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

Sylvia

Not yet ready for club comp. season to be underway
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Alexandra Herbrikova & Nicolas Roulet (SUI), coached by Maylin & Daniel Wende, are crowdfunding for the new season (their message is written in French & English): https://www.ibelieveinyou.ch/ibiy-ch/src/#!/projectdetail/12385/nouvelle-saison-nouveau-depart/
... Unfortunately, we were unable to compete during the 2017-18 season because of Nicolas' injury that prevented him from training for one year. Last season (2018-19), we could finally skate again at few competitions and became national champions despite the short term due to Nicolas' injury. Our goal for the upcoming season is to defend our title and obtain the qualifications for European and World Championships 2020...
Eloise PAPKA & Johannes WILKINSON are a new senior team representing South Africa. They have a GFM to raise money to be able to compete at 2019 Volvo Open Cup in Riga & CS Golden Spin of Zagreb: https://www.gofundme.com/EloiseJohann
I've posted videos in the 2019 South African Nationals thread: https://www.fsuniverse.net/forum/threads/2019-south-african-nationals-april-2-3-in-cape-town.105711/
 

hanca

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Maybe there could be some massive trade to release everybody - is there a way to connect this to getting Novoselov (sp?) released for Stolbova or is that already taken care of?
So France will give Russia Novoselov and Russia will give Czechia Zhuk. Now the tiny detail, what exactly will Czechia give to France?
 

Sylvia

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— Duhamel and Bruno Marcotte are starting their own pairs school in Oakville, ON. Of the pairs who had been training in Montreal with Marcotte and Richard Gauthier, will anyone move to Oakville, or will everyone stay put in Montreal?
Kirsten Moore-Towers/Michael Marinaro have relocated to Oakville (not yet "officially" announced).
... Paradis originally competed in Canada, placed 6th [in Junior] with Ai Setoyama at 2016 U.S. Nationals, and skated with Sarah Jane Dana for Korea domestically in 2016-17. (Dana was partnered with Livio Mayr for Austria last season.)
I've heard (also mentioned by @DFO in post #55 in the Canadian Pairs thread) that another new senior pair that will be training in Oakville is Olivia Boys-Eddy (if/when she gets her release from Skate Canada) & Livio Mayr (AUT).

New Senior pairs registered to compete at the Quebec Summer Championships, August 8-11, in Pierrefonds (so far):
Lubov Ilyushechkina/Charlie Bilodeau (CAN)
Nadine Wang/Francis Boudreau-Audet (CAN) - he's mistakenly still listed as JPN
Natasha Purich/Bryce Chudak (CAN)
Isabella Gamez/David-Alexandre Paradis (PHI)

Side note: Nadine Wang's former partner in the U.S. is Spencer Howe who has relocated from Montreal to Dallas to skate with Emily Chan (they attended the U.S. Pairs camp last week).
 
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RoseRed

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I assume Nadine Wang, based on the sign up list for the Quebec Summer Competition. (I know I read this earlier somewhere. Maybe it was on GS, but I couldn't remember her name & then I couldn't find it anywhere).
No, as Sylvia said, Nadine is skating with Francis Boudreau-Audet now.
 

clairecloutier

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Here is the Grand Prix assignments list for the pairs:


Points of interest:

-- Tarasova/Morozov and Boikova/Kozlovskii both assigned to same 2 events, Skate Canada and Rostelecom
-- Yu/Zhang missing from list; are they done?? :( ; meanwhile, Tang/Yang from juniors are listed at SC
-- New team Ilyushechkina/Bilodeau gets 2 assignments--CAN backing them
-- Cain/LeDuc and Denney/Frazier assigned to same 2 events, Skate America and IdF
-- Mishina/Galliamov get 2 assignments out of juniors
-- Teams with 1 assignment only: Alexandrovskaya/Windsor, Ruest/Wolfe, Calalang/Johnson, Ryom/Kim, Efimova/Korovin, Lu/Mitrofanov, and (a bit surprisingly to me after their 12th at Worlds) Walsh/Michaud
-- TBDs: USA, Canada, China, Russia, Japan
-- My guess is Japan waiting to see how Miura/Ichihashi score this season before giving them the GP
-- Candidates for Skate America slot who don't already have an assignment: Feng/Nyman, Digerness/Neudecker, Lockley/Prochnow, Chan/Howe??
 

