Wicked Yankee Girl
Synchro may not be television popular, but synchro comps sell out!
For Synchro Worlds in Boston last year, there was not a ticket to be had
I have always like pairs. Whether I follow very closely depend on (1) whether I have any favourites in pairs (2) whether the competition is strong.
COP or no COP. I still like figure skating.
I don't think this is it. Think of how much debate we have here about G/G vs M/D... and how many ardent supporters each pair has. What about the Chinese?
Originally Posted by Ziggy
Surely we're not all from Russia or China.
Having lost interest in pairs in the past decade, I've decided what might bring me back. I'd like a young pair to take a chance and work with a new and exciting choreographer, like Rohene Ward. Yes, I know he was a singles skater, but he seems so innovative and artistic... surely he could do something with a young pair.
B/Z, I'm looking your way for this.
Pairs is the most popular discipline in China right now and has been for years.
I wasn't into pairs I guess for this reason. The past few years, I've really enjoyed Castelli & Shnapir. She's one of the best female pair skaters out there and he shows her off beautifully in lifts and those crazy high throws. Julie Marcotte's choreo has been fabulous and different from Delilah's same old same old. The height difference which should be an obstacle makes them interesting to watch. And I love how they've stuck it out together despite the fact that they've admitted to not always getting along. If they could just hit clean programs with some consistency, I think they'd be great for US pairs. Wish there was more of a pro circuit- they're perfect for that.
Originally Posted by Tonichelle
Pairs has been my favorite discipline for quite a long time. A couple things are getting in the way. CoP has taken the beauty out of it, there are no really great couples at the moment, and it really isn't on TV recently.
American pairs is a wasteland at the moment, but I don't even care about that. My favorite pairs have generally not been American. But there are no beautiful programs anymore. Well, maybe there are, but I wouldn't know it since it isn't shown in TV. Putting in as much difficulty as possible has made for ugly, badly done moves.
One of my crowning figure skating moments has been Shen/Zhou winning Worlds in DC to my favorite skating music - I was there. It's been all downhill since. I keep telling myself this will change, as things always do. If I remain a skating fan post-Boston Worlds I will be looking forward to the next great couple.
I wonder if it is because it is all the parents and friends of such large teams are attending to watch their loved ones (much larger fan base therefore)? Whereas singles and pairs/dance there are few competitors.
Originally Posted by dorispulaski
Wicked Yankee Girl
A great deal of it is parents and friends, but a lot also are past synchro skaters. If every Haydenette went, with their significant others, considering the program has been around for a long, time, you would fill an awful lot of seats.
Makes sense they won OGM and OSm and they aren't nearly as strong in other events though in men and ladies they are becoming more competitive.
Originally Posted by bigsisjiejie
Sure, but that is the difference between a fencer and football. When you have a team, you have a nice support system and eventually a legacy. The individual team members aren't as important as what they represent. Imagine if it were to really hit off and every major city had a team that their city was aware of and found inspiring.
Originally Posted by Skater Boy
Off the ice
I've seen Shen/Zhao mentioned a lot in this thread as the last great pair, and I have to say that I disagree. First, I think S/S are absolutely a great pair. Second, I think V/T, with better material, have the potential to be very special as well.
I wonder if perhaps the way S/Z were embraced by American fans has to do with the fact that their big breakthrough came after SLC, they were not identified with the pairs scandal and the countries involved in it, and they gave an amazing performance to win Worlds in the US - a high visibility event. With no US team really contending, they became an appealing option. And because of this, and their charisma and underdog story, fans grew attached to them and were more willing to overlook weaker areas and performances, or times when their programs were fairly conventional.
Personally, I really liked S/Z when they started making their podium push (late 1990s-early 2000s), but I wasn't blown away by them later in their career to the extent that many were, and I don't feel the perceived decline in pairs skating is attributable to their retirement. IJS skating demands a lot, and while we are now seeing singles skaters who largely came up with the system, pairs tend to peak at later age and the adjustment we saw in the men in recent year may occur later in pairs.
Buttercup, for me Shen/Zhao started standing out after 2002 because their unison, flow, and expressiveness became so much more obvious. It had nothing to do with whoever else was competing or anyone's country of origin. I can't be more analytical than that. I've often supported skaters from other countries over American skaters, especially these days when there are so few truly great American skaters in any of the disciplines except for ice dance.
I agree with you about both Savchenko/Szolkowy (my personal favorite among the current pairs) and V/T. But the rest of pairs skating seems to be in a trough right now. I don't warm to anyone else, especially when there are such fascinating things happening in the other three disciplines.
Wicked Yankee Girl
I think US fans took them to their hearts exactly because:
2003 Worlds was in Washington DC and was well-attended and well-covered by media. S&Z's skate at Worlds was completely magical
Not only was it magical, it had a regular Horation Alger vibe - brave athlete succeeds even though injured story, something that has historically gone over well with US sports fans.
2003 Worlds was when the US was about to invade Iraq. Everyone was edgy. The whole S&Z story was a huge relief.
The rink in DC in 2003 was in DC's Chinatown, which had Chinese street signs as well as restaurants. It was terribly cool that S&Z could win in an area with a lot of local support. Sort of a hometown team wins (well home away from home, sort of) story.
The best thing about Chinese pairs is that they have long careers. If you decide to be a supporter, you don't have to shop for anyone new for a long time.
True though fencing as another problem - you have trouble identifying with the person because of the mask - sometimes you can't even tell who you are cheering for
Originally Posted by loopy
Well, Bin Yao played a huge part in building the pairs program to produce winners, and everybody likes a winner and wants to join the bandwagon. But I think it's deeper than that; specifically, the Chinese tradition of acrobatics which was developed to possibly the highest level of mastery in the world, and which is still popular. You can see the acrobat sensibility transmitted onto ice in pairs skating--notice how Chinese pairs have naturally been good at quickly getting the team tricks such as twists, throws, and lifts which I think are still more impressive to the Chinese skating audience than the individual jump/spin elements. Although to be sure, audiences are quite appreciative of really well done triples, quads of course, and Czisny-quality spins. I think ice dance is still a bit baffling to all but the most dedicated of local afficionados, since it doesn't fit naturally into any local cultural context and there's a huge learning curve to master for both Chinese dancers and audiences of same. I think dance is in the same situation in most of the Asian countries right now.
Originally Posted by Skater Boy