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Thread: 2019-20 U.S. Pairs Figure Skating

  1. #241
    Gazing at a Glorious Great Lakes sunset skylark's Avatar
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    Both the Knierims and Cain-Gribble/Leduc are capable of finishng ahead of KMT/M at Worlds. Both pairs have finished with higher scores than MT/M did at 4cc this year. So I have hope! I love the Canadians, not as much as I love C-G/L, but the nice thing there is that the two couples have such opposite strengths and styles that it's a pleasure to watch and cheer for both. MT/M have historically made more mistakes at Worlds than their usual. Last year at Worlds, Ashley and Tim were only .06 of a point behind them in the FS. I don't wish anyone ill, but anything's possible.

    Actually, I really believe that all 3 pairs have the opportunity and the ability to regroup in the next few weeks and mentally overcome their setbacks from the past few. So it's gonna be exciting!

    Ashley and Tim had all the US pairs chasing them this year. It's hard; that's why we haven't had 2 years-in-a-row pairs champions since 2014. I think they'll be motivated to show their best at worlds and do their best for America. For them personally, and for USA, I hope it works in their favor.

    As far as Marinaro making a stupid mistake on fs 4CC, true, but it was only a 1 point deduction. Kirsten's doubled sal on the 3-jump combo cost them at least 3 to 4 points. Then, Michael doubled the toe.

    I still think it will be a great step forward for C-G/L and K/K to keep 2 spots, in terms of US Pairs and their collective journey. And that is likely. But it's, on paper, looking at numbers and season's results, possible that they could have great skates and earn 3 spots for next year.

    Like many people, I feel uneasy about the Knierims because of the confusion about their reasons for withdrawing from 4CC after the short. But they have the right to keep it private. If they train hard and do well at Worlds, all the questions will dissolve, I would think. As far as @Skater Boy's question, will it be their swan song? I wouldn't count on it. They've kept going no matter what. As a personal feeling, I feel bad for Chris. Not being a mind-reader, I don't know whether he's losing motivation or not, but he's in a very tough spot. It must be awful to feel like he's letting his skating partner down, and then double that, to feel he's letting his wife down. But he's clearly stated he doesn't care what anyone else thinks or says.

    ETA: I love Calalang and Johnson, and I'm so proud of how they've shown what they can do. They really are beautiful together. I also think we in the USA have a tendency to be more excited about the new team. It may or may not be as hard for C/J to follow up as it usually is for pairs or skaters in general. But I'd like for us to be like the Canadians and Russians and Chinese. Don't completely abandon the old toy just because there's a pretty new toy, and keep all their welfare in mind.

  2. #242
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    Quote Originally Posted by skylark View Post
    Somehow my mind glided over this when I read your post before. But my point above (and I don't know whether you read my post or not, since you were quoting moonvine), was that what he misses is probably the activity of tinkering, which is a great mental de-compressor, the way piano playing is for me. Not that he was overly attached to the cars, although in the previous article it sounded like the Camero was special.




    That's just it! There's never any reason they can't .... fill in the blank! Although I don't agree that even on paper they're better than K&M.
    My POV is...they are the #1 US Pair (injured last year). Their job is to represent the US at International Figure Skating events. They shouldn’t have to sell their possessions to do their job. It’s like me paying to go to work. And having to spend time coaching instead of training (and this applies to all Team USA figure skaters), hawking products, etc leaves them with less time to train and potentially worse competition results.

  3. #243
    Gazing at a Glorious Great Lakes sunset skylark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moonvine View Post
    My POV is...they are the #1 US Pair (injured last year). Their job is to represent the US at International Figure Skating events. They shouldn’t have to sell their possessions to do their job. It’s like me paying to go to work. And having to spend time coaching instead of training (and this applies to all Team USA figure skaters), hawking products, etc leaves them with less time to train and potentially worse competition results.
    My POV is that there's room for discussion about who's the #1 US Pair. Injuries, and dealing with confidence challenges in the aftermath of those injuries, have been a big part of the journeys of Denney/Frazier and Kayne/O'Shea, US Champions in recent years, not just the Knierims. Not to mention Ashley's concussion last year.

