It's puzzling why the Russian Federation would dismantle the team that is their 3 time Russian National Champions, defending European champion, World medalist, and only team that has won a Grand Prix event (2) during the past four years, for a team that has proven immensely talented but repeated inconsistent during that same period of time. Regardless of ones' preference in terms of programs this season, that would seem to be a hugely risky strategy for them heading into the Olympics. It seems to me that international judges put TREMENDOUS weight in dance especially on the ranking or pecking order of teams as established by National championships, and to 'dethrone' B/S would essentially give the rest of the judges reason to completely dump them, only to put all of Russia's hopes in I/K's unproven basket.
Every year Russian journalists and Russian Figure Skating Federations starts season with the same…,,Who is number 1 in Ice Dance?“ Every season Bobrova & Soloviev must prove to everybody that they are still number 1.
This year as well as all years Bobrova has more difficult programs with more difficult between elements parts, more closed and more dance holdings. While Lena and Nikita spends almost one minute even not holding each other in free skate (like pair couple). Lena took classical music and skates classical story. Bobrova took classical music and skates unusual story (I don’t remember another team in top couples trying to portray birds and I even don’t know if anyone would be able to portray it). Maybe this is dangerous to try something so extraordinary for Olympic season, maybe it will not pay off, but Zhulin was always known as somebody who doesn’t like ordinary things and always pushes to something special. (I remember cricital words about Don Quijote and Schindler List for Lena and Nikita at the beginning of season 2009/10 and 2010/11, finally it paid off and fans loves these programs, last year free program for Bobrova – they were many critics too and finally it paid off).
Head to head Lena and Bobrova met many times (only once Lena won – at Worlds 2012 while Bobrova fell in short dance, all others competitions won Bobrova)
Cup of Russia 2010: B&S 1. place, I&K 3. place
Russian Nats 2010: B&S 1. place, I&K 3. place
Euros 2011: B&S 2. place, I&K 4. place
Worlds 2011: B&S 6. place, I&K 7. place
Russian Nats 2011: B&S 1. place, I&K 2. place
Euros 2012: B&S 2. place, I&K 3. place
Worlds 2012: I&K 5. place, B&S 7. place
GPF 2012: B&S 5. place, I&K 6. place
Russian Nats 2012: B&S 1. place, I&K 2. place
Euros 2013: B&S 1. place, I&K 2. place
Worlds 2013: B&S 3. place, I&K 9. place
.... I can't think that all judges and technical panels were always pushed to support Bobrova more than Lena...(after 3 season it would be almost every judge and technical specialist working in ISU...simply too many people)
Bobrova competed in GP Final 3 times, Lena once.
Supporting skaters when competition is in their home country is such a normal thing…Lena and Nikita won bronze medal at Cup of Russia 2010 (Nikita fell in short dance, they didn’t execute a lift in short dance at all and still get 49 points, their skating was shacky in free dance and they got 85 points), at Russian Nats 2011 Lena fell in short dance and they still held second position in front of other teams including Riazanova with clean skate, and Cup od Russia 2012 where Lena fell in free dance and they got 92 points and second place).
It will be interesting to see how will next time meeting look like…
One team did do birds as professionals. Bestemianova & Bukin did as a pro routine.
Yes they are officially. This is also just the first half of the season. Their team cannot be oblivious to the problem's they're having. When you compare their FD to its inspiration though how sad. Their program needs softness, some tenderness and connection between the couple to really work. Rather you see a pair just trying to accomplish elements. The music is too abrupt for the empathy you want to evoke for the pair. Domnina and Tikhonov just have perfect pitch where the interpretation of this program is concerned. As delivered by B/S this program lacks focus or cohesion, especially since they changed the music. After she is shot you sense no sadness, tenderness or physical weakness, they just continue skating at high speed barely seeing each other. Then in the end she has the energy to step up into a high lift right before she dies!! The person really responsible for this fiasco is Zhulin. He has managed this pair poorly in an Olympic season no less. IMHO, both their SD and FD as originally delivered are much more interesting than their current work. Zhulin is the one who has buckled under the Olympic pressure. One has to wonder why.
