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

aftershocks

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^^ You didn't get the announcement last summer that Robin moved to the U.S.? He was approached by U.S. figure skating to join one of two rinks in the U.S. He visited both, and he chose the right one. ;) There were articles last year announcing Szolkowy joining Meno/Sand's coaching team in California:


https://olympics.nbcsports.com/2019/01/11/robin-szolkowy-pairs-training-school/

Last I heard Robin was working with Meno and Sand so he could be working with Alexa and Brandon whenever skating training resumes.
Robin may be working with younger skaters at the rink in Irvine, but he probably also assists with the top level pairs too. Why wouldn't he, as a 5-time World pairs champion, and a two-time Olympic pairs medalist? I recall Calalang/Johnson mentioning in an old interview some helpful tips Robin gave them. He just doesn't appear to be serving in a primary coaching capacity for C/J, nor for the Knierims last season.
 

skatingguy

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^^ You didn't get the announcement last summer that Robin moved to the U.S.? He was approached by U.S. figure skating to join one of two rinks in the U.S. He visited both, and he chose the right one. ;) There were articles last year announcing Szolkowy joining Meno/Sand's coaching team in California:


https://olympics.nbcsports.com/2019/01/11/robin-szolkowy-pairs-training-school/



Robin may be working with younger skaters at the rink in Irvine, but he probably also assists with the top level pairs too. Why wouldn't he, as a 5-time World pairs champion, and a two-time Olympic pairs medalist? I recall Calalang/Johnson mentioning in an old interview some helpful tips Robin gave them. He just doesn't appear to be serving in a primary coaching capacity for C/J, nor for the Knierims last season.
I saw that information, but have also become aware that he is not at that rink anymore.
 

AngieNikodinovLove

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So with Ash & Tim, the breakout of Calalang & Johnson and now the experience and combined Nationals titles of Knierim & Frazier Im quite excited about USA PAIRS!!!!

YIPPEE!

And refresh my Grey Goose who else has split in USA? Nica and Danny? I quite liked them.....

Audrey Lu and her partner still together? Id like them a lot more if she did something with her facial expressions. Technically they are a standout!

Will Laken and Kienan still hang in?

Sarah Feng split with TJ last year, right?

Wonder how USA skater Deanna is doing with Maxime up in Canada.

Also I am liking this young American team (seem to have Russian names though) that I saw was it at Junior Worlds?????
 

Cleo1782

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^^ You didn't get the announcement last summer that Robin moved to the U.S.? He was approached by U.S. figure skating to join one of two rinks in the U.S. He visited both, and he chose the right one. ;) There were articles last year announcing Szolkowy joining Meno/Sand's coaching team in California:


https://olympics.nbcsports.com/2019/01/11/robin-szolkowy-pairs-training-school/



Robin may be working with younger skaters at the rink in Irvine, but he probably also assists with the top level pairs too. Why wouldn't he, as a 5-time World pairs champion, and a two-time Olympic pairs medalist? I recall Calalang/Johnson mentioning in an old interview some helpful tips Robin gave them. He just doesn't appear to be serving in a primary coaching capacity for C/J, nor for the Knierims last season.

Robin is no longer in Irvine.
 

skylark

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I guess your an "ash" fan....lol
You don't have to be an Ash fan to appreciate a skater's efforts to raise everyone's spirits.

But yes, I am an Ashley and Timothy fan. I posted that before the news about Alexa/Brandon came. I still recommend watching them, and any other skaters who have posted what they're doing.
 

greenapple

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Robin was in Irvine last weekend. He posted five days ago that he is in quarantine. So when did he move?
 

aftershocks

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Robin is no longer in Irvine.
Thanks for the heads-up @Cleo1782. I'm sorry to hear that. So now that you point this out, it makes me suspect things didn't work out for Robin Szolkowy at the Irvine rink perhaps because it was U.S. figure skating who had reached out and brought Szolkowy in. Reportedly, he'd been looking toward staying through at least the 2022 Olympics. Perhaps Meno/Sand were initially interested in the collaboration, but the interest did not originate with them. This seems somewhat similar to U.S. figure skating suggesting a collaboration between Jim Peterson and Dalilah Sappenfield, which really was not feasible, and certainly not in Peterson's best interests for the program he has built with Lyndon Johnston and Amanda Evora in Ellenton, Florida.

My below thoughts are in response to @skatingguy's speculation about Szolkowy's coaching success:

I think it's inaccurate to suggest that Szolkowy hasn't had any coaching success or that he's 'bounced around.' He worked with Mozer for a number of years, and his assocation with her brought him to the attention of U.S. figure skating after he had been involved in several pairs training camps in the U.S.

