Best Pairs Figure Skating Performances of All Time (Top 10)

These ice dancing sequences between partners never cease to amaze. This countdown focuses on 2-person pairs routines from the worlds of figure skating and ice dancing.

Meryl Davis and Charlie White, Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat, Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov, and more have made our top ten list.

10 Most Amazing Pairs Figure Skating Performances of All Time

Here We’ve compiled a list of the top ten figure skating and ice dancing routines that feature couples.

Best Pairs Figure Skating Performances of All Time

We’re focusing on 2-person pairs performances from the worlds of figure skating and ice dancing for this countdown. We’ve taken into account not only technical proficiency but also acclaim and overall audience enjoyment when determining this order.

10. Maia and Alex Shibutani, 2016 U.S. Figure Skating Championships

While they may have been defeated at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, the Shibutanis were at the top of their game at the 2016 U.S. National Championships. Due to the fact that siblings performing on the ice is still a rarity, this pair of dancers became famous.

After a long hiatus from the podium, these two finally returned with a routine worthy of their talents. The audience gave them a rousing round of applause, and they ended up taking first place. They also had a fantastic performance the following year at the same gathering.

9. 2014 Winter Olympics Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov.

There was a lot of controversy and drama surrounding the Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, but this routine by Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov was undeniably a high point.

This on-again, off-again couples combo put on quite a show at the inaugural team figure skating tournament in 2014. After finishing in third place, the Russian team was able to win the gold medal because to their performance in the free dance in front of the home crowd. Unfortunately, they broke up soon after that.

8. Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao 2003 World Figure Skating Championships.

Their home country of China has been proud recipients of multiple Olympic gold, but it was a routine performed at the World Championships that truly wowed the audience.

The fact that they are a married couple only adds to the sincerity of their performance, as their obvious closeness is palpable throughout this touching routine.

Shen and Zhao’s lengthy programme routine was awarded many flawless marks from the judges. What makes it even more astounding is that she did the whole routine while injured.

7. Winter Olympic Gold Medalists Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat

A passionate (and dramatic!) performance was guaranteed by the choice of “Romeo and Juliet, Opus 64: The Montagues and the Capulets” as the musical accompaniment.

One of the most striking aspects of this performance was Anissina’s ability to lift her companion multiple times. At the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, many supporters were disappointed that these two competitors didn’t win gold.

Many would say that they haven’t been topped in the years since, especially when it comes to that one defining move.

6. Meryl Davis and Charlie White Olympic Games of 2010

This routine by American ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White immediately went viral after its premiere. This routine was already a crowd pleaser by the time they performed it at the 2010 Olympics, where it helped them win silver.

Both the clothing and the dancing steps employed in this routine would likely be considered examples of cultural appropriation if it were performed today. This wasn’t on many people’s minds in 2010; yet, the effect of the Bollywood-inspired performance cannot be denied.

5. 1994, Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov

Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov, two of Russia’s greatest figure skaters, had one of the most famous romances in the sport’s annals. When she was 11 years old, they started skating together and have since done several amazing routines together.

This “The Man I Love” exhibition routine from the 1994 World Team Figure Skating Championships was the absolute summit of the sport.

They would go on to win the gold medal at the Olympics in Lillehammer later that same year. The fact that Grinkov died tragically the following year from a major heart attack at the age of 28 makes this performance all the more moving.

With this newfound understanding, it’s impossible to see the Northwest Mutual Life-sponsored show’s routine and keep from becoming choked up.

4. 2017 ISU World Team Trophy Winners Vanessa James and Morgan Ciprès

Each year, the International Skating Union hosts the World Team Trophy. In this event, skaters from all around the world compete for the honour of representing their country. While the French team as a whole did not place highly in 2017, Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres skated arguably their best ever as a couple.

In reality, they outscored the odds-on favourites Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov and won first place in both routines they performed. The chemistry between them is what makes the performance so compelling.

3. Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov, 2013 Skate America

Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov, two Russian figure skaters, have won a plethora of medals for their breathtaking performances over the years.

These two skated to the Andrew Lloyd Webber rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar,” which was a great choice for the audience because they were already familiar with the music. This couple broke the world record for cumulative score for routines at Skate America in 2013, and they retained that record until March of this year.

2. Winter Olympic Gold Medalists Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot

One pair’s outstanding free skate at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang earned them the gold medal. German competitors Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot had a rough go of it in the short programme but redeemed themselves in spectacular fashion in the free skate.

This programme not only helped them win the Olympic gold, but it also helped them set a new world record in the pairs free skate. After what must have been an incredible skate, when the two finally crashed to the ground, the audience sighed with relief.

1. Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir Olympic Winter Games 2018

Canada’s Tessa Virtue and partner Scott Moir dominated the ice dancing competition while Russia’s Aljona Savchenko and France’s Bruno Massot dominated the more technically demanding couples figure skating.

When it comes to support from fans throughout the world, it doesn’t get much better than this. After years of denial, the world begged them to come clean about their relationship after watching their passionate free skate to “Moulin Rouge” music.

When the audience believes you’re a pair, you know your presentation was successful. Both ice dancers had moved on from the sport and found partners outside of it by 2022. Thank goodness we have recordings of their shows to look back on!