146 Athletes Advance to the 2021 Toyota U.S. Figure Skating Championships

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avatar credit: @miyan5605
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Feb 27, 2012
I have to say that I do understand why this had to be done this way. But I hope USFS doesn’t get a wild hair and decide this method is easier/cheaper because I HATE it. No emotion. Music sometimes difficult to hear and random skaters skating all around and through the long program. (I do know the skaters are used to that but as a spectator who plunks down money to watch this stuff on Peacock it was VERY distracting ...

My firm belief is that not in a million years would USFS ever consider virtual competition to be preferable during non-pandemic times.
Your post already alluded to the pandemic as the reason for the virtual format of Championship Series. Going virtual was preferable only in comparison to completely cancelling the series -- which would have meant no opportunity of any kind for skaters to compete.

To be fair to USFS:

When originally conceived as this pandemic season's qualifying structure, Championship Series was going to have eight in-person live competitions all over the country.​
Over 900 skaters (juvenile through senior) had registered for the in-person series. Depending on discipline and on supply/demand at particular sites, each skater potentially would have been able to compete at two events in the series.​
USFS (and LOCs) put a ton of effort into preparing to hold the in-person series -- with safety measures that met each locality's requirements.​
The in-person series was scheduled to begin on Nov 9. Only in the face of the worsening pandemic and increasing restrictions did USFS reluctantly decide on Nov 1 against the in-person series.​

I am very thankful to USFS for then making a quick pivot to organize the virtual series to allow juniors and seniors to qualify for Nats. And for making the decision to use its safety bubble in Vegas for Nats.
(USFS will hold virtual competition for juvenile thru novice during the first quarter of 2021.)



As for the results of Championship Series:

Congratulations to all who have advanced to Nats.​
Go, Jordan Moeller! The Browns won Junior Dance! I am happy for lots of other reasons too.​
At the same time, I am sad for those who had realistic hopes of advancing, but did not make the cut.​



ETA:

Where are the links?

The USFS Competition Central page for Championship Series is including the Peacock Premium links. The senior links already are there.


(With junior links to come.)​
 
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TontoK

Hot Tonto
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Just saw a tweet from TSL. Apparently Malinin had a foot injury and couldn't participate in the qualifying competition but has since recovered.

USFSA should give him some sort of bye. Considering his performance at Skate America, and also considering the fact that he's added a 4Z to his arsenal (not yet in competition) in addition to his other 2 quads, he's earned the opportunity.

Will he be competitive for the win, even the podium? Lord no. But the benefits of giving him this experience could well pay off down the road.

Nationals will be chock full of skaters without his content or potential.
 

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avatar credit: @miyan5605
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USFSA should give him some sort of bye. Considering his performance at Skate America, and also considering the fact that he's added a 4Z to his arsenal (not yet in competition) in addition to his other 2 quads, he's earned the opportunity.

Will he be competitive for the win, even the podium? Lord no. But the benefits of giving him this experience could well pay off down the road.

Nationals will be chock full of skaters without his content or potential.

I like @lutzboi/@quadg0d a lot and I regret that he will miss Nats ... but it would be a very slippery slope for USFS to give him a medical bye to Nats.

Per Rule 2513 in the USFS Rulebook for 2020-21 (page 134):

"2513 No medical byes will be granted to the U.S. Figure Skating Championships."​

The same rule has been in effect for years.

Of course you are entitled to your opinion, but I am surprised that you of all people would want a skater to receive any special dispensation, especially in contradiction of an explicit USFS rule.
In discussions of other USFS policies, I believe your position has been that you think it is wrong for "administrators" (I think that has been your word?) to have any discretion in making decisions -- because what happens on the immediate "field of play" is the only thing that matters to you.

Anyway, in my estimation, USFS long has been aware of Ilia's great potential.
I recall seeing a photo of Ilia and Alysa Liu at GPF/JGPF in Vancouver in Dec 2018 (they were with Patrick Chan).
USFS had sent young Alysa there to get a taste of the high-stakes competition as an observer, and I believe that the same was true for young Ilia.
Alysa at the time was the reigning U.S. junior champ, and had just won Senior Ladies at sectionals ... before going on to win her first national title in Senior Ladies a month later.
Ilia had just won Novice Men at sectionals ... before going on to place third in Novice Men at Nats. And USFS seemingly was taking him under its wing already.

