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

essence_of_soy

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Honestly, nearly all the US teams are lacking consistent triples, so that’s not going to hurt them much in the national field. Internationally, it’s a bigger issue.
True. But Haven & Brandon seem like a lock for Montreal after a stellar Grand Prix Series, with Ashley & Tim not too far behind as the defending champions.

Since their lowest placement ever at US Nationals in 2019, Alexa and Chris will need to skate lights-out and place either first or second for consideration on the World Team. Unless a top three skate in Greensboro means that US Skating uses Four Continents instead.

Their Grand Prix results so far season have been nothing special.
 

Colonel Green

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True. But Haven & Brandon seem like a lock for Montreal after a stellar Grand Prix Series, with Ashley & Tim not too far behind as the defending champions.
Denney & Frazier's side-by-side jumps are only slightly more consistent in recent events than were the Knierims', and Haven still messed up her double Axel in both events. I don't think they're a lock for anything at this point.
 

beckab81

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True. But Haven & Brandon seem like a lock for Montreal after a stellar Grand Prix Series, with Ashley & Tim not too far behind as the defending champions.

Since their lowest placement ever at US Nationals in 2019, Alexa and Chris will need to skate lights-out and place either first or second for consideration on the World Team. Unless a top three skate in Greensboro means that US Skating uses Four Continents instead.

Their Grand Prix results so far season have been nothing special.
I don't think D/F are a lock at this point - C-G/L-D and K/K continued to pull higher PCS internationally. I think that if everyone goes clean, the judges will go with Ash/Tim and the Knierm's, although it would be great to see D/F get back in the mix.
 

shan

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I don't think anyone is a lock for Worlds. The pairs event at Nationals will be quite unpredictable.
 

essence_of_soy

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I would like to add another point to my previous post about Haven & Brandon being a 'lock' for the World Team. Keep in mind that US selection is also based on a Body of Work. That they medalled at two 2019/20 Grand Prix Series events, carries a great deal of consideration in choosing them. No other team has close to those results this season.
 
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olympic

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Let's wait and see what happens at GS in just over a week.

Knierims need redemption and will be top contenders if they skate well and CG/L have a last opportunity to reemerge as the leaders of team USA. Interesting that CG/L got better at their 2nd GP, while Knierims got worse. IIRC, CG/L turned it up by GS last season and went on to skate brilliantly the rest of the season. There is the most pressure on the Knierims, though. Also, footnote on K/O, who also used GS last season to turn it around.
 

miffy

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It seems like the top 4 pairs are fairly close so it will likely come down to who doesn’t make big errors like poor K/O last year.

Personally I will be rooting for CG/L as they earned back the 2 spots last year so I would like to see them take 1, and D/F as they won me over on the GP this year, her smile is so lovely, she just seems to love skating so much :) I would like to see them win Nationals.
 

Joubabe

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I think whoever wins Nationals is guaranteed a spot at Worlds. I think whoever finishes second will get the other spot at Worlds as long as it’s AC-G/L, Knierims, D/F, K/O, or C/J. Only if there’s a weird upset do I think they’ll consider body of work for the second spot.
 

olympic

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I think whoever wins Nationals is guaranteed a spot at Worlds. I think whoever finishes second will get the other spot at Worlds as long as it’s AC-G/L, Knierims, D/F, K/O, or C/J. Only if there’s a weird upset do I think they’ll consider body of work for the second spot.
IDK. I mostly agree except I think if C/J finish in 2nd at Nationals, they will be kept off the team IF someone like D/F, SK/K and CG/L finish a close 3rd. I love them but they are quite green.

It's cut and dry if all of D/F, SK/K and CG/L finish in some order in the top 3 at Nationals, then I think the top 2 finishers at Nationals will advance to Worlds.

I also think GS is crucial for K/O. If they do very well and turn it around like last year, then they will be considered for the Worlds team alongside the other top teams. If not, I don't think they would be chosen for a U.S. team unless they blow down everyone's doors at Nationals.

Finally, I think SK/K need to be in the top 3 at Nationals to be considered for a Worlds team. It wouldn't hurt for them to regain their form at GS.
 

Karen-W

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IDK. I mostly agree except I think if C/J finish in 2nd at Nationals, they will be kept off the team IF someone like D/F, SK/K and CG/L finish a close 3rd. I love them but they are quite green.

It's cut and dry if all of D/F, SK/K and CG/L finish in some order in the top 3 at Nationals, then I think the top 2 finishers at Nationals will advance to Worlds.

I also think GS is crucial for K/O. If they do very well and turn it around like last year, then they will be considered for the Worlds team alongside the other top teams. If not, I don't think they would be chosen for a U.S. team unless they blow down everyone's doors at Nationals.