    Who says their job is to represent the US at International Figure Skating events? It's an honor and an opportunity, not a job, IMO. Finding and sustaining funding is something all the US pairs have to deal with. Who are you suggesting should be funding the Knierims? Tim LeDuc worked on a cruise ship for two years and banked most of his salary for the express purpose of having money to go back to training for high-level competition. K/K are not alone in having to find money for training.

    You bring up something that's been fascinating me the past few weeks. In a competition thread, I clicked on a pair's ISU bio and noticed that it listed how many hours a week they train, both in low season and in high season. It varies greatly among the top teams and top single skaters. Ash & Tim listed 32 hours, both low and high. Tarah and Danny said 47, I think. Nathan Chen said 30 in low season and 23 in high season. The Knierims said 15 hours, low and high seasons. It sounds like they spend a pretty good portion of those 15 hours on Raf, and jumping. Which could help explain what I've been thinking all season: that their other elements are suffering, and even the things that are so good or so automatic to them, like a death spiral, are lacking in attention.

  4. #244
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    Quote Originally Posted by skylark View Post
    My POV is that there's room for discussion about who's the #1 US Pair. Injuries, and dealing with confidence challenges in the aftermath of those injuries, have been a big part of the journeys of Denney/Frazier and Kayne/O'Shea, US Champions in recent years, not just the Knierims. Not to mention Ashley's concussion last year.

    Who says their job is to represent the US at International Figure Skating events? It's an honor and an opportunity, not a job, IMO. Finding and sustaining funding is something all the US pairs have to deal with. Who are you suggesting should be funding the Knierims? Tim LeDuc worked on a cruise ship for two years and banked most of his salary for the express purpose of having money to go back to training for high-level competition. K/K are not alone in having to find money for training.

    You bring up something that's been fascinating me the past few weeks. In a competition thread, I clicked on a pair's ISU bio and noticed that it listed how many hours a week they train, both in low season and in high season. It varies greatly among the top teams and top single skaters. Ash & Tim listed 32 hours, both low and high. Tarah and Danny said 47, I think. Nathan Chen said 30 in low season and 23 in high season. The Knierims said 15 hours, low and high seasons. It sounds like they spend a pretty good portion of those 15 hours on Raf, and jumping. Which could help explain what I've been thinking all season: that their other elements are suffering, and even the things that are so good or so automatic to them, like a death spiral, are lacking in attention.
    So we have different opinions. In my opinion it is a job. (Also an honor). I didn’t suggest they were alone in having difficulty securing funding. I said they should not have to sell off their possessions. It is ridiculous.

    If you look at other big time Olympic sports, one can do them in high school, get free scholarship to college (and free room, board, coaching during college) and then go to the Olympics. The track and field athletes don’t have to train, coach, maintain the field. The swimmers don’t have to train, coach, be lifeguards at the pool. They just train. Obviously there are athletes with sponsors and private coaches but it is possible to get to the Olympics from your college team.

    There are other smaller time sports where things are very, very difficult. I was reading about a female Olympic weightlifter who was having to get food from the food bank and her coach was having to supplement that with protein because everything from the food bank was cheap carbs. There’s a female shooter who has won a medal in every Olympics since 1976, but doesn’t have a sponsor because shooting isn’t a big time sport.

    I hadn’t noticed Chris and Alexa’s other elements suffering in general. They had a very large and strange collection of mistakes at their last GP. Just rewatching the broadcast from US Nationals, Tara and Johnny say Alexa and Chris are world quality and the other teams are high quality. Lord knows I don’t always agree with Tara and Johnny, but I do on this point.

    By the way, I actually like all of our top 4-5 teams. I don’t want any of them having to sell off their possessions to be able to afford training to represent the US in International competitions. At all.

    Of course I can’t afford it, but I’d love to fully fund Chris and Alexas training for a year and see what they were able to do without worrying about money.

  5. #245
    Gazing at a Glorious Great Lakes sunset skylark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moonvine View Post
    So we have different opinions. In my opinion it is a job. (Also an honor). I didn’t suggest they were alone in having difficulty securing funding. I said they should not have to sell off their possessions. It is ridiculous.

    By the way, I actually like all of our top 4-5 teams. I don’t want any of them having to sell off their possessions to be able to afford training to represent the US in International competitions. At all.

    I think you misunderstood me, my apologies. What I was getting at is, who do you think should fund Alexa/Chris? And who else should that same group/same people be funding, from our top 4 or 5 pairs?