In the dance was always a queue. Last season, there were at least two competitions when I&K even with horrible programs were not worse, but of course they could not be put up. 0.11 points difference at the European Championships is jeweler work...
If you compare their senior seasons, the IK, on the contrary, all win except one competition (World Championship in Olympic year - what could be easier? ))
first season I&K B&S
WC 7 13
EC 4 -
NC 3 -
second season I&K B&S
WC 5 -
EC 3 -
NC 2 4
third season I&K B&S
WC 9 8 (but OG 15)
EC 2 9
NC 2 2
Progress Ilynykh is much better, moreover, its best score is already of 3.5 points higher.
You constantly write about the fact that the BS program more difficult. And you can prove it analysis of dance?
I counted the simple steps in the dance of the BS:
21 running steps of Dmitry (3, 2, 2, 5, 1, 2, 1, 3, 3, 1)
35 crossovers(!) (1, 3, 2, 2, 1, 2, 2, 2, 3, 1, 1, 2, 1, 1, 2, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3)
Are they scaters or crazy defenders of the Detroit Red Wings?
At a comparable speed and ice coverage Nikita needs:
14 running steps (1, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2)
16 crossovers (1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 3, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1)
I think it will be interesting to know the opinion of Tatiana Tarasova. As you know, it's the most powerful figure skating woman in Russia, produced 12 Olympic champions, personally acquainted with Putin and will comment on the Olympic Games in Russia. In recent weeks, she helps train the IK in the Novogorsk.
She said an interesting thing after the Cup of Russia. Unfortunately, professional translation is not found, it is necessary to read my, I think, a little better than google translate:
- At the COR event for some reason, we skated only one program. And Kovtun and Lipnitskaya and couples and dancers with Bobrova Soloviev . Bobrova did mistakes in a short dance on several elements, she fell in FP. No one will forgive more mistakes. And leading couples of the world teach us not to make mistakes. Why they can not make mistakes, but we can not ? Coaches are responsible for solving this problem, but my question is addressed and athletes too. They are urgently need to turn on brains and try to understand how many times do you need to repeat on training you to be sure of myself. Someone needs to do it a hundred times, and someone and thousands of small.
- How "unforgiveness" will look?
- They will come to them in the image of their own results. And these results will affect the rest of their lives. It is a pity that I&K were not included in the GPF. This is unfair. They love training in this season. I love everything that they do. In Paris, they got standing ovations, and it's a very difficult to do in Paris. The public can not be deceived. The public is not stupid.
It would be so simple to look at difficulty of program throught crossovers…and quite funny…I counted crossovers in some others skater‘s free programs – men partners and the result (nobody made more than 1 to 3 crossovers in one sequence):
- Kostomarov 2005 Worlds – 23 crossovers, Maxim Shabalin 2010 Olympics – 25 crossovers, Charlie White 2013 NHK – 26 crossovers, Scott Moir 2013 TEB – 22 crossovers, Andrew Poje 2013 COR – 21 crossovers, Luca Lanotte 2013 NHK – 29 crossovers, Fabian Bourzat TEB 2013 – 21 crossovers
…..so the results is that….Nikita is the best technician of all times or at least this year…it would also mean that Fabian and Andrej Poje are as good as Scott, both of them and together with Kostomarov they are all better than Charlie White (Max Shabalin with injured knee also knocking down Charlie)….NO…
And now seriously: why are Lena and Nikita’s dances less difficult…you noticed free dance…OK
- the speed of music – Vivaldi is two times faster than Swan Lake, which means that if you want to show the rhythm you have to be 2 times faster in movements than in Swan Lake…which explains more crossovers from Dima (you can hardly do crossovers over 5 strokes in music…Dima and Katya also have more mohawks, choctaws, three turns and turns…Lena and Nikita are more polite in moves…yes!!! they have time for it and their music is demanding it more than Vivaldi music which is crazy and frenetic.