ETA (on Dec 25):

For posterity, I think it is worth noting a more recent example that Ilia obviously has the attention of USFS: Although Ilia missed 2020 Nats (after qualifying) and was not part of the Junior Worlds selection camp thereafter, USFS nonetheless assigned him to 2020 Junior Worlds, where he placed 16th.
As I said, I like Ilia, and I hope that his experience from Junior Worlds will serve him well. But because USFS gave him the assignment, it did mean that someone else did not have a chance to go. (The first alternate was Dinh Tran, whom I like too.)​
 
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TontoK

Hot Tonto
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Country
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Of course you are entitled to your opinion, but I am surprised that you of all people would want a skater to receive any special dispensation, especially in contradiction of an explicit USFS rule.
In discussions of other USFS policies, I believe your position has been that you think it is wrong for "administrators" (I think that has been your word?) to have any discretion in making decisions -- because what happens on the immediate "field of play" is the only thing that matters to you.
There is validity in what you're saying, but with the caveat...

When I say decisions should be made on the field of play, I'm referring to team selections made on the basis of the Nationals results.

In this case, the decision is to deny Malinin the opportunity to compete on that field of play, and not some future decision based on the results.

Still, you are correct in the sense that I generally dislike administrative meddling, and making an exception for Malinin would be exactly that. If I'm being intellectually consistent, I have to agree with this outcome, even if I'm discontent with the decision.

Thanks for keeping me honest.
 

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avatar credit: @miyan5605
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There is validity in what you're saying, but with the caveat...

When I say decisions should be made on the field of play, I'm referring to team selections made on the basis of the Nationals results.

In this case, the decision is to deny Malinin the opportunity to compete on that field of play, and not some future decision based on the results.

Still, you are correct in the sense that I generally dislike administrative meddling, and making an exception for Malinin would be exactly that. If I'm being intellectually consistent, I have to agree with this outcome, even if I'm discontent with the decision.

Thanks for keeping me honest.

Just to clarify what I meant: I was referring to the three fields of plays on which skaters could have earned a spot at Senior Men's competition at 2021 Nats.

Those three fields of play:
- (a) Senior Men's competition at 2020 Nats, where top five earned byes to 2021 Nats.​
Not applicable to Ilia, who had qualified via sectionals for Junior Men's competition at 2020 Nats, before he had to miss 2020 Nats anyway.​
- (b) 2020 ISP Points Challenge, from which top four Senior Men (among those without a pre-existing bye to Nats) received byes to Nats.​
Ilia's ISP Points Challenge placement put him fifth in line for a bye to Nats. Close, but no cigar.​
- (c) 2020 Championship Series, from which top nine Senior Men advanced to Nats.​
Not applicable to Ilia, who did not compete in Championship Series. (Unofficial word is that injury was the reason.)​

Ilia was impressive at Skate America, but he did not earn a spot at 2021 Nats on any of the three fields of play that mattered for that purpose.

My best to Ilia for next season and beyond.
 
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moonvine

Record Breaker
Joined
Mar 14, 2007
My firm belief is that not in a million years would USFS ever consider virtual competition to be preferable during non-pandemic times.
Your post already alluded to the pandemic as the reason for the virtual format of Championship Series. Going virtual was preferable only in comparison to completely cancelling the series -- which would have meant no opportunity of any kind for skaters to compete.

To be fair to USFS:

When originally conceived as this pandemic season's qualifying structure, Championship Series was going to have eight in-person live competitions all over the country.​
Over 900 skaters (juvenile through senior) had registered for the in-person series. Depending on discipline and on supply/demand at particular sites, each skater potentially would have been able to compete at two events in the series.​
USFS (and LOCs) put a ton of effort into preparing to hold the in-person series -- with safety measures that met each locality's requirements.​
The in-person series was scheduled to begin on Nov 9. Only in the face of the worsening pandemic and increasing restrictions did USFS reluctantly decide on Nov 1 against the in-person series.​

I am very thankful to USFS for then making a quick pivot to organize the virtual series to allow juniors and seniors to qualify for Nats. And for making the decision to use its safety bubble in Vegas for Nats.
(USFS will hold virtual competition for juvenile thru novice during the first quarter of 2021.)



