ISU, stop promoting 2-foot skating!
Pairs SP Report - 2013 Cup of China
2013 Cup of China
Pairs – Short Program
Links to other Cup of China reports:
Ice Dance - Short Dance
Disclaimer: The GOE values listed next to the elements are ones I would award if I was judging the event and they’re intended to give you a general impression of how each element was executed. I try to describe each of the elements in detail but there's not always time to be as precise as I would like.
I try to pay a lot of attention to detail and attempt to notice various errors that judges might have missed. I realise that I’m being very critical but I try my best to apply the same high standard to all of the skaters.
Any questions, comments, criticisms and discussion are all very welcome.
1. WANG Xuehan / WANG Lei /CHN/
footwork towards 3twist [-1] – quite high but two-footed (0-1)
3toe  – very solid and perfectly synchronised
reverse lasso to change of position  – her positions extended quite well, decent flow throughout
throw 3loop [-3] – off-axis in the air, fall
spread eagle and Y spiral into back inside death spiral with change of hold  – quite good position and good rotation speed
straight line step sequence  – movements well accentuated and flow not bad but a little off-synch at the end
to pair change combination spin  – decent positions and rotation speed
They are not the most balletic skaters but their movement was quite soft and controlled and they seemed to have paid a lot of attention to presenting the program throughout. The program was quite well choreographed with most of the elements flowing well into one another, with some connecting movements in between.
This was very impressive for a previously unknown Chinese team. I was expecting big jumps and nothing else but it looks like Yao Bin’s team places much bigger emphasis on creating a complete package right from the start.
2. Felicia ZHANG / Nathan BARTHOLOMAY /USA/
Carousel Waltz by Rodgers and Hammerstein
footwork towards 3twist [-2] – not a lot of height, slightly underrotated, two-footed
3toe [-3] – he fell, she cheated over 1/4
throw 3flip  – solid landing
straight line step sequence  – ok but could use some more speed and flow and stronger upper body movement
reverse lasso to change of position and one hand hold to difficult dismount 
shoot-the-duck into backward inside death spiral with change of hold  – position quite low but could use more speed and a stronger edge
to pair change combination spin  – decent rotation speed
They skated to music with a strong rhythm and highlights and their movements weren’t ‘big’ and accentuated enough to interpret it appropriately. The program had a couple of nice choreographic touches at the start but fizzled out later on, becoming not much more than a series of elements.
Peterson said a very unconvincing ‘Ok guys, not bad’ after they walked off the ice (he was probably trying to be positive, as a coach should).
3. PENG Cheng / ZHANG Hao /CHN/
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (soundtrack) by Tan Dun
3toe [-2] – she overrotated, his solid
L spiral into back inside death spiral with change of hold(in catch position until the change of hold)  – decent position and rotation speed
into pair change combination spin  – good rotation speed, positions could have been extended better, though
3twist  – high, strong catch but she was quite limp with her posture and lines not extended well
throw 3loop  – a lot of height and distance, landing very slightly shaky though, it could have use some more flow out
straight line step sequence  - not a lot of flow
lasso to one hand to change of position and one hand to difficult dismount [-1] – two-footed, her positions lacked extension (+1-1-1)
Their presentation has improved since last season. The program flowed quite well over the ice and their movement was quite fluid and controlled. They showed some emotions as well and their movements were decently extended.
Unfortunately, Peng did not pay attention to her body lines on the elements. On the spin, twist and the lift her positions were quite limp and not extended well.
The program could have used some more upper body movement and connecting elements. I imagine that Nichol’s idea was to give them something which would be easy enough to skate clean, whilst flowing quite well and she succeeded in that.
A lot of work to be done still to try to catch up to the top teams but they seem to be moving in the right direction. They have beaten their previous Personal Best by 4.32 points.
4. Anastasia MARTIUSHEVA / Alexei ROGONOV /RUS/
Sarabande performed by Escala
3toe  – entry a tiny bit off-synch
3twist [-2] – landed on his shoulder, two-footed (0-1-1)
throw 3flip  – decent height and distance, quite a solid landing (although could have used a little more speed and flow out)
fan kick and catch spiral into back inside death spiral with change of hold  – decent position and edge
step in lasso to change of position and one hand hold to impressive difficult dismount  – quite good flow throughout
circular step sequence [-1] – very bizarre choreography with each of them doing their own thing, no synchronisation whatsoever, in the first half, it looked very messy; not a lot of speed and flow
pair change combination spin  – rotation speed not very fast; before the change of foot, as she was in the Y position, he lifted her over the ice, which made the element void
There was quite a lot of upper body movement throughout but it wasn’t precise and didn’t seem very purposeful or coherent. They weren’t delivering it with a lot of conviction. Expression was lacking. Their basics are quite decent, though.