With Meno/Sand's breakout team in C/J having wonderful success, and with the star stature the Knierims brought to the rink, possibly M/S were not comfortable sharing renown and credit with a famous outsider brought in by U.S. figure skating, no matter how talented and capable Szolkowy is. To be fair, M/S are excellent coaches and they've worked hard for many years with some good teams. On the brink of major success with Marley/Brubaker, we know how that abruptly and sadly ended. And then Calalang/Sidhu were a building team with excellent momentum, scuttled by Sidhu's back problems. Fortunately, with the breakup between junior turned senior team of Liu/Johnson, a switcheroo worked out with the magic that happened between Calalang/Johnson, who seem 'made for each other.' Another recent switcheroo may work out just as well, if not better. ;) I'm sure a lot of fingers are being crossed for the pairing of Alexa/Brandon. Mine included!

Speaking of that new blended U.S. partnership, the fact that Chris Knierim will be working as a primary coach at the Irvine rink, likely further makes Robin Szolkowy's participation there superfluous. In any event, Szolkowy's former collaboration with Nina Mozer at a number of pairs training camps in the U.S. and internationally have garnered him solid praise from a number of athletes. Even C/J, during an interview earlier last season, acknowledged receiving helpful tips from Szolkowy.

So it's up-in-the-air why Szolkowy is no longer with the Irvine rink. Perhaps personalities and approaches didn't mesh well? Perhaps Szolkowy's role wasn't well-defined and maybe he'd expected to have a more prominent role? Or, since it is indicated in the original announcement articles that Szolkowy was not severing ties with his international training camps in Europe, he may wish to leave and focus more exclusively on building his profile on home turf? It might be a combination of all these factors. Who knows? Maybe Szolkowy has negotiated another opportunity in California or elsewhere in the U.S.

I recall seeing Szolkowy once in the kiss 'n cry with C/J and Todd Sand at an early season event. But that was the first and only time I saw him in the k&c with a U.S. pair team. Perhaps he worked mainly with younger skaters at the Irvine rink. Christine Binder shared k&c duties with Meno/Sand at the U.S. championships in January.

The Knierims pointed out in the U.S. championships presser that Meno/Sand are caring people as well as great coaches, and those qualities definitely come across. M/S deserve a lot of credit for coaching the 1, 2 pairs teams in the country at 2020 U.S. Nationals. I wish the Irvine training program much success that continues to build. The prospects are brilliant, and important for the burgeoning future of the U.S. pairs discipline. This is of course true in combination with the Colorado pairs program, and with the huge success of pairs training camps in Florida, especially at the Ellenton rink. Jim Peterson has proven how well he can guide pairs teams. Still, there is something to be said for constantly assessing where and how programs can be bolstered.

Figure skating is a tough sport and a tough career for skating coaches, but with the right attitude and approach, working with young athletes can also be extremely rewarding at every level, even without achieving Olympic-level accolades.

Robin was in Irvine last weekend. He posted five days ago that he is in quarantine. So when did he move?
No one said that Robin Szolkowy moved yet. Cleo1782 just said that he's no longer with the Irvine rink. Since there's a health lockdown going on everywhere, if Szolkowy has plans to move back to Europe with his growing family, he surely has had to postpone his travel plans for the near future. There hasn't been any official announcement made yet regarding Szolkowy's assocation with the Irvine rink, and probably there won't be. If anything, he'll eventually update his followers on his Instagram.
 

skatingguy

Golden Team
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My below thoughts are in response to @skatingguy's speculation about Szolkowy's coaching success:

I think it's inaccurate to suggest that Szolkowy hasn't had any coaching success or that he's 'bounced around.' He worked with Mozer for a number of years, and his assocation with her brought him to the attention of U.S. figure skating after he had been involved in several pairs training camps in the U.S.
I think when you start you're coaching career with Russia #1, and now it's unclear whether you're with a rink at all that is a step down in terms of success, and probably not what he expected when he started his coaching career given his multiple World Titles & Olympic medals.
 

aftershocks

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I think when you start you're coaching career with Russia #1, and now it's unclear whether you're with a rink at all that is a step down in terms of success, and probably not what he expected when he started his coaching career given his multiple World Titles & Olympic medals.
To be quite honest, you have no idea what Robin Szolkowy expected when he started his coaching career. Neither do I. What I do think it's safe to say is that Szolkowy had initially anticipated pursuing a professional show career with his former partner, Savchenko. When she wished to continue competing toward another Olympics with Bruno Massot, those tables were suddenly turned for Szolkowy. Subsequently, a lot of sympathy was expressed in the skating community for the predicament Szolkowy suddenly found himself facing. He briefly paired with another skater and they appeared in a few shows, and then Nina Mozer offered Szolkowy a position with her coaching team in Russia.

