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

Karen-W

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Is Mishkutenok (and Team partners Meekins and O’Shea) no longer affiliated with Team Dalilah? I wouldn’t “Bravo!” Dalilah.
They haven't been for a few years now. They're at WASA and Dalilah is up in Monument, IIRC. Digerness/Sadusky and Hanns/Neudecker are with her while Kam/O'Shea, Flores/Wang and Williams/Lewer are all at WASA.
 

Sylvia

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April 19:
News from Plazas/Fernandez (including 🇺🇸 interdisciplinary collab):

Freeskate program from the “Dune Saga” by Hans Zimmer• Choreographed by our Team USA teammates Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko​
Plazas and Fernandez took a road trip to London, Ontario to work with Carreira and Ponomarenko on their Dune FS:
 

Sylvia

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Cooke/Kennedy have announced their program music for their Senior debut season:
https://www.instagram.com/p/C6pd1AdraPx/
"Our senior freeskate will be an Elton John medley with 🎵”Your Song” @elliegoulding & 🎵”Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” @eltonjohn ,Taron Egerton (Rocketman)💥
We will also be skating to an updated version of last years short program, 🎵”One Woman Man” @johnlegend"
I have since learned that Adam Blake choreographed Sydney Cooke/Matthew Kennedy’s SP and Colin McManus their new FS.

Quoting a relevant part of @ice coverage's May 3rd post over here and adding Jenni Meno's photo collage of her and Todd Sand attending Mr. Nicks' 95th birthday party in SoCal last month:
Another update for fans of Mr. Nicks 🥳:

2024 winner of PSA's Legends Award is John A. W. Nicks, per yesterday's announcement of EDI Awards.​
"This award is presented to a skater or coach who has brought recognition to the sport in a positive and favorable manner. The winner exemplifies a level of distinction like the legendary figures who have come before."​
 

ice coverage

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Another update for fans of Mr. Nicks 🥳:

2024 winner of PSA's Legends Award is John A. W. Nicks, per yesterday's announcement of EDI Awards.​
"This award is presented to a skater or coach who has brought recognition to the sport in a positive and favorable manner. The winner exemplifies a level of distinction like the legendary figures who have come before."​

Mini-update: Mr. Nicks joined the Cain family for a photo at the PSA awards celebration a few days ago at Access to Excellence in Colorado Springs.

 
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Karen-W

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Bringing this over from the SafeSport thread...

For people who don't have or won't go to X, it's a post from Christine Brennan announcing that Dalilah Sappenfield just received a lifetime ban from SafeSport. (yay)

So, what does this mean for the teams who have been training with her in Monument - Digerness/Sadusky and Hanns/Neudecker (moved there sometime last winter)?

When she was temporarily suspended Larry Ibarra traveled with her pairs. I wonder if they're going to stay with the team without Dalilah or find new coaches.

Yeah, I don't know what sort of options they have if they want to remain in the Colorado Springs area. Hanns/Neudecker left WASA for Monument sometime last fall/winter so you'd have to think there are reasons why they wouldn't want to go back there. Digerness/Sadusky have always been at Monument so I'd guess WASA is a possibility though I kind of wouldn't mind seeing them give a look to some of the Midwest coaches (Oakton Edge, Brubaker, the Lunins, Trudy Oltmanns) - but I suppose that's a discussion for the US Pairs thread. ;)
 

BrightSkates

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Bringing this over from the SafeSport thread...
I'm so sorry to all of the victims of Sappenfield. Over a decade plus there have probably been many girls and boys whose dreams have been crushed by her coaching methods. I'm glad they were able to make a verdict now, as I know that we pressured as a community for safesport to make one ASAP.

As for the future of her teams- Nica & Mark I believe could go to WASA as it is close by. Or maybe they can explore other options in different states.

Grace and Danny.... seeing they just moved to Dalilah from WASA and were removed from ISP............?
 
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Karen-W

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Grace and Danny.... seeing they just moved to Dalilah from WASA and were removed from ISP............?
They were removed from the ISP because they didn't achieve a qualifying score this past season. They're still training from what I've seen on IG. Whether they are able to earn a score high enough to put them back on the ISP is another question entirely.
 

BrightSkates

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They were removed from the ISP because they didn't achieve a qualifying score this past season. They're still training from what I've seen on IG. Whether they are able to earn a score high enough to put them back on the ISP is another question entirely.
They were selected for Skate America only to have it taken away and then ultimately withdraw from the FS of the U.S. Pair Final. They were with WASA that year which initiated the switch to Dalilah.

