I'm gonna Customize the CRAP out of this Title!!!
Drobiazko / Vanagas - THE most underscored ice dancers in world history. ever.
OK, bear with me here. Many on this forum will say "what else is new?" Some - I don't know how many - will say "Drobi who?"
Well, happy new year!
To those who know them: take a few minutes and revisit some beautiful moments.
To those who don't, or only heard about them: even better! Enjoy!!! I'm confident you'll be impressed.
Recent threads have resurfaced the question to me about just how fair/unfair the scoring was for the Duchesnays since they had their technical flaws despite their artistry and charisma. Or of Krylova/Ovsyannikov winning every competition in their 1999 year despite those decisions sometimes even getting boos from the audience. Many, including myself, felt they got those wins because they were the close Number 2 team the year before and stayed 1 more year despite a sub-par program. (Sorry FSGMT, I know you see it differently, but I think "many, incl. myself" is adequate) Still, however this happened, they ended up winning EC, WC, and an Olympic Silver Medal.
That's something that Margarita Drobiazko and Povilas Vanagas from Lithuania never got.
To me and many fans, they'll be forever associated with unfair, political marking and how judges can really be merciless in wearing someone down over so many years. Oh, and furthermore, for being awesome ice dancers, with great expression, charisma, technical abilities and speed. To those not so good with geography, it also teaches you just how small Lithuania is (on the ISU map!)
2000 Worlds One of the rare times where they got somewhat of a break by the judges, winning their only World Bronze Medal.
2001 Skate America: They were 2nd going into this, and many felt they had outskated the winners (Bourne&Kraatz) in this FD, even the winners themselves said so afterwards! Not only did they not beat them, they even dropped one spot. (keep watching til the end, how everyone reacts to the scores - incl. the commentators)
2002 SLC Olympics Look at that: The rankings of the top 8, with the individual rankings for CD1, CD2, OD and FD: Notice anything?
1 02.0 1 1 1 1 Marina Anissina / Gwendal Peizerat France
2 04.0 2 2 2 2 Irina Lobacheva / Ilia Averbukh Russia
3 06.0 3 3 3 3 Barbara Fusar-Poli / Maurizio Margaglio Italy
4 08.0 4 4 4 4 Shae-Lynn Bourne / Victor Kraatz Canada
5 10.0 5 5 5 5 Margarita Drobiazko / Povilas Vanagas Lithuania
6 12.0 6 6 6 6 Galit Chait / Sergei Sakhnovski Israel
7 14.0 7 7 7 7 Albena Denkova / Maxim Staviski Bulgaria
8 16.0 8 8 8 8 Kati Winkler / René Lohse Germany
Now, I'm not saying it's not impossible that each of the top 8 couples legitimately gets the exact same placement throughout all 4 different programs. But in the FD, Bourne/Kraatz (4th) both fell. Margaglio (3rd) fell during a required element, the step sequence. Fusar-Poli rightfully was a crying, sobbing mess while sitting in the Kiss and Cry before seeing the marks. These pesky details didn't stop the judges from still coming up with the exact same rankings as every other day, when nobody fell. Yes, these were the Marie-Reine Le Gougne SLC Olympics. Where placements had been agreed upon before the first skater set foot on the ice. Yeah, those were dark times. For D/V, it was business as usual.
Oh, by the way, the Lithuanian Federation filed a protest noting that "D/V finished behind two couples who fell on the ice but did not receive required deductions in the judging". The ISU said "Yeah. Umm. No. Bye!"
(The commentator prefered this to the Gold Medal winners - Me too!)
Their final performance in eligible competition: 2006WC. They finished 4th.
Their 2009 Exhibition to Pirates of the Caribbean - just awesome, with sparks flying and everything!
By the way: I personally love to spend some free time watching great skating on youtube. Seeing what your faves are/were, with direct links (me: lazy) allows me to find out more about how you're ticking - and to discover gems I didn't know!
Originally Posted by Frenchie
I hope to get many more suggestions by many of you that I can just follow like a menu at a 5 star gourmet restaurant!
Originally Posted by Frenchie
They definitely got hosed. I'm currently putting my favorite skating competition and shows that I've had on tape for over a decade (I have a lot of tapes... oy) onto DVD... haven't gotten to the D/V years... but, yeah, I remember at the time thinking the judges were off their rocker... the stuff that was winning was... yeah...
