U.S. Pairs 2018 - News & Updates, Part VIII

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Sylvia

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Starting the New Year with a new thread and an article about the Junior Pairs medalists with quotes from the top 3 teams (Audrey Lu/Misha Mitrofanov, Sarah Feng/TJ Nyman, Laiken Lockley/Keenan Prochnow): http://web.icenetwork.com/news/2018/01/02/264188160/lu-mitrofanov-set-new-standard-in-winning-pairs
Excerpts:
Skating to selections from Andrew Lloyd Webber, Lu and Mitrofanov hit a fine triple twist, side-by-side triple salchow combinations and triple toes, an impressive lasso lift and other strong elements. Their only flaw was Lu's fall on a throw triple loop. Their free skate earned 112.51 points, and they won the crown with 173.31 total points, a new U.S. championships junior pairs record.
...
"We both used to do singles, so we're pretty confident with the jumps," Lu said. "Now I also like the lifts a lot."
Mitrofanov is an experienced pairs skater, but this is Lu's first partnership.
The top two junior pairs bring solid triple jumps to the table, a valuable commodity. Two U.S. pairs spots are available for the 2018 World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria, in March, and both teams are anxious to leave their respective marks.
"[Sarah] and I are both very strong singles skaters," Nyman said. "We are here to change the impression of U.S. pairs, the whole 'Oh, they will never be able to jump' thing. We want to do that for the rest of our career."
The 4th place pewter medalists are the new team of Nadine Wang/Spencer Howe, who train in Montreal. Both competed up to the Junior level in singles (Howe on the JGP) and they attempted sbs 3Lz (called <) and landed 3S+2T with positive GOE in their free skate.

Senior Pairs SP starting order for Thursday was posted last night: http://www.usfigureskating.org/leaderboard/results/2018/26192/CAT019SEG033.html

1 Alexandria Yao, Peninsula SC / Jacob Simon, Skokie Valley SC
2 Alexa Scimeca-Knierim, DuPage FSC / Christopher Knierim, Broadmoor SC
3 Erika Choi Smith, SC of New York / AJ Reiss, Los Angeles FSC

4 Chelsea Liu, Orange County FSC / Brian Johnson, Detroit SC
5 Tarah Kayne, Southwest Florida FSC / Danny O'Shea, Southwest Florida FSC
6 Jessica Calalang, DuPage FSC / Zack Sidhu, Las Vegas FSC
7 Allison Timlen, Columbia FSC (MD) / Justin Highgate-Brutman, St. Clair Shores FSC

8 Deanna Stellato-Dudek, Southwest Florida FSC / Nathan Bartholomay, Southwest Florida FSC
9 Caitlin Fields, Indiana World Sk Acad FSC / Ernie Utah Stevens, Indiana World Sk Acad FSC
10 Jessica Pfund, Southwest Florida FSC / Joshua Santillan, All Year FSC
11 Winter Deardorff, Northern Kentucky SC / Max Settlage, Broadmoor SC

12 Haven Denney, SC of New York / Brandon Frazier, All Year FSC
13 Marissa Castelli, SC of Boston / Mervin Tran, SC of Boston
14 Nica Digerness, Broadmoor SC / Danny Neudecker, Seattle SC
15 Ashley Cain, SC of New York / Timothy LeDuc, Los Angeles FSC

ETA: Top 5 finishers from last year's Senior event (D/F, C/T, C/L, S/B, P/S) drew for spots in the final 2 groups; everyone else then drew spots at random.
 
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insideedgeua

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Dalilah Sappenfield has 5 pairs in Senior, including all 3 pairs in the first group. Shes going to be very busy coping with that.
 

aftershocks

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Dalilah can handle it. Didn't she have at least two or three pairs teams in Juniors? Amazing! I must say this is the first time I've seen T.J. Nyman & Sarah Feng. I've heard interesting things about both of them, and of course T.J. used to skate with a different partner, while Sarah is relatively new to pairs (having skated singles as well as a foray into ice dance).

