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

aftershocks

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Regarding timing, if @chachacha is accurate, Brandon & Haven made the decision to split immediately after U.S. Nationals. Meanwhile, Chris Knierim had not been feeling into competitive skating for awhile, and the Knierims admitted having discussed retiring prior to U.S. Nationals.

Obviously, Alexa's heart is still in the game, and so after the 4CCs setback and Chris' decision mid-competition that he'd had enough, perhaps it was a matter of Brandon reaching out once the Knierims made their announcement. Or maybe it was a matter of U.S. fed discussing an arrangement between Brandon and Alexa once it was finalized that Chris & Alexa were splitting as a team. U.S. fed's involvement I suppose would only have been if they knew in advance about Brandon & Haven having discussed ending their on-ice partnership after U.S. Nationals.

Albeit all is speculation unless and until a new partnership between A&B has been confirmed.

ETA:
I thought Haven and Brandon were a couple.
I believe they are. Why would you think past tense, simply because they have split as on-ice partners?
 
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olympic

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Judging by the relationship that we have seen publicly between Haven / Brandon, I would say that their devotion to each other has been deep and long lasting. I firmly believe that this situation was discussed with Haven's feeling completely taken into account and Brandon would not have split unless she full agreed to. I also believe that Haven's injuries played a major role.

Moving forward.

How tall is Brandon. I think he's a good combo package as a male pairs skater: He will certainly be at an advantage in lifts and twist (not quite as big as Chris), but he will be a bit better at SBS jumps. He and Chris had the same issue w/ wooden-ness in their presentation but he generally moves across the ice better, relatively speaking
 

Spiralgraph

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Interesting developments...I agree if it was Haven's decision to retire and she supports Brandon continuing, then that is the best way to end a partnership and start a new one with Alexa.
 

sk9tingfan

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How tall is Brandon. I think he's a good combo package as a male pairs skater: He will certainly be at an advantage in lifts and twist (not quite as big as Chris), but he will be a bit better at SBS jumps. He and Chris had the same issue w/ wooden-ness in their presentation but he generally moves across the ice better, relatively speaking
5' 10"
 

olympic

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Well whatever depth the US had in Pairs is gone now with two teams done.
I think we need to hold off on wringing our hands. If true, let’s see what happens with Alexa and Brandon. They on paper could be a super team and let’s not forget C/J, K/O, CG/L and improved teams like Lu / Mitrofanov, Serafini / Tran, Pfund / Santillan

ETA - BTW. Technically, we lost one team if Alexa and Brandon pair up
 
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aftershocks

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Judging by the relationship that we have seen publicly between Haven / Brandon, I would say that their devotion to each other has been deep and long lasting. I firmly believe that this situation was discussed with Haven's feeling completely taken into account and Brandon would not have split unless she full agreed to. I also believe that Haven's injuries played a major role.
ITA! Just as I mentioned in previous posts. I love Haven & Brandon together, so in some respects I'm sad they didn't get all the way over the hump together. But I'm also happy for them for all they accomplished together. Their Junior Worlds win is very memorable. And their fp last season was fitting as a wonderful tribute to their partnership, honoring their previous Lion King program which was a highlight of their career before Haven's injury. The revamped program by Renee Roca was so exciting to watch, and the ending lifts (as devised by JZimmerman are brilliant, and the idea has been inspiring for a number of international teams).

Definitely, this split must in part be about Haven's struggles in trying to get all the way back with her jumps, and due to their problems at 2020 Nationals, and perhaps some training concerns going forward. It is what it is. But they should both be proud of their journey and of the strong fight they put forward to come as far as they did after Haven's serious injury. It's all good! The medals on the GP and almost making the GPF was huge for them! Not to mention they accomplished a great deal the season prior with their programs choreographed by Charlie White.