As for the results of Championship Series:

Congratulations to all who have advanced to Nats.​
Go, Jordan Moeller! The Browns won Junior Dance! I am happy for lots of other reasons too.​
At the same time, I am sad for those who had realistic hopes of advancing, but did not make the cut.​



ETA:

The USFS Competition Central page for Championship Series is including the Peacock Premium links. The senior links already are there.​

(With junior links to come.)​
I totally understand why USFS had to do this and am glad they were able to arrange something for the athletes. I can even see a benefit in that the x number of best skaters get to go to Nationals as opposed to 4 from this Sectionals and 4 from this other sectionals even though both competitions are almost certainly not equally competitive. And I expect it saves USFS money. I would think Regionals/Sectionals competitions would be big time money losers - do they even cost to attend? Other than the Regionals at Iceworks last year which was literally SRO because of Gracie I have never seen more than maybe 25 people at the very most at one of those competitions. But some of these skates have been almost unwatchable. The ladies were very bad for some reason with people skating around and through the program. The men’s and pairs were much better in that regard. Anyway, who cares about all that? Gracies going to Nationals!

I will now go bug Silvia Unseen about Andrew Austin and his lack of a video.
 

BlissfulSynergy

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Joined
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I agree with you @moonvine. But OTOH, I guess we're lucky to get any skating at all this season. I hope Nationals proceeds smoothly for all the skaters, coaches, support staff and officials. Are there detailed reports on how everything is planned to proceed?
 

moonvine

Record Breaker
Joined
Mar 14, 2007
I agree with you @moonvine. But OTOH, I guess we're lucky to get any skating at all this season. I hope Nationals proceeds smoothly for all the skaters, coaches, support staff and officials. Are there detailed reports on how everything is planned to proceed?
Yes indeed. Any skating this season is good skating. I am continuing to pray enough shots go into arms for Philadelphia International to happen next year.

I have seen no detailed reports other than the cardboard cutouts are for sale again. Tabitha will be attending virtually. She regrets she will be unable to give Gracie her roses as she lacks opposable thumbs even when not a cardboard cutout.

I believe the event will be similar to Skate America and the skaters will be in a bubble. Other than that I’m not sure.
 

BlissfulSynergy

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It looks like quite a few former juniors moved up to senior men, since there were so many competitors. I realize that Emmanuel Savary lost a lot of points on a popped jump and a double intended as a triple in a combo sequence. Still, his skating is sooo good. And he performed pretty well throughout his program. It will be a loss for Nationals that Emmanuel Savary was shut out of attending this season!

They must be limiting the number of skaters at Nationals. They should have at least allowed the top 12 men to attend U.S. Nationals. I enjoyed Savary's, Sjoberg's, Moeller's, and Dinh Tran's performances. Naumov is a good skater too, but he needs to mature more and come into his own expressively.

Male skaters session from Group 1 is not posted on Peacock site. I only see access to Peacock Male skaters Group 2.
 

moonvine

Record Breaker
Joined
Mar 14, 2007
It looks like quite a few former juniors moved up to senior men, since there were so many competitors. I realize that Emmanuel Savary lost a lot of points on a popped jump and a double intended as a triple in a combo sequence. Still, his skating is sooo good. And he performed pretty well throughout his program. It will be a loss for Nationals that Emmanuel Savary was shut out of attending this season!

They must be limiting the number of skaters at Nationals. They should have at least allowed the top 12 men to attend U.S. Nationals. I enjoyed Savary's, Sjoberg's, Moeller's, and Dinh Tran's performances. Naumov is a good skater too, but he needs to mature more and come into his own expressively.

Male skaters session from Group 1 is not posted on Peacock site. I only see access to Peacock Male skaters Group 2.
Yes Lucas almost made it!
Andrew Austin beat Emanuel at Sectionals last year but did not get to attend nationals due to not making a high enough score. Emanuel then pulled out and I never found out why. So I didn’t get to see either of them skate.
That is odd about the other group. None of the dance is posted either.
 

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avatar credit: @miyan5605
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... It will be a loss for Nationals that Emmanuel Savary was shut out of attending this season!