I must say I found the top 5 to 6 pairs and a few who placed lower very promising among the juniors. The junior pair event was fun to watch and I found that I agreed with the judges' final placements too. They did a good job assessing talent & performance level, despite some of the mistakes that were made. And how wonderful are Lu/Mitrofanov!!! The great thing about them is their rare unison, excellent technical skills, and wonderful look together on the ice. Mitrofanov is tall with very good partnering skills. And they both have good skating skills. Mitrofanov apparently has Russian origins, although he may have been born in the U.S. (he attended h.s. in Texas). I know it's not good to put too much stock into juniors because so much can change as they grow (and U.S. junior pairs have a sad history of splitting way too often). But the top four junior pairs really are quite promising and I pray that they all stick with each other. Each team has noticeable special qualities that make them stand out.

I was happy for Nadine Wang and Spencer Howe that they were able to pull up to medal after the sp. Wowza with Spencer's pants strap dangling throughout the second half of their fp, and he missed nary a beat, not letting it rattle him at all. They deserved the hearty applause and their rise in the standings. Congrats on their pewter! Even though they do not have as advanced elements altogether, their style is so lovely and they have good execution. Spencer is such a good-looking fellow. I'm glad he found his way back to skating for the U.S, now in pairs (after his time training pairs in Canada, for Japan).

All the top four junior pairs teams seem to have such promise. Dalilah does know how to teach the 3-twist -- Feng/Nyman's is a delight to behold for a junior team. And Feng/Nyman display excellent pairs elements (despite their unexpected slip and fall in the fp that led to a fall on one of their throws). They finished out so strong and never quit. But unfortunately, they have to learn how to suck it up and not let their disappointment show when the performance is over. T.J. should have been more supportive of Sarah. Dalilah tried to get them to smile and to be upbeat in the kiss 'n cry. Even if you think your medal chances are slipping away, you've got to buck up. They are young, and they will learn. It was definitely still an outstanding performance, and that's why they were so highly rewarded, finishing second. So do your best and smile, as you never know what will happen with the scoring and with your competitors' performances.

After all, T.J. was one of the stars of the below USFS 'Get-Up' campaign video. So there's no excuse really for T.J. showing any downheartedness. Feng/Nyman should let their junior Nationals experience be a lesson in how to conduct themselves after making a mistake or two in an otherwise stellar performance!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtqjjN6ybNI
 

topaz

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@aftershocks - how many senior teams do Stefania/Rockne have? Also, how many teams for Zimmerman too?
 
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aftershocks

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^^ @Sylvia is probably the best person to ask (or @Cleo1782),@topaz. I'm a big pairs fan, but I'm not that knowledgeable about the behind-the-scenes. :D

I noticed watching junior pairs yesterday that Rockne & Stefania train Laiken Lockley and Keenan Prochnow, who placed third overall. Here's the Rockne/Stefania skating school website: http://www.theskateschool.com
A local Chicago area 2015 feature on Rockne, in his own words:
http://www.nwherald.com/2015/05/23/im-just-saying-algonquin-native-rockne-brubaker/annppwc/

Lockley/Prochnow are a very promising team (as are all of the top four who medaled). I'm not familar with Lu/Mitrofanov's coach; he's Russian. T.J. and Sarah are coached by Dalilah, as mentioned earlier. And Bobby Martin (of Boston Skating Club) was with Wang/Howe in the kiss 'n cry, so he must be their coach -- he formerly coached Castelli/Shnapir with Carrie Wall. Spencer was formerly a U.S. singles skater, and he trained pairs under Gauthier/Marcotte in Canada, with a Japanese partner. I believe Spencer has the option of Japanese citizenship, but I hope he stays in the U.S. partnered with Nadine.

Meno/Sand, Peter Oppegard, and the always strong Jim Peterson with Amanda Evora, also had some good looking pairs teams who competed in juniors. I didn't see John Zimmerman with a junior pair team, but I could have missed him or perhaps he had a team in novice or intermediate. I believe John Z does train some younger pairs.

https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/01/02/fremont-skaters-switch-to-pairs-is-paying-off/amp/ Scroll down for info on Feng/Nyman

http://web.icenetwork.com/skaters/team/lu_mitrofanov
http://web.icenetwork.com/skaters/team/lockley_prochnow
 
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Sylvia

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I've compiled team (thumbnail) profiles for the Junior & Novice Pairs based on the Nationals program book and my own info:
Junior: https://unseenskaters.wordpress.com/2017/12/31/2018-u-s-nationals-junior-pairs/
Novice: https://unseenskaters.wordpress.com/2018/01/01/2018-u-s-nationals-novice-pairs/

I'm pretty sure Bobby Martin was with Wang/Howe because their Montreal coaches were busy getting their Canadian pairs ready for Nationals next week.

