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

aftershocks

Banned Member
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17,335
It does bug me that US fans are so hard on their own skaters, so I try maybe a little too hard to reverse that. I'd like us to be more like Canadians :respec:and support everyone.

Here, here! :40beers:

It's nice to see I'm not the only one who has observed this! I too would love to see U.S. fans stop being so down on their skaters. It happens toward the U.S. ladies too, and it happened toward U.S. men during a very prodigious and rewarding period of depth and of skill and camaraderie amongst U.S. men who were influential internationally, but who due to lack of consistent quads, were often given short shrift reputation-wise and in the scoring. Of course, that has changed with the pioneering rise of Nathan Chen (who gets his fair share of grief from some U.S. fans as well -- many U.S. fans are not bound up in supporting only U.S. skaters; a number of U.S. fans seem to prefer skaters from other countries; of course this can be positive as well as negative; in general it's great to be supportive of all skaters, but at least be respectful and supportive toward athletes in your own country).
 

skylark

Well-Known Member
Messages
187
:eek: :drama: :watch:

How and in what universe is 5'2" 'too tall' for a pairs girl???!!! Ah the sport so needs to get rid of the stereotypes and body image fixations that have been so rampant. Having a striking visual appearance together on the ice is important but obsessions over height differences and lack thereof can be taken too far. One of the things that is an asset for Tim and Ashley is that they have smilar long lines that work so well for them on the ice. Any drawbacks relating to having less of a height difference, they have to work on (which they have been doing diligently). As with any team, it's important to embrace challenges, flaunt assets and work on overcoming weaknesses.

In another era, it wasn't a big deal for pairs teams to be similar in height. That's why I was interested to notice in a recent Youtube video that the legendary World and Olympic champions, Barb Wagner & Robert Paul of Canada (from the late 1950s through 1960), are physically reminiscent of the passionately determined and accomplished Duhamel/ Radford.

I don't dismiss the importance of teams matching well physically, but that has less to do with height differentials than it has to do with overall body builds and the way they move together. Even more important are how personalities, temperaments, goals, training habits, and talent levels mesh.
Great post.:smokin: I love Ashley and Tim's long beautiful lines together, which makes their striking unison so memorable. I also love Tai and Randy for their matching lines. I'd love to see Ashley and Tim do Tai and Randy's Pull Arabians sometime. I suppose it would have to be during an exhibition. In a competing program, it might take too much time? IDK.

"Embrace challenges, flaunt assets and work on overcoming weaknesses." Great words to live by.:rockstar:
 

skylark

Well-Known Member
Messages
187
As it was explained to me when my daughter was skating pairs, it's easier to get the big tricks when there's a good size difference. Her coach at the time preferred a 12" difference. It really had nothing to do with aesthetics. Her first partner was a little over a foot taller and her second about 10". In both cases, the triple twist came fairly easily and had a great deal of height. I think it's much more difficult, though not impossible, for teams with less height difference.
True, well stated. :) Which, to me, is reason to admire and appreciate what they do, rather than dismissing them. All of the skaters who overcome something which may seem like a natural disadvantage. Ashley said in an interview that Nina Mozer changed the technique on their twist (to one arms in back), which improved their twist a lot. A&T get very impressive height. It can easily be seen in the judges' scores -- at least the international as well as US judges appreciate the skill and beauty.

It seems to me that your daughter's coach (and Dalilah, above) were stating what the conventional wisdom had become, and now that is being challenged more. Thank you for responding; it's always interesting to get "inside" views.
 

chachacha

Active Member
Messages
188
Alexa and Brandon are on the ice!!!!

His account is private so if you ask for access I’m sure he’ll let you see. Alexa doesn’t have anything posted yet

I’m looking forward to watching this new team progress 😃
 

sk8nlizard

Well-Known Member
Messages
498
There’s a video on Instagram of Megan Wessenberg practicing a throw 3S with Chris Knierim. Must be testing the waters on moving to pairs?
My first thought when I watched that was that that was a BIG throw, especially for someone just trying pairs. My second thought was that she looked kind of tall and Chris is a tall pairs guy. She might not be tall, but she looked it in that clip.
 

LL22

New Member
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24
My first thought when I watched that was that that was a BIG throw, especially for someone just trying pairs. My second thought was that she looked kind of tall and Chris is a tall pairs guy. She might not be tall, but she looked it in that clip.
She is getting thrown by Chris Knierim, most likely the best pair boy in the country (Or I guess WAS now). The “big” part of that throw is most likely HEAVILY assisted by Chris. He is doing a double twist with a junior girl, teaching her how to do it, and it’s the same size of his and Alexa’s. I wouldn’t say someone has big throws until you see her with her actual partner. I’m sure most girls would have big throws with Chris. Also he is 6’2”, which makes a difference when determining size as well. I agree, she is on the taller side for pairs and I can’t think of any boy who is even available, but lucky her to learn from Chris.
 

clairecloutier

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10,935
Megan is not tall, actually. Wikipedia lists her as 5' 1.5". And having met her off ice, I wouldn't be surprised if that measurement is a bit inflated.
 

