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

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

  1. Sylvia

    Sylvia Prepping for club comp. season!

    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
  2. Sylvia

    Sylvia Prepping for club comp. season!

    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
  3. Sylvia

    Sylvia Prepping for club comp. season!

  4. semogal

    semogal Well-Known Member

  5. Jammers

    Jammers Well-Known Member

    They have real potential. She's gorgeous and you can't take your eyes off of her.
  6. blancanieves

    blancanieves Well-Known Member

    Yep, this is the first US pair I've been excited about in a long time. Wishing them continued growth.
  7. lauren329

    lauren329 Active Member

    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.


    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: Jan 26, 2014
    BlueRidge and (deleted member) like this.
  8. barbk

    barbk Well-Known Member

    Lovely article, Lauren.
  9. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

    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.
    halffull and (deleted member) like this.
  10. reese

    reese Well-Known Member

    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.)
  11. 5Ali3

    5Ali3 Active Member

    From the previous thread:

    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." :lol:

    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.
    gkelly, Doggygirl, LilJen and 5 others like this.
  12. hoptoad

    hoptoad Well-Known Member

    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.
  13. yfbg722

    yfbg722 Active Member

    ^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 :)
  14. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

    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.
  15. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

    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.
  16. semogal

    semogal Well-Known Member

    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!!
  17. Jayar

    Jayar Well-Known Member

    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.
  18. shan

    shan Well-Known Member

  19. jdonavan

    jdonavan Active Member

    Do the Olympics count with Season Best Scores?
  20. nylynnr

    nylynnr Well-Known Member

    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.
  21. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

    GPF, 4CCs, Euros, World Team Trophy and Worlds count towards season's best scores as well.

    Don't know for sure about Olympics- but ISU does consider it for 'Personal Best' score, so it seems like it might count for Season's Best, in seasons where it happens.)

    Edit to add: Finally found the answer: the Olympics are considered Season's Best and do affect Grand Prix seeding.
    http://isuprod.blob.core.windows.net/media/99763/announcement-gp-2013-14.pdf See 2.2d
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2014
  22. stjeaskategym

    stjeaskategym Well-Known Member

    I agree about the throws. This has been one of the issues for US pairs in general throughout the years- the size of the throws (and twist) are sometimes conservative and on the smaller side. They tend to lack the explosiveness of top pair teams. A team like Z/B is probably more limited by their smaller height difference, but K/O have a couple more inches between them, so hopefully they can increase the size of their throws. A lot of it is about technique, and it's a risk to make throws bigger. But being able to perform well executed throws with big height and distance helps separate great teams from good teams. Another thing about US pairs throws in general- they need to shy away from doing throw 3S in short programs when possible. It's not quite the same as ladies skaters who have no 3Lz or 3F in their SP, but it's close, especially when you consider what the rest of the good pairs in the world are doing. I don't want to sound too negative though, US pairs need patience and to develop at their own pace. Some of the US teams are still very new.

    On another note, thanks to 5Ali3 for your post and those pictures of the twists. I had been looking at those same videos, but didn't know how to post pictures of them here. Based on those camera angles, I found it difficult to determine the angle of their left legs. There appears to me to be a rather minute difference between them there. However I was able to find video of D/C's twist from the front, and I could see a slightly more "even split" between the two legs, as you mentioned.

    Each leg has to be 45 degrees.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2014
  23. clairecloutier

    clairecloutier Well-Known Member

    In the new Buzzfeed article on skating, there's a great excerpt, below, about pairs. The author discusses his reactions to seeing pairs practices at Nationals. I loved this:

    But if the lower-level pairs boys [at Nationals] seemed deeply uncomfortable, the senior-level teams have somehow evolved into models of heterosexual perfection. I’m not planning to stay long at the senior pairs practice, but two hours pass before I can look away.

    Four teams — eight skaters — take the ice at a time. They’re all dressed in head-to-toe black, long sleeves and long pants, identical except for the women’s shirts, which are mostly backless. They’re all skating to the same late-‘90’s pop medley over the loudspeaker. But there’s something in seeing these skaters together, without audience or costume, that’s fundamentally different from watching a pairs program on its own. The partners skate in perfect alignment; the angles of their legs and arms are exactly parallel, or else perfect mirrors when they reach toward each other, and when one moves alone — a woman raising an arm as she gazes back at her man, his hands on her waist, his gaze solidly forward — it seems, somehow, as if he is moving through her.