It’s a real shame that after they have managed to successfully land their jumps (she is usually very inconsistent), there came that really costly mistake on the spin.
5. Alexa SCIMECA / Chris KNIERIM /USA/
Papa, Can You Hear Me?
3twist  – good height and decent catch, free foot a little late coming out though
throw 3flip [-1] – very good height and distance but a hand down and a telegraphed entry
3salchow [-3] – both fell
pair change combination spin  – could use a little more speed, lost the flow slightly going into the last position
axel lasso to change of position and one hand to difficult dismount  – solid
shoot-the-duck into back inside death spiral with change of hold 
straight line step sequence 
Program was laid out on the ice quite well and they skated with decent flow and power. However, I am not sure that this kind of melancholic longato music is the best match for them as their postures and lines still need some work. His in particular, as he skated with rounded shoulders and didn’t fully extend his movements, but she is also a little stiff in the upper body and her hips aren’t ‘tucked in.’
Despite the mistakes, they have improved their personal best by 2.26 points.
Their ISU biography has Moonlight Sonata listed (their last season’s SP) but they skated a new program to “Papa, Can You Hear Me?”, choreographed by Catarina Lindgren.
6. Daria POPOVA / Bruno MASSOT /FRA/
Les Aristochats by C2C
pair change combination spin  – good rotation speed and flow
3twist [-1] – clean catch but he lost his balance after putting her down on the ice
3toe [-3] – entry a little off-synch, she underrotated over 1/4, two-footed and fell
throw 3flip [-2] – quite good height and distance but off-axis in the air and two-footed
reverse lasso to change of position and one hand to another change of position and one hand to difficult dismount  – not a lot of flow
Y spiral into back inside death spiral with change of hold [-2] – weak edge, not a lot of speed, touch down with free foot coming out
straight line step sequence [-1] – lacked speed and flow
The program started well with some in character movements and closed holds but as the mistakes started creeping in, they looked tense – she in particular – and both the quality of execution of their elements and the presentation suffered as they movements got quite wooden and they seemed focused on ‘surviving’ each element at a time.
7. PANG Qing / TONG Jian /CHN/
Lady Caliph by Ennio Morricone
3toe [-1] – his solid, hers cheated over 1/4 and lacking flow out
3twist  – quite high and clean catch but slightly two-footed (+1-1)
throw 3loop  – good height and distance
back inside death spiral with change of hold  – could use some more speed
reverse lasso to change of position and one hand to difficult dismount  – good flow and well extended positions but two-footed (+2-1)
straight line step sequence  – flowed quite well
pair change combination spin  – could use a little more speed
Controlled, quite elegant movement throughout. The program flowed well.
Just like with Peng/Zhang, whilst their choreography could have used some more highlights and connecting elements, they were capable of delivering it very well, playing to their strengths (which is especially important now, given his knee issues).
I think that the judges have been a little generous on the GOE. Their elements were decent but the quality of execution wasn’t outstanding.
8. Aliona SAVCHENKO / Robin SZOLKOWY /GER/
When Winter Comes by Chris de Burgh, arranged by Andre Rieu
steps towards 3twist  – improved height and decent flow but catch assisted by his shoulder (+1-1)
3toe [-2] – he cheated over 1/4 and put hand down, short entry with dance lift preceding the jump, though
Y spiral and shoot-the-duck into back inside death spiral with change of hold  – good position, edge and rotation speed
reverse lasso to change of position and one hand hold and dismount  – well extended positions, quite effortless
straight line step sequence  – footwork was crisp and flowed well but too many stops in the first half
throw 3axel [-3] – slightly underrotated, two-footed, step out, long and deliberate entry
pair change combination spin  – decent rotation speed
Good flow over the ice and elegant upper body movement but the program wasn’t as complex as some of their previous work (nowhere near “Send in the Clowns,” I’m afraid).
The set-up to the 3axel was particularly jarring as they basically stopped presenting the program and spent some time just skating forward, preparing for it, not even paying attention to their arm movement.
As for the base level on the pair change combination spin which they got, a possible reason might be that all of the sit positions were too high (skating leg wasn’t bent enough in the knee so that the upper part of it would be parallel to the ice surface).