Pairs Discussion Thread 2019-20: “Two skating as one”

aftershocks

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I'm really sick of the whole "If the skater isn't smiling, she must be an entitled, arrogant snob!" narrative.
Eh, I never said "if the skater isn't smiling, they must be entitled, arrogant snobs..." I qualified everything I said, and I didn't reference T/M or P/J as being petulant. I actually said that IMO Boi/Kos don't exhibit expressions that are 'overly petulant or arrogant.' It's my opinion that Pavluchenko's expression in the kiss 'n cry at SA bordered on petulance, which doesn't mean it's an accurate reading. I also pointed out that putting on a competitive game face is often utilized by athletes. The defiant and/or defensive expressions I detected on the faces of P/K and M/G I qualified may have a lot to do with the competitive difficulty of battling amidst a deep pairs field in their country.

But it's par for the course to ignore the context of my commentary, and for certain selected comments of mine to be heavily misread, exaggerated and/ or willfully misinterpreted. The fact that there's an emotional component in how most fans perceive the sport lends itself to taking offence to commentary seen as overly critical or harsh toward particular faves. Since I'm a fan of pairs skating, I enjoy any performance that's brilliant. I'm simply waiting for T/M and P/J to do more with the talents they possess. Recently, they have been disappointing, despite being highly regarded by the judges. And my view of M/G and P/K is that they have a lot more work to do to be well-rounded, despite getting off to relatively good starts in their senior debuts, in a season where some top pairs aren't competing on the GP. Sui/Han haven't competed on the GP for three seasons, but at least they are back this season as a top, veteran team.

It hasn't been a very exciting GP in pairs so far. I too look forward to seeing how Stolbova/ Novoselov will fare. Perhaps Rostelecom Cup will be a more well-skated competition on this season's GP.
 
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aftershocks

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Some Warsaw Cup videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dy71V7QVyQ0 Calalang/Johnson
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeEHCpfgPbo Pepeleva/Pleshkov
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A32hOVa2r4A Hocke/Kunkel
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dy71V7QVyQ0 Brasseur/Bardei
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtA3m4EgFbY Hamon/Strekalin

New team Barquero/Consul -- they have nice style and elegant lines; need a 3-twist & more mileage:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3Th3u_-ixc Wang/Boudreau-Audet
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nll2vffl8GE Jones/Boyadji
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2MDgW87qKg Keriven/Pierre
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XX8Thcjd_To Matte/Ferland
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Qe0gH31AaM Pavlova/Blommaert
 

Mad for Skating

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Eh, I never said "if the skater isn't smiling, they must be entitled, arrogant snobs..." I qualified everything I said, and I didn't reference T/M or P/J as being petulant. I actually said that IMO Boi/Kos don't exhibit expressions that are 'overly petulant or arrogant.' It's my opinion that Pavluchenko's expression in the kiss 'n cry at SA bordered on petulance, which doesn't mean it's an accurate reading. I also pointed out that putting on a competitive game face is often utilized by athletes. The defiant and/or defensive expressions I detected on the faces of P/K and M/G I qualified may have a lot to do with the competitive difficulty of battling amidst a deep pairs field in their country.

But it's par for the course to ignore the context of my commentary, and for certain selected comments of mine to be heavily misread, exaggerated and/ or willfully misinterpreted. The fact that there's an emotional component in how most fans perceive the sport lends itself to taking offence to commentary seen as overly critical or harsh toward particular faves. Since I'm a fan of pairs skating, I enjoy any performance that's brilliant. I'm simply waiting for T/M and P/J to do more with the talents they possess. Recently, they have been disappointing, despite being highly regarded by the judges. And my view of M/G and P/K is that they have a lot more work to do to be well-rounded, despite getting off to relatively good starts in their senior debuts, in a season where some top pairs aren't competing on the GP. Sui/Han haven't competed on the GP for three seasons, but at least they are back this season as a top, veteran team.

It hasn't been a very exciting GP in pairs so far. I too look forward to seeing how Stolbova/ Novoselov will fare. Perhaps Rostelecom Cup will be a more well-skated competition on this season's GP.
I wasn’t trying to accuse you of making any bad comments. In general, I just don’t like when fans dissect the skaters’ behavior so much. I prefer to just sit back and watch the skating! No harm intended.
 

text_skate

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Did T/M change their FS music? I don't like Te amo, and I can't remember disliking their FS this season :unsure:
 

Amy L

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B/K were great. He took a bad tumble in the warm up but he didn't let that get to him. He's gonna feel that later though, yowch.

