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Thread: 1994 Olympics pairs competition

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    1994 Olympics pairs competition

    While we're on the subject of past Olympic competitions, can anyone shed any light on the pairs competition at Lillehammer 94? I believe it was the first Olympics where there were two past Olympic champions in the same competition. I just rewatched Dmitriev & Mishkutienok's LP (skated to Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No.2) and I remember being absolutely mesmerized by that performance. I know D&M eventually finished second to Gordeeva & Grinkov, but didn't he make a mistake (IIRC Grinkov singled a double axel) in their "Moonlight Sonata" LP? I looked at D&M's marks again, and I noticed that they were not as high as I would have thought they would be. Did D&M make any mistakes in their LP? They only received 7 1st place ordinals and 2 2nd place ordinals (I think two judges put them behind Eissler & Brasseur) with G&G still to skate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by michaelfsfan
    While we're on the subject of past Olympic competitions, can anyone shed any light on the pairs competition at Lillehammer 94? I believe it was the first Olympics where there were two past Olympic champions in the same competition. I just rewatched Dmitriev & Mishkutienok's LP (skated to Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No.2) and I remember being absolutely mesmerized by that performance. I know D&M eventually finished second to Gordeeva & Grinkov, but didn't he make a mistake (IIRC Grinkov singled a double axel) in their "Moonlight Sonata" LP? I looked at D&M's marks again, and I noticed that they were not as high as I would have thought they would be. Did D&M make any mistakes in their LP? They only received 7 1st place ordinals and 2 2nd place ordinals (I think two judges put them behind Eissler & Brasseur) with G&G still to skate.
    That was my favorite pairs competition. I would've put M&D first, because that's my favorite LP ever. I watched it live in England and I was truly emotional after they were done. I was upset at that outcome at the time. But now I see that it could've gone either way,

    G&G had two mistakes: he singled a jump, and fell out of a landing. She also landed forward on the throw double axel, and they had a noticeable unison break on their sbs spins.

    M&D had smaller throws and triple twist, he stopped when he threw Natalia (which was given as a reason for their second place- funny, 'cause that hasn't stopped S&Z from receiving massive scores in the past three seasons), and the quality of their edging was not as strong as G&G. I think they might have had a little wobble in their pairs spin at the end. However, they had very innovative and difficult choreography, harder throws and sbs jumps, and were as fast as G&G.

    I've read some statements from Moskvina saying that M&D were having horrible practices (and had a pretty bad season up to that point) and that influenced the scoring. G&G won all the practices. I thought M&D were underscored in the SP and the LP. M&D's third place ordinals still make little sense to me. B&E were slow, had simpler jumps and throws and she had pretty shaky landings. The only aspect in which they were superior to M&D was their lifts. But that's it. Then again, B&E had a history of being overscored in the Olys- 1992 and their undeserved (IMO) bronze medal come to mind.

    I find it interesting that Scott Hamilton completely justified this win by G&G, but couldn't apply his same criteria to why B&S could possibly be better than S&P. I personally feel that you could justify both G&G or M&D winning (I do value clean edging quite a lot), but on that night I would've chosen M&D by a mile.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimena
    That was my favorite pairs competition. I would've put M&D first, because that's my favorite LP ever. I watched it live in England and I was truly emotional after they were done. I was upset at that outcome at the time. But now I see that it could've gone either way,

    G&G had two mistakes: he singled a jump, and fell out of a landing. She also landed forward on the throw double axel, and they had a noticeable unison break on their sbs spins.

    M&D had smaller throws and triple twist, he stopped when he threw Natalia (which was given as a reason for their second place- funny, 'cause that hasn't stopped S&Z from receiving massive scores in the past three seasons), and the quality of their edging was not as strong as G&G. I think they might have had a little wobble in their pairs spin at the end. However, they had very innovative and difficult choreography, harder throws and sbs jumps, and were as fast as G&G.

    I've read some statements from Moskvina saying that M&D were having horrible practices (and had a pretty bad season up to that point) and that influenced the scoring. G&G won all the practices. I thought M&D were underscored in the SP and the LP. M&D's third place ordinals still make little sense to me. B&E were slow, had simpler jumps and throws and she had pretty shaky landings. The only aspect in which they were superior to M&D was their lifts. But that's it. Then again, B&E had a history of being overscored in the Olys- 1992 and their undeserved (IMO) bronze medal come to mind.

