Olympic Reigns Ending: Likelihoods or Naysaying?
While I’m on the subject of Olympic pairs skating (ie: Shen & Zhao), I was doing a little poking around to see what kind sort of history-making we’re likely to witness in Vancouver, barring any miracles…which I’m always open to! That’s why I’m calling these “likelihoods”, not “predictions”.
My focus here is just on medal trends per country, and which countries have historically reigned in various divisions. (It’s WAY too early to purport any individual medal predictions.) A lot of these thoughts have certainly been floated online, but I really wanted to dig up and share the stats, to express the gravity of it.
Frankly, I prefer to see the spotlight passed around. For example, I think the recent upsurge (a new reign?) by ladies from Asian countries has been a welcome evolution, giving them their “moment”, but also offering the sport and other skaters a healthy push towards further growth.
Russian (URS/EUN) Gold Reigns
The only complete stranglehold any one country has had on a single Olympic division over three or more decades is in pairs. However, unless the chinese teams and Savchenko & Szolkowy (GER) spend the competition on their asses, it will likely be the first time since 1960 that the pairs champions are not Russian (URS/EUN), discluding the ’02 Skategate scandal, in which two sets of gold medals were awarded. (Yes, Savchenko is Russian by birth, but that doesn’t count.) Just to clarify, I’m not a Russia-hater, but I’d prefer a single country (including the US) not to completely dominate a division like this.
Also, we are likely to see the end of their impressive five-Olympic reign of the men’s title. The recent champions have been: Victor Petrenko (EUN, ‘92), Alexei Urmanov (‘94), Ilia Kulik (‘98), Alexei Yagudin (‘02), Evgeni Plushenko (‘06).
Torvill & Dean (‘84) and Anissina & Peizerat (‘02) already put a kabosh on a Russian reign in ice dance. (Yes, Anissina is Russian by birth, but that doesn’t count either.)
US Podium Reign
And, finally, it may also be the first time in 11 Olympics (40+ years…yes, that’s since ’64) that an American lady doesn’t make it to the podium. I hate to be a naysayer, but the top four ladies at ’09 Worlds looked unbeatable. And, PLEASE proove me wrong!
BTW, I spied some cute Vancouver Games wallpaper here.