U.S. Pairs 2019-20 season - News & Updates, Part X

pairskatingfan

Active Member
Messages
316
Combine the best skills of the top 4 US teams and we MIGHT have one team that could challenge for an international podium. Unfortunately, tag team skating isn’t a recognized discipline.

Now you got me thinking 😛

Ashley and Tim:
Jumps, side by side spins, Footwork, Choreo sequence, and skating skills

Alexa and Chris:
Twist, unison

Haven and Brandon:
Lifts, throws, transitions, composition

Tarah and Danny:
Interpretation, performance

Which team has the best pair spin and death spiral? Is it a team outside the top 4 or one of these?
 

olympic

Well-Known Member
Messages
9,573
Sigh. At what point do you give up hope on a team becoming reasonably consistent with SBS triple jumps? At this point, just go back to 2A, skate clean and maximize points elsewhere.
As for K/O, it is as if they are not meshing with whatever situation they are in
 
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skatingguy

Golden Team
Messages
7,390
Sigh. At what point do you give up hope on a team becoming reasonably consistent with SBS triple jumps? At this point, just go back to 2A, skate clean and maximize points elsewhere.
As for K/O, it is as if they are not meshing with whatever situation they are in
The risk is that judges then see them as a lower level team, and keep the PCS below the top teams. The key to high PCS scores is consistency, but the judges also seem to have ceilings if certain technical elements are not included.
 

AxelAnnie

Graceful men lift lovely girls in white!
Messages
12,352
Sigh. At what point do you give up hope on a team becoming reasonably consistent with SBS triple jumps? At this point, just go back to 2A, skate clean and maximize points elsewhere.
Yep - you have to give it up. They get along without it, which is really a shame. There is no reason (that I can imagine) that they can't do it. And if they can't.......find something they can do -2A.

It is embarrassing as an American to put that out as the best we can do.
 

haribobo

Well-Known Member
Messages
8,116
Not to jinx anyone, but at this point we really cannot say that Calalang/Johnson are not a top 4 US team. Their awesome and clean Warsaw SP scored 5 points above Knierims and 10 above Kayne/O'Shea at NHK. Their SB is 4th out of the US teams, and it seems to grow higher each time they compete. I am really excited for their future. Them and D/F are my two favorite US teams right now.
 

olympic

Well-Known Member
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9,573
Well, at least congratulations to K/O for steadily improving in the LP.

Knierims REALLY need to redeem themselves at GS in a couple of weeks. This outing was pretty bad.

I got to stop getting sucked into US pairs based on a couple of big numbers, but I can't help myself. I feel like I'm constantly being stood up on a date since McLaughlin / Brubaker in 2008. No one ever shows up w/ flowers medals even if it looks like it could happen time and time again :(
 

AngieNikodinovLove

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,432
Well @olympic it just got worse. LOL

Knierims in last place in free.. I dont know what to say anymore. They aren't improving and I can't remember when they had an error free program, SP or free. sigh

Im just curious as to what they do throughout the summer and between events... I would NOT leave the ice until we could do 3 consistent jumping passes together error-free. I would not go on a vacation until I was doing SBS spins with +GOE. Im just curious as to what they do in down time, etc. But thats just me.
 

Karen-W

Well-Known Member
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4,168
Well @olympic it just got worse. LOL

Knierims in last place in free.. I dont know what to say anymore. They aren't improving and I can't remember when they had an error free program, SP or free. sigh

Im just curious as to what they do throughout the summer and between events... I would NOT leave the ice until we could do 3 consistent jumping passes together error-free. I would not go on a vacation until I was doing SBS spins with +GOE. Im just curious as to what they do in down time, etc. But thats just me.
Well, we know that Chris likes to restore old cars in his downtime. He could make a good living doing that. And, judging by the expression on his face during the KnC wait yesterday, it would seem like that's what he wants to be doing.
 

olympic

Well-Known Member
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9,573
IDK. I guess I'm flummoxed. If you are a talented, elite pair that is consistently just missing 1-2 elements (but most everything else is spectacular), what do you do to get those 1-2 elements under control (SBS jumps and spins)? I think that is fans' frustration with the Knierims
 

Aceon6

Isolating from mean people
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20,905
IDK. I guess I'm flummoxed. If you are a talented, elite pair that is consistently just missing 1-2 elements (but most everything else is spectacular), what do you do to get those 1-2 elements under control (SBS jumps and spins)? I think that is fans' frustration with the Knierims
I suspect that it’s harder for pair guys to get all the reps in to be consistent. The landing force for someone Chris’ size is immense. I would imagine water training might help. He was better using Aliona’s entrance, but that made Alexa inconsistent. They just don’t seem to be able to jump with the same approach.

