Winter Olympics Skating News/Impressions
Posted 11 February 2002 - 06:04 PM
Posted 11 February 2002 - 09:37 PM
Posted 11 February 2002 - 11:55 PM
On a serious note, I really thought that the Canadians deserved the gold medal. Stylistically they're very different from the Russians. I'd love someone with the professional eye to explain to me why Sale/Pelletier DIDN'T win it. I thought their performance was every bit as technically difficult and that they skated flawlessly. The only difference I could see is that perhaps the gold was lost in the upper body. The Russians have had port de bras training and the Canadians haven't?
It so reminded me of the Babilonia/Gardner vs. Rodnina/Zeitsev (sorry, I don't know how to spell his name)years. Irina Rodnina didn't have the balletic style of the present Russian pair but she had dazzling speed and deep edges. Babilonia and Gardner were every bit the same style skater as Sale/Pelletier and matched physically as well too. To my dying day, I'll always wonder if they could've beaten Rodnina/Zeitsev (I don't remember which Olympics) when the Americans had to pull out due to Randy Gardner's torn hamstring or groin muscle.
Posted 11 February 2002 - 11:58 PM
Congratulations to all three medalist teams. It all came down to stylistic preferences in that second mark. And David Pelletier deserves a special medal for his very gracious sportsmanship on the podium, as he gave a high-five to Anton Sikharulidze...despite less-than-gracious hooting by the rowdy crowd. David Pelletier is a true champion, too!
So NBC's touting of the "Toppling of the Russian Domination in Pairs" simply did not pan out this year. Tomorrow,look for more amazing Russians as the men's event kicks off, with Alexei Urmanov & Yevgeni Pluschenko leading the pack. Priama, priama!
Posted 12 February 2002 - 08:50 AM
S&P, on the other hand, skated flawlessly and their presentation was much more relaxed. And their program had the same degree of difficulty as the Russians.
When the ordinals came up putting S&P in second place, I was stunned. Will Olympic judges in pairs' competition *ever* allow a non-Russian team on the top of the podium? After what happened last night, I'm more doubtful than ever. Just before the medals ceremony I found myself in complete agreement with Sandra Bezic's statement that, 'I'm embarrased for our sport.'
Posted 12 February 2002 - 09:21 AM
This url actually works if you cut and paste it into your address window. If not, the article is below.
BY BEVERLEY SMITH
Salt Lake City -- The outcome of the Olympic ice dancing competition has already been determined, sources believe, and Canadian champions Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz will likely be shut out of the medals.
Allegations of prejudging and deal-making have been made in the past, such as four years ago at the Nagano Games, where the nine-time Canadian champions finished fourth. This time, they are slotted for fifth place behind Italy, Russia, France and Lithuania.
Some expected a last-minute push to get the Russian ice dancers, Irina Lobacheva and Ilia Averbukh, into position for the gold ahead of Italians Barbara Fusar-Poli and Maurizio Margaglio on Friday if Elena Berezhnaia and Anton Sikharulidze of Russia hadn't won gold in the pairs event last night.
The Canadians will face trouble right from the start, when a group of judges will agree to try to force Bourne and Kraatz into fifth place after the first compulsory dance. Canada does not have a judge on the panel. The draw for judges was made three months ago and also excluded the United States and France.
Continuing allegations of improper judging led Richard Pound of Montreal, a former vice-president of the International Olympic Committee, to call again in December for the removal of ice dancing from the Olympic program.
He first suggested dropping dance from the Olympics in 1998, after judging scandals marred the event in Nagano. Pound, who is aware that judging is still an issue, suggests replacing the ice-dancing competition with a team event, including men's, women's and pairs skaters, in a format similar to a gymnastics team event.
He said there are fewer problems with singles and pairs skating. "The competitions are won on the ice and not in clandestine meetings before the event takes place."
The Salt Lake competition will have judges from Russia, Italy, Israel, Ukraine, Lithuania, Azerbaijan, Switzerland, Germany, Bulgaria and Poland. On the panel is Yuri Balkov, the Ukrainian judge who rattled off the order of finish before the free dance at the Nagano Games to Canadian judge Jean Senft, who recorded the conversation. When Senft presented the evidence to the International Skating Union, she was suspended along with Balkov.
Balkov showed up at the world championships in Vancouver last March and managed to get accreditation and take over from another Ukrainian judge.
The only competition that seemed to break the alleged mould of predetermined judging was the Grand Prix Final in Kitchener, Ont., in December. Five of the seven judges placed French skaters Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat first after the first free dance and Bourne and Kraatz first after the second. Bourne and Kraatz ended up winning the event, while the reigning world champions, Fusar-Poli and Margaglio of Italy, were placed fourth after skating the same program that won them the world title.
The five judges at Kitchener were asked to write multiple letters of explanation by Russian referee Alexander Gorshkov, who will also referee the dance event at Salt Lake.
There was no Russian judge on the panel for the Grand Prix Final. A Russian substitute judge placed the Italians first in all segments of the Grand Prix Final competition, but his vote didn't count. Gorshkov's placements also put the Italians first overall.
