2020-21 Retirements, Splits & Partner Changes

anonymoose_au

Making rhinestone vest and tie combos cool
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Joined
Feb 22, 2014
Country
Australia

BlissfulSynergy

On the Ice
Joined
Sep 1, 2020
Country
Mars
I never meant to suggest it was impossible they could win gold. But they had said after teh last olympics it was year to year. And yes they could win gold but it is also potentially they could end up near the bottom of the top ten. Vanessa is NOT Aliona. She isn't even a Duhamel - she doesn't have their grit and determination. Yes she is very strong but not like those two ladies. Its not a criticism. Not everyone is a Savchenko
Pardon me, but I disagree with what you are expressing, which may not be a criticism in your eyes, but it comes across very much like a putdown. There's no necessity to like J/C and their skating nor to think they could have been in a position to win the Olympics in France, but to suggest they "could end up near the bottom of the top ten," is a very dismissive comment. They certainly would not belong there on merit after all the strides they made, and after all the influential style and movement aesthetics they brought to their skating, that became their signature over the last several seasons of their career.

Vanessa has her own brand of grit and determination. Only Aliona is Aliona, and that's as it should be. Only Duhamel is Duhamel, naturally. Only Vanessa is Vanessa, c'est bien! Thanks to the skating gods for Vanessa's abounding grace, determination and courageous battle to carve out a successful career in this difficult, and very political sport.
 
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skylark

Gazing at a Glorious Great Lakes sunset
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Joined
Aug 12, 2014
Thanks to the skating gods for Vanessa's abounding grace, determination and courageous battle to carve out a successful career in this difficult, and very political sport.
^^ This. Vanessa's determination is quietly and beautifully expressed in her skating and also in the way she would always cast their past challenges in a way that gave her hope and optimism for another day and another result.

It's a common attitude among figure skating fans to think there's only one way to express grit and determination, but I disagree with that. Aljona has her own brand of persistence - like a strain of liquid steel inside her; Meagan has hers, which is sort of a hunker-down tenacity. It's much better to develop a strength in a way that works with one's own personality and character. Vanessa's kind of persistence is more like yoga than aerobics ... it's sort of a deep intention that resonates within her and moves her forward. JMO.
 

Skater Boy

Record Breaker
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
I know people are passionate about their beloved skaters. Please don't take it personally; everyone has their opinion. Grit, talent, ability, fierceness whatever Vanessa's make up while has the potential for gold also cold be at the botto of the top ten and she herself knew she might not skate on to Beijing. We have seen gritty skaters Stobova, Kavaguti, Knerim, Moore-Tower and of course James. It is hard to have the success of Aliona or even Megan. Not everyone will have that success. It's like saying so and so is special - if everyone is special then no one is special if that makes sense.
 

Ic3Rabbit

Le professionnel d'élite
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Joined
Jan 9, 2017
Country
Canada
All the listed pairs ladies are unique in their own way, all have their own fierceness, and many are still competing so there's no reason to place them in the conversation with the likes of James, Duhamel, and Aliona.
 

BlissfulSynergy

On the Ice
Joined
Sep 1, 2020
Country
Mars
I know people are passionate about their beloved skaters. Please don't take it personally; everyone has their opinion. Grit, talent, ability, fierceness whatever Vanessa's make up while has the potential for gold also cold be at the botto of the top ten and she herself knew she might not skate on to Beijing. We have seen gritty skaters Stobova, Kavaguti, Knerim, Moore-Tower and of course James. It is hard to have the success of Aliona or even Megan. Not everyone will have that success. It's like saying so and so is special - if everyone is special then no one is special if that makes sense.

Everybody has their own unique brand of special in life and in athletic competition. That's the way it's always been, and that's the way it should be! On any given day, favorites can falter and talented but lightly regarded competitors can perform lights out.

All fans see different things in different skaters. But when you have someone as talented and exciting as Vanessa & Morgan have been together throughout their career, and especially over their last 3 seasons, I hate to see them continue to be dismissed for their talent and skating accomplishments, with 'bottom of the barrel' assessments. Saying that a top contending team like J/C might have a battle to achieve a gold medal or to get on the podium is not the same as snarking that they would probably place no better than 'bottom of the top ten,' especially when they left that perennial spot designation several seasons ago by virtue of talent and hard work. When Duhamel/Radford struggled a bit after their back-to-back wins at Worlds, no one suggested they were no better than 'bottom of the top ten.' Checking D/R's career and talent, I don't think they were a superior team to J/C in every aspect. In fact, J/C were good enough to beat D/R at Autumn Classic in 2017, and in other segments of competitions.

I condemn harmful behavior by anyone, and there's no excuse for Morgan's reprehensible actions. It's sad in my view that J/C were continually looked down upon by some fans and by many judges for years prior to the idiocy of Morgan engaging in victimizing a minor. His actions surely led to J/C's retirement, since there had been every indication they hoped to compete through 2022 in order to make it to Worlds in France before calling it a career. Sigh, it's not to be.