They must be limiting the number of skaters at Nationals. They should have at least allowed the top 12 men to attend U.S. Nationals. ...

Yes Lucas almost made it! ...

None of the dance is posted either.

My take is that safety probably was a very important consideration for USFS when it decided on the quotas for Nats entries.

I always cheer for Lucas Altieri, Emmanuel Savary, Sebastien Payannet, and Ben Jalovick, and I am especially sad that these favorites of mine did not advance in Senior Men.

But ... the Nats safety bubble already will have 50% more senior skaters (in every discipline) than the Skate America bubble (which was successful).
50% more skaters means more coaches must be in the Nats bubble as well.
If the quotas at Nats were even larger, even more skaters and even more coaches would need to be permitted into the safety bubble.

(BTW, as I mentioned in another thread, USFS is requiring everyone in the Nats bubble to undergo a second round of mandatory COVID during the first week [senior competition]. And for coaches and anyone else staying for the second week [junior competition], USFS is requiring a third round of mandatory testing.)

ETA (on Dec 31):

Now that the color-coded schedule for Nats has been published, I can see that another reason not to have larger fields is that the arena (with only its one sheet of ice) already has some very long days -- and an additional group of Senior Men and an additional group of Senior Ladies would have made very long days even longer.​

Regarding dance videos:
- Championship Series did not have a competition for Senior Dance.​
Several senior couples have advanced to Nats anyway -- without having pre-existing byes. (Eight senior couples did have pre-existing byes.)​
- The videos for Juniors (including Junior Dance) are supposed to be added to Peacock Premium next week.​



... I totally understand why USFS had to do this and am glad they were able to arrange something for the athletes. I can even see a benefit in that the x number of best skaters get to go to Nationals as opposed to 4 from this Sectionals and 4 from this other sectionals even though both competitions are almost certainly not equally competitive. And I expect it saves USFS money. I would think Regionals/Sectionals competitions would be big time money losers - do they even cost to attend? Other than the Regionals at Iceworks last year which was literally SRO because of Gracie I have never seen more than maybe 25 people at the very most at one of those competitions. ...

Throughout this season of pandemic, USFS has said that (I'm paraphrasing) its first choice would be to give skaters opportunities to have the invaluable experience of competing at in-person live events. (As demonstrated by its strong attempts to hold the in-person live Championship Series events.)
Because in-person live events have not always been possible this season for USFS, virtual events have been better than complete cancellation.

I have little knowledge of the money aspects of regional/sectionals, but some thoughts:
I believe that regionals/sectionals generally are hosted by LOCs that have experience in holding their own club competitions.​
Way back when, gkelly wrote an informative GS post explaining some of the money aspects of club competitions -- which I think would apply also to regionals/sectionals. I'm sorry that I do not remember which thread contains gkelly's post.​
And I'm sorry that I do not remember everything that gkelly discussed, but IIRC, gkelly said that as sources of revenue, registration fees far outweigh ticket fees (if any). (But to answer your question, moonvine: Spectators at some regionals/sectionals are required to pay modest ticket fees, according to what I have noticed on some of their websites.)​
I think the event's official vendors of videography (with or without streaming) and photography also must pay fees to the LOCs.
ETA (on Dec 26):
I have found the helpful post from @gkelly. The first part says:​
"For the club competition, they'll make most of their income from the skaters' registration fees and practice ice sales. Also from vendor fees.​
A hundred or so admission fees would be a drop in the bucket in comparison. ..."​
With sponsorships (such as signage on boards) as another possible source of revenue.​
IceWorks in Aston has hosted regionals repeatedly (before Gracie ever was there), and other locations have been repeat hosts as well -- which would suggest that whatever the money aspects are, they have not been a dealbreaker for them.​

(BTW, as a general aside: Because you made note that nationwide placements from virtual Championship Series are what determined advancement to Nats, I will get off my chest that for this reason, I dislike seeing casual references to the series as "virtual sectionals." Again, I'm making a general digression -- not pointing a finger at you, moonvine.
ETA (on Dec 28): And no personal offense intended against anyone at all. A "thing" of my own, I guess.)​

ETA (on Dec 31):

Came back to add some hard numbers to show that for better or worse, not taking sections into account did make a big difference as to who did and did not qualify for Nats. For example:

- Top nine Senior Ladies and top nine Senior Men advanced from Championship Series to Nats.
Six of the top nine Senior Ladies are from Eastern section. Only one is from Pacific Coast section.

