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

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olympic

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Does anyone find it interesting that SK/K's strong points are C/L's weak points and vice versa? - SK/K are strong on the explosive elements (usually) - throws, twist, lifts which C/L have had to work on. While C/L are strong(er) on SBS jumps and spins which are 2 elements that SK/K have always struggled with???
 

Carolla5501

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Does anyone find it interesting that SK/K's strong points are C/L's weak points and vice versa? - SK/K are strong on the explosive elements (usually) - throws, twist, lifts which C/L have had to work on. While C/L are strong(er) on SBS jumps and spins which are 2 elements that SK/K have always struggled with???

No. C/L have only been together a few years. You would expect that some of their pair elements would be less developed then SK/K.

What I wonder is if SK/K can develop consistent jumps at this stage of their career?
 

oleada

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I'm not sure that C/L will ever have an explosive twist or throws given their lack of height difference.
 

essence_of_soy

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I'm not sure that C/L will ever have an explosive twist or throws given their lack of height difference.
True. But I still take my hat off to strong man Tim. Ashley is no midget, so to have the stamina to lift and throw her around for four minutes, takes some serious muscle.
 

VGThuy

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I'm not sure that C/L will ever have an explosive twist or throws given their lack of height difference.
I would think that but Sui/Han seem to be doing fine and there's not much of a height difference there.
 

oleada

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I would think that but Sui/Han seem to be doing fine and there's not much of a height difference there.
They’ve been together for so long and had huge elements before her growth spurt. I wonder if that makes a difference?
 

VGThuy

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Maybe, but then I can see the Chinese Pairs coaches just forcing it to happen no matter what.
 

text_skate

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crossposting from German thread:

Newspaper Süddeutsche (SZ) about Aljona's short time coach experience:
https://www.sueddeutsche.de/sport/eiskunstlauf-traineramt-beendet-1.4179849

google translate:
Aliona Savchenko did not travel to the West Coast. She herself decided to split up, she told SZ Sunday: "I've helped as much as possible, but it turns out that we have different opinions about working on the ice."
The potential of the US pair team Aljona Savchenko has also stressed again on Sunday. The work, she says, was "not enough": "I know the way to the goal, I opened the door for them, but they have to go through it alone." Aljona Savchenko did not exclude, that they will work together again in the future.
I definitely hope, they will work together again. IMO the short period shows already some improvements for the Knierims. But I also hope, that Aljona will learn to be a bit more patient. Changing the amount of training takes time and insight (each fibre of body/mind has to be on board).
 

oleada

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Maybe, but then I can see the Chinese Pairs coaches just forcing it to happen no matter what.
I would amend that: I can see Wenjing just forcing that to happen no matter what. :D
For sure! Sui/Han are once in a generation talents, too (not meant as a dig at C/L). Sui is so determined and obviously the Chinese Pairs program is very strong. There’s plenty young pairs teams that lose explosiveness to their elements as they get closer in height and then split, so maybe being together when you are young makes no difference.
 

aftershocks

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True. But I still take my hat off to strong man Tim. Ashley is no midget, so to have the stamina to lift and throw her around for four minutes, takes some serious muscle.
Hey and don't discount Ashley's technical ability and strength needed to help lift herself into the air and remain strong in her core muscles so she's not a complete dead weight for Timothy to handle by himself! ;)

I would think that but Sui/Han seem to be doing fine and there's not much of a height difference there.
There's a size difference though between the two teams, and a different physicality/ body structure between the two teams that you and others are not taking into consideration with these direct comparisons.
 

aftershocks

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crossposting from German thread:

Newspaper Süddeutsche (SZ) about Aljona's short time coach experience:
https://www.sueddeutsche.de/sport/eiskunstlauf-traineramt-beendet-1.4179849
google translate:
I definitely hope, they will work together again. IMO the short period shows already some improvements for the Knierims. But I also hope, that Aljona will learn to be a bit more patient. Changing the amount of training takes time and insight (each fibre of body/mind has to be on board).
Thanks for providing this German coverage. I admire and respect Aliona. It's apparent though that she needed to fully factor in her own desires and expectations. I get the sense that coaching is not necessarily her thing. She may be able to help skaters in a consulting capacity and in a creative brainstorming and strategizing way. She can certainly help many skaters in overall technical and artistic approach planning. But she doesn't seem as if she's intently focused on or interested in being a full-time coach. And there is some question regarding her patience in seeing the kind of results she expects. Alexa & Chris are obviously veteran students who are relearning their overall approach to training in a new environment. Witness Aliona's comments about coaching in this interview at Nebelhorn Trophy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5Xnl5In6ME
Aliona: "It's something new ... it's different. It's interesting how it is to feel like a coach. You want to skate but you can't. It's a strange feeling... [Standing at the boards] is a difficult part of coaching because you need to explain to the athletes how to do their job, so it's not easy. You cannot control anymore. You give your best... but in the end it's not in your hands anymore. It's not easy... It's easier for me to skate myself...

Bruno: "It's a nice feeling. It's a different way to work. But [as coaches] we are still inside of this passion and inside of what we like. It's quite different, but also a good experience... It's less stress for me. I help. I give my best to help them. But after all the cards are in their hands, they have to do the job. Me, I did my job already... [smile] My first time alone at the boards, I was not stressed because it's something I know [from working with his coach in learning how to coach]... Coaching for me I have a feeling it's not that difficult. It is tiring, yes, because you give a lot of energy. But I really love what I do, and it's very good to give your experience, to share something and to ... control the stress of the others now. It's a different way to work on figure skating. So it's very, very good."

Aliona: It's different. I need to do differently and to think differently... For me maybe [coaching] is more hard because I need to move... My body needs stress, needs to run, to jump [Bruno raises his eyebrows and looks quizzical, and someone off camera laughs] [Aliona continues:] I have too much energy, so it's hard...

[The interviewer asks Aliona about her doing triple jumps on the ice at Nebelhorn, and Aliona responds:] In the beginning, when I started to coach Alexa and Chris, I went to America for four weeks and I didn't do so much skating. I was busy and coaching and then after many days, I was so dead... I was exhausted and I couldn't do my lifestyle. And when I come back, I realize that my body not good. I don't feel right. I started to move more and I felt, okay, this is what I need. When I move and coach, then I'm in the right position. So it's challenging to learn a new... to balance. So I think the athletes, we need to understand, this change, we need to feel what we need do. You cannot just stop and do nothing. Because then your heart, like athlete are big. We need to do something for us..."

Then the interviewer asks Bruno and Aliona about their exhibition programs they worked on with Benoit Richaud...

Listening to this interview again in hindsight, it seems to me that Aliona has some conflicted emotions about coaching vs concentrating on her own skating. But overall, there are many positives and she helped Alexa & Chris in important ways, so it's good for them all to have had this experience and to find out what's best for themselves going forward.
 

VGThuy

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There's a size difference though between the two teams, and a different physicality/ body structure between the two teams that you and others are not taking into consideration with these direct comparisons.
My response was a direct response to someone specifically mentioning the height difference aspect. If you have a scientific study to show why Sui/Han despite lack of heigh difference can still manage explosive pair elements that other Chinese teams like Pang/Tong, Shen/Zhao, and Zhang/Zhang and essentially every Chinese pairs team has despite all of them having different body types and differences between partners, then please provide it.
 

aftershocks

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My response was a direct response to someone specifically mentioning the height difference aspect. If you have a scientific study to show why Sui/Han despite lack of heigh difference can still manage explosive pair elements that other Chinese teams like Pang/Tong, Shen/Zhao, and Zhang/Zhang and essentially every Chinese pairs team has despite all of them having different body types and differences between partners, then please provide it.
Nope, I don't have all that information. Maybe it should be researched and closely studied and a thesis should be written. :p Maybe there's information out there that has already been written about body structure differences and athletic prowess that allows some athletes to generate explosive power and others to gain superior speed and others to master difficult, gorgeous overhead lifts, and others to execute superior spins with mesmerizing spin positions.

