2018 US Championships Sr. Pairs SP | Page 9 | Golden Skate

2018 US Championships Sr. Pairs SP

TCAngel18

Medalist
Joined
Feb 19, 2006
After watching some of the teams on YT after the fact, I do agree that the Knierims should be in first, but Stellato/Bartholomay should be in a very close second. They don’t skate as big as the Knierims, but definitely bigger than Kayne/O’Shea, including their pair elements. They also have a sureness that projects well. I would LOVE to see S/B get that 2nd World’s spot.
 

gold12345

Medalist
Joined
Dec 14, 2007
I think Castelli/Tran were a bit better than a fraction of a point over Pfund/Santillan and Cain/LeDuc. Cain/LeDuc got a few +1s for their triple twist, in which Ashley crashed down and had to grab Tim's back (it's also not a high quality twist to begin with). It's concerning the judges here seem to be missing obvious twist issues.


I think Knierim/Knierim could have gotten within 2 points or so of their score here internationally. There was very little inflation for them. Kayne/O'Shea probably had about 8 points of inflation. The GOE for some of their elements, notably the twist and throw, simply don't make sense. K/K probably would have an 8-10 pt lead if it was an international competition.

K/K got 8.2 points for their 3twist. Denney/Frazier got 8.1 points. These twists are not at the same level and there should be a bigger gap, like there always is in international competition. It would be easier to differentiate between the two twists if they weren't also giving the weaker twists in the event +1s.


I'm not much of a complainer over scores. I can usually make heads-or-tails over why teams score the way they do. However, this Nationals scoring throws me for a loop. It's especially interesting because K/K are by far the best US pair in this quadrennium, and you would think if there was going to be inflation, that they would actually benefit from it, but instead it mostly just benefited the others.
 

readernick

Medalist
Joined
Dec 5, 2015
The scoring was OK. The judges are competent. On to the LP. :yes:

Lol. I don't think this quote is going to stop the post-event "discussions" but nice try :) Good effort! Anyway, for the most part placements are okay even if the PCS scores are quite random. :)
 

Art&Sport

Medalist
Joined
Apr 28, 2011
I think USFSA do not hate D/F abs C/T but D/F are dealing with somewhat being punished and have slipped in the game of politics which plays a big part in figure skating as we know. Sure they have not helped themselves but today they did look stronger then any previous competition and although Frazier did a double they clearly have improved. Hopefully they have tough skin and keep going after this season. C/T unfortunately are also held down and low on the political ladder due to Tran not a US Citizen.

Not a bad assessment, but not exactly correct either. D/F are not 'being punished' as you term it. D/F are fortunate to be ahead of Liu/Johnson. USFS was very supportive toward D/F after Worlds 2017, in encouraging them not to give up. Haven came back from a serious injury, and she should be praised for even being able to skate again. It's unfortunately the ISU who doesn't obviously know how to appreciate the increased depth among pairs internationally. They should have allowed more teams to qualify for the Worlds 2017 fp, especially with new and good teams coming up from juniors.

While Haven was rehabbing her knee during the year away from competition, Brandon was busy working on his aesthetics, and it shows. His body awareness and dynamics are much improved. Quite often one partner will have jump troubles during a performance after being worried about the other's inconsistencies on jumps. That's what happened here for D/F and for L/J somewhat.

While C/T are held down, it's largely because of the fact they haven't figured out how to resolve their sbs jump issues. Of course politically Mervin can't make the Olympics, but with a clean performance, they could have made a statement for being on the World team at least. Too bad they didn't because they are one of the best stylistic teams in the world. The problem is they were unable to get off to a good start when they first joined up and there was excitement around their pairing. Then they began having jumping difficulties, which is probably caused by them having different technique which caused unison problems, and resultant psychological impact on their confidence.
 

readernick

Medalist
Joined
Dec 5, 2015
Not a bad assessment, but not exactly correct either. D/F are not 'being punished' as you term it. USFS has been very supportive toward D/F after Worlds 2017, in encouraging them not to give up. Haven came back from a serious injury, and she should be praised for even being able to skate again. It's unfortunately the ISU who doesn't obviously know how to appreciate the increased depth among pairs internationally. They should have allowed more teams to qualify for the fp, especially with new and good teams coming up from juniors.