    I find it interesting that Scott Hamilton completely justified this win by G&G, but couldn't apply his same criteria to why B&S could possibly be better than S&P. I personally feel that you could justify both G&G or M&D winning (I do value clean edging quite a lot), but on that night I would've chosen M&D by a mile.
    Thanx for the info Jimena. I wasn't following figure skating as closely as I do nowadays, but I remember D&M's LP being one of their best; IMO it was as good as, if not better than, their "Liebestraum" LP which won them the gold in Albertville. What I thought was special about D&M was that they were an evenly matched pair, usually it is the female skater that gets all the attention, especially with the lifts and throws, but Dmitriev was always such a huge presence on the ice, and he skated with such virtuosity and flair. I would also put my neck out to say that he was the more expressive skater in their partnership, and it is no surprise that he went on to win a second Olympic gold with Oksana Kazakova in 1998 Nagano Games (Dmitriev has the distinction of being the only male pairs skater to win an Olympic gold with two different female partners). The Rachmaninov LP was skated with tremendous passion and verve and you could hear the crowd clapping to the music during straightline footwork sequence. No doubt about it, 1994 was vintage year for pairs.

    I remember watching a fluff piece before the LP, where a journalist asked Tamara Moskvina during an interview, which pair she thought would win the gold, and she said something along the lines of each pair had their own distinctive style, and at the end of the day, it would depend on whether the judges preferred "the priest .... or the pagan".

    I would also have placed D&M ahead of G&G, as I thought their performance was much better, and whatever mistakes they made were not obvious and did not detract from the quality of the program as a whole. From the judges marks, it seemed as though they were clearly leaving room for G&G to win if they skated a clean program. I too agree that D&M had more innovative moves, ie their lifts and spins were always beautiful to watch and difficult to perform. It seems like the audience was not happy with the marks given to D&M that night too.

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    This competition could have gone either way, depending on the judge's preferences for style, etc. The mistakes that both of them made were so minor that were not distracting from the whole program as some mistakes can be. I preferred G&G's style that night, but I would have understood if it went to M&D.

    I've read some statements from Moskvina saying that M&D were having horrible practices (and had a pretty bad season up to that point) and that influenced the scoring.
    M&D were having horrible practices at that time, including one really bad fall from a lift they were attempting. It was caught on tape and broadcast all over the place.

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    M&D were a great team, and perhaps a bit underrated. They had the misfortune of competiting during the same era as the most technically perfect team in the history of skating. Perhaps that made their own skating not as appreciated as it should have been.
    For example, G&G had gorgeous stroking technique. They and B&S, probably had the best stroking of any pair.
    But what I think gets somewhat "neglected" in the comparision between G&G and M&D, is that while M&D didn't have "Textbook" technique, M&D were not a "juniorish" or "bad" team at all. I think, that a lot of M&D's good qualities have been forgotten about when people constantly compare them directly to G&G.

    M&D, IMO were certainly a watershed couple in figure skating.
    They were the first pair that really changed the dynamics of the on ice relationship between the male & the female. Before that, the female was the "flower" and the male was "vase." In other words, the female was the star of the show and the guy was suppossed to support her, but not draw any attention to himself. But, here was a couple, where the guy was the center of the pair, and the woman was the supporting character. In a sport where attention naturally gravitates towards the female, because of the throws, lifts, death spirals. This is impressive. Of course, this turned off some traditionalists from M&D's skating.

    They were also a watershed team in their choreography. The traditional choreography was either based on the "romantic, we're in love" or "exciting, powerful and athletic." The first pair (that I know of) that broke the mold and added something unique to the choreography, was V&V. M&D contininued this and took this into a whole other strosphere. Their choreography, led them to create unique shapes on the ice. Their somewhat unconventional off ice relationship, led them to create an unconventional relationship on the ice. Dare I say, they were the first pair to have "angst" as a part of their choreography?
    Of course, some skating purists didn't like this approach.

