Chris Knierim to retire - Alexa to seek new partner

Tavi

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Is it just me, or does anyone else feel Alexa isn't that much better than Tarah, Haven, Ashley, etc.? I feel like all these top US pair ladies are on about the same level, so switching Haven for Alexa, for instance, may not make Brandon Frazier's career any better.
All of them have good points and everyone has different opinions, but I think overall Alexa has better skills than Tarah, Haven, and Ashley. She has much better skating skills, presentation, jumps, and use of her core in lifts than Tarah, who strikes me as the weakest of the top pair ladies. Haven has lovely air position but has struggled with jumps due to injury; Alexa’s jumps are pretty good. Ashley has good extension and lines but she and Tim struggle with height and distance on throws and twists; Alexa is generally pretty outstanding on those elements.
 

PairSkater12345

Active Member
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It's more than mechanical skills. It's how the pair work together, their combined skills and abilities. The development of a pairs team requires compromise and personal compatibility. Sometimes compromise isn't 50/50 and one partner has to bend more than the other and the other has to except it. All the successful pairs girls are feisty. Some are harder to work with than others.
 

karmena

Active Member
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71
It isn't just you. Alexa has her strengths, and the other ladies have their strengths. A pair is about how well two people's qualities mesh to make a team. Not just about individual talent. I especially agree that a switch may not make Brandon's, Tim's or Danny's career any better.

How will a pair's personality traits mesh? Which partner takes the lead, or will it be more equal? Can their technique on various elements and their artistic vision match up? Can they withstand new alterations, and how much time will all that take?

In regard to what Chinese fed did, it made the transitions easier that they all had learned the same technique. That switch hasn't -- at least not yet -- given the advantage to Zhang Hao, whom it was (presumably?) meant to benefit. It's been much better for Peng/Jin. Be careful what you wish for or try to manipulate into being ....
… not to mention Marissa Castello and Mervin Tran who, although both talented, were not able to blend into a pair with "it" factor...
 
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Tavi

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It's more than mechanical skills. It's how the pair work together, their combined skills and abilities. The development of a pairs team requires compromise and personal compatibility. Sometimes compromise isn't 50/50 and one partner has to bend more than the other and the other has to except it. All the successful pairs girls are feisty. Some are harder to work with than others.
Sure, and not sure if your comment is directed to me, but the poster I was responding to simply asked if she was the only one who doesn’t think Alexa is better than the other 3 “top” US pair girls. Some people agreed with her. I disagree based on what I as a very casual fan observe in competition.
 

Japanfan

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22,974
So here's the question. Male Skater A, who is a good pair skater that could potentially get her to the Olympics calls Alexa and says "I want to be your partner". Alexa asks what about Partner of A. A responds "I'll dump her for you" What does Alexa do (1) "No I don't want to break up a pair" or (2) "C'mon and lets try out"?
Someone who would just dump a partner - especially one he had been with for quite a while - might not have a great character, might just be really out for himself. And not be the best choice for a partner. I would at least hope that in such a situation, the man thinking of changing partners would sit down and have a discussion with his current partner.
 

aftershocks

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Id say that right now Alexa is probably a better partner than Haven. And it’s really because of that knee.
As mentioned in my post #204, I agree that what is probably holding Haven back are the drawbacks she's been experiencing surrounding her sbs jumping prowess, as a direct result of her serious knee injury. Coming back from that type of injury is not only physically challenging, it's surely mentally difficult. It can't be easy to block out the fear and nervousness surrounding being able to land on that injured knee, no matter how well-healed and rehabbed it is.

In fact, Haven was told that she might have trouble walking again, let alone skating and jumping again. Therefore, Haven deserves so much credit and endless kudos for how far she's come in the long road back (a shout-out to Brandon as well for supporting and standing by Haven). I don't think it is actually possible to measure the full 'loss of momentum' impacts that both the Knierims and Denney/Frazier have suffered and had to overcome since 2015 U.S. Nationals. Kudos and much respect to both these teams. :respec: In addition, Kayne/O'Shea have also dealt with and overcome a number of injuries during this same time period. Respect and kudos to them as well.

However, saying that 'right now Alexa is probably a better partner than Haven,' is IMO a bit of an over-generalization, and thus not especially accurate.
 

