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

kwanfan1818

I <3 Kozuka
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I was watching the SPs of Skate Detroit. It looks like C/J get halfway across the rink w/ a few strokes.
I've seen a lot of pairs who can generate speed particularly at the start of the program and then again intermittently, but when it comes to maintaining that speed and edge quality throughout the program and in and out of elements, not so much. If C/J can do that with the K's quality (when I've seen them in person), fantastic.
 

Frau Muller

Everything is beautiful at the ballet!
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Regarding what TSL has related (I listened to it) -- I really don't know enough about the Sappenfield camp atmosphere nor about the ins-and-outs of the personalities involved. I don't doubt that Sarah was dumped in the way stated. However, the motivations for doing so could be more complicated than what Dave is alluding to. Personally, I do not think Sarah and T.J. were a great match personality-wise. They were a good team in other respects, but if they weren't really on the same wavelength and there was a power imbalance in the relationship, that was more than likely going to hold them back from developing in a way that would be successful. They were still young, so I saw a lot of potential for growth, but honestly they did not have the chemistry that Chan/Howe, Calalang/Johnson, and even Lu/Mitrofanov have in varying degrees (just to mention a few younger teams). Digerness/Neudecker seem to get along very well too, which is important in a developing partnership.

A few times in the kiss 'n cry, I got the feeling that Sarah was not all that happy in the partnership, and she sometimes seemed over-anxious and uncertain about T. J.'s reactions to mistakes after a performance. Again, this is mostly in hindsight, and viewed by me from afar. It is certainly distressing if Sarah was not informed in a transparent way about T.J.'s and Sappenfield's desire to make a switch. Wouldn't she have realized to some extent that something might be afoot?

To be honest, while Dave Lease has his supporters, important connections, and a very viable platform, I don't particularly trust him, nor everything he says. Possibly he knows whereof he speaks in broad strokes, but frankly, I find him to be just as suspect in the backstabbing department as the people he accuses in the skating community. Dave is just as gnarly a character, so maybe that's why he tends to fit right into, cater to, and relish in the behind-the-scenes drama aspect of this sport.

Specifically, I have questions about Dave hinting that T.J. is another Coughlin. The way Dave was winking, smirking and alluding without saying anything directly or clearly is unprofessional. I can believe that T.J. is spoiled and may have problematic behavior, but the reference to music that T.J. released and the winking about something suspicious going on, and claiming that Kori Ade threw T.J. out of her rink -- I mean those are the allusions I understood Dave to be putting out there. It's problematic when Dave sounds like he's talking to a friend in his living room, but he's on a public podcast gossiping in a snippy way. I especially didn't appreciate his reference to Serafini, despite him prefacing it with saying she's sweet. He then basically labeled how she talks as put-on. To me she's young and impressionable, and trying to fit into a senior environment that's new to her, so why gossip about her in that way. I know people might say Dave doesn't intend harm, but I think there's a better way that he could be approaching these type of fs news talkfests, simply by not smirking and winking and throwing out allusions and in-the-know references that most people new to figure skating or to the podcast would be clueless in deciphering.

Anyway, I thought T.J. was dating Tarah Kayne, unless that's changed (which makes some of Dave's allusions rather confusing). And as far as the references to Deanna, I'm kind of flabbergasted, because I don't see that working at all. IMO, Deanna has found a very well physically matched partner in Maxime Deschamps. I don't know what's going on with that apparent partnership. If US fed is giving Deanna trouble, I wonder how long they can put up roadblocks. I doubt Deanna would allow herself to be forced into partnering with someone that isn't a good match for her, just to remain in the U.S. only because the fed won't release her. Deanna strikes me as someone who is interested in having a shot at winning. And right now, I think she may possibly have a better chance of accomplishing that in Canada with Deschamps.
Dave Lease says “We need to keep our eye on TJ...” I don’t know who’s TJ but I’ll look it up. From a Dalilah team.
 