LL22

New Member
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Megan is not tall, actually. Wikipedia lists her as 5' 1.5". And having met her off ice, I wouldn't be surprised if that measurement is a bit inflated.

There are so many girls who are switching from singles to pairs. Olivia Serafini, Katie McBeath and now Meagan Wessenberg. Am I missing anyone?

It’s an interesting trend. I understand the logic behind it but mediocre and stiff single skaters are not going to morphe into unbelievable pair skaters. It’s an interesting strategy, but they need someone more internationally known than those girls with a nicer skating style. Someone like Ting Cui, she is small, graceful, has nice lines and can easily execute the easier triple jumps. She would look great skating with the appropriate partner.
 

LL22

New Member
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There are so many girls who are switching from singles to pairs. Olivia Serafini, Katie McBeath and now Meagan Wessenberg. Am I missing anyone?

It’s an interesting trend. I understand the logic behind it but mediocre and stiff single skaters are not going to morphe into internationally competitive pair skaters. It’s an interesting strategy, but they need someone more internationally known with better skating skills and lines. Someone like Ting Cui, she is small, graceful, has nice lines and can easily execute the easier triple jumps.
 

her grace

standing with Mariah
Messages
3,817
There are so many girls who are switching from singles to pairs. Olivia Serafini, Katie McBeath and now Meagan Wessenberg. Am I missing anyone?

It’s an interesting trend. I understand the logic behind it but mediocre and stiff single skaters are not going to morphe into internationally competitive pair skaters. It’s an interesting strategy, but they need someone more internationally known with better skating skills and lines. Someone like Ting Cui, she is small, graceful, has nice lines and can easily execute the easier triple jumps.


:huh: None of Serafina, McBeath, and Wessenberg are mediocre and stiff singles skaters. And Cui is way too tall for pairs at 5ft4inches. She towered over the other ladies on the podium the year she medaled at Jr. Worlds.
 

LL22

New Member
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:huh: None of Serafina, McBeath, and Wessenberg are mediocre and stiff singles skaters. And Cui is way too tall for pairs at 5ft4inches. She towered over the other ladies on the podium the year she medaled at Jr. Worlds.

I deal in facts...
None of these skaters have been on ANY international podium and Megan didn’t qualify for nationals last year and Katie didn’t qualify out of sectionals the year before. This past season she didn’t compete. I understand you want to be nice and supportive, but the facts are black and white. If you don’t call that average- mediocre, then what would you call it?

Also, as far as Cui is concerned, I said with the appropriate partner. Ashley Cain is taller than 5’4” and they are very successful so with the right partner that is hardly an issue.
 

her grace

standing with Mariah
Messages
3,817
I deal in facts...
None of these skaters have been on ANY international podium and Megan didn’t qualify for nationals last year and Katie didn’t qualify out of sectionals the year before. This past season she didn’t compete. I understand you want to be nice and supportive, but the facts are black and white. If you don’t call that average- mediocre, then what would you call it?

Average and mediocre are not synonymous. And what constitutes mediocre is an opinion, not fact.

Moreover, I take more issue with your labeling them "stiff". McBeath has nice musicality, Wessenberg has above average skating skills with good knee bend. Serafina's been a pair skater for awhile, but she also displayed potential as a single skater with decent presentation. Cain, who is very successful in pairs, also didn't have an illustrious international singles career (e.g., no JGP/GP medals, a few Sr B bronzes). Most ladies who make the switch to pairs are not the most successful single ladies, but they're still pretty good skaters.

Also, as far as Cui is concerned, I said with the appropriate partner.

Actually, you didn't.

Ashley Cain is taller than 5’4” and they are very successful so with the right partner that is hardly an issue.

And how many male skaters fit that height criteria? A Cain/LeDuc size pairing is extremely rare.
 

LL22

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Average and mediocre are not synonymous. And what constitutes mediocre is an opinion, not fact.

Moreover, I take more issue with your labeling them "stiff". McBeath has nice musicality, Wessenberg has above average skating skills with good knee bend. Serafina's been a pair skater for awhile, but she also displayed potential as a single skater with decent presentation. Cain, who is very successful in pairs, also didn't have an illustrious international singles career (e.g., no JGP/GP medals, a few Sr B bronzes). Most ladies who make the switch to pairs are not the most successful single ladies, but they're still pretty good skaters.



