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.
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.
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.
Surely with pair it is fun. I go with my Gf and it is nice activity to enjoy.
Originally Posted by Skater Boy
Hardly. You have two skaters and two sets of parents who are splitting the bills. Decisions about who to train with and where, and who pays what, can lead to all sorts of disagreements, especially if one set of parents has more money. It's not just the two people on the ice who make these decisions.
Originally Posted by OwenNash
I take it that you mean that you two actually go to skate together for recreation? That's cool! I can see how that would be much more enjoyable than skating as an individual, and if you two are skating for fun, issues of money and training decisions don't apply. Thanks for introducing a new angle from which to examine the issue of pairs skating. And welcome to GoldenSkate!
Originally Posted by OwenNash
I bet skating with your girl is great fun. I was young once, back in the Dark Ages, and I know I would have enjoyed it, too.
Unfortunately, we didn't have ice rinks where I lived. I did go roller skating on a group date once; it was awesome.
Because COP made it unwatchable.
Originally Posted by Mathman
Starting from 1990, I love Kristi and Rudy. Their programs had quite a few highlights that none of the US pairs have.
M/D are awesome. Their programs are always special. Poor K/S, just couldn't reach it.
B/S are also very special although I don't like them as much as M/D. M/D are more original.
T/M are boring as hell. They are the first COP pair, and they put a damp into pair skating in general. Boring, boring, boring. Watching water boiling is probably more interesting than these two.
Z/Z were exciting at the Olympics actually. They looked equally boring, but they went for big tricks that pushed me to the edge of my seat. They lost the exciting portion of their performance when they stuffed all the big tricks back in the bag.
S/Z were a bit overrated. They are more connected than T/M and the Zhangs, but something else is missing. Their programs aren't as original and special as M/D or B/S. Even programs in 6.0 era.
S/S are so overrated. They are the worst world champion of pair skating since the new system. Messy, flawed programs year after year. And everything looks labored. I can't get into them at all.
K?S almost had it. Both are boring folks, disguised by clever choreography. But it can only go so far. And their inconsistency didn't help.
P/T are like the M/T of pairs but 10 years older. Don't know when to call it quit. Last persons to leave a party. Just sad to watch now.
V/T are just gross. With tacky programs to boot.
I think the #2 Canadian pair are the only pair that is closest to the cool old day.
I'm not sure when I lost interest in pairs. For some reason, it all looks the same to me now. Every pair seems to do the same ugly lifts- and most don't do interesting dismounts any more. Dance lifts are creative and wonderful. Pairs lifts are staid and boring.
There has to be some way to tweak the scoring system to reward creativity and interesting choreography.
Also-whenever a fresh, new team comes along, they break up.