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View Full Version : Denney, Coughlin announce pairs partnership



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PDilemma
07-20-2011, 05:55 PM
It was a collective we. The fans don't form any partnerships. I'm talking about the skaters, coaches, people who have a hand in these decisions.

USFSA needs to consider finding ways to help make partnerships last. I don't know what that is. Maybe more support to help coaches navigate personality conflicts and issues...there has to be something.

And the problem is not so much that there are some splits, that's normal enough. The problem is the top teams are constantly splitting. Russia's and China's champions aren't splitting up every summer. Ours are.

feraina
07-20-2011, 06:12 PM
USFSA needs to consider finding ways to help make partnerships last. I don't know what that is. Maybe more support to help coaches navigate personality conflicts and issues...there has to be something.

Well, I think it has to do with the decentralized and privatized nature of U.S. figure skating. Coaches are hired hands and have to worry about making a living -- they're not always in the position to step into the personal conflicts of skaters. Skaters take lessons with multiple coaches at multiple rinks, who don't always talk to each other. Skaters' families have to pony up huge sums of money every year for training, and parents have to make all the financial decisions whilst not being experts in skating or coaching, and so may pull their children out of one coach/city and move to other to get the what they think is the best bang for the buck. Skaters quit for financial reasons; doubtlessly, sometimes they change partners for those reasons, too.

In most other big skating countries (Russia, China, Japan to some extent), the federations have much more power. Skate Canada really stepped up with all their special training camps and monitoring sessions in the four years leading up to Vancouver and got some great results at the Olympics.

I think there is always a tension between individual freedom and federation support. You can't expect the federation to provide funding and authority without also losing some independence/freedom. Case in point: Rachael Flatt's reprimand/fine.

RD
07-20-2011, 06:21 PM
In most other big skating countries (Russia, China, Japan to some extent), the federations have much more power. Skate Canada really stepped up with all their special training camps and monitoring sessions in the four years leading up to Vancouver and got some great results at the Olympics.


I guess the debate then becomes whether USFS should take a heavier-handed approach to the pairs. But then it wouldn't really seem fair to come down on only pairs and leave the other disciplines free to do as they please.

victoriaheidi
07-20-2011, 06:26 PM
USFSA needs to consider finding ways to help make partnerships last. I don't know what that is. Maybe more support to help coaches navigate personality conflicts and issues...there has to be something.

And the problem is not so much that there are some splits, that's normal enough. The problem is the top teams are constantly splitting. Russia's and China's champions aren't splitting up every summer. Ours are.

I think I'm going to get flamed for this...but hear me out.

I think that USFS needs to establish (and for the record, I have NO CLUE where the funding would come from. This is all from my dream world where USFS has unlimited cash. Please don't get on me about the money side of it) a sort of "breakup" plan. I think part of the problem is that it's way too simple to break up (ok, again, that's the part I thought would get me flamed. I'm sure there are logistics-money, personal things, etc-but I feel like it's basically a rubber stamp and they're home free!).

I'm not saying that teams shouldn't be allowed to break up-I'm just saying that I think that it shouldn't be as simple as, "oh, I'd rather skate with Caydee today...and tomorrow, I'm going after *another skater.*" It should require some work to break up and it should require serious evaluation of the reasons why the pair is breaking up.

I just feel like, from an outside perspective (and I openly admit that this is a completely outside perspective), it looks like breaking up is very easy. It shouldn't be that easy.

Sylvia
07-20-2011, 06:32 PM
OK, to play devil's advocate... having watching US pair teams team up, have success/have limited success/not have much success, break up, etc. over many years, I've come to the conclusion that the majority of pair skaters might be better off expecting to team up at the Senior level (if they make it that far), and should consider any and all experience gained at the Junior, Novice and lower levels as valuable training/practice/preparation/etc. for Senior. Perhaps splits would be then viewed as part of a "normal" process in pairs and therefore not necessarily a "bad thing." :P

julieann
07-20-2011, 06:34 PM
USFSA needs to consider finding ways to help make partnerships last. I don't know what that is. Maybe more support to help coaches navigate personality conflicts and issues...there has to be something.