Perhaps there's a technique-related key that's missing for C/L that might enable them to gain more snap and explosive power on their jumps. I don't know. Probably Hao Bin has an idea he's not sharing. ;) C/L do train with Nina Mozer on occasion, so maybe she has the answer. It is an interesting topic, and my inquiring mind is curious.

Anyway, I do know that visually, C/L are quite pleasing to watch with their long lines and their engaging performance abilities. Sui/Han have dynamic precision, speed and power, and enviable presence and charisma that they have developed in recent years, but their overhead lifts are not as aesthetically pleasing as some other pairs (Alexa/Chris; Denney/Frazier; Tarosova/Morosov; James/Cipres) because Han's arms are not that long. That doesn't mean they can't perform technically proficient and difficult lifts that cover the ice. Their lifts just look different due to their smaller sizes and their lack of height difference.

C/L need to improve their steadiness on their lifts, and who knows perhaps they are working on the power conundrum with their throws. I'm happy for them that they are coming along very nicely for a third year team, and they've accomplished a lot. They appear to have grit and staying power. I'm not sure whether it's necessarily a productive enterprise to one-on-one compare teams with different physicalities, backgrounds, training strategies, and number of years working together as partners.
 

Lacey

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I think Alexa and Chris need to see who is a good fit. Perhaps they may want to go to Rockne since he’s in Chicago and Alexa has her family there. Just wishing them a easy road ahead
I think Rockne Brubaker and his wife Stefania Berton) would be an excellent coaching choice for Alexa and Chris. I was standing next to him in a food line and spoke with him as a stranger who knows something about skating in Boston 2014 at the end of his last partnership, I think it might have literally been his last night. He was so open and kind, with sort of an oh well, I tried and gave it everything I had over many years attitude, and most definitely not an I'm going to blame the girl thing here tonight. Total gentleman. To me, he was always such a musical skater, and this seems like it would lead to a good coaching/student partnership with the Knierims. I think he had Denney/Frazier for one season?
 
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Cleo1782

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I think Rockne Brubaker and his wife Stefania Berton) would be an excellent coaching choice for Alexa and Chris. I was standing next to him in a food line and spoke with him as a stranger who knows something about skating in Boston 2014 at the end of his last partnership, I think it might have literally been his last night. He was so open and kind, with sort of an oh well, I tried and gave it everything I had over many years attitude, and most definitely not an I'm going to blame the girl thing here tonight. Total gentleman. To me, he was always such a musical skater, and this seems like it would lead to a good coaching/student partnership with the Knierims. I think he had Denney/Frazier for one season?
Haven and Brandon skated with Rockne for two seasons including the season they won Nationals.
 

kwanfan1818

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Skate America was the first time I've seen Cain/Leduc live, and I was really taken with them: they move beautifully together with lots of amplitude, have great knees and flow, and if their 3Tw isn't as high as the Knierims, it's not that far off. (Where I was sitting in the area, to the left of KnC, I could only see the man's back and how high the woman flew upwards, not the catch or whether there was bumping.)

They were terrific, even if they weren't as clean, especially in the SP, as they wanted to be.
 

Amantide

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I do not know what happened between the Knerims and Aljona.
Only they know for sure, no matter what "rumors" and "some friends in Germany" say. I also don't know them personally, and I really don't care. After all, I'm interested in skaters because of their skating.

I can try and read between the lines, but I'm not going to play that game because it's not fair. It's really hard to judge based on few short statemens to the media, here and there.

However, I will say this. To imply that the Knerims didn't want to work hard enough, therefore lazy.
That Alexa is a primadonna, and she felt smh "inferior" because Aljona is a better skater than her etc.,
I think that's vile and bullcrap!

They decided to continue despite being around for some years now, without much results. Despite the fact that she has health issues, and were even willing to transfer from one continent to another.
That to me screams determination and prepared to work hard. Period!
 
