U.S. Pairs 2014 - News and Updates, Part III

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by Sylvia, Jan 18, 2014.

  1. Sylvia

    Sylvia On to Nationals!

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    Olivia Oltmanns/Joshua Santillan placed 6th in Junior at 2014 Nationals (3rd in the FS) and are planning to move up to Senior this year, according to their official site. Santillan wrote a blog post back in early March titled "Winning isn't Everything": http://www.olivia-josh.com/blog/2014/3/5/winning-isnt-everything
    Excerpt:
     
  2. yfbg722

    yfbg722 Active Member

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    I've always felt pairs is the most difficult discipline too in that pairs skaters must also keep up their singles skills. Most skate at least three sessions per day, two pair and one singles. They will also do off ice lift classes in addition to whatever off ice classes the singles skaters are doing. It's a very heavy load.
     
  3. reese

    reese Well-Known Member

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    If you are a top U.S. pairs skater and you see a team like, say, Scimeca/Knierim team up and then 7-8 months later win the silver medal at Nationals and finish top 10 at Worlds... well, I'm not sure how inspired you would be to stay in a partnership that you feel is stagnating or to stick it out through the down years with your partner. It would be easy to think that an instant gratification National medal or World team is just a quick partner switch away, especially when the pairs field in the U.S. is so (relatively) weak with no dominant teams.

    Dance requires more time to gel. Even Chock/Bates didn't make the Nationals podium their first year together.
     
  4. NadineWhite

    NadineWhite Well-Known Member

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    Love your post, ITA! :respec:

    On that note, Gretchen Donlan is keeping up her singles skills by competing on her university's skating team, her latest competition being this past weekend, wherein she won the GOLD in the junior ladies SP and took Bronze in the junior ladies FS, contributing to her university's team winning SILVER overall. :cool:

    https://twitter.com/BUFigureSkating


    Here's an article that came out a couple of months ago about Gretchen juggling being a full-time premed student and also skating on her university's team. :)

    http://www.bu.edu/today/2014/gretchen-donlan-figure-skating-and-premed/
     
  5. Sylvia

    Sylvia On to Nationals!

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    James (Jimmy) Morgan, a Boston University senior, also represented his team this past weekend and placed 2nd in both Junior Men's SP and Championship FS. He and his Sr. Pairs partner, Alexandria (Alex) Shaughnessy, are currently in Montreal having their SP choreographed. She tweeted:
     
  6. Sylvia

    Sylvia On to Nationals!

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    Aya Takai, age 17, listed herself on IPS on 4/15. She was 7th in Junior Pairs with Brian Johnson at 2014 Nationals and 11th at Junior Worlds. She has dual USA and Japanese citizenship. Takai/Johnson are one of 4 ISU Junior age-eligible pairs listed in USFS' 2014-15 ISP.

    ETA an update on Andrea Poapst that I've also posted in the Canadian Pairs thread:
    I Googled her name and she is a student at the University of Miami's School of Business and also coaching at a rink in the area. She has removed her IPS bio.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2014
  7. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

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    Devastated about Leng/LeDuc. They were one of my favorite teams! I hope he plans on continuing w/ someone
     
  8. The Observer

    The Observer New Member

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    Yes, I suppose the fact that in the U.S. you can make the pairs podium almost overnight because of the weak competition, ends up meaning that a lot of partner switches take place. Skaters in the U.S. can change pairs regularly and still make it to the podium even if they are only of average ability. You couldn't do that in Canada or Russia. There are several strong top teams in those countries and it's harder to make the podium the same year you get a new partner.
     
  9. jdonavan

    jdonavan Member

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    An educated eye would beg to differ regarding the "weak" US teams. The current remaining teams (if they remain together) should develop well and have strong potential. Remember Aliona is now training for her 5th Olympics. It takes time to develop. Having a federation that promotes their pair teams at an International level also would be good. (i.e.: Canada)
     
  10. NadineWhite

    NadineWhite Well-Known Member

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    I agree with jdonavan about the "weak" comment in regards to USA pairs, it's not only insulting, ignorant, but supercilious as well. :rolleyes: Seriously, if one takes a serious look at the history of US Nationald Pairs podium throughout the years one will see that there's usually one or two dominant pairs at the top with third & fourth given a little more leeway, but all in all it's usually the same names at the top (e.g. Denny & Coughlin and Castelli & Schnapir): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Figure_Skating_Championships

    Rockne Brubaker's name was almost always on the podium with his various partners when he competed (he even won twice), and the same can be said for Evora & Ladwig for at least 5 years there (though they never won), and now it looks like Scimeca & Knierim, as well as Zhang & Bartholomay (both pair teams have podiumed the past few years, though they have yet to win).