No excuse for the spins.
 

olympic

Well-Known Member
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9,573
I suspect that it’s harder for pair guys to get all the reps in to be consistent. The landing force for someone Chris’ size is immense. I would imagine water training might help. He was better using Aliona’s entrance, but that made Alexa inconsistent. They just don’t seem to be able to jump with the same approach.

No excuse for the spins.

I remember when they first paired up, they stated in an interview that SBS spins were their least favorite element so that shows
 

mtnskater

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,982
So far the USFS approach to improving our pairs has not paid off yet. In some respects some of the big problem seems to be an inability to do the elements cleanly and with confidence in the competition. In other words, mental preparation. For example in the warm up at NHK, Alexa hit beautiful high throws with lovely run out. In the competition her throws were a mess. I also saw Chris land his jump in the warm up. But they look like deer in the headlights in the actual competition. Alexa looks so nervous...and she used to be such a fierce competitor before her illness. Loss of confidence is tough to overcome. Tim and Ashley have been falling a lot too. Kayne
and O’Shea have also regressed it appears. Right now Denny and Frazier seem to have some consistency, but her jumps are so iffy since her knee blow out injury. USFS needs to continue to devote serious effort to getting our pairs to be able to compete cleanly. Maybe sending to train in Canada?
 

love skating

Clueless American
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2,571
^I agree with your thoughts. The Knierims hit the elements on warmup and then during the actual program they lost all confidence. It's hard to watch cause they have so much potential and ability but something is causing them to doubt themselves - whether it's just nerves or a lack of focus or whatever I hope that they can figure it out!
 

HeatherC

Proud fan of K&O and Team SW Florida! =)
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11,224
I'm so happy that Tarah & Danny skated a beautiful LP in Japan. Their throw 3S was one of the biggest I've seen from them in a while and I thought their LP looked more cohesive now than it did earlier in the season (I don't care for the crying part either but for some reason it didn't bother me as much this time). Hopefully this gives them some confidence heading into US Nats. :cheer:

Watching Alexa & Chris' LP was so tough. They just fell apart. :(
 

AxelAnnie

Graceful men lift lovely girls in white!
Messages
12,352
IDK. I guess I'm flummoxed. If you are a talented, elite pair that is consistently just missing 1-2 elements (but most everything else is spectacular), what do you do to get those 1-2 elements under control (SBS jumps and spins)? I think that is fans' frustration with the Knierims
You practice and work until you get them right! They have no laurels to rest on.
 

AxelAnnie

Graceful men lift lovely girls in white!
Messages
12,352
So far the USFS approach to improving our pairs has not paid off yet. In some respects some of the big problem seems to be an inability to do the elements cleanly and with confidence in the competition. In other words, mental preparation. For example in the warm up at NHK, Alexa hit beautiful high throws with lovely run out. In the competition her throws were a mess. I also saw Chris land his jump in the warm up. But they look like deer in the headlights in the actual competition. Alexa looks so nervous...and she used to be such a fierce competitor before her illness. Loss of confidence is tough to overcome. Tim and Ashley have been falling a lot too. Kayne
and O’Shea have also regressed it appears. Right now Denny and Frazier seem to have some consistency, but her jumps are so iffy since her knee blow out injury. USFS needs to continue to devote serious effort to getting our pairs to be able to compete cleanly. Maybe sending to train in Canada?
I take issue with that. She was fabulous (they both were) after her illness. That woman is tough as nails. American pairs are sort of a joke. Can you imagine the Russians putting out a program like that? I think it is an inadequate training environment and commitment that is the issue.
 

clairecloutier

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10,865
Here's an article on Lu/Mitrofanov, which was posted before their appearance at Rostelecom:


There's a mention in the article that Lu/Mitrofanov's coaches, Aleksey Letov and Olga Ganicheva, may move from the Dallas area to Boston or California (apparently they're being recruited by different rinks/clubs in those locations). If their coaches move, Audrey/Misha plan to move with them, regardless of location.
 

SkateFanBerlin

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Messages
807
I think Alexa/Chris had different reactions to a terrible skate. Chris was smiling/laughing because it was so bad. Alexa was pissed, frustrated. Both seem valid.
 

jiejie

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Messages
815
Chris is 32, and given his injuries (knee, wrist) in the past 2 years, I think his body just can't take this anymore. They are going backwards on some of these elements and I doubt if the capacity to improve is there. I mean this in no hurtful way to the Knierems because they have many stellar qualities, but they need to seriously evaluate whether him trying to follow in Hao Zhang's footsteps and continuing on, is worth it. In the meantime, I'd suggest they forget about SBS triples, and just do good clean doubles. They're losing more points by letting the failed SBS triples get into their heads and affect other elements during a program, than they are by just doing lesser-value jumps on this element.