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Carolla5501

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So I just finished watching the replay of Skate America. My bet is that regardless of who Alexa and Chris go to they get a new short.
 

feraina

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So I just finished watching the replay of Skate America. My bet is that regardless of who Alexa and Chris go to they get a new short.
It just looked like such hard work for them. It made Alexa look like she can’t skate.
 

Cleo1782

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So I just finished watching the replay of Skate America. My bet is that regardless of who Alexa and Chris go to they get a new short.
They really don't have time. They don't have a coach. Unless they go back to MR for the 3rd season again. It's seemed fairly well received I am not sure that would be their focus.
 

hoptoad

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I'm still wondering how they will find ice time before they finalize a new coaching situation. Ice time for pairs is very limited.
 

Dobre

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Oh no, I like both of the Knierems' programs this year. The choreography is interesting & it is the first time they have had interesting choreo in a long time. Just change the costumes. (At the very least remove his collar so that he can breathe).
 

miffy

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I'm still wondering how they will find ice time before they finalize a new coaching situation. Ice time for pairs is very limited.
Do pairs ever share ice time with other skaters? I know they do in some other countries (where there is only 1 pair per rink if you are lucky!) :p but I don’t know about the US?
 

hoptoad

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I'm sure it varies a lot, but most rinks don't allow pairs elements like lifts except on specific sessions. Way too dangerous!
 

Cleo1782

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Do pairs ever share ice time with other skaters? I know they do in some other countries (where there is only 1 pair per rink if you are lucky!) :p but I don’t know about the US?
I have never seen it happen where I have trained or where I have been, but I think there is some footage of Cain/Leduc? skating on a session with singles skaters in Dallas a year ago. It's dangerous, but I think if everyone is of a high level and aware it might work? Like I said I have never seen it live and if we were skating a singles session a pair skater couldn't do any pair elements with us (even sbs jumps or spins together), but times may have changed.
 

Carolla5501

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It just looked like such hard work for them. It made Alexa look like she can’t skate.
I just felt like both at the beginning and end of the short that vibe was “I don’t want to be doing this”. Maybe I’m reading too much into it and hope that I am but I wouldn’t be surprised if that program goes away
 

Amantide

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Listening to this interview again in hindsight, it seems to me that Aliona has some conflicted emotions about coaching vs concentrating on her own skating. But overall, there are many positives and she helped Alexa & Chris in important ways, so it's good for them all to have had this experience and to find out what's best for themselves going forward.
She sounds like an aquarius. lol

Seriously though, I've never been a fan of the Knerims. I didn't dislike them, they have a good presence and easy in the eyes, but their lack of power and speed in their skating, always put me off.

But what I saw in SA is almost a complete different Pair. I've seen their performance 3-4 times now. Maybe Aljona doesn't have great communication skills, and the compatibility between them isn't there. But in terms of skating, the Knerims have improved tremendously. The mistakes they made I think were as result of the whole situation. Lack of focus etc., not a big deal for me. But the rest was there, power, speed, musicality. In that sense, it's a pity that this collaboration didn't work.

I was very skeptic when I heard about the move (Knerims going to Aljona), but they proved me wrong. The results are quick and easy to see. So, in terms of skating only, this would've been great.
 

aftershocks

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Maybe Aljona doesn't have great communication skills, and the compatibility between them isn't there. But in terms of skating, the Knerims have improved tremendously. The mistakes they made I think were as result of the whole situation. Lack of focus etc., not a big deal for me. But the rest was there, power, speed, musicality.
I agree there's much improvement in A&C's skating in terms of power, speed, body awareness, improved concept, choreo and costume. They are showing more attention to line, and to intricate details. But I wouldn't say Aliona couldn't communicate well. She had to communicate well in order for A&C to show this level of improvement in their skating skills. They just need time and some coaching stability to put what they've learned altogether.

The reasons for the split are unclear, but possibly in part have to do with Aliona's comfort level in making a transition to coaching. She probably can't make a full commitment at this time, and A&C do need a full-time coach. We don't know what the understanding was on both sides when they leapt into this collaboration. But I think A&C should just take the positives from the experience and push forward. And the same goes for Aliona.
 
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