Oh my blockheaded babies. :wall: Evgenia and Vladimir have like a certain amount of sanity and confidence, but it's only enough for one person at a time. :wall: I'll be saying "I'll always have the video of Russian test skates" until I die. I will also :mitchell: about black catsuits for this whole damn season. They can use the SP costumes for the LP, because I really dislike the LP ones.

Diva Susie and manservant had music that I thought was meh, but she's a fighter. The twist and throws were small but I imagine it's all her doing it anyways and she just allows him to stand near her.

I thought the Germans were kind of robbed. But they're not good long program skaters and don't expect them to be in the medal hunt anyways. But it would have been a great moment for them to have the small bronze and the press conference and all that.
 

aka_gerbil

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I don’t know what the answer is for t/m, but I don’t think Florida is helping anything. They fared better with Max last season.

This season is pretty FUBAR at this point, but they have to stop the bleeding. They’re going to have over a month before they compete again after this is done. Maybe they should stay put in Russia, beg Mozer, and maybe that will get them to top 3 at nationals. Otherwise, they go into next season limping even more.
 

Colonel Green

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I don’t know what the answer is for t/m, but I don’t think Florida is helping anything. They fared better with Max last season.

This season is pretty FUBAR at this point, but they have to stop the bleeding. They’re going to have over a month before they compete again after this is done. Maybe they should stay put in Russia, beg Mozer, and maybe that will get them to top 3 at nationals. Otherwise, they go into next season limping even more.
Assuming they've got the aborted lifts under control (fingers crossed for tomorrow), I don't think their performance today was different from what they were regularly doing last season.
 

rfisher

Let the skating begin
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Their programs are great, but they are making too many mistakes and silly ones today due to lack of focus. I think they've lost confidence in themselves. They need to win tomorrow to regain their mojo. Boi/Koz are going to the GPF regardless, but I hope Tar/Mor can find their inner steel. They can do it; they just aren't.

I was worried about Stolbova since it's been crickets out of their camp since the test skates. Still work to do, but better than I expected. There was a lot of improvement since the test skates, so they are going in the right direction. Russian pairs is not for the faint of heart.
 

aftershocks

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I thought the Germans were kind of robbed.
Yes maybe. H/S skated well, but their level is not really as high as T/M's is supposed to be. And it was a bit of home-cooking for S/N, let's face it. Maybe if it wasn't in Russia, H/S would have edged S/N who still have a lot of kinks to work out as a new team. I wasn't sure what the judges would be giving T/M for a very lackluster performance with miscues. The 76+ was overly high for that performance. But they are at home in Russia.

At least T/M seemed more relaxed and smiling after their performance, perhaps because they are at home. Also, perhaps they are resigned to possibly not making the GPF. Also, it's still possible for them to turn things around for the major competitions the rest of the season. Maybe they have decided not to put so much pressure on themselves. The judges don't seem to care whether T/M actually have good material or whether they connect well, as long as they skate relatively clean with their top-notch elements. Even with mistakes or minor miscues they get high scores.

Boi/Koz were not as electrifying as at Skate Canada, but they were still very good. It's a sign of how well-trained and committed they are that Koz overcame that fall during the warm-up. He did seem to be shook-up, but he did not seem to want any sympathy. He shook it off well, but he was holding onto his side for a moment. Boi/Koz and all of the Russians appeared very relaxed skating at home. The 80+ score seems a bit high, but they are in Russia, and it's obvious B/K's PCS were kept down a bit at SC -- they have risen here. Compare the sp scores from both events below:

http://www.isuresults.com/results/season1920/gpcan2019/SEG005.htm SC

http://www.isuresults.com/results/season1920/gprus2019/SEG005.htm RC

I don't think Stolbova/Novoselov look that great together, but new partnerships take time. They still have a lot of work to do, and right now I don't sense a tremendous amount of chemistry between them. Selecting the right music is always important. I didn't see their original sp. This music is good, and some of the choreo works really well, but Novoselov is very bland to Stolbova's fiery personality. She does seem more mellow and calm, with a gracious attitude toward her partner. She probably appreciates being able to continue her career, and she seems happy they've made it this far. I thought their score was a bit high for a new team with miscues, but they are skating at home. I don't see the make-up of the podium changing in the least. Unless B/K make mistakes in the fp, and T/M go clean, the results may stand as is for the top three.