From all evidence, Szolkowy's tenure with Nina Mozer was successful. T/M seemed appreciative of Szolkowy's contributions, and there were clearly no hard feelings when Max Trankov took over as T/M's primary coach. I believe Szolkowy had been serving as one of T/M's assistant coaches. Trankov and Szolkowy are friendly, judging by their interactions on social media. Meanwhile, Nina Mozer had begun scaling back her time as a primary coach, and she began focusing on individual consulting work and on international pairs training camps, with the assistance of Szolkowy and of Fedor Klimov et al. Szolkowy's work with skaters at these camps has been highly praised and respected.

Szolkowy has since started his own individual series of international training camps in Europe. So I'm sure he has a lot of irons in the fire. It certainly would be nice to see him continuing to work in the U.S. in some capacity as a pairs coach or consultant. I wish Szolkowy and his family well. He always seems to project a positive attitude in his Instagram posts.
 

aftershocks

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I think when you start you're coaching career with Russia #1, and now it's unclear whether you're with a rink...
Just a follow-up for clarity: When Szolkowy was hired as a member of the coaching team for T/M, I'm not sure they were outright #1 Russian team at that point. T/M were neck-and-neck with Stolbova/ Klimov for a certain period. With Szolkowy as part of their team, T/M did have some success, and for sure they were considered Russian #1 for significant stretches of time. However, no matter their brilliant technical talent, T/M have not yet completely and consistently achieved their enormous potential under any coach they've had.

As far as it not being clear about Robin Szolkowy's association with the Irvine rink, a reliable source in this thread (Cleo1782) has already informed us that Szolkowy is no longer affiliated with the Irvine rink. It's just that nothing has been officially reported, and possibly will not be. As I already said, Szolkowy will likely update followers and supporters on his Instagram. At the moment, it appears that he and his family are making the best of their lockdown time where they are currently residing in California. (y)

ETA:
Another thing to note: The skating world is filled with uncertainty for everyone involved in it, including skaters and coaches. It's not unusual for coaches or for athletes to 'move around,' or to have ups-and-downs in their careers.
 
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aftershocks

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Also I am liking this young American team (seem to have Russian names though) that I saw was it at Junior Worlds?????
Anastasiia Smirnova/ Danil Siianytsia, both originally from Ukraine (2nd, 2020 U.S. junior pairs):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPWwurNMSOc
The opening and some other moves and program layout are unsurprisingly reminiscent of James/Cipres' aesthetic movement style, choreo, and costumes. Yes, I know people don't like hearing that and beg to differ, even more-so at this juncture. But I can't help noticing the movement and stylistic inspirations (e.g., the upside down hold, etc.) Of course there are other evident pairs influences that abound across the discipline today, but J/C's lasting positive influence on pairs circa 2016 - 2019, is what it is.

Another good-looking U.S. junior team are Cate Fleming/ Jedidiah Isbell who had a good showing at the recent Youth Olympics, and placed 4th at 2020 U.S. junior pairs championships. In addition, Winter Deardorff and Mikhail Johnson are another very good up-and-coming junior pair team who placed 3rd at 2020 U.S. junior pairs championships.

Sarah Feng split with TJ last year, right?
Yes. There are reports that TJ has paired with a young Russian partner.

Wonder how USA skater Deanna is doing with Maxime up in Canada.
I haven't heard anything. I would imagine they are both self-isolating and trying to stay fit and in communication with each other and with their coaching team during this strange time.

Here's an old Instagram post by Deanna with some great photos, apparently from June 2018 at a charity event. Aside from three people in the center, I can make out Karen Chen, Gracie Gold, Ross Miner, Camden Pulkinen, Nate Bartholomay, Deanna, Mariah Bell, and Romain Ponsart. It looks like they all enjoyed the occasion and the company:

I came across this 2017 IDF performance by Castelli/Tran:
It was one of their better performances, with their best assets on full display (smooth style, chemistry, speed, interesting choreo). They were excellent on everything except for the hesitancy and bobbling on their sbs jumps. It's still frustrating and confusing, but I suppose it was a timing and different jump technique issue which got into their heads and they couldn't overcome. Plus, Castelli admittedly struggled mentally with making the partner switch adjustment after skating with the much taller Shnapir for so many years. C/T's initial expectations for their progress was high, but then stymied by the obstacles they faced.

