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Every once in a while one of those special moments will happen and we’ll be left with the impression of a timeless program, that will linger long in our memories for years to come. With the Olympics of 2018 right around the corner we thought we’d revisit some of those programs and enjoy them once again or perhaps even introduce some of you to some things long past but never forgotten.

 

We’ll be posting one video per day or two, so hopefully everyone can join in and watch and talk a bit, and once we’re done with our list, you’ll be of course welcome to present us with your own additions! (the cut off time for programs is Sochi 2014)


________


The whole list, with links to posts for easy access:

 

  1.  Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao of China skating to Violin Fantasy on Puccini's Turandot by Vanessa-Mae, choreographed by Lea Ann Miller, at the 2003 World Championships in Washington, DC, United States.
  2. Peggy Fleming of the United States skating to Symphony No. 6 Pathétique by Tchaikovsky, La Traviata by Verdi, Samson and Delilah by Saint-Saëns, The Thieving Magpie by Rossini at the 1968 Olympic Games in Grenoble, France.

  3. Aleksei Yagudin of Russia skating to Winter by Bond at the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, UT, United States

  4. Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada skating to Symphony No. 5 by Gustav Mahler, at the 2010 Olympic Games, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

  5. John Curry of Great Britain skating to Don Quixote, at the 1976 Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria.

  6. Kim Yuna of the Republic of Korea skating to Concerto in F by George Gershwin at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

  7. Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov of Soviet Union/Russia skating to Piano Sonata No. 8 "Pathétique", Piano Sonata No. 14 "Moonlight" at the 1994 Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway.

  8. Jane Torvill and Christopher Dean of Great Britain skating to Bolero by Maurice Ravel at the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia

  9. Michelle Kwan of the United States skating to Piano Concerto No. 3 and Piano Trio No. 2 by Sergei Rachmaninoff at the 1998 US Nationals in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

  10. Daisuke Takahashi of Japan skating to music from the motion picture La Strada by Nino Rota at the 2010 World Championships in Torino, Italy

  11. Yulia Lipnitskaya of Russia skating to Schindler's List by John Williams, at the 2014 Olympic Games, in Sochi, Russia

  12. Mao Asada of Japan, skating to Piano Concerto No. 2 by Sergei Rachmaninoff, at the 2014 Olympic Games, in Sochi, Russia

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Let’s start with something in a not so distant past.

 

  1.  Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao of China skating to Violin Fantasy on Puccini's Turandot by Vanessa-Mae, choreographed by Lea Ann Miller, at the 2003 World Championships in Washington, DC, United States.

 

A little back story to this moment and a start with a completely different name, that of Yao Bin. When he first skated as a pair with his partner Luan Bo, people laughed. Years later, as a coach and someone who developed the Chinese pair program, he had coached Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao to their achievements of 2010 Olympic champions, the 2002 & 2006 Olympic bronze medalists, a three-time (2002, 2003 & 2007) World champions, a three-time (1999, 2003 & 2007) Four Continents Champions and a six-time (1998, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2006 & 2009) Grand Prix Final champions.

 

This particular program of 2003 remains as one of the iconic programs of figure skating in general, not just the pairs division. One of the most incredible audience reactions to the skate as well. And yes, that is Yao Bin in tears towards the end.

 

 

Alternate Link 1 (British Eurosport with scores) - definitely give this one a go too!

Alternate Link 2 (ESPN)

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katonice   
15 hours ago, Yatagarasu said:

Let’s start with something in a not so distant past.

 

  1.  Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao of China skating to Violin Fantasy on Puccini's Turandot by Vanessa-Mae, choreographed by Lea Ann Miller, at the 2003 World Championships in Washington, DC, United States.

 

A little back story to this moment and a start with a completely different name, that of Yao Bin. When he first skated as a pair with his partner Luan Bo, people laughed. Years later, as a coach and someone who developed the Chinese pair program, he had coached Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao to their achievements of 2010 Olympic champions, the 2002 & 2006 Olympic bronze medalists, a three-time (2002, 2003 & 2007) World champions, a three-time (1999, 2003 & 2007) Four Continents Champions and a six-time (1998, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2006 & 2009) Grand Prix Final champions.

 

This particular program of 2003 remains as one of the iconic programs of figure skating in general, not just the pairs division. One of the most incredible audience reactions to the skate as well. And yes, that is Yao Bin in tears towards the end.

 

[embedded video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Kql3sf_crA]

 

Alternate Link 1 (British Eurosport with scores) - definitely give this one a go too!

Alternate Link 2 (ESPN)

That was exquisite. I don't usually watch pairs, but it's hard not to respond to that kind of performance.

LOL at the judge who seemed unfazed and had them in 2nd. 

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Puniyo   

This is the best Turandot program so far and I just love the British uncles and their antics on the performance... haha! 

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gladi   

Goosebumps is apt. Like @katonice I'm not much for pairs, programs in that discipline often both scare AND bore me if that makes sense....

But my god, that program was just triumphant, flowing and soaring from beginning to the end. Also, quite unique choice of cuts. IIRC, none of the other Turandot's have incorporated "Là sui monti dell'Est" (correct me if I'm wrong). I wonder why? Shen/Zhao certainly skated it to great effect.

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Altie   

Wow, wonderful thread, what a great idea !

Sui/Han made me discover and love Pairs, at least some of the best programs, and I can definitely a kind of see a filiation between this Shen/Zhao program and theirs. I don't know if it's only me ? Something in the flow, chemistry and artistry that I don't see often in pair programs, perhaps ?

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6 hours ago, yuzupon said:

Oh my goodness, that was exquisite!

 

Also, for someone who is rather new to FS world, this is an awesome thread. Hope to see more!