    It takes *hard work* to podium, as evidenced by the names that have shown up year after year (sometimes with different partners) but have never podiumed. Reason: the competition is *tough*, not weak. Period!

    Now onto something and someone that I think has the most potential out of all the pair guys currently skating ~ Chris Knierim (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Knierim) ~ his history going all the way back to novice, wherein he won the Novice Pair Title with Brynn Carman, is exceptional. With each new pair partner he kept getting better & better with superb results, all the way up to his fabulous pairing of fiancee Alexa Scimeca. He went from Novice Champion with Brynn Carman to Junior Silver Medalist with the same girl & also with Andrea Poapst (i.e. Jr. Silver Medalist twice with two different partners) to Senior Silver Medalist with Alexa Scimeca on their first try. :cool: And he's not done yet, being only 26 yrs. old, and possessing attributes that are very important for a pair guy, namely height (6'2"), and strength. When I say strength I'm talking not only about the humongous 3twist he does with Alexa, but also the gorgeous 4twist he used to do with his 12 yr. old partner Brynn Carman, which in Chris's own words he described "as his defining life moment performing a quad twist". :smokin: Of course once Brynn went from a tiny petite under 5-feet tall sprite to a 5'4" woman they could no longer do it, but I have high hopes that due to Chris's strength & expertise with the 3twist he will one day do a 4twist with Alexa, now that's he's a man, no longer a teenager. Jmho. :)

    http://figureskating.about.com/od/figureskatingmovesvideos/youtube/quadtwist.htm

    http://figureskating.about.com/od/i...ld-s-Skaters/Dalilah-With-Brynn-and-Chris.htm
     
  11. Squeeky

    Squeeky New Member

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    Anyone thinking a Marley/LeDuc matchup would be nice?
     
  12. The Observer

    The Observer New Member

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    Your reaction seems a little over the top. :drama: When I was saying the competition is sometimes 'weak' at the US pairs level, what I was also getting at is that there are no U.S. pairs that have been on the World or Olympic podium over the past decade. You unfortunately have to go back to Ina & Zimmerman in 2002 to find a pair that won at the World level. This is in contrast to Canada, Russia, Europe & China which have multiple medalists in pairs at the World and Olympic level.

    This weak (inconsistent?) performance by U.S. pairs internationally means that there is so much switching of partners and retirements that the U.S. finds it hard to build up a stable of pairs that can beat the top pairs internationally.
     
  13. NadineWhite

    NadineWhite Well-Known Member

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    This is what you stated, The Observer, verbatim. And which I disagreed with. No flip flopping please. :rolleyes:


    Back on topic, I agree with Squeeky that a pairing of Mary Beth Marley (4'10") and Timothy LeDuc (6'1") would be nice. :) She's a contender for sure. She & Rockne podiumed their first time at Nationals and their second time as well ~ went from 4th to 2nd. :cool: And with the added height differential who knows what they could accomplish!!!!!
     
  14. JJH

    JJH Well-Known Member

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    Observer, what is this country you call Europe and who represents it? Do you mean Germany? Because Germany is the only European country, other than Russia, that has been on the World or Olympic podium in the last 10 years. Specifically, the team of Savchenko and Szolkowy is the only German team who has placed on the World or Olympic podium in the last 10 years. I don't think that Germany is knee deep in pair talent the way that Russia seems to be again. I hope that Savchenko can find a partner. So, Observer, when you characterize the country of "Europe" as having multiple medalists, you are really only referring to 1 team: Savchenko and Szolkowy. Russia, however, is drowning in talent. I expect Russia to dominate the pairs podium for the next 4 years, but share the medals with Canada and China. This doesn't make the teams from all other countries, including the USA, "weak" as you put it. They are all world class athletes.
     
  15. The Observer

    The Observer New Member

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    Yes, I was referring to mainly Germany over the past decade of course with S&S. But there have been others before that. The French pair of Abitbol & Bernadis won a medal in 2000 and there have been other European pairs over the years, such as Woetzel & Steuer.

    Europe was just one geographic area I was representing, but obviously it hasn't dominated the same way that Russia and Canada have.
     
  16. Jammers

    Jammers Well-Known Member

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    Since when has Canada dominated in Pairs?
     
  17. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

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    Well, right now they are the dominate force in the 4-continent region. (Not necessarily @ the 4CCs championship- since this year they didn't send their top teams.)

    But of all the Asia-Africa-Australia-Americas countries, I'd say Canada dominates (or maybe China...).