While C/T are held down, it's largely because of the fact they haven't figured out how to resolve their SBS jump issues. Of course, politically Mervin can't make the Olympics, but with a clean performance, they could have made a statement for being on the World team at least. Too bad they didn't because they are one of the best stylistic teams in the world. The problem is they were unable to get off to a good start when they first joined up and there was excitement around their pairing. Then they began having jumping difficulties, which is probably caused by them having different technique which caused unison problems, and resultant psychological impact on their confidence.

True, but I think they have actually made improvements this year. Their pair elements and their throws are so much better this year. They seem like more of a pair. It is just the SBS jumps. They have to relearn their technique or something. It was a problem in their previous pairings and together. Hope they focus on SBS jumps the entire offseason and come back landing them because besides SK/K they are the only US pairs team who skates big.
 

Art&Sport

Medalist
Joined
Apr 28, 2011
True, but I think they have actually made improvements this year. Their pair elements and their throws are so much better this year. They seem like more of a pair. It is just the SBS jumps. They have to relearn their technique or something. It was a problem in their previous pairings and together. Hope they focus on SBS jumps the entire offseason and come back landing them because besides SK/K they are the only US pairs team who skates big.

If you are speaking of C/T. Sure, it definitely shows that they've been working hard on trying to solve the problem. Sometimes she lands and he doesn't, and then he lands and she doesn't, or they both fall. Ironically, they landed their sbs jumps at SA 2016 and were doing fine until a slight miscue on a lift of all things led to a disaster in not getting any points for that element. They were devastated, and it showed. They spiraled down the rest of that season, unfortunately. Their other elements have always been quite good (especially their speed & skating skills). But sure they've also been improving consistency on their 3-twist and ironing out other elements, aside from being unable to figure out the jump mysteries.
 

SarahSynchro

Record Breaker
Joined
Mar 7, 2014
Country
Canada
Ah stop with throwing shade. It's not just Haven/Brandon's fault. The ISU rules are in error with the increased depth in pairs worldwide. The ISU should have permitted more teams to qualify. The stakes were already loaded against U.S. teams, and both U.S. teams at Worlds in 2017 were coming back from serious health issues. The fact that Haven Denney is even skating again after the type of surgery she sustained on her knee should be cause for celebration.

Haven had trouble with landing her triples cleanly last year, and with an entire season off rehabbing, they both had a lot to overcome in their first season back. And they can hold their heads up for how they've come through, and are improving in some areas this season. They were trying to hard at Worlds 2017 and they blew it on a couple of elements in pairs. End of story. Should they now be tarred and feathered and run out on a rail forever? They are not to be blamed. They are a good team with very strong lifts and they've improved aesthetically. As Brooke Castile noted, D/F mainly need to improve consistent speed and flow, as well as fully regain their confidence.

I outright said I wasn’t throwing shade, but anyway, thank you for answering. During worlds last April, I don’t recall seeing an official explanation, nor have I seen one currently.

I apologize if it came off as being snarky, as you are right, I’m sure they feel bad about it themselves, even though it is what it is, and they aren’t the sole reason for only one American pair spot.
 

labgoat

Sipping a strawberry lemonade on a hot day…
Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 3, 2007
Country
United-States
Ah stop with throwing shade. It's not just Haven/Brandon's fault. The ISU rules are in error with the increased depth in pairs worldwide. The ISU should have permitted more teams to qualify. The stakes were already loaded against U.S. teams, and both U.S. teams at Worlds in 2017 were coming back from serious health issues. The fact that Haven Denney is even skating again after the type of surgery she sustained on her knee should be cause for celebration.

Haven had trouble with landing her triples cleanly last year, and with an entire season off rehabbing, they both had a lot to overcome in their first season back. And they can hold their heads up for how they've come through, and are improving in some areas this season. They were trying to hard at Worlds 2017 and they blew it on a couple of elements in pairs. End of story. Should they now be tarred and feathered and run out on a rail forever? They are not to be blamed. They are a good team with very strong lifts and they've improved aesthetically. As Brooke Castile noted, D/F mainly need to improve consistent speed and flow, as well as fully regain their confidence.