aftershocks

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Teams with 1 assignment only: Alexandrovskaya/Windsor, Ruest/Wolfe, Calalang/Johnson, Ryom/Kim, Efimova/Korovin, Lu/Mitrofanov, and (a bit surprisingly to me after their 12th at Worlds) Walsh/Michaud...
But if you're surprised by Walsh/Michaud getting one GP assignment, wouldn't you be more surprised by Ruest/Wolfe getting an assignment? W/M are ahead of R/W in recent Canadian standings. And R/W didn't participate at 2019 Worlds.

Overall, I have to say the ISU competition structure is woefully outdated. There are a lot of interesting new teams and promising up-and-coming teams who need the opportunity to compete. The current state of the sport is a sad affair, because so many pairs teams, regardless of their talent and potential, will not get a full opportunity to develop.
 

Sylvia

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Copying over some relevant comments by @stjeaskategym (originally posted in the U.S. Pairs thread) to here:
The NHK Trophy field is really stacked with Sui/Han, James/Cipres and a slew of other strong pairs. A tough break to have two US pairs in that field.

It's not that it's impossible to do well in that field-- the Knierims did win a medal in a strong NHK field last season-- but a GP event isn't supposed to feel like Worlds, and it's a dramatically stronger field than some of the other GPs.
... 4 of the top 8 pairs from 2019 Worlds are at the same GP event, which is obviously a lot. Every pair in the NHK field is either a Grand Prix medalist or the reigning World Jr Champ (who are quite good). It's an abnormally stacked GP field.

James/Cipres had an off Worlds, which gave them a lower seeding, but one could easily claim they were a top 2 pair in the world last season, and this should be taken into account when determining GP fields. A similar scenario happened in 2017 when Duhamel/Radford underperformed at Worlds and threw off the GP seeding for 2018. There are also regular occurrences of top pairs getting injured and missing Worlds. Given how often scenarios like this happen, one would think the ISU would come up with a better system of assigning GPs.
* = seeded pairs from 2019 Worlds

Skate America, Oct. 18-20, 2019, Las Vegas, NV:
*Zabiiako/Enbert RUS, *Peng/Jin CHN, Alexandrovskaya/Windsor AUS, Ruest/Wolfe CAN, Pavliuchenko/Khodykin RUS, Cain/LeDuc USA, Denney/Frazier USA, TBD USA

Skate Canada International, Oct. 25-27, 2019, Kelowna BC:
*Tarasova/Morozov RUS, *Boikova/Kozlovskii RUS, Ilyushechkina/Bilodeau CAN (GP debut as a team), Moore-Towers/Marinaro CAN, CAN TBD, Tang/Yang CHN (GP debut), Calalang/Johnson USA (GP debut as a team & his GP debut), Scimeca Knierim/Knierim USA

Internationaux de France, Nov. 1-3, 2019, Grenoble:
*Zabiiako/Enbert RUS, *James/Cipres FRA, Ziegler/Kiefer AUT, Hase/Seegert GER, Mishina/Galliamov RUS (GP debut), Pavliuchenko/Khodykin RUS, Cain/LeDuc USA, Denney/Frazier USA

Cup of China, Nov. 8-10, 2019, Chongqing:
*Sui/Han CHN, *Peng/Jin CHN, Ilyushechkina/Bilodeau CAN (new), TBD CHN, Ryom/Kim PRK, Della Monica/Guarise ITA, Efimova/Korovin RUS, Kayne/O'Shea USA

