Irrelevant Information

Nov 29, 2010


Among the laundry list of ghastly things the Code of Points system has foisted upon the pairs discipline, few have been more pernicious than the death spiral variations that CoP rewards, abominations that should warrant  -3 GOE across the board for offending one's aesthetic sensibilities.

The death spiral is an iconic element unique to pair skating. If done well--with the lady's head close to the ice with good arch in her back and the man completing a good pivot--a simple death spiral is a spectacular feat of athleticism and beauty.

An example would be Underhill/Martini, as seen here:

Unfortunately, under CoP, certain variations to the death spiral rack up the points, no matter how hideous. Indeed, the new types of death spirals often seen in pairs are emblematic of the CoP's problem of prioritizing complexity over quality. For instance, awkward entrances and change-of-hands fulfill the 'difficult variation' element in the death spiral but are often done hideously, interrupting the sweeping flow of the death spiral and putting the skaters in strained and ugly positions. Despite all this, the requisitve levels and GOEs are still nonetheless rewarded.

However, the most heinous aspect of a CoP death spiral is arguably the unsightly catchfoot variation done by the ladies. The catchfoot variation is absolutely loathsome and is probably impossible to execute without causing the audience's eyes to bleed. Not only does the catchfoot position look repulsive, but doing the catchfoot often slows down the death spiral to a crawl with the lady's head about a metre off the ice. The hideousness of the catchfoot death spiral is illustrated below (those with weak stomachs should avert their eyes):

(the catchfoot variation is the last spiral shown)

Compare these monstrosities to the death spirals done by Underhill/Martini, or even the one here by Mukhortova/Trankov:

Stop the the death spiral!

1 comment:

  1. The only pair I've seen that can make a variation like that beautiful was Mishkutenok & Dmitriev. See the end of their Liebestraum LP. He holds both her hand and her foot, making an art nouveau shape. Of course, few skaters have the doughy flexibility of Natalia Mishkutenok or the inventive choreography of Tamara Moskvina.