2020-21 Russian Pairs' figure skating

BlissfulSynergy

On the Ice
Joined
Sep 1, 2020
Country
Mars
I checked out M/G at the recent Russian event. And I'll be watching Rostelecom this weekend. I would agree with @CanadianSkaterGuy, as I said in my prior post, that M/G are looking much better this season. And as you mention, they still have some things to clean up. But their programs are more exciting, with Moskvina trying to pull out their personalities. They basically skated like robots in previous seasons, technically wonderful for the most part, but no personality or connection. So, this is a promising start under Moskvina's tutelage.

I like that both M/G and Evgenia/Vlad are skating to Russian themes for their sps. More skaters should pull from their cultural backgrounds in developing programs with a bit more freshness and personality. Aside from Vlad's beard and overlong hair though, there's not a lot new that I saw with Ev/Vlad. They have all the goods, but whatever is going on with them, they aren't connecting too well on the ice, and they still need to lay down more consistency. As usual. the judges will be itching to throw points at them, without much effort on their parts, since they are seen as great technicians. The thing about it is that they have the skill, but they've always lacked the ability to choose material which might enhance who they are and help them to grow and define their partnership. That is still a work-in-progress for them, even after all their years together. They need more oomph, connection and confidence. Plus, I think in their fp that the lifts and tricks, while some are very eye-catching, the juxtapositions tend to be over-busy and the construction a bit frenetic and lacking in creating a seamless whole with the music.

Occasionally, I will tune into TSL, but I always have to fast-forward to find something interesting about skating. I'm not into their random, OTT chit-chat shtick. And some of their opinions are grating and snarky, but in the mix, there is sometimes interesting news and insights. In their recent broadcast, I disagree with Jonathan's knee-jerk notion that somehow the Russian pairs are showing us something so exquisite. From what I've seen so far this season, the Russian teams are simply trying to 'keep up' with the new trends, while adapting and building on creative moves and difficult lift positions, entries and exits, just as we've been seeing over the past several years from a number of pairs teams across-the-board. This is an overall evolution that has been happening for awhile and it's not unusual. Of course, Moskvina brings her unique vision, creativity, and wealth of experience, but even she is building upon a number of exciting trends in pairs that have been percolating for awhile.

A lot of innovation and excitement in pairs stems from the superb programs of James/Cipres that they crafted with their coaches and with ice dance choreographers over their final three seasons. Every one of their programs from 2016-2019 are memorable, with innovative moves, difficult transitions, and interesting music. In addition, the technical strengths of Duhamel/Radford, the choreo of Julie Marcotte, and as well, the collaborations of Savchenko/Szolkowy (and later Sav/Massot) with their choreographers and coaches have pushed the pairs discipline forward, just as the exciting twists and throws of the Chinese pairs impacted the discipline in the 90s and 2000s.

Meanwhile, Jonathan is so wrong in trying to look down on U.S. pairs teams. He and Dave both need to stop with their nose-in-the-air condescension toward U.S. teams. Jonathan was marveling over how beautiful the lift positions are of the Russian pairs. IMO, the Russian pairs as usual have great desire and superb technical abilities. But they do not have a monopoly on creative innovation on lifts or lift positions. They are obviously attempting to incorporate the innovation that has been coming from other directions, while relying on their own rich balletic traditions and great technical strengths. U.S. teams in fact have been contributing to some of the pairs lift and movement innovations in recent years. Brandon & Haven always excelled on lifts. They were one of the first teams to show the circus-type lift during their 2013 Junior Worlds win. A few seasons ago, it was Brandon & Haven who beautifully debuted the exciting one-hand carry lift, where the lady looks like she's flying freely. Last season, with John Zimmerman and Renee Roca, B&H had an energetic revamp of their Lion King program in which they built to an exciting climax with three unique lifts all coming at the end of their program. It was a great program which helped them win two bronze medals on the GP.

