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

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Sylvia

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Congrats to Tarah & Danny on winning the silver medal in Grenoble with a "Swan Lake" performance that came close to their 4CC win! They are the 2nd alternates to the GP Final (behind Efimova/Korovin based on combined total scores).

Kayne/O'Shea are scheduled to travel directly to Tallinn, Estonia, where Calalang/Johnson also will compete in their second ISU Challenger.

Cain/LeDuc, Scimeca-Knierim/Knierim & Stellato/Bartholomay are scheduled for the final Challenger, Golden Spin of Zagreb.

ISU Season Best total scores after GP France - top 3 U.S. pairs:
9 191.43 Tarah KAYNE / Danny O'SHEA USA ISU GP Internationaux de France 2018 SILVER (164.16 at NHK)
10 190.49 Alexa SCIMECA KNIERIM / Chris KNIERIM USA ISU GP NHK Trophy 2018 BRONZE (171.56 at Skate America)
15 181.56 Ashley CAIN / Timothy LEDUC USA ISU CS 26th Ondrej Nepela Trophy 2018 Gold/4 teams (175.06 & BRONZE at Skate America)

ISU SB FS scores:
(2nd in FRA) Tarah KAYNE / Danny O'SHEA USA 127.98 66.13 61.85 7.61 7.61 7.93 7.75 7.75 0.00 #5
(3rd at NHK) Alexa SCIMECA KNIERIM / Chris KNIERIM USA 125.74 64.78 60.96 7.57 7.57 7.46 7.82 7.68 0.00 #5
(2nd at Skate America) Ashley CAIN / Timothy LEDUC USA 117.34 55.58 61.76 7.71 7.64 7.75 7.79 7.71 0.00 #5

ISU SB SP scores:
65.68 Ashley CAIN / Timothy LEDUC USA ISU CS 26th Ondrej Nepela Trophy 2018
64.75 Alexa SCIMECA KNIERIM / Chris KNIERIM USA ISU GP NHK Trophy 2018
63.45 Tarah KAYNE / Danny O'SHEA USA ISU GP Internationaux de France 2018
 
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VGThuy

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Hey I just realized that Fred got to see an American pairs team win a silver medal live and in person and only be like 2.5 points behind James/Cipres in TES. ;)
 

Willin

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If you would've asked me which discipline would have the most interesting fight for gold going into Nationals I wouldn't have said Pairs. But Pairs it is. This is certainly a very welcome development. All three pairs have work to do in order to be truly competitive internationally and all three need to be more consistent, but I think they're all headed in the right direction.
 

VGThuy

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Kayne/O’Shea has made me super excited about the pairs match ups for Nationals. I still think Scimeca-Knierim/Knierim are the only US team to have international-competitive quality elements as they are big and have presence but I simply prefer K/O’s actual choreography and the way their elements weave together. I’m still surprised as how much I love their look with Swan Lake. I didn’t know they could skate like that.
 

Spun Silver

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Kayne/O’Shea has made me super excited about the pairs match ups for Nationals. I still think Scimeca-Knierim/Knierim are the only US team to have international-competitive quality elements as they are big and have presence but I simply prefer K/O’s actual choreography and the way their elements weave together. I’m still surprised as how much I love their look with Swan Lake. I didn’t know they could skate like that.
They had a lot of success with that program last season but it looks even better now. I hope they can sustain this! They look like US champions again.
 
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Sylvia

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^^^ I disagree.

Kayne/O'Shea won 2018 Four Continents and the only silver medal on the Grand Prix by a U.S. pair this fall. They also have an opportunity to win a Challenger Series medal next week at Tallinn Trophy.

Golden Spin of Zagreb currently looks like a more competitive pairs competition, with the Knierims scheduled to face Efimova/Korovin (who defeated them at Nebelhorn Trophy and Skate America) and Cain/LeDuc (who edged them for bronze at Skate America), plus Stellato/Bartholomay.

These final 2 Challenger Series competitions could give us a better idea of what to expect at Nationals.
 

olympic

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Based on the GP, I foresee a battle royale at Nationals for that one spot.

I would put the prediction as lean SK/K (sorry for the terminology, fresh off the mid-term elections :p ). They offer the best overall skating and big tricks. Chris is for the most part landing jumps which has been maybe their biggest hurdle, and Alexa showed at their last GP that she still has it in her to gut out a performance. OTOH, K/O put together that eye-opening performance this weekend and score-wise are super-competitive. C/L are moving up and Ash is landing throw jumps on a much more consistent basis now, but they are getting dinged on URs which is two-steps forward / one-step back, and they are a little behind the other two pairs score-wise.

