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US Pairs 2013 News and Updates Part II

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by ~tapdancer~, Mar 10, 2013.

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  1. yfbg722

    yfbg722 Active Member

    Given how difficult it is to find a partner I've often thought it would be nice if mixed teams could each represent their own countries. We'd still have Takahashi/Tran if that was possible!
  2. PairSk8Fan

    PairSk8Fan Banned Member

    I must agree with this. No crystal ball, but C/S will be 11th and Z/B will be 13th. That's the way the Olympics goes for our teams.
  3. figureit

    figureit Active Member

  4. figureit

    figureit Active Member

    BUT: it didn't have to could have for the first time been different and taking the World stage into consideration for women and not for pairs was a HUGE error as Pairs needs this boost.
  5. stjeaskategym

    stjeaskategym Well-Known Member

    Realistically, Castelli/Shnapir & Zhang/Bartholomay are likely fighting for an Olympic placement of 10th-12th (perhaps with the French, the 3rd ranked CAN team & 2nd ranked GER team). There is real depth at the top of pairs even with China having one fewer entry than last year's Worlds, and there are 3 RUS teams, 1 GER, 2 CHN, 2 CAN, 1 ITA that will beat those US teams unless something disastrous happens. C/S & Z/B are good teams, but they have enough weaknesses that it would be almost impossible for them to both place top 10. But beyond the top 12 or 13 pairs, there is a sizable dropoff in scoring potential, so no matter how the US teams skate, they will be inside the top 15 with no issues. C/S were 13th at Worlds last season, and the 14th place team scored nearly 30 points below them, so there's really no danger of the US teams placing terribly low.

    Still, you always hope to send your best teams to the Olympics and give yourself the best chance to finish as high as possible. It didn't quite happen. A team like Denney/Coughlin had some pretty uncharacteristic mistakes at Nationals, perhaps in part because they felt the pressure of being the favorite. Meanwhile a team like Z/B knew they were flying under the radar and skated free from the burden of expecting themselves to win. With the pressure of Nationals being so great for the top names, it doesn't always lead to your best skaters getting selected, which is disappointing. But at least the pairs that are being sent have decent scores internationally.

    I thought the Nationals LP scores were slightly inflated but reasonable-- until the last group skated. They could have ranked the 4 medalists in the same order without dramatically inflating the top 3 scores like that. C/S, D/C, and Z/B's PCS shot up over 10 pts from what they had been receiving internationally. I don't think it needed to be that drastic, especially considering 2 of those teams didn't skate all that great. C/S's LP outscoring S/K's LP by 7+ pts was too big of a gap. Speaking of S/K, they have so much potential, but just had a couple too many mistakes here. I think if their throws had been a little cleaner in the LP, they would have deserved to move up to top 2. They need time and patience.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2014
  6. jdonavan

    jdonavan Active Member

    Dear FSU : Food for thought:

    Olympic Creed:

    "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."

    Maybe it's time to support the brave athletes that are supporting the United States and stop the endless debate. Aliona Savchenko and Pang and Tong are entering their 4th Olympics…were they really that successful the first time around? Lets cut these skaters a break and allow them to show their worth in the glow of the Olympic ideal.
  7. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

    You realize spots are not assigned at the Olympics, they are assigned at Worlds. Where D/C are going over Z/B.
    D/C did not distinguish themselves according to the Olympic criteria, and none of them are likely to get a medal, so there is no reason to deviate from nationals and deny Z/B the Olympics. But D/C are likely to get a higher placement at Worlds- where 1)selection criteria is more open to other competitions and 2) where placement matters- so they did get that assignment.

    Sending Z/B to the Olympics in no way will affect decades of pairs skating.
  8. kwanette

    kwanette Fetalized since 1998

  9. clairecloutier

    clairecloutier Well-Known Member

    I just realized this thread title is out of date. Should it be updated to "U.S. Pairs News & Notes 2014" or "State of U.S. Pairs: 2014" or something like that?
  10. figureit

    figureit Active Member

  11. figureit

    figureit Active Member

    Everything said you are right Bravery is important discussion is crucial but when it comes down to it supporting USA will happen at the Olympic moment but maybe in this forum will still be discussion especially in the women's event!
  12. reese

    reese Well-Known Member

    Yeah, figureit, because S/K certainly haven't gotten any support from the USFS... Like how they didn't get to go the Cup of Nice after just teaming up (which got them to NHK), or how they didn't win the LP last year and go to Worlds.

