March 8 is the annual celebration of International Women’s Day when the world shows its appreciation and respect toward women and recognizes the achievements of women’s political, economic, and social triumphs. Fittingly, International Women’s Day coincides with Women’s History Month, a month-long observation of women and their contribution to society in everything from science to fashion to sports.
The first of a three-part series that commemorates the accomplishments of women in figure skating examined those females who took huge leaps into the record books as groundbreaking jumpers and those who forever left their mark at the Winter Olympics. Now, learn more about the darlings of ice dance and pioneers of pair skating.
- Meryl Davis, along with ice dance partner Charlie White, earned level fours on all their elements during their free dance at the 2006 NHK Trophy. Davis and White are the first ice dance team in history to accomplish this incredible achievement.
- Tessa Virtue and ice dance partner Scott Moir are the first ice dance team ever to receive four 10.00 marks from the judges under the new International Judging System (IJS) for their program components for their free dance during the 2009-2010 season. Two of these marks went toward performance execution and the other two toward interpretation.
- Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, the 2006 Olympic silver medalists, were the first American ice dance team to bring home an Olympic medal in more than 30 years.
Pair Skating Pioneers
- Elena Valova and partner Oleg Vasiliev were the first pair to perform side-by-side triple jumps and side-by-side triple jumps in combination. Topping off the pair’s accomplishments was their win at the first World Championships in 1983, a feat not accomplished since Irina Rodnina and Alexei Ulanov did so at the 1969 World Championships. Valova and Vasiliev later became the first Soviet skaters to perform in professional events following their retirement from eligible competition in 1988. The pair turned professional in 1990.
- Irina Rodnina boasts the title as the most successful pair skater in history with more than ten world Championships wins, 11 European pairs championships wins, and three consecutive Olympic gold medals in pairs. Her Olympic titles earned her the recognition as the first pair skater to win Olympic gold with two different partners, first with Alexei Ulanov and later with Alexander Zaitsev.
- Rena Inoue is the only pair skater to have successfully performed a throw triple axel in competition. Inoue and partner John Baldwin are the 2004 and 2006 U.S. National Champions.
Which ice dance teams or pair skaters do you think should be recognized in these categories? Leave a comment and share your favorites.