U.S. Pairs 2020-21 season - News & Updates, Part XI

Spiralgraph

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I'm a little hesitant in believing that USFS doesn't support Ashley and Tim. Considering that all our pairs are quite inconsistent and healthwise are prone to injuries, it behooves the powers that be not to low brow any team. There's still much of this season to play out (the contagion hopefully not cancelling events) so I'm taking this as a wake up call for them to get their act together.
And considering USFS probably hasn't released Deanna S yet, I don't think Ashley and Tim skating for Australia or elsewhere is realistic, unless they're hoping for the 2026 Olympics
 

SkateFanBerlin

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Don't follow pairs so closely but a couple things struck me. First, Ashley Cain is a beautiful woman and great skater. But, she's too big for LeDuc. I feel nervous every time she goes up in a lift. Also, have questions about Catalong. Over the last 2 seasons she has not been able to perform side-by-side jumps. It's shades of Chris Kinieran. About once in every 4 competitions she gets through. Brian Johnson looks very solid. Maybe time to find him a new partner. There are several US ladies who are reliable jumpers but don't have the 4's/3A's to move up. Move over to pairs? I hate to see Johnson with such a promising career loose time with a limited partner.
 

skylark

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Of course it's a snarky question on your part, but I meant country. (As if you couldn't figure that out LOL!)

What does it mean? It means that it's apparent that USFS doesn't want to support them. (This is one of the rare times I agree with Weir, USFS is looking for reasons to mark them down according to him and I agree) USFS is hitching their wagon to more traditional teams so if I were Ashley and Tim I'd be looking at options. As I recall her parents were skaters for another country, is that an option?
My apologies. I was sleep-deprived and too many Sunday margaritas, I guess, but that's no excuse.

My feeling was also that USFSA is looking for reasons to mark Ashley and Tim down. Maybe it's just that they aren't being given the benefit of the doubt, in individual judges' minds. Such an attitude may be enough to tip judges' marks a bit one way or another, including the tech callers.

The fact that people on forums can argue about whether a call was correct or not just shows it isn't completely cut-and-dried and also callers have their human biases that can't help but figure into their perception. Not just biases in favor of one skate team or another, but biases about the jumps and other pairs elements, and how to call them.

I hope Ashley and Tim don't get discouraged by all this. I hope they'll just re-double their efforts to really highlight and polish all the things that they do brilliantly, especially showing their unison, passion, musicality, power/conviction, and audience connection.
 

happycamper2554

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My apologies. I was sleep-deprived and too many Sunday margaritas, I guess, but that's no excuse.

My feeling was also that USFSA is looking for reasons to mark Ashley and Tim down. Maybe it's just that they aren't being given the benefit of the doubt, in individual judges' minds. Such an attitude may be enough to tip judges' marks a bit one way or another, including the tech callers.

The fact that people on forums can argue about whether a call was correct or not just shows it isn't completely cut-and-dried and also callers have their human biases that can't help but figure into their perception. Not just biases in favor of one skate team or another, but biases about the jumps and other pairs elements, and how to call them.

I hope Ashley and Tim don't get discouraged by all this. I hope they'll just re-double their efforts to really highlight and polish all the things that they do brilliantly, especially showing their unison, passion, musicality, power/conviction, and audience connection.

I'm happy USFS has finally decided to drop C/L. they've been overscored. They manage to make everything look difficult. She's too tall. They come off as incredibly fake and overexaggerated in the performance. I'm thankful they managed to get our spot back, but what have you done for me lately?
 

skylark

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187
Another thing, I'd like to see Ashley and Tim re-think a couple of their lifts. I think their SP Group 3 shows well, and also their FS Axel lasso. I loved their reverse lasso as it developed over last season, partly because her legs, completely extended, created an awesome look of owning the space. In general, that's something I really love about their skating, so I want to see that as a wow factor in their reverse lasso also. This year she's turned it into having both knees bent, and it's just not as pleasing or impressive to see, IMO.

And their group3 lift in the FS, the way it plays out, just makes it look like Tim is having to heft her weight. Not a good look, and it may not be factually the case, it just looks that way and the camera angle (from the judges viewpoint!) just doesn't work to their benefit. I'd rather see it as they performed it at Nationals 2019, longer in duration ... but with the present cartwheel exit.