I'm not trying to change your views. I'm just sharing my own.
 

BlissfulSynergy

On the Ice
Joined
Sep 1, 2020
Country
Mars
Okay, let's move forward if we can.

I heard recently that a lower level U.S. pair who some fans may not be familiar with have reached a decision to try and skate for another country. I'm stoked to hear that they are making this effort because I enjoy watching them skate. I could place this discussion in U.S. pairs, maybe it belongs there. But IMO this is more about a switch (not a partner switch but a country switch). The skaters are Joshua Santillan and Jessica Pfund. She has a parental citizenship connection to Switzerland. Here's what they had to say on their blog:

I applaud Josh & Jessica for taking this decision and explaining it to their fans. I would have to go back and look at U.S. Nationals to see what they are talking about in terms of scoring. I think the judges actually gave them a break on a difficult lift that started out shaky, because they managed to hold it and persevere. I'm glad they feel good about the performances, but to my recollection, Josh fell on a sbs jump in the fp. I don't recall where they ended up landing in both programs and overall. They may have a point in some respects, because judging is not just about what you do on the ice, but also about a number of other factors including past reputation, expectations and politics.

U.S. fed has a problem releasing them for what reason though? Apparently, they have to sit out this season, and will push forward with their plans. I support them all the way, and I hope everything works out for them. Maybe even Lambiel can give them some pointers!
 

Princessroja

Record Breaker
Joined
Jun 22, 2015
Country
United-States
Okay, let's move forward if we can.

I heard recently that a lower level U.S. pair who some fans may not be familiar with have reached a decision to try and skate for another country. I'm stoked to hear that they are making this effort because I enjoy watching them skate. I could place this discussion in U.S. pairs, maybe it belongs there. But IMO this is more about a switch (not a partner switch but a country switch). The skaters are Joshua Santillan and Jessica Pfund. She has a parental citizenship connection to Switzerland. Here's what they had to say on their blog:

I applaud Josh & Jessica for taking this decision and explaining it to their fans. I would have to go back and look at U.S. Nationals to see what they are talking about in terms of scoring. I think the judges actually gave them a break on a difficult lift that started out shaky, because they managed to hold it and persevere. I'm glad they feel good about the performances, but to my recollection, Josh fell on a sbs jump in the fp. I don't recall where they ended up landing in both programs and overall. They may have a point in some respects, because judging is not just about what you do on the ice, but also about a number of other factors including past reputation, expectations and politics.

U.S. fed has a problem releasing them for what reason though? Apparently, they have to sit out this season, and will push forward with their plans. I support them all the way, and I hope everything works out for them. Maybe even Lambiel can give them some pointers!

I have two thoughts: 1) woohoo, this is an awesome choice for them and I'm thrilled! Now maybe we'll get to see them compete more often.

And 2) WOW the US fed's decision. What an utter slap in the face, and I'm so angry for them. It seriously would cost the fed NOTHING to release them. They've haven't competed internationally in two years and (sorry, Josh and Jessica) it's incredibly unlikely the fed planned on using them much in the future. Ugh! And that whole little bit of, "Well, we'll release you if you pay back every cent we've ever spent on you." :rages into the void:
 

BlissfulSynergy

On the Ice
Joined
Sep 1, 2020
Country
Mars
^^ Yes, I'm with you @Princessroja. Such nasty conditions by U.S. fed. The organization should be happy for Josh & Jessica that they have other options to compete and excel since U.S. figure skating surely are not able to help them further their experience through an abundance of competitive opportunities. This whole situation is another perfect example of just how backwards and Mom/Pop mentality figure skating's so-called leadership is. The competition structure for all the skaters is antiquated, stifling and limited. Plus it is just so unnerving of the fed to cruelly demand they 'pay back' everything that was paid for them to train and compete at competitions! What an indictment of U.S. fed though.

I feel for Josh and Jessica, and I completely understand how the wind must have just been knocked out of their sails. Who would want to continue skating at U.S. competitions after this kind of inconsiderate treatment! This to me shows that U.S fed as a whole (and probably all the feds) don't really care about any of their athletes as people with human feelings. Everything is all for show and p.r., and if you happen to have huge talent that the fed can prey on and capitalize from, you can become part of the upper echelon clique (but you are not part of the accepted or favored group because they actually care about your humanity). This also is further evidence of why and how the federation will drop you like a rock if you disappoint their often over-hyped expectations.

