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Thread: Big Guy, Little Lady

  1. #1
    SkateFan4Life
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    Big Guy, Little Lady

    Do any of you remember the days in which the Soviet Union pairs teams sometimes featured a tall, muscular man and a tiny whisp of a girl? I'm thinking of the Soviet pair of Marina Cherkosova and Sergei Shakhrai, who achieved great success as a pairs team, winning the silver medal at the 1979 Worlds and the 1980 Winter Olympics and winning the World title in 1980.

    Without being critical, this pair was completely mis-matched, size wise. Sergei was over six feet tall and well built. Marina was no more than, perhaps
    four feet, eight inches tall, and weighed about 80 pounds. Seigei threw his partner into the air like a little doll. When they skated across the rink, their size difference was extraordinary, yet they were able to overcome this situation with solid successes.

    However, Marina had a growth spurt after the 1980 season, and the following year, she and Sergei were not on the World podium.

    Actually, as I'm writing this, it isn't fair to label this "big guy-little lady" as something that was done only by the Soviets. I remember seeing a few American pairs teams who were also mismatched, as far as size is concerned.
    And, frankly, they did not achieve the level of success that Marina and Sergei achieved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkateFan4Life
    Do any of you remember the days in which the Soviet Union pairs teams sometimes featured a tall, muscular man and a tiny whisp of a girl? I'm thinking of the Soviet pair of Marina Cherkosova and Sergei Shakhrai, who achieved great success as a pairs team, winning the silver medal at the 1979 Worlds and the 1980 Winter Olympics and winning the World title in 1980.

    Without being critical, this pair was completely mis-matched, size wise. Sergei was over six feet tall and well built. Marina was no more than, perhaps
    four feet, eight inches tall, and weighed about 80 pounds. Seigei threw his partner into the air like a little doll. When they skated across the rink, their size difference was extraordinary, yet they were able to overcome this situation with solid successes.

    However, Marina had a growth spurt after the 1980 season, and the following year, she and Sergei were not on the World podium.

    Actually, as I'm writing this, it isn't fair to label this "big guy-little lady" as something that was done only by the Soviets. I remember seeing a few American pairs teams who were also mismatched, as far as size is concerned.
    And, frankly, they did not achieve the level of success that Marina and Sergei achieved.

    they were known as the flea and gorilla pair lol

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    One of the reasons I felt that M&D deserved the gold over G&G in the 1994 Olympics was that Artur was throwing and lifting a real woman. Sergei only had to lift and throw Katya, who was quite tiny. They both skated well, but I thought the added difficulty for Artur should've given them the edge. Oh, well.

    Laura

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    Fair

    One can also say that the brave little girl being tossed around deserves lots of credit for nailing those jumps from great height.

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    Yes, MasterB, but it is not esthetically plesing to me. I prefer the lady in a Pairs Team to be no more than 6 inches less than the man. It becomes like Basketball with height as advantage. But hey, that's just me.

    Joe

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    Fair

    When I first started skating, pairs use to be about an even match in height (Tai/Randy Jojo/Shelley) except for the Russian pairs. Then everyone started doing it with the Canadians pushing the great Underhill/Martini pair. They were the first team that I really liked that were not an even match. Most pairs did look awful when the girl was 20 inches shorter than the guy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MasterB
    When I first started skating, pairs use to be about an even match in height (Tai/Randy Jojo/Shelley) except for the Russian pairs. Then everyone started doing it with the Canadians pushing the great Underhill/Martini pair. They were the first team that I really liked that were not an even match. Most pairs did look awful when the girl was 20 inches shorter than the guy.
    some of the new US teams are almost too close in height. Varraux and Pelletier are 5'4" and 5'7"...

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    Haven't Varraux/Pelletier split? They aren't in any of the team envelopes for the 2004-2005 season.

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    The Chinese teams are also surprisingly close in height. I'm so surprised at how tall the Chinese girls are (5'5, 5'7). Most of the other pair teams have a girl who is 5'0 or 5'1.

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    I personally like the look of pairs who have a substantial height difference (such as Gordeeva/Grinkov, Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze, Brasseur/Eisler, Ina/Zimmerman). These teams are often able to achieve great unison and symmetry, despite their height disparity. And unquestionably, the size difference must help tremendously with throws and lifts. I don't find it aesthetically unpleasing, either. To me, it just has the effect of making the man look stronger, and the woman more feminine (although perhaps this is just perpetuating stereotypes!).

    I also like the look of pairs who are closer in height, such as Shen/Zhao and Woetzel/Steuer. I think both types of pairs can work. I would venture to guess, though, that a 6-inch height disparity is probably the minimum, not the maximum, for successful pairs these days.

  11. #11
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    How about Borzenkova & Chuviliav (#4 Russian team)? She is not that small -- 167 cm (5'5"), but he is a full 200 cm (6'5")!

    Traditionally in Russia, I think Zhuk picked huge men/ tiny girls (G&G, Rodnina & partners, Zhuk & Gorelik), whereas Moskvina prefered more evenly matched teams (Valova & Vasiliev, Dmitriev & patrners, etc).
    Last edited by Ptichka; 07-19-2004 at 12:22 PM.

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    Also Zhang & Zhang- the young Chinese pair has a substantial height (and weight) difference.

    Without great unison the size difference can become a distraction. Pairs like G&G, B&S used their size difference to their advantage, while maintaining great unison and quality to their skating.

  13. #13
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    When Gordeeva and Grinkov first started to skate together, she was an 11-year-old child - very tiny - and he was a growing 16-year-old. When they won their first World title, in 1986, she was 14 and he was 19. Katia was still very tiny in stature, while Sergei had grown into a much taller young man. Katia grew during that season, and at the 1987 Worlds, she was several inches taller.
    While she still appeared to be a whisp of a girl, she was very strong, and she skated with maturity. They were a magical pair, without a doubt, and I miss seeing them!

    As for Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner, this was a pair was was almost identical in height. Frankly, I wondered how Randy could lift Tai, as she was a very strongly built young woman, and Randy wasn't exactly muscular in stature.

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    Lightbulb

    [CENTER]I remember Tai & Randy when he was 15 and she was 13 (this was back in 1972). He was a good five inches taller than her then. Within three years, she caught up to him. Working with her over the course of those three years, must've been somewhat akin to working with a set of barbells that one keeps adding weights to as one gets stronger.[/CENTER]

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    Quote Originally Posted by euterpe
    Haven't Varraux/Pelletier split? They aren't in any of the team envelopes for the 2004-2005 season.
    I think they're still together; maybe they didn't do as well as they wanted.

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