The judges awarded Nick and Alex Karvounis a silver medal for their Teams Championship performance, but it wasn't reward enough for an audience that greeted their energetic and innovative routine with the evening's only standing ovation.
Even as the silver medals were placed around their necks, the chant of "gold, gold, gold" began around the hall. It echoed through the rest of the festival.
But the 19-year-old identical twin brothers, performing as Doubble Troubble, say they're holding no grudges against anyone. "We were happy the audience was with us," said Nick. "We're not going to get an attitude about it. The main thing was that the people enjoyed it and we thought we did the best we could."
Appearing in identical tuxedos with a background of classical music set to a rock beat, they opened with cigar box work never before seen on the IJA stage. It included a leapfrog steal, then moved into simultaneous moves with three boxes each. An intentional drop led into some unique stealing of boxes from each other and passes to each other. They did a three club runaround routine, then six club passing with solid alternating shoulder and Albert throws. It included multiplex club shoulder and Albert throws also, and a leapfrog steal of four clubs. Seven club passing began with one brother kicking up the seventh club to the other, and included shoulder and Albert throws, and back to back with double and single spins. They did nine club double and triple spin passing, and finished with six throws of ten club passing, culminated with a clever gather of all ten. There were three unintentional drops during the routine.
The Karvounis twins have competed several times previously, but said this may be their last appearance for a while. They were third in teams in 1987, second in 1988, second in 1989, and they won the club passing numbers competition in 1989.
"We're not sure we'll compete anymore," said Alex. "We've done it three years now and had a hard time putting this together because of our school work. I don't know if we'll have the time to put into the technical work. Besides, we'd like to go to Montreal and just enjoy a festival for once."
The twins are now enrolled as sophomores in the film production program at New York University in Manhattan and perform on weekends at South Street Seaport to help finance their education. Their street act is based on the idea of twins fighting. They perform with wireless microphones and include routines with clubs, torches, unicycles, and a bullwhip. They have entertained extensively at corporate and school functions, church and civic events, private parties, openings and galas since age 11. They won the team division of the Talent America competition in New York City in 1988 and performed at Busch Gardens during the summer of 1990.
The only other team that won a medal in the St. Louis Teams Championship was Clockwork, the team of Rick Rubenstein and Jack Kalvan. They had only two drops in a routine that was split between plastic flower pots, balls and clubs. They opened with the flower pots, manipulating them rhythmically around the stage to create and disassemble pyramids of up to ten pots. They juggled five large stage balls between themselves with various takeaways, passes, puts and bounces. It included a five ball cascade between two hands and a five ball bounce shower. They finished with three and four clubs with a wide variety of runarounds and takeaways.
The other teams entered were: