2013 World Figure Skating Championships - Pairs Free Report
2013 World Figure Skating Championships
Pairs Free Skating
Disclaimer: The GOE values listed next to the elements are the ones, I'd award if I was a judge, to give you a general impression of how well it was executed. I try to describe each of the elements but there's not always time to be as detailed as I would like and those numbers can sometimes say a thousand words. So if you see positive GOE, it means an element was executed to a high standard (and yes, I am generally being very nitpicky ).
Any questions, comments, criticisms and discussion are very welcome.
1. Marissa CASTELLI / Simon SHNAPIR /USA/
Payadora by Julian Plaza
3twist quite good height and catch but heavily two-footed by him 
3toe  her landing a little bit ungainly, his good
throw 2axel  incredible height and distance, secure landing
axel lasso to one hand  nice extensions from her
flying camel/up L to up raised leg/change sit holding foot [-2] totally off-synch throughout
2axel/2toe(she singled) [-2] done very far apart
spiral entry to pair change combination spin  decent positions and rotation speed, nice touch with an illusion like move in between the positions
dance lift into throw 3salchow  enormous but a shaky landing
choreographic sequence  some nice moves from her, ugly unextended spiral from him
shoot-the-duck into fids with change of hold  good position
toe lasso to one hand with change of position 
star lift to change of position to full split to carry to one hand 
She's quite expressive and extends her movements well but he skates with rounded shoulders (which are very visible because of his height) and his movements are quite awkward. Some in character tango movements throughout. Strong lifts (the huge height difference plays in their favour here).
2. Mari VARTMANN / Aaron VAN CLEAVE /GER/
Passion of the Christ (soundtrack)
Blood and Glory by Audiomachine
2twist  high, strong catch
she stumbled on a crossover
3toe(hers good, he was off-axis and fell)/1toe(he didn't do it) [-3]
3salchow [-2] she doubled
throw 3loop [-3] underrorated slightly, fell and crashed into the boards
flying camel/sit/up leg to the side/change sit broken leg [-1] very far apart, off-synch after change of foot
choreographic sequence  nicely extended movements
backward lasso to one hand hold and dismount [-1] take-off a little strained, he two-footed the landing
axel lasso to change of position and one hand to upside down dismount [-1] a little laboured changing positions and on the dismount
unextended Y spiral held for a millisecond into fids  good position
counterbalance dance lift into star lift to one hand to carry to difficult dismount [-1] messy footwork from him
coe spread eagle into throw 3salchow  solid landing, nice extension
she fell suddenly but I'd consider that to happen after the element has taken place as she has shown control on the landing and held it for a while
biellman spiral entry into pair change combination spin  well extended positions but travelled a little bit at the end
They seemed tense and didn't present the program well. She has lovely extensions but his posture and lines are really weak and he moves like a bull in a china shop.
3. Nicole DELLA MONICA / Matteo GUARISE /ITA/
The Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber
3salchow(weak, over the toe landing and hand down, he singled)/2toe(she eeked out a single after he completed his) [-3]
2twist  high and solid
throw 3loop [-1] off-axis in the air but she landed it, not a strong running edge though
catchfoot spiral into fids  could lie a little lower
flying camel/sit/up raised leg/change sit/up L [-1] decently synchronised but could use more speed, done very far apart
2axel [-3] she overrotated with hands down (almost fell)
axel lasso to one hand star carry to change of position 
choreographic sequence: front spirals / a nice dance lift / ina bauers 
throw 2salchow [-1] opened up early, landing a little weak
step lasso to one hand hold and dismount  strong
star lift to one hand to difficult dismount  quite strong but landing a little weak, he didn't extend it at all and didn't even raise his free leg
pair change combination spin  could use more speed
A couple of nice choreographic touches here and there but they mostly skated from one element into another. They are quite elegant, however. Good chemistry between them, as well.
Their basic skating is not bad considering he has transitioned from roller skating not so long ago.
4. Stacey KEMP / David KING /GBR/
Pomp and Circumstance by Edward Elgar
opening movements looked like they were just going through the motions
3twist [-3] underrotated, big crash
3toe [-3] she doubled, he fell
throw 3flip [-3] heavily overrotated
choreographic sequence: front coe spirals / ina bauers 
2axel(she underrotated over half a revolution and stepped out)/half-loop/2toe(she singled won't count since she put her foot down after the axel) [-3]
Y spiral into fids  decent position
flying camel/sit/up/change sit broken leg  well synchronised but could use more speed
ina bauers to spread eagle to axel lasso to change of position to one hand  good entry, secure throughout
pair change combination spin [-1] slow
front spiral towards throw 3loop  solid landing but could use some more flow out
hand-on-hip lift with change of position to ina bauer carry [-1] tenative take-off, quite laboured, clunky footwork
toe lasso to one hand  - strong
There were a few transitions into the elements but other than that they mostly stroked from one element into another without much relation to the music.
Very surprising to see that solid throw loop at the end of the program. Kudos to them for finally attempting top tier jumping content.
5. Stefania BERTON / Ondrej HOTAREK /ITA/
Poeta en el viento by Vincente Amigo
3toe/2toe/2toe  high and solid, good flow throughout
3salchow [-2] she doubled
3twist [-2] crash, not a lot of height
reverse lasso to change of position to carry to difficult dismount  first change of position a little laboured
unextended shoot-the-duck held for a millisecond into fids with change of hold  position not that well extended
into pair change combination spin  decent positions and rotation speed
axel lasso to one hand  good flow throughout
choreographic sequence  steps, front spirals, steps
throw 3loop  not a very strong landing but she went deep in the knee and held it
throw 3salchow [-1] over the toe, landing slightly shaky and not a lot of flow out
press lift to one hand star to change of position to one hand [-1] a little laboured changing positions
flying camel to var/change sit holding foot to cannonball/up [-1] off-synch
The opening combination was excellent but later a number of bigger and smaller mistakes have crept in, unfortunately. Not skated as well as they are capable of.
They were elegant and presented the program well, however. The choreography could have used some more Flamenco character, though.
6. SUI Wenjing / HAN Cong /CHN/
Chicago (soundtrack) by John Kander and Fred Ebb
steps to 3twist with arm above  good height (although not as much as they used to have when she was tiny) and a decent catch
3toe(she cheated over a quarter and put hand down)/2toe(she cheated over half a revolution) both jumps off-synch (she took off later than him) [-3]
flying camel to upward catch/up/change sit broken leg 
choreographic sequence: interesting movements, nice character 
his leg going over her catch spiral into fids missed entry  lying very close to the ice but quite slow, creative entry
2axel [-3] she underrotated over half a revolution and fell
throw 3flip  huge, solid landing
roll up entry to press lift to change of position to another change of position and spread eagle carry to another change of position and one hand hold to dance lift dismount  (that was a very busy lift!)
to pair change combination spin  quite good to start with but last position weak, travelled a little and didn't have much speed in it
reverse lasso to two changes of position to full split [-1] a little strained changing positions at the start, her extension not very good (she needs to point her toes)
spread eagle to axel lasso to one hand to difficult dismount  quite strong but two-footed on the landing
dance lift to throw 3salchow [-2] big but two-footed
When I saw that Zoueva was choreographing their programs, I was worried she would make them skate to some boring, romantic, 'mature' dirge. Fortunately, she has seen sense and realised that Sui/Han's main strength lies in their perk, energy and expression. The program played that out really well. Their movements were fun and playful and the music fitted them perfectly.
After they finished their program, she fell down and looked like she was in a lot of pain. He had to help her to get up and make it to the Kiss & Cry. This is extremely disturbing. Did Chinese Federation really believe that they could earn 3 Olympic spots given both Sui and Tong are seriously injured? Do they want them to suffer permanent health damage (I guess they don't care much about Tong who will retire soon anyway)?
7. Alexa SCIMECA / Chris KNIERIM /USA/
Life Is Beautiful (soundtrack) by Nicola Piovani
3twist huge and with a clean catch but his free foot was late coming out 
throw 3lutz [-3] off-axis in the air, heavy step out
3salchow [-1] landings not very strong, flow out lacking (for him especially - he was over the toe)
toe lasso to change of position to carry 
catchfoot spiral into fids with change of hold 
dance lift towards throw 3loop  very good distance covered but there was an obvious set-up before the jump and the landing was a little scratchy and could have used some more flow out
2axel to 2toe  solid on all of the jumps
flying camel/sit/up/change sit broken leg(she changed her rotation centre considerably)/up  well synchronised but could use more speed
press lift to change of position to one hand 
choreographic sequence 
axel lasso to one hand hold to difficult dismount 
pair change combination spin  quite good positions and rotation speed
There is a great chemistry between them and their technical ability is really impressive for a team in their first season together.