    But yeah, world-wide; pairs is dominated by Europe.
     
  18. Jammers

    Jammers Well-Known Member

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    Canada better hope neither of their top teams get hurt because even the US has way more depth just not a top 6 Pairs team.
     
  19. lauren329

    lauren329 Active Member

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    That's true. I would say any of our top 6 or 7 pairs could beat/compete with Canada's number three and certainly below. The success of teams like MT/M and especially D/R gives me eternal hope that one of our pairs will break into the upper echelon if we can just have a team be consistent enough to be the clear US # 1 and get some real international momentum building. I know D&C were very consistent but I think his injury prevented them from building internationally on their first year momentum and then when they came back, we had USFS kind of unsure as to whether C/S or D/C was their #1 and putting them head to head at SA (plus S/K had built some momentum with their Worlds finish). And with the US having B lister status in pairs internationally, the federation half heartedly backing 2-3 teams did no one team any major favors internationally in terms of building momentum. If we can seriously get behind one team who performs relatively consistently internationally, for more than 1 season, I think we'll at least get back into the conversation the way we were in the Meno and Ina eras. With a US Worlds looming, I hope it happens. Depth and similar international finishes among 3-5 teams makes for an exciting Nationals but we need one team to solidly and firmly distinguish themselves from the pack.

    C/S seemed to be on that road in Sochi and I think they would have been rewarded with very good scores at Worlds and at least 7th or 8th place, setting themselves up really well for next season, but they didn't walk through that door. I don't think it's closed however assuming they come back but they'll have to start strong. Next season will be interesting all around, I'm excited to see who gets what GPs.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2014
  20. The Observer

    The Observer New Member

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    I didn't say Canada was the ONLY dominant country in pairs, but it has been one of the dominant countries for many years, after Russia, which has won the most World titles. But Canada has always had a series of pairs on the World podium, and has won many World titles over the years, as well as Olympic medals. Historically, Canada has been ahead of the U.S. in pairs skating. This is a generally accepted fact. It's the same as how the U.S. has been far more dominant in women's skating than Canada, which is a weak point for Canadian skating.
     
  21. Sylvia

    Sylvia On to Nationals!

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    And China.

    It sounds like Matt Blackmer has found his new partner, based on his tweet tonight. :)
     
  22. Meteorlight

    Meteorlight Active Member

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    I think China is WAY more dominant than Canada in pairs, being the only country to legitimately break the Russian dominance at the Olympics (i.e. not have to share the gold). The two top Canadian teams were beaten all this season by an aged Chinese team on their last competitive breathe and even on a few occasions by the two younger (except Zhang Hao) Chinese teams - how's that dominating the 4CC circuit?

    China had a bit of a down-swing after Vancouver with retirements and injuries, but like Russia, they're definitely on the rise again, with several promising teams coming up the pipeline, including the Jr world champs. I don't see the same for Canada, unless maybe if Mervin Tran can find a better partner. Personally I don't think European pairs are that competitive right now either, if you take out Russia. I'll give you Canada being stronger than the US in pairs, for the moment, but I think the US has a lot more depth (if our teams don't keep breaking up). Next quad should be interesting.
     
  23. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

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    Who??? Don't tease! :eek:
     
  24. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

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    I'd guess this is the tweet that post was based on.
    So he hasn't said yet.
     
  25. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

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    Canada had 2 teams finish above any other 4CC country at Worlds this year. The only 4CC team that beat them in the Olympics is now retired. Canada also had 2 teams in the GPF, though China did have 2 teams above them (one now retired).

    So perhaps Canada and China are sharing dominance of the 4C countries; but Canada is certainly doing well right now. Most the the 4C countries are just non-entities in pairs.

    They do lack depth however. (The US seems to have depth in all the disciplines, but no one at the top.)
     
  26. NadineWhite

    NadineWhite Well-Known Member

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    Lol Matthew Blackmer has a wry sense of humour, this is his new skating partner: https://twitter.com/MattBmer/status/456984791137542145/photo/1 :lol:
     
  27. Sylvia

    Sylvia On to Nationals!

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  28. pairskatingfan

    pairskatingfan New Member

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    Can't believe Leng/ Leduc split up. I hope they find good partners, they are so talented!
     
  29. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

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    So Matt was just kidding that his partner search is over?

    Wonder what the odds are of Joshua Fendi growing taller than his sister? They definitely possess great basic skating skills and Oppegard has a flair for interesting pair choreography, tho his wife Karen might have created this team's recent winning routine.
     
  30. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

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    I don't know. He posted his search was over.

    And then later he posted the joke picture. It wasn't just the joke.