2023-24 US Pairs Discussion - Chan you count Howe many teams we have?

AYS

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The age difference per se does not bother me, but their vibe is that of a coach skating with his student, and I find that I do not enjoy that.
I completely agree this is their vibe. You can clearly see his power and expertise pushing them out (for lack of a better term). It doesn't particularly bother me, I find it kind of fascinating.

It reminds me of when I had a lesson for the first time with a coach who was an active top national ice dance competitor, when I was used to my coach who only pushed me as much as I wanted to be pushed (which typically wasn't much :lol: ) - I could literally feel his knees causing my knees to rise and fall a lot more deeply than I usually did of my own accord. I think of that when I watch K/O.

I don't begrudge Danny O'Shea any of the enjoyment and success he's having in this late career partnership - he's such a journeyman and really does seem to be a supportive partner and person.
 

Spiralgraph

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I get a similar coach student vibe but it doesn't bother me and I do enjoy their performances. Although Danny looks like he could be the coach of his coach Drew Meekins! Regardless, he's the rock and foundation of K/O and I'll keep hoping Ellie improves landing the throws. They have practically everything else to succeed.
 

skatingguy

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I’m shocked America is allowing 31 and 19 as well

But this is America in 2024 with people like Christine Brennan! You can talk about people believing the best pairs artistry is relying on romantic chemistry but ultimately in America in 2024 with Brennan types you have to talk about 31 and 19 and power dynamics and all that.

Lots of controversies have revolved around 2 legal adults
 

Joubabe

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Well sure...but just their ages shouldn't be a controversy. If something bad is going on, that's a different story.
I’m not crazy about the aesthetic of Danny and Ellie’s age difference but I don’t think for a second that there’s anything shady about it and find it sad that some people look for scandal where none exists. If Danny had a full head of hair, there probably wouldn’t be much discussion about it but unfortunately his premature baldness makes him look much older than he is and that’s probably what makes their pairing somewhat jarring.

It doesn’t seem that it bothers the judges though, so congrats to them and mostly to Danny and Ellie on a really good skate at Four Continents.
 

moonvine

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I think it's weird people are spazzing out over Danny and Ellie and no one says a word about Timmy and Ellie. He's 23 and she's 13. If my math is correct.
 

skylark

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I'm not "spazzing out" over the age difference between Danny and Ellie. But I'm uneasy with what appears to be a power imbalance. Danny is talking (looks like instructing) to her a lot during programs. Putting myself in Ellie's place, that wouldn't help me perform better; I would need to rely on myself.

Also, Danny's apparent supportiveness and encouragement have a bit of a condescending vibe to me. Not even necessarily that he may mean it that way, but that that's the outcome. I was in a relationship once where that kind of "encouragement" didn't actually result in my feeling encouraged. The longer it lasted, the more I felt minimized. And it took awhile to recover my proper sense of self and agency afterwards.

As to Ellie's triple throws, I keep remembering more than one pairs woman talking about not knowing how an element felt, during it. And once they got how it was supposed to feel, they could progress rapidly in the element. IIRC, one may have been Tarah, who specifically said Amanda Evora was good at telling her how an element felt, doing it. But I doubt Ellie will be going to Amanda for help ;)

So I think Ellie, and also Chelsea, will suddenly leap up in confidence and scoring once they get troublesome elements and how they feel in competition. Ellie for the throws, and Chelsea for the SBS jumps.

@Baby Yoda On Skates: "That being said, I don't understand why K/O are being pushed."

And they are. I agree that it was obvious in regard to Alisa and Misha. And I felt so disappointed after FS at nationals that I had to retreat for a few days. Finally, I re-watched Chelsea/Balazs' FS and Ellie/Danny's FS. Their errors were comparable, and when I looked freshly at the other elements, they were also comparable. It was just that the scoring gave many more GOEs to Ellie and Danny. It seemed clear that the PTB had already decided they wanted to send Ellie and Danny to 4CC and Worlds as national champions. That kind of unfairness is so discouraging, as a fan.

The only thing encouraging is that the other skaters, Chelsea & Balazs and Alisa and Misha, appear to place their efforts on fixing their own skating, enjoying the process, and not letting the judges decide their worth as competitive skaters. Good for them. :cool:
 

A.H.Black

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I like Kam and O'shea a lot and wish them well. I was a bit ambivalent about the relationship at the beginning but then I saw a number of "fluff" interviews where she more than holds her own with him. I think they will be fine and, if they aren't, I have full confidence in her standing up to the situation and/or leaving. She is not a shrinking violet or a little girl.
 