    Bottom line, they didn't help themselves this year. No clean competitions. Whatever the reason (and whatever your relationship to them is), if they are thinking in the off season about how screwed they got by the USFS or how their marks weren't inflated enough, they have bigger problems than their lack of consistency and their boring programs.

    DORISPULASKI Watching submarine races

    I've got to say that "Ever After" was not a great choice for S&K. The only memorable thing about that program was the great height of their triple twist. It's dreadfully boring music. OTOH, Santana was a brilliant choice for C&S's short program. In fact, that SP was the highlight of the whole pairs competition for me. It's too bad that their FS was not as good. Still, credit should be given where credit is due: C&S improved a lot this year over last year. Not only is their choreography a lot more involved than last year's:

    1. They got level 4 on their twist in both the SP & FS. Last year, they could only manage level 1 a lot of the time-and there was no reason for it, since the height of their twist was very good-they did the work to get up to the extra level of difficulty
    2. Last year, their side by side spins were atrocious to non-existent. This year, they were really excellent and in synch :eek: , not only earning level 4's, but getting six +3 GOE's from the judges. Huge improvement.
    3. I thought Simon would never land a clean triple, especially given his height, which is 6'4". At US Nationals, Simon landed all his triples-3S in the short, 3t & 3S in the long. It was Marissa who doubled the 3t in the FS. So their jumps have definitely improved. Plus having a 3t and 3S in the FS is an upgrade for them. However, I have no clue why they don't attempt a second jump of some kind after either of the two triples...but if they can land the triples a lot of the time, it is a step up.
    5. Their death spiral is good. It was pretty good last year. They have great step sequences. Their speed and power is excellent.

    On the negative side of the ledger:
    6. Although Simon again lifted Marissa off the ice in the SP, in the FS, they did a very good pair spin, something they never did last year, but this is something they still must work on.
    7. I still don't understand why they keep going for things like Th3A's and Th4S-if they would get a reliable loop throw or flip throw, they wouldn't have any really serious deficiencies. However, they do sometimes land the th4s decently in practice. She certainly can get it rotated.

    So they have come a long way this year, and assuming they will be treated exactly the same way by the judges at Worlds & Olympics as they were last year at Worlds is an assumption that is open to question.

    In any case, none of the US pairs is going to medal, either at Worlds or Olympics, but I hope both the teams we send will be top ten, and that perhaps one of the two teams will make top 6 at Worlds.
  14. Conga

    Conga Member

    Thanks for the excellent analysis, Doris.
  15. stjeaskategym

    stjeaskategym Well-Known Member

    I think the 'Ever After' music is beautiful and suits the look S/K are trying to portray in that program. I don't really love that music as a LP choice- I might prefer it as a SP- but they had a strong LP performance at Nationals. Considering they were 5th after the SP (albeit less than 2 pts out of 2nd), I think they would have needed to land the throws a tad cleaner to really move up. But the scores would have been closer in an international setting... I don't think C/S's LP would have broken 120 internationally, so the 132 they received was a lot even by inflated nationals scoring standards. That score seemed to have been predicated on the highly inflated score of D/C before it though.

    I've always wondered that, too. But for whatever reasons, C/S have never had a second throw triple. They've always clung to throw sals and axels. I know they used to do a throw 2Lo as Juniors, but since then, I don't believe they've ever attempted a throw 3Lo or 3F in competition. It is admirable to see them pushing the envelope with the throw 4S, but you get the sense that they're attempting it because their backup plan is weak (2A throw), not because they really expect to land it cleanly within a LP. They do a good job rotating it, but it's sort of a hail mary element.