I want to reiterate two things - Despite the split, I think Aljona was good for SK/K and especially Chris. He improved so much in body movement and SS in a short period of time. I credit that to the fact that he skated with Aljona in practice among other things. Also, I want to say that K/O moving TO Dalilah, who has been criticized at times, has been a smart choice: They lagged on the big explosive elements which she is a master at teaching: throws, twists, and I would say the lifts. I event think their DS is better. SBS jumps are more or less solid for K/O and they have musicality which doesn't need as much focus (which would IMO be a weakness for Dalilah)
 
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Spiralgraph

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I've been a Tarah and Danny fan since 2014, and they helped themselves greatly by their silver medal in France. I agree with most of your opinions, Olympic, the only point on which I differ is that to me K/O have great lifts already, that doesn't have to be tweaked that much by Dalilah. I'd say all our top pairs D/F. SK/K, K/O have strong lifts.
(as a new team C/L aren't quite at the top level in lifts yet.) Not to sound like a broken record, but the area to work hardest at is the sbs triples. Seems to me that improving pair spins, speed and unison is probably easier.
One thing I have noticed is that the choreography for all of our top teams is stronger this year. The days of Sappenfield and Peterson et ali doing double duty as choreographers is long past, I hope.
 

olympic

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I've been a Tarah and Danny fan since 2014, and they helped themselves greatly by their silver medal in France. I agree with most of your opinions, Olympic, the only point on which I differ is that to me K/O have great lifts already, that doesn't have to be tweaked that much by Dalilah. I'd say all our top pairs D/F. SK/K, K/O have strong lifts.
(as a new team C/L aren't quite at the top level in lifts yet.) Not to sound like a broken record, but the area to work hardest at is the sbs triples. Seems to me that improving pair spins, speed and unison is probably easier.
One thing I have noticed is that the choreography for all of our top teams is stronger this year. The days of Sappenfield and Peterson et ali doing double duty as choreographers is long past, I hope.
I understand what you are saying re the lifts. I think that last lift caught my attention and I attributed it to Dalilah. It did not look like any type of lift they had done before
 

HeatherC

Proud fan of K&O and Team SW Florida! =)
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I understand what you are saying re the lifts. I think that last lift caught my attention and I attributed it to Dalilah. It did not look like any type of lift they had done before
That last lift was actually in their Swan Lake LP last season as well. :)
 

AngieNikodinovLove

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I understand what you are saying re the lifts. I think that last lift caught my attention and I attributed it to Dalilah. It did not look like any type of lift they had done before
All 3 lifts are same as last year.

In fact it doesn't look like Dalilah changed any elements on this free skate. Not that she needed to.

I watched last years Swan many many times, this years Swan is identical including last lift.
 
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Carolla5501

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I understand what you are saying re the lifts. I think that last lift caught my attention and I attributed it to Dalilah. It did not look like any type of lift they had done before

So it’s apparent that perhaps you didn’t watch any of their program before. Those lifts are classic Patterson teams
 

clairecloutier

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Although the lifts are the same in Tarah/Danny's LP, I feel their actual execution of the lifts has perhaps improved, even over last year. The lifts were really great in France, and I felt like Danny's footwork and speed were almost the best I've seen from him. So I could see why @olympic would feel that they're better. Dalilah may have a hand in that.
 

olympic

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Although the lifts are the same in Tarah/Danny's LP, I feel their actual execution of the lifts has perhaps improved, even over last year. The lifts were really great in France, and I felt like Danny's footwork and speed were almost the best I've seen from him. So I could see why @olympic would feel that they're better. Dalilah may have a hand in that.
Thanks. Maybe this is what I was trying to say. I intended to say that the lifts had more ‘pop’ but I didn’t know if that would have made sense and I honestly didn’t remember lifts from their past performances so I assumed they were new. They just stood out more this time in this LP
 

Sylvia

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I'm glad it was deleted since I didn't want to quote it in my reply.
So it’s apparent that perhaps you didn’t watch any of their program before. Those lifts are classic Patterson teams
Peterson.

Thanks, @clairecloutier, for your post.

Nice to see -- via their IG stories -- Tarah and Audrey Lu (she and Misha Mitrofanov got a new ISU SB total score of 157.28 in Grenoble) both enjoying Paris after the competition.