Karen-W

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I'm not "spazzing out" over the age difference between Danny and Ellie. But I'm uneasy with what appears to be a power imbalance. Danny is talking (looks like instructing) to her a lot during programs. Putting myself in Ellie's place, that wouldn't help me perform better; I would need to rely on myself.

Also, Danny's apparent supportiveness and encouragement have a bit of a condescending vibe to me. Not even necessarily that he may mean it that way, but that that's the outcome. I was in a relationship once where that kind of "encouragement" didn't actually result in my feeling encouraged. The longer it lasted, the more I felt minimized. And it took awhile to recover my proper sense of self and agency afterwards.

As to Ellie's triple throws, I keep remembering more than one pairs woman talking about not knowing how an element felt, during it. And once they got how it was supposed to feel, they could progress rapidly in the element. IIRC, one may have been Tarah, who specifically said Amanda Evora was good at telling her how an element felt, doing it. But I doubt Ellie will be going to Amanda for help ;)

I think what you are picking up on is the coaching dynamic that existed before they partnered. Danny was an assistant coach at WASA and began working with her while her last partner was recuperating from an injury. Then, for whatever reasons, Danny & Ellie partnered up - I'm prepared to give the benefit of doubt and believe that Evan Meyh realized his injury wasn't going to improve and they amicably ended their partnership. Either way, there is still a residual coach/student aspect of their partnership. My mom picked up on it too during Nationals and it really turned her off to them.

So I think Ellie, and also Chelsea, will suddenly leap up in confidence and scoring once they get troublesome elements and how they feel in competition. Ellie for the throws, and Chelsea for the SBS jumps.

I have less confidence in Chelsea's SBS jumps. She's had a number of partners (including Danny) and those SBS jumps are as unreliable as ever.

And they are. I agree that it was obvious in regard to Alisa and Misha. And I felt so disappointed after FS at nationals that I had to retreat for a few days. Finally, I re-watched Chelsea/Balazs' FS and Ellie/Danny's FS. Their errors were comparable, and when I looked freshly at the other elements, they were also comparable. It was just that the scoring gave many more GOEs to Ellie and Danny. It seemed clear that the PTB had already decided they wanted to send Ellie and Danny to 4CC and Worlds as national champions. That kind of unfairness is so discouraging, as a fan.

The only thing encouraging is that the other skaters, Chelsea & Balazs and Alisa and Misha, appear to place their efforts on fixing their own skating, enjoying the process, and not letting the judges decide their worth as competitive skaters. Good for them. :cool:
The difference between Efimova/Mitrofanov and Liu/Nagy is that L/N can represent the US. If they had skated anywhere close to clean in their Nats FS, they might have challenged Kam/O'Shea for the title. What was obvious was the USFS had no intention of letting either Efimova/Mitrofanov or McBeath/Parkman near the national title. They got lucky with Katie's blade breaking between the SP and the FS, but there was only one favor given to the Letov teams and that was Chan/Howe's SP 1st place and spot-on the Worlds team.

It will be very interesting next season when the USFS has to dole out very limited SkAm spots - I'm crossing my fingers that Efimova/Mitrofanov and McBeath/Parkman get them because they haven't had a chance to compete this season and get a SB.
 

twinsmom

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I was really interested in watching practices for pairs at Nationals this year because it's so wide open. I think the team I liked the most was McBeath/Parkman. They seemed to have a good connection, and they looked really well matched. But I knew they had no chance of going to worlds. My biggest question was, why can't we find good jumping women from the US to go into pairs? Most of the men at Nationals were really good jumpers and pair skaters. Are the women just interested in being women's champs? Or is it just a fear of pair elements? I was thinking of Sonia Baram who is a World champion (juniors). Is there a good man somewhere that's not too old for her to skate with?

