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  1. #1

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

    I felt like starting a new thread for U.S. Pairs in 2014 with this Olympic-related article.

    Olympics-bound skaters from Ellenton to practice before public 4 times
    BY RICHARD DYMOND
    http://www.bradenton.com/2014/01/16/...-ellenton.html
    Felicia Zhang and Nate Bartholomay] will spend the next 16 days practicing at Ellenton Ice & Sports Complex, before leaving the United States on Feb. 1, [Coach Jim] Peterson said.

    Four of the 16 sessions, including Friday, will be free and open to the public.

    ...
    The open practices will feature first-come, first-serve admission at 450 seats in the south rink, Lindemuth said.

    "We will open the doors at 12:45 p.m. and people will have to understand if all the seats are gone when they arrive," Lindemuth added.

    The most exciting sessions may be the two Fridays, Jan. 24 and Jan. 31, where the pair will reproduce their Olympic routine in costume with competitive music.

    On those days, Great Britain's Olympic team of Stacy Kemp and David King, who also train in Ellenton, will also skate in costume to their music, Peterson said.

    "I will talk to the crowd during the simulated sessions," Peterson said. "The skaters will have their six-minute warmups, just like a competition. It will be a competitive environment and the audience's reactions will be absolutely welcome."
    ...

    The Bartholomay-Zhang public schedule:

    • simulations, 1:10-2:10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24;

    • send-off party, noon, Saturday, Jan. 25;

    • training, 1:10-2:10 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29; and

    • simulations, 1:10-2:10 p.m., Friday, Jan. 31.
    "Randy [Starkman (1960-April 16, 2012)] lived by the same motto as the rest of us. The Olympics isn’t every four years, it’s every single day. He just got it." --Canadian Olympic kayaker Adam van Koeverden

  2. #2

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    I'm catching up on newsworthy Nationals and post-Nationals articles to post. Phil Hersh wrote an article on DeeDee Leng (she's from the Chicago area) after Leng/LeDuc's 3rd place SP at Nationals: Pairs a new beginning for Leng
    Excerpt:
    BOSTON – Within months of winning the 2009 U.S. junior championship in women’s singles, DeeDee Leng gave up figure skating at age 15.

    “I wasn’t really enjoying it any more,” she said. “I didn’t want to go to practice every day. It didn’t really inspire me. So I just decided to take a break and get a different perspective.”

    The break lasted the three years. She tried springboard diving, gymnastics and track while at Naperville Central High School.

    Finally, after watching the 2012 U.S. Championships, Leng realized she couldn’t stay off the ice any longer and returned to the sport.

    As a pairs skater.

    One who found herself just a tenth of a point from second place after Thursday’s short program in a national meet where results will have a major impact on which two pairs will represent the United States at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

    Leng, who turns 20 next week, and partner Timothy LeDuc, 24, got together because their coaches knew each other. Leng had previously expressed an interest in doing pairs, and LeDuc was looking for a new partner.

    “We got together for a tryout, and it was one of those moments when there was just a spark,” LeDuc said.

    The tryout was in June, 2012. Leng said she was rusty after three years away. LeDuc disagreed.

    “I had been through many tryouts that summer, and I was immediately impressed with how she took to pairs,” LeDuc said. “To be able to do the triple jumps side-by-side, very close, right away, I was like, `This girl knows what she is doing.’’’
    "Randy [Starkman (1960-April 16, 2012)] lived by the same motto as the rest of us. The Olympics isn’t every four years, it’s every single day. He just got it." --Canadian Olympic kayaker Adam van Koeverden

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    Two local Florida articles on the Denney sisters post-Nationals:

    Future appears bright for Haven Denney, Brandon Frazier

    Caydee Denney: 'We fought as hard as we could'
    "Randy [Starkman (1960-April 16, 2012)] lived by the same motto as the rest of us. The Olympics isn’t every four years, it’s every single day. He just got it." --Canadian Olympic kayaker Adam van Koeverden

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    Eurosport coverage of Kayne/O'Shea's silver medal performance at 4CC:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIa0JffxM5M

    What poise it took to overcome the fall at the beginning of the program. So happy for them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by semogal View Post
    Eurosport coverage of Kayne/O'Shea's silver medal performance at 4CC:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIa0JffxM5M

    What poise it took to overcome the fall at the beginning of the program. So happy for them.
    They have real potential. She's gorgeous and you can't take your eyes off of her.

