terrible music and a heavy overbearing quality. They used the previous years short program costumes for their LP too, tacky.
K&N were definitely undermarked many times. They were clearly robbed of not only a medal at the 1992 Olympics, but the European title which went to Woetzel & Stuer in 1995. They also were robbed of a medal at the 94 Europeans where Miskutienok & Dmitriev did not skate well at all but still finished with the bronze ahead of them. Many other times they were their own worst enemy too.
I like the S&N's Unfinished Symphony. Even if you attribute it to a matter of taste, I still think S&N were stronger technically and had a good argument to win the World title that year. K&N definitely deserved to win over W&S at Euros that year; they were clean while W&S werent.
Originally Posted by pangtongfan
Well artistry is always largely a matter of taste. However I can confirm that the CBC commentators, former and still professional pairs greats- Barb Underhill and Paul Martini, also hated the program and the lack of emotion and passion (in their minds) they performed it with. Many of the judges probably felt similarily. Reusing costumes from another years short program for a long program is also not a wise move.
It is not like K&N skated poorly. They had one big mistake to open and then came back and skated flawlessly. I agree S&N have a case to have won and wouldnt have complained about the result if they had, but I still agreed with the result.
K&N werent clean at Euros btw. She doubled the triple toe while he did a triple. Still a better overall performance than their World winning one, and easily enough to win over the Germans who had a couple of small mistakes, many weak elements, and a bizarre one speed program. I would have had the Germans even 3rd behind S&N as well there.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYmYT42Tcxc - S&N '95 Worlds LP
Originally Posted by pangtongfan
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHP6aC73Gmk K&N '95 LP
This is one of those situations where I feel alone. I loved Schubert's Unfinished Symphony, and I liked S&N's interpretation. Sandra Bezic also bitched that they were "flat," and I'm not surprised her Canadian colleagues felt the same. I didn't agree with them though. S&N were not popular skaters and performers, but I thought there was real unrecognized beauty in their performance. I think it's a shame they are so overlooked, since I think they are mostly consistent, hard-working, sufficiently talented, technically proficient, and I enjoy watching them. I also read a Youtube comment that Rachmaninov's Elegy is "crap"; just about anything can be said about anything. Is it just a matter of taste? I don't know. I think it's best to get new costumes, but I truly think S&N were struggling financially at the time when Russia and its sports system were in a turmoil with crumbling infrastructure and poor training conditions. When Evgenia was on the podium, her anger at losing the title was palpable. Boy did she look pissed. K&N re-used an old program, so I don't see a problem with re-using old costumes especially when there's a need to cut back on expenses. Radka also had trouble hanging on to her edges somewhere halfway through the program; a couple of close calls, her mistake on the 3toe was a fall-out, the rest was clean enough to win. I don't think it's highway robbery, but I think a strong argument can be made for S&N.
W&S with the aqua costumes and the lounge (?) music. I guess it's considered bizarre now, but back then it would have been considered cool. Very sloppy at Euros '95 but it was in Munich, I believe, and the crowd went nuts for them. In the 6.0 system, a double isn't really a mistake as seen under COP. K&N deserved to win there.
The great thing about skating is that it's all out there for us to enjoy. If you liked Shishkova/Naumov that much, then it doesn't matter whether anyone else did or not. In fact, it's lovely that they reached someone (and I'm sure more than one person) who reacted to the beauty of their skating rather than just the technical excellence. These things can't be quantified, and every skating fan finds some hidden treasure that isn't widely praised.
I have a soft spot for the Schubert as music as well. I'll have to look back at S/N's program and see if anything in it calls to me in a way that it didn't at the time. Isn't YouTube wonderful? We can turn back time whenever the mood strikes us.
It's always nice when someone in the world agrees with you on something, especially if it's kind of obscure.
Originally Posted by Olympia