U.S. fed views Josh and Jessica as property and as commodities to do with as they please. At the same time, U.S. fed isn't concerned about finding ways to give them more opportunities to improve. Skaters surely get tired of working hard, sacrificing and expending so much blood, sweat, and tears for peanut placements in the standings at U.S. Nationals, and no hope of ever having the chance to scale the mountain and compete at major competitions. Josh & Jessica have the talent to improve if they had the chance to train more effectively, and if they could compete more, and have some incentives to work toward. IMO, they are as talented as and in some cases more talented than some of the mid to lower tier teams from countries like Austria, Germany, and for sure Great Britain, Spain and Japan in pairs, who get to compete at Worlds every year.

I hope and pray that Josh and Jessica can finally be released after taking this season off. Checking Josh's Wiki page, it appears that J&J last skated internationally for TeamUSA at Finlandia Trophy in 2018-19, so if they sit out this season (they weren't going to compete internationally this season anyway), they should be able to get their release. Fans should protest for them, if U.S. fed tries anymore shenanigans to prevent them from competing for Switzerland.
 
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CaroLiza_fan

EZETTIE LATUASV IVAKMHA
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Joined
Oct 25, 2012
Country
Northern-Ireland
Just unbelievable. Yet, totally believable at the same time.

And there we all were thinking that the FFSG were the not-nice Fed that made things extremely difficult for skaters that wanted to switch countries.

I suppose this situation arose because at the ISU Congress in 2016, the embargo period was reduced from 2 years to 1 year. If I remember correctly, I think this was in response to two actions by the FFSG. First, they refused to release Tiffany Zahorski for years on end after she partnered up with Jonathan Guerreiro and they decided to represent Russia. Secondly, they demanded a massive payout from the DEU to release Bruno Massot after he was selected as Aljona Savchenko's new partner.

I may be wrong, but I suspect that the USFS didn't think to update their rules to fall in line with the ISU's rules. And now that Jessica and Josh have said they want to switch, the USFS have discovered their oversight and, rather than admit that they made a mistake, they are digging their heels in.

But asking for them to pay back all the money that was spent on them during their entire Pairs careers is just plain spiteful. (And opportunistic).

I may be getting confused (It was nearly 5 years ago, after all), but I thought that the changes made at the 2016 Congress included banning Feds from demanding money to release skaters (in response to the FFSG's actions over Massot).

Except that the whole problem is that they don't have a lot of money, I would have advised taking legal action. Because surely the ISU's embargo rules would take priority over the USFS's embargo rules.

Well, I suppose Jessica and Josh can re-assure themselves that at least it is this season that they are being held hostage for, as they would not be missing out on as many competitions as they would in a normal season.

CaroLiza_fan
 

BlissfulSynergy

On the Ice
Joined
Sep 1, 2020
Country
Mars
^^ Yes @CaroLiza_fan, I agree with your observations. Josh & Jessica strike me as very nice, unassuming young athletes who are happy skating and who are hoping to realize their dreams of having a shot at Olympics and/or Worlds at the very least. They sound disillusioned and extremely disappointed, as they should be for such a slap in the face. U.S. fed would know that they don't have that kind of money, so the payback demand is nasty and was not made in good faith. Josh & Jessica surely don't have money to bring a suit either, and they are not prominently known so it might be more difficult to generate a lot of wide public interest and support, as opposed to Aljona & Bruno, who were actually helped by the outcries from fans, and from the organized petition that fans subsequently put together.

I'm not sure what kind of form up-to-date competition should take, but the current structure is certainly still stuck in the 19th-century. There's no visionary thinking about how to grow the sport or how to accommodate all of the athletes who currently compete. Everyone who wants to compete should have an opportunity to do so with the chance to improve and to advance to their fullest potential. Under the current structure, that's nearly impossible. Skaters need to compete in order to improve. And Josh & Jessica are talented enough to just be on that cusp where they are skaters with talent but possess little money and opportunities to train to their fullest and to have enough competition opportunities to further hone their talent with enough experience. If they could succeed in grasping this opportunity to skate for Switzerland, it would at least provide them with a chance to go to Worlds on a regular basis.

U.S. fed allowed Keegan Messing to be released to skate for Canada without too much resistance. I don't know the details, but I doubt they asked him to pay back all the money they gave him to train and compete. There was a very good ice dancer who wanted to be released after a partner split, but U.S. fed held her forever and effectively ended her career (I can't recall her name at the moment). So my thinking is perhaps U.S. fed didn't value Keegan as much, or think he would rise as quickly as he did in the Skate Canada system. At the moment, the U.S. may be able to break through with at least two top pairs teams for top level competitive status internationally. Maybe the top two U.S. pairs teams are even viably talented enough to soon gain three spots which hasn't happened in U.S. pairs for a very long time. I believe Josh & Jessica are good enough to be pretty competitive in the low to mid-tier internationally if they get a shot to be fully supported and can compete more often via representing Switzerland. It's actually so unfair and very counterproductive for the health of the sport and the athletes to deny J&J this opportunity, particularly at the tail end of their careers. It seems nastily politically motivated, and completely uncaring on the part of U.S. fed to deny them.