- skating like singles - Lena and Nikita are spending 57 seconds even not touching each other, it is a one quarter of the free dance, Bobrova and Soloviev are not touching each other 32 seconds.
- difficult holds positions - skating in open position is more easy for gaining speed. Also English commentators are talking constantly that Lena and Nikita are very fast but they have open holdings and they are not touching each other… quotation: ,,Much more open in the skating…arm in arm allows the speed to be easily build than when you are in closed dance hold.“ Bobrova and Soloviev are more in closed positions, they also change hands posititons during dance which is more interesting (her hand around his waist/shoulder from front side, shoulder from back side/around neck), Lena and Nikita has less variety in holdings, less closed positions.
By the way in short dance Lena and Nikita spend in closed position 48 second (Finnstep included) while Bobrova and Soloviev 91 seconds….
(Trankov can be proud of himself…he is almost like dancer…with choreo made by Morozov who included some closed holds, Trankov spends almost as much time in dance position as Nikita does)
- two footed skating – more in Lena and Nikita’s dance
- resting in program – Bobrova and Soloviev are skating fast through whole program without stops. Lena and Nikita stops skating 3 times. Lena and Nikita‘s first resting part - after second lift - they both skate on two feet and than stands on one foot just looking at each other – this resting part takes 9 seconds. Lena and Nikita’s second resting part – after third lift – she stops and stands on two foot for 5 seconds, than Nikita two footed skating for 4 seconds, Lena does few running steps, one three turn and spiral position, then she lies down on Nikita’s leg (part demanding nothing from skating skills) – the second resting part takes 17 seconds.
After spin they are skating slowly 8 second, than they start to prepare and gain the speed before twizzles.
Lena and Nikita’s third resting – after twizzles – 8 seconds when they stop, than skate slowly and another 6 seconds gaining speed before steps sequence.
- twizzles - in general what is discussed watching twizzles of all couples – it is more difficult to make twizzles without long preparation when judges and fans almost don’t expect than twizzles may come right now. In Lena and Nikita’s programs you always know, they prepare for it for 6 seconds in free dance and everybody knows it will come. Bobrova and Soloviev come with twizzles from steps and almost from nowhere…it suddenly happens…that is aprreciated more. Twizzles itself are better executed by Lena and Nikita.
- 2 step sequences – again those open holds and long distance from Lena and Nikita, many ,,waiting for moments“ – Lena does turns, Nikita waiting, Nikita does turns and Lena is waiting, nothing like this in Bobrova & Soloviev dance.
- complexity of movements – hands, legs, head…all together…more in Bobrova and Soloviev dance…
What I take as difficulty of program is also what is it about…it is more difficult to express moves of bird’s wings to frenetic music than to skate a story of ,,two strong characters loving and feeling passionate to each other“. For Lena the same story line with the same expression like in past 3 years. For Bobrova something absolutely new demanding completly different arm/head movements, they never skated anything like that before.
Trying to imagine that other top skaters would be forced to skate I&K and B&S programs, top 15 from Worlds would be able to skate Lena’s Swan Lake from technical side, with elegant look – Tessa, Nathalie, Meryl, Weaver, Cappelini, Chock, even all Russian couples would catch it technically….Trying to imagine who would be able to skate Birds from B&S….Charlie wouldn‘t be fast enough probably (he really looks in pain skating anything fast), Tessa looked so struggling with Carmen physically – Birds are much faster, Nathalie and Fabian are slow overall, Cappellini doesn’t have technical ability for this and her straight legs would be in danger. Weaver & Poje are not so dynamic, Chock skates to rather slower music.
