Are Lisa Hunrichs Silvey and Mary Jorgenson the comeback team of the year? With consistent top 2 finishes at the worlds since 1995, you wouldn’t think they would need a comeback.
At the 1999 worlds, Cindy Kruger and Brenda Savage defended their title and won by a huge margin, it seemed like there was a new dynasty. Hunrichs Silvey/Jorgenson might be closed out of another world championships win. Unless they mounted a comeback.
So now it’s the summer of 2000. The best freestylers are coming to Seattle for the world championships. All four women are involved in planning the world championships, and Hunrichs Silvey and Jorgenson are the tournament directors. A comeback? If I were them, I’d settle for a few hours of sleep and ten minutes to warm up.
Hunrichs Silvey and Jorgenson have generally put together more pleasing routines, but they’ve had trouble nailing them when pushed. Kruger and Savage gained their first title on difficulty, and they rounded out their performance in 1999 with a more polished presentation. It’s the classic freestyle battle – shred factor plus a little presentation versus presentation and a little shred factor.
In Seattle this year, things shifted. Kruger and Savage were both playing with bad backs. It seemed to throw their timing off. They seemed less relaxed, and their execution in both the semis and finals was mediocre. Yeah, they pulled off some wacko combos, but the consistency and dominance they had in 1999 escaped them.
The second shift was the upset run by Judy Robbins and Anne Graves. Robbins arguably does the most complex and difficult combos of any woman. Graves has been on a roll since Sweden in 1999. As a team, though, they were darkhorses. In the finals, they contained their errors and managed a one drop routine, laying down the gauntlet for Kruger/Savage and Hunrichs Silvey/Jorgenson.
Hunrichs Silvey and Jorgenson did not know how clean Robbins and Graves had played. They just went about their business, and this is the subtle change that made their comeback possible. The team, especially Hunrichs Silvey, played both the semifinals and finals with extreme confidence. Whereas before, sometimes it seemed like they might drop at any moment, they gave off an aura of solidity.
Hunrichs Silvey and Jorgenson started out huge. The first half of their routine was dropless. Even a few scattered drops in the second half of the routine did not rattle them. Then, in the last forty seconds of the routine, they got messy. The seemingly insurmountable lead they built up seemed to slip away with each drop. Even so, they continued to play through their mistakes with professionalism and showmanship. It was a different team, and they probably played better in both the semis and finals than they had in any previous world championships.
Onlookers who were counting drops got the impression that they might have let the title slip away. The judges were giving the routines a much closer look, and their scores showed that even with the extra drops, Hunrichs Silvey/Jorgenson had played as clean as Robbins/Graves due to a number of smaller mistakes by Robbins/Graves. Hunrichs Silvey/Jorgenson cleaned up in presentation and scored well in difficulty and won by more than 4 points.