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Mad for Skating

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Great job Claire! I agree with your points. I was rooting so bad for an S/K national title, and wanted A/R on the team like crazy (so for me the event pretty much sucked) but your notes are great!
 

clairecloutier

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So it's been 3 1/2 years now since I started this blog. The first pairs event I wrote about was Skate Canada in fall 2015. When I started, I never had the conscious thought, "I'm going to cover pairs skating for an entire quad." But that's what I wound up doing!

And here is my first Olympic pairs preview & predictions! https://adivinesport.com/2018/02/13/olympics-2018-pairs-preview-predictions/
 

Lovemyvike

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nimi

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So it's been 3 1/2 years now since I started this blog. The first pairs event I wrote about was Skate Canada in fall 2015. When I started, I never had the conscious thought, "I'm going to cover pairs skating for an entire quad." But that's what I wound up doing!
Yay! :cheer2: & thank you! :encore:

Oh yes, #aljonaforgold! *prayer hands*

Btw, I noticed one little typo: Seg/Bil & MTM2 both have "13th" in front of them
 

clairecloutier

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Just finished watching @clairecloutier do the review of the Pairs event on Justin Laem's Youtube channel. It was a really enjoyable, and I thought you did a great job reviewing the event. :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nh2_3aRH_nc

Ahh, thank you so much @skatingguy! :) This was my first time doing a video recap, so I was nervous. But Justin is so great and really put me at ease. Glad you enjoyed it!!

For anyone interested in more ramblings from me, here is my Olympic pairs review on my web site: https://adivinesport.com/2018/02/27/olympics-2018-pairs-review/.
 

LynnW

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I always look forward to reading your blog after a pairs' event and am happily surprised to get the bonus of the video recap for the Olympics. Good job and thanks.
 

aftershocks

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Just finished watching @clairecloutier do the review of the Pairs event on Justin Laem's Youtube channel. It was a really enjoyable, and I thought you did a great job reviewing the event. :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nh2_3aRH_nc
Thanks for linking Claire's video recap with Justin breaking down the Olympic pairs individual event. It was so cool to see and hear your analysis @clairecloutier. Your blogs are always fun and informative to read. Good job with Justin. :)

I also went back to look at your Olympic pairs predictions. Pretty good, and I understand the choices you made. There's always something that the skate gods end up allowing to happen that's unexpected and dismaying. :wuzrobbed But that's figure skating. Although it was unfortunate for Evgenia and Vlad to struggle in their fp, it was almost like karma. Notice that they did not perform their fp in the team event. I thought that was wise and for a good reason. The mystery is actually why they didn't try to get a new fp well before Russian Nationals.

I would actually blame the judges in France for rewarding T/M with egregious fp mistakes and denying James/Cipres a deserved gold medal in their home country! Judges at every event who saw that yucky Candyman program should have been taking off on composition and interpretation, but they never did. And that's unfortunately a huge problem with the judging (politics and PCS manipulation). Therefore T/M never got the right message. But then they heard the critical assessments from fans, and they still refused to budge, claiming that they enjoyed the program. :drama: It was simply never the right genre for them, and they never performed it believably and they certainly didn't look like they were having a good time, especially not Vlad! So I wonder if they will now actually find something worthy of their talent, and try to work with a choreographer who might be able to help them? There are lots of questions and anticipations for this transitional Olympics aftermath. But first on to Milan Worlds. Or better yet, first some down time as a figure skating fan. I'm exhausted, and I'm still processing so many emotions at the same time.

Pairs is actually the event that turned out to be the most pleasing, joyful and transcendent. The way Aliona and Bruno took the minor mistake (and big points loss) in the sp in stride and came back so focused and determined, is amazing. They believed in themselves and knew they could do it, and they stayed in each moment, and ended up transcending those moments. That's the magic of figure skating on ice that we always hope to witness. :saint::encore:

(I almost said 'they came back with guns blazing,' and then I checked myself! No gun imagery and language is necessary, but that's always a cultural trap to be aware of at all times).
 

AxelAnnie

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Nice blog. I have a couple of thoughts.

1. Alexandra is utterly amazing. I have watched the program over and over. Until I read it somewhere, I didn't even realize it was back loaded.
2. In an interview, I read that they keep a very tight rein on their very talented skaters, including healthy eating, not over jumping, medical monitoring.
3. I don't think we will ever see the mystical magic of skaters like Kwan. But then Kwan barely competed the current judging system ....IMO has all but eliminated it. Yu-Na is revered in Korea, but not in this country.
4. I think in this country we are dealing with a disconnect with USFS and Skating. Russia and Asia have embraced the rules, and trained to win. American ladies are so far behind the curve I don't think we can catch up for a number of years.
5. Our ladies don't fix problems.........they change coaches, costumes, skates or programs. Or maybe all of the above.