Finally, I think SK/K need to be in the top 3 at Nationals to be considered for a Worlds team. It wouldn't hurt for them to regain their form at GS.
I think that if the top two are C-G/L and D/F that they will be the Worlds team unless SK/K are a very close 3rd to whomever finishes 2nd. And their chances of getting any consideration are not as good if D/F win with C-G/L 2nd versus D/F finishing 2nd.
 

TanithandBenFan

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I think if the top two are D/F and C/L, they are 100% going to Worlds, and there really shouldn't be anything for TPTB to discuss. The Knierims haven't done enough to warrant bumping either of those teams.
 

pairskatingfan

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For what it’s worth, although they both had mistakes and the jumps weren’t done perfectly, both 1st and 2nd place at the US Pairs Final were on their feet for all three triples between short and long
 

aftershocks

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True. But Haven & Brandon seem like a lock for Montreal after a stellar Grand Prix Series, with Ashley & Tim not too far behind as the defending champions.

Since their lowest placement ever at US Nationals in 2019, Alexa and Chris will need to skate lights-out and place either first or second for consideration on the World Team. Unless a top three skate in Greensboro means that US Skating uses Four Continents instead.

Their Grand Prix results so far season have been nothing special.
Maybe Chris & Alexa are going to need more time to get their confidence in order and their jumps together. If they are working with Raf, didn't he say it takes time for his students to incorporate his technique? I realize there isn't a lot of time, but if the Knierims work with a sports psychologist and gain some peace about the risks they took last season, they should be able to push forward with renewed confidence. They have the top-notch abilities. (The risk they took moving to train in Germany was surely worth it since they gained something positive from the experience, despite it not working out long term). Hopefully, they will reset and gain mental strength for the challenges ahead.

I agree that Haven & Brandon should be feeling strong and confident after doing so well on the GP. They have been steadily building since last season and their return to being coached by Zimmerman/Fontana. As Ashley Wagner mentioned on the recent Ice Talk episode, Ash & Timothy are surely working hard to be fit and confident at Nationals. They've already made such an improvement since Worlds. Learning lessons about performing under pressure is a good thing they'll be able to apply in future situations.
 

aftershocks

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Denney & Frazier's side-by-side jumps are only slightly more consistent in recent events than were the Knierims', and Haven still messed up her double Axel in both events. I don't think they're a lock for anything at this point.
D/F improved in their last outing on the jumps, regardless of still needing to continue to improve. I agree that there's not much of anything that's necessarily 'a lock' in figure skating. It is true though that D/F will have the Body of Work advantage. They need to still go into Nationals with the mindset of battling hard.

Meanwhile from Sylvia's post about Pairs rankings, there are 3 U.S. teams in the top ten, and 4 U.S. teams in the top 15. :D
 
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olympic

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As I posted, GS will give us significantly more insight into where our top teams are before we roll into US Nationals: CG/L, SK/K and K/O will give us one last look at where they are in the last major, international competition before Nationals. I think the USFSA will rely a good deal on the results from GS when considering the BOW for the top 5, and considering which 2 teams go to Worlds.

I am delighted that we have 3 teams in the top 10 season's best scores, and C/J are in the top 15. I believe once 4th place and lower ranked Russian teams are eliminated from the list, CG/L and SK/K are sitting in 6th and 7th, and D/F are a little higher up. Big teams missing from the list are Z/E (but they would just slot into wherever the no. 3 Russian team is sitting, if they return and are healthy) and J/C. The US teams get knocked back down a notch if J/C compete at Worlds, but I am totally unclear as to their plans. P/J are right behind SK/K, but are not completely fit due to pain in her feet. However, if she heals in time, they probably would also move ahead of any of the American teams.

Thus, I think 3 spots are an uphill battle, especially when you also consider those SB rankings don't accurately reflect the volatility and inconsistency of US pairs, and what you will get on any given day.
 
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DreamSkates

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Maybe Chris & Alexa are going to need more time to get their confidence in order and their jumps together. If they are working with Raf, didn't he say it takes time for his students to incorporate his technique? I realize there isn't a lot of time, but if the Knierims work with a sports psychologist and gain some peace about the risks they took last season, they should be able to push forward with renewed confidence. They have the top-notch abilities. (The risk they took moving to train in Germany was surely worth it since they gained something positive from the experience, despite it not working out long term). Hopefully, they will reset and gain mental strength for the challenges ahead.

And their biggest goal is likely to be on the next Olympic team, so 2 years with Raf is perfect timing for that possibility.
 

