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

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RoseRed

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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.
Their FS is to the W.E. soundtrack which has been used plenty of times, including by Evgenia Medvedeva and Carreira/Ponomarenko. I'm fine with it for them, but let's not pretend it's a particularly creative choice. Last year, they did a Great Gatsby medley for the FS which tons of teams/skaters have done. In their first season together, their SP was to "I Put A Spell on You" which is a total warhorse.
 
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Cleo1782

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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.

I would have to agree. Kayne/O'shea always start the season rough then rally by Nationals. Last year, they barely could get through Golden Spin because she was coming back from injury and they were good at Nationals and great at 4cc's. The jumps being lower difficulty will be an issue, but I don't think it's a problem this year. Overall, I would consider K/O the more consistent team and their long to Swan Lake is better than almost all pair longs this year. Alexa and Chris have more of a wow factor.
C/L are good. Their lifts are a real problem for me. They are never going to get the points K/O or Alexa/Chris get. Same with the twist. It's not even as good as K/O's. C/L really just don't excite me. I don't dislike them, I just think they have a ceiling in ability.
My point is that I don't think Alexa and Chris are the lock that they were last year. They have to win to get to worlds. Other US teams have done enough (C/L, K/O) to challenge the S-k/K body of work argument.
 

aftershocks

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Not for me in this case. The other USA teams? K&O, no. D&F and S&B couldn't finish their grand prixs. I'm just curious as to Sarah Feng and her partner.

Knierims non jump elements are so so much stronger than everyone else's.

I agree that a 15th place wouldn't be an automatic qualifier, lol but I have seen what's played out this season, child...... 🤕

And thats all she wrote!!

ITA that the Knierims' non-jump elements are stronger than the rest of U.S. pairs teams; their 3-twist is particularly explosive and competitive with a lot of international teams (as we saw when they recently won bronze at NHK). I hope things are working out for them with Meno/Sand. At least their confidence appears to be back on the rise. The programs they developed with Aliona are showing a a new side of their skating, so they simply need to hone their confidence, and continue working with their choreographer Benoit Richaud. And I hope they find stability with Meno/Sand that will enable thm to reach their goals.

It pays to not generalize about any team. I think the U.S. has some wonderful pairs teams with huge potential, but the improving and moving up process is full of fits and starts, with injuries too often cramping momentum. And as we know, U.S. teams have experienced more than their fare share of injuries/illnesses.

To be honest, D/F might be at a higher level of competitiveness now, if not for Haven's knee injury and rehab. I think Brandon has worked hard at improving aesthetically over the past few years. Interestingly, Brooke Castile noted something about D/F at Nationals in January: D/F have speed, but for some reason, their speed is not smooth and forward flowing. Brooke observed that they seem to be fighting with allowing their speed to break free more fully. I hope their new coaches are taking note of this factor too and helping them work on correcting it. Meanwhile, D/F have great lifts that are top-notch competitive, and they generally have a good, consistent 3-twist that will get good marks. The problem is whether or not Haven has or will be able to work through a mental blockage re landing her jumps, if in fact her knee is fully healed physically. That issue needs to be confronted head-on, rather than tiptoed around. Haven surely can't have confidence competing if she's mentally hesitant when going into her jumps. I wonder if this is being addressed? If D/F can solve the sbs and become consistent with the jump elements, they can concentrate more on refining and improving their speed, their style, and continuing to upgrade their difficulty.

I hope that Cain/LeDuc do not allow their misfortune at Rostelecom to get them down. Russia is a very difficult country to compete in when you're not Russian, unless you're Hanyu. :p I think Ashley and Timothy have overall done well this season. They have grown as a team, and they just need to continue working on their confidence, and increasing their difficulty in a smart way. The judges should be giving them more credit for their lines and for their superb expressiveness and performance abilities. They need to gain consistency on their tech elements. They have strong jumps, but they have to eliminate the mistakes under pressure.

Tarah and Danny are very strong and reliable, but they are adjusting to a new training environment. Plus, Tarah is still rehabbing her injuries. T&D need to continue refining and polishing their style, increasing their speed and difficulty, and working on standing out from the crowd. They are generally consistent when healthy, so I'm hopeful for them having a chance to break through, but right now, I think the judges' perception of them varies. Clearly, they can take advantage at competitions when other teams at or below their level make mistakes. Kudos to them. Right now, their reworked 3-twist is still a work-in-progress because it often takes time perfecting the 3-twist according to what I've heard from pairs such as Duhamel/Radford and James/Cipres.

It seems as if Stellato/Bartholomay may have injuries, which is complicating their ability to make more of a statement in international competition. They are a team unafraid of going for it, but they need to catch some breaks which are few and far between in figure skating.

Now that the landscape in pairs has changed, it's crucial for the U.S. to try and make some strides to get back at least two spots for Worlds. The only way to be able to get better is to have the chance to compete at major competitions.
 
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VGThuy

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I remember being very impressed with Denny/Frazier's silver medal winning LP at 2017 Skate America and wondering why people bagged on them so much. Then Worlds 2017 happened and it seemed like they were never going to get out of the dog house.