The IJS has done wonders for the sport of Ice Dance... makes you wonder how things would've been.
Snap !. Been spending three years putting old tapes of skating onto DVD (Only up to 2000 now) but have been watching a lot of Drobiazko/Vanagas. Including their first compulsory in SLC last night.
Originally Posted by Tonichelle
They were way ahead of Lob/Avr IMO but were behind them come 2001/2002.
Their OD at the 2000 Worlds was the best for me.
They should have won a medal at the 2006 Worlds too.
Plus, when other couples made errors they never saw the benefit.
Their Phantom Of The Opera free dance was the best I have ever saw for that music (D/W) mini-pairs skating of the same music in 2010 never came close.
Remember how special their FS at the 2002 Europeans ?, amazing yet down in 4th.
They were pure class (Still are).
I was a fan and definitely thought they were consistently undermarked. That was my period of constant disagreement with dance judging. D/V undermarked, B/K overmarked.
Please. D/V weren't skating at the same level as the top 5 teams from 1996-1999 in technical ability. They were like the F-P/M that era except he was the one dragging her around the ice. B/K didn't even make the World podium in 2001 (4th) or Olympic podium in 2002 (4th).
Originally Posted by RobinA
Drobiazko managed to keep up and improve later in their careers but too little, too late. As for their controversial 4th place finish at 2002 Worlds, I agree they were robbed of bronze and the Israeli team were gifted.
If there was any team who got dumped (at least near the end of their later careers) it would be Moniotte/Lavanchy, once A/P became France #1.
B/K's gold medal at 2003 Worlds could've gone either way, one could say L/A deserved that title. And D/V didn't even compete that year! I'm sure if they had, they would've been 4th again, this time behind the interesting up and coming Denkova/Staviski.
Denkova/Staviski was a lot more interesting than Drobiazko/Vanagas, their Baroque OD and programs from 2003 far exceeded anything D/V ever did in their later careers. Denkova/Staviski also had the technique too (although she improved to his level as the years went on).
It would have made a huge difference. D/V had some of the greatest difficulty, so even if the judges held back their PCS, they would have at least gotten higher than teams who did easier programs (with errors or without). I remember one competition where Dubreil/Lauzon were expected to place 3rd or 4th but surprisingly placed higher because they actually were credited for their higher difficulty, and this is when I thought the IJS was onto something.
Originally Posted by Tonichelle
Drobiazko/Vanagas were one of my favourite ice dance couples and it's insanely wrong that the judges kept holding them down time and time again because they were not one of the big countries.
Tripping on the Podium
Judges must have been jealous of their insane physical beauty! Honestly, they are just lovely.
Originally Posted by CanadianSkaterGuy
1997-2003 had to be the worst era of ice dance judging ever. Three of the most overrated and overscored teams ever- Lobacheva & Averbuhk, Fusar Poli & Margarlio, Chait & Shaknovsky. Some of the most underrated- Drobiazko & Vanagas topping that list easily, Punsalen & Swallow though in a big way too especialy in 97 and 98, Lang & Tchernyshev, Roca & Sur (as amateurs, got their due as pros), even a younger Denkova & Stayviski. Gritschuk & Platov were a great team but some of their victories with falls or other significant errors over strong performances by Krylova & Ovsiannikov or Bourne & Kraatz were also questionable and a sign of the dance status quo at the time. On top of all that proven bloc judging that nothing was ever done about.
As for Bourne & Kraatz I am in two minds about them. I think sometimes they were overmarked, other times they were undermarked, and they were denied an Olympic medal by the Nagano bloc judging most likely. The Canadian press overhyped them insanely, but many skating fans underrated them I feel. They were definitely an unusual team though, who brought a whole different approach to dancing that wasnt really comparable to anyone else, so they were a love them or hate them kind of team I think though.
I think B/K were one of the teams that were known for more difficult footwork, edges, and going against the grain of heavy histrionics, drama and theatrics. I'm sure they said to themselves in 2003 that they needed to buy into the whole Russian/Euro style of ice dancing otherwise they'd never win Worlds. If they were ice dancers today, I'm sure they (along with D/V) would have been much more appreciated and rewarded for their difficulty and innovation.