A lot of polishing work is needed however. Posture and lines could be extended better and the choreography was quite simple and they didn't relate to the music much. Hopefully that will come with time. I hope that Sappenfield won't insist on doing the programs for them as they could surely benefit from another point of view
I hope they don't break their romantic relationship up since it would probably be very difficult for them to continue skating together then.
8. PENG Cheng / ZHANG Hao /CHN/
Poeta by Vincente Amigo
dance lift to 4twist good height but the rotation wasn't fully completed and she very slightly bumped onto his shoulder [-1]
3toe(she underrotated over a quarter and fell)/2toe(only he performed it so it didn't count) [-3]
it took her a little while to get up and back into the program
backward lasso lift with change of position to difficult dismount all on one hand  strong and secure but he two-footed the landing
throw 3loop [-3] fall, it intially looked like she landed it but 'slept through' the landing and was too late with the checkout
2axel she singled, he was over the toe and didn't have much flow out [-3]
flying camel coe/change sit holding foot(travelling a little)/up L  decent speed and synchronisation
throw 3salchow  impressive height and distance, very solid landing
axel lasso lift with change of position to one foot carry, all on one hand 
unextended shoot-the-duck held for a millisecond into bids 
pair change combination spin in both directions  could use more speed (the judges probably liked it because of the Mishkutenok position at the end)
choreographic sequence: spirals(quite well extended) / dance lift / steps 
press lift to change of position (full split) to difficult dismount 
Basic choreography, hardly any expression. Their movement was very unrefined. Definitely a lot of work to be done on their presentation.
One thing to note about this team. She is still very young and tiny and could very well not be past puberty yet. It's very easy for him to throw her around at this stage but is ther technique good enough to maintain this once she grows (which she most likely will to some extent)?
Bin Yao was looking very unimpressed in the Kiss & Cry.
9. Kirsten MOORE-TOWERS / Dylan MOSCOVITCH /CAN/
3twist  catch a little late and she slightly touched his shoulder, quite good though
3toe to 3toe  both high and very solid
3salchow  could use a little more speed and flow out
choreographic sequence  spirals done with a lot of speed
catchfoot spiral into fids with change of hold and position variation 
pair change combination spin  good positions and rotation speed
axel lasso to change of posiiton to one hand  strong
throw 3salchow [-2] good distance covered but off-axis in the air, two-footed the landing slightly and didn't hold it long
throw 3loop  huge, soft landing with a lot of flow out into a spread eagle
toe lasso lift to one hand to carry to one foot to reverse rotation 
flying camel/up L/change sit holding foot  good rotation speed
kneeling entry into star lift to rotation in both directions and change of position to full split  strong although I think they were meant to go to one hand at the end but didn't
Tons of speed and attack throughout. Pretty much all of their technical elements were executed to a high standard. It was the kind of performance that gives you goose bumps.
Choreography was a bit sparse, however. There a few suitable sweeping in character connecting movements here and there but not a lot was happening in between the elements and there was a lot of stroking. Which is a shame because they have proven in the SP that they can deal with skating a complex program. I guess FS is a different beast though and it's much more taxing stamina-wise.
10. Vera BAZAROVA / Yuri LARIONOV /RUS/
Spartacus by Aram Khatchaturian
3toe  landed well but a tiny bit off-synch (as usual for them)
2axel(she didn't get a lot of height and cheated over a quarter) into 2axel(weak landing from her, he singled) [-3]
whole length of rink of transitions into 3twist  huge and solid
throw 3flip  a lot of height and a secure landing but entry was quite long and she didn't have a lot of speed and flow out (it looked improved though, more distance than we've seen from them in the past)
bids with change of hold  very good rotation speed
flying camel/sit/camel var/change sit/up Y  very well synchronised, quite good rotation speed
choreographic sequence: front spirals / dance lift 
backward lasso on one to two changes of position to carry to difficult dismount  strong
transition towards throw 3loop  huge but a hand down from her
catchfoot spiral to one hand star lift with change of positon to difficult dismount 
axel lasso to reverse rotation to change of position to one hand  very solid lifting and nic extension from her but a little slow
to pair change combination spin  good positions and rotation speed
This was the best choreographed free program they have had so far. There were quite a lot of connecting movements throughout and it was laid out over the ice surface quite well also. Smooth over the ice.