Martin and Carrie Wall coached this year's Novice Pairs champions, the first year team of Jade Hom & Franz-Peter Jerosch (who are both clockwise rotators, BTW) - ETA links to articles: http://web.icenetwork.com/news/2018...erosch-cap-visit-to-san-jose-with-pairs-title
http://web.icenetwork.com/news/2018/01/02/264146792/newly-minted-hom-jerosch-take-novice-pairs-lead

Jeremy Barrett and Silvia Fontana were coaching lower level pairs in San Jose (I assumed John Zimmerman was with James/Cipres?) -- the 3 Hubbart siblings won Novice silver (Joanna & William) and Intermediate gold (Nick, who is new to pairs this season, with partner Zoe).
 
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stjeaskategym

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2017 U.S. Pairs Scores

Scimeca Knierim/Knierim 202.37 (Worlds)
Scimeca Knierim/Knierim 193.91 (Four Continents)
Scimeca Knierim/Knierim 192.51 (NHK Trophy)
Scimeca Knierim/Knierim 189.07 (Skate America)
Scimeca Knierim/Knierim 186.08 (US International Classic)
Liu/Johnson 181.40 (US International Classic)
Denney/Frazier 179.45 (Four Continents)
Castelli/Tran 177.15 (Internationale de France)
Castelli/Tran 176.38 (Autumn Classic)
Cain/Leduc 176.35 (Nebelhorn Trophy)
Denney/Frazier 172.95 (Skate Canada)
Denney/Frazier 172.16 (Skate America)
Castelli/Tran 170.53 (Rostelecom Cup)
Cain/LeDuc 168.87 (Four Continents)
Denney/Frazier 168.47 (US International Classic)
Cain/Leduc 166.32 (Lombardia Trophy)
Stellato/Bartholomay 165.36 (US International Classic)
Stellato/Bartholomay 165.00 (Skate America)
Kayne/O'Shea 162.26 (Golden Spin)
Stellato/Bartholomay 161.17 (Finlandia Trophy)
Cain/Leduc 154.36 (Cup of China)
Liu/Johnson 145.14 (Warsaw Cup)

*Denney/Frazier 56.23 (Worlds- DNQ to free skate)

___

2017 Worlds

Scimeca Knierim/Knierim 202.37
Denney/Frazier 56.23 (DNQ to free skate)


2017 Grand Prix

Scimeca Knierim/Knierim 192.51 (NHK Trophy)
Scimeca Knierim/Knierim 189.07 (Skate America)
Castelli/Tran 177.15 (Internationale de France)
Denney/Frazier 172.95 (Skate Canada)
Denney/Frazier 172.16 (Skate America)
Castelli/Tran 170.53 (Rostelecom Cup)
Stellato/Bartholomay 165.00 (Skate America)
Cain/Leduc 154.36 (Cup of China)


2017 Four Continents

Scimeca Knierim/Knierim 193.91
Denney/Frazier 179.45
Cain/LeDuc 168.87


2017 Challenger Series

Scimeca Knierim/Knierim 186.08 (US International Classic)
Liu/Johnson 181.40 (US International Classic)
Castelli/Tran 176.38 (Autumn Classic)
Cain/Leduc 176.35 (Nebelhorn Trophy)
Denney/Frazier 168.47 (US International Classic)
Cain/Leduc 166.32 (Lombardia Trophy)
Stellato/Bartholomay 165.36 (US International Classic)
Kayne/O'Shea 162.26 (Golden Spin)
Stellato/Bartholomay 161.17 (Finlandia Trophy)
Liu/Johnson 145.14 (Warsaw Cup)
___

No pairs have put themselves in good position for the second Worlds spot. There's also the issue of can anyone qualify to the LP aside from the Knierims. The current Int'l pair field is a deep one. With only one Olympic entry, it's more necessary than ever to have proven int'l scoring ability. Aside from the Knierims and Denney/Frazier, no pairs have earned any SP scores this season that would qualify to a LP. The Knierims will qualify to the LP with a fall, but I don't think any of the other teams can. It would be hard enough even if they stay upright (D/F, for example, have had underrotations at every event). I'm hoping that the scoring at this Nationals will be kept reasonably similar to international scoring.