Actually, you didn't.



And how many male skaters fit that height criteria? A Cain/LeDuc size pairing is extremely rare.

You’re right about one thing... I didn’t say “with the appropriate partner”. However, that is what I meant.

I’m not interested in harshly arguing over opinions or what you consider to be rare.

Ashley Cain medaling at a Senior B only proves my point. The better and higher quality the single girl skater, the better and higher quality the pair.

My opinion is based on what is going to take USA pairs to the next step. Top 5 at worlds, a world medal, an Olympic medal and the NEVER BEEN ACHIEVED Olympic Gold Medal. I’m going to bet all the girls/teams I mentioned will be middle of the pack for the entirety of their careers.

It’s nice to be kind and hope they do well for their own personal goals, but as far as something earth shattering is concerned, it’s just not going to happen.

If more honest opinions are not appreciated, I’ll continue just to look and not participate. No biggie...

This is a sport, it’s not all lollipops and rainbows. There can only be one winner, and I’d rather have real discussions About who those potential winners will be than just talk nicely about everyone even thoughI know certain teams have Very clear ceilings to their abilities.

All of this is being “said” calmly. Tone is difficult over text and yours seemed aggressive. My opinions are aggressive, but I want it to be known, my tone is not. :)
 

aftershocks

Banned Member
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17,335
There’s a video on Instagram of Megan Wessenberg practicing a throw 3S with Chris Knierim. Must be testing the waters on moving to pairs?

I agree, she is on the taller side for pairs and I can’t think of any boy who is even available...

Oh scratch what I posted here initially. I'm mixing up Wessenberg with Katie McBeath. :shuffle:

I hope Wessenberg is able to find a partner. Seriously, pairs is really where it's at these days, at least for me. Pairs and dance, and men's disciplines are my faves, but especially pairs. :encore: :fan: :watch:

I observe ladies and I enjoy a number of ladies skaters, but I don't find the discipline as a whole all that exciting or compelling. Fine, young ladies are landing quads and 3-axels. Good for them. I'm only interested in viewing exciting, complete performances that are well-choreographed and combine athleticism with something uniquely different that doesn't involve gimmickry. That usually doesn't happen when that discipline's focus remains so exclusively stuck on pre-teens and teenyboppers. I did enjoy Mariah's, Bradie's, and Amber's journeys this past season, and I love Wakaba's skating. It's fun seeing a rejuvenated Tuk too, still kickin' it. :)

I'm hopeful for the new U.S. pairings. Here are Katie & Nate rocking it with a bravura pairs lift on asphalt, in Ashley Cain-Gribble's Quarantined Pairs 'Bring it to the Runway' Challenge! It's a lot of fun with a number of top U.S. pairs teams during the lockdown:
https://www.instagram.com/p/B_S8ZsUD8vU/


Ashley's earlier snazzy dance challenge with friends, including her partner Tim, and a few U.S. singles skaters:
https://www.instagram.com/p/B-0C_vgjY3f/
 
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aftershocks

Banned Member
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17,335
mediocre and stiff single skaters are not going to morphe into internationally competitive pair skaters.

Umm, fyi: Olivia Serafini is already an internationally competitive pairs skater with Mervin Tran. They are not at the top tier yet, but they have competed very well internationally and domestically. Mervin obviously has world class talent and proven accomplishments with other partners, plus he & Olivia have progressed very quickly as a team against many obstacles.

Olivia was a very good singles skater. She's not mediocre and I wouldn't call her stiff either. She can certainly work more on improving her line and stretch, and her expressive/ performative qualities, but she's not stiff. From what I have seen of Katie and Megan as singles skaters, I think they both possess excellent promise as pairs skaters. Good luck to all three of these ladies in their pairs ambitions. :glamor:


None of these skaters have been on ANY international podium ... Katie didn't compete this past season...

Sigh... Olivia and Mervin have competed successfully internationally placing fifth at Finlandia Trophy this past season, and 7th at Golden Spin of Zagreb. That's nothing to sniff at for a recently partnered team in what amounts to their first full season together. They had an abbreviated season when they first paired together, with their debut competition occurring at U.S. Nationals in 2019. Mervin is the 2012 World bronze medalist in pairs with Narumi Takahashi.

Both Megan and Katie have competed well in international and domestic competition. Getting on the podium isn't everything. As well, the U.S. ladies singles field is very deep and tough competitively at every level. Also fyi: Katie McBeath didn't compete this past season in singles because she had partnered with Nate and was focusing on beginning her pairs training.

