Figure Skating | 1992 Albertville Olympics - Pairs
Hey there sportsfans! (Actually, that's the first time in a decade I have typed that and it's actually true.) Since today is Monday and I was all, "YES. YOU WILL RETURN TO THE GLAMOROUS LIFE OF BLOGGING TODAY," and I'm trapped in an airport for the next four hours hating my life, let's talk about something that happened 25 years ago, I still really care about, because I can't let some things go. Guys, this was before USFSA did something about Nancy Kerrigan's teeth. I'm doing God's work, here.
Today we're going to talk about the Figure Skating pairs event at the 1992 Olympics in Albertville, France. This is the first Olympics where I wasn't a little kid and knew what was going on, and meticulously set my Betamax VCR (A millenial just died reading this) before school everyday so I could get ALL of the routines and examine them for the next two years. I was obsessed. I would watch some routines at least twice a week, and I lived, breathed, and died for these routines.
But the reason I'm so attracted to the skating of the 90's, is the off ice drama and the 1992 Olympics had plenty of it, before Nancy and Tonya brought their mess into the game in 1994. That's why skating was so popular back then, we had personalities and completely whackadoo color commentary. Say what you want about judged sports and their politics, but they were the Greek chorus of this glorious theater and gave us these amazing storylines you can't even birth from fiction. Now we have a bunch of robotic children skating for a point system instead of a 28 year old Czech bus driver probably boning his 16 year old partner he would marry a few years later and everyone shrugging and going, 'Welp, pairs and all that." 25 years later this would be a scandal. Natalia Mishkutyonok got openly called 'fat' in the short program, and she's literally the size of my pinky finger. Chicago girl, Calla Urbanski, was horrifically elderly at the age of 31, and Isabelle Brasseur had 'mental issues' because she got nervous at the olympics. The skating world two and a half decades ago was equal parts tragic and savage, and dammit, I need it back.
So the pairs event. Before we break down the long program, let's take out our scorecards and reacquaint ourselves with this Greek Tragedy on Ice.
- Artur Dmetriev, pet of coach and bog witch, Tamara Moskvina, is probably a serial killer, but he's a good skater so we shrug and ignore that his partners from '92-'02 look absolutely terrified of him and they're Russian. I'm just sayin'.
- The Czechs are a 28 year old dude and a 16 year old girl. Probs banging by body language cues, everyone treats this as normal because, pairs, medals, pretty people, and communism. They got married after they won worlds when no one else showed up, then got divorced when Radka woke up one morning in America, and realized she didn't have to be married to an old dude anymore. Same girl, same.
- Lloyd 'Lurch' Eisler of Canada gives off major creeper vibes, but we don't learn this to be true until almost 15 years later when he leaves his pregnant wife for OG Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Kristy Swanson, knocks her up, the wife and the mistress have their babies like three months apart, and North America shrieks in horror. Not that this is a broken home and he's a creepy douche, but that a fucking figure skater has SO MUCH GAME.
- Rocky Marvel of the USA, who by the way made him Americanize his Italian name because, WHEATIES NIKE ENDORSEMENTS XENOPHOBIA, is banging sweet little pocket sprite Isabelle Thank-God-Lloyd-Isn't-Touching-Her Brasseur of Canada, and they're still married! One of two happy endings in this story. Their daughter Gabrielle is actually an up and coming pairs skater and gets to use her dad's Italian name because we let people whose names end in vowels have endorsements now. Progress!
- The Americans are being all incestuous. Jenni Meno is skating with Todd Somethinforgettableorwhatever, but she wanted another Todd, so she hooked up with possible wood carving, turned person, Todd Sand, who was skating with Natasha Kuchiki. This isn't scandalous except that when Jenni and Todd found lurrrrrrve, they decided to ruin everything we love and skate together. Who cares, you ask? Wellll, Todd Sand and Natasha were the highest ranking pair team with a top 6 finish at this Olympics, which was basically a thing of miracles in the 90s. The judges barely tolerated Canada disappointing them. Jenni and Anonymous Nobody Todd were in the dumpster in this Olympics. Long story short, their lurrrrrve torpedoed Kuchiki's career. I don't think this would happen today, because all USFSA skaters are chipped and mind controlled by the home office now and would've been told, "Keep it in your pants, and win some medals." Because of this, I have always had a seething hatred for Meno and Sand. They became the champs of bronze when no one else showed up. Kuchiki being the far superior skater probably would have done much more staying with skating-tin man, Sand. But alas, the heart wants what it wants. Whatever.