That was a beautiful tribute on Facebook by Brandon to their partnership and to their unending connection. ♥
 
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aftershocks

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[Brandon] generally moves across the ice better, relatively speaking
When Haven was rehabbing after her knee surgery, Brandon wisely devoted that time to working on his aesthetics with the help of Marina Zoueva. That was a smart move by Brandon, and it paid off. He's talked about the evolution of that part of his skating.

I think Chris Knierim's movement style improved tremendously too, under Aljona's guidance.
 

aftershocks

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Well whatever depth the US had in Pairs is gone now with two teams done.
:rolleyes: Always downer viewpoints. I totally think otherwise! There are lots of great teams coming up. Haven and Chris obviously were ready to move on. And if Alexa & Brandon do pair up, I'm really eager to see the outcome. Both have wonderful pairs skills and attributes. They would just need a bit of time to get used to each other. But I'm imagining some great lifts, throws, twists, and a different dynamic that could have amazing potential. Steady as we go. Not getting ahead of myself. ;)

Still, people really need to stop with the same old negative nancy whining about and dissing of U.S. pairs. They have so much to offer, and seriously U.S. teams are being watched and emulated in a number of respects.
 
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aftershocks

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I think we need to hold off on wringing our hands. If true, let’s see what happens with Alexa and Brandon. They on paper could be a super team and let’s not forget C/J, K/O, CG/L and improved teams like Lu / Mitrofanov, Serafini / Tran, Pfund / Santillan
Right, and I would add in even Digerness/Neudecker who also have potential. Plus a number of teams currently still in Juniors.

It's not like we lost Alexa & Brandon. We just lost their respective partners. And if they do pair together, they both bring a lot to that equation, yet to be fully solved at the moment. But I'm optimistic!
 

happycamper2554

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Right, and I would add in even Digerness/Neudecker who also have potential. Plus a number of teams currently still in Juniors.

It's not like we lost Alexa & Brandon. We just lost their respective partners. And if they do pair together, they both bring a lot to that equation, yet to be fully solved at the moment. But I'm optimistic!
Not for sure but neudecker was jumping with a different girl in the favorite jump challenge. Nica was jumping by herself in her video. Have they split?
 

aftershocks

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^^ I haven't heard anything, but I'd be the last to hear in any case. ;) When was the favorite jump challenge held?
 

aftershocks

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It was on Instagram, videos are gone
Thanks. I didn't hear about it. So much is happening. It's hard to keep up. KMT posted a supportive message to everyone in this time of crisis that's being talked about in Canadian pairs thread.

ETA:
So let's revisit memory lane shall we:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpzKp8gm8_A 2014 Skate America
D/F's first Lion King. Notice how fast and aggressive D/F both were (especially note Haven's attack on the jumps, as this was before her knee injury).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Owa-o0JVNAs 2019 Skate America revamped Lion King
Haven landed sbs jumps extremely well at this event, in their bronze-medal winning victory

Knierims
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RRpaAiyaiQ 2016 4CCs fp Romeo & Juliet ... Perfect
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSiWZZqeb9A Team sp 2018 Olympics helped win Team bronze
 
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aftershocks

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Oops, cross-posting from Knierim split thread, as this is probably best placed here, but the conversation started there:

Thank you for the links. I had not seen a couple of those performances. Very nice. Just out of curiosity did Haven and Brandon ever do triple toes? All the programs I recall were double axles combos.
I'm not sure that Haven/Brandon ever landed triple toe loops. For a while, they were working on them and had a spot for them in the long program. But I think they pretty much always doubled. I don't remember seeing a completed set, where they both landed the jump. If someone else did, please correct me.
I don't know whether D/F ever had triple toes in their arsenal. I guess not. It looks like they mostly performed triple salchows and double axels, and attempts at triple toes were doubled.