Anyway, it's the journey that matters most, not the destination. U.S. pairs is doing just fine. The more the merrier, because competition and pushing each other breeds success.

... I’d rather have real discussions About who those potential winners will be than just talk nicely about everyone...

To each their own desires and preferences. Maybe come back when there's really something to talk about competitively, which might take awhile. :sheep:

IMO, it's pointless to declare who is going to make it to the top and who is not. In this sport anything can happen, and more than half the fun is challenging yourself as an athlete and taking part in competition. The ladies in question are and have been meeting and beating numerous challenges on the battlefield, while you're just talking smack on the sidelines. ;)
 
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Japanfan

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23,790
It’s nice to be kind and hope they do well for their own personal goals, but as far as something earth shattering is concerned, it’s just not going to happen.

You do realize that earth shattering is relative?

For some skaters, simply making it to nationals is a dream. And they may not have a vision of going further. We always see a few those at Canadian and US Nats.
 
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LL22

New Member
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Alexa and Brandon posted a Nice throw 3 loop! It’s on Instagram on many different pages. A little wobbly on the landing- but this team I can get behind.

The question is... will they stay together long enough to make a dent internationally? They have talked so much about 2022 in such a finite way, I don’t know if they have even discussed staying together past that, especially if they can’t compete this season due to the *********.
 

chachacha

Active Member
Messages
188
Alexa and Brandon posted a Nice throw 3 loop! It’s on Instagram on many different pages. A little wobbly on the landing- but this team I can get behind.

The question is... will they stay together long enough to make a dent internationally? They have talked so much about 2022 in such a finite way, I don’t know if they have even discussed staying together past that, especially if they can’t compete this season due to the
Alexa and Brandon posted a Nice throw 3 loop! It’s on Instagram on many different pages. A little wobbly on the landing- but this team I can get behind.

The question is... will they stay together long enough to make a dent internationally? They have talked so much about 2022 in such a finite way, I don’t know if they have even discussed staying together past that, especially if they can’t compete this season due to the *********.

*********.
I can totally see them staying together beyond 2022. They are older but not like to old where they could not go another 6 or even 7 seasons if they wanted to and stayed healthy. I’m looking forward to seeing how this team develops over the next couple of years they look strong for just teaming up.
 

thvudragon

Usova's Apprentice
Messages
4,913
I deal in facts...
None of these skaters have been on ANY international podium and Megan didn’t qualify for nationals last year and Katie didn’t qualify out of sectionals the year before. This past season she didn’t compete. I understand you want to be nice and supportive, but the facts are black and white. If you don’t call that average- mediocre, then what would you call it?
Right, you deal in facts, yet what you’re really offering is an opinion, one accompanied with condescension.
 

LL22

New Member
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24
Right, you deal in facts, yet what you’re really offering is an opinion, one accompanied with condescension.
This website is literally filled with opinions. Some you may like, some you may not. There are far more important things going on in the world to argue over other than figure skating. We can agree to disagree about my opinion. Have a nice day! :)
 

aftershocks

Banned Member
Messages
17,335
Methinks LL22 is trolling and trying to stir things up during our 'hungry for pairs skating news' lockdown. :lol:

Checking out the skaters' Instagram posts is a lot more fun and a lot more rewarding than getting my buttons pushed by trollish comments on skating forums. Which isn't to say I don't or won't get drawn in when it gets to be overly disdainful toward skaters for no good reason other than intentional 'kerfuffle-seeking.'

Moving on...

My kudos to all the skaters continuing to work out, and continuing to keep their spirits high and their hopes alive and kicking! :respec:
 

aftershocks

Banned Member
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17,335
Here's the throw triple loop by Alexa & Brandon:

https://www.instagram.com/p/CBFNPKkHvE1/

It's a really good throw. Alexa's landing was quite good. She made a very slight adjustment lean to maintain balance and footing, but it was solidly landed on one foot. As a team, they will surely just continue training and working out, and getting used to each other's timing and rhythm. They seem to have a good connection already, which is probably helped by the fact that they know each other and have been very friendly through the years, what with sharing a lot in common. And of course, Chris and Brandon have been good friends for awhile too having trained together in Colorado early in their careers.

The discussion about what's going to happen moving forward for any of the athletes, is all up-in-the-air for everyone. It's rather useless to speculate. Alexa & Brandon, and all of the skaters are setting their goals and ensuring they are prepared for whatever comes. Seriously, who would have known last season that this new partnership would suddenly become a reality? Let's sit back and enjoy our passions and appreciate the good moments with gratitude and a spirit of lightheartedness during this difficult time globally.
 
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