PairSkater12345

Active Member
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289
All of them have good points and everyone has different opinions, but I think overall Alexa has better skills than Tarah, Haven, and Ashley. She has much better skating skills, presentation, jumps, and use of her core in lifts than Tarah, who strikes me as the weakest of the top pair ladies. Haven has lovely air position but has struggled with jumps due to injury; Alexa’s jumps are pretty good. Ashley has good extension and lines but she and Tim struggle with height and distance on throws and twists; Alexa is generally pretty outstanding on those elements.
Skating and pairs skills are big factors. The ability to work together is often overlooked as a critical factor. I believe these guys could be taking a step back by going with Alexa. On the surface she may look like a good option but not really. It makes no difference for the big three pairs guys if the new partner's skills are better (and I'm not saying they are) if the drama headaches and conflicting priorities get in the way of building a team. Having said that, if one of these guys no longer has a partner because of retirement he will have nothing to loose and would likely will go for it. All these pairs teams know each other. They have competed against each other and traveled together around the world. All parties would go into this partnership change (if it happened) with eyes wide open.
 

Tavi

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Skating and pairs skills are big factors. The ability to work together is often overlooked as a critical factor. I believe these guys could be taking a step back by going with Alexa. On the surface she may look like a good option but not really. It makes no difference for the big three pairs guys if the new partner's skills are better (and I'm not saying they are) if the drama headaches and conflicting priorities get in the way of building a team. Having said that, if one of these guys no longer has a partner because of retirement he will have nothing to loose and would likely will go for it. All these pairs teams know each other. They have competed against each other and traveled together around the world. All parties would go into this partnership change (if it happened) with eyes wide open.
So you think it’s okay - the kind of thing that would win you a lot of friends or a loyal pairs partner, say - to come onto a public forum, imply that you have inside knowledge of all these people, and anonymously trash Alexa for being a difficult to work with diva?
 

PairSkater12345

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I responded to your comments about putting Alexa in a higher category because you think she has better skills than the partners of the big three. They all have strengths and weaknesses and I don't agree with you. There are other skills "attributes" that make a partnership work. IE ability to work together, individual work ethic and commitment are factors that make a successful partnership. If they are considering the change, each of these guys would be weighing their options based on complete knowledge of the situation and skills are one factor.
 

Tavi

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I have absolutely no problem with the fact that you disagree with me. Nor do I disagree that the ability to work well with someone would be super important in forming a pair - just as it in marriage, friendship, and work relationships. I just don’t think it’s right to anonymously spread rumors about someone on a public forum.
 

PairSkater12345

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289
I have absolutely no problem with the fact that you disagree with me. Nor do I disagree that the ability to work well with someone would be super important in forming a pair - just as it in marriage, friendship, and work relationships. I just don’t think it’s right to anonymously spread rumors about someone on a public forum.
Most Pairs ladies are feisty some more than others.
 

Weve3

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Pairs ladies would almost have to be (as a requirement) incredibly feisty and tenacious. Consider that they are hurled across the ice, required to perform Cirque du Soleil-like feats while channeling their inner gymnast. They must rely, almost unconditionally, on their partner's strength, stability, etc., all the while being on the sketchy end of a headbanger (ice dancers, too) if they choose to go there. These expectations do not exactly require a gentle approach. If Alexa et al. are a bit feisty in part because of it - then I'm good with it.
 

PairSkater12345

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289
Pairs ladies would almost have to be (as a requirement) incredibly feisty and tenacious. Consider that they are hurled across the ice, required to perform Cirque du Soleil-like feats while channeling their inner gymnast. They must rely, almost unconditionally, on their partner's strength, stability, etc., all the while being on the sketchy end of a headbanger (ice dancers, too) if they choose to go there. These expectations do not exactly require a gentle approach. If Alexa et al. are a bit feisty in part because of it - then I'm good with it.
Totally agree, most of the Pairs girls are very brave and feisty, not afraid to try new risky moves, most of the risky work is from progression from a base of technique with different variation starting off ice. They all learn from each other, coaches add content to difficult tricks. The teams also look at their strengths the new points changes for the year and work on lifts that get the max points (sometimes regardless of their appeal). CG/L have basic lifts that are less challenging that get the most points for their skill set (savvy but underwhelming) you see base difficulty because of the obvious. As far as Feisty maybe the better word is mood and attitude. Some pairs teams have unrealistic expectations from coaches than other pairs teams on the ice.
 
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skylark

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I was watching videos a few days ago of the Pairs Best Performance Awards at Nationals given by the US Professional Skating Association each year. I watched Rockne Brubaker's 2008 FS with Keauna McLaughlin. I was thinking about how suddenly Keauna retired and how young she was, when I wondered how old Rockne is now ... turns out he's 33 ... only a year older than Chris Knierim.

And my mind kept going ... Rockne could take 2 years away from his coaching to partner with Alexa.... hmmm. I know, I know, it's not that easy, or even desirable to drop the teams he coaches and leave them in the lurch, and I wouldn't want him to, unless another coach could simply step in to work with Stefania. But I've always regretted how Rockne quit earlier than it seemed he wanted; he couldn't get subsequent partnerships to last either.