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    Yep, this is the first US pair I've been excited about in a long time. Wishing them continued growth.

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    Shameless plug: I wrote a guest piece on Nationals for TSL on Nationals with a pretty substantial focus on US pairs. The comments are pretty much exclusively strong opinions on the pairs result & selection if anyone wants to weigh in. It's getting pretty heated on z/b, d/c and c/s and I'd love to hear some fsu pairs fan opinions.

    http://www.theskatinglesson.com/thes...onals-edition/

    As far as 4CC I'm also really excited about Kayne & O'Shea. Glad they ended their season on such a high note and looking forward to what next year holds for them.
    Last edited by lauren329; 01-26-2014 at 03:40 AM.

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    Lovely article, Lauren.

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    Yes. I'm also hoping for great things from Kayne / O'Shea. I really hope this puts them in good stead for some Grand Prix assignments next season, provided they maintain their momentum over the Summer. They probably should pick up a Skate America assignment.

    They have an 'it' factor, good jumps; SBS 3sals and 2x-2x sequences. He has good extension, is decently matched w/ her and she is a Diva in training which makes them capable of great choreography. I would only fault them on the 3 twist: It looks like he whips her around w/o trying for height, just to get enough rotations in to make it count but it's still way better than last year. Also, their throws are OK, but they are going to need bigger throws to compete w/ the best even just at Nationals, let alone elite teams at International competitions.

    Still, this is US pairs we are talking about - more heartbreak than success.

  10. #10

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    Zhang/Bartholomay hardly have "big" elements. I don't think throw size will limit Kaybe/O'Shea nationally. Their LP this year was nice, but I would love to see them work with a different choreographer. (I think Peterson does their programs now.)

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    From the previous thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by stjeaskategym View Post
    Actually, I'm somewhat confused about the twist levels, because to me it appears that D/C go for the same features as S/K in their twist (clean catch & the man's arms dropping), yet D/C regularly receive Lvl 3 while S/K regularly receive Lvl 2. I'm quite familiar with the pairs rules, but I must be missing something here.
    Quote Originally Posted by yfbg722 View Post
    Is Caydee getting the split before rotating? That gives them another level.
    Quote Originally Posted by stjeaskategym View Post
    She must be, but I'm puzzled by it. There is a clear attempt at a split, but she bends her leg quite a bit to help launch herself in the air, so it's not really that much of a split. I could understand giving teams a level for that, but I don't see why S/K wouldn't receive the same level considering their split looks similar, with the main difference being that Alexa's leg isn't as bent. It doesn't look to me that her legs are at any less of the required 45 degree angle than Caydee's, but every judging panel this year has thought differently than me. The only thing I can think of is that most video from this season shows D/C's twist from behind, so maybe the 45 degree angle is more apparent from the front? But I just don't see it.
    Yes, Denney gets credit for the split while Scimeca does not. In order to receive the split feature, there needs to be a 45 degree angle on each side, measured at the, um, crotch. The feature doesn't require straight legs; a bend at the knee is acceptable. However, Denney achieves the split when her legs are still (essentially) straight. These two images aren't perfectly clear, but you can get a sense. In the first picture, her right knee is mostly straight; in the second picture, you can see that she has begun to bend her right knee in preparation to "turn over" into the rotational position, similar to the entrance to a Salchow. (This is the more traditional technique, while keeping the right knee straight has become popular recently.) Notice how bending her right knee makes the split appear more pronounced if you're looking at her skates - which is where most people naturally look because the skates are white and shiny and moving - but the key here is the angle of her left leg: most skaters "split" the right (pick) leg, but the left (skating) one is much harder to get up.