    A lot of the credit for "M&D" goes to the superb coach & choreographer, Tamara Moskvina and Alexandr Matveev. Without them, who knows if we would still be talking about "M&D" today? And I think that Dmitriev deserves a lot of the credit, since from all accounts, he had a lot of imput into his skating. In fact, it was Artur who convinced Moskvina to let M&D skate to "rach" rather than "Swan Lake" like she orignally wanted.

    I see B&S as a nice combination/extension but also very much their own couple, of G&G and M&D. They had the technique and line of G&G as well as the Moskvina choreography. It would be interesting to see how Moskvina molds O&S.
    Last edited by lulu; 02-11-2005 at 07:22 PM.

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    For the actual topic.

    M&D and B&S are my favorite pairs. But, I also like G&G a lot.
    While emotionally, I perfer Rach; I can see how G&G could have won. I don't think M&D were robbed.

    What I do question, is how the two judges could have put B&E over M&D?
    The only explanation I see is
    1. The judges pay A LOT of attention to the practices
    2. Rach was a bit too theatrical for their tastes


    The robbery I see- is S&N not winning the Bronze medal.
    Last edited by lulu; 02-11-2005 at 06:28 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lulu
    M&D were a great team, and perhaps a bit underrated. They had the misfortune of competiting during the same era as the most technically perfect team in the history of skating. Perhaps that made their own skating not as appreciated as it should have been.
    For example, G&G had gorgeous stroking technique. They and B&S, probably had the best stroking of any pair.
    But what I think gets somewhat "neglected" in the comparision between G&G and M&D, is that while M&D didn't have "Textbook" technique, M&D were not a "juniorish" or "bad" team at all. I think, that a lot of M&D's good qualities have been forgotten about when people constantly compare them directly to G&G.
    I think of G&G as the "purists" or "classicists" in pairs skating; they had beautiful lines, excellent technique, crisp presentation and elegant upper carriage. D&M are probably the antithesis of G&G, both technically and artistically, which is not to say that they are not good, just different, more avant garde or unorthodox in their approach to a program. Technically, they had innovative lifts and unusual spins, thanks to Natalia's amazing flexibility. Artistically, the one thing that really showed why D&M were head and shoulders above their competitors was their connection to the music, and how they always skated their heart out. Liebetraum and Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No 2 were as different as two programs could get; one was elegant and lyrical, the other passionate and powerful, yet they managed to pull both programs off.

    M&D, IMO were certainly a watershed couple in figure skating.
    They were the first pair that really changed the dynamics of the on ice relationship between the male & the female. Before that, the female was the "flower" and the male was "vase." In other words, the female was the star of the show and the guy was suppossed to support her, but not draw any attention to himself. But, here was a couple, where the guy was the center of the pair, and the woman was the supporting character. In a sport where attention naturally gravitates towards the female, because of the throws, lifts, death spirals. This is impressive. Of course, this turned off some traditionalists from M&D's skating.
    Yes, I find that very unusual too. Artur always skated with such virtuosity and charisma, I think he would have made an excellent mens figure skater. Natalia had great flexibility in her spirals and spins, and beautiful deep knee bend on her throws. The one thing that always made my heart jump when watching their programs was their explosive throw triple jumps. It was like watching Midori Ito landing her triple Axel, I was always at the edge of my seat.

    They were also a watershed team in their choreography. The traditional choreography was either based on the "romantic, we're in love" or "exciting, powerful and athletic." The first pair (that I know of) that broke the mold and added something unique to the choreography, was V&V. M&D contininued this and took this into a whole other strosphere. Their choreography, led them to create unique shapes on the ice. Their somewhat unconventional off ice relationship, led them to create an unconventional relationship on the ice. Dare I say, they were the first pair to have "angst" as a part of their choreography? Of course, some skating purists didn't like this approach.
    But that was what attracted me to D&M's skating, their choreography stood out amongst the somewhat predictable "elegant" or "powerful/athletic" concepts. Liebestraum and Rachmaninov must surely rank as two of the best LPs in pairs skating.