Frau Muller

Everything is beautiful at the ballet!
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11,198
Dave Lease says “We need to keep our eye on TJ...” I don’t know who’s TJ but I’ll look it up. From a Dalilah team.
p.s. I since found out about Sarah/TJ. Quite impressive, regardless of the TSL scuttlebut. They were out of Natls last season but achieved quite a lot in Novice/Jr.
 

aftershocks

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I've seen a lot of pairs who can generate speed particularly at the start of the program and then again intermittently, but when it comes to maintaining that speed and edge quality throughout the program and in and out of elements, not so much. If C/J can do that with the K's quality (when I've seen them in person), fantastic.
Plus, both teams have been training together since the switch in coaches the Knierims needed to make last season post working with Aliona to both good and complicated results. I believe Brian and Jessica have trained with Meno/Sand for their entire pairs careers (previously with different partners). I always enjoyed watching Meno/Sand when they were competing, and they are good coaches and really nice people too. They carry on the legacy that John Nicks brought to the U.S. in both singles and especially in pairs coaching. It's cool seeing M/S with two excellent teams, particularly after the heartache of the Brubaker/Marley split some years ago.

Brian and Jessica were good with their former partners, but there appears to be something a bit more special happening with their pairing, unexpectedly. There's just no way to predict how and why some partnerships seem to click so well from the beginning. Of course, C/J have the advantage of experience under their belt, and years of training together under the same coaches:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtQN_3S67rM Calalang/Sidhu July 2017 Skate Detroit
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1upOqqZPn8 Liu/Johnson 2017 U.S. Natls sp
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLPFDpcwxF4 Calalang/Johnson 2019 U.S. Natls fp 5th place debut

It's always a good idea in skating to not get ahead of oneself or overly excited about new pairings and future prospects. However, I very much look forward to seeing the competitive progress of Calalang/Johnson, as well as to seeing how the Knierims will kick off their new season after all they've been through the past several seasons. The calm guidance of Meno/Sand and the stability of their new training digs should bode well for the Knierims, hopefully. Today is the final day of Champs Camp, and the new season is upon us.
 

aftershocks

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Here's an interview I did with Kate Finster/Balazs Nagy. They are competing this week at the JGP in Lake Placid.

Thanks for the interview. Finster's response below echoes my recent thoughts wondering why all the different techniques abound, particularly in the U.S. Why isn't there a more codified and consistent technical training system? Or does the nature of figure skating and its evolution require the teaching and exploration of variant techniques? Or should it all just be narrowed down somehow?

"Q: Did you have to change technique each time you started with a new partner?

Finster: Yes. It definitely got frustrating at some points."
 

AxelAnnie

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Here's an interview I did with Kate Finster/Balazs Nagy. They are competing this week at the JGP in Lake Placid.

As always...a great job. I will be watching for them now that I know a little bit about them.
 

AngieNikodinovLove

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0Swek6mUF8 Ostrava sp F/N

Their unusual lift position toward the end of this program (as described by Ted Barton) is very unique and innovative. Good luck to Kate and Balazs in their second season!
Oh Dear... LOVELY.. and he is a Hottie.. and Hungarian??? That gets ANL all hot and bothered! lol

well if this team doesn't make da boss @Jeschke a US pairs fan Im afraid no one will. lol
 

AxelAnnie

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Claire, thank you so much for the 411 on Finster & Nagy. Just watched their short. Loved it, and loved them! They are special. I also loved their choice of music, and their costumes were exquisite.
 

4rkidz

plotting, planning and travelling
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Claire, thank you so much for the 411 on Finster & Nagy. Just watched their short. Loved it, and loved them! They are special. I also loved their choice of music, and their costumes were exquisite.
They were great to watch live great presentation, nice maturity on the ice. I would have placed them higher
 

aftershocks

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I hope Finster/Nagy can put their fp performance at Lake Placid behind them. Dick Button has always said how every skater tends to go through competitive experiences that are challenging. F/N were in good position after the sp where they skated decently well and were in 5th place. I expected that they would at least maintain 5th position in this field.

IMO, it seems as if the fp music selection is not exactly right for them, and that they were reaching a bit to emote when they are at a level where they are still working on learning each other's rhythms as a team and mastering the technique needed to perform difficult elements consistently. Was it a bit too much in their sophomore year together to take on this type of ambitious program? Once the mistakes and resulting distractions began, the problems piled up as their confidence took a huge hit. Having a less ambitious program with music they could more easily interpret without taking focus away from their elements, may have been a better way to go for this season. While it's important to pursue challenges, their first challenge IMO is solidifying their knowledge of each other and mastering basic technique/ technical elements in order to gain consistency and confidence.

I hope F/N can reflect on the experience and learn some positives from it as they move forward. Does anyone else feel the music may not have suited them at this stage? However, since they already have this program choreographed, they are unlikely to change it. So maybe if they can figure out what went wrong, they might make a few adjustments, set some goals and go out with a renewed mindset next time. OTOH, was it simply nerves or something else entirely and not necessarily being distracted by the ambitious program to the point where they weren't in tune on completing the elements?
 