I think fixing the lifts would go a long way toward raising the way the judges think about their programs and their skating. The team knows how to maximize the levels, but it would be great if the lifts overall looked more graceful and airy.
 

Carolla5501

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I'm happy USFS has finally decided to drop C/L. they've been overscored. They manage to make everything look difficult. She's too tall. They come off as incredibly fake and overexaggerated in the performance. I'm thankful they managed to get our spot back, but what have you done for me lately?


Seriously? We have been watching male gay figure skaters pretend to love their partners for years and this couple is "incredibly fake"

And she's too tall? According to you? Would you mind posting your qualifications of the 'height judge for figure skating" LOL

And they have done a lot more for US Skating lately than any other pair out there... Now granted we didn't have worlds last year, but ... the standard for "what have you done for me lately" in USFS would probably be "got 2 spots at Worlds". It's not like the rest of the pairs we sent to worlds the year prior to Ashley and Tim managed to accomplish that LOL!
 

happycamper2554

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Seriously? We have been watching male gay figure skaters pretend to love their partners for years and this couple is "incredibly fake"

And she's too tall? According to you? Would you mind posting your qualifications of the 'height judge for figure skating" LOL

And they have done a lot more for US Skating lately than any other pair out there... Now granted we didn't have worlds last year, but ... the standard for "what have you done for me lately" in USFS would probably be "got 2 spots at Worlds". It's not like the rest of the pairs we sent to worlds the year prior to Ashley and Tim managed to accomplish that LOL!

The Pairs that we sent to worlds prior to Tim and Ashley don't exist anymore for good reason. Yes According to me she's to tall and this is a forum for opinions. Why should I have to qualify mine? Lately they botched both their grand prix's last year, when they had a chance for the final based on an easy draw and botched nationals with stupid mistakes. They haven't done anything great lately.
 

miffy

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Was there not a huge fuss here when C/L were still named to Worlds after skating poorly at Nationals? I am sure I remember a lot of upset over the US Fed favouring them, and now it suddenly seems to be the opposite and people think they are being dumped.
 

her grace

standing with Mariah
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I'm a little hesitant in believing that USFS doesn't support Ashley and Tim. Considering that all our pairs are quite inconsistent and healthwise are prone to injuries, it behooves the powers that be not to low brow any team. There's still much of this season to play out (the contagion hopefully not cancelling events) so I'm taking this as a wake up call for them to get their act together.
And considering USFS probably hasn't released Deanna S yet, I don't think Ashley and Tim skating for Australia or elsewhere is realistic, unless they're hoping for the 2026 Olympics

I'm a little hesitant, too, given that C/L were named to the world team last year and according to the conspiracy theory, USFS had already decided to dump C/L before their first real competition back. It doesn't make sense . . . though, it's not impossible to believe either, particularly now that Knierim/Frazier are (probably prematurely) predicted for wild success.

My feeling was also that USFSA is looking for reasons to mark Ashley and Tim down. Maybe it's just that they aren't being given the benefit of the doubt, in individual judges' minds.

She's been an underrotater for some time, which means her jumps probably receive more scrutiny than say Audrey Lu's. If you don't want to actively push a team, there's a known problem to hone in on.
I hope Ashley and Tim don't get discouraged by all this. I hope they'll just re-double their efforts to really highlight and polish all the things that they do brilliantly, especially showing their unison, passion, musicality, power/conviction, and audience connection.
Agreed. There are a lot of things that C/L do extremely well. I hope they focus on those and also on strengthening their weaknesses.

I think fixing the lifts would go a long way toward raising the way the judges think about their programs and their skating. The team knows how to maximize the levels, but it would be great if the lifts overall looked more graceful and airy.
This, too. For teams like Knierim/Knierim and Denney/Frazier of old or Calalang/Johnson of today, they have extremely strong pair elements to keep them up there if the jumps let them down. C/L don't have that cushion so they need their jumps more. Wasn't that one of the things people were so excited about when C/L teamed up, an American team that could jump?