    I agree that they have improved since last season, and they've improved quite a bit since their rough beginning to this season. It seems that not having a SBS jump in combination may have helped them to be more comfortable jumping (although it's hard to make judgements based on one competition). They're leaving points on the table though, and I'm not sure I've ever seen a pair intentionally do two sets of solo SBS jumps. There's no point advantage in doing two solo SBS triples vs 1 SBS triple & a 2A in sequence. It's an odd strategy and not ideal, but it did seem to work well for Simon last week

    I think it's possible to discuss these pairs without using harsh words.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2014

    DORISPULASKI Watching submarine races

    I'll have to disagree with you on "Ever After"-for me it combined non-memorableness with a rather juniorish theme. But if the team likes it, and performs well to it, that is what matters, especially in COP. But then I have always disliked romantic programs, and the closer they stray to mawkish, the less I like them. I agree it would have gone better as an SP.

    BTW, I failed to mention that all C&S's lifts are truly excellent, another plus for the team-and this year, they added a reverse lasso lift instead of a toe-in lasso lift, so that's another area where they've upped their base value. I don't feel their score was more than inflated; i.e. it wasn't hyper-inflated :lol:
    Every score at Nationals was inflated this year.

    Here's why: their TES was 66.06, and this was because they have significantly upped their base value, which is now 57.06.
    Last year at nationals, their BV was only 50.71, and their TES 59.54 points. Significant improvement.

    A usual guess is that PCS tends to scale with TES a bit. For an average team, they are about equal. That would be 132 points; pretty good. Maybe 127 or so internationally, because some of the GOE would have been lower. Think Duhamel & Radford before last year-team trying hard stuff, not always landing it.

    The team that I wonder about how they will do internationally is Z&B...when you see them live, they execute elements very well, but they clearly aren't as fast as either D&C or C&S. I can see them being dragged down by low PCS internationally, because PCS so often indexes off skating skills.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2014
    BittyBug and (deleted member) like this.
  17. BittyBug

    BittyBug Living in a Kleptocracy

    S&K were extremely slow and cautious in their free skate, so no, I don't think they were underscored at all. And what relevance do last year's world results have on this year's nationals?

    Yeah, I guess that's why they've only won bronze at Junior Worlds, a GP, and 4CCs. Because the international judges DO NOT LIKE THEM. :rolleyes:
  18. RFOS

    RFOS Well-Known Member

    I agree that they were slow and cautious. Denney & Frazier's speed was obvious right after them, and they were nearly flawless so I expected them to score higher than they did. My initial reaction was to not be sure how D&C, C&S, and Z&B were 10-15 points better, but I haven't re-watched since then from a more analytical perspective.
  19. haribobo

    haribobo Well-Known Member

    ITA with BittyBug. C/S are a strong, high quality team among US pairs and it bugs when people try to undermine their success. I love Alexa's personality and I think Chris is super hot, and I would love for them to do well, but the truth for me is I often their skating to be slow and underwhelming compared to the top teams and other teams like Donlan/Speroff- I hope they can find a way to improve so they really can step up a bit in the US and World rankings. I think the injury probably set them back in this area. But no, when people start posting things like, "obviously, our top team is S/K", I'm always shaking my head. At this point, I don't see it.
  20. clairecloutier

    clairecloutier Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the great analysis of C/S, Doris. I agree Marissa & Simon have really worked to improve. The second SBS triple in the LP is an indication of this. As to whether the international judges like them, I'm not sure we know the answer to that question. Because yes, C/S have won medals internationally. Nonetheless, I did feel last year they were consistently underscored internationally in PCS. I think perhaps there are 2 issues. First, they have been very inconsistent in international competition. So I think the judges don't trust them/have faith in them. And second, C/S are choosing to skate to less traditional music. The other top U.S. teams are all using extremely safe music selections--POTO, Tosca, Ever After, Les Miz. Meanwhile, Stray Cats, Santana, and Skyfall ARE a little less typical, so perhaps that is hurting C/S a tiny bit. I do believe, though, that once they become more consistent, they will be rewarded in PCS.

