"'Is this new BMW-designed sled the ultimate sledding machine for Langdon and Holcomb?' Leigh Diffey asked before the pair cruised to victory. I don’t know, but I know that sled is the ultimate Olympic Games product placement.." -- Jen Chaney
C/K are looking good and they have the advantage of youth, plus a good, reputable coach in Sappenfield. Donlan/Speroff apparently need more time to improve their jumps and build confidence under pressure. Do C/K have a GP assignment? I like Castelli/ Schnapir and Y/R have as yet untapped potential. I'm hoping that Rockne Brubaker is able to find a good partner and come back to make the Olympic team. U.S. pairs have solid contenders in Denney/ Coughlin, but need another pair to perform well internationally to help preserve two spots for Worlds and Olympics.
S/K were definitely impressive in the SP. The LP is the true test, and that's where they look a lot more new. The program isn't great and they don't look as comfortable. But even though they made several mistakes, it's still great to see a well executed triple twist, big throws (that 3FTh still looks impressive even when not landed cleanly), and solid enough lvl 4 lifts with decent positions (even though they struggled a bit on the exit of the last one).
Congrats to Scimeca/Knierim on their win!!
I'm hopeful about their potential, but I'm not crazy about the programs for CO Springs teams. They just look empty skating from element to element. It is impressive to see a newly matched team win an international and I hope that they get more intricate choreography as they can handle it.
Scores aren't always comparable between events, but S/K have shown that they have the goods to medal at Nationals if they can continue to improve their PCS and hold it together mentally.
I'm interested to see how Kayne/O'Shea look at Sectionals- they scored quite well earlier this season and his programs with Christine Mozer at Sectionals last year were quite impressive as a junior- unfortunately for them, there was an injury before Nationals. I'm also looking forward to seeing teams like Denney/Frazier and Zhang/Bartholomay. That said, since Scimeca/Knierim were able to do so well at Cup of Nice, this sets them up nicely for the rest of the season- its really exciting for them to win because they are now the only team on the GP alternates list- would be fantastic for them to have a chance to attain an ISU SB this season. It's been a long road for both Alexa (I remember she battled some really tough fields at Mids as a singles skater) and Chris, so its great to see things finally coming together on a higher level for them. At the moment, I do feel Castelli/Shnapir have a great advantage in the presentation aspect over most of the US pairs and I'm rooting for them to get to Worlds this year, but I'd be pretty thrilled for whoever ends up making it (which, we'll see if anyone else besides D/C, C/S, and S/K can make the minimum score at an international comp)...
They don't strike me as being head-casey either. I personally can't wait to see them develop ...
Yeah, my only complaint about them is that they're a little slow.. And if they ever want to compete internationally they need a lot more speed. Obviously the SP has been their strength this year, so hopefully by the end of the season their FS will be just as good ( I think they look slow even in the SP)
I like S/K and think they have potential. Hopefully, they can somehow get a GP. It is a shame, with Pair teams dropping out of GP's like flies, that some of US's teams with potential like Z/B, S/K, and even D/F can't get a shot at the GP, while teams like D/L and Y/R get two chances at the GP and aren't ready (I know Y/R pulled out of one, but still....). Nationals should be really interesting! From 2nd on the field is fairly wide open. It's anyone's game at this point. A lot of teams have the potential to medal with a solid performance.
To me it's honestly anybody's game. The only pair I would say is almost certainly a sure thing is Denney & Coughlin, rightfully so. As for the rest, it's just whose game is on that day. Of course repetition repetition repetition helps, but they don't want to overdo it in case of injury. And reputation does help, but not always. A brand new team can come out of nowhere (with no prior reputation) and hit a home run. Therefore my point that "it's anybody's game".
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO DONLAN & SPEROFF!!!!!
Duarte/Grafton: The very first time that I saw Duarte and Grafton skate, the very first element that I saw them do was a Lutz lift that failed spectacularly: I think she jumped around him (like she was rotating a Lutz, instead of just "popping" straight up, like a Lutz lift ) and he dropped her. Even at Juvenile Pairs, it's unusual to see a team miss a Lutz lift so completely! When I think about watching them compete over years, I remember their first year in Novice, struggling with an attempted double twist; Lake Placid JGP, trying new lifts and s/s triples; Junior Pairs and that remarkable wipe-out into/against the boards on a spiral sequence. Because this what I'll remember about them: they always went for it. In pairs, there's an expression that almost everyone uses: "If you're going to go, go big." Duarte and Grafton never held back in competition: they always, always went for it, each throw as big as possible, each crossover pushing out as fast as possible, each program showcasing their full technical content, even if they would have placed higher by playing it safe. Duarte/Grafton deserve the highest kudos for always competing as full-out as they practiced, and for genuinely caring more about how they were developing as a team, in the big picture, than in their placement. It was a pleasure to watch them mature, both as skaters and as individuals, and to see the mutual respect and support that they had for each other.
I wouldn't say Davis & Y/R would necessarily be done after 2014... I do agree though, lots of good Junior Pairs coming up the next two years (including the already upcoming D/F) should make for hopefully a bit more successful cycle next time 'round.
Our pairs don't look exceptionally strong this year outside the top few, only the 1,4,5,8, & 9 teams from last year are returning, along with only 1 team moved up from junior, means that new formed teams that make up half the field. I think though that by the 2015 season we should have a new top 4 force to be added to the pairs we have
All the Colorado springs pairs have great potential, and they all have great technical ability. But they need a new choreographer.