If the US is genuinely trying to get good pairs scores at this Olympics, both individually and in the team event, they will send the Knierims. Common sense says they are our top pair, and I can't see how the spot could be denied to them looking at the selection criteria. Not only have they been our best scoring team on a consistent basis going back several years now, but they're the only ones who have posted any good scores at all in 2017. If Worlds is to be weighted equally with Nationals in Tier 1, nothing is going to happen at this Nationals that would score 202 internationally like the Knierims did at Worlds. They have been so far ahead of the other pairs that they could do intentional double jumps at the Olympics and still be best possible chance for good US scores (their triples should be fine enough by then, and it's also good that they're testing out the quad twist in a domestic event first).

I can't see another US pair challenging for a 10 top finish; these scores are just not even close and there are too many built-in weaknesses. And this mirrors what has happened at Worlds the past several seasons. The international pairs field can make a lot of mistakes and is still going to post formidable scores anyway, so our lone pair needs to have proven international success. I could see Castelli/Tran making the World team. They don't have the Olympic pressure to deal with here that the Knierims, in particular, do. But really, I don't know.
 

RoseRed

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But Dalilah has nothing on Eteri Tutberidze at Russian Nats.
Not really. At Russian Nats, Eteri had 5 students to my knowledge: Alina Zagitova, Polina Tsurskaya, Alena Kostornaya, Daria Penenkova and Alexey Erokhov.

I'm pretty sure Bobby Martin was with Wang/Howe because their Montreal coaches were busy getting their Canadian pairs ready for Nationals next week.
That would make sense. This Instagram post from Nadine in September shows them at a rink in Montreal: https://www.instagram.com/p/BY6SvWEB1RP/?taken-by=nadinewang
 

Cleo1782

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@aftershocks - how many senior teams do Stefania/Rockne have? Also, how many teams for Zimmerman too?
Rockne and Stefania have Denney/Frazier. Zimmerman has no teams in Senior. Delilah, Peterson and co, and Meno and Sand have the majority of teams in the senior event.
 

AngieNikodinovLove

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Love this...

And then the 6'2" Knierim lifted and tossed his 5'2" wife more than five feet over his head. She rotated four times, came out with arms overhead, and he set her down.

"It was beautiful. The snap was there," Sappenfield recalled, her relief still evident almost a month later.

"It was like we never stopped," Alexa said.

Chris is 6'2"? HUBBA! Is he seeing anyone?

Is that why he has problems with jumps?
 
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kwanfan1818

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I am confused how come there is 1 spot for Olympics but 2 for worlds?
There's a limit of 16 pairs who can qualify from prior Worlds for the Olympics. All other spots are qualified through the Fall qualifier, in this case Nebelhorn.

There isn't a limit for Worlds, though: whoever earns spots by the formula for 2 or 3 gets them.

In Helsinki, Scimeca/Knierem placed 10th, for 10 points, and Denney/Frazier missed the FS, for 18 points, or a total of 28. For Worlds, it meant they earned two spots according to the standard formula.

The US was the last country to earn two spots for Worlds and, potentially, the Olympics, based on their highest finisher being 10th. However, the countries who placed above them -- CHN (3 spots), GER (2 spots), RUS (3 spots), CAN (3 spots), FRA (2 spots), and ITA (2 spots) earned 15 spots in total. That left one spot, the 16th, for the US for the Olympics.

All other spots are filled at the Fall qualifier, and if any member declines the spot -- in 2018 so far France claimed only one from Helsinki and North Korea didn't claim its spot from Nebelhorn -- it goes to the alternates list from Nebelhorn.
 

aftershocks

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I'm pretty sure Bobby Martin was with Wang/Howe because their Montreal coaches were busy getting their Canadian pairs ready for Nationals next week.
^^ Okay, thanks. That's why I worded it the way I did, as I figured Spencer would have stayed with Gauthier/Marcotte, but seeing Bobby Martin in the kiss 'n cry threw me off. I wonder if Bobby will also be accompanying Castelli/Tran in the kiss 'n cry for senior pairs event? Last year, Julie Marcotte did the honors for C/T in the absence of Gauthier/Marcotte.
 