Rostelecom Cup, Nov. 15-17, 2019, Moscow:
*Tarasova/Morozov RUS, *Boikova/Kozlovskii RUS, Ziegler/Kiefer AUT, Walsh/Michaud CAN, Hase/Seegert GER, Ghilardi/Ambrosini ITA (GP debut), TBD RUS, Lu/Mitrofanov USA

NHK Trophy, Nov. 22-24, 2019, Sapporo:
*Sui/Han CHN, *James/Cipres FRA, Moore-Towers/Marinaro CAN, Della Monica/Guarise ITA, TBD JPN, Mishina/Galliamov RUS, Kayne/O'Shea USA, Scimeca Knierim/Knierim USA

Projected alternates list based on ISU SB list (next 11 pairs): http://www.isuresults.com/isujsstat/sb2018-19/sbtspto.htm
PRK RYOM & KIM (COC)
RUS EFIMOVA & KOROVIN (COC)
CAN WALSH & MICHAUD (RC)
USA CALALANG & JOHNSON (SC)
CHN TANG & YANG (SC)
AUS ALEXANDROVSKAYA & WINDSOR (SA)
CAN RUEST & WOLFE (SA)
ITA GHILARDI & AMBROSINI (RC)
USA FENG & NYMAN (none)
USA LOCKLEY & PROCHNOW (none)
USA LU & MITROFANOV (RC)
 
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Dobre

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Yeah, I want to be at NHK; but I can't. I must instead be at SC with Tarasova & Morozov. (We should share travel costs as we've been at SC and SA 4 of the last 5 years together. LOL. I've been to 1 GP a year for the last 5 years, and T&M were at all but one. 5 out of 6 if you count last year's GPF).
 

Domshabfan

A proud P/C fan
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Isn't Novoselov from France? I am going from memory of reading something but definitely could be wrong. If I am right Didier would never release him.
He is from Russia and was released by them to France, and now France is holding out. If I was Russia, I would think twice before releasing their athletes. Add to that, the experience with Jerome Blanchard when he tried to skate with Vorobieva, French did not release him for a very long time.
 
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Colonel Green

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The Challengers for pairs will be interesting this year, as all of the teams are going to be packed into just three events pre-Grand Prix. Depending on the distribution, a Challenger medal could actually be tougher to get than a Grand Prix medal this year.
 

Mad for Skating

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The Challengers for pairs will be interesting this year, as all of the teams are going to be packed into just three events pre-Grand Prix. Depending on the distribution, a Challenger medal could actually be tougher to get than a Grand Prix medal this year.
Which 3 challenger events are they? I forgot 😀
 

Colonel Green

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Now, of course, Sui/Han never do Challengers and James/Cipres presumably won't be this year due to Battle of the Blades, so some top teams won't be participating.
 

muffinplus

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I don't know if it's a school thing, but I find that I much prefer Sui/Han's throw technique to the Russian throw technique... the flow Sui gets on the landings /distance are incredible. They are really machine like landings. I find that Tarasova/Morozov's throws are high, but the control is not there on landings
 

Mad for Skating

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I don't know if it's a school thing, but I find that I much prefer Sui/Han's throw technique to the Russian throw technique... the flow Sui gets on the landings /distance are incredible. They are really machine like landings. I find that Tarasova/Morozov's throws are high, but the control is not there on landings
I love Sui’s landings, they’re gorgeous! I think Tarasova’s landings have gotten better lately, but for a while they were two-footed.
 

oleada

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I don't know if it's a school thing, but I find that I much prefer Sui/Han's throw technique to the Russian throw technique... the flow Sui gets on the landings /distance are incredible. They are really machine like landings. I find that Tarasova/Morozov's throws are high, but the control is not there on landings
I think it depends on the school. Stolbova had gorgeous throw landings, as does Anastasia Mishina.
 

aftershocks

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Bringing over from Program/Choreo thread, as the discussion is more relevant here:

Tinami Amori said:
Don't you wish that at least one American pair had the curse of classic yet lifelessly boring Russian technique... Because they sure ain't doing well, they sure ain't.. :smokin:
:lol: Nope! In any case, Lu/Mitrofanov come close to having the classic Russian technique, but fortunately neither their personalities nor their execution are boring.