    The other thing is ... I don't think of it as "should." I dislike that Chris and Alexa needed to sell off some prized possessions, and as I said before, to me it's even more because it was an activity that (in my belief) probably gave Chris a lot of equilibrium and stability. But no one said they should do it. It was a choice (not an easy one), and Chris has said it was a sacrifice.

    But maybe you're just making a larger statement about equal funding with other olympic sports.

  6. #246
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    Quote Originally Posted by skylark View Post
    Both the Knierims and Cain-Gribble/Leduc are capable of finishng ahead of KMT/M at Worlds. Both pairs have finished with higher scores than MT/M did at 4cc this year. So I have hope! I love the Canadians, not as much as I love C-G/L, but the nice thing there is that the two couples have such opposite strengths and styles that it's a pleasure to watch and cheer for both. MT/M have historically made more mistakes at Worlds than their usual. Last year at Worlds, Ashley and Tim were only .06 of a point behind them in the FS. I don't wish anyone ill, but anything's possible.

    Actually, I really believe that all 3 pairs have the opportunity and the ability to regroup in the next few weeks and mentally overcome their setbacks from the past few. So it's gonna be exciting!

    Ashley and Tim had all the US pairs chasing them this year. It's hard; that's why we haven't had 2 years-in-a-row pairs champions since 2014. I think they'll be motivated to show their best at worlds and do their best for America. For them personally, and for USA, I hope it works in their favor.

    As far as Marinaro making a stupid mistake on fs 4CC, true, but it was only a 1 point deduction. Kirsten's doubled sal on the 3-jump combo cost them at least 3 to 4 points. Then, Michael doubled the toe.

    I still think it will be a great step forward for C-G/L and K/K to keep 2 spots, in terms of US Pairs and their collective journey. And that is likely. But it's, on paper, looking at numbers and season's results, possible that they could have great skates and earn 3 spots for next year.

    Like many people, I feel uneasy about the Knierims because of the confusion about their reasons for withdrawing from 4CC after the short. But they have the right to keep it private. If they train hard and do well at Worlds, all the questions will dissolve, I would think. As far as @Skater Boy's question, will it be their swan song? I wouldn't count on it. They've kept going no matter what. As a personal feeling, I feel bad for Chris. Not being a mind-reader, I don't know whether he's losing motivation or not, but he's in a very tough spot. It must be awful to feel like he's letting his skating partner down, and then double that, to feel he's letting his wife down. But he's clearly stated he doesn't care what anyone else thinks or says.

    ETA: I love Calalang and Johnson, and I'm so proud of how they've shown what they can do. They really are beautiful together. I also think we in the USA have a tendency to be more excited about the new team. It may or may not be as hard for C/J to follow up as it usually is for pairs or skaters in general. But I'd like for us to be like the Canadians and Russians and Chinese. Don't completely abandon the old toy just because there's a pretty new toy, and keep all their welfare in mind.
    I agree with great skates they could get three teams but I do think the Canadians will be key. They also are very capable of both being out of the top ten but could still have enough for two teams. The Knerims are very unpredictable. I think we will see think them long and hard a about continuing but like I mentioned with Alexa's latest venture in respect to selling bags this may suggest they are skating on. Other than the American skating fans and maybe the Christian community bag there is a limited market or appeal and she certainly is no Yuna Kim or Mao Asada. It would be nice if everyone could skate their best.

  7. #247
    Gazing at a Glorious Great Lakes sunset skylark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moonvine View Post
    Their job is to represent the US at International Figure Skating events. They shouldn’t have to sell their possessions to do their job.
    I remembered what was tickling the back of my mind. I know a young man who's working hard to build a new massage therapy business. He got his degree in August. His wife has a stable income as an Occupational Therapist, and they have a new baby, so she works fewer hours a week to stay home with the baby an extra day. In order to keep up with their expenses, they're selling a number of their possessions, some more or less "prized," while he's working to get the business off the ground.

    In our system, those are choices people sometimes have to make. It's not like having a salaried job. It's not exactly the same as the Knierims' choice, but the same idea, IMO.

  8. #248
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    Quote Originally Posted by moonvine View Post

    Of course I can’t afford it, but I’d love to fully fund Chris and Alexas training for a year and see what they were able to do without worrying about money.
    You'd be their patron. A time-honored idea. The funny thing is, the only patrons we usually hear about are the skaters' families.