They are still skating with totally blank facial expressions and could really use a good performance skills coach. Their technical ability is very impressive and if they could couple that with more attack and projection and carry some emotions across to the judges and the audience, they could make a huge impact.
She needs to develop more strength. She's extremely skinny and her side-by-side jumps are tiny.
11. PANG Qing / TONG Jian /CHN/
Cello Concerto by Edward Elgar
Enigma Variations by Edward Elgar
1axel into 2axel(strong) 
3twist  high, decent catch but his free foot was late coming out
3toe  he was slighty over the toe on landing
camel/change sit holding foot/up L  decently synchronised
nice transition with her in a split on his boot into catchfoot spiral into fids with change of hold  good entry and position but could use a little more speed
pair change combination spin  decent positions but could use some more speed
backward lasso to one hand 
choreographic sequence: front spirals / ina bauers / dance lift nicely extended 
throw 3salchow [-2] overrotated, two-footed take-off
throw 3loop good height, distance and flow out but a little bit shaky on the landing 
counterbalance dance lift into star lift to reverse rotation to one hand 
spread eagle and spiral into axel lasso to one hand and spread eagle carry, back to rotation to difficult dismount  a little slow
Detailed, sophisticated choreography presented beautifully. They seemed much more 'in the zone' than during the SP. Even though some mistakes were made, they didn't let that affect the presentation of the program at all.
12. Vanessa JAMES / Morgan CIPRES /FRA/
Pearl Harbour (soundtrack) by Hans Zimmer
3twist [-2] his hands were on her hips but she'd probably fall down with almost the same speed on her own, not a very strong catch, heavily two-footed by him
3salchow [-1] she was leaning badly, hand down
3toe(she doubled)/2toe with arm above/2toe [-1]
flying camel to var/up/change sit broken leg [-1] synch off, very far apart
catchfoot spiral to change of hold  nicely extended position
spread eagle to axel lasso to change of position to one hand solid 
transitions towards throw 3flip  high and very solid on the landing
transitions towards throw 3salchow  very high, a tiny bit over the toe though
choroegraphic sequence 
backward lasso to one hand hold and dismount [-1] two-footed by him
pair change combination spin  could use more speed
long dance lift to star lift to one hand to spread eagle carry [-1] very impressive entry but not a lot of speed, finished a little behind the music
She seemed very tense and the performance looked a little messy. They are capable of much stronger presentation (which they've proven in the short program). The choreography was quite generic and lacked character. Good speed, though.
13. Meagan DUHAMEL / Eric RADFORD /CAN/
Angel by Philippe Rombi
steps towards 3twist  very strong, light catch
3lutz  not a lot of flow out but good height, secure landings
choreographic sequence  lovely extensions
backward lasso to one hand hold and dismount  strong but two-footed by him
flying camel/sit/camel var/change sit to cannonball  synch could be a little sharper, no major problems but just a little off in places
spread eagle to axel lasso to change of position to one hand to difficult dismount with pull through between his legs 
3salchow(he cheated over a quarter, not a lot of flow out)/2toe(half a turnout from him)/2toe(he cheated over a quarter and turned out) [-3] he struggled throughout
to pair change combination spin  decent positions and rotation speed
throw 3loop  good height but slightly off-axis in the air and landing a little bit shaky
counter balance dance lift to press lift to reverse rotation to change of position to one hand carry, back to rotation to difficult dismount [-1] a little strained throughout, two-footed
throw 3lutz [-1] over the toe on the landing, no speed or flow out
Y spiral into fids with change of hold  quite good position
They are not yet at the level of some of the other top teams as far as the presentation goes but they are slowly getting there and there's a lot of improvement since last season. They could use a little more speed as well as some more flow out of their elements but they were quite smooth over the ice. Postures and lines could have been extended a little better but they have improved a lot already in that regard, Duhamel in particular. And they finally showed some emotions in their skating. Choroegraphy was decent, not outstanding and not as complex as in the SP but definitely better than most.
What is great about those two is the clear progress you see from one season to the next. If you think back to when they first started skating together, Radford was a quite weak partner and Duhamel had a lot of spunk but didn't know how to contain it and wasn't elegant at all. Gauthier has shown that he's arguably the best pair coach in the world by taking them up to this level. Hats off to him and his team.