What are the options to continue to train if you don't have a coach anymore....
Nica and Mark can go to WASA but G&D just moved from there. Moving to another state is the only other option as there are no other pair coaches in CO.
 
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Karen-W

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They were removed because they underperformed.
Call it "underperformance" or whatever - the ISP has specific scores you need to achieve either domestically or internationally and they didn't achieve those scores. It's the same reason the Mokhovs are also not on the ISP at this time. Same with Fitzpatrick/Bearinger and both of those teams made it to Nats.

They were selected for Skaye America only to have it taken away and then ultimately withdraw from the FS of the U.S. Pair Final. They were with WASA that year which initiated the switch to Dalilah because of poor performance.
Are you implying that they were "fired" by Meekins & Mishkuteniok?

I think the only thing that is publicly known about their situation is that Grace was prone to some sort of anxiety/panic attacks either right before or even during some of their programs during the early part of the season last year. There was a verified report of her collapsing at Cup of Colorado (which was after they'd been given the SkAm assignment) and then they were withdrawn. No one has ever given any credible information as to who made the decision regarding the SkAm assignment - and there were several people here in this thread who asserted that the USFS would not "take away" a prestigious assignment like that after it had been publicly announced.

As far as the US Pairs Final - we never did get a good explanation about their withdrawal there - and their SP score wasn't great but it wasn't outside the realm of possibility that a solid FS would have gotten them to Nats - they were less than 1.5 points out of 7th and only about 4.5 points out of 5th.

What is publicly known is that 1) Danny had been coached by Dalilah when he and Nica Digerness were partners, and 2) Grace was coaching in Monument by early December - she shared pics of their holiday show and commented about how proud she was of all her skaters on her IG - the clear implication being that she'd been teaching/coaching in Monument for long enough to have established some sort of connection to those skaters. All of which is a roundabout way of saying maybe the switch happened for practical/economic reasons like only having to make one drive to and from work/training center a day instead of factoring in a commute between Monument and WASA and, for Danny, returning to a coach with whom he had a prior professional relationship.

So, please, feel free to enlighten us if you have other information that contradicts what, to me, appears to be plausible and far less titillating reasons for the coaching change.
What are the options to continue to train if you don't have a coach anymore.... moving to another state is the other option as there are no other pair coaches in CO.
I'm not sure what Grace's educational/professional plans are - Danny has already completed his Masters, so I'd guess they have plenty of options if a) returning to WASA isn't an option, and b) they're open to moving to another state.
 

BrightSkates

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What is publicly known is that 1) Danny had been coached by Dalilah when he and Nica Digerness were partners, and 2) Grace was coaching in Monument by early December - she shared pics of their holiday show and commented about how proud she was of all her skaters on her IG - the clear implication being that she'd been teaching/coaching in Monument for long enough to have established some sort of connection to those skaters. All of which is a roundabout way of saying maybe the switch happened for practical/economic reasons like only having to make one drive to and from work/training center a day instead of factoring in a commute between Monument and WASA and, for Danny, returning to a coach with whom he had a prior professional relationship.
Hanns has also previously been coached under Sappenfield before she paired with Neudecker with K. Ogren. After Ogrens partnerships she was with J.Garbutt under John Zimmerman/Fontana.

Seems like they both decided Sappenfield was a better option post WASA.

Edit- Are you implicating that it is better to move to a coach which is a known abuser because of money/prior professional experience as well as less commute time? Because that's messed up.
 
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Karen-W

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Hanns has also previously been coached under Sappenfield before she paired with Neudecker with K. Ogren. After Ogrens partnerships she was with J.Garbutt under John Zimmerman/Fontana.

Seems like they both decided Sappenfield was a better option post WASA.
Well, seeing that Zimmerman doesn't appear to be coaching any pairs teams these days and he has his own SafeSport issues, perhaps Dalilah was the better option, at least in the short term.

I will say, this permanent ban at least comes at a good point in the year - it's the off-season and the school year is just winding down so they could be in a good place to seriously consider relocating. Going somewhere like Chicago or Minneapolis might be a good change of scenery for them.
 

BrightSkates

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Well, seeing that Zimmerman doesn't appear to be coaching any pairs teams these days and he has his own SafeSport issues, perhaps Dalilah was the better option, at least in the short term.
I don't want to see a world where we are comparing some safesport banned coaches to other safesport banned coaches and trying to defend the actions of moving to either.
 

