I think historical perspective can be useful in evaluating the angst surrounding I/K.
For something like a half a century, Russian ice dance was the very definition of excellence in the sport. Except for very brief interludes... notably T/D and a few others... it was sure money to bet that a Soviet/Russian would be atop the podium, and would frequently take one (sometimes both) of the other podium spots as well.
Now the top... some debate about that sometimes... Russian ice dancers have fallen behind what are probably the US #3. They're probably behind the Canadian #2, the Italians, perhaps the French...
It's not out of the realm of possibility that the best Russian ice dance team will be ranked 8th or lower when they skate on Olympic ice at home.
This is shocking. Beyond shocking.
Then to hear that they just don't work that hard... that they're lazy... well, it seems like almost disrespectful to a glorious legacy of Russian sport.
I think this is what has got Russian fans, as well as others who have had an appreciation of Russian dance, in a foul mood.
There is no disrespect in this thread. It wouldn't matter if I&K were Canadian, Chinese, or incidentally Russian. The verdict would be the same. There are rumors of their lesser work ethic, true or not. It is obvious they're not in physical top shape in comparison to the ice dancing elite (not to the general population).
I must not have written what I intended to convey. No one is being disrespectful to them... I believe some people (myself included) may feel that I/K are disrespectful of the heritage of Russian dance... if the widely held belief that they do not have a great work ethic happens to be true.
I love her, she's so pretty (he's pretty too) , and she has like Krylova/Grishuk/Usova level craziness, which I love. I love the first lift in their Swan Lake program, she gives mad fashion-face.
I think I feel about the woes of Russian ice dance the same way I feel about American ladies. It's time for the mediocrity to end. History demands it.
^ I/K's basic skating skills are so much better than B/S's, though, given Bobrova's issues with posture and lines. And I/K have far better expressions too.
So on paper they should be Russia's #1. Why they are not by now... well, the not working hard enough theory is the only one that makes sense.
At this point, I would have both Russian teams behind all of P/B, C/L and W/P. About the Shibs, well, hard to tell whether they are USA's #3. C/B are not impressive at all this year and I think Maia and Alex could actually have a shot at beating them this year. This would make I/K only fall behind US #2, if that makes anyone feel better :P
The great thing about Ice Dance nowadays is that there is so much room for friendly disagreement.
My second favorite US team is H/D... I'm sure they're a technical step or two behind the podium, but I'm always caught up in their performance. If I said I thought the Shibs wouldn't be #3, it would be because they were bumped to #4, not jumped to #2.
I will say, however, that the Shibs improvement is very apparent to me.
I don't have much of an opinion of C/B, other than she definitely has the "it factor." I find her to be stunning.
The Shibutanis don't get much love on the boards, but I like them a lot for their personalities and I do like their sleek and clean dance style, though some find that boring. As I said earlier, I think it's great that both I/K and the Shibs have been able to jump nicely into the senior scene. Can't really say the same for the other junior couples have followed them.
Why could I/k never even beat b/s in one segment of a Russian nationals competition? Not even if b/s were being beaten by I/k outside of Russia and when both made the gpf? because the judges and federation never wanted to give them the title of Russian Dance champions because of the work ethic and training deficiencies! They could never be trusted with Russia number one! Imagine a Russia number one that gets 16th in Tes at a worlds like I/k did! Embarrassing.