An old interview with Olivia Serafini, at a Junior Pairs event in 2014:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrSuAdFJUO0
 

PairSkater12345

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You don't have to be an Ash fan to appreciate a skater's efforts to raise everyone's spirits.

But yes, I am an Ashley and Timothy fan. I posted that before the news about Alexa/Brandon came. I still recommend watching them, and any other skaters who have posted what they're doing.
I believe Alexa and Brandon will be more exciting to watch than "ASH" and Tim. Ash and Tim are well coached to get the points as they don't have the big tricks. Alexa and Brandon will have both. Look for Tarah and Danny to have a good season as well.
 

Bob Mc

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Just a FYI on some coaching moves that I am aware of... Jim Peterson and Amanda Evora have not worked at the Ellenton, Florida rink for a few months.. I understand they will ultimately move to a rink in Michigan sometime this summer. I believe that their former pair teams have moved on to other rinks.. even though nobody is currently training in this environment.

Lyndon Johnston and Cindy Caprel remain as the primary pair and senior figure skating team coaches at the Ellenton, FL rink.
 

AxelAnnie

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Theres a good (over 2%) chance ANL gonna start working at (squatting) the Irvine rink.

Im sure my services (annoyances) will be appreciated.
Please tell them to stop. With Alexa's medical history they should not be playing loose with the quarentine.
 

AngieNikodinovLove

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Please tell them to stop. With Alexa's medical history they should not be playing loose with the quarentine.
I was talking about when all of this is over. I am beyond sure they are not at the rink. In fact I think I saw on her IG that they aren’t in the rink at all.
 

Spiralgraph

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I believe Alexa and Brandon will be more exciting to watch than "ASH" and Tim. Ash and Tim are well coached to get the points as they don't have the big tricks. Alexa and Brandon will have both. Look for Tarah and Danny to have a good season as well.

Interesting opinion. I think that Brandon and Alexa will have some big tricks at some point, but because nobody is able to train now, no one can be certain when a brand new pair will develop those new tricks, particularly the triple twist and complex lifts.
As for Ashley and Tim, I believe they already have big tricks. They have scored level 4 for their triple twist and at least a few of their lifts have been marked as level 4. And of course they perform two sets of sbs triples and are usually a little more consistent than other USA pairs (though I'm grading at US standards...) Are they aesthetically pleasing as some other pairs where the male is significantly taller than his female partner? That comes down to personal viewpoints. But if C-G/L are able to score big points and win, they must be doing some big tricks. Choreography and style can only take a team so far.
 

yeslek

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Interesting opinion. I think that Brandon and Alexa will have some big tricks at some point, but because nobody is able to train now, no one can be certain when a brand new pair will develop those new tricks, particularly the triple twist and complex lifts.
As for Ashley and Tim, I believe they already have big tricks. They have scored level 4 for their triple twist and at least a few of their lifts have been marked as level 4. And of course they perform two sets of sbs triples and are usually a little more consistent than other USA pairs (though I'm grading at US standards...) Are they aesthetically pleasing as some other pairs where the male is significantly taller than his female partner? That comes down to personal viewpoints. But if C-G/L are able to score big points and win, they must be doing some big tricks. Choreography and style can only take a team so far.
They didn’t win???
 

Spiralgraph

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They didn’t win???

Hmm, methinks they didn't win in 2020. But my point stands, For any team to win, they must execute the big elements tricks (or at least do more of them than their competitors.) In 2019 when Ashley and Tim did win their USA title, they completed their elements, while other pairs faltered.

Who knows what will happen going forward this upcoming season. I do think a brand new pair is at more of a disadvantage because they have no experience as a team together. Alex and Brandon have to get two programs and just learn to gel together very quickly. In normal circumstances I think they could accomplish this without fuss, but with the rinks closed? Besides, with all that is going on they may have other concerns as well.
 

happycamper2554

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Hmm, methinks they didn't win in 2020. But my point stands, For any team to win, they must execute the big elements tricks (or at least do more of them than their competitors.) In 2019 when Ashley and Tim did win their USA title, they completed their elements, while other pairs faltered.

Who knows what will happen going forward this upcoming season. I do think a brand new pair is at more of a disadvantage because they have no experience as a team together. Alex and Brandon have to get two programs and just learn to gel together very quickly. In normal circumstances I think they could accomplish this without fuss, but with the rinks closed? Besides, with all that is going on they may have other concerns as well.
I think Tarah and Danny will be in the best
situation. They are quarantined together. They already made at least one music choice. It seems like like not planning on going to worlds will put them ahead of the curve.
 