Karen-W

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I don't want to see a world where we are comparing some safesport banned coaches to other safesport banned coaches and trying to defend the actions of moving to either.
No, agreed, but whatever the reasons for the coaching switch, it was mid-season and probably left them with few viable options. I wouldn't have chosen either but I can understand the choice they made even if it was far from our ideal. The real world doesn't always give us perfect solutions. Now, though, if they stay there and work with Larry Ibarra instead of moving...
 

BrightSkates

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No, agreed, but whatever the reasons for the coaching switch, it was mid-season and probably left them with few viable options. I wouldn't have chosen either but I can understand the choice they made even if it was far from our ideal. The real world doesn't always give us perfect solutions. Now, though, if they stay there and work with Larry Ibarra instead of moving...
But it wasn't mid-season. The season was over- it was Nov-Dec if I remember correctly and once they withdrew from the final the season is over. This is where the problem is- why keep making excuses in order to help these predatory coaches and give them more buisness and credibility by giving the benefit of doubt that the students are helpless.... they are adults past the age of 25 and it's simply not true.
 

Karen-W

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But it wasn't mid-season. The season was over- it was Nov-Dec if I remember correctly and once they withdrew from the final the season is over. This is where the problem is- why keep making excuses in order to help these predatory coaches and give them more buisness and credibility by giving the benefit of doubt that the students are helpless.... they are adults past the age of 25 and it's simply not true.
Their season may have been over but that doesn't mean that other coaches had time/space available in their groups at that particular time, especially in the lead-up to Nats.

Now, if you want to make an argument that they should have made a move 2-3 months ago then, sure, I can go along with that and agree they're both adults and certainly not helpless. Having said that, there are other factors that may or may not be keeping them in their current location - do they have an apt lease that might be expensive to break or are they looking for job opportunities that will help pay the bills once they make a move? Just cut the crap with the judging them when you're not in their shoes and don't really know what their thought process is.
 

BrightSkates

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Their season may have been over but that doesn't mean that other coaches had time/space available in their groups at that particular time, especially in the lead-up to Nats.

Now, if you want to make an argument that they should have made a move 2-3 months ago then, sure, I can go along with that and agree they're both adults and certainly not helpless. Having said that, there are other factors that may or may not be keeping them in their current location - do they have an apt lease that might be expensive to break or are they looking for job opportunities that will help pay the bills once they make a move? Just cut the crap with the judging them when you're not in their shoes and don't really know what their thought process is.
I'm judging the whole figure skating environment. Are medals, location, etc. really that important when moving over to a coach who is a known abuser? The skating community needs to do better and help support these skaters, not encourage the tolerance of abuse in the name of sport.
 

kwanfan1818

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There are a lot of coaches, many of whom are making livings doing developmental work and aren't the ones we see at the boards at international competitions, but who are more than capable of training top-level teams. There are also skater-coaches who are rehabbing from injuries or whose partners are injured, who also coach on the side. I don't see a reason why any skater or team -- dance or pairs -- who is coachless in the middle of a season and whose season has ended, would not be willing to work on fundamentals -- which could be skating skills with dance coaches, regardless of the discipline -- while planning and getting choreography on an interim, contract basis with any of these coaches, doing off-ice training and physical rehab, instead of rushing to be on the roster of known abusers. We're talking about 3-6 months, not seasons.
 

Willin

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@kwanfan1818 I think a huge part of it is political - to get anywhere you're expected to have a big name coach. USFS encourages people leave smaller names in favor of bigger names. I'd assume that's a huge reason teams go to those coaches: they want a USFS-favored coach but have a very, very short list to choose from - and some of those on the short list are all booked with other teams.

But also every coach has different techniques and preferences, so you don't want to start learning a new technique from a lesser known coach for 3-6 months only to have to learn something else right before the season starts.
 

BrightSkates

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@kwanfan1818 I think a huge part of it is political - to get anywhere you're expected to have a big name coach. USFS encourages people leave smaller names in favor of bigger names. I'd assume that's a huge reason teams go to those coaches: they want a USFS-favored coach but have a very, very short list to choose from - and some of those on the short list are all booked with other teams.

But also every coach has different techniques and preferences, so you don't want to start learning a new technique from a lesser known coach for 3-6 months only to have to learn something else right before the season starts.
Dalilah is not USFS favored. And Drew Meekins was not known at all and yet look how successful he is now that these teams took a chance on him.

Edit for clarification- Drew was not known as a PAIRS coach.
 