ETA:
"One good thing about skating is that sometimes we can spend a few days visiting the site after competition. Next week we will go to visit Paris before going back to Dallas," Lu mentioned. Mitrofanov will have to fly back right after, however. "I'm a pre-med student," he explained, "and I have finals in a week." The same is true for Chen.
As for Kayne and O'Shea, they will spend one day in Paris. "We'd like to see the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame and the Louvre - well, only a small part of it, it's so big! We enjoy bakeries, we'll get to eat our way through France!" O'Shea said, smiling. They won't have time to go to Versailles, however. Kayne will have to retain her dream until their next visit: the team has to head out to Tallinn. "We hope to continue on our improvement strike!" O'Shea concluded.
Source: https://usfigureskatingfanzone.com/...ind-the-scenes-with-team-usa-in-grenoble.aspx
 
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Carolla5501

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I'm glad it was deleted since I didn't want to quote it in my reply.

Peterson.

Thanks, @clairecloutier, for your post.

Nice to see -- via their IG stories -- Tarah and Audrey Lu (she and Misha Mitrofanov got a new ISU SB total score of 157.28 in Grenoble) both enjoying Paris after the competition.
Spell check on my phone changed his name LOL!

And honestly I would love to see a "battle royal" for that one World's spot at Nationals. I am just not sure USFS wants that. I think they KNOW who they will send and will pressure the judges etc to make sure they can do it with a minimal fuss. So if the team they want doesn't come in first, but medals they can go with "body of work". And maybe it's deserved, but looking at this year's work I don't think anyone has an outstanding lead in "body of work" IMHO
 

Cleo1782

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Spell check on my phone changed his name LOL!

And honestly I would love to see a "battle royal" for that one World's spot at Nationals. I am just not sure USFS wants that. I think they KNOW who they will send and will pressure the judges etc to make sure they can do it with a minimal fuss. So if the team they want doesn't come in first, but medals they can go with "body of work". And maybe it's deserved, but looking at this year's work I don't think anyone has an outstanding lead in "body of work" IMHO
I think an argument could be made that Tarah and Danny actually have the more impressive body of work throughout the last year. 2nd at Nationals, 4cc Champions, 2nd at IdF, GPF alternates, highest overall score this year, and if they win a medal at Talinn (very possible) they are pretty neck and neck with Chris and Alexa. Alexa and Chris did Olympics and Worlds, but their showings were quite poor in the individual events. On paper, with the criteria from last year, I think Tarah and Danny might be ahead, so if they win Nationals I would assume they go to Worlds. I don't think T/D have an 'outstanding' lead or anything, but I don't think Alexa and Chris have done enough to supersede National placements with their outings this last year.
If, say, Deanna/Nate win then I assume they would send the highest finisher between Alexa/Chris or Tarah/Danny.
 

maureenfarone

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I think Tarah and Danny showed a lot of improvement. Tarah improved her position in the death spiral so it counted in both programs. The 3twist was much better in both programs where before she was kind of landing on his shoulder. The jumps were better in France with only the 2A receiving negative goes in the FS. I like their speed and programs a lot. Wishing them the best for the rest of the season. Looking forward to the Pairs SP at Tallinn tomorrow at 5:10 a.m. ET :eek:
 

VGThuy

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How much do you guys think the perception of U.S. teams being unable to hit consistent routines and land their SBS jumps play into their current scoring? Obviously, pairs skating is way more than SBS jumps and that's a big reason why Scimeca-Knierim/Knierim are always contenders for international teams because of that, but do you think if a team were able to land their SBS and throws with regular consistency that they can break the pack and score better in terms of PCS (and possibly GOE) all things considered? The reason why I ask is because it seems Kayne/O'Shea despite not having the same quality of pairs elements as Scimeca-Knierim/Knierim to gain the GOE nor do they have the best skating skills (but they're not alone there IMO) have the most solid jump elements, and I wonder if that will help with international standings and help them break out of the perception about U.S. pairs teams.
 

PairSkater12345

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How much do you guys think the perception of U.S. teams being unable to hit consistent routines and land their SBS jumps play into their current scoring? Obviously, pairs skating is way more than SBS jumps and that's a big reason why Scimeca-Knierim/Knierim are always contenders for international teams because of that, but do you think if a team were able to land their SBS and throws with regular consistency that they can break the pack and score better in terms of PCS (and possibly GOE) all things considered? The reason why I ask is because it seems Kayne/O'Shea despite not having the same quality of pairs elements as Scimeca-Knierim/Knierim to gain the GOE nor do they have the best skating skills (but they're not alone there IMO) have the most solid jump elements, and I wonder if that will help with international standings and help them break out of the perception about U.S. pairs teams.
I'm a C/L fan mostly, I don't buy into the notion that K/O has inferior pairs elements to SK/K. K/O lifts are far better and more complex including the highest GOE for a lift this year on the Grand Prix circuit. The throws are at least as consistent and the death spiral is comparable. The twist is clearly not better. Jumps are better for sure. Candidly the only team that compares to K/O in component scores is my fav C/L.
 