AxelAnnie

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At this point waiting for the Knierims to finally skate to their potential is almost a waste of time. They are too inconsistent and aren't getting any younger. As someone else said though since the level of the top US teams isn't great the Knierims and K/O will stick around since they feel they can still compete with the other top US teams. Their are no great rising US teams that can push them out or make them improve or be left behind.
Maybe they ARE skating to their potential. Inconsistent with moments of what could have been.
 

AngieNikodinovLove

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Maybe Chris & Alexa are going to need more time to get their confidence in order and their jumps together. If they are working with Raf, didn't he say it takes time for his students to incorporate his technique? I realize there isn't a lot of time, but if the Knierims work with a sports psychologist and gain some peace about the risks they took last season, they should be able to push forward with renewed confidence. They have the top-notch abilities. (The risk they took moving to train in Germany was surely worth it since they gained something positive from the experience, despite it not working out long term). Hopefully, they will reset and gain mental strength for the challenges ahead.

I agree that Haven & Brandon should be feeling strong and confident after doing so well on the GP. They have been steadily building since last season and their return to being coached by Zimmerman/Fontana. As Ashley Wagner mentioned on the recent Ice Talk episode, Ash & Timothy are surely working hard to be fit and confident at Nationals. They've already made such an improvement since Worlds. Learning lessons about performing under pressure is a good thing they'll be able to apply in future situations.

I'll love Alexa and Chris forever and ever. But Chris just looks totally checked out. It's a shame... they have such dynamo throws and of course their twist and even their lifts but when it comes to the jumps it's getting worse than John from Rena and John and that's hard to do
 

olympic

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I'll love Alexa and Chris forever and ever. But Chris just looks totally checked out. It's a shame... they have such dynamo throws and of course their twist and even their lifts but when it comes to the jumps it's getting worse than John from Rena and John and that's hard to do
Word! My philosophy is that if SK/K have been going at it since 2012 and still suffer the same weaknesses on the same element, then chances are we will never see clean consistent SBS jumps from them. Clean SBS jumps from them will be like a unicorn. Appreciate that miracle when you see it happening, but don't expect to see it again.
 

Spiralgraph

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We saw that miracle at the last Olympics in the team event where Alexa and Chris landed their SBS triples in their SP. They're not my favorite team but I try to remember that they really did help earn that team bronze.
As for what's going to happen at Nationals in January I'm going to start hoping now that nobody gets hurt. I don't dare hope for clean programs from our pairs I might jinx any of them.
 

aftershocks

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I'll love Alexa and Chris forever and ever. But Chris just looks totally checked out. It's a shame... they have such dynamo throws and of course their twist and even their lifts but when it comes to the jumps it's getting worse than John from Rena and John and that's hard to do
Come on now, it's easy to sit on the sidelines and exclaim about what's hard to do, and smack talk on skaters. First of all, without being inside Chris Knierim's head, none of us exactly know how he feels and what he's thinking. He nearly lost his young wife to a sudden, strange illness and they came back from that to compete in the tough field of pairs skating without any time to decompress or to fully reflect. And then the Olympics was upon them, along with constant criticism and being picked apart. They took a huge risk to move to Germany to train that paid off in some respects, but not in many others. Their lives have flip-flopped and been changed around inside-out, and Chris has lost family members over this same period.

From what I've seen of Chris from even his junior days, he's always had an extremely laid-back, nonchalant personality. So on the surface trying to judge his facial expressions and body language tells us nothing about what's actually in his heart and in his guts. Give the dissing a break please.
 

AngieNikodinovLove

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Come on now, it's easy to sit on the sidelines and exclaim about what's hard to do, and smack talk on skaters. First of all, without being inside Chris Knierim's head, none of us exactly know how he feels and what he's thinking. He nearly lost his young wife to a sudden, strange illness and they came back from that to compete in the tough field of pairs skating without any time to decompress or to fully reflect. And then the Olympics was upon them, along with constant criticism and being picked apart. They took a huge risk to move to Germany to train that paid off in some respects, but not in many others. Their lives have flip-flopped and been changed around inside-out, and Chris has lost family members over this same period.

From what I've seen of Chris from even his junior days, he's always had an extremely laid-back, nonchalant personality. So on the surface trying to judge his facial expressions and body language tells us nothing about what's actually in his heart and in his guts. Give the dissing a break please.

Dont take it too personal. This is sport.

When I am throwing things at the TV druing the Bears game becasue of Mitch Trubisky's awful performance, Im not thinking of his personal life, cause we all have problems..

Its sport, and we have passion, and nothing bad is meant. Just sports.

I am their fan. Huge fan. So NO dissing from ANL. Just conversating.

When the Goddess of all Godesses, Angela Nikodinov, started to skate a bit poorly I could commentate and talk about it without people thinking of dissing.
 

aftershocks

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Dont take it too personal. This is sport.