I think time is running out for Kayne/O'Shea as well. If they don't pull it together during the rest of this season, handwriting is on the wall for them. The top three US teams right now in ability and likelihood of pulling off decent skates: Cain-Gribble/LeDuc, Denney/Frazier, and Calalang/Johnson.
 

Karen-W

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Messages
4,168
It was a Bad Day! It happens. Chris and Alexa are looking improved. One bad skate does not define them.
Sure. But this wasn't just one bad skate. It was two at this event. And let's not forget that they didn't skate particularly well at their other GP this fall. This is consistent problem with both of them, though the FP in Sapporo was definitely the worst so far.
 

Carolla5501

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5,976
The way it looks so far is there are some tough battles going on for placements at Nationals.

1-3 seems to be between The Kneirims, Ashley and Tim, and Haven and Brandon. They have all looked equally strong at different times in this international season and could each make great cases for the top:

If clean, the Kneirims probably win thanks to the best overall package of everyone and presence on the ice.

However, Ashley and Tim may see the top of the podium thanks to long term consistency. Though they have had a few misses this season, they have been most consistent over the last few seasons compared to the other teams.

Haven and Brandon on the other hand have beaten Ashley and Tim twice on the Grand Prix circuit this year and proven their worth to international judges, the only question is whether they get the same respect from US judges. If they land their jumps as they have started to do, they have a real chance to win based on the strengths of their lifts, their beautiful throws, and their “two as one” skating and unique transitions.

Kayne/ O’Shea don’t seem to be in this group right now, though at their full peak they are competitive with this group. They have their next Grand Prix to prove that, but right now they are competing for the pewter medal with Calalang/ Johnson.

Jessica and Brian did a much better job on their jumps in Warsaw, the question is if this will continue to improve as we head into US Nationals. If they skate clean and there are other mistakes, they could end up as high as 3rd.

My guess?

1. Haven and Brandon
2. Ashley and Tim
3. Knierims
4. Calalang/ Johnson
5. Kayne/ O’Shea


Find out, in Greensboro Bum bum bum!!
I don’t think you’re giving enough points for “the look they’re the married couple” bonus that the Knierims will be gifted

When even the skaters say their marks are generous you know they’re getting marked not because of what they’re putting on the ice but because “we like them because they’re a married couple and we can show that off to the media”
 

olympic

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9,573
Sure. But this wasn't just one bad skate. It was two at this event. And let's not forget that they didn't skate particularly well at their other GP this fall. This is consistent problem with both of them, though the FP in Sapporo was definitely the worst so far.

The Knierims have made a yo-yo of my heart. I chose to hitch my wagon to their career after my other heartbreaks over McLaughlin / Brubaker and Yankowskas / Coughlin.
I watched them get top 10 (9th) at their first Sr. Worlds in 2013, after only being together over a year.
Then I watched them fail to make the Sochi team, losing to teams like Zhang/Bartholomay at Nationals. Then, they came back in 2015 to finish 7th at Worlds.
They started the 2015-16 season marvelously, won GP medals and made the GPF, landed the SBS 3T at 2016 4CCs. I thought 'This is finally it!' but then they completely tanked at 2016 Worlds.
Immediately thereafter, they withdrew from injury for most of 2017 because of her horrible illness, but were valiant at both 2017 4CCs and Worlds, finishing 10th. Chris's skating had improved w/ that alone time I suppose.
They finished 15th(?) at Pyeongcheng w/ some pretty mediocre skating
Then his wrist injury derailed them at 2019 Nationals and they were out for a while. Afterwards, they put up a very big score at Nebelhorn this season and almost matched it at SC. I thought they would meet it at NHK and held hope with the time off between comps that they might get more mileage on their programs and improve on them. Alas, no. They finished last in the LP.

They have a big history of up and down. They were more than once on the cusp, but always fell short of moving into that serious challenger status on the World stage. I don't honestly know what holds them back. One can point to injuries, but it always happens when they are healthy, too.

Big guys in Pairs can execute triples. Look at He-Zhang and Bruno Massot. So, I'm not sure that Chris's physicality holds him back.

Looking forward, as I posted above, they need to redeem themselves at GS. The USFSA is looking at BOW now. If D/F do really well at Nationals and C/L do better than them at GS (which is a possibility). They probably will not make the Worlds team. C/J are on the rise as well.

ETA - I guess any upside to US pairs is that there are finally other US teams that can compete, be selected and legitimately shoot for a top 10 at Worlds this year if Knierims can't pull it together
 

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