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Cleo1782

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^^ Okay, thanks. That's why I worded it the way I did, as I figured Spencer would have stayed with Gauthier/Marcotte, but seeing Bobby Martin in the kiss 'n cry threw me off. I wonder if Bobby will also be accompanying Castelli/Tran in the kiss 'n cry for senior pairs event? Last year, Julie Marcotte did the honors for C/T in the absence of Gauthier/Marcotte.
From what I understand, Bobby has zero to do with C/T now (although he did their first year together), so I would say that is doubtful.
 

aftershocks

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^^ So Julie Marcotte with C/T again? Bobby has little to do with Wang/Howe also, except for showing support in the kiss 'n cry in their coaches' absence.
 

SLIVER

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There's a limit of 16 pairs who can qualify from prior Worlds for the Olympics. All other spots are qualified through the Fall qualifier, in this case Nebelhorn.

There isn't a limit for Worlds, though: whoever earns spots by the formula for 2 or 3 gets them.

In Helsinki, Scimeca/Knierem placed 10th, for 10 points, and Denney/Frazier missed the FS, for 18 points, or a total of 28. For Worlds, it meant they earned two spots according to the standard formula.

The US was the last country to earn two spots for Worlds and, potentially, the Olympics, based on their highest finisher being 10th. However, the countries who placed above them -- CHN (3 spots), GER (2 spots), RUS (3 spots), CAN (3 spots), FRA (2 spots), and ITA (2 spots) earned 15 spots in total. That left one spot, the 16th, for the US for the Olympics.

All other spots are filled at the Fall qualifier, and if any member declines the spot -- in 2018 so far France claimed only one from Helsinki and North Korea didn't claim its spot from Nebelhorn -- it goes to the alternates list from Nebelhorn.
Since when lol? I can't believe I don't know this. I thought olys and worlds spots were always the same.
This rule is only for the pairs I assume.
 

Sedge

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Since when lol? I can't believe I don't know this. I thought olys and worlds spots were always the same.
This rule is only for the pairs I assume.
In all other disciplines..by the time you get close to the max Olympic spots issued at Worlds you are giving out one spot to a county.
Pairs is such a dense field that they were still giving out 2 spots as they approached the maximum...that is how it happened.
It would be fair to see the first spot vacated by a passport problem or by a country turning back its spot...to a team shorted at Worlds, IMO...but the rules were not written that way so they could not.
 

aftershocks

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Wow, give Brooke Castile an award. That was great. Such wonderful insights -- a joy listening to her. It put things in great perspective for me.

I think relatively the placements are fair, but the scoring is spotty. Again a team who skated early was not given enough credit, which led to some other top teams who made mistakes having to be placed behind them. Lots of thoughts going forward, but let's see how things shake out.

One thing though: please stop with the over-hyping of the Knierims: respectable enough, but seriously they aren't that competitive internationally outside of their quad twist weapon. There's a little too much praise and settling that U.S. pairs can't get better than Chris and Alexa. Okay for this season, they are going to the Olympics come hell or high water. They are lovely people and a cute couple. Have fun and enjoy. Then can the U.S. fed buckle down and try to do something different and better to help their pairs athletes be more competitive?!

Can we stop settling for just okay and try to help quality teams with their weak areas? Castelli/Tran have to know they have got to land the jumps. It's either she, him or both failing on their landings, and with the under-rotation they lost a lot of points. But they got practically no credit for their superior qualities which is a crime. C/T have high quality on everything else (they are one of the best stylistic teams in the world, with great speed and difficult transitions).

But okay, it's not that much of a surprise how things have so far turned out. I do think that Cain/LeDuc are a better team overall than Pfund/Santillan, especially performance-wise. But again, C/L haven't been that strong this season overall. The sbs loops are important for them, and obviously if they fail on that element, there's no way for them to be competitive. In their case, with all the expectations, it's obviously hard to master adding more difficulty and polish all at once and improve by leaps and bounds in an Olympic season (their second season together). In their first season, C/L did better by virtue of starting out with more simplicity and getting basic elements down without attempting too much difficulty on their lifts and program composition. What made a name for them initially was their long lines and jumps, but the jumps have been stagnating this season.

IN is pitiful, and it's not funny. Something needs to be done by fans en masse to make IN accountable. Choppy streams; can't load press conferences properly! MLB does not care about figure skating fans. Get rid of them and contract with a different company who will provide service worth paying for. IN and US fed need to be held accountable. It's not okay.
 