TanithandBenFan

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TSL took videos of the pairs event at Mid Atlantics. The Knierims and Serafini/Tran were there.


ETA: Olivia posted on her Instagram story that she and Mervin have been assigned to Finlandia.
 
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olympic

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^Watched the Knierims. She splatted on the SBS jump SIGH and he landed it w/ flourish. But they had their other moves down cold
 

skatfan

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TSL took videos of the pairs event at Mid Atlantics. The Knierims and Serafini/Tran were there.


ETA: Olivia posted on her Instagram story that she and Mervin have been assigned to Finlandia.
They’ve made impressive progress since US Nationals - the Sbs spin looked great and that’s hard. The lift was iffy, but other things (sbs jumps!) were nice quality.
 

AxelAnnie

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^Watched the Knierims. She splatted on the SBS jump SIGH and he landed it w/ flourish. But they had their other moves down cold
B
How is it that she can't land the jumps? If the penalty was huge enough you would see the pairs landing those jumps!
 

olympic

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He didn't land either SBS jump in the free skate. Looks like he forgot some of the choreo too (which Alexa joked posted about on Twitter :lol:)

I saw that Twitter post and did not realize it related to the LP. I also wanted to add as someone posted upthread that their SBS spins stuck out for me in a way that it did not before. I think the SBS spins were always considered one of their weakest elements just behind the jumps. They mentioned in an interview years ago as a new pair that they disliked SBS spins the most of any element
 

gkelly

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How is it that she can't land the jumps? If the penalty was huge enough you would see the pairs landing those jumps!
Or you'd see different pairs succeeding, who are better at landing jumps and not so good at pair moves.

Not everyone is naturally gifted at jumping. And not everyone is naturally gifted at lifting/throwing or being lifted/thrown. To the extent that these gifts don't overlap in the same skaters, all the penalties in the world won't get skaters to accomplish feats beyond their physical abilities.
 

AngieNikodinovLove

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I saw that Twitter post and did not realize it related to the LP. I also wanted to add as someone posted upthread that their SBS spins stuck out for me in a way that it did not before. I think the SBS spins were always considered one of their weakest elements just behind the jumps. They mentioned in an interview years ago as a new pair that they disliked SBS spins the most of any element
Yup. They have always said they dislike the side-by-side spin. Aside from the jumps and that spin everything else in their programs are world class
 

Sylvia

Wishing I could go back to the Lake Placid JGP
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IMO, the Knierims are a world class pair already. I think it's a good sign they flew across the country to compete in a club competition before their international season debut. I was there on Friday and saw Alexa land both 3T and 3S in practice/warmup, though consistency is not there yet for either or them (obviously) and landing their sbs jumps together in competition remains a work-in-progress.

94th Middle Atlantic Championships in NYC... Senior Pairs (6 teams) competed on Thursday & Friday (Sept. 5-6).
Final standings for the 4 U.S. senior pairs:
1 Alexa Knierim/Chris Knierim 194.22 (71.19 SP, 123.03 FS)
2 Olivia Serafini/Mervin Tran 162.69 (61.84 SP, 100.85 FS) - showed lots of improvement as a pair, I thought!
3 Maria Mokhova/Ivan Mokhov 143.46 (51.59 SP, 91.87 FS) - she was so excited when she found out they would medal! :)
...
6 Allison Timlen/Justin Highgate Brutman 114.66 (76.34 FS) - first comp. of season & I liked their Santana medley program that was choreo. by Massimo Scali

Clips of the Knierims' programs on IG:
SP (3): https://www.instagram.com/p/B2DeZOEpqrl/
FS (3): https://www.instagram.com/p/B2GEaNaJb1y/

Serafini/Tran's programs:
SP clips (3): https://www.instagram.com/p/B2DcuSzJcLE/
FS clips (4): https://www.instagram.com/p/B2GIX5bJsyV/

Inaugural "John Nicks Diamond Award" & scholarship checks were presented by JoJo Starbuck to the top 3 senior pairs at the comp.: https://twitter.com/LynnRutherford/status/1170186081305804800