Here's D/F's 2013 gold-medal winning championship program at Junior Worlds. It was the first time I saw that circus-like platter lift with blade hold. Haven was still carrying some baby fat in those days ;):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FA5VgMzw7Mo 2016 SA fp

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mNskbwPUEc 2017 SA sp (a very good program for them)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkEiq_9m2JU 2017 SA fp Queen: Who Wants to Live Forever
Looks like they completed a sbs double toe loop

I don't think their 2018-2019 programs choreographed by Charlie White were ever uploaded to Youtube

The programs I previously linked:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpzKp8gm8_A 2014 SA fp
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Owa-o0JVNAs 2019 SA fp

Again, amazing kudos to Haven for her grit and fight in coming back as far as she did, and to Brandon too for his devoted and steady support. He's a superb, yet under-rated pairs guy for sure! There were some pretty great moments for them on their journey! :cheer2:
 

jkl

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Danny Neudecker was coaching at the USFS partner search in February. Sasha was there looking for a partner.
 

aftershocks

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Hmmm, so was Danny N not really looking for a partner, but in working with Sasha at the pairs tryout camp, something special clicked?

Meanwhile, is Nica still interested in skating? Wouldn't she be perfect for T.J. Nyman since no citizenship issues would be involved? Lots of intrigue this off-season among U.S. pairs. But I suppose that tends to be the case at different junctures in every four-year cycle.
 
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aftershocks

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Well, I think the plot thickens. Here's Sasha with her previous partner, Aaron Singletary:

Their physicality and on-ice dynamic remind me of former Canadian pairs, Chloe Chouinard & Shaquille Davis, at least to a degree. Singletary is a bit taller and more elegant in his movement style than Davis. Chouinard & Davis quit after a season together. Davis is a black former Canadian singles skater, with not a lot of pairs experience. Apparently, Chouinard is looking for another partner.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRci2KiJOb0 Chouinard/Davis 2020 Can Nats sp
https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x7ommol 2020 SC Challenge fp C/D's fp starts at 07:56

Sasha F and Aaron Singletary looked good together in the video I linked, albeit a bit slow, and labored on the lifts. Still, Singletary has an elegant carriage and being so tall, I'd think he would be snapped up as a pairs partner, aside from the drawback of his being black. In this politicized sport, it's very difficult to break through when you're black (IOW, it's twice as hard in an already tough sport to be able to make it to the highest levels). Singletary's tall, elegant carriage brings to mind black Canadian junior pairs guy, Gabriel Farand, who is so delightful with his partner, Audrey Carle. Farand & Carle have a similarly well-matched physicality to that of the newly paired Canadian junior team, Brooke McIntosh & Ben Mimar, who are looking great in practice clips. I think McIntosh/Mimar look primed to go all the way. It will be interesting to see how far Carle/Farand will go together. :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4LAmt6bn8I C/F sp 2018
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1shk6exv38 C/F fp 2018

But getting back to U.S. pairs and Sasha F partnering with Danny Neudecker, I wonder if Nica Digerness is leaving the sport. If so, is it injury-related? Nica and Danny seemed very well matched, and Nica has a more petite physicality than Sasha. If Nica is leaving the sport, then I suppose Danny was at the camp coaching and looking for a partner. I don't see Sasha as having more potential than Nica, at least not from what I've been able to see in available clips. But, Sasha may have improved to a greater level than these older clips indicate. The proof will be in the pudding. And starting out on any singles career or partnership in the sport of figure skating is a tough mountain to climb for everyone. So much credit should be given to these brave athletes who challenge the odds.

Sasha Fakhroutdinov is her name.
Her last name is a mouthful. I can see why some shorten it to Dinov...
 