Was there not a huge fuss here when C/L were still named to Worlds after skating poorly at Nationals? I am sure I remember a lot of upset over the US Fed favouring them, and now it suddenly seems to be the opposite and people think they are being dumped.

Yes. The Fed really shouldn't be favoring any of these teams. Let the skaters earn it on the ice.
 

beckab81

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Don't follow pairs so closely but a couple things struck me. First, Ashley Cain is a beautiful woman and great skater. But, she's too big for LeDuc. I feel nervous every time she goes up in a lift. Also, have questions about Catalong. Over the last 2 seasons she has not been able to perform side-by-side jumps. It's shades of Chris Kinieran. About once in every 4 competitions she gets through. Brian Johnson looks very solid. Maybe time to find him a new partner. There are several US ladies who are reliable jumpers but don't have the 4's/3A's to move up. Move over to pairs? I hate to see Johnson with such a promising career loose time with a limited partner.
Johnson has also had a number of issues with the SBS jumps, so I don't think it's fair to put it all on her. Calalang/Johnson have made huge strides since they paired up. They won the FS at US nationals, and came in 4th at 4CC. They were the top international team for the US last year. Why would you split them up when they are doing so well? It can take years for a singles skater to comfortably transition to pairs.

Other international teams struggle with SBS, it drives me crazy that everyone says US pairs can't land them.
 

skylark

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I'm happy USFS has finally decided to drop C/L. they've been overscored. They manage to make everything look difficult. She's too tall. They come off as incredibly fake and overexaggerated in the performance. I'm thankful they managed to get our spot back, but what have you done for me lately?
I don't agree with any of this. Which just goes to show that personal taste is a big part of whether one enjoys this skater or another more, in all of figure skating but in pairs and dance especially, because of the added dynamic of two people, and the style, persona, overall impression that they create together.

I love the dynamic that Ashley and Tim create, which I find dramatic and powerful and I don't see anything fake about it.

Which proves what Sandra Bezic has always said. What's great about figure skating is that has something for everyone.
 

greenapple

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Tarah and Danny have not announced their coaching decision yet but I promise I will let you guys know when they've made that decision (I will be posting it on their website).
With so few realistic options available it will not be a surprise if they return to Peterson. I don't think they really achieved anything with Sappenfied so I hope wherever they go they find their groove.
 

SkateFanBerlin

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Johnson has also had a number of issues with the SBS jumps, so I don't think it's fair to put it all on her. Calalang/Johnson have made huge strides since they paired up. They won the FS at US nationals, and came in 4th at 4CC. They were the top international team for the US last year. Why would you split them up when they are doing so well? It can take years for a singles skater to comfortably transition to pairs.

Other international teams struggle with SBS, it drives me crazy that everyone says US pairs can't land them.
Ashley Cain moved to pairs pretty quickly. Just fantasizing but if someone like Karen Chen moved to pairs?

In the competitions I've watched Johnson has landed them, so I don't know. Maybe other pairs struggle here too, but the winners do them.
 

skylark

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Ashley Cain moved to pairs pretty quickly. Just fantasizing but if someone like Karen Chen moved to pairs?

In the competitions I've watched Johnson has landed them, so I don't know. Maybe other pairs struggle here too, but the winners do them.

It's possible to make really quick progress in pairs, especially if you have an experienced partner. Nate Bartholomay is stellar. He and Katie McBeath paired up recently, and she looks like a natural. She looks like she was made for pairs and enjoys it so much. Nate also paired with Deanna Stellato in 2016, and Deanna was a phenomenon ... also partly due to Nate's partnering.

Just to be clear, I'm not advocating for Johnson to switch partners. Jessica and Brian are a match made in heaven artistically and connection-wise, and their lifts are simply gorgeous. Every new pair has to adjust their physical techniques on at least some of the elements. That includes SBS jumps. It's one thing to jump alone, but matching timing and technique while also learning to jump while being so close to another person is a challenge that takes patience. Jessica and Brian have come together beautifully in only a couple of years.
 

happycamper2554

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It's possible to make really quick progress in pairs, especially if you have an experienced partner. Nate Bartholomay is stellar. He and Katie McBeath paired up recently, and she looks like a natural. She looks like she was made for pairs and enjoys it so much. Nate also paired with Deanna Stellato in 2016, and Deanna was a phenomenon ... also partly due to Nate's partnering.