Haven's knee is noticeably better, you can tell by the lack of a brace and the way she trusts herself on all jumps. She is too be commended for her persistence. Perhaps being able to move freely is also be source of her wonderful expression.
 

bobbob

Medalist
Joined
Feb 7, 2014
That's true, and to be honest, it's something I've noticed about Americans in general (and I am one). We seem to like to see an upstart step in and show up the experienced ones, and I'm not just talking about figure skating, but in all walks of life. When I say "we," it's an observation about the collective. But I don't like that tendency. To me, it sort of seems like thumbing your nose at experience and the tried-and-true qualities that uphold standards.

But having said that, I'm not immune to the happiness that comes when an exciting new pair makes a splash. It may also be related to the emotional climate they create, which is entirely separate from questions of technique. I'm completely on board with that ... because all of figure skating, for me, is about what the skaters can make me feel, what emotions they can convey through their skating. A sport that relies on technical excellence only does absolutely nothing for me.

I get your point, and in general I think in life its definitely to try new things and go for it!

Maybe I've overthinking things but I think Nationals scoring is putting the wrong thing in the minds of some of these skaters, and it isn't helping anyone. Other countries use Nationals scoring to prop up their strongest skaters, while in the US reputable skaters are scored poorly compared to new faces, which helps no one. Look how much Canada pushes Kaetlyn Osmond despite horrendous skates at Nationals, near perfect PCS scores...new faces have no chance...maybe now it's too late but in the last few years had US propped Ashley up at Nationals (and they would actually be justified in doing so based on international PCS scores), instead of pushing Polina and Karen (neither of whom were getting anything close to their nationals scores internationally) for no apparent reason, perhaps she could be getting higher reputation scores on the international circuit. The debacle in 2014 wouldn't have occured either. In pairs too, erratic judging makes it difficult to cement a national number 1 team (although SK/K have made it clear they are) which affects international scoring. Additionally, this is giving added stress to top skaters who have to worry about placements on World and Olympic teams based on a singular erratically judged event versus a body of work. And skaters who are scored questionably at nationals are deflated when they realize that their scores were highly inflated and not representative of what they deserve or will get internationally. Take Polina, who was hanging with Ashley and Gracie for a few years at nationals, but got much lower scores internationally. Zhang and Bartholomay is another example--they should never have been chosen over D/C in the first place, and they skated well at Olympics and Worlds but never had a chance. Even in 2010, McLaughlin and Brubaker should have gotten a chance but poor nationals scoring pretty much ended their career.
 

Manuel Pablo Arnao

Figure Skating Fan & Real Estate Agent in LA!
On the Ice
Joined
Jan 15, 2014
Stellato and Bartholomay deserve to be in 1st. The judges robbed them in the PCS.

Kayne and O'Shea have a terrible twist that should have gotten - GOE but got +. Their program is boring, uninspired and forgettable.

Denney and Frazier skated spastic. The fact that he 'allegedly' practices 30 triple salchows every day and then misses it here when it counts is just ridiculous.

Castelli and Tran are just sad to watch. They NEVER land their side by side jumps. How is that possible? They've been together so long and they each have so much experience in competitions yet they STILL fail every single time. It's almost a joke. I still can't believe they got 2nd last year.

Conclusion- Judging in this event is a complete joke
 

skylark

Gazing at a Glorious Great Lakes sunset
Record Breaker
Joined
Aug 12, 2014
Country
United-States
I get your point, and in general I think in life its definitely to try new things and go for it!

Maybe I've overthinking things but I think Nationals scoring is putting the wrong thing in the minds of some of these skaters, and it isn't helping anyone. Other countries use Nationals scoring to prop up their strongest skaters, while in the US reputable skaters are scored poorly compared to new faces, which helps no one. Look how much Canada pushes Kaetlyn Osmond despite horrendous skates at Nationals, near perfect PCS scores...new faces have no chance...maybe now it's too late but in the last few years had US propped Ashley up at Nationals (and they would actually be justified in doing so based on international PCS scores), instead of pushing Polina and Karen (neither of whom were getting anything close to their nationals scores internationally) for no apparent reason, perhaps she could be getting higher reputation scores on the international circuit. The debacle in 2014 wouldn't have occured either. In pairs too, erratic judging makes it difficult to cement a national number 1 team (although SK/K have made it clear they are) which affects international scoring. Additionally, this is giving added stress to top skaters who have to worry about placements on World and Olympic teams based on a singular erratically judged event versus a body of work. And skaters who are scored questionably at nationals are deflated when they realize that their scores were highly inflated and not representative of what they deserve or will get internationally. Take Polina, who was hanging with Ashley and Gracie for a few years at nationals, but got much lower scores internationally. Zhang and Bartholomay is another example--they should never have been chosen over D/C in the first place, and they skated well at Olympics and Worlds but never had a chance. Even in 2010, McLaughlin and Brubaker should have gotten a chance but poor nationals scoring pretty much ended their career.