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kwanfan1818

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@kwanfan1818 I think a huge part of it is political - to get anywhere you're expected to have a big name coach. USFS encourages people leave smaller names in favor of bigger names. I'd assume that's a huge reason teams go to those coaches: they want a USFS-favored coach but have a very, very short list to choose from - and some of those on the short list are all booked with other teams.
Which means that USFS pressure is sending them into the fire. Which is ridiculous, since they know there are going to be end-of-season shuffling among students and coaches.

But also every coach has different techniques and preferences, so you don't want to start learning a new technique from a lesser known coach for 3-6 months only to have to learn something else right before the season starts.
First, they go to workshops where they learn alternate techniques. Second, they go to specialists sometimes precisely to learn alternate techniques. Third, working on basics does not necessarily mean learning new techniques, and since, according to the best-known coaches, it takes years for new techniques to sink in, coaches worth their salt know when to start revamping someone's technique.

I get the panic involved with losing or running from a coaching team partway through a season. It's also a good time to step back, breathe, work on basics, and let nagging injuries heal while taking time to find the right environment, not one accepted under duress of any kind.
 

AngieNikodinovLove (ANL)

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And Drew Meekins was not known at all and yet look how successful he is now that these teams took a chance on him.

I just posted on this topic in the other thread a moment ago. Drew I’ve heard of as a figure skater, of course!!!!! Now Dalilah I’ve never heard of her at all. I’m going to Natalia M and would have been for the last seven years.
 

BittyBug

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And Drew Meekins was not known at all and yet look how successful he is now that these teams took a chance on him.
I believe Meekins was initially more focused on choreography than coaching but I've been seeing him in the kiss & cry and at the boards for at least a decade, if not longer, so he's not without experience as a coach. And he's a Jr. World Champion, so he obviously has skating cred as well.
 

BrightSkates

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I believe Meekins was initially more focused on choreography than coaching but I've been seeing him in the kiss & cry and at the boards for at least a decade, if not longer, so he's not without experience as a coach. And he's a Jr. World Champion, so he obviously has skating cred as well.
It's not so much the skating experience, of course he's known as a skater and choreographer. It's just a different realm of going to take on a primary coach who had never coached pairs before or had any teams as well as he was still very active with his choreography and singles skaters- that being said balancing a full blown pair program is a big switch and there were a lot of skaters who left Dalilah after her initial incident and did NOT choose to go to Drew but rather switched to Todd & Jenni, etc. for that very reason.
I’m going to Natalia M and would have been for the last seven years.
Natalia had been with Dalilah's camp for at least two years before switching to Drew.
 
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Sylvia

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Amanda Evora is USFS' "Skater Spotlight" feature that was published on May 29, 2024 ("This story [by Lois Elfman] appeared in the May 2024 issue of SKATING magazine."):
She also serves as a supplementary coach, helping other coaches with their skaters, describing it as her current calling card. This involves quite a bit of off-ice jump work.
“You can definitely say I have an enthusiasm for our sport, and wherever my help is needed, I’ve kind of fallen into those opportunities,” she said.
Evora Will is the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee athlete representative for figure skating. She is also vice president of U.S. Figure Skating, the first athlete representative to hold an officer position.
“I’m still learning all that my role entails,” she said.
In addition to serving on several committees, she had a voice in adding novice pairs and ice dance to the 2024 U.S. Championships, understanding the valuable experience national competition provides.
 

Sylvia

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I didn’t see Linzy Fitzpatrick/Keyton Bearinger’s new SP announcement mentioned in this thread last month (their teammates' Plazas/Fernandez's music was posted on the same day, April 19):
2024-25 Short program: “Stardust” and “Higher” by Michael Bublé 💃🏻🕺🏼(sneak peak included^🎶)
For free skate we are continuing our journey on the high seas with a reworked free skate to “Pirates of the Caribbean”.
ETA from the CPom fan thread:
Plazas/Fernandez drove to Ontario last weekend to get choreography, and here's what seems to be a snippet of their Dune FS:
I'm looking forward to seeing their artistic side in creating for other people!
Photo of the 4 of them in London, ON (May 15):
 
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Karen-W

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Bringing this over from the General Pairs Discussion thread -


Didn't realize that Valesi/Piazza are no more. That opens up a GP spot since they were WS Top 24 and therefore guaranteed 1 assignment.

Also, this bumps the Mokhovs up to WS Top 24 (as well as Caldara/Maglio) but I'm really curious as to whether or not they'll get 1 GP since they're not even on the USFS' ISP list due to their low scores this past season both domestically and internationally.
 

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