    A lot of the credit for "M&D" goes to the superb coach & choreographer, Tamara Moskvina and Alexandr Matveev. Without them, who knows if we would still be talking about "M&D" today? And I think that Dmitriev deserves a lot of the credit, since from all accounts, he had a lot of imput into his skating. In fact, it was Artur who convinced Moskvina to let M&D skate to "rach" rather than "Swan Lake" like she orignally wanted.
    I have the greatest respect for Tamara and Alexandr, and I was delighted when Artur won his second Olympic gold medal with Oksana Kazakova. IIRC he is the only male pairs skater to have won more than one OGM with different partners, much like Irina Rodnina. I think Tamara is a legend in her own right, especially consdering the fact that she has coached not only D&M, but G&G and B&S too.

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    Moskvina never coached G&G.

    But she DID coach V&V(Valova & Vasiliev) and B&P(Bechke & Petrov)

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    Quote Originally Posted by lulu
    Moskvina never coached G&G.

    But she DID coach V&V(Valova & Vasiliev) and B&P(Bechke & Petrov)
    Who coached G&G?

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    Quote Originally Posted by michaelfsfan
    Who coached G&G?
    Vladimir Zaharov 1981-83 and again when they reinstated in 1993-1994
    Nadezheda Shevalovskaya 1983-85
    Stanislav Zhuk 1985-86
    Stanislav Leonovich 1986-90


    I also think that M&D's exhibition program of "Variations On A Theme of Paganini" (The Death Spirals) is a gorgeous program.

    While I really, really like K&D, and have nothing but for Oksana & Artur. M&D were just on a different level. They were wonderful team. I just wish we had more programs from them. It would have been interesting to see how they would have progressed/changed if they hadn't split up. I would imagine that they would have been wonderful at skating to blues piece.

    On the otherhand, I think K&D have a quality of their own, that M&D don't have. For example, I could never see M&D carry off a sappy ballad like "Somewhere Out There." K&D have the rapport on the ice that allows them to skate great to that type of music.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lulu
    Vladimir Zaharov 1981-83 and again when they reinstated in 1993-1994
    Nadezheda Shevalovskaya 1983-85
    Stanislav Zhuk 1985-86
    Stanislav Leonovich 1986-90


    I also think that M&D's exhibition program of "Variations On A Theme of Paganini" (The Death Spirals) is a gorgeous program.

    While I really, really like K&D, and have nothing but for Oksana & Artur. M&D were just on a different level. They were wonderful team. I just wish we had more programs from them. It would have been interesting to see how they would have progressed/changed if they hadn't split up. I would imagine that they would have been wonderful at skating to blues piece.

    On the otherhand, I think K&D have a quality of their own, that M&D don't have. For example, I could never see M&D carry off a sappy ballad like "Somewhere Out There." K&D have the rapport on the ice that allows them to skate great to that type of music.
    Thanx for the info. I just rewatched D&M's Liebestraum from 92 Worlds, and it was breathtaking. It also made me wish we had more programs from that. I think they were pushing the envelope artistically and it would have been wonderful to see what else they were capable of doing. You mentioned in your earlier post something about D&M's unconventional off-ice relationship, can you elaborate on that? One other thing that also struck me was their attention to detail, both in the choreography of their programs, and the performance itself.

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    While many (although certainly not all) pair teams up to that point fell into two generic categories (and again there were exceptions)

    The on ice couple, that is also an off ice couple.
    Or, the brother-sister, "kid next door " type of couple.

    M&D didn't fall into the "brother-sister" type of couple and they didn't fall into the romantic category either.
    Although, I think that some fans, seeing the "romance" in Liebestraume, were delusioned into thinking that M&D "must" be an off ice couple as well. And of course, Artur had an off ice girlfriend/soon to be wife. And Natalia was linked romantically, before her own marriage; to Alexei Urmanov.

    And again, that is what I mean by unconventional.
    The best example of this is the pre-fluff to Lillehammer. According to the voice-over, G&G were the "sweethearts." B&E were the (North Amrerica) underdogs. M&D were "big" (Natalia) and "unruly"(Artur)

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    Quote Originally Posted by lulu
    While many (although certainly not all) pair teams up to that point fell into two generic categories (and again there were exceptions)

    The on ice couple, that is also an off ice couple.
    Or, the brother-sister, "kid next door " type of couple.