And the problem is not so much that there are some splits, that's normal enough. The problem is the top teams are constantly splitting. Russia's and China's champions aren't splitting up every summer. Ours are.

I think it's more that Russia and China recognized that skating is a job. They just can't quit and find a another world class partner around the corner; just ask Mukhortova. If you want to leave your partner you better be prepared to retire or find someone far below your skills.

The Chinese have only had 3 good teams and they have been together for a long time. S/Z-1992, P/T-1993, Z/Z-1997.

The Germans have been together since 2003.

The Russians haven't been together that long, about 5 years. K/S, 2006, B/L-2005, I/M-2006, M/R-2006, S/K-2009, V/T-2010, G/E-2010 and M/T-2003 (retired). They do have just as many splits as anyone just not among the very top; look at Konstantin Bezmaternikh, I think he's on his 3rd partner.

I think the US needs better pairs coaches and choreographers.

PDilemma
07-20-2011, 06:36 PM
I just feel like, from an outside perspective (and I openly admit that this is a completely outside perspective), it looks like breaking up is very easy. It shouldn't be that easy.

Perhaps teams that have received funding should have to at least consult USFSA.

Musical pairs isn't getting anyone anywhere. And I think that is a lot of the reason for the frustration directed at John C. here. The sixth place finish at Worlds followed by yet another U.S. Nat. champ team splitting is the last straw for a lot of fans. We've been "teased" by a pair team with potential yet again. And why get behind any team at this point. It begins to seem that once a team wins a U.S. title the countdown to break-up thread should be posted.

kwanfan1818
07-20-2011, 06:39 PM
I think the ew factor for some is they supposedly hooked up while she was still a minor.

Even if she was still a minor, she was still above the age of consent. I don't think there would have been any "ew" if he were 19 or 20.

I think it's the age difference, although I've never heard an "ew" about Moskvina and Moskvin, with a 12-year age difference when they got together -- or as she put it, "So all the romance with the others was over by the age of 20" -- and he being her coach at the time. That kind of age gap seems to be fine in most cases after the couple has been together for quite a while and has reached or passed middle age together.

feraina
07-20-2011, 06:41 PM
Perhaps teams that have received funding should have to at least consult USFSA.

Hmm, one way to do this would be for USFSA to say, we only give you funding in blocks of so much time (4 years? 2 years?), and in receiving the money you commit to being a team for that period. If you break up before that period (except for special cases like career-ending injuries), you will not be eligible for federation funding for n number of years. And that funding should be substantial so that it really makes skaters think much harder about resolving their issues before breaking up.

hippychick
07-20-2011, 06:43 PM
Sylvia

While I think that that is an interesting idea, the problem for many of these teams is if they don't team up until they are Seniors, unless they immediately finish at the top and they are offered a SGP or 4 continents they are pretty much stuck as far as gaining international experience, other than Senior B competitions, especially under the new isu rules. Teams like Davis/Leftheris, Donlan/Speroff, Proapst/Knierim will have a difficult time ever getting a SGP assignment and could potentially become incredibly discouraged no matter how talented they may be.

I think that the USFS needs to take more things into consideration when they are choosing their Skate America assignments, since that is one of the few ways the teams above can get on the senior grand prix. They should be looking at the long term potential of a team, not just how a team finishes at the previous years nationals.

kwanfan1818
07-20-2011, 07:16 PM
I don't think it's rocket science to think if money issues cause skaters to stop skating throwing money at it will allow them to keep skating, or if lack of opportunity combined with return on investment causes skaters to stop skating, giving them opportunity will allow them to continue skating. That doesn't guarantee that they will, and if people follow incentives, they may stick together for the money or opportunity when they are better off with different partners or their heart isn't in it, but they haven't figured out what to do with life out of the rink.

If USFS gives the opportunity to skaters yet unproven, what do the skaters in the middling ranks do, when they are no longer the young, unproven skaters but aren't at the top ranks. It's always a trade-off.