- Top twelve Junior Ladies and top twelve Junior Men advanced from Championship Series to Nats.
Six of the top twelve Junior Ladies are from Midwestern section. Only two are from Eastern section.
 
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moonvine

Record Breaker
Joined
Mar 14, 2007
My take is that safety probably was a very important consideration for USFS when it decided on the quotas for Nats entries.

I always cheer for Lucas Altieri, Emmanuel Savary, Sebastien Payannet, and Ben Jalovick, and I am especially sad that these favorites of mine did not advance in Senior Men.

But ... the Nats safety bubble already will have 50% more senior skaters (in every discipline) than the Skate America bubble (which was successful).
50% more skaters means more coaches must be in the Nats bubble as well.
If the quotas at Nats were even larger, even more skaters and even more coaches would need to be permitted into the safety bubble.

(BTW, as I mentioned in another thread, USFS is requiring everyone in the Nats bubble to undergo a second round of mandatory COVID during the first week [senior competition]. And for coaches and anyone else staying for the second week [junior competition], USFS is requiring a third round of mandatory testing.)

Regarding dance videos:
- Championship Series did not have a competition for Senior Dance.​
Several senior couples have advanced to Nats anyway -- without having pre-existing byes. (Eight senior couples did have pre-existing byes.)​
- The videos for Juniors (including Junior Dance) are supposed to be added to Peacock Premium next week.​





Throughout this season of pandemic, USFS has said that (I'm paraphrasing) its first choice would be to give skaters opportunities to have the invaluable experience of competing at in-person live events. (As demonstrated by its strong attempts to hold the in-person live Championship Series events.)
Because in-person live events have not always been possible this season for USFS, virtual events have been better than complete cancellation.

I have little knowledge of the money aspects of regional/sectionals, but some thoughts:
I believe that regionals/sectionals generally are hosted by LOCs that have experience in holding their own club competitions.​
Way back when, gkelly wrote an informative GS post explaining some of the money aspects of club competitions -- which I think would apply also to regionals/sectionals. I'm sorry that I do not remember which thread contains gkelly's post.​
And I'm sorry that I do not remember everything that gkelly discussed, but IIRC, gkelly said that as sources of revenue, registration fees far outweigh ticket fees (if any). (But to answer your question, moonvine: Spectators at some regionals/sectionals are required to pay modest ticket fees, according to what I have noticed on some of their websites.)​
I think the event's official vendors of videography (with or without streaming) and photography also must pay fees to the LOCs. With sponsorships (such as signage on boards) as another possible source of revenue.​
IceWorks in Aston has hosted regionals repeatedly (before Gracie ever was there), and other locations have been repeat hosts as well -- which would suggest that whatever the money aspects are, they have not been a dealbreaker for them.​

(BTW, as a general aside: Because you made note that nationwide placements from virtual Championship Series are what determined advancement to Nats, I will get off my chest that for this reason, I dislike seeing casual references to the series as "virtual sectionals." Again, I'm making a general digression -- not pointing a finger at you, moonvine.)
You don’t want to know what I’ve been calling them in my head!
 

zanadude

Medalist
Joined
Feb 20, 2016
Country
Japan
It's a joke. Very few people support the skaters more than I do. When I say half of them should be cut from the lineup until they can measure up to Russian levels of skating, in what world do you think I am being serious? Apparently most people around here are incapable of detecting humor though, since a mod already decided to delete the post and your reply. I guess I'll have to put a *humor* tag on any such posts in the future, and ruin the joke by explicitly stating it's meant to be facetious and not literal.
Or just not do poorly executed jokes. Or, if you can't tell the difference, stay away from humor altogether.
 

mrrice

Record Breaker
Joined
Jul 9, 2014
These Nationals are going to be quite interesting. Other than Nathan, I don't really have a feel for who will be in the final flight for the Men. I'm guessing Vincent as well but, that's really it right now.

As for the Ladies, if they're healthy, I still see the same top 3 although, I'd like to see Bradie regain her title.
 

