I was viewing my videotapes from the 1990 US Nationals and Worlds and again enjoyed watching Kristi Yamaguchi and Rudi Galindo's performances as US National champions. At that time, Yamaguchi was also competing in ladies' singles. She finished fourth in ladies' singles at Worlds and she and Galindo finished fifth in pairs, for the second year in a row. After Worlds, Yamaguchi decided to concentrate solely on singles, and she and Galindo dissolved their pairs partnership. While Yamaguchi's decision proved to be an excellent one for her, Rudi was left to flounder for several years as a singles skater. His victory at the 1996 US Nationals was all the more outstanding because it was so unexpected.

Does anyone remember Natasha Kuchiki and Todd Sand? Despite their age differences - 13 years or so - they were US champions and won the World bronze medal in 1991. Sand met Jenny Meno, who was then skating with Scott Wendland, at the 1992 Winter Olympics, sparks started to fly, and they both dropped their respective partners so they could skate together. Meno and Sand got married several years thereafter and have enjoyed a long, successful pro career. Wendland coached several promising figure skaters. Kuchiki continued to skate as a singles skater but never achieved greatness.

I am not criticizing any of the skaters for dissolving their partnerships. I'm sure the decisions were not made lightly. I do feel sorry, however, for the skater who was "dumped" from the partnership. It's not as though you can find a partner and instantly develop the chemistry and team work that took years to develop with your previous partner.