Sunday, January 9, 2011
A Star Is Born
(Go to 8:00)
In America, those who can't jump particularly well have long turned to pairs. The old adage was: If you can't do singles, go to pairs. If you can't do pairs, go to dance. While that is certainly not necessarily true about ice dance, our pairs have continually suffered as pairs skating has become more athletic and required higher levels of technical proficiency. The Russians didn't always necessarily place the weakest skaters of the batch in pairs. This is one of the many factors that influenced their success.
Pairs skating is an art form, but it also requires a tremendous amount of internal gusto on behalf of the lady of the pair. Mary Beth Marley is tough. Always a great jumper, she is becoming a woman now and still keeping a desirable figure for a singles skater of a pairs skater. What is remarkable is how well she has developed unison with Rockne, how comfortably she lands the throws and how well she relates to a partner.
Mary Beth and Rockne train with John Nicks and Christine Binder. Simply put, John Nicks is one of the great pairs coaches of all time. Tatiana Tarasova has gone as far as to call Mr. Nicks a genius. Armed with one of the sport's legends in the corner, Mary Beth and Rockne are progressing quickly. One can only imagine how well they'll be skating in a year. They may not have every difficult element yet, but they will. Mr. Nicks isn't rushing them, they way other new pairs often are. They are learning to skate and be a pair before they're attempting every ultra-difficult maneuver.
(Go to 33:45)