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Amy L

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Is she Rinat Farkhoutdinov's daughter? That's not a surname I'd expect to see all over the US, but just asking to be sure. :)
 

BrightSkates

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Singletary/Dinov broke up due to his retirement from competitive skating mid-2019. She decided to continue the season on her own and finished this season in Sr. Ladies at US Eastern Sectionals. I can think that even with her limited pairs experience, US figure skating is interested in her for her strong jumps.
3 Flip + 2T https://www.instagram.com/p/B7RslH3BA3K/?igshid=kcm1w83x0onb
3F https://youtu.be/_kyHVqjrdZg
3T + 2T https://www.instagram.com/p/B4DfktRhPfw/?igshid=167vtkiasokx7
3S, 2A -
https://www.instagram.com/p/B3-Kk66BuIg/?igshid=1cum3xe9ucwum
3S throw with Singletary - https://www.instagram.com/p/Bue8Mi6lVd1/?igshid=cz5nduy964gq
 
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insideedgeua

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But getting back to U.S. pairs and Sasha F partnering with Danny Neudecker, I wonder if Nika Digerness is leaving the sport. If so, is it injury-related? Nika and Danny seemed very well matched, and Nika has a more petite physicality than Sasha. If Nika is leaving the sport, then I suppose Danny was at the camp coaching and looking for a partner. I don't see Sasha as having more potential than Nika, at least not from what I've been able to see in available clips. But, Sasha may have improved to a greater level than these older clips indicate. The proof will be in the pudding. And starting out on any singles career or partnership in the sport of figure skating is a tough mountain to climb for everyone. So much credit should be given to these brave athletes who challenge the odds.

Her last name is a mouthful. I can see why some shorten it to Dinov...
As far as I know, Nica, spelt with a C not a K is continuing. I believe she may have a broken or otherwise injured ankle at the moment.

I believe, although I don’t know for sure, that Danny felt he could do better. Nica has had a lot of injuries, but I do think that they were well matched.

I had been wondering when an announcement would come as the new pair was together before the rinks closed. I also noticed that Dalilah wished Nica a happy birthday recently on social media and Danny isn’t in any of the photos posted.
 

aftershocks

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^^ Oh, thanks @insideedgeua. I appreciate you sharing your knowledge. :) And thanks for correcting my misspelling of Nica's first name. I have gone back and made corrections. I hope I managed to correct it wherever I misspelled her name, because I misspelled it a lot in previous posts! ;)

I'm sorry for Nica's injury woes. She's such a delightful pairs girl, with such swish on her throw landings! ITA that she and Danny were well-paired, but I understand his desire to make forward progress. Injury setbacks are definitely a curse for many teams being able to advance as far as their talent and potential makes us hope for.

Thanks also to @BrightSkates for the information on Aaron Singletary having made the decision to retire.

Those are great practice clips of Sasha. :watch: I can see what you mean @BrightSkates about Sasha being prized for her jumping talent. She also looks a bit more fit and stronger than in the video clip I shared earlier of her 2018 competitive fp with Singletary. Sasha looks like an efficient jumper with a consistent 3S, a good 3T and a very solid 2-axel. Her 3-flip looks good as well. She doesn't get great height, but she seems very consistent and solid technically. The aesthetics and the more difficult pairs skills can be developed over time.
 
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aftershocks

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Is she Rinat Farkhoutdinov's daughter? That's not a surname I'd expect to see all over the US, but just asking to be sure. :)
Possibly, probably. Rinat is a Russian-born former ice dancer for Japan with Nakako Tsuzuki. Rinat moved to Euless, Texas to coach & choreograph after his retirement:


 

Jammers

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Well i guess US Pairs can't stand a good thing now 3 teams have broken up in just the last few weeks. :(
 

skatingguy

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Well i guess US Pairs can't stand a good thing now 3 teams have broken up in just the last few weeks. :(
The US hasn't won a medal at the World Championships since 2002 - what kind of good thing has the US had - Scimeca-Knierim/Frazier might be the best chance to break that drought.
 

Carolla5501

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The US hasn't won a medal at the World Championships since 2002 - what kind of good thing has the US had - Scimeca-Knierim/Frazier might be the best chance to break that drought.

I agree with you we haven’t really had a good thing so this is not that bad. I disagree with this new team being our best shot at winning a medal

I think they will have to really be good to even make the team Olympic team much less win a world medal. I think we have two teams ahead of them. You then add in the fact that they may be losing most of this off-season training cycle and it’s not pretty.
 

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