Ok, so that out of the way, let's skate this long program. Today we will review the top 4 skaters in the order they skated. Let's bring it to Pops Lundqvist, Scott 'Haters in tha building' Hamilton, and the epic subtle shade throwing of Tracy Wilson.
1. Kovarikova and Novotny - CZE
This clip literally begins with Tracy Wilson explaining how the women will ruin everything. I cannot believe this shit was primetime.
I honestly think this team, creepy relationship and all, should have stolen the bronze from the Canadians. They're kinda slow and boring, but technically so superior, and their long program music didn't sound like violins being played with coat hangers. And I mean, Scott Hamilton can't shut up enough about her posture, so like, give them something, ok?
This is where politics made things so scandalous. This team out skated Brasseur and Eisler, but because they weren't on the world stage enough, they got passed over and would come of age during the next quad (which was really 2 years) if old man Novotny didn't kick the bucket first.
2. Mishketounok and Dmitriev - EUN
Hang on... Katarina Witt has thoughts... I'll wait.
Basically, the not-Soviet anymore commies are here and everyone else is garbage. Go home now, and spare yourselves the humiliation.
I don't have a lot to say about this routine. It's perfection. Iconic. This is the modern pairs skating routine your average fan remembers. And OMG CAN YOU BELIEVE HOW FAT NATALIA IS. All of the fluff pieces were like, "This cow, amiright?" Like, whuuuuuut? The only I think is lacking in this exquisite piece are better lifts. But, then again, she's like morbidly obese, and how can he even lift her?
They would be absolutely robbed of gold in two years, and Natalia would get dumped for a newer thinner girl, but no one can take this skate from them. I watched it 22,986,733 times from 1992-1997... on Betamax. Practically communism, so I get it.
3. Bechke and Petrov - EUN
It's time for Tamara Moskvina's step-children to skate, and they're just the WORST. Like, not only did they just have to follow up a near perfect skate from their rivals, but they have to show the judges that the coach they share with them basically phoned in the choreography for this team. It's SO BAD. SO SO BAD. But it's cute that back then a punch-front assist was 'innovative'. Lolzzz. But OMG THEY WIN A HOUSE IF THEY WIN. Sorry, they don't win, so now Artur has a place to play Dexter.
Idk, they're ok. I just can't get past the terrible choreography. Moskvina should be ashamed of herself. Ick.
4. Brassuer and Eisler - CAN
This is just horrendous. Hide the children and your hopes and dreams, people. There's gonna be a ton of tragedy here, starting with the costumes.
"We will dress you in white with weird beading so you look like floating heads out there. Don't worry, it'll ruin everything."
Then when picking their music...
"You guys should skate to, 'Yanni's cat death in E Major.' The fans will love it as soon as their eardrums explode."
This routine is is a blown out baby diaper of a disaster, but had they just been DRESSED better and not skated to a grocery store mix played backwards, Lloyd might have gotten Buffy into bed faster with a silver medal around his neck.
Actually, they should thank their lucky stars they even got bronze. That was almost the worst thing to ever win an Olympic medal until Oksana Baiul. But of course, Old Man Lundqvist is gonna remind us that it's all Isabelle's fault because she is a wimmenz with a fragile brainspace. Poor thing.
1. Mishketounok/Dmitriev by a billion
2. Bechke/Petrov because they weren't total disasters
3. Brasseur and Eisler because the judges recognized their names
4. Kavarikova/Novotny because this was back in the days of 'It's just not your turn yet even though you skated good enough for a bronze, because 'we're being paid to be the Greek chorus of this narrative'
So we leave the frosty Mountain Tops of 1992 Albertville France, where Pairs teams got freaky and still did side by side double flips. Next week, we will take a look at the 1994 Women's Final.