PairSkater12345

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I think Tarah and Danny will be in the best
situation. They are quarantined together. They already made at least one music choice. It seems like like not planning on going to worlds will put them ahead of the curve.
I would agree with you regarding C/L's national championship. C/L did complete their elements and did them well. Simply their elements were not as strong as the other key teams especially when it comes to the lifts, and in a way they backed into winning. Put is this way if everyone delivered there best performance who would win? It's about chasing points and I would rather have the big tricks like Alexa and Chris did with the twist than relying on someone else to make a mistake.
 

Carolla5501

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I would agree with you regarding C/L's national championship. C/L did complete their elements and did them well. Simply their elements were not as strong as the other key teams especially when it comes to the lifts, and in a way they backed into winning. Put is this way if everyone delivered there best performance who would win? It's about chasing points and I would rather have the big tricks like Alexa and Chris did with the twist than relying on someone else to make a mistake.


I don’t think they were relying on others to make mistakes. They delivered a clean skate. You can’t blame other skaters because some people don’t deliver when it counts. They won because they delivered. They could’ve fallen and then they might not have won


They didn’t back into it. Backing into it would’ve been the team with the least mistakes won. But their national championship they delivered. All the other teams failed to deliver


They won, the other teams lost. It’s all about what you put on the ice. Not “well you know skater x has better tricks if we just ignore the fact that every time they do a side-by-side jump at least one of them falls.
 

aftershocks

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Ash Cain serving kitchen realness

💕⛸

Is that Swan Lake?

:lol: Thanks for sharing.

A microwave handle is not a good substitute for a ballet barre. :p But yep it's important to improvise during these times. Speaking of which, the kitchen is a handy place to improvise altogether. ;)

BTW, I love your skate pic sbs revolving hearts. ♥


I believe that their former pair teams have moved on to other rinks.. even though nobody is currently training in this environment.
I would think (or at least I hope) that some of their teams might relocate to Michigan with them, if possible, when Peterson and Evora eventually make the move.
 
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PairSkater12345

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I don’t think they were relying on others to make mistakes. They delivered a clean skate. You can’t blame other skaters because some people don’t deliver when it counts. They won because they delivered. They could’ve fallen and then they might not have won


They didn’t back into it. Backing into it would’ve been the team with the least mistakes won. But their national championship they delivered. All the other teams failed to deliver


They won, the other teams lost. It’s all about what you put on the ice. Not “well you know skater x has better tricks if we just ignore the fact that every time they do a side-by-side jump at least one of them falls.
 

PairSkater12345

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289
You don't go into the competition relying on other peoples mistakes, that's not what I said. I think you are going to have to define "delivered". They skated clean and got the most points with the less difficult elements. Teams that most often skate clean with more difficult elements made big mistakes. C/L backed into the win.

Look at Greensboro. "Ash" was frazzled during practice skates. Their were real problems with confidence. C/L couldn't make any mistakes to stay in the hunt. They finished 4th.
 
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PairSkater12345

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Interesting opinion. I think that Brandon and Alexa will have some big tricks at some point, but because nobody is able to train now, no one can be certain when a brand new pair will develop those new tricks, particularly the triple twist and complex lifts.
As for Ashley and Tim, I believe they already have big tricks. They have scored level 4 for their triple twist and at least a few of their lifts have been marked as level 4. And of course they perform two sets of sbs triples and are usually a little more consistent than other USA pairs (though I'm grading at US standards...) Are they aesthetically pleasing as some other pairs where the male is significantly taller than his female partner? That comes down to personal viewpoints. But if C-G/L are able to score big points and win, they must be doing some big tricks. Choreography and style can only take a team so far.
I have to disagree with the comment that Ashley and Tim have big trick(s). Level 4 doesn't = big tricks. Past jumps that are often inconsistent what big tricks are you talking about?
 

aftershocks

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Mcisaac/Sadusky have moved to CO Springs to train with Dalilah.
Oh thanks. That's interesting. Do either McIsaac or Sadusky have any prior connection with Dalilah or Colorado Springs? I hope they don't get lost in the shuffle there. Dalilah has a lot of teams, but she is good in particular at teaching the throw twist and other basics, so hopefully it'll be a plus all the way around. I think they can be a good team with hard work, finding their style and some good luck too!

Have you heard whether any of Peterson/Evora's teams are moving to Michigan with them?
 
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