    M&D didn't fall into the "brother-sister" type of couple and they didn't fall into the romantic category either.
    Although, I think that some fans, seeing the "romance" in Liebestraume, were delusioned into thinking that M&D "must" be an off ice couple as well. And of course, Artur had an off ice girlfriend/soon to be wife. And Natalia was linked romantically, before her own marriage; to Alexei Urmanov.

    And again, that is what I mean by unconventional.
    The best example of this is the pre-fluff to Lillehammer. According to the voice-over, G&G were the "sweethearts." B&E were the (North Amrerica) underdogs. M&D were "big" (Natalia) and "unruly"(Artur)
    LOL "big" and "unruly"? How strange. I think the best way of summing up D&M is that they were soulmates on ice, and one of those instances where the pair, as a whole, was more than the sum of its partners, if that makes any sense. Tho I have to confess that when I first tuned into D&M, one of the reasons they were my fav pair was because I thought Artur was hot.

    PS Where is the "embarrassed" smilie when you need it?

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    Great topic! One of my favorite competitions ever. At the time, I have to admit that I thought M&D wuzrobbed; however, with the passage of time I could see it going either way. It's been a long time since I saw that competition. I'll have to see if I can find my tape.

    M&D are right up there as one of my favorite pair ever. I wish we had seen more of them, either competing or as pros.

    Jimena, good memory on that whole "stopping during the throw" issue. One of the all time great nitpicks!

    Lulu, I don't think it was just some fans who bought into the whole on ice/off ice couple issue as well. I have always thought that Natalia bought into this way of thinking as well--I think it was ingrained in her mind from early on, either on her own or by outside forces. I remember in 1993 there was a fluff piece on M&D which aired, maybe around the time of Worlds. They were having a difficult year, competition wise (don't remember any actual results-just remember they were not as cohesive as they had been in the past). Their body language in the interview to me seemed to be very stiff and uncomfortable. They were asked if they would continue to compete. Natalia said she didn't know, and Artur came right out and said that if he didn't compete with Natalia, he would find somebody else to compete with. Natalia was in tears, and I believe there was a postscript with Tamara Moskvina in which she basically admitted that Natalia wanted an off ice relationship, but by that time Artur had nixed it. Seeing Natalia in tears like that really made me feel so bad for her-it was heartbreaking.

    After they did so well at 94 Olys, I thought maybe they had resolved their issues and would continue, but alas, it wasn't long after that they split up.

    Having seen that interview, I have to say I was prepared to NOT LIKE Oksana Kazakova when Artur started skating with her. However, she won me over with her determination. The first year they were together, she splatted a lot, but they really started to jell at the beginning of the second season together, and the rest is history. I have enjoyed seeing them in COI for a number of years. I always love the throw they do where he picks her up at the waist from behind and spins around before he lifts her into the throw, and I'm a sucker for the "hand kiss" at the end, be it Natalia or Oksana.

    Also I'm happy Natalia ultimately found happiness and a husband she skates with--yay!

    Now off to see if I can find that tape...

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    I haven't watched my tape in quite sometime. I thought Sergei made one mistake during the SP and one during the LP - overall minor.

    I think G&G vs M&D came down to a style preference. G&G always appeared to have a beautiful across the ice - quiet elegance and emotion. M&D had a more outwardly passionate style.

    I can only add that Sergei's ability to throw Katia and gain speed was only used to highlight their superb technique since I don't think many pairs have this ability. Comparing G&G's throws against anyone else's will cause the other pair to come up short in the elegance department.

    Also, I think M&D lacked an emotional connection. I think many pairs skaters develop the ability to express the emotion between the 2 as 'pro's' Very few pairs seem to attain the emotional quality on ice in only 4 yrs of top level senior skating. Meno & Sand seem to express their relationship much better now than they did as pro's. Some could say that the couples that are best at it are married and in love, but there are some who have been able to mimic although only friends (ie. Underhill and Martini's Unchained Melody - I thought they were a couple and then found out that they were both married to other people and she was pregnant.)

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