Walsh/Michaud changed their sp completely. The previous one to Benny & the Jets simply wasn't working for them. This new one with different music, choreo, and costumes is apparently more in their style wheelhouse. They perhaps had to try too hard with the previous program to put on an edgy, funky 'tude that didn't come naturally to their personalities. They had trouble skating clean with the previous program. This love ballad theme seems to be more comfortable for them.

I think Lu/Mitrofanov are a better team overall than the Italians, Ghilardi/Ambrosini, but L/M obviously can't afford to make any mistakes as a young team relatively new to seniors. They are expendable in the scoring based on the judging. I thought L/M's score was rather low, even with Lu's fall on the throw. L/M do need to gain more experience and learn how to project more, and not rush their elements.

Ziegler/Kiefer's sp music did not seem to go with their costumes. The music was rather dark and melancholy, and they were wearing what looked like 1920s jazz-era costumes.
 
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oleada

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I thought L/M's score was rather low, even with Lu's fall on the throw. L/M do need to gain more experience and learn how to project more, and not rush their elements.
It is not just the throw, though. The lift was really bad in real time - a real struggle and kind of scary. They got a UR in the Salchow and also had low levels in the step and the death spiral. No level 4 on any element. I remember they struggled with the lifts in SLC, and so did everyone else, but for them, maybe it’s a bigger issue. The quality was not there at all. I also think her basics are shockingly bad for this level. Plus, they have zero performance quality or connection.

Ghilardi/Ambrossini are not a strong team, either, but they get their levels, and their lift was much better executed. They got their levels in France, as well, which was a much stronger skate for them.
 
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oleada

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Also - Gamez/PARADIS are the first team from South East Asia to qualify for 4CC, as per the Philippine Skating Union :cheer:
 

aftershocks

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Yep, L/M are a young team and they can't afford to make any mistakes. They strike me as rushing their elements. Maybe Mitrofanov is having problems with his arm or shoulder. I recall he was grabbing his arm in pain in the kiss 'n cry at a recent competition. That could be why the lift seemed to be a struggle. That could also be why the entry seemed strange -- they were probably compensating and trying to place less strain on his arm/shoulder on the push up.

Lu strikes me as very young and reserved emotionally, but she has a long-limbed quality that works well. They do need to show more connection and learn to project more, but so do a whole slew of younger teams. I'm not sure what basics you are speaking of in regard to Lu, SS? She has a bit of stiffness to her skating, thus she could probably benefit from taking dance and acting lessons. They are generally sound on the jumps and throws, but too often there are miscues and execution problems. These issues will need to be worked out, so hopefully as a young team, they have time to recognize their weaknesses and work on those drawbacks.

In any case, L/M were given slightly higher scores on PCS than the Italians...
 
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oleada

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She’s very stiff; her edging is poor, she doesn’t get down on her knees and their overall skating is very labored looking. Her positions in the lift have improved but they’re still not great. IMO, their only advantage over any other US pair team is that they can land the jumps more consistently.
 

Mad for Skating

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And it was a bit of home-cooking for S/N
Home-cooking? Some of the judges literally gave them 7s in PCS. I know they’re a new team and skated in the first warm-up group, but if anything, I would say their score was too low, not too high. Maybe Hase/Seegert deserved a slightly higher score, but I wouldn’t say S/N’s scores were home-cooked at all. Just my two cents.
 

aftershocks

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Home-cooking? Some of the judges literally gave them 7s in PCS. I know they’re a new team and skated in the first warm-up group, but if anything, I would say their score was too low, not too high. Maybe Hase/Seegert deserved a slightly higher score, but I wouldn’t say S/N’s scores were home-cooked at all. Just my two cents.
Eh, I'm not picking on S/N. 7s on PCS is good for a newly paired team. While Stolbova may deserve higher PCS, her partner still needs to improve, just as Bruno Massot had to improve when he paired with Aliona. So keeping that example in mind, I think there's hope for Novoselov. He's come a long way already.