    Now let's look at Scimeca. This is from a different angle, but look at her left leg: in the first picture, it's essentially straight down, maybe slightly split, but not even close to a 45 degree angle. In the second picture, it looks a bit more split, but the left leg is still closer to 0 than 45 degrees. In the third picture, it's clearly straight down. In addition, look at the position of Scimeca's right leg in all three pictures: there is a much greater "split" between her legs than Denney demonstrates, but it's almost entirely from one leg while Denney's is more evenly split between the two. In real time, that creates the illusion that Denney and Scimeca's splits are more comparable than they are.

    This split is called "We're not leaving any gray area for the technical panel to discuss."


    Quote Originally Posted by olympic View Post
    I would only fault [Kayne / O'Shea] on the 3 twist: It looks like he whips her around w/o trying for height, just to get enough rotations in to make it count but it's still way better than last year.
    There are a dozen major errors in the approach and takeoff of their twist that stem from inconsistent tracking and positioning on the approach, committed equally by both, but the one that you're describing is more her than him (although she's in a position to make it because of an error that he makes, etc.). Look at this picture: note how her posterior is at the level of his shoulders but she's already "gone": she's pushed off and is starting to turn over. Compare that to Scimeca and Knierim: her posterior is above his face and she's not even close to "going": his arms are getting close to straight, but she hasn't started to straighten her elbows to push off. Also notice Scimeca's position relative to Knierim: see how she's leaning back so that her center of gravity is right over him? That's nearly ideal, but very few teams achieve it.

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    Thanks! I love the detailed breakdown of pairs technique.

    It happens so fast I have no idea who's doing it right or just why it works, or doesn't.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hoptoad View Post
    Thanks! I love the detailed breakdown of pairs technique.

    It happens so fast I have no idea who's doing it right or just why it works, or doesn't.
    ^This! My DD was a pairs skater but I never really knew the details of what she was doing. Thanks for that excellent explanation 5Ali3

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    Does the split have to be 45 degrees for each leg from the center line or just 90 degrees total?

    Thanks for the analysis and pictures.

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    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    Zhang/Bartholomay hardly have "big" elements. I don't think throw size will limit Kaybe/O'Shea nationally. Their LP this year was nice, but I would love to see them work with a different choreographer. (I think Peterson does their programs now.)
    But, this is a reason why I don't think that Z/B are going to be a top-ranked pair team and IMO, it's beneficial for K/O and Z/B to gain the practice and confidence to have bigger throws.

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    I haven't been this excited about US pairs in a long, long time. So many teams have great potential. Please let them escape the US Pairs break up curse!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by olympic View Post
    Yes. I'm also hoping for great things from Kayne / O'Shea. I really hope this puts them in good stead for some Grand Prix assignments next season, provided they maintain their momentum over the Summer. They probably should pick up a Skate America assignment.
    They are 14th on the season's best list at present. Even if they get pushed down after the Olympics and Worlds, it's a safe bet that they will stay in the top 24. As such, they are going to get one assignment at a minimum, and likely two.
    Beefcake's fancy, saccharine, artsy, drag bingo cliche effusing, bipolar, OTT fashionista manchild

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayar View Post
    They are 14th on the season's best list at present. Even if they get pushed down after the Olympics and Worlds, it's a safe bet that they will stay in the top 24. As such, they are going to get one assignment at a minimum, and likely two.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayar View Post
    They are 14th on the season's best list at present. Even if they get pushed down after the Olympics and Worlds, it's a safe bet that they will stay in the top 24. As such, they are going to get one assignment at a minimum, and likely two.
    Do the Olympics count with Season Best Scores?

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    My understanding is that for ISU seasons best scores only the ISU Grand Prix competitions (senior and junior) are taken into consideration, not other international competitions or national championships. I think there was an exception made for Nebelhorn Trophy. Olympics runs on different criteria and is not an ISU event, for example, the minimum required TES to enter are different.

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