'Doing well' is relative. In figure skating, it's always about politics and perception. With the depth in pairs internationally, coupled with lack of rep politically for U.S. pairs along with the obvious loss of momentum for a number of top U.S. pairs due to illness and injury over the past several years, it has definitely led to an uphill battle. And the campaign to get on track and to make significant competitive strides is still being waged. That doesn't mean the U.S. doesn't have any exciting and worthwhile pairs. We have plenty, but it's a matter of appreciating what particular teams are good at, and enjoying the small advances and the entertaining qualities. Yes it has been frustrating and disappointing for a number of years in terms of U.S. teams returning to more viable competitiveness, but the other part of that has been U.S. fed's lack of focus on pairs, which is slowly beginning to change.

The lack of having enough competitive opportunities to develop, and the overall tendency to look down on U.S. pairs often affects how U.S. pairs are scored against pairs from other countries they may be equal to or better than in overall talent.

That said, I love U.S. pairs for who they are individually, for what each team brings, for what they dream, and for how hard they work with no guarantee of consistent opportunities, much less the chance to go to Worlds every year. Forget about the Olympics, even though that usually remains the dream of every skater until the dream has to be revised and the personal journey appreciated for what it's worth. Enjoying the process and every step of the journey (no matter how the destination ultimately materializes), is more than just a notion.

oleada said:
Lu/Mitrofanov can land their SBS jumps and have competitive nerves but that’s about it. Her line, extension, skating skills all need a ton of work; he’s musical but has weak lifting technique and they have no connection or exprssion whatsoever. “Classic Russian technique” is wishful thinking.
I said IMO that L/M come close, but they aren't there yet. In any case, Mitrofanov is ethnically Russian and trained by a Russian.

My point though in my original post is not about Lu/Mitrofanov. My point is: Having classic Russian technik is NOT all that's needed these days. Especially NOT when your personality is boring and you have no connection to each other nor to the audience. Stellar technique and line does not make a team exciting. It's always about combining great technique with expressing personality through interpreting the music in an engaging way, etc.

While Lu/Mitrofanov are still young and need to further develop and improve their weaknesses, I find L/M more interesting to watch than Z/E.

To each their own.
 
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aftershocks

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Additional discussion from new Program/choreo thread:

Kateri said:
Maybe we could leave the merits of various nationalities' pairs teams out of this [Programs/Choreo] thread? Or at any rate, try not to argue that "good technique is bad actually"
Eh 'good technique' is what it is. But without personality, and without connecting with an audience, or selecting the right music and choreo, so what! In any case, the judges will continue to score how they wish, which as it has always been, is highly political, and not simply based upon objective or subjective factors.


Russian pairs' aim is not to please you and match up to your criteria of "personality and connecting"... Their aim is "medals", they have been getting them, and the top 3 teams this year are all podium contenders.... and gosh forbid they ever consider what you probably consider "right music and choreography"...
:blah: Automatic medals aren't enough to sustain and consistently reach the top, particularly not with the talented depth currently existing in the pairs field. All due credit to Russian pairs competitive dominance over the years which has tapered a bit at the top but has never shown signs of lessening in ability and strength.

Still by this point, in order to stay competitive at the top, Russian teams have tried to adopt and adapt to the innovation and movement styles of more exciting teams like Savchenko/Szolkowy, Savchenko/Massot, and James/ Cipres. As well, Russian pair teams have incorporated increasing tech difficulty to stay at least on par with Chinese teams, and apace with the more successful Canadian teams (e.g. recently Duhamel/ Radford). Stylistically, Russian teams have also incorporated Western-themed music (which of course has happened in the sport as a whole in this global age, and amidst the recent advent of lyrics being allowed).