The top scores were high in general, and most certainly generous, IMO. It's not as if skating at home doesn't help skaters. We see it happen all the time to varying degrees, especially in Russia. It happened in Canada too. I know you are a huge fan of Stolbova, and thus eager to see her excel in this new pairing. It's all subjective and relative the way we individually view the scoring. It would be nice if the scoring in figure skating was more reliable and less political, but it's a fact of life that scoring is generally problematic.

For e.g., it's arguable that Boi/Koz deserved higher PCS at Skate Canada, but they seemed to be held down slightly compared to a bit better PCS scores in Russia when I think their sp at Skate Canada was performed a bit better. They were still very good in both competitions, and deserve to be leading. Perhaps between 76 to 78 is fair for them in the sp, as they have improved since last season. I think 80+ is overly high because they still have room for growth, and this is not necessarily the best they will or can skate this program. It was cool of Koz holding it together after the fall in the warm-up. That's determination! Still, that's a high score, and I think T/M's score was high for how they skated too.

In general, pairs scores have crept up exceedingly high with no rhyme or reason -- except maybe the way GOEs are handed out.

S/N's score was a bit high for being a new team and having some miscues. Stolbova is obviously stronger than her partner, but he's coming along in trying to match her strengths. They seem to have good potential to improve with more time together, but the jury is still out. I'm not surprised to see S/N in front of H/S because Stolbova is a high quality, champion skater and she's skating at home. Novoselov still needs to catch up to Stolbova though. Sure, he's made progress.

That was a good skate by H/S but I don't think they are at Stolbova's level. It's just that S/N were not perfect this time out and right now Novoselov is the weak link. Therefore, it is arguable regarding the placements between the two teams, but the scores are close. It's inevitable that emotions enter into how results are viewed for fans of either team. To be honest, I'm not the one who suggested H/S should be in third. I only responded by saying, 'maybe.'
 

Mad for Skating

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Eh, I'm not picking on S/N. 7s on PCS is good for a newly paired team. While Stolbova may deserve higher PCS, her partner still needs to improve, just as Bruno Massot had to improve when he paired with Aliona. So keeping that example in mind, I think there's hope for Novoselov. He's come a long way already.

The top scores were high in general, and most certainly generous, IMO. It's not as if skating at home doesn't help skaters. We see it happen all the time to varying degrees, especially in Russia. It happened in Canada too. I know you are a huge fan of Stolbova, and thus eager to see her excel in this new pairing. It's all subjective and relative the way we individually view the scoring. It would be nice if the scoring in figure skating was more reliable and less political, but it's a fact of life that scoring is generally problematic.

For e.g., it's arguable that Boi/Koz deserved higher PCS at Skate Canada, but they seemed to be held down slightly compared to a bit better PCS scores in Russia when I think their sp at Skate Canada was performed a bit better. They were still very good in both competitions, and deserve to be leading. Perhaps between 76 to 78 is fair for them in the sp, as they have improved since last season. I think 80+ is overly high because they still have room for growth, and this is not necessarily the best they will or can skate this program. It was cool of Koz holding it together after the fall in the warm-up. That's determination! Still, that's a high score, and I think T/M's score was high for how they skated too.

In general, pairs scores have crept up exceedingly high with no rhyme or reason -- except maybe the way GOEs are handed out.

S/N's score was a bit high for being a new team and having some miscues. Stolbova is obviously stronger than her partner, but he's coming along in trying to match her strengths. They seem to have good potential to improve with more time together, but the jury is still out. I'm not surprised to see S/N in front of H/S because Stolbova is a high quality, champion skater and she's skating at home. Novoselov still needs to catch up to Stolbova though. Sure, he's made progress.

That was a good skate by H/S but I don't think they are at Stolbova's level. It's just that S/N were not perfect this time out and right now Novoselov is the weak link. Therefore, it is arguable regarding the placements between the two teams, but the scores are close. It's inevitable that emotions enter into how results are viewed for fans of either team. To be honest, I'm not the one who suggested H/S should be in third. I only responded by saying, 'maybe.'
7s and low 8s for PCS ARE good for a new team. As you said, it takes time to build up your PCS when you’re a new team, and I hope their scores will climb as they go. I guess I was just surprised to see their PCS 3 points lower than T/M, for example.
I enjoyed Hase/Seegert a lot, and I do think their performance was excellent here. However, Stolbova/Novoselov only had one big mistake here, and any overscoring they got in TES was buffered by underscoring in PCS. Just my opinion :)
 

aftershocks

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I guess I was just surprised to see their PCS 3 points lower than T/M,
:p The judges love T/M. Maybe they get PCS for their beauty and the top-notch tech skills the judges know they possess, even though we haven't been seeing consistent performances from them recently. We've never seen exciting performances by T/M. They have not yet found the best music to bring out something special -- maybe they never will. But T/M always receive overly high PCS, in particular on CO and IN, which are categories where they definitely DO NOT excel. The judges don't care. They will continue to manipulate PCS whichever way they please, sadly. Once again though, Stol/Novo have a way to go to earn higher PCS as a team. They can't reward Stolbova just because she's a badass diva. ;)

