Are the Shibs underrated?
And thus underscored? I know little re iced ance and love the top three NA teams most. I am in awe of the judges...hard job...can someone say what Shibs lack to become WC ice dancers? I think they're wonderful.
They aren't underrated, in my opinion. They are good, but aren't better like I/K or the older pairs.
They were on their way to be wc! Then their technical abilities just really went south in a major way! You can't be the tech team getting all level 4's in 2011 worlds and then show up in nice and not do a twizzle in the fs and expect to repeat as bronze!! Across the board their technical levels have suffered! They are really in the same exact place they were in 2011 but have fallen because they have weakened technically! Like when rachael flatt stopped doing triple lutzes and she fell down the standings! Well of course she did!
Many of you know I'm a huge fan of the Shibs, so perhaps some of you may see less value in my opinion.
But here are just a few points to consider:
1.) For the last two years, Maia has grown considerably. When they won the world bronze medal, Maia was 16 years old and tiny. Look at this photo from Worlds in 2011. As you can see, Maia falls just below Alex's head.
Now here's Maia a few months later, at NHK. As you can see, she's grown a few inches and is no below his head.
Finally Maia at this year's Worlds. She isn't that much taller than 2011, but you can see she's filled out slightly.
2.) Related to that, Alex has dealt with a number of injuries in the last two years. I think it's pretty easy to conclude that trying to lift your sister when she's a few inches taller and 15 pounds heavier will create some issues. Some of you may have noticed that Alex has tried to bulk up in an attempt to adjust to the extra weight, but that has had an effect on their speed and lightness they displayed in 2011.
So with that in mind, we dealt with a team that that has gone through the double whammy of injuries and a growth spurt. If you guys remember, the Shibs had a so-so season in 2009-2010 when Alex went through HIS growth spurt. I remember that many people were worried that Maia wouldn't grow fast enough. Now it seemed there was a different problem at play.
(Per gmeyers' point: Rachael Flatt stopped doing Lutz (and toe pick jumps in general) jumps because of injury. Shibs are dealing with an equivalent thing here, I think.)
3.) One key issue, which was one of their key strengths, is level issues. They went down in a lot of competitions in the last two years because they lost a ton of levels. I'm not sure if the issues above have prevented them from getting the key points to hit level 4, but clearly this is a problem.
4.) Packaging is another issue obviously. They haven't quite found their mature style yet. They made a concerted effort this season, but I think it fell short a bit.
But here are a few things going for the Shibs that I think people underestimate:
1.) Blade work -- the Shibs have a great reputation of having the quietest blades in Ice Dance. If you compare their feet to other dances, they are quite smooth in their blade movements. And that matters in Ice Dance
2.) Work ethic -- Do you guys remember when they basically reworked 2/3 of their entire Latin SD between GPF and Nationals? That was ballsy and it seemed to work. They did much of the same for the SD this year. They are not afraid to go back to the drawing board and workout whatever issues they have.
They seem to show flashes of light at Worlds and 4CC, so perhaps there are better things to come. We'll see.
I really them, too, so I'm as biased as Mrs. P, but I do think that they're underrated!
Just look at their 2013 Worlds FD (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNBd4E9PpUE): the twizzles (from 1:52 to 2:04) are perfectly executed, with good speed, good unison, good position, good blade control, smooth transitions between the first and the second part of the element, good flow on the ice, they deserved at least a +2 GOE for me; these are the rules for the +2 GOE in the twizzles:
-Entry/completion: with ease
-Connecting steps/footwork: very good and stylish
-Spacing between partners: consistent and close
Well, I can admit that the space between them was not really "consistent and close" but the entry/completion and connceting steps/footwork features were even at the +3 level, so an overall +2 would have been just fair!
Look at what they received: +0.79, with one judge giving a 0, three judges giving +1 and only one (intelligent ) judge giving +3! Now, look at their twizzles at 4CC (from 1.48 to 1:59 here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHYaeHNMBA8): they're almost identical, and the GOE there was +1.07, with two judges giving +3, only one judge giving +1 and no 0!
The same for the spin at the beginning of they Worlds FD: it's technically PERFECT! What's the GOE? +0.79!
Then there are the StSq, that have really affected their scores, and I can understand that, but the overall GOEs should have been A LOT higher for me! Artistically, I do think that they have to work on the interpretation and the speed, and they have to find their own style, but I don't really understand their technical scores! Can someone explain them to me please?
They are overrated. They did not deserve their 2011 World bronze IMO, and did not deserve their grand prix event win in fall 2011 either. I hope Hubbel & Donahue beat them out for the Olympic team spot.
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I just find them boring. I think they need more interesting programs and a different look on the ice. They look too young and "innocent" right now. Being brother and sister though, they don't have much to work with, but they could try some more original and unique stuff like the Duchesnays and Kerrs.
I don't mind that you're a fan of the Shibs. I like them, too, though probably not so much as you.