Just to be clear, I'm not advocating for Johnson to switch partners. Jessica and Brian are a match made in heaven artistically and connection-wise. Every new pair has to adjust their physical techniques on at least some of the elements. That includes SBS jumps. It's one thing to jump alone, but matching timing and technique while also learning to jump while being so close to another person is a challenge that takes patience. Jessica and Brian have come together beautifully in only a couple of years.

Jessica and Brian will be the next alexa and chris. Beautiful and talented but unable to land jumps when it counts. Leaving us all bitter and disapointed about wasted potential.
 

skylark

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Jessica and Brian will be the next alexa and chris. Beautiful and talented but unable to land jumps when it counts. Leaving us all bitter and disapointed about wasted potential.
Well, that's certainly possible. (ETA): other outcomes are also possible.
 
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Sylvia

Wishing I could go back to the Lake Placid JGP
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:lol: So much negativity in this thread! (I miss aftershocks. :() Speaking for myself, I think the U.S. is fortunate to have so many dedicated & hungry pair teams right now and I look forward to seeing them push each other & continue to improve.
 

nylynnr

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:lol: So much negativity in this thread! (I miss aftershocks. :() Speaking for myself, I think the U.S. is fortunate to have so many dedicated & hungry pair teams right now and I look forward to seeing them push each other & continue to improve.
I agree with Sylvia, which is not always the case .... While Calalang and Johnson had jump trouble in Vegas, their lifts were absolutely stunning and likely among the best in the world .... fewer people seem to talk about that. I think, sometimes, an inordinate amount of attention is paid to jumps when 1. jumps are not the top-earning pairs elements and 2. many non-U.S. teams flub jumps as well. Negativity in general, I think, has given U.S. pairs a worse international rep than they merit.
 

BittyBug

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Ashley Cain moved to pairs pretty quickly. Just fantasizing but if someone like Karen Chen moved to pairs?
:huh: Ashley Cain started on ice as a pairs skater and has competed with a number of different partners. She did also compete in singles and took a few years off from pairs when Josh Reagan (her last partner before LeDuc) split with her, but she has been a pairs skater since she started skating.

ETA: Sorry, I didn't see @nylynnr's post saying pretty much the same thing.
 

clairecloutier

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I agree with Sylvia, which is not always the case .... While Calalang and Johnson had jump trouble in Vegas, their lifts were absolutely stunning and likely among the best in the world .... fewer people seem to talk about that. I think, sometimes, an inordinate amount of attention is paid to jumps when 1. jumps are not the top-earning pairs elements and 2. many non-U.S. teams flub jumps as well. Negativity in general, I think, has given U.S. pairs a worse international rep than they merit.

All this is 100% true.
 

Willin

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I'm upset that C/L got dumped by USFS.

I think this just shows how short-sighted USFS is. C/L may not be the darlings of US judges, but international judges love C/L. By dumping them USFS is potentially holding back a pair that will get good scores internationally compared to, say, K/O or L/M. They're even competitive with C/J in the eyes of international judges. They should be more in the conversation.
 

SkateFanBerlin

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:huh: Ashley Cain started on ice as a pairs skater and has competed with a number of different partners. She did also compete in singles and took a few years off from pairs when Josh Reagan (her last partner before LeDuc) split with her, but she has been a pairs skater since she started skating.

ETA: Sorry, I didn't see @nylynnr's post saying pretty much the same thing.
Oh, didn't know she had been a pairs skater. So much for my theory.
 

Weve3

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I'm upset that C/L got dumped by USFS.

I think this just shows how short-sighted USFS is. C/L may not be the darlings of US judges, but international judges love C/L. By dumping them USFS is potentially holding back a pair that will get good scores internationally compared to, say, K/O or L/M. They're even competitive with C/J in the eyes of international judges. They should be more in the conversation.
Well said. I agree with you. I've been piling on (for better or for worse) USFS re this practice for years now. It's not just pairs, but across the board. Too many skaters become the original Alien movie crew - expendable.
 

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