Ice dancing was a fucking bore... a complete audible snoozefest.
When I was growing up, I RELIGIOUSLY watched ice skating. It’s one of the things that I can remember watching with my Mom. Also, it was common for the Canadian Championships to come along to our small town every decade or so, along with professional ice shows. My mom always bought tickets. This was in the mid to late 90s, early 2000s until I went to college.
The only competition we DIDN’T watch was ice dancing. Cause it was boring as all fuck. I haven’t watched Figure Skating much (really at all) since Torino, and even during the Olympics, I only watch half-hazardly once in a blue moon. Then all of a sudden, everyone was watching Ice Dancing (thanks to Virtue and Moir) and I didn’t understand what was going on.
Watching their free skate tonight on replay and being so moved that I cried, I had to know - was Ice Dancing really that boring back in the day? Could I just not understand the nuance because I was young? Thanks to YouTube, I can say... yes, yes it was that boring.
This is the couple than won in Nagano:
I don’t understand anything about this routine.
This is the French couple that won in 2002. It has something to do with freedom...I think?
The lifts here are more interesting at least...but it’s still just meh.
The most crowd pleasing routine that I remember was the Canadian couple Bourne and Kratz’ Riverdance routine at the 1998 Olympics (the Russians’ above won that year). They’re fourth place finish was a fairly big indication that there was shady shit going on with the judges. It was a fairly open secret that, especially in ice dancing, the game was rigged.
I saw them do this routine at an ice show where I was sitting on the ice (I remember going to the box office with my Mom to pick up tickets, and being SO FUCKING EXCITED that we go seats ON the ice). Even to my “Ice dancing is SOOOO boring” 15 year old self, that shit was amazing:
Compare this to the “less sexy-amazing” Shibsibs of now...like even the sexlessness of the Shibutani’s is SO MUCH MORE interesting to watch than the Russian France snoozefest of yore. . Their exuberance! The big smiles! The Twizzles! And the lifts and technical elements is MILES ahead compared to the Riverdance routine.
I can’t say for sure what changed, because I haven’t followed Figure skating much in the last 12 years. But I would imagine that the new judging system had a lot to do with it. If you’re looking to increase your technical points as much as possible, then you’re going to push yourself to the max creatively and technically to get the most “wow” factor. The lifts now are AMAZING! I’m so glad that the whole sport has leveled up so much, it’s one more thing to watch (like how much fun were those two open threads?!?!? Dancing, costumes, lifts, sex, love, amazing skating - Ice Dancing has it all now!)
The Olympic version isn’t up on Youtube yet, but here’s the Roxanne routine from the Canadian Championship (it’s has the full face sit!). Enjoy!
ETA: CBC posted the routine from last night!