Why doesn't anyone like pairs skating any more?
How did pairs skating turn into the orphan child that nobody wants?
Pairs should be the most enjoyable and exciting discipline to watch. It has everything, jumps and spins like singles, two-skating-as-one like dance, plus its own bag of circus tricks like overhead lifts, throws and twists. And yet...
Hey Math, I didn't realize pairs isn't liked anymore. My issue with pairs this year is I found the US reps very uninteresting. They struck me as novice skaters. Nothing dyamic, nothing charismatic. I was very disappointed that John Coughlin and Caydee Denney were unable to skate because I find them very exciting with great lifts and great throws. They were awesome at Nats last year and I think could have been significant this year were it not for John's injury.
Pairs is hard to follow in the US because the teams never stay together long enough to amount to much. But Pairs is one of my favorite disciplines.
Wicked Yankee Girl
I used to like pairs. I still maintain an interest, but not like say even 6 years ago.
For one thing, I saw V&T at SkAm, finishing ahead of a damaged (poor Tong) but far more interesting and smooth skaters, Pang & Tong. I know the rules. I could see why V&T won. I just hated their programs. And now they are (deservedly) world champions.
In fact, the stuff I value in pair skating is mostly not valued in the current code of points. This is OK, but I don't have to watch. And lord I hate ugly lift positions, and they are required.
There's only a couple of programs I really enjoyed this year:
1. MT M short program to Micmacs. Too cool.
2. Castelli & Shnapir SP (love the daring flat out fast crossing footwork). Too bad they bombed on it at Worlds.
3. Somehow, I kind of like Peng & Zheng's Sp as skated at TEB. And I love their quad twist. No one even seems to care that they can do one though.
4. Somehow I get a quick kick out of James & Cipres, man the power she has
That's about it. I haven't watched most of the World programs of the pairs yet.
It's gotten better now, but it's hard to erase the memory of hideous (and frighteningly unsteady) contortionist lifts, catchfoot death spirals, ugly pairs spins, etc. Some of the level features for pairs were so, so bad. Difficult, yes, but not fun or aesthetically pleasing to watch at all.
Originally Posted by noskates
Agreed; I can't really even remember who is supposedly the best in the states right now. Kind of like disposable underwear. One day and then in the trash.
The pairs of days gone by were so much more exciting and pleasing to watch. The Protopopovs, Irina Rodnina and the Alexandres, Babolonia and Gardner, G&G, M&D... I thought Yamaguchi and Galindo had great promise in their youth. I'd much rather watch Youtube of them than the current crop.
I think the reason is that they were innovative, daring, artistic, musical, athletic... all at the same time. Today's programs (I won't talk about the skaters themselves, since I really am not very conversant in the discipline these days) seem like they're cramming ten minutes worth of ugly tricks into a 4 1/2 minute program, and they're not very pretty to watch.
I do like the young Americans Z/B, because they seem to skate with such enthusiasm. I hope they stick it out and see what develops.
I just realized that I haven't watched any of the pairs from the London WC. I am vaguely aware of some scoring controversy from reading here on Goldenskate, but I am really not interested enough to look and see what the noise is all about.
I think that the great pairs that you mention (and some others) led the way and influenced judges by showing them what was possible. Today's pairs mostly follow the judges' edicts and, as you say, try to cram tricks into the allotted time.
Originally Posted by TontoK
It's interesting: in the U.S., figure skating is in sort of a trough in three of the four disciplines. But I haven't lost interest in men's and ladies' branches. I just root mostly for skaters from other countries, such as YuNa and Mao and of course Daisuke. (Ice dancing, of course, is pure candy: I can support an American team and support the best in the world all at once, and then there's V/M as the second helping of ice cream!) But there's not much going on in pairs right now that makes me catch my breath. Maybe it's as Doris says: the things I love in pairs skating aren't valued in the CoP. I like S/S, but the last pair that made me forget to breathe was Shen and Zhao.
Because to me the current state of Pairs is what happens when you privilege all the "tricks" at the expense of everything else. There are almost no "programs" any more; just trick after trick after trick with some music in the background.
I don't like the many of the present-day programs much. I suppose I have old-fashioned tastes--my ideal pair is the classic G&G. I also love Berezhnaya and Sikharulidze. I suppose the things I love most about pairs are not as valued as the difficult (but ugly) lifts, jumps and step sequences. A lot of programs look 'labored'--and I don't like labored-looking pairs skating.
The last pairs I loved were Salle/Pelltier, B/S (my spelling escapes me ) and Shen/Zhao and I loved them each for different reasons. No one since has come close. It's interesting that the discipline that created CoP is being destroyed by it. I agree that CoP's general valuation of complexity over quality has hit very hard here.
I wonder to if the demise of the USSR pair skating system that enforced a high level of skating skills has affected the general approach to pairs skating too.....
S&S are still fantastic especially their last year's LP! I have to admit their last sp lp was a disappointment. MT &T are fantastic as well!
Cop is Killing the personalities of like all skaters and pairs is very much the same thing!
the Golden Era
Pairs is still my favorite disciple
I like V/T, J/C maybe less interest because of no top North American Pairs ?
D/R aren't top class aside from the jumps, ugly posture, no expression.
the Golden Era
to be fair the old times were the golden years Gordeeva/Grinkov, Brezhneya/Sikhuralidze, Valova/Vasiliev, Mishkutenok/Dmitriev, Propotovs,
Originally Posted by koatcue
Rodina/Zaitsev even Pang/Tong -their prime just to name a few
though there were shares of boring Pairs the old time low of 1994-1996 Era in Pairs
the fake crocodile tears of the terrible duo named Sale/Perelltier and stiff board/potato sack twist of Totmianina/Marinin