Your post above should be a model for fair, objective, rational, and well-written assessment of skaters who are favorites.
I gained an entirely new perspective on them that I would have missed had that been a "Shibu-verse" type of post, wherein you became overly emotional at a perceived slight and proceeded to screech at anyone who dared to disagree.
I'm actually more appreciative of them after reading your post.
Of course, I've ALWAYS been a fan of YOURS!
You're sweet to say so, but I'm afraid I get ill-tempered at times.
I'm just a cranky old man who fell in love with this sport in 1976, and I still search for that moment of wonder and astonishment that I felt as a young farm boy who had NEVER seen anything like Dorothy Hamill and John Curry.
Those moments don't come too often, but when they do... it's worth the wait! I know the real deal when I see it, and I'm not easily persuaded that the mediocre is great (this has nothing to do with the Shibs... I'm drifting off topic... a hazard of advancing age).
Thank you for your kind words on my boy's graduation. It was a proud moment.
Originally Posted by TontoK
Thanks for your kind words, both of you. Just trying to put some thoughts on the table and let the discussion go from there.
Originally Posted by golden411
That's the thing, though. It's not only that they LOOK young, they ARE young. There are skaters skating at the junior level who are older than the Shibs. I think people forget that because they've been at the senior level for three seasons. The Duchesnays were at their peak (1991/1992) when they were in their late 20s. (Which is why I think attempting to skate to the "Missing" music, besides the obvious part that it was a Duchesneys signature, was probably not the best idea). The Kerrs peak (medaling at European, top 6 at Worlds) also came when both in their late 20s.
Originally Posted by blue_idealist
Let me put this way, when you were in your late teens, early 20s, did you have a sense of who you were or your personal style? Some do, but most don't, IMO. I think the Shibs are quite mature in how they handle themselves on and off-the-ice, but that doesn't mean they have arrived as far as their personal style/artistic development.
I think the other thing that's important to note is their Asian look that makes them look much younger. I for one sympathize as an Asian-American that even in my early 30s I still gets mistaken as a college student. I think Maia, in particular, has worked to find ways to look more mature. I think it's been hit and miss, but point is it's a work in progress. Elena Ilinykh, on the other hand, always looked more mature for her age and exudes a lot of charisma, so I think that has helped this team.
I don't think it's too late for them to find a style that works. I just think it's a process.
I agree with Mrs. P about the age factor, and I would like to add that the Shibs are actually ahead of the usual developing time that is required in Ice Dance. A comparison:
-the average age of the Shibs now is 20 years and they have already become World Bronze Medalists, 4CC Siver Medalists, won one GP event and five GP medals and qualified for the GPF once
-when the average age of D/W was 20 (2007) their medal collection was this: no medal at Worlds, 4CC or GP, never qualified for GPF, their best placement at Senior nationals was 3rd (in their first year), one Junior Worlds medal
-when the average age of V/M was 20 (2008) their medal collection was this: one WSM, two 4CC bronze medals and one 4CC title, three GP medals (one gold), qualified once for GPF, one Junior Worlds title
-when the average age of P/B was 20 (between 2000 and 2001) they had never competed internationally at the Senior level
You can find similar situations if you look at the careers of most of the best ice dancers in the recent history, except K/P, who won their first Olympic Bronze when she was just 17, the same for M/M Silver in 1976; this confirms what Mrs. P says: they're very young, they still have A LOT of time to develop!
We all know what happened with the Shibs, and stop pretending otherwise.
They only won the 2011 World bronze because all the other top teams, who are better than them, screwed up. W/P, P/B, I/K, B/S, etc are much better than the Shibs, and when they screwed up at Worlds, and everyone else did well, they placed where they should have been placed. They never were the absolute 3rd best team in the World; they really are only the 8th or 9th best team, which is where they have been for the last two years. Dance is extremely political - stop trying to pretend that it's not.
Their levels could be all politics but there has been proof in this thread of growth and injuries! Like they never stopped doing all level 4's but they got a bronze they didn't deserve and now all their levels are lower than they would be for other teams! But that still leaves their 2012 Nice performance where there were NO Twizzles in the FD! None at all! Twizzls in FD AWOL! Totally AWOL in all degrees.
Originally Posted by 96skiluvr
Well - this same could be said for ALOT of competitions - particularly the Olympics. And world order is determined by world placement which is determined by how they fare in competition. Favorites screw up all the time and someone else comes in to win - let's see......Sarah Huges or Tara Lipinski, Oksana Baiul....who ever thought going into the Olys that they would have won? That's just skating. When someone screws up someone else takes advantage of it and has a good skate.
Originally Posted by 96skiluvr
I personally think the Shibs are underrated and I apprecated Mrs. P's and TontoK's posts. The Shibs ARE young and have another Olympics besides the next one in them. I think some are judging them a little harshly. I do agree they need to find their identities, stop skating to whimsical music and get something dramatic they can really get in to. I hope they do well this season.