    It's really a shame Scimeca/Knierim didn't make the team. Seeing them live this week, it was pretty clear they have the best pairs "look" of all the U.S. teams. Alexa is a terrific performer, wonderful to watch, and really sells their programs. Chris presents her well, does not detract, and gets the job done technically. Their elements are great. But, it just didn't come together at Nationals. Watching them, I was reminded of something Artur Dmitriev said in an interview posted here on FSU. To paraphrase, Artur said that, in a pairs partnership, the second year is often the hardest. Because if it's a good match, the pair will come together quickly in the first year, and achieve some success. But in the second season, it feels like you're treading water because basically, the partnership is just still developing. Anyhow, I think of that with Alexa/Chris. This year didn't go how they wanted. But they seem committed to 2018 so I think this is a temporary hitch for them, disappointing but surely not the end. One thing I'll say: They ARE a bit slow. This can be seen even on TV, and is definitely noticeable live. I think improving their speed should be a top priority next season.

    As for Z/B, I think it's great they had such terrific performances at Nationals. Clearly, these two have a talent for peaking at the right time! However, despite this, I don't know how optimistic I feel about their chances at the Olympics. They are nice to watch but they lack the charisma/interest level of the other top teams. More important, their elements are "small" compared to the other teams. Their triple twist is really low. Their throws are not very big. Speed just okay. Their lifts do not cover as much ice or look as high or impressive as D/C, C/S, or S/K. I don't how much they can improve all this. And unless they can, it's hard to see them ever scoring well internationally. Quality of pairs elements is so important at the international level especially in the V/T era.

    Although I am not a D/C fan, I don't object to them being named to the World team. They are our most consistent and highest-scoring pair internationally. And if the USFSA had considered the Olympic team event in the selection process, I think D/C would have been named to the Olympic team too. I actually feel kind of bad for them. Now they're going to have to keep training another 2 months for Worlds, a pretty thankless task, having missed out on the big event.
  21. BittyBug

    BittyBug Living in a Kleptocracy

    I agree with that, although I think Kayne and O'Shea are right on their heels. Terrific potential with that team.

    DORISPULASKI Watching submarine races

    Sadly, S&K are not loved any more than C&S or Z&B, despite S&K placing ninth last year at Worlds. Their success did not carry over into this year.
    Here's the GP standings:

    D&C are 11th, C&S are 12th, D&F are 14th, S&K are 15th, and Z&B are 19th. D&C are the only US team to win a GP medal this season. C&S won the bronze at last year's 4CC's.

    This sounds to me like some sound reasons for D&C to go to Olympics as well as Worlds. With C&S.

    This is funny. C&S did not have a perfect FS at Worlds :lol: They just did not fall while doing a very conservative program. And international judges are always mingy with PCS scores for conservative programs unless they are done by skaters/teams who are heroes already.

    C&S did a 2a1t as a combination, which earned them -2 GOE's across the board. They also had out of synch spins for negative GOE, they only got level 1 for their twist, and they only did a 2Ath, so they were doing a low BV program, only 52.27. By contrast, at Worlds in the FS, S&K did a program with a BV of 55.30.
    Again, to compare, at US Nationals, C&S did a program with BV of 57.06 (which would be higher if Castelli had rotated her 3t, and higher yet again if they did the 3S two seconds later, as Scotty Hamilton noted.), and S&K did one with a BV of 56.93, and had no significant downgrades, so that's what they would get, at best, internationally for Base Values..

    They have the ability to skate mistake-less programs, which is a gift that eventually gets noticed. And S&K do not have a quad twist or a quad throw, and did not get a standing O at US Nationals, so claims for exceptional (rather than ordinary) artistry for S&K are also a bit suspect. I see both teams as good second year teams, who are not quite soup yet.

    Yes, US pairs are not up to the elite level in pairs yet. We seem to stay stuck at top 10 (and 2 slots), and if we are lucky, maybe hit a 6th place.

    All the teams got inflated marks at US Nationals.

    BTW, I also hope all the teams at US Nationals stay together. 2014 US Pairs were awesome! That's the best US Pairs competition I ever remember :) A team that is getting discouraged in its second year should consider the example of C&S - they have been together quite a while and have been working on what needs upgrading in their skating. And yes, they have more to do yet. Maybe they won't ever get there.