Junior Pairs results (6 competed):
Winter Deardorff/Mikhail Johnson 133.42 1 1 - they are a mirror pair; skated to Requiem for a Dream, landed sbs 3T+2T & 2A and I liked how they moved together across the ice
Grace Knoop/Blake Eisenach 113.52 2 2 - skated to City of Stars/La La Land and landed 2 throw triples (sal & toe); provisionally assigned to JGP #6 CRO
Analise Gonzalez/Franz-Peter Jerosch 103.82 3 4 - I like their look together; skated to the Nutcracker Pas de Deux
Sydney Flaum/Alex Wellman 102.66 5 3 - skated well to Rhapsody in Blue, landing sbs 3S, 2A+2T & throw doubles
Ellie McClellan/Matthew Rounis 89.68 4 6
Sarah Burden/Jake Pagano 85.44 6 5
 
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aftershocks

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^^ Thanks @Sylvia. I'd heard that Alexa was better on landing her sbs jumps in the practices. As you point out, it's getting over the execution hurdles in competition that's the most challenging aspect of figure skating, especially in the pairs discipline. Alexa/Chris have dealt with so much and come back from a lot of ups-and-downs, so I am going to focus on glass half-full and try to stay away from too much over-judgement especially of early season outings, which granted isn't easy as a fan of figure skating. ;)

I give props to Alexa/Chris and to U.S. pairs teams such as Denney/Frazier, Pfund/Santillan, and Kayne/O'Shea who as a group have had so many injury/illness setbacks they've had to deal with over the past several seasons. At this point, I'm just looking forward to enjoying all the bright spots of the season ahead for U.S. pairs, and not placing an overload of expectations onto any team. It's nice to see the progress of Serafini/Tran -- they will be an interesting team to watch, as I think they have good programs and this is really their first full season as partners. Livia has a lot to learn, but she's taking it all in stride and she seems to have a great rapport with Mervin which will be important for their steady improvement as a team.

I look forward to seeing what Massimo has done for T/H-B this season. Massy has done lovely work with T/H-B the past couple of seasons. Massy also has done a very good job toward assisting in the reinvigoration of Tarasova/Morosov with his choreo to their new Bolero sp (it appears to have been a good choice to use that iconic music for a sp rather than a fp).

Inaugural "John Nicks Diamond Award" & scholarship checks were presented by JoJo Starbuck to the top 3 senior pairs at the comp.: https://twitter.com/LynnRutherford/status/1170186081305804800
Cool! :cool:
 

Sylvia

Wishing I could go back to the Lake Placid JGP
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USFS' International Assignments page lists Digerness/Neudecker as having withdrawn from Nebelhorn Trophy as of today. :(

ETA that they both were in NYC this past weekend but were not listed as competing at MidAtlantics.
 
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aftershocks

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^^ Awww, I hope Nika/Danny are okay and it's nothing too serious...

Winter Deardorff/Mikhail Johnson 133.42 1 1 - they are a mirror pair; skated to Requiem for a Dream, landed sbs 3T+2T & 2A and I liked how they moved together across the ice
I enjoyed watching Winter/Mikhail's new team training clips this off-season. With them being a mirror pair, it will be intriguing to see their overall choreo and their entrances and exits into the sbs jumps and other elements.

Is this their music?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVIRcnlRKF8
 

Sylvia

Wishing I could go back to the Lake Placid JGP
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I enjoyed watching Winter/Mikhail's new team training clips this off-season. With them being a mirror pair, it will be intriguing to see their overall choreo and their entrances and exits into the sbs jumps and other elements.

Is this their music?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVIRcnlRKF8
Yes.

2 clips by me of Mokhova/Mokhov's FS at Middle Atlantics (CC: @Princessroja :)):
Lift: https://twitter.com/SylviaUnseen/status/1171197536180289536
Final section: https://twitter.com/SylviaUnseen/status/1171198323178594311

Photo of Middle Atlantics Senior Pairs podium: https://twitter.com/SylviaUnseen/status/1171202279309041664
Photo of Middle Atlantics Junior Pairs podium: https://twitter.com/SylviaUnseen/status/1171205069104197634
 

Princessroja

Member
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Yes.

2 clips by me of Mokhova/Mokhov's FS at Middle Atlantics (CC: @Princessroja :)):
Lift: https://twitter.com/SylviaUnseen/status/1171197536180289536
Final section: https://twitter.com/SylviaUnseen/status/1171198323178594311

Photo of Middle Atlantics Senior Pairs podium: https://twitter.com/SylviaUnseen/status/1171202279309041664
Photo of Middle Atlantics Junior Pairs podium: https://twitter.com/SylviaUnseen/status/1171205069104197634
Wow, they look really good!! Thanks for the clips :love:
 

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