    Even so, it’s the non-choreographed moments of unison that are most striking. Partners put their hands on their hips the same; they brush snow from their legs the same; they even slump the same, swinging their arms or rubbing their foreheads before straightening at the same time. Even when they’re all skating separately, when all four pairs have divided and instead eight bodies arc around the ice in a mess of lonely directions, I can see exactly who belongs to whom. The partners’ connection is evident in their rhythms and the angles of their limbs, and when one by one they come together again, it’s almost a relief, things clicking into place. Their bodies are beautiful, made more beautiful by proximity to other bodies, without a trace of sex or romance; each pair seems less an ideal couple than an ideal male and female version of the same human essence.

    Because apart from a few specific occasions — namely, at the Gay Games — pairs and ice dance are a mandated heterosexual performance. The rules are grounded in tradition, but perhaps also fear; it’s easy to imagine how threatening same-sex partners, displaying this level of physical connection, could be to heterosexual norms: a dazzling, undeniable example of two becoming one. The pairs practice is, and will remain, the most striking thing I see all week.

    Amazing writing! Here's the link to the whole article: http://www.buzzfeed.com/blairbraverman/why-is-the-worlds-gayest-sport-stuck-in-the-closet.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2014
  24. Coco

    Coco Well-Known Member

    Imagine how he would react to watching Russian pairs practice!

    Thanks for posting that.
  25. kiss-n-cry

    kiss-n-cry Team Brown

    Just an FYI that the author of the Buzzfeed article is a woman. I met her in Boston.
  26. clairecloutier

    clairecloutier Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the tip. Such a great article. I liked how she gave us a perspective on what it's like behind the scenes at Nationals. Especially in regard to the federation's presence and actions (or lack thereof).
  27. Sylvia

    Sylvia Prepping for club comp. season!

    (Post-2014 Nationals discussion still is ongoing in the "US Pairs 2013 News and Updates Part II" thread in GSD.)

    Pairs competing at Junior Worlds this week in Sofia, Bulgaria (excerpt from USFS' 3/11/14 press release; Team USA bio links added by me):
    Re-posting from the Junior Worlds forum in Kiss and Cry...
    Arizona articles on Madeline Aaron/Max Settlage: http://www.azdailysun.com/news/loca...cle_eeb7b520-9c57-11e3-a422-001a4bcf887a.html
    Max Settlage interview transcript: http://www.azdailysun.com/news/loca...cle_c57530f2-9c48-11e3-8082-001a4bcf887a.html
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2014
  28. clairecloutier

    clairecloutier Well-Known Member

    In an interview translated by Tabhka today, Maxim Trankov discussed a couple of the top American pairs:

    So, it sounds like there is a good chance Castelli/Shnapir and Denney/Coughlin may not continue. :-( Discouraging news . . . I'm particularly crushed at the thought of Castelli/Shnapir no longer competing. They're my favorite U.S. pair, and despite their very disappointing results at Worlds, this was otherwise really a breakthrough season for them. I will miss them greatly if they stop competing. If they split, my assumption is Marissa would continue and look for another partner, but the question is, could she find one quickly? I'm going to hold out hope that Simon can get the knee problem fixed and decides to continue . . ..
  29. newbatgirl

    newbatgirl Well-Known Member

    John is married? Since when? (I feel like an idiot is this is well known to everyone but pairs have been largely off my radar for a while.)
  30. Sylvia

    Sylvia Prepping for club comp. season!

    ^^^ No, I don't think Trankov meant "feed a family" literally. ;)

    I posted this link in the U.S. Pairs 2013 thread (it's probably time to start using this one instead)... Denney and Coughlin were interviewed a week before her injury that forced their withdrawal from Worlds and had not yet decided about their plans for next season: http://figureskatersonline.com/news...-to-skate-at-any-event-is-truly-a-blessing-2/

    BTW, I heard that both U.S. Olympic pair teams, Castelli/Shnapir and Zhang/Bartholomay, will attend the White House meet-and-greet on April 3rd.