Pj's all-time top 10: Ice dance | Figure Skating | CBC Sports

Figure SkatingPj's all-time top 10: Ice dance

Posted: Tuesday, November 22, 2011 | 11:50 PM

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Great Britain's Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean kiss during their famous Great Britain's Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean kiss during their famous "Bolero" routine in the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, in this Feb. 14, 1984 photo. The team racked up an unprecedented 12 perfect scores to win the gold medal for this performance. (David Caulkin/Associated Press)

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Ice dance was the final figure skating discipline to get in the Olympics. Some might say "best for last." Even though it's only been a part of the Games since 1976, ice dance's contribution to the popularity of the sport is undeniable. That being said, here are my top 10 ice dance teams of all-time. At the outset, it was impossible to imagine narrowing the field down to just 10 teams would be as tough as it was.
Ice dance was the final figure skating discipline to get in the Olympics. Some might say "best for last." Even though it's only been a part of the Games since 1976, ice dance's contribution to the popularity of the sport is undeniable. That being said, here are my top 10 ice dance teams of all-time. At the outset, it was impossible to imagine narrowing the field down to just 10 teams would be as tough as it was.

Agree with my rankings? Disagree? Feel free to set me straight with your own top 10. I want to hear from you! Leave your comments at the bottom of this page or give me a shout on Twitter.

1. Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, United Kingdom (Olympic Champions 1984, Olympic bronze medallists 1994, 4-time world champions)

Without a doubt, Torvill and Dean revolutionized the sport of ice dancing. Although Bolero may be the program for which they are most well-known, it is their Paso Doble that keeps me coming back to YouTube. He is the matador and she is his cape. They were able to turn ice dancing into performance art. The edge quality and unison still hold up today.

2. Lyudmila Pakhomova and Alexander Gorshkov, Soviet Union (1976 Olympic champions, 6-time World Champions)

In 1974, I went to the world figure skating championships in Munich as a spectator, where Pakhomova and Gorshkov won their fifth title. I was mesmerized watching them or rather I should say watching her. They interacted in a way that hadn't been seen before. In 1976 they become the first ice dancers to win the Olympics. Pakhomova was like a force of nature. Her loss to Hodgkin's Lymphoma in 1986 at age 39 was felt the world over.

3. Oksana Grishuk and Evgeny Platov, Russia (2-time Olympic champions in 1994 and 1998 and 4-time world champions)

Oksana Grishuk's flamboyant personality would have put them on the 'best of' map anyway. When teamed with Evgeny Platov, their speed, technique and capital 'P' performance was memorable to say the least. The drama of it all made them so much fun to watch and when you stopped to think about it, they were both fabulous skaters.

4. Marina Klimova and Sergei Ponomareko, Russia (1992 Olympic champion, 1988
Olympic silver medallists, 1984 Olympic bronze medallists and 3-time world champions)

Lyrical and romantic, Klimova and Ponomarenko painted a beautiful picture on the ice. In person, they gave you the feeling that they cared about one another. I remember watching them skate around the rink just quietly holding hands during one Worlds warm-up in 1990 in Halifax. It was nothing special - yet somehow told their story.


5. Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizarat, France (2002 Olympic champions, 1998 Olympic bronze and 2000 World Champions)

Coming up during the time of uber dramatic free dances, Anissina and Peizerat were famous for frequently creating choreography that was easily understood. In my favourite Anissina and Peizerat free dance, I believed she was Juliet beside his tender portrayal of Romeo.

6. Natalia Bestemianova and Andrei Bukin, Russia (1988 Olympic champions, 1992 Olympic silver medallists, 4-time world champions)

I have to say I went back and forth with this team, but in the end their amazing success speaks for itself.  A bit wild-eyed and filled with intensity, they would be what I would consider to have been avant-garde for their time. They are among the innovators in ice dance responsible for pushing forward the artistic boundaries we now take for granted.

7. Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Canada (2010 Olympic champions, 2010 world champions)
Beautiful skating, great choreography and humble athletes. They are the first of a new generation of ice dancers to combine inventive steps, outstanding chemistry and superb athleticism. Virtue and Moir are well on their way to becoming ice dance legends.

8. Tracy Wilson and Robert McCall, Canada (1988 Olympic bronze - 3-time world bronze medallists)

There may be ice dancers with stronger results but Wilson and McCall held the heart of Canada in their hand. They were a huge influence and testament to perseverance. They paved the way for the likes of Bourne and Kraatz, Dubreuil and Lauzon and Virtue and Moir.  On a purely technical level, Wilson and McCall had some of the best and fastest feet ever. There isn't anyone who knew Rob who doesn't say what a great friend and huge talent he was. Sadly Rob passed away from AIDS-related brain cancer in November of 1991.

9. Isabelle Duchesnay and Paul Duchesnay, France (1992 Olympic silver medallists, 1991 world champions)

The first 'border jumpers' of any real significance, the brother and sister team originally competed for Canada. Not feeling the support they were hoping for in Canada, the Duchesnays switched their allegiance to France, their mother's country of origin.  Although they had lots of innovative programs, their 'Missing' program from Worlds 1990 in Halifax for me has always been the most memorable. It is also the one I point to when fans question whether siblings can be successful in ice dance.

10. Meryl Davis and Charlie White, USA  (2010 Olympic silver medallists, 2011 world champions)

Davis and White are incredibly precise technical skaters. When given the right material, like Samson and Delilah, they have the ability to draw you in with the best of them. Their versatility and willingness to try new styles keeps them at the top of their game.

There is something universal about ice dance. Movement to music is as natural as breathing and just as personal. There are so many more teams that could have been included in my list. Who is in your top ten?

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