I don't see why J&J wouldn't be able to obtain their release though by next season under the current ISU rules. I hope they continue training and are able to retry the country switch option. It's not clear to me from their blog exactly what they are planning, aside from continuing to train and sitting out this season.
 

Skater Boy

Record Breaker
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
Everybody has their own unique brand of special in life and in athletic competition. That's the way it's always been, and that's the way it should be! On any given day, favorites can falter and talented but lightly regarded competitors can perform lights out.

All fans see different things in different skaters. But when you have someone as talented and exciting as Vanessa & Morgan have been together throughout their career, and especially over their last 3 seasons, I hate to see them continue to be dismissed for their talent and skating accomplishments, with 'bottom of the barrel' assessments. Saying that a top contending team like J/C might have a battle to achieve a gold medal or to get on the podium is not the same as snarking that they would probably place no better than 'bottom of the top ten,' especially when they left that perennial spot designation several seasons ago by virtue of talent and hard work. When Duhamel/Radford struggled a bit after their back-to-back wins at Worlds, no one suggested they were no better than 'bottom of the top ten.' Checking D/R's career and talent, I don't think they were a superior team to J/C in every aspect. In fact, J/C were good enough to beat D/R at Autumn Classic in 2017, and in other segments of competitions.

I condemn harmful behavior by anyone, and there's no excuse for Morgan's reprehensible actions. It's sad in my view that J/C were continually looked down upon by some fans and by many judges for years prior to the idiocy of Morgan engaging in victimizing a minor. His actions surely led to J/C's retirement, since there had been every indication they hoped to compete through 2022 in order to make it to Worlds in France before calling it a career. Sigh, it's not to be.

I'm not trying to change your views. I'm just sharing my own.
I am sorry if my views was taken as insulting but I think it is also clear there are very passionate fans and it is hard if someone says something to the contrary or even slightly contrary Regardless James and Cipres have retired. The issues with Cipres I won't even touch it seems nothing like a minefield. They are gone competitively. I think she is on Battle of the Blades in Canada which is a huge feat.
 

Skater Boy

Record Breaker
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
I wish Polina well. I am not going to lie I do not think she realistically was coming back. I am sure her fans may have been more positive. But she is so smart youknow she will pick up in some area and amaze us.
 

CoyoteChris

Record Breaker
Joined
Dec 4, 2004
I wish Polina well. I am not going to lie I do not think she realistically was coming back. I am sure her fans may have been more positive. But she is so smart youknow she will pick up in some area and amaze us.
I hate to sound so negative here.....I admire her very much as a skater..except for her lack of emotion.....and she was in shape and doing beautiful triple triples in March. But you have to wonder if she just didnt want a trip back to the Olys for its own sake. Not immoral of course.....and, as she stated, she has other opertunities now that she graduated.....
One thing I see in her is that she has gunfighter eyes....meaning .she is very competitive, in control of her emotions...hates to loose. She is in it to win it.....again...nothing wrong with that....just not a person I want to sit down and have a beer with.....I am sure she will succeed at any carrerr she choses. It would have been fun to see her again.....
 

CoyoteChris

Record Breaker
Joined
Dec 4, 2004
I have two thoughts: 1) woohoo, this is an awesome choice for them and I'm thrilled! Now maybe we'll get to see them compete more often.

And 2) WOW the US fed's decision. What an utter slap in the face, and I'm so angry for them. It seriously would cost the fed NOTHING to release them. They've haven't competed internationally in two years and (sorry, Josh and Jessica) it's incredibly unlikely the fed planned on using them much in the future. Ugh! And that whole little bit of, "Well, we'll release you if you pay back every cent we've ever spent on you." :rages into the void:
We all know of many skaters who have skated for countries with no personal real connection to. Here are a few. Mostly one half of pairs. Others, like Keegan Messing, do have a real connection to Canada, Still others, like Tanith, became US citizens. I see no reason that J and J can not skate for Switzerland. It they were a top US pair and were going to skate for a country with no connection just go to the Olys or ?, well, we can talk. Let them go.
 

GoneWithTheWind

On the Ice
Joined
Dec 7, 2018
Country
United-Kingdom
The Polish Figure Skating Association announced on Facebook the retirement of 4 members of their national team:

Justyna Plutowska & Jérémie Flemin - Ice Dance (3-time Polish national silver medalists, 22nd at Europeans 2020)
Oliwia Rzepiel - Ladies (2-time Polish national silver medalist)
Ihor Reznichenko - Mens (3-time Polish national champion, 35th at Worlds 2019)

Link to the full announcement: https://www.facebook.com/PolskiZwiazekLyzwiarstwaFigurowego/posts/738187913447416
 
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