    But teams with 2 years experience should look at the number of years that it took S&Z to win Olympics, how long P&T have stayed together, and for that matter, how long it takes pairs teams in general to succeed, when neither skater in the team has ever medalled at Worlds or finished top 6 with a previous partner.

    It takes quite a while to develop real pair-ness, unless a team is somehow a complete prodigy.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2014
  23. mgobluegirl

    mgobluegirl Well-Known Member

    True, but I was excited about the depth in the pairs event at nationals this year. If a handful of these teams stay together for the next quad, we could be building something. The top pairs teams in the world all seem to be in their upper 20's and lower 30's age-wise, and all of our teams are quite a bit younger. They've got time and talent, they just need to stick it out.

    DORISPULASKI Watching submarine races

    Yes, so was I! Really, the top 8 teams all had at least one of the top programs (SP or FS) that was great to watch. I do have hopes, especially if they stay in and don't let themselves get discouraged.
  25. clairecloutier

    clairecloutier Well-Known Member

    Yes. We have some really interesting pairs right now, almost all of the top 8 teams are quite talented. Staying together. That will be the key. That, and if the American pairs coaches can attain the next level of expertise themselves, along with their students.
  26. lauren329

    lauren329 Active Member

    On the subject of coaches, I really could see Boston becoming the pairs capital after this Olympics. They're obviously doing something very right there & now they have Olympians as a selling point.

    DORISPULASKI Watching submarine races

    :slinkaway: What Boston is doing is getting help from Julie Marcotte in Canada-and it's a great idea :)
  28. clairecloutier

    clairecloutier Well-Known Member

    Since Nationals, I've actually been wondering if S/K should switch to Boston. I know it won't happen, it's just a pipe dream. But I feel like Martin and team could further develop S/K's performance/artistic level, definitely more so than Sappenfield, who seems to like generic programs. Now whether Martin could improve their speed, IDK.
  29. Mrs. P

    Mrs. P Well-Known Member

    I totally agree, Doris. Pairs competition was amazing this year! Can't believe I had thought about skipping it at one point when I first was thinking of going to Boston a few months earlier. Glad I didn't.

    I really loved Leng/LeDuc. They have such speed and I love the inventive ways they get into their elements. I felt bad that they fell apart in the FS, but I'm hoping it's a learning experience for them.

    I"m so glad C/S won, even with the mistakes. My father-in-law, who definitely does not know anything about pair skating, told my husband that he liked them a lot! My husband liked them because they skated to Skyfall. :lol:

    I think S/K have such a high quality when it comes to executing their elements, but I agree with you Doris that I found their choreography a bit eh. The same goes with Denny and Coughlin.

    And I just love Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay. And What a great comeback story for her. She actually won junior pairs with Taylor Toth in 2010 and then struggled when they entered the senior ranks due to her injuries. It might have been a blessing in disguise because she ended up with Bartholomay, who I think is a much better fit for her. I agree that they might be hard pressed to make top 10 at the Olympics, but I think they will develop from there -- surely competing with the best in the world will light a fire.... And watching their video in high-definition on my TV and seeing Felicia fist pumping during the lift was just AWESOME.
  30. hlp728

    hlp728 Active Member

    There's quite a few U.S. pairs teams that I'm digging. Leng/LeDuc are the top of my list. I can't wait to see more from them. They got some really great chemistry and they drew me in with their SP. Loved her blue dress in the SP.

    Another team, I really like is S/K. They've got a good foundation to build upon, but they need to set themselves apart by selecting some better music, style, and choreography. Their music and choreography this season was a little too vanilla. I hope they pick more of a variation in music and style between the SP and LP. For example like "Show off" the Drowsy Chaperone vs. "Kara Remembers" from Battlestar Galatica, Neverending Story Soundtrack vs "Everything Must Change" by Nina Simone, "They Just Keep Moving the Line" from Smash vs The Fountain soundtrack, and so forth. Alexa is a dynamo and has so much performance potential. I hope she works on pointing her toes more during lifts. Excited to see more from them too.
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