When I am throwing things at the TV druing the Bears game becasue of Mitch Trubisky's awful performance, Im not thinking of his personal life, cause we all have problems..

Its sport, and we have passion, and nothing bad is meant. Just sports.

I am their fan. Huge fan. So NO dissing from ANL. Just conversating.

When the Goddess of all Godesses, Angela Nikodinov, started to skate a bit poorly I could commentate and talk about it without people thinking of dissing.
Heh heh, but you were chiefly dissing Mr. John Baldwin, now weren't you ANL? Own up. ;) I'll have you know that (despite his never even being nominated for an FSU PSOTY award) John Baldwin with his exemplary partner and wife now of many years, Rena Inoue, still holds the record for first pairs team to land a throw 3-axel at the Olympics (maybe at Worlds too, but I have to doublecheck that stat). Moreover, John and Rena are with Coughlin & Yankowskas the last two U.S. pairs teams to place as high as 6th at Worlds -- none higher since then. Only the Knierims have placed the next highest at 7th place in intervening years.

Despite the 17-year Worlds and Olympics podium drought in pairs, the U.S. currently finds itself with 3 pairs teams in the top ten and 4 in the top 15!!!* We should be looking at glass half full true fans of U.S. pairs!!! Start looking at glass half full please, and stop with the angsty navel-gazing, whining, and victim-think.

It is possible to be honest, straightforward, clear-eyed and disappointed with certain GP results, without going overboard with the 'woe' and the complaining and the down-in-the-dumps viewpoints. I think there are some trolls who ain't true fans of U.S. pairs aiming to keep the dissing alive (and I'm not referring to you, ANL -- I understand you are heartbroken). But let's please forego the aim of trolls and gnarly naysayer critics!
 

aftershocks

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I keep seeing posters and commentators generally opining that U.S. Nationals is going to be close and it's unpredictable. Well, I've got news for short-sighted prognosticators: U.S. Nationals has been a close, unpredictable battle in pairs for many years, and this coming year will be no different. Ash & Timothy were certainly NOT favored to win last season, but they did. And they helped get back two pairs spots for Worlds and they've tremendously improved over the off-season. Just because they didn't take the huge leap forward on the GP that was expected of them, does not mean they aren't going to ever perform well again, or that they can't defend their title. Yet still, even if they had successfully grabbed their opportunities at SA and IDF and qualified for GPF, and subsequently have been favored to win U.S. Nationals, there's never a guarantee. The U.S. has a lot of depth and talent in pairs, in case anyone is determined to think and proselytize otherwise.

While the upcoming Golden Spin event should be interesting and important in the jockeying for position ahead of U.S. Nationals, it will not tell us the whole story going forward. The event's outcomes didn't tell us everything last season.

* Russia has four pairs in the top ten, and a total of 7 in the top 15, okay. The U.S. is next with 3 pairs in the top ten, and a total of 4 in the top 15; China has only two pairs in the top 10 with their third pair currently holding 20th place (which will change next season if Yu/Zhang come back strong).

Meanwhile, Canada has only one pair in the top 10 AND THEY ARE MAKING IT WORK AND FLAUNTING IT COME HELL OR HIGH WATER!!! When are U.S. fed and U.S. fans going to learn from that example, eh??? At the moment, the second Canadian pair, Luba/Charlie (who with luck & hard work might eventually surpass Kirsten/Michael) are at #12 on the list, so Canada has a total of two pairs in the top 15, and that's it. Certainly, that is going to change because Canada is not playing around about rebuilding their disciplines and they pride themselves on having a strong pairs legacy. My point is that U.S. fed and U.S. fans should be LOUD and PROUD too in support of U.S. pairs teams. :cheer2:

In seniors, Canada's next closest pair, Walsh/ Michaud, are gutsy and still competitive on the mid-to-lower tier, but to me, they look like they are plateauing in how far they can go together. By himself, Michaud is a badass pairs partner. If he was partnered with KMT, as someone idealized recently, bring on the popcorn. My word! :watch: New Canadian team Stellato/Deschamps are looking very promising, despite Deanna's nerves getting the best of her in the recent fp Qualifying competition for Canadian Nationals. Stellato/Deschamps were first after the sp with a clean performance.

ETA: Needless to say, Stellato is a former gutsy U.S. skater who has reignited her skating career at an advanced age. Kudos to Deanna and good luck to her and Max. At heart, I'm simply a pairs fan and I enjoy watching them top to bottom worldwide, whenever I can. But I'm calling for a ban on constantly getting down on U.S. skaters.

Already Doug Haw has been attempting to undermine Nathan Chen via TSL, in favor of Hanyu. :rolleyes: Let the battles take place on the ice, without the gnarly, negative sideline machinations...
 
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