The president of the International Skating Union, Ottavio Cinquanta, was said to be very annoyed that Fusar-Poli and Margaglio weren't on the medals podium at the Grand Prix Final. Cinquanta, an Italian, lives in Milan, where the Italian dancers train.
Posted 12 February 2002 - 10:52 AM
It's the first time I've seen 'Mediation'. There's a lot I admire about B&S's presentation, their purer, more classical look over S&P, their smooth balletic style, how passionate they can be without being obvious about it. Their unison on the ice is amazing and they have better extensions. I didn't find them as engaging as S&P but I'd definitely give them the higher mark in that respect.
But there were too many errors in B&S's program - Anton's stumble being the most obvious. And both of Elena's landings on the throws were poor for this level of skating. S&P were much better technically. So I have a big problem with the 3 judges that tied both pairs in the technical mark. These 3 judges also put B&S ahead on presentation.
I also have a problem with the fact that the presentation mark is the deciding factor when a judge ties 2 pairs overall, e.g. 5.8/5.9 for one pair, 5.9/5.8 for the other. I'm really against this. It is after all a sport and I really believe that the technical mark should have more importance. 2 judges did this - tied the 2 pairs with B&S ahead on presentation and S&P ahead technically.
So that's 5 1st place ordinals for B&S.
2 judges scored S&P higher on both marks.
2 judges scored S&P higher technically and tied both pairs on presentation.
So that's 4 1st place ordinals for S&P.
I favoured B&S to win but not like this. The gold medal won't be any good for them - the controversy's going to hang over their heads for a long time.
Yahoo for S&Z for going for that quad throw salchow. But the fall seemed to put them off a little - they weren't as clean as they've been in the past. They've improved in their 2nd mark a great deal but I can't figure how some of the judges could mark them the same presentation-wise as S&P. The two just don't compare.
And I&Z were fantastic. I would have put them over T&M into 4th. They had so much more energy than T&M who were very rough around the edges and seemed to wilt more and more as the skate went on.
I didn't spot B&S's two-footed landing Jeannie but I'll go back and have a look at my tape.
This has made me rather gloomy about the ice-dancing. After Bourne & Kraatz won the GP final I thought they'd have a real shot at a medal. Now I have no idea.
[ February 12, 2002: Message edited by: sylvia ]
Posted 12 February 2002 - 11:01 AM
[ February 12, 2002: Message edited by: sylvia ]
Posted 12 February 2002 - 12:01 PM
I think it was a greater 'mistake' that Ina and Zimmerman were in 5th largely because they skated so early in the evening. I thought they were possibly even better than the Chinese pair given their (the Chinese) not-so-great showing last night. But what do I know smile.gif
p.s. Maybe we should start a new thread for each of the discipline's?
Posted 12 February 2002 - 12:30 PM
[He said there are fewer problems with singles and pairs skating. "The competitions are won on the ice and not in clandestine meetings before the event takes place."]
After last night I'm not at all sure of that. I love the Russians and their program is very beautiful, but, at least last night, I really felt that the Canadians won it, in every aspect. I found the judging highly questionable, including the placement of Ina and Zimmerman, who I felt were far better than the Chinese. While I applaud the attempt at the quad throw, their program is choreographically and artistically not Olympic medal quality. There is no flow and no line, just tricks, and not all of those work. Just my opinion, of course smile.gif
Posted 12 February 2002 - 12:59 PM
On the other hand, I too am disappointed with Ina/Zimmerman's 5th-place spot over Totmiamina/Marinin, whose skating left me flat. They have gorgeous long lines, though. Eastern European judges, in particular, tend to favor ultra-thin long torsos & ribbon-like tappering arms & fingers in the women...the 'Galina Mezentseva Plastique' as I term it. Maybe the bias toward this 'look' plays on the subconscious of the judges, when doling out the artistic mark? It happens even within the USA Nationals at times, especially in the ice dance. (I remember a magazine article about a highly-contested ice-dance nationals championship in the early '90s in which Renee Roca/Gorsha Sur won the gold over a team that was considered to have skated better on that night...but the woman of the silver-medal team had a curvy, less balletic figure than did Renee Roca. The Sports Illustrated magazine article that discussed this event was titled 'The Thinner Was the Winner.' I'm sure that we could have lengthy discussions on this issue, as it directly ties to a major issues in the world of ballet. Not sure that I wish to moderate that one, though!! wink.gif )
[ February 12, 2002: Message edited by: Jeannie ]
Posted 12 February 2002 - 01:45 PM
I also think the jingoistic "At-last-the-Russians- will-be-toppled" pre-publicity a little too much, building up expectations much too high. I'm sorry for Ina and Zimmerman, but on the other hand it's hard to get hopped up over the difference between fourth and fifth, although I quite understand that it doesn't seem so to them.
Posted 12 February 2002 - 03:29 PM
It's ironic--I think the adrenalin that fuels competitions makes those performances the most exciting to watch--but the scoring and ranking I could do without!
Posted 12 February 2002 - 03:33 PM
As this thread is becoming quite large, I will begin an 'Olympics, part 2' thread above this. We can continue our discussion on the pairs outcome + begin to talk about the Mens Competition, which begins tonight.
[ February 12, 2002: Message edited by: Jeannie ]
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