 

Definitely one of the reasons why we're doing this, so I'm glad you're with us for the ride. There are so many programs out there so even when one wants to start, it is so easy to get lost. Hopefully we can help up a bit with this!

 

5 hours ago, gladi said:

Goosebumps is apt. Like @katonice I'm not much for pairs, programs in that discipline often both scare AND bore me if that makes sense....

But my god, that program was just triumphant, flowing and soaring from beginning to the end. Also, quite unique choice of cuts. IIRC, none of the other Turandot's have incorporated "Là sui monti dell'Est" (correct me if I'm wrong). I wonder why? Shen/Zhao certainly skated it to great effect.

 

Wasn't it just brilliant? It is my favourite Turandot and the way they skated it was so magnificent. I do think that overall it was an amalgam of things, including her injury and the fight to not let it affect her/them so as element by element passed, they themselves were feeling more and more triumphant and it showed, and complimented the music. As figure skating audience is usually pretty knowledgeable I guess in the end it was just feeding into a loop and well, we got one of those moments. But they were such a great pair! (they're married too!)

And that's a good question, and the answer is I have no idea. I do think you're right in terms of not incorporating it, I've been thinking back and I don't recall it, but the why of it escapes me right now. Huh.

 

4 hours ago, Altie said:

Wow, wonderful thread, what a great idea !

Sui/Han made me discover and love Pairs, at least some of the best programs, and I can definitely a kind of see a filiation between this Shen/Zhao program and theirs. I don't know if it's only me ? Something in the flow, chemistry and artistry that I don't see often in pair programs, perhaps ?

 

Definitely not only you and if I were to guess, it all harkens back to Yao Bin that I mentioned. He is actually still their coach (and his former partner, Luan Bo is their former coach) and in general Yao Bin single-handedly brought about this massive progress in Chinese pair skates so there's a legacy from him through Shen/Zhao to Sui/Han of today. For me, as we're entering somewhat of a subjective territory here, there was definitely something unique about Shen/Zhao as today, it is the case with Sui/Han and as it is often the case, it's hard to put my finger on it exactly but it probably is a combination of great skill, great programs, chemistry and artistry plus that X factor that some people simply have. 

 

 

 

 

 

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xeyra   

I'd never seen that program before! It's gorgeous! Thank you for posting this! And hearing the commentary on how she was skating injury made it all the more epic when she landed those jumps so wonderfully! 

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4 hours ago, meoima said:

Will we have a session about pair separately from ice dance and singles? 

 

You mean here? No, we'll mix all of the disciplines together, to make it more fun :smile:

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kaeryth   

I watched the alternate links as well and it was so funny how the commentators were all "who placed them 2nd????". :rofl:Who indeed... that judge had some balls to do that. hahaha...

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meoima   
21 minutes ago, Yatagarasu said:

 

You mean here? No, we'll mix all of the disciplines together, to make it more fun :smile:

My relationship with Ice dance is very complicated as the teams with quite good performance were often the team with poor skating skills lol....

The legendary ice dance teams often have boring programs seriously... anyway I will give Grisuk and Platov a pass as I like their FD that won them the second OGM. 

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We continue the journey with the skating Tardis taking us quite a few years back now.

 

  • Peggy Fleming of the United States skating to Symphony No. 6 Pathétique by Tchaikovsky, La Traviata by Verdi, Samson and Delilah by Saint-Saëns, The Thieving Magpie by Rossini at the 1968 Olympic Games in Grenoble, France.

 

This story starts even earlier though. In 1961 probably the biggest tragedy of figure skating world occurred – a plane carrying the US figure skating delegation to the World Championships that was to be held in Prague, Czechoslovakia crashed, killing 73 people, including all 18 athletes and 16 coaches, officials and family members.

 

Among them were a 9-time U.S. ladies' champion, then coach, Maribel Vinson-Owen with her two daughters, reigning US ladies' champion Laurence Owen and reigning US pairs champion Maribel Owen; Maribel Owen's pairs champion partner Dudley Richards and reigning US men's champion Bradley Lord; US ice dancing champions Diane Sherbloom and Larry Pierce; US men's silver medalist Gregory Kelley, US ladies' silver medalist Stephanie Westerfeld, and US ladies' bronze medalist Rhode Lee Michelson. The World Championships itself were cancelled.

As you can imagine, apart from the terrible human tragedy, this was a terrible blow to US figure skating as well. They did manage one bronze by Scott Allen in the 1964 Olympics but it wasn’t until 1968 that a true return of US figure skating was marked by Peggy Fleming.

 

In 1961 Peggy Fleming was coached by William Kipp, who was also on that plane and was thus killed. After the tragedy USFSA did several things to try and invigorate the program, among them bringing in people like Carlo Fassi to United States, who became Fleming’s coach along with his wife Christa Fassi. USFS also established the USFS Memorial Fund in honor of the victims – Peggy Fleming credited the fund later with being vital for her career.

Though her performance at US Nationals that season was better, it is for the overall context, combined with the program itself, that we chose this one at the Olympics.

 

The program, and Fleming, were truly special too. Keep in mind, she is skating there with the old equipment that is not nearly as adapted to jumps as we have now, and yet her athleticism was incredible (2A, 49 years ago!); her jumps and spins were more like those of the male skaters of that time. It was also pure Fassi, in a way that broke apart from their predecessors. It was jazzy, elegant and modern and her technique showed influences of ballet, jazz and modern dance. Peggy Fleming thus won the 1968 Olympic gold medal that challenged the conventions of those day, in both power and style and we could say, revolutionised the sport.

 

 

 

Alternate Link 2 - English commentary, by Carlo and Christa Fassi 

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