    Scott Hamilton had a patron, a couple who believed in his skating and knew about his need through a 3rd party. He would have had to quit before he ever got to his first Olympics otherwise, IIRC. There may be (surely?) more recent examples, just I haven't heard of them. Come to think of it, maybe Scott called them his sponsors, not patrons.

  9. #249
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    Quote Originally Posted by skylark View Post
    You'd be their patron. A time-honored idea. The funny thing is, the only patrons we usually hear about are the skaters' families.

    Scott Hamilton had a patron, a couple who believed in his skating and knew about his need through a 3rd party. He would have had to quit before he ever got to his first Olympics otherwise, IIRC. There may be (surely?) more recent examples, just I haven't heard of them. Come to think of it, maybe Scott called them his sponsors, not patrons.
    I would be willing to bet that the Knierims, like many other skaters, have a GoFundMe and that moonvine could post the details of it in their FanFest, if it’s not there already

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    Quote Originally Posted by skylark View Post
    You'd be their patron. A time-honored idea. The funny thing is, the only patrons we usually hear about are the skaters' families.

    Scott Hamilton had a patron, a couple who believed in his skating and knew about his need through a 3rd party. He would have had to quit before he ever got to his first Olympics otherwise, IIRC. There may be (surely?) more recent examples, just I haven't heard of them. Come to think of it, maybe Scott called them his sponsors, not patrons.
    At the time Scott Hamilton was skating I was under the impression that would not have been allowed. Accepting money for skating would have made one a professional. Things were very different back then.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skylark View Post
    I think you misunderstood me, my apologies. What I was getting at is, who do you think should fund Alexa/Chris? And who else should that same group/same people be funding, from our top 4 or 5 pairs?

    The other thing is ... I don't think of it as "should." I dislike that Chris and Alexa needed to sell off some prized possessions, and as I said before, to me it's even more because it was an activity that (in my belief) probably gave Chris a lot of equilibrium and stability. But no one said they should do it. It was a choice (not an easy one), and Chris has said it was a sacrifice.

    But maybe you're just making a larger statement about equal funding with other olympic sports.
    Yes. I am. I wonder if there is some Olympic sport that makes a lot of money that could fund the other Olympic sports, similar to how NCAA Football funds (at least at my Alma Mater) all the other sports at the school? The obvious International one would be soccer, but not in the US. I wonder if any of the money we spend on Sports Gold ends up with the athletes. I’d also like to see US Figure Skating fundraising more aggressively, but Brent either didn’t like or said they had already tried my suggestions.

  12. #252
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    Quote Originally Posted by moonvine View Post
    I wonder if any of the money we spend on Sports Gold ends up with the athletes. I’d also like to see US Figure Skating fundraising more aggressively, but Brent either didn’t like or said they had already tried my suggestions.
    I’m guessing no but you raise a valid point. What about a check off on the cart page for NBC Gold where you could designate a portion of the fee to help defer training costs for a US skater?

    Was that one of the suggestions that USFS didn’t like?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seven Sisters View Post
    I’m guessing no but you raise a valid point. What about a check off on the cart page for NBC Gold where you could designate a portion of the fee to help defer training costs for a US skater?

    Was that one of the suggestions that USFS didn’t like?
    No. He didn’t like signing up for Amazon Smile (said they had done it and no one signed up) and allowing people to donate cars through Donationline (the service our charity uses) or similar service. Oh and monetizing Rise - which basically means no one can get it. But you have a great idea there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skylark View Post
    Scott Hamilton had a patron, a couple who believed in his skating and knew about his need through a 3rd party. He would have had to quit before he ever got to his first Olympics otherwise, IIRC. There may be (surely?) more recent examples, just I haven't heard of them. Come to think of it, maybe Scott called them his sponsors, not patrons.
    Quote Originally Posted by moonvine View Post
    At the time Scott Hamilton was skating I was under the impression that would not have been allowed. Accepting money for skating would have made one a professional. Things were very different back then.
    Although skaters couldn't earn money from skating, there were circumstances under which skaters could accept outside money for training. I don't know exactly how those circumstances were defined, but I do know that Torvill and Dean were awarded a grant by the City of Nottingham to fund their training for the 1980-1984 quadrennial. Perhaps it was precisely because the city got nothing in return--no performances, no advertising or endorsements, no swag--that this was considered permissible. I'm sure gkelly or another expert poster will know more than I do.