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kwanfan1818

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If I calculated correctly, the max number of spots that can be earned for Worlds by countries earning 2 or 3 is 24:

3 spots at Worlds
  • Two members with one entry win gold and silver
  • 3rd+10th
  • 4th+9th
  • 5th+8th
  • 6+7th
Total: 18

2 spots at Worlds
  • 11th+15th, 16th, or 17th-20th in Dance or 17-24th in Singles (ie, made Free program)
  • 12th+15th, 16th, or 17th-20th in Dance or 17-24th in Singles (ie, made Free program)
  • 13+14th or 15th
Total: 24

Cut-offs for spots earned at Worlds: Pairs-16; Dance-20; Singles-24

In Pairs, it's technically possible for a country to earn three for Worlds, and only one for the Olympics. In Dance, it's possible for two countries to earn two for Worlds and none for the Olympics at Worlds. Had Germany not sent Hase/Seegert, Germany would have earned three spots from Savchenko/Massot's second, and the US would have had to qualify a Pair at Nebelhorn.
 

aftershocks

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^^ There's way too much depth in pairs internationally to have that kind of cut-off at Worlds. Feds should be complaining about that. The sport needs to be more inclusive of good talent. Skaters need to compete in order to gain experience and improve. A difficult concept for the ISU to wrap their heads around, obviously. :rolleyes:
 

skatingguy

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^^ There's way too much depth in pairs to have that kind of cut-off at Worlds. Feds should be complaining about that. The sport needs to be more inclusive of good talent. Skaters need to compete in order to gain experience and improve. A difficult concept for the ISU to wrap their heads around, obviously. :rolleyes:
I think most of the federations could care less about the pairs event, it's the most expensive and time consuming to learn and I think most of the federations are willing to leave it to the big federations to dominate that particular event while carving out a place for their occasional singles skater who can break through.
 

stjeaskategym

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One thing though: please stop with the over-hyping of the Knierims: respectable enough, but seriously they aren't that competitive internationally outside of their quad twist weapon. There's a little too much praise and settling that U.S. pairs can't get better than Chris and Alexa. Okay for this season, they are going to the Olympics come hell or high water. They are lovely people and a cute couple. Have fun and enjoy. Then can the U.S. fed buckle down and try to do something different and better to help their pairs athletes be more competitive?!
The Knierims were 4 points from top 5 at Worlds and they didn't have their quad back yet. They aren't just a "cute couple", they are a high quality pair team that is worthy of respect and appreciation. You seem to be placing blame on the Fed for not providing some magical formula to help your personal favorites improve.

K/K have very high quality pair elements, a rarity in the US, which has helped lead to several top 10 finishes at Worlds, which is noteworthy in a country where no other pairs have any (especially given the recent depth of the field). They have a ton of natural athleticism, which helps gives them potential. You can improve jumps and whatnot with time and hard work, but very few pairs are ever going to end up with things like an enormous twist and huge throws. You may not appreciate it, but it's a huge asset in today's pairs scene. They deserve all the attention they receive. In fact, I believe they deserve more domestic support. They have been by far the best US pair this 4 year cycle. And I think they have helped show that pairs is a versatile discipline, not a jump contest for "failed" singles skaters. But there's probably nothing I can say about them that will get you to appreciate them. To each his own.
 

semogal

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There is a huge gap between the US pairs and the top international teams. Our teams have some good tricks but don't have the complete package. Partly, that is due to bad luck. Our top teams have all struggled with injuries and illness the last few years. Huge kudos to Haven and Tarah for even coming back after their knee surgeries. But study the protocols from the SP: only FOUR teams received positive GOE on their SBS jumps. Only ONE team had all positive GOE. You don't win international events with messy programs, downgrades and falls. Having said that, I think that if our top teams stay together and stay healthy, (and if a few are willing to make some coaching changes) by 2022 the story might be different.
 

insideedgeua

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Huge kudos to Haven and Tarah for even coming back after their knee surgeries.
Absolutely!

But don’t forget Alexa also had three abdominal surgeries last year and is also on the comeback trail from that.

There’s no doubt that pair girls are some of the toughest people around.
 

pairskatingfan

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^^ i would wait for the long program to fully react. I don’t expect liu and Johnson to hold their lead over haven and Brandon or mervissa
 
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