If they make breaking up costly, then perhaps parents will stop funding their skaters, because they don't want them locked into a 4-year contract that makes them financially liable in case their skater really wants to quit or their skater's partner can afford to pay back the money and quits on them.

All of this assumes that partnerships should last, even if there are personal differences, and I disagree that USFS should behave as a marriage counselor or as a state demanding counseling before a divorce.

just tuned in
07-20-2011, 07:29 PM
OK, to play devil's advocate... having watching US pair teams team up, have success/have limited success/not have much success, break up, etc. over many years, I've come to the conclusion that the majority of pair skaters might be better off expecting to team up at the Senior level (if they make it that far), and should consider any and all experience gained at the Junior, Novice and lower levels as valuable training/practice/preparation/etc. for Senior. Perhaps splits would be then viewed as part of a "normal" process in pairs and therefore not necessarily a "bad thing." :P

Sylvia, this is great reasoning, and of course there is the added problem that young girls often physically outgrow their partners (perhaps only temporarily), which creates an unsafe condition for the pair when it comes to lifts.

My suggestion to the USFSA is that all elite male skaters taller than 5'7 with decent upper-body development be required to attend partner camps. Also, if a large number of fans insist that so-and-so ought to pair up with so-and-so, the couple must have a try-out. :)

Bogie
07-20-2011, 07:42 PM
My suggestion to the USFSA is that all elite male skaters taller than 5'7 with decent upper-body development be required to attend partner camps. Also, if a large number of fans insist that so-and-so ought to pair up with so-and-so, the couple must have a try-out. :)

:rofl:

I would add sending girls who look like they won't top 5'2 after puberty to these compulsory camps. Oh, and everybody has to have a consistent double axel and one triple! :cool:

shan
07-20-2011, 07:45 PM
My suggestion to the USFSA is that all elite male skaters taller than 5'7 with decent upper-body development be required to attend partner camps. Also, if a large number of fans insist that so-and-so ought to pair up with so-and-so, the couple must have a try-out. :)

:rofl:

stjeaskategym
07-20-2011, 08:01 PM
If you make breaking up too costly, even fewer skaters will take the risk of skating pairs. There are already consequences for switching partners- not serious ones, but they are there. A skater like John has lost his Team A funding and has given up his guaranteed two GP assignments for a chance at one host pick. It really has to be up to the skaters to decide who will be their partners and for how long. They are the only ones who truly understand all the circumstances involved in their partnerships.


There are plenty of less duplicitous ways to have handled this. Perhaps saying he and Caitlyn's styles or goals or training habits or whatever were very different hence he felt a change would suit him better.



I have never heard of any pairs or ice dance partners say that in a public statement just after a breakup, though this must be true from time to time. It seems highly undiplomatic and discourteous, and suggestive of acrimony and bitterness. Had they really said that, we'd be suspecting of something much worse and more scandalous! :hat1:

"I needed a change" or "I was looking to go in a different direction" are typical reasons given when skaters leave coaches and immediately team up with new ones. Since John's situation is similar, I think a vague explanation along these lines would have been sufficient. It's not dramatic, disingenuous, or "fluffed up" (a phrase another poster used). While this wouldn't have ended the speculation/accusations regarding John working with Caydee before he even told Caitlin it was over, at least it would have come across as sincere.

In the articles about this new pairing, it seems that the parties involved are trying to sugarcoat a tough (at least for Caitlin) situation in an attempt to generate hype for themselves. They can say whatever they want, and public statements aren't very important in the grand scheme of things, but the whole story telling did rub me the wrong way a little. It seems like we're beating this to death now, but as long as these fluffy articles keep getting written, I still think it's worthy of discussion.

Even if the combination of John and Caydee resulted in the best pair team on earth and even if they love skating with each other more than anything in the world, it doesn't make the handling of previous partnerships/breakups any less important. I don't think anyone in this situation is "evil", and I'm not going to hold any grudges against them because it... In a situation this tough, there is no one right way to handle it... But there do seem to be certain things that you just should not do.