14. Aliona SAVCHENKO / Robin SZOLKOWY /GER/
Flamenco Bolero by Gustavo Montessano
throw 3flip incredible height and distance 
3toe(she doubled) into 3toe(she doubled) [-3]
shoot-the-duck into fids with change of hold  very good position, creative exit with her going between his legs
flying camel/sit/up Y to up/change sit cannonball(synch a little bit off)  very good rotation speed
choreographic sequence  very well extended spirals
steps to dance lift to 3twist [-1] good flow throughout but crash on the catch
3salchow [-3] she doubled, he fell
spread eagles to lasso to change of position to one hand spread eagle carry 
backward lasso to one hand hold and dismount 
to pair change combination spin good positions, great flow throughout 
star lift to change of position to reverse rotation  a little slow going clockwise
throw 3axel [-2] two-footed, right at the end of the program (!!!)
Quite complex choreography featuring creative entries and exits into the elements and they generate speed really easily meaning they need much less cross-overs than the other teams. It was a really lackluster performance, however. It seemed as if they had given up because of the mistakes on the jumps and they didn't put as much energy into their movements or show as much expression as they are capable of.
Whilst technically that program is pretty complex (although not their best work), the constant tempo, the lack of light and shade and no obvious highlights mean it's not carried across very well. They are skating to the music as far as moving in time to it is concerned but both the public and the judges want to be entertained. If they are to make a big impact and challenge Volosozhar & Trankov's scores at the Olympics, they will need to show something more interesting, I think.
15. Yuko KAVAGUTI / Alexander Smirnov /RUS/
February by Leonid Levashkevich
3toe(he turned out) into 3toe(he doubled) [-3]
2axel  high and solid
dance lift to 3twist crash [-1]
unextended shoot-the-duck held for a millisecond into bids with change of hold  nice position
flying camel/sit/up raised fee leg/change up Y  well synchronised, rotation speed not bad
choreographic sequence: spread eagles / spirals  very well extended movements
backward lasso lift to one hand hold and dismount  strong, flowed well
throw 3salchow  a little off-axis in the air but held the landing ok
throw 3loop  good distance covered
star lift on one hand to change of position (upside down) 
axel lasso she fell down on his back shortly after the take-off and they had to abort it (so no value)
it took them a while to recover and get back to the program
pair change combination spin  a little slow
An elegant classical program feauturing well extended sweeping movements that flowed beautifully. Whilst technically they don't seem to be able to keep up with the top teams any more (probably as a result of multiple injuries), their presentation has really improved.
16. Tatiana VOLOSOZHAR / Maxim TRANKOV /RUS/
Violin Muse by Ikuko Kawai, based on Partita for Violin No. 2 by Johann Sebastian Bach and Chaconne by Tomaso Vitali
3twist huge 
spread eagles towards 3salchow  high and very solid
Y spiral to fids with change of hold  good position, could use a little bit more speed though
flying camel/sit var/up raised free leg/change camel/sit var/up Y  decent synch and rotation speed
throw 3loop  incredible height, perfect secure landing with a nice free leg extension
reverse lasso to change of position to one hand to difficult dismount  strong, lovely extension from her
short ina bauers to throw 3salchow  huge (a little bit shaky after the landing because the height was so incredible but she remained in control)
he fell a while after she landed
backward lasso on one hand 
choreographic sequence: mirrored spirals / spread eagles to ina bauers 
hip lift to one foot carry, back to rotation (one hand hold) to difficult dismount  in control throughout but could have used a little more speed
to pair change combination spin [-1] slow
Quite elegant movement and a lot of emotion carried across. Choreography was not very complex but they presented the program well.
Some absolutely incredible elements. That throw triple loop was perfect (well the entry could have been shorter but every other aspect of that jump was as good as it can possibly get). They did run out of steam at the end though and the few of their final elements weren't as strong.
There is absolutely no doubt that this was the best performance tonight and that they did deserve to win the gold medal but those extremely high marks were not warranted. I fear that we will now get the same situation as with Virtue/Moir and Davis/White who get showered with 10s and +3s whatever they actually execute on the ice.
Trankov admirers, you will be pleased to notice that there was a sizeable bulge on display from Maxim in the Kiss & Cry.