I fear that I haven’t quite finished my goodbyes that began last season so here is another. Although Aliona is still planning to compete, this partnership is sadly over and to me, it’s a sad loss for the skating world.
I also have a personal story about Savchenko & Szolkowy from 2009. Back then, I was a humble student, living at home and doing my best to save money to ensure that I had a nest egg when I was out in the world alone and working my way up. The 2009/10 season was the Olympic year, however, and I wasn’t going to pass up a chance to watch some of my favourite skaters when they were competing in a town an hour away from where I was and I could get free lodging from a friend who was attending a university in the area. Nonetheless, I had to buy tickets and when the time came, I had to choose events that would maximize my experience at Skate Canada 2009 and yet not spend exorbitant amounts of money on them.
However, a misunderstanding came up and a friend ended up buying a ticket to events that I didn’t have tickets for – the dance OD and pairs LP. I didn’t want that friend to go alone so fellow friend and reader, Ay-sa (who came with me to that competition) and I decided to purchase one more ticket. I would go to the OD since I adore Tessa & Scott and she would go to the pairs competition since she was more partial to that event. It was nearing crunch time so both Ay-sa and I brought our homework so I could do a reading while the pairs event was happening. Alas, that was not meant to be since there was a TV in the lounge of the arena and I eventually got distracted as the last group came on the ice.
Up until the moment when Savchenko & Szolkowy took the ice, I was satisfied. As most of you would know, I am a Canadian with opinions that are rather unpopular with Canadians – Maria Murkhortova & Maxim Trankov had just trumped home-ice favourites, Jessica Dube & Bryce Davison and had that been the story at Skate Canada that year, I would’ve been satisfied with that particular competition. I was not a fan of Dube and Davison and Murkhortova & Trankov produced enough solid skating to warrant their victory… had they won. When Aliona & Robin took the ice with their new “Out of Africa” LP, it felt as if time stopped and something magical had unfolded in front of our eyes. A group of people were mesmerized in front of the television – so much so that Samuel Contesti, who had just come in crouched down to try and sneak past us without interrupting our reverie.
Savchenko & Szolkowy brought something that was beyond anything that had happened before them. I was more than satisfied with this competition, I was floored with them and that program. To this day, this remains one of my favourite pairs programs ever and in history, this was the first time a judge gave the 10.0 score in PCS.
I’m going to miss these two. They pushed the creative and technical envelope and I enjoyed watching them every season.
~The Rinkside Cafe