In any case, it's not about me deciding what type of music is right for Russian teams. It's about T/M in particular having a long and excruciating learning curve regarding their less than enhancing music/program choices since forever. We'll see what happens now that they are trying yet again to bring on additional expertise (this time, Marina Zoueva & Charlie White). Maybe it bodes well that T/M apparently have finally departed from Mozer.

Boikova/Koslovskii are an exciting young team. I will not be surprised to see them continue making strides and possibly surpass less than exciting Z/E (zzzz) :yawn: and perhaps T/M as well eventually (unless Zoueva/White combine to help T/M uncover their mojo and actually connect on the ice and show some personality).

Stolbova/Novoselov are a question mark until we see them compete. I won't be too surprised if they perform well if things work out in their favor with his release. Hope springs eternal for Stolbova fans. :D
 
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Mad for Skating

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I think it depends on the school. Stolbova had gorgeous throw landings, as does Anastasia Mishina.
I would like to legally marry Stolbova’s throw landing.
I was hugely impressed by Mishina this year! She seems to have a bright future in front of her.
Cheng Peng also has some lovely landings.
 

hanca

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I would like to legally marry Stolbova’s throw landing.
Not sure about marrying throw landings, but you could marry Stolbova. The tiny problem is that you will be facing competition from Morozov. Sadly, him having the status in Russian skating world does give him significant advantage. On the positive note, with his dating history and the line of past marriages, everything indicates that Stolbova will be free just in a few years.
 

Japanfan

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Still, each Chinese team have exhibited their own strengths and weaknesses, despite generally being technically strong across-the-board. Shen/Zhao grew to be one of the greatest teams of all time, partly due to years of being able to consistently compete at major international championships, and largely due to their talent, their strong connection with each other and dedication to their craft.
S/Z were SFAIK the first pair that Bin Yao introduced to the international stage. They competed at their first Worlds in 1991, about 10 years after Bin Yao had decided to pursue his dream of building a pair school in Canada. During the first part of their career (not sure how many years) they could only use Chinese music and couldn't train outside of China. Eventually, Yao realized that he needed a more international orientation if S/Z were going to fulfill their potential.

IMO what made S/Z one of GOAT pairs was their love for the sport paired with their love for each other. As a young pair they had a certain advantage in that there was no pair who had come before them and left a road map (i.e. cookie cutter pairs). So, they had a certain freedom.

For years they were told they needed to improve their artistry, and they didn't quite know how to do that. To build a connection with each other, they were told to hold hands. Love followed. And a pure artistry that came right from the soul.

Pang/Tong were generally a lovely team to watch. I always felt that Tong was stronger and more expressive artistically, but they grew over time to become equally strong.
Loved Pang/Tong!

I think Peng/Jin have the ability to continue improving, but right now they lack technical consistency, and don't always exhibit an oomph factor. Yu/Zhang are also fairly well-matched physically and they possess bravura technique, but unfortunately Yu's heart is not in the partnership, no matter how hard she tries. Yu's apparent distracted focus has often led to performance inconsistencies.
I really like Peng/Jin - saw them live at GPF and loved their 'Le Vie En Rose'. I think you said they might become a bit like Pang/Tong (can't find the post I quoted from), and I think that might be true. They have a soft and gentle quality that is a bit reminiscent of P/T.
 

marie1616

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Interview with one of the new German pairs

It'll be interesing wether they choose Oberstdorf or Berlin as their German practice location ... lots of coaching options too: König/Schubert, Österreich/ Rex in Berlin and Fajr, Wende/Wende and Savchenko in Oberstdorf
 

hanca

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Interview with one of the new German pairs

It'll be interesing wether they choose Oberstdorf or Berlin as their German practice location ... lots of coaching options too: König/Schubert, Österreich/ Rex in Berlin and Fajr, Wende/Wende and Savchenko in Oberstdorf
I would love to see them with Savchenko.
 

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