There also seems to be an interesting thing going on in dance (especially) and pairs with non-US men. There are several teams not eligible for Worlds or Olympics. Are there no good male dancers in the US? A few in my group of friends that meet up at Nationals are usually looking for some good men who would be well-suited for pairs (mostly).
 

nylynnr

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I was really interested in watching practices for pairs at Nationals this year because it's so wide open. I think the team I liked the most was McBeath/Parkman. They seemed to have a good connection, and they looked really well matched. But I knew they had no chance of going to worlds. My biggest question was, why can't we find good jumping women from the US to go into pairs? Most of the men at Nationals were really good jumpers and pair skaters. Are the women just interested in being women's champs? Or is it just a fear of pair elements? I was thinking of Sonia Baram who is a World champion (juniors). Is there a good man somewhere that's not too old for her to skate with?
U.S. does have "good jumping" women going into pairs. Chan is a novice and junior champion, she has 3 triples and double axel. Kam is a former singles skater and can do triple salchow consistently; Kam and O'Shea's biggest challenge is a pair element, throws. McBeath is a longtime singles competitor with several triples. Martins lands her triple Salchow as well as double axel-double axel sequence; Martins & Bedard are mainly challenged by L4 lifts. Liu is a superb pairs' woman who absolutely has trouble with triples, however, if she and Nagy got their triple throws consistent -- and she got to the point where she could land an under rotated triple -- they would be right up there by virtue of their lifts and twist.

USFS "Try Pairs" initiative recruits singles skaters, but not everyone is cut out to be raised in an overhead lift, balanced on one hand while traveling the length of half the ice. Nor is a desire to be thrown into the air to execute three revolutions all that common. Parents watching mishaps like Cain & LeDuc's fall at 2022 worlds may not be happy with their child doing pairs. Plus, judging by comments in this thread, we should also take into account a man's appearance, AND discourage age and experience gaps lest the male partner have too much power in the team. So, a woman skater or parent that might be comfortable with Danny O'Shea doing the lifting -- but less comfortable with an 18-year-old male singles skater, trying pairs for the first time -- will withdraw further from the discipline.
 

marshallpond

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My biggest question was, why can't we find good jumping women from the US to go into pairs?
It takes a special girl to become a pairs girl, and not many girls who can jump want to do that.

And the parents! I sat down at the nationals with several parents of junior competitors, and their response to seeing girls thrown in pairs was, "I will never allow my daughter to be thrown like that."

At the juniors level, Olivia Flores can land triples. Saya Carpenter landed a triple toe in their freeskate, and stepped out of her 3s but did the rest of the combo - 2A and 2A just fine. She is a National Development Team member, having medaled at the novice ladies in sectionals.

Novice Pairs champion Sofia Jarmoc got 2nd in Novice Women in Eastern Sectionals.

The trend of single women moving to pairs is really good, and USFS is actively looking for potential pairs who can jump. That's why Sofia Jarmoc / Luke Witkowski miraculously appeared and competed in the Pairs Final in Seattle WITHOUT having done a single NQS competition (only 9 novice pairs teams competed in NQS, but suddenly there were 10 teams at the Pairs Finals). And USFS made the right call: the pair won novice pairs at the Nationals.
 

HaNguyen

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It seems to me that a lot of problems are coming about because American girls outgrow their male counterparts when they hit their senior years. We have too much food in this country so our citizens grow up strong and healthy. Unfortunately, this means weight and not a lot of big, strong males - ala Brandon Frazier who can handle the weight come along every day.
 

Karen-W

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It seems to me that a lot of problems are coming about because American girls outgrow their male counterparts when they hit their senior years. We have too much food in this country so our citizens grow up strong and healthy. Unfortunately, this means weight and not a lot of big, strong males - ala Brandon Frazier who can handle the weight come along every day.
LOL - the logic here is very twisted. All that food we have that makes our girls grow up strong and healthy should also make our guys grow up strong and healthy and able to handle that "extra weight" on these incredibly tiny yet extremely fit grown-up women.
 

Willin

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@HaNguyen Have you seen athletes in other sports? Those guys are massive and strong. In football there's a whole meme about "cornfed farm boys" being known for their strength/size - hence becoming linebackers (who tend to be 6'/300lbs+). There's no shortage of men strong enough in this country, there's a shortage of skaters.
 

ice coverage

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Lachlan Lewer has posted a humble appeal for donations to enable him to re-enter the U.S. after Junior Worlds.