Well, I completely agree with everything you said. I now see what you mean in the context of figure skating. It's true that such erratic judging puts our skaters at a disadvantage internationally. I would much rather we would send our best skaters out with a mantle of confidence born of knowing that they're unquestionably our champions and have our backing. I've often wondered why Ashley has had to earn everything she's gotten; she gets the PCS only when she has the TES. You articulated it all very well; thanks. The ironic thing is that it then makes everyone insecure; they can see that they're subject to the same dynamic.

Liking the new over the old, tried and true, is a principle for embracing the possible, and it's part of our national character. So it's great in that way. We invented our country by challenging a way of thinking that was great in itself but had ingrained limitations... like everything does, but it was specific limitations that the former colonists objected to, which applied to what they could see at the time. That's a different conversation, but to me there's a relationship.

Note: I wanted to reply to you last night, after I finally was ready to let go of the thrill of the men's competitions. But my internet went out (we live in a high-winds area), and the only people in my family who could fix it were either asleep or in a different city! :laugh:
 

gold12345

Medalist
Joined
Dec 14, 2007
Stellato and Bartholomay deserve to be in 1st. The judges robbed them in the PCS.

Kayne and O'Shea have a terrible twist that should have gotten - GOE but got +. Their program is boring, uninspired and forgettable.

Denney and Frazier skated spastic. The fact that he 'allegedly' practices 30 triple salchows every day and then misses it here when it counts is just ridiculous.

Castelli and Tran are just sad to watch. They NEVER land their side by side jumps. How is that possible? They've been together so long and they each have so much experience in competitions yet they STILL fail every single time. It's almost a joke. I still can't believe they got 2nd last year.

Conclusion- Judging in this event is a complete joke


Stellato & Bartholomay weren't robbed of anything (well, maybe 2nd place). It's typical for US fans to overrate clean programs (especially skated to popular music). In fact, they got an absolutely massive score inflation over what they could have ever gotten internationally, while the Knierims hardly benefited from inflation at all. Stellato & Bartholomay haven't done well internationally this season for a reason. They were a distant 8th at Skate America for a reason. There's no conspiracy against US pairs internationally; they don't do well for a reason.

Their twist may be clean (unlike Kayne & O'Shea's which is terrible all around), but it's still not a good twist. It's not lateral at all and she can barely clear his head. It is a very "American" way of doing a twist and it's not good. Their throws are also mediocre. They are small and she had to fight for the landing.They don't have great speed or flow or connection. Stellato is a lovely skater, but I don't think Nate matches her particularly well. He is very short and lacks long, stretched out lines. Their lack of significant height difference helps contribute to their small pair elements. So no, they don't deserve any more PCS than they already got. And they're really lucky their TES was that high. It was ridiculous to give that twist so many +2s, especially when the US actually has a pair with a world class twist (who also got a couple +2s, which makes no sense).
 

bobbob

Medalist
Joined
Feb 7, 2014
Stellato and Bartholomay deserve to be in 1st. The judges robbed them in the PCS.

Kayne and O'Shea have a terrible twist that should have gotten - GOE but got +. Their program is boring, uninspired and forgettable.

Denney and Frazier skated spastic. The fact that he 'allegedly' practices 30 triple salchows every day and then misses it here when it counts is just ridiculous.

Castelli and Tran are just sad to watch. They NEVER land their side by side jumps. How is that possible? They've been together so long and they each have so much experience in competitions yet they STILL fail every single time. It's almost a joke. I still can't believe they got 2nd last year.