I admit I'm having trouble warming up to Cain/LeDuc for reasons outside of they have done and more to do with the hype around them when they first teamed up.
 

Cleo1782

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I remember being very impressed with Denny/Frazier's silver medal winning LP at 2017 Skate America and wondering why people bagged on them so much. Then Worlds 2017 happened and it seemed like they were never going to get out of the dog house.

I admit I'm having trouble warming up to Cain/LeDuc for reasons outside of they have done and more to do with the hype around them when they first teamed up.

I think Haven's knee injury really effected them. She certainly can't jump they way she could even as a junior anymore. I will say they are very impressive in practice. So fast and always look like they are going to slay the competition, although I haven't seen a reliable 2nd jump (2a or 3t) in a long time. Then the competition happens and they aren't as fast and make mistakes. Maybe it's nerves? Idk.... They also really haven't had the material. The Lion King long was so good and they haven't had a program since that has come close.
 

AngieNikodinovLove

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Their FS is to the W.E. soundtrack which has been used plenty of times, including by Evgenia Medvedeva and Carreira/Ponomarenko. I'm fine with it for them, but let's not pretend it's a particularly creative choice. Last year, they did a Great Gatsby medley for the FS which tons of teams/skaters have done. In their first season together, their SP was to "I Put A Spell on You" which is a total warhorse.

I Put A Spell On You is a warhorse NOW... Not when they used it the season after Stolbova & Klimov.

WE stuff aint no warhorse yet, especially their piece. Movie only came out 6-7 years ago.

Warhorse = Carmen, Rhapsody in Blue, POTO, R&J, Firebird, West Side Story, Scherezade, Tosca, etc etc etc. Stuff thats been around for decades that seem to have no end. Pieces that have been trolled out hundreds of times and shouldn't have. lol
 

aftershocks

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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.

Yes, I've been interested in discussing how U.S. pairs are doing, but I thought it best to wait till GP ended. And it ended in a nice way overall with three U.S. pairs teams at least medaling at 3 different competitions. Both the Knierims and C/L had slim chances to get on the podium more than once, but Rostelecom Cup is tough altogether and the field was slightly more competitive too for C/L. The Knierims were not confident when the season opened, but conversely their programs are great. They just need some coaching stability and the chance to address their biggest weakness. I hope it's being addressed with their new coaches. They need a game plan if they are in this quad to win it. For me, it's a big plus that Aliona has given them a new look that's impactful and helps them stand out.

As far as C/L, I think you're being too hard on them. I believe ANL meant that C/L are differentiating themselves stylistically and working on embracing their long lines, and making choices that reflect the fact that their connection is not a romantic connection. They have issues with the lifts, but they are a team who have really pushed forward from day one trying to improve. They did not back off from going for the 3-twist in their first season together, which I think inspired Stellato/Bartholomay to follow suit. C/L are continuing to work on their 3-twist and their lifts, and their jump consistency. Everything is always a different animal under competition conditions. I completely disagree with you that C/L's emotional interaction is disingenous. They have a true connection based on committing to each other and having personalities that match well. In terms of expressive performance abilities, C/L are better than a lot of Russian teams! Can I get an Amen?! :cheer:

Also, I really have to say that as athletes, Chris & Alexa actually can jump. :) The problem is overcoming bad habits, and increasing belief in their ability to land jumps consistently in competition. That's a huge hurdle for more teams than we fully realize. Those who are consistent are simply making something hugely difficult look easy. See what happened to Vanessa James at IDF? She can land 3-salchows in her sleep, but maybe she was nervous or something happened in the takeoff or in the air that caused her to very uncharacteristically botch that jump. J/C are one of the more consistent teams, and they've been on all season, except in their home country, eh! I would mark it down to nerves associated with competing at home to make their first GPF. Plus, they had four weeks in between their last competition.
 
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Brenda_Bottems

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I hope that Cain/LeDuc do not allow their misfortune at Rostelecom to get them down. Russia is a very difficult country to compete in when you're not Russian, unless you're Hanyu. :p

Amen!

In terms of expressive performance abilities, C/L are better than a lot of Russian teams! Can I get an Amen?! :cheer:

Hallelujah! Better than all of them,I think.

Cain+Leduc are definitely among the best North American pairs. On a related note,I once had a lover who looks like Timothy.

-BB
 

Sylvia

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Tarah and Danny's short program from Tallinn. He was credited with a fall and to my untrained eye maybe under rotated or downgraded. I couldn't find any protocols
SP protocols link posted in Kiss & Cry section: https://data.tallinntrophy.eu/2018/TallinnTrophy/CSEST2018_Pairs_SP_Scores.pdf

Calalang/Johnson's 2 highest scoring elements were 3Tw3 (5.7 BV, 6.73 pts) & BoDs4 (4.7 BV, 6.02 pts) - they improved their ISU SB score by 10 points from Autumn Classic Int'l in Sept.
 