Excerpt from Lachlan's GoFundMe:​
"... I cannot work since I do not have a green card so it is a struggle for me to pay for extra expenses. Approximately 5 months ago, I submitted a visa application so I can stay in the US and pursue the goals and dreams I have had ever since I was a little boy. However the process has taken longer than expected and had some complications, and my ability to return to America to train and improve for the future is in serious jeopardy. The $2500 would be used for getting my visa application expedited and hopefully approved. This would allow me to pursue my dream to go to Taiwan and earn a medal at the World Junior Championships. ..."​


Excerpt from Lachlan's Instagram post:​
"... I leave for The World Junior Championships in 14 days. If I don’t hear anything back by the time I finish competing in Tawain, I will not be allowed back into the United States to keep training and pursuing my dream I’ve had ever since I was a little boy. I have to raise $2500 to expedite the process and get a response from immigration. ..."​

 
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marshallpond

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Yikes, immigration. He must need to submit Form I–907, Request for Premium Processing Service, which now costs $2,500. He must have a pending Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.

I've done the whole immigration thing, with that work visa and green card. I know how utterly complicated it is, and you are at the mercy of the immigration officials in terms of timing.

I do not know what his immigration visa is, but it sounds like he is not allowed to work. He said he has no green card, so he cannot work. Other types of visas will allow a person to work, even without a green card. You just need to have a work visa. We had several European coaches in our former rink where the rink sponsored them and gave them O visa for "Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement," and the coaches had to submit thick documentation proving why they were extraordinary coaches (e.g., went to Worlds, officials of the national team, etc). Lachlan being a skater means an employer like a rink does not sponsor him, but athletes can apply for a P visa (though I think that is more for team athletes like basketball players, etc) as someone has to sponsor the athlete with the P visa.

I don't know if he explored applying for Advanced Parole, which allows a foreigner to return to the US without needing another visa or disrupting the adjustment of status application.

I am surprised that this was not handled before, as this same issue would have cropped up when they were to go to the Junior Grand Prix. I hope he'll soon fundraise to allow him to hire a better immigration lawyer (which is another huge cost). He must not have a good lawyer, as a good immigration lawyer would have anticipated the paperwork he would need to allow him to compete and return to the US. But good immigration lawyers are not cheap, and he would need more than that application fee of $2,500.

Right now, the money he's raising is only to expedite the application without a guarantee that it is approved (especially given that he mentioned that there'd been complications, and in immigration, the last thing you want are complications).

I tell you, it is soooooo much easier to cross the border from Mexico than go through the hell that is called legal immigration.
 
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skylark

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I think what you are picking up on is the coaching dynamic that existed before they partnered. Danny was an assistant coach at WASA and began working with her while her last partner was recuperating from an injury. .... Either way, there is still a residual coach/student aspect of their partnership. My mom picked up on it too during Nationals and it really turned her off to them.
(y)
I have less confidence in Chelsea's SBS jumps. She's had a number of partners (including Danny) and those SBS jumps are as unreliable as ever.

At the risk of sounding (and being) a little airy-fairy, I think that Chelsea can gain confidence as she gains experience in landing those jumps in competition, as well as in training, and knowing what that feels like. I'm an optimist. :) I also read or heard an interview of Tim Goebel once when he detailed how many failed quads in competition he had to do before he gradually picked up the ability to land them in competition. It was a lot. Not everyone is like that, of course, look at Nathan and Ilia.

I think Chelsea and Balazs are playing a long game, and I'm here for it.
 

skylark

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Liu is a superb pairs' woman who absolutely has trouble with triples, however, if she and Nagy got their triple throws consistent -- and she got to the point where she could land an under rotated triple -- they would be right up there by virtue of their lifts and twist.
😍
 

flyingsit

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Another reason that so few skaters go into pairs is that really good singles skaters can often make it to nationals/JGP level without having to move away from home, but that’s not possible in pairs unless you happen to live in a very few places. So the financial burden on families is much higher. Add in the possibility of one parent needing to move with the skater, thereby dividing the family and leaving each parent to function as a single parent… it’s a lot to ask.
 

Rhumba d’Amour

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Another reason that so few skaters go into pairs is that really good singles skaters can often make it to nationals/JGP level without having to move away from home, but that’s not possible in pairs unless you happen to live in a very few places. So the financial burden on families is much higher. Add in the possibility of one parent needing to move with the skater, thereby dividing the family and leaving each parent to function as a single parent… it’s a lot to ask.
Not discounting what you say in any way, but wouldn’t all those factors also apply when a young skater chooses ice dance? There are fairly few high-level training centers for ice dance—yet the US, at least, has plenty of very competitive young dance teams.
 

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