Lena and Nikita skated to fast music (but not as fast as Vivaldi) only in some parts of programs in past - (last part of Latin dance – Lena wasn’t able to reach the dynamics of Jen Lopez‘s song, Nikita did, last 10 seconds od Don Quijote with spin and crossovers only, last 15 second of their SD at Junior Worlds – doing simple steps only, Polka wasn’t in such fast rhythm unfortunately, Morozov forgot to tell that group who recorded it that Polka must be fast dance). Lena’s moves are not dynamic, that is one of the resons why Nikita takes peoples attention to himself during dance. Personally I take Nikita as one of the best skaters in dancing field, Lena is lovely gliding but it is always obvious that Nikita slows down because of her and always keeps watching for what is she doing to avoid some problems in dance…he also never complained about Lena’s speed or about fact she is not helping him in lifts. That is very nice and kind from him. But thanks to it I think Nikita would be able to skate Birds, but Lena not, it would be too fast for her.
Mentioning one thing – you are talking about men – Nikita and Dima – but we are always watching couple and couple is judged. Nikita is better dancer and partner than Lena is. But considering the program you need to watch both of them. Without Nikita Lena wouldn’t be as fast, she would be forced to make more difficult elements with another partner (last three years Nikita has more difficult parts in dances), she would be forced to be more fixed in lifts like others girls are. Watching Lena during program only (especially in more passionate and dynamic rhythms) you wouldn’t be as enthusiastic about the dance.
And another note about your comment – I never said that Nikita is worse skater than Dima, I wrote that their programs are not difficult. Which is not about the ability of Nikita skating difficult parts. I think that Nikita is able to skate much more difficult programs than Morozov is creating for them, and with Nikita Lena would be able to deal with it to. Big question for Morozov…why is he hiding the technical ability of Nikita???? All couples are trying to get fully to their potential, to learn as much as possible…but this couple is not showing their full potential, why? Nikita finally learns lifts, Lena is still staying in darkness talking about helping partner in lifts. But what about the rest of program…any progress?
What Nikita needs to do and and I sense he will is to ensure that he balances the dynamism of his skating with his technique. In the past he has been very erratic with this. Over the last three seasons he has been the one almost always making silly mistakes and costing them high placements. Elena skated DQ brilliantly in Russia while Nikita completely fell apart. I sense because of this Lena is forced to be more business like and hemmed in during competitive programs. I find her to be quite soft, feminine and charming. She is more expressive in exhibitions when she is not overly concerned about technique. IMHO she also has the best twizzles in ice dance right now. She can do them in her sleep it would appear. So they balance each other nicely. In time she will break out of her shell during competitions. She was very lovely at TEB. But she will maybe never be as explosive as Nikita and she doesn't have to be.
What I find telling is the need for people to put her down and drive a wedge between them at every possible opportunity. It tells me more about the author than the pair being "skewered".
Mentioning COR 2010, in short dance Nikita fell, he was obviously effected by not doing lift few second before the fall….the lift was Lena’s fault, she didn’t toughen her body, that’s why the lift wasn’t even executed, she stayed in his arms and did nothing. But I don’t care who makes a mistakes, we are watching a couple, if one makes a mistakes, it touches both of them. In sport of two you have to count with your mistakes as well as your partners mistakes. They wouldn’t reach anything without each other.
We are discussing board…we discuss skating, not only personal sympathy…Nikita is better skater than Lena (not including twizzles)…that is obvious to everybody who understands the sport. Maybe he is too careful about Lena, maybe he should more concentrate to his skating (than to Lena), who knows, maybe he is making more mistakes because he has more difficult choreo than she does, who knows.
Seperate the couple…what are you talking about???…I never noticed it and I never planned to write something like that. By the way people writes at this board very critically about Monko&Khaliavin, Sinitsina&Zhiganshin, Stepanova&Bukin – you protect Lena from my opinions about her technic comparing to Nikita….do you protect young Russian teams in front off public who constantly writes that the couples doesn’t look well together, girls all to big and tall? And many people criticised Kostomarov and Goncharov and Margalio in past…did you protect them also with the fear that the couple would split because of it???