AngieNikodinovLove

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Sylvia

So happy the JGP season is back!
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CS Tallinn Trophy results from earlier today:

Silver - Tarah KAYNE / Danny O'SHEA USA 177.69 4 1
Bronze - Jessica CALALANG / Brian JOHNSON USA 172.31 2 3 (their 2nd international together)

1 Tarah KAYNE / Danny O'SHEA USA 120.41 62.21 59.20 7.35 7.20 7.50 7.45 7.50 1.00 #3 [FS Video]
3 Jessica CALALANG / Brian JOHNSON USA 111.94 54.70 58.24 7.25 7.25 7.25 7.35 7.30 1.00 #5 [FS Video]

FS protocols: https://data.tallinntrophy.eu/2018/TallinnTrophy/CSEST2018_Pairs_FS_Scores.pdf
 

olympic

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Good recovery by K/O at Tallinn Trophy in the LP. C/J had a couple of mistakes but overall, I think the pairing is better than L/J or C/S. They are scoring in the 170s internationally.
 

aftershocks

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I'm not surprised to see Tarah & Danny move up after their fp, which is such a great program for them. Maybe they should try to rework their sp again. Or concentrate on skating it clean. Their Swan Lake fp is just an exceptional program, and it's very competitive. Another thing to keep in mind is the quick turnaround they had after winning a silver medal at IDF last weekend, so maybe Danny had 'tired legs'. ;)

It's great to see Jessica and Brian coming along so well. What great improvement they are showing from AC, and they weren't bad there. It just looked like they were a new team getting used to each other. Now within a matter of weeks, they seem to be moving together much more smoothly and confidently. Thanks for all the links!

I think it's cool that Jessica & Brian are training with the Knierims now. That is surely a boon for a newly formed pair like J&B. It's likely helpful for Alexa & Chris as well to be back in an environment where they are around other pairs teams who they can push themselves against without it being too many teams vying for coaching attention.
 
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AngieNikodinovLove

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Golden Spin seems to be a repeat of skate America. Ashley and Tim just slightly ahead of Alexa and Chris. In the free program Alexa and Chris seem to be able to rack more points though then Ashley and Tim. Very much looking forward to seeing the free skate

Ash & Tim: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuE_TQGXJ5w

Alexa & Chris https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=veHMPuasBzg

Dee & Nate https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPiVo7mjXEI (NEW PROGRAM)

Looks like Brau Atilia (spelling?) has reemerged on youtube as after his/her previous account was terminated.
 
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olympic

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All 3 US teams did a respectable job. I really wish Alexa would have landed the throw jump. It would have gotten them close to 70 points, and it is frustrating to see Ash botch the SBS 3L, especially since as a singles skater, she was quite good. But, I am happy she is conquering the throws. Finally, it was nice to see S/B get thru a cleanish SP
 

AngieNikodinovLove

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All 3 US teams did a respectable job. I really wish Alexa would have landed the throw jump. It would have gotten them close to 70 points, and it is frustrating to see Ash botch the SBS 3L, especially since as a singles skater, she was quite good. But, I am happy she is conquering the throws. Finally, it was nice to see S/B get thru a cleanish SP

You took every single word right outta my mouth!!!
 

Willin

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I wonder what the Knirems can possibly due to fix their side-by-side jumps. The rest of their elements are lovely and world class and their skating has improved after working with Aljona, but they really need to fix the SBS jumps or they're going to end up in the same place they've always been.

Ashley and Tim have really fixed that twist. It looked really strong today. I also like how well their lines match compared to other pairs teams and even some dance teams. Although people are concerned about the lack of height difference,, I think it's turning out to be one of their biggest strengths.
I'm worried for Ashley, though. I hope she's okay after that scary fall.
 

AngieNikodinovLove

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^^^ and those SBS spins..... losing points senselessly

I was talking to Cleo yesterday and it's interesting that now that they've change the entrance to their side by side jumps Chris is doing it but it seems Alexa has a problem with that entrance.

Their side-by-side spins have had problems eternally

On the flipside Ashley and Tim have not been together long and they are very much in sync for their spins. Alexa and Chris whom are married to each other seem to usually be not in sync.

Ashley and Tim - she is now landing much better throws. But it seems like now she's having difficulty with her jumps. So it's like one thing gets fixed and then something happened somewhere else. LOL
 

Willin

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@AngieNikodinovLove Something happening on the way out of a lift (I can't tell if it was Tim loosing his balance or Ashley going too far out from the center of balance), but Ashley fell right back onto her neck. She lay still on the ice for a good while before deciding to get back up and finish the program. IIRC they missed at least one element. She also fell after an awkward landing on a throw earlier in the program.

Although she was able to finish she had on a big neck brace in the K&C and was being closely watched by the Team USA medical staff.
 

Karen-W

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Oh crap Ashley had a fall? I just saw the results of Golden spoon. And was wondering. Oh no I have not heard about it yet
She had an horrific fall on a lift - went straight down on her head/neck and laid on the ice for a few seconds, inert, before she moved and finished the skate. They had her in a cervical collar, with ice and wrapped in a blanket in the KnC. Saying prayers that she will be okay.
 

AngieNikodinovLove

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OH MY GOD

I WAS WATCHING the video just now


OMG....

Horrific...

She seemed unconscious at first. Oh man.. prayers going out to them....
 
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