If I had to bet, I would bet on Alexandra continuing to be a force to recon with. I hope I am right, because it will be really fun to watch.
 
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Great blog and thoughts.

My thoughts.

Don't think eliminating the bonus would help, in fact it may help skaters like Alina to compete with future 3A/quad jumpers. Also in the SP all that would happen is skaters would do all their jumps up front - had a quick look at the 2010 Vancouver protocols, and all 10 top ladies did their 3 jumping passes in the first 5 out of, at the time, 8 elements. This would drive you just as nuts as everyone backloading, which surely can't be far off for the SP, certainly by Beijing. I would say min 1 jumping pass in the 1st half is probably the only way to get 'balance' there if everyone starts doing 0/3 splits, and all programs look the same.

Re backloading in general, there's nothing wrong IMO if it matches the music. If Alina say was to skate to Nessun Dorma next season would anyone really have a problem if she fully back-loaded? Perhaps the real problem is the 'empty' front ends, and this is where problems with 'endless' level 4 step sequences come in. I would suggest a time limit on Step Sequences and use the saved time for a longer Choreo Seq where you can get much more aesthetically pleasing elements being performed. The old Spiral Seq used to be worth more than the Step Seq (not sure I totally agree with that) but now it's a throw away element that people are even talking about scrapping. I would suggest it should be the other way round and a longer Choreo Seq (with proper spirals) would be a very good way of restoring 'artistry'.

Re judges 're-education' (LOL) I totally agree re PCS (where's Vanessa Riley when you need her?!). But yes, better PCS judging and especially on the PE/CO/IN front has to be the way to go.

Also re ages/injuries etc. One advantage Alexandra has is she's a June baby i.e. 1 month younger and she'd only just be starting juniors. As it is she's 1.5 years away from Seniors rather than 2.5. Also, wasn't Alina saying she broke her arm and leg? Plus there's also been skaters like Anna Shcherbakova (quad-3T-3Lo in training) and Alexandra Proklova who have also broken legs (Alexandra never even skating in Seniors despite 4th as a junior at 2014 Russian Nationals). Raising the age limit to 16 therefore has to be the way to go if you want a more even playing field, otherwise skating is likely to be dominated even more by just into Seniors Juniors. Also it may just help to protect young bodies (and minds).

Having said that there is a discussion to be had IMO in which direction skating needs to be going. Looking at the recent Olympics there's all sorts of sports involving instant gratification e.g aerials Big Air and Slopestyle. How much should skating be following these, or ploughing it's own furrow? Certainly Alina's programs are thrilling and exciting and she's a really 'clean' skater. Personally I don't have any problem with her winning Olympic Gold, and cringe when I see Carolina Kostner getting crazy PCS marks for error strewn performances (shows how judges are thinking though and how concerned they are about all the recent developments). Hence as in your blog there's a really good discussion to be had - 10th March 2018 really could be a historic day in Ladies figure skating.

One final thought, I wouldn't also worry about arms in the air. Alina's are really aesthetically really beautiful, only question is are they actually harder to do? If so they should be rewarded, if not they shouldn't count towards the bullet points for a jump, but should still count towards PCS e.g. as highlights in the music.
 

Spun Silver

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That's a fantastic interview, Claire! I adore this team and I love hearing how eager and happy they are together after some of the interpretations of one of their Kiss and Cry's last season. Deanna is boss! Her focus on the IJS, her ambition and her drive to stand out and improve, as with her insistence on women choreographers, the way she eats up all the input from various coaches, and her determination to do as many Challenger competitions as possible, are... stellar. After Worlds, I commiserated with her on Instagram about their early start order and she replied much as she did to you. She seems very sweet and humble on Instagram, but you got her to show her inner tiger. She reminds me of Aliona!

It's painful to hear that Nate has to work until 11 at night and that Deanna lives apart from her family. How much they must love this sport!

They both sound very confident and on the same page. Great to hear. I didn't know about Nate's knee problem but I'm glad it's all healed. Can't wait to see them compete next!

Thanks for the wonderful work.
 

nimi

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Great interview! I really enjoyed the detailed discussion about throw technique etc! Thanks Claire!

(BTW... I was about to post about the changes in lift level features that Deanna talked about in the pairs discussion thread, but realized there's no 2018-19 season thread yet. Claire, as the 2017-18 thread starter, would you like to start a new one or would you prefer that somebody else does that this time around?)
 

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