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avatar credit: @miyan5605
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Feb 27, 2012
Today Fan Zone added a fun dance challenge video featuring about twenty of the Nats seniors.
It is about a minute long, and I feel sure that it would give any GS member a big smile.


It obviously was produced before Christina and Anthony's withdrawal, and it was bittersweet to see them among the happy faces.

But I loved that the point (IMO) was to show the collective energy and joy of the group that participated.
It pleased me very much that a wide net was cast -- to include skaters ranging from first-time senior entries at Nats to popular Olympians. (With all disciplines represented.)

ETA (on Jan 12):

Update: Today USFS has tweeted the fun dance challenge video.
(And on Twitter, there is no need to sit through the ad that Fan Zone automatically plays first.)





Good luck to all the seniors and juniors in Vegas over the next two weeks!
 
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BlissfulSynergy

On the Ice
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Sep 1, 2020
Country
Mars
^^ Thanks for the link to the funny dance challenge video.

I also noticed the videos from past skaters promoting watching Nationals on the livestreaming platform. It was nice hearing from Carol Heiss Jenkins and her hubby, Hayes Jenkins:
Carol & Hayes Jenkins | Watch With Us - U.S. Figure Skating Fan Zone

They both look to be doing well. I was born in the decade that they were winning championship medals, so I never saw either of them during their era. I didn't learn about skating until Peggy Fleming's success at the 1968 Olympics (televised for the first time in color). LOL!

Carol and Hayes are such an important part of skating history. I wish the sport would find more and better ways to connect with and to celebrate all the greats of the sport who are still with us. Also finding ways to promote more about the sport's beauty and history would be a good thing.

I suppose skating will always be considered a niche sport because of its beauty and artistry. Still, with better leadership, there might be a way to promote skating and skaters to a larger, interested viewing audience. There are skating videos on YouTube that intrigue mainstream viewers, but the sport has not learned how to harness that interest to build a larger, dedicated fanbase.

Hayes Alan Jenkins - Wikipedia

Carol Heiss - Wikipedia
 
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moonvine

Record Breaker
Joined
Mar 14, 2007
^^ Thanks for the link to the funny dance challenge video.

I also noticed the videos from past skaters promoting watching Nationals on the livestreaming platform. It was nice hearing from Carol Heiss Jenkins and her hubby, Hayes Jenkins:
Carol & Hayes Jenkins | Watch With Us - U.S. Figure Skating Fan Zone

They both look to be doing well. I was born in the decade that they were winning championship medals, so I never saw either of them during their era. I didn't learn about skating until Peggy Fleming's success at the 1968 Olympics (televised for the first time in color). LOL!

Carol and Hayes are such an important part of skating history. I wish the sport would find more and better ways to connect with and to celebrate all the greats of the sport who are still with us. Also finding ways to promote more about the sport's beauty and history would be a good thing.

I suppose skating will always be considered a niche sport because of its beauty and artistry. Still, with better leadership, there might be a way to promote skating and skaters to a larger, interested viewing audience. There are skating videos on YouTube that intrigue mainstream viewers, but the sport has not learned how to harness that interest to build a larger, dedicated fanbase.

Hayes Alan Jenkins - Wikipedia

Carol Heiss - Wikipedia
One can (or could. I haven’t checked in some time) access every gymnastics competition except the Olympics going back to the 1970s on USA gymnastics YouTube channel. It would be nice if USFS did a similar thing. Say sell access to the current season on Peacock and then put all of it up for free the following year.
 

Skater Boy

Record Breaker
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
She did it! Gracie Gold did it. Like a yucca plant, like a weed, you can't get rid of her.She is fierce and determined. Her dream is alive still. you have to give that to her. I know some people say for ehr to give it up but it is hard to give up on a dream. She is lucky she has the resources still. We will see what she does.
 

Steinbeck

Rinkside
Joined
Jul 15, 2016
She did it! Gracie Gold did it. Like a yucca plant, like a weed, you can't get rid of her.She is fierce and determined. Her dream is alive still. you have to give that to her. I know some people say for ehr to give it up but it is hard to give up on a dream. She is lucky she has the resources still. We will see what she does.
I found myself really rooting for her while watching the practice cam yesterday. She clearly has it in her, physically.... if she could just get past herself!
 
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