Conclusion- Judging in this event is a complete joke

My issue with the scoring is the exact opposite of yours. Stellato/Bartholomay skated well for them, but look what they got at Skate America for a similarly skated program. S/B's levels were insane...for instance their twist had no split and not lateral (0 GOE at best), and none of their elements warrant much more than 0 GOE. I think most of the judges here (and viewers and even commentators) don't have a great understanding of pairs skating and how it is scored. I hope this does not result in something like Zhang/Bartholomay going over Denney and Barrett. Johnny is absolutely delusional when he said "They deserve to be in first..." Does he understand how pairs skating is scored? While Denney Fraizer and Castelli Tran have SBS errors, their pair element and skating quality are stronger than S/B...not as good as the Knierms. ANY international judging panel would have Denney Fraizer and Castelli Tran ahead of Stellato and Bartholomay....at skate america in the short D/F with an UR SBS got 63, while S/B got 57 for a clean program....
 

gold12345

Medalist
Joined
Dec 14, 2007
My issue with the scoring is the exact opposite of yours. Stellato/Bartholomay skated well for them, but look what they got at Skate America for a similarly skated program. S/B's levels were insane...for instance their twist had no split and not lateral (0 GOE at best), and none of their elements warrant much more than 0 GOE. I think most of the judges here (and viewers and even commentators) don't have a great understanding of pairs skating and how it is scored. I hope this does not result in something like Zhang/Bartholomay going over Denney and Barrett. Johnny is absolutely delusional when he said "They deserve to be in first..." Does he understand how pairs skating is scored? While Denney Fraizer and Castelli Tran have SBS errors, their pair element and skating quality are stronger than S/B...not as good as the Knierms. ANY international judging panel would have Denney Fraizer and Castelli Tran ahead of Stellato and Bartholomay....at skate america in the short D/F with an UR SBS got 63, while S/B got 57 for a clean program....

Yeah I feel similarly about S/B. Why did S/B's relatively small throw, in which Deanna landed with her chest very low and came to a halt, received just about all +1s across the board? One of my concerns about Nationals scoring for pairs is that we seem to sometimes let the layperson audience influence how high the scores are. Casual fans aren't always aware of US pairs' struggles internationally (or why they struggle) and think that any good program they see at US Nationals is top class pair skating. Audience reaction shouldn't make the judging for a particular skater more lax. There isn't going to be a supportive audience cheering for a US pair in the first group at international events.


In pairs too, erratic judging makes it difficult to cement a national number 1 team (although SK/K have made it clear they are) which affects international scoring. Additionally, this is giving added stress to top skaters who have to worry about placements on World and Olympic teams based on a singular erratically judged event versus a body of work. And skaters who are scored questionably at nationals are deflated when they realize that their scores were highly inflated and not representative of what they deserve or will get internationally.


Yes. At least the US has taken a step forward and is choosing a team based on selection criteria/body of work. I'm sure the top US skaters have felt a little less stressed this season because of it. The #1 focus should be on Olympic preparation, not national level preparation.


It's true that such erratic judging puts our skaters at a disadvantage internationally. I would much rather we would send our best skaters out with a mantle of confidence born of knowing that they're unquestionably our champions and have our backing.

That's what other countries do. Inflation is used to support the country's top international skaters, not make the event more confusing lol. I don't think we should go overboard with inflation for anyone. I'd just like to be able to make sense of Nationals scoring the same way I can international scoring.
 

gold12345

Medalist
Joined
Dec 14, 2007
I think it's reasonable to ask if the national judging panels are comprised of all judges who also judge major international pair events and have a very strong awareness of the quality of pair skating that is rewarded internationally. I have heard of singles judges sometimes judging both singles and pairs, and I'm wondering if they are all experts in both disciplines. I'm curious to know if all of the national judges have judged pairs at a Worlds or 4CC before.


Answering my own question- According to "skatingprotocol" on Instagram, 3 of the 9 judges from the pairs SP are not certified by the ISU to judge any sort of international pair event. There are additional requirements to judge a major event like Worlds/4CC, and it's unclear how many Nationals judges have done that.

That doesn't mean that these 3 judges aren't knowledgeable and well-versed in international pair skating and how it's scored (perhaps they may just be uninterested in traveling to international events). I'm not certified by the ISU to judge, but I still feel like I know pair skating like the back of my hand. :laugh: But this might help explain why National judging sometimes seems different than International judging.

2 of those 3 judges were the ones who gave Kayne/O'Shea +2s on their 3STh, which was two-footed, lacking in height and distance, and was so bent at the waist that she nearly touched her hand down.
 
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