"Denis did so many things, in addition to figure skating. It was amazing, really, how much he was involved in. During his competitive career, he completed his undergraduate college degree and started an MBA program. Combining his interests in business and skating, he published an article last year suggesting improvements to the ISU’s information technology platform to ease skaters’ competitive travel and partner searches."
Wow, I didn't know any of that Claire. Thanks for sharing. Do you know what if anything came of Denis' suggestions?
I hope you posted a link to your tribute in the other D10 thread. Thanks again.
That's such a lovely memory and photo of Denis from 2015 Skate America. Because he's no longer with us, it's almost too hard looking at that photo and the kindness shining in Denis' face. You must cherish that moment. ITA with the way you characterize Denis' struggles as showing us more of what the process and ups-and-downs of skating are like. His difficulties definitely made his triumphs circa 2013-2015 that much sweeter, especially his breakthrough moments at 2013 Worlds. I've always felt that Denis' artistry inspired so many skaters of his generation, including Yuzuru Hanyu.
Regarding your comments about the judges, @clairecloutier, I personally feel it was mixed for Denis. When he was coming up as a skater after blazing onto the scene in 2009-2010, I do feel the judges truly respected Denis' artistry and they could be lenient sometimes. But since Denis was known for having technical inconsistencies (due to the many injuries he struggled with), I don't think ISU judges across the board didn't seem to care about his inconsistencies. When you have a rep for being inconsistent, that isn't always a good calling card.
By 2013, I don't think many observers expected clean performances from Denis at Worlds. But he surprised us all. There apparently was a window in which he felt better physically and he beautifully performed The Artist sp and fp (with only a couple of doubled jumps in the fp intended to be triples, but only one of the doubles was noticeable as an obvious omission). In that instance, the fact that Denis did not have a reputation for consistency may have been at the least a subconscious factor in the judges not giving Denis all the credit he deserved for the win.
Over the past couple of seasons, I've been very disappointed in the judges not recognizing and fairly scoring the artistry and musicality of Denis' performances, despite his many technical mistakes (which again were due to his physical struggles having resulted in limited training time).
Claire, what a wonderful tribute to Denis. You manage to convey so much of his uniqueness. As terrible and still unbelievable as his death is, it is hard to say his short life was not full. I love your point about the judges being willing to reward him when they could because his quality was so undeniable.
You are the best kind of critic in pieces like this. Your knowledge and acumen are always more than matched by your love of skating and skaters. Thank you for this.
That's such a lovely memory and photo of Denis from 2015 Skate America. Because he's no longer with us, it's almost too hard looking at that photo and the kindness shining in Denis' face. You must cherish that moment.
I can totally relate, @aftershocks. I was also at Skate America in 2015. While I didn't get to actually speak to Denis, I was fortunate enough to see him skate his free program, and I have a few blurry photos saved on my phone. Last week I was looking at them and just started crying. At the time, I thought they were just really bad pictures but now they feel so precious.
Thanks Maureen. I haven't heard anything about Erika/AJ. But I think @insideedgeua posted something positive about them in the U.S. Pairs thread--that they were making progress with Sappenfield. Hopefully we will see them soon. They have competed very little the last few years. I think last season, they only did 3 events (Cranberry, Ondrej Nepela, Natls). Maybe @Sylvia might know more.
Brandon K is a very nice looking skater, so I hope that he and his new partner Sydney Cooke can go far together. It's interesting that Brandon K once skated pairs with Bradie Tennell. Somehow, I see Bradie as more of a singles skater than a pairs skater, although perhaps she was younger and smaller when she competed in pairs with Brandon K. Meanwhile, Sydney and Brandon appear to be having fun, even with their newbie partner missteps. As you said, that's a great choice of music for them, and I see what you mean about Sydney having a bit of similarity to Marissa Castelli in terms of spark and on-ice movement quality.
"To me, this performance is the best I’ve yet seen from James/Cipres. Skating at home in France to their “Say Something” LP, they seemed so prepared and ready for this moment. Everything was in place technically in the program. Their pacing was great, too. There was no rushing; every movement seemed to have meaning. And the program had great emotion throughout."
ITA. Plus, J/C should have won gold at TDF (their home country) with that performance vs the failures of T/M in their godawful fp at TDF. T/M stubbornly stayed with that fp mess (and were egregiously) rewarded by the judges way too much.
Thanks so much Claire for the wonderful report and interviews. I've always been a Ross Miner fan so I am delighted to learn he is doing well. I really wish there was a way for fans who can't attend the show to see it.
In short, I am taking a break from writing pairs reviews this fall. I've had a lot of family/house stuff going on this fall (nothing too bad, but it has just taken a lot of my attention). And I've been doing a little campaign work for the U.S. midterm elections. Not to mention the fact that I'm still recovering from the Olympic season. So in all, I just need a bit of a break. I hope to come back to doing pairs reviews for the second half of the GP season, or if not then, for Nationals and the major championships.
The good news, I think, is that I'll be attending Skate Canada this week and reporting on it for another pairs/dance web site, Two for the Ice! I'll also be tweeting from the @twofortheice Twitter account, so follow along there for updates.
Thanks to everyone who has read my pairs reviews the last 4 years! I really appreciate it!
Thanks so much for all the passionate work you do for fans and for love of the 'divine' sport, and especially for pairs! It's important to take time out when it's needed! And thanks for putting your time and efforts where your passions are regarding civic involvement too!
Enjoy your well deserved break and have a great time at Skate Canada if you go there! Looking forward to reading your reviews when you return to blogging. They are so well written and a joy to read for all pairs skating lovers.