Throwback Thursday: Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy

It’s Throwback Thursday time! As a countdown to Sochi, I will be posting a program from the previous Olympic season every Thursday~! And off we go!

This week’s Throwback Thursday program comes courtesy of Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy. When Vancouver 2010 came, many were expecting them to do well, if not win the Olympic gold, as they were the World Champions the season previous. Technically, they were a slightly above the rest and when they skated well, they were great. All of that changed when the legendary Shen Xue & Hongbo Zhao came back from their retirement and Savchenko & Szolkowy seemed shaken to the point of no recovery. When the Grand Prix Final of 2009 came along, it became clear that Shen & Zhao had taken their place as the favourites for Olympic gold.

Still, despite their struggles that season and what must, to them, be a disappointing Olympic bronze medal, I really loved their long program to the music of Out of Africa. I actually have something of a personal connection to this program. If you remember, Savchenko & Szolkowy skated to a different LP at TEB that year with hideous costumes and came back with this lovely program.

I was actually able to attend Skate Canada that year and I watched this program, though not live. Due to some miscommunication, a friend of mine who went to SCI2009 with me bought a ticket to the ice dance OD and pairs LP event when another friend (incidentally, friend and commenter, Ay-sa) and myself hadn’t. To rectify the situation, I bought a ticket to those events and split the price between Ay-sa and I because we were both poor students then and couldn’t afford to buy another whole ticket. We decided that since I was more interested in ice-dance, I would go to the OD while Ay-sa would take my ticket and watch the pairs LP. While she did that, I sat in the lobby to do some homework I brought to Kitchener. Eventually, I found out that there was a TV screen showing the pairs LP in the lobby and I got totally distracted – I kept looking for the score every 10 minutes. Eventually, I gave up on the homework and watched the event. Savchenko & Szolkowy were the last to skate and for four minutes, I was mesmerized, along with the rest of the people watching in the lobby. Samuel Contesti seemed to notice that and tried to creep discreetly under the TV to get to the dressing room. (It was kind of adorable.) Still, the performance was magical and this program remains to this day, one of my favourite pairs programs ever.

What did you think of Aliona & Robin’s Out of Africa program? Let me know in the comments!

~The Rinkside Cafe

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