He's such an artistic skater, so in that way he wouldn't really match with Alexa; her talent is in the beauty of the elements, while Rockne's is more a fluidity of expression with his skating and his movement. And also, he may not be tall enough, at least not for what she's used to. But they'd look good together.
 

olympic

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I was watching videos a few days ago of the Pairs Best Performance Awards at Nationals given by the US Professional Skating Association each year. I watched Rockne Brubaker's 2008 FS with Keauna McLaughlin. I was thinking about how suddenly Keauna retired and how young she was, when I wondered how old Rockne is now ... turns out he's 33 ... only a year older than Chris Knierim.

And my mind kept going ... Rockne could take 2 years away from his coaching to partner with Alexa.... hmmm. I know, I know, it's not that easy, or even desirable to drop the teams he coaches and leave them in the lurch, and I wouldn't want him to, unless another coach could simply step in to work with Stefania. But I've always regretted how Rockne quit earlier than it seemed he wanted; he couldn't get subsequent partnerships to last either.

He's such an artistic skater, so in that way he wouldn't really match with Alexa; her talent is in the beauty of the elements, while Rockne's is more a fluidity of expression with his skating and his movement. And also, he may not be tall enough, at least not for what she's used to. But they'd look good together.
I think she is 5-2 and he 5-9. I'm not sure how that would work. Secondly, they both seem like strong personalities.
 

MacMadame

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We had this discussion several times over. No need to have it again... If you want to relive it, you can read the prior posts.

Just MO.
 

skylark

Active Member
Messages
66
We had this discussion several times over. No need to have it again... If you want to relive it, you can read the prior posts.

Just MO.
I did realize that's how it would appear, after I'd posted. I just thought pairSkater12345 might have somethin' new. Like many others, I'm interested to see if Alexa can make this hail-Mary pass work for her. If nothing else, it would be interesting to see what she'd be like at this point skating with another partner. But I'm not in favor of breaking up good partnerships to see it. Thus, my speculation, which was for fun.

I did mention Rockne's lesser height in my first post. But there are only 8 inches' difference in Vanessa & Morgan's stated (on Wiki) heights. I'm a fan of the pairs, such as Ashley and Tim (7 inches' difference), who don't let that stop them from being a champion pair.
 

Japanfan

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22,974
I think she is 5-2 and he 5-9. I'm not sure how that would work.
Seems to me that such a height difference is common is pairs.

Zue Chen is 5'3 and Hongbo 5'9. Dick Button said their height difference is perfect.
 
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Danceronice13

New Member
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Wow! How am I just reading this? Hoping he can take care of himself physically and mentally and that she can find a suitable partner.
 

aftershocks

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16,947
I was watching videos a few days ago of the Pairs Best Performance Awards at Nationals given by the US Professional Skating Association each year. I watched Rockne Brubaker's 2008 FS with Keauna McLaughlin. I was thinking about how suddenly Keauna retired and how young she was, when I wondered how old Rockne is now ... turns out he's 33 ... only a year older than Chris Knierim.

And my mind kept going ... Rockne could take 2 years away from his coaching to partner with Alexa.... hmmm. I know, I know, it's not that easy, or even desirable to drop the teams he coaches and leave them in the lurch, and I wouldn't want him to, unless another coach could simply step in to work with Stefania. But I've always regretted how Rockne quit earlier than it seemed he wanted; he couldn't get subsequent partnerships to last either.

He's such an artistic skater, so in that way he wouldn't really match with Alexa; her talent is in the beauty of the elements, while Rockne's is more a fluidity of expression with his skating and his movement. And also, he may not be tall enough, at least not for what she's used to. But they'd look good together.
I love Rockne Brubaker. He was a great pairs guy with Keauna and with his other partners, especially Mary Beth Marley. Marley/Brubaker remain one of my favorite U.S. pairs teams. It's sad that Rockne was unable to fulfill promising potential with Keauna and later with Mary Beth. Rockne experienced a lot of bad luck in his partnerships. There was the possibility he might have joined with Amanda Evora (after the split with Marley), as they had a successful tryout. However, the logistics involved didn't work out for them (i.e. relocation necessity and the fact that Amanda had already retired and had job prospects).

With that in mind, let's be honest that there's no way Rockne Brubaker is going to come out of his retirement to partner with Alexa Knierim. Rockne is a coach based in his hometown of Chicago, with his wife of five years, former Italian pairs skater, Stefania Berton. I believe they are starting a family, or perhaps they already have a child. Rockne & Stefania have coaching commitments, and they are seemingly well settled with their life in Chicago.

But I guess, dream on with the fantasy pairings. ;)
 

AngieNikodinovLove

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5,175
I am about two seconds away from taking ice-skating lessons so I can pair up with Alexa!!!!!

And I already have the Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent!!!!

And muscles for days ....I’ll be able to throw that girl high and far!!!!
 

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