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    I am not sure either but possibly it is because she was a clerk for a local insurance agent in Nottingham and he was a police officer and the locals took their success to heart and wanted to send them all the way. They were national heroes then and now. I think everyone in UK then knew who Torville and Dean were whereas not everyone in the USA has the same knowledge of US pairs.

  16. #256
    Gazing at a Glorious Great Lakes sunset skylark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moonvine View Post
    At the time Scott Hamilton was skating I was under the impression that would not have been allowed. Accepting money for skating would have made one a professional. Things were very different back then.
    I read it in one of Scott's books. I assume they paid his training and competition expenses, they didn't pay him and he had no personal gain. I remember the story pretty vividly, but not the details. Over the years, they became like an honorary aunt and uncle.

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    After watching Nationals and 4CCs, I do worry that SK/K and CG/L haven't had any clear momentum this season. Something has happened at some point to both pairs, casting doubt on their ability to deliver at Worlds: Knierims recovered from a poor showing at NHK by delivering good performances at Nationals, only to go south at 4CCs. CG/L had fine performances at GS, then did not perform all that well at Nationals and skipped 4CCs. I think there is a path for them to get 3 spots for the US, but the odds are long: All 3 Russian pairs, 2 Chinese pairs and MT/M are still doing better overall. Then, I noticed the Italians DM/G are getting some mojo back, scoring 194 at Euros. C/J also finished 4th at 4CCs with 196. I really wish the USFSA would've made a decision like Skate Canada after 4CCs

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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympic View Post
    After watching Nationals and 4CCs, I do worry that SK/K and CG/L haven't had any clear momentum this season. Something has happened at some point to both pairs, casting doubt on their ability to deliver at Worlds: Knierims recovered from a poor showing at NHK by delivering good performances at Nationals, only to go south at 4CCs. CG/L had fine performances at GS, then did not perform all that well at Nationals and skipped 4CCs. I think there is a path for them to get 3 spots for the US, but the odds are long: All 3 Russian pairs, 2 Chinese pairs and MT/M are still doing better overall. Then, I noticed the Italians DM/G are getting some mojo back, scoring 194 at Euros. C/J also finished 4th at 4CCs with 196. I really wish the USFSA would've made a decision like Skate Canada after 4CCs
    I think Canada only did that because they had only one spot. Otherwise it would be quite unusual to not send your national champion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by moonvine View Post
    I think Canada only did that because they had only one spot. Otherwise it would be quite unusual to not send your national champion.
    That was in men. Canada postponed team selection in other disciplines as well. Olympic may very well have been talking about Canada's team selection in pairs, where they named the national champion (and clear leaders in all selection criteria) after nationals but kept the second spot open until after 4CC. In the pairs case, the team order was the same at 4CC as it was at nationals, but they did wait.

  20. #260
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympic View Post
    After watching Nationals and 4CCs, I do worry that SK/K and CG/L haven't had any clear momentum this season. Something has happened at some point to both pairs, casting doubt on their ability to deliver at Worlds: Knierims recovered from a poor showing at NHK by delivering good performances at Nationals, only to go south at 4CCs. CG/L had fine performances at GS, then did not perform all that well at Nationals and skipped 4CCs. I think there is a path for them to get 3 spots for the US, but the odds are long: All 3 Russian pairs, 2 Chinese pairs and MT/M are still doing better overall. Then, I noticed the Italians DM/G are getting some mojo back, scoring 194 at Euros. C/J also finished 4th at 4CCs with 196. I really wish the USFSA would've made a decision like Skate Canada after 4CCs

    Olympic, I agree with you. While I like both pairs that the US is sending to Worlds, I don't have a lot of faith in either. With SK/K, Chris is inconsistent with his side-by-side triples. Given all the issues they've had with their skating the past few seasons (injuries and such) I doubt whether or not they can put it together for Worlds. I feel the same way with CG/L. With this pair, it's Ashley who seems to struggle with consistency. They continue to attempt the throw triple Lutz, but I don't think I've seen her land it cleanly this season. (I did miss quite a few competitions this season, so I may have missed her land it.)

    I think it will be some time before the US gets three spots for the World team, but I would love to be proved wrong.

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