Samarin is another skater who receives astounding PCS which don't match his meager abilities in certain PCS categories. He's much more of a tech virtuoso. Samarin received slightly higher PCS than Deniss Vasiljevs, for example. :eek: That's ridiculous, despite Samarin's modest improvements in smoothing out his skating and finding music that works for his personality. I know this is pairs thread, sorry. :)
 

Mad for Skating

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:p The judges love T/M. Maybe they get PCS for their beauty and the top-notch tech skills the judges know they possess, even though we haven't been seeing consistent performances from them recently. We've never seen exciting performances by T/M. They have not yet found the best music to bring out something special -- maybe they never will. But T/M always receive overly high PCS, in particular on CO and IN, which are categories where they definitely DO NOT excel. The judges don't care. They will continue to manipulate PCS whichever way they please, sadly. Once again though, Stol/Novo have a way to go to earn higher PCS as a team. They can't reward Stolbova just because she's a badass diva. ;)

Samarin is another skater who receives astounding PCS which don't match his meager abilities in certain PCS categories. He's much more of a tech virtuoso. Samarin received slightly higher PCS than Deniss Vasiljevs, for example. :eek: That's ridiculous, despite Samarin's modest improvements in smoothing out his skating and finding music that works for his personality. I know this is pairs thread, sorry. :)
I do agree that T/M have been overscored in PCS at certain times in their career, but I do think they’ve improved quite a bit. Last year’s FS was a prime example of PCS-worthy skating, especially when it was clean.

I hope Stolbova/Novoselov will earn their PCS quickly. Imo, they’re no worse in that department than some of the young Russian pairs like M/G and P/K, who are getting PCS of 32+.

Btw, I do agree about Samarin. Giving him higher PCS than Aliev at CoR was almost a crime.
 

Zemgirl

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I thought I'd cross-post this from the OES News thread. An article about Jones/Boyadji--how their partnership started, and their lives today.

I just read it after it was linked elsewhere. Thanks for sharing their story, @clairecloutier - I had no idea they were facing so many challenges just to be able to train, let alone compete. You have to really love skating to continue like that :)
 

Rafter

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Wow were Boi/Kidz ever amazing today. Love the program and interesting choreo. They make T/M look old school. Boi/Koz have to be early favourites to challenge Sui/Han for the OGM.
 

Mad for Skating

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Boikova/Kozlovskii are one of my new favorite pairs! I love this music for them, and their lifts and throws are to die for. I think we’ve found ourselves a new Russian no. 1 team and I’m here for it.

Tarasova/Morozov looked much better than they did at Skate Canada and TBH it would be a shame if they didn’t make the GPF even with these performances. I liked her new dress much better than that bathing suit coverup she was wearing at Skate Canada.

Not the debut Stolbova/Novoselov we’re looking for, but I think he was just nervous and I see potential there.
 

Khaleesi

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I’ve been sleeping on Boikova/Kozlovskii, but not anymore! In the span of this weekend they’ve become one of my favorite pairs team. I would even say they’re second behind Sui/Han. They have a bright future.
 

Colonel Green

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T/M now have to wait to see what happens in Japan.

The best news for them is that while they came second, they were second with a big score (as opposed to if their programs hadn't gone as well, but they had a lot of room to mess up and still take silver given the rest of the field). As a result, there's now very little chance they would lose a total score tiebreaker if it came to that, so M-T/M have to outright be second at NHK.
 

Colonel Green

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Worlds are in Canada. I suspect they’ll be pushing hard in Japan for M-T/M to get to the final to set them up to push for the podium at worlds.
This is pairs, so teams' scores are only as good as how their jumps and throws go. The politicking certainly matters, but it's much more around the margins than with something like ice dance.
 

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