Sorry but if lady is not able to be dynamic and passionate (and is soft only)…her dancing creativity is in danger…it closes many music cuts because she wouldn’t be able to deal with it – you NEED passion and dynamics in tango, flamenco, Carmen, Latin music, every fast piece of music. Dance couple should be able to skate to anything….really anything….Tessa and Natalie are flexible in this point, all past years Worlds and Olympics champions were able to be, Weaver and Meryl tries to, even Bobrova is trying to change with story and music…and many others….but Lena doesn’t need to? Why? Dancing is not about being beautiful only, it is about dancing….dancing abilities….which also means creativity and flexibility in executing different genres of music.
I respect Tarasova as the person who made so much for Russian skating. But some opinions she had last years…I don’t agree with. Starting with Kovtun affair, this year he seems to shine, but last years she pushed him to all Euros, Worlds and World Team Trophy. He bombed at Worlds, didn’t skate well at Trophy, it was not right decision to send him there. And the decision was made by her, not by Federation (no matter what articles say). Tarasova was so cruel to Leonova during 2010/11 season, when Alena struggling during GP season, but watching Adelina’s mistakes, Tarasova forgives.
During 2010/11 season Soloviev was very often struggling with twizzles, Tarasova was so angry at him, constantly sending him to psychologist, to be able to deal with pressure. We all know that Nikita is struggling with twizzles also, I never heard that Tarasova would be punishing Nikita so hardly. (Even if she really thought that anybody needed psychologist, maybe it would be even more tactful not to talk about it during TV transmission, she could do it in privacy).
Tarasova and Bobrova & Soloviev mistakes and fall at this year COR – last year Lena fell at COR like Bobrova did this year, no bad comments from Tarasova about Lena‘s accident, they were all like ,,such things happen“. This year Lena made a mistake in straight line sequence during free dance as I noticed in TEB topic and the couple didn’t get levels at NHK, Tarasova didn’t notice and she still thinks that couple deserves the final?
Lena and Nikita’s last Worlds disaster in free skate – so many mistakes in almost all elements, so shacky skating….Tarasova didn’t criticise. Strange.
Tarasova was talking about Lena and Nikita since they won Junior Worlds 2010, they were always so talented, brilliant and exceptional for her. Tarasova always loved Lena and Nikita. She was working with them in past too, during Russian Nationals 2012 she talked about working with Lena and Nikita, about problems inside of the group. During short dance Tarasova said about Lena and Nikita: ,,They are not doing things which they should do during practise sessions (pointing the lack of physical streng also), it would be suprising for me if they would be skating CLEANLY in this short dance!“ (Lena fell during short dance). Tarasova is not demanding clean skate from number 2 couple even at Russian Nats???? She also pointed big talent which have to be supported with big amount of work. She noted that it is important to work hard and long….
To work hard and long…which takes me to another thing which Tarasova noticed…This year Lena and Nikita started loving hard work (Lena and Nikita are confirming every season since 2010 that their approach to work changed so much…) Does it mean that Tarasova noticed change of their work ethic only this season while Lena and Nikita were talking about it since 2010?
Tarasova complained about their work ethic at Nats 2012, and she also critised Morozov for not being good teacher for kids in article form this season. Sudenly she comes to Novogorsk and she can see kids started love to work (I can’t imagine that some skaters would allow themself not to work in front of great Tatiana Tarasova).
Jagger….all top skaters are hard workers and most of them are even workaholics... from the beginning of their skating career….Lena and Nikita started to love working in October/November 2013 when Olympics is in February 2014…Is this info something what should be shocking for all skating word??? Why?
What I absolutely agree with....all American and Canadian skaters are better prepared and in better form than any Russian couples and most of other Euros couples (which we could see not only at GF but also during some competitions at the beginning of the season).
It would help Russian dancers to look more prepared if they could have their programs essentially finished by early August, and not make huge changes later in the up season, something that seems to keep happening.