Spiralgraph

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I'm a C/L fan mostly, I don't buy into the notion that K/O has inferior pairs elements to SK/K. K/O lifts are far better and more complex including the highest GOE for a lift this year on the Grand Prix circuit. The throws are at least as consistent and the death spiral is comparable. The twist is clearly not better. Jumps are better for sure. Candidly the only team that compares to K/O in component scores is my fav C/L.
I agree. I also don't believe that Tarah and Danny's elements are inferior to SK/K. Tarah and Danny to me express music and choreography better and have better connection on the ice than the married couple. I do see Alexa and Chris's on ice presence is improved however and I like their LP this season.
As for the elements, I give the edge on lifts to Tarah and Danny and their spins have improved and they are more consistent on the sbs jumps. Of course, yes the triple twist of the Knierims is very impressive when executed correctly, but the twist is not the end all and be all of pair elements.

I think the perception of SK/K as the USA top team going forward is largely inertia. The Olympics is past and all our teams have to keep proving themselves. Winning medals on the grand prix etc is a good step. Consistent good performances would help a lot too.
But maybe the biggest problem the last few years was all the injuries/illnesses that our teams endured. That set everybody back and hurt our rankings at worlds.
For Nationals, I think if the judging is fair any one of C/L K/O, SK/K D/F and S/B could win.
It's who can control their nerves and not make any silly mistakes and skate the best they can. And I have no idea who will do that come late January.
 

AngieNikodinovLove

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I think Knierims high score and K&O high score are relatively the same (ish), is just I feel K&O have more competitons with low score (lower than Knierims) lately (not including last years 4CC).

K&O have the jumps but the other pair elements (twist, combo spin, throws and lifts ) I give a higher GOE and sometimes level to the Knierims.

C&L are the most interesting to watch because of how they have differentiated themselves.

I dont even know what to think of S-D & B anymore.

I am very interested for Sarah Feng and her partner.

D&F arent on my radar for the time being :(
 

happycamper2554

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I don't think Cain and Leduc have differentiated themselves. they try to be the jumping team but are constantly underrotated. I hate their programs and the connection between them come across as disingenuous. (The Knierims should be the to p team, but they can't jump. Kayne and O'Shea always seem to start cold for some reason. Their jumps while landed consistantly don't have the difficulty to make them more competitive. I think all these teams have the potential to be the number one but we will see where the cookie crumbles. Of course this all opinion and feel free to disagree.
 

Sylvia

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Kayne/O'Shea's cover article and photos are online (spanning pages 20-26 in the November print edition): https://content.digitalpub.blue-soh...SKATING/html/index.html?page=22&origin=reader
"Go behind the scenes of 2016 U.S. champions Tarah Kayne and Danny O'Shea's cover shoot for SKATING magazine." (1-minute video uploaded by USFS on Nov. 14): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4r8FH8yg2ew
I believe this is an excerpt of their cover story with the video embedded: https://usfigureskatingfanzone.com/news/2018/11/14/figure-skating-skating-november-2018-health-first-for-tarah-kayne-and-danny-o-shea.aspx

"Ashley Cain and Timothy LeDuc share the secret to their equal partnership: communication, self-respect and mutual respect. (Plus, dad jokes and puns.)" - 4-minute uploaded by USFS on Nov. 15: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YfQMmV9DvY
ETA that the accompanying article was published before Skate America (Oct. 19) and I didn't see the link posted in this thread: https://usfigureskatingfanzone.com/...two-pillars-of-equality-at-skate-america.aspx

This Stellato/Bartholomay article (published on Nov. 15 before Rostelecom Cup) also wasn't posted here earlier: https://usfigureskatingfanzone.com/...girl-in-deanna-stellato.aspx?path=figureskate

Good luck to Kayne/O'Shea and Calalang/Johnson as they compete in Tallinn very early tomorrow morning Eastern time (SP event will be finished by around 6 am).
 
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AngieNikodinovLove

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I don't think Cain and Leduc have differentiated themselves. they try to be the jumping team but are constantly underrotated. I hate their programs and the connection between them come across as disingenuous. (The Knierims should be the to p team, but they can't jump. Kayne and O'Shea always seem to start cold for some reason. Their jumps while landed consistantly don't have the difficulty to make them more competitive. I think all these teams have the potential to be the number one but we will see where the cookie crumbles. Of course this all opinion and feel free to disagree.
To each their own I guess...

I love their programs. No warhorses for these 2 either. And I don't think at all the are disingenuous..like at all. At all. I might even say they have MORE connection than Alexa and Chris.

I'm talking matching lines, synchronicity, extensions, flexibility in those wow SBS spins.

That's differentiation for me. I don't see that in any other pair.
 
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