The Best Compulsory Dancers In The World


Ice dancing has long been criticized for the lack of movement in the standings from one phase of the competition to the next, particularly in the days of the 6.0 judging system. 

At the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary, twenty couples competed in three compulsory dances, an OSP and free dance. The only movement in the standings through the entire competition was that the Czechoslovakian couple who ranked fourteenth in the compulsories dropped to fifteenth overall. In response to the outrage over Isabelle and Paul Duchesnay placing eighth overall at those Games, World Champion and ISU Council member Lawrence Demmy complained, "In ice dancing, the positions invariably do not change... We have to change the attitude of the judges. The judge has got to realize there are three distinct stages and they have to be judged separately on style and merit. And that is not happening. And it's beginning to look ridiculous. We've got to look for a new concept in ice dancing. If we don't accept new concepts, ice dancing is going to stagnate." Many changes were made in the years that followed, including the ultimate demise of compulsory dances in senior international competition.

Let's take a look at the winners of the compulsory dances at the Olympics and World Championships and see just how rare it was for the winner of that phase of the event not to win the overall title. A '*' by a couple's name denotes that they also won the overall competitions.

 
Natalia Bestemianova and Andrei Bukin skating the Paso Doble at the 1988 Winter Olympics

WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES

Year

Winning Couple

1976

Lyudmila Pakhomova and Aleksandr Gorshkov*

1980

Natalia Linichuk and Gennadi Karponosov*

1984

Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean*

1988

Natalia Bestemianova and Andrei Bukin*

1992

Marina Klimova and Sergei Ponomarenko*

1994

Oksana Grishuk and Evgeni Platov*, Maya Usova and Alexandr Zhulin

1998

Oksana Grishuk and Evgeni Platov*

2002

Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat*

2006

Barbara Fusar-Poli and Maurizio Margaglio

2010

Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin


Only twice (in 2006 and 2010) have the winners of the first segment of the ice dance competition at the Winter Olympics not gone on to win the overall title. Both of these occasions were after the IJS system was implemented. In 1994, the eventual winners tied in the compulsory dances with the reigning World Champions, who finished second overall.

 
Marina Klimova and Sergei Ponomarenko skating the Westminster Waltz at the 1989 World Championships. Video courtesy Frazer Ormondroyd.

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

Year

Winning Couple

1950 (U)

Lois Waring and Michael McGean*

1951 (U)

Jean Westwood and Lawrence Demmy*

1952

Jean Westwood and Lawrence Demmy*

1953

Jean Westwood and Lawrence Demmy*

1954

Jean Westwood and Lawrence Demmy*

1955

Jean Westwood and Lawrence Demmy*

1956

Pamela Weight and Paul Thomas*

1957

June Markham and Courtney Jones*

1958

June Markham and Courtney Jones*

1959

Doreen Denny and Courtney Jones*

1960

Doreen Denny and Courtney Jones*

1962

Christiane and Jean Paul Guhel

1963

Linda Shearman and Michael Phillips

1964

Eva Romanov√° and Pavel Roman*

1965

Eva Romanov√° and Pavel Roman*

1966

Diane Towler and Bernard Ford*

1967

Diane Towler and Bernard Ford*

1968

Diane Towler and Bernard Ford*

1969

Diane Towler and Bernard Ford*

1970

Judy Schwomeyer and Jim Sladky

1971

Lyudmila Pakhomova and Aleksandr Gorshkov*

1972

Lyudmila Pakhomova and Aleksandr Gorshkov*

1973

Lyudmila Pakhomova and Aleksandr Gorshkov*

1974

Lyudmila Pakhomova and Aleksandr Gorshkov*

1975

Colleen O'Connor and Jim Millns

1976

Lyudmila Pakhomova and Aleksandr Gorshkov*

1977

Irina Moiseeva and Andrei Minenkov*

1978

Natalia Linichuk and Gennadi Karponosov*

1979

Natalia Linichuk and Gennadi Karponosov*

1980

Natalia Linichuk and Gennadi Karponosov

1981

Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean*

1982

Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean*

1983

Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean*

1984

Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean*

1985

Natalia Bestemianova and Andrei Bukin*

1986

Natalia Bestemianova and Andrei Bukin*

1987

Natalia Bestemianova and Andrei Bukin*

1988

Natalia Bestemianova and Andrei Bukin*

1989

Marina Klimova and Sergei Ponomarenko*

1990

Marina Klimova and Sergei Ponomarenko*

1991

Maya Usova and Alexandr Zhulin

1992

Marina Klimova and Sergei Ponomarenko*

1993

Maya Usova and Alexandr Zhulin*

1994

Oksana Grishuk and Evgeni Platov*

1995

Oksana Grishuk and Evgeni Platov*

1996

Oksana Grishuk and Evgeni Platov*

1997

Oksana Grishuk and Evgeni Platov*

1998

Angelika Krylova and Oleg Ovsiannikov*

1999

Angelika Krylova and Oleg Ovsiannikov*

2000

Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat*

2001

Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat, Barbara Fusar-Poli and Maurizio Margaglio*

2002

Irina Lobacheva and Ilya Averbukh*

2003

Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz*, Irina Lobacheva and Ilya Averbukh

2004

Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviski, Tatiana Navka and Roman Kostomarov*

2005

Tatiana Navka and Roman Kostomarov*

2006

Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviski*

2007

Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon

2008

Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder*

2009

Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin*

2010

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir*


Including the two International Ice Dancing Competitions held at World Championships that haven't been historically recognized as World Championships (1950 and 1951) and ignoring the three years that ice dancers were put in two groups for the compulsories (2001, 2003 and 2004), there were only seven occasions where the winner of the compulsory dances didn't win the overall World title in ice dancing. It's interesting to note that two of those couples were American. If you don't count Lois Waring and Michael McGean's win in 1950, which no one seems to, American dance teams would have won two World titles in the seventies had there have been no free dance. Definitely some interesting food for thought!

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