As well, the now split partnership of Luba & Charlie developed an exciting upside down vertical lift, that I believe may have been inspired by the upside down carry lift move James/Cipres displayed in one of their programs. J/C's Sound of Silence program also debuted an exciting horizontal lift in a unique sideways position, which spurred a lot of adaptations and inspiration to explore further creative positions in the air on overhead lifts. In addition, Calalang/Johnson had wonderful costumes, superb lifts and lovely death spirals last season, with Jessica displaying graceful, gorgeous positions. She also had a death spiral move that has been copied by other teams. This season the top U.S. pairs teams in the ISP virtual challenge displayed difficult transitions, and a number of newly inventive entrances and exits to a variety of lifts. So what the Russian teams are doing is not new or necessarily original with them. In addition, it was two U.S. pairs teams who landed the first throw 3-axel and the first throw quad-salchow in competition (Inoue/Baldwin 2006; Vise/Trent 2007, respectively).

Figure skating evolves from athletes, coaches and choreographers gaining inspiration from what they see others doing. A lot of adapting, building and thinking outside-the-box is what pushes the discipline forward. Still, I don't think a whole bunch of difficult entrances and exits and busy transitions and cramming lifts at the end of programs just for effect makes for good programs. There has to be good music selection, and thoughtful pacing of choreographic moves to the music. Plus, there should be an overall concept and goal, or a theme that involves weaving a story. Character-driven choreography is rare these days but when it fits just right for a team, that kind of approach can be groundbreaking. Pairs is such a unique and difficult enterprise, and developing a successful partnership is a long haul. I'm excited to continue witnessing further creative explorations and breakthroughs from all quarters.

While Russian pairs continue to have an edge based on great technique, aesthetic traditions, and legacy rep, I do get tired of all the knee-jerk over-adulation. Where the Russian teams do not always excel is in partnership chemistry, connection, music selection, personality and projecting to audiences. I can certainly see the new young Russian teams attempting to improve in those areas. Still, Russian teams too often are thrown extra points on PCS that they do not necessarily deserve simply because they generally have good technical chops. At the moment, the young Russian teams still need to smooth out their rough edges, develop experience and consistency, and work on projecting more personality. Of the current young Russian teams, I think Boikova/Koslovskii display more chemistry and connection. At this point, there doesn't seem to be any momentum for Ev/Vlad in improving their connection or their music selection. But yes, they still look good on the ice and they have all the tools that just haven't come together on a solid, consistent basis.
 
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NAOTMAA

Medalist
Joined
Nov 9, 2014
I'm starting to worry B/K are pushing themselves too hard and aren't getting a proper chance at recovery. Dmitri was ill not too long ago, they rushed to compete at stage 4 in the Russian Cup (where you could tell they weren't on point) and now a week later are at Rostelecom.

I know they are young and are determined fighters but they really should give themselves the chance to just stand back and gather themselves until they are full strength. It would do so much good if they did or perhaps they think it's better to just push through it
 

Artemisa

Final Flight
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
I like all of the programs .. M/G is a happy program is easy to fall in love by them but B/K is a sad one and I think at the end will be more sublime .. when a watch the program it's like they are building a soul
I have a question (probably not a smart one) ...B/K they are messing the throws (not the other elements at least not this SP) and they didn't learn a new FS ( covid season isn't new) ... so it is possible they are learning some news elements and they aren't give enough time to the programs? like quadruple-throw?
 

gordana

On the Ice
Joined
Sep 17, 2015
Country
Russia
B/K they are messing the throws (not the other elements at least not this SP) and they didn't learn a new FS ( covid season isn't new) ... so it is possible they are learning some news elements and they aren't give enough time to the programs? like quadruple-throw?
Well, they are messing triple flip and loop. And if they are going to learn a quadruple throw it would be most likely Salchow. I don't think they are actually learning it. They told in their previous interviews that they would like to learn a quad but it was not worth a candle at the moment under the current rules. And about keeping their free, they wanted their new free to be made by Nikolai Morozov as well as this James Bond, but due to covid Nikolai couldn't come to Russia, plus Sasha's exams at school and university.
By the way M/G as well said they wanted to learn a quadruple throw even when they were at the Velikovs' team.
 

eterislouisvuitton

On the Ice
Joined
Nov 29, 2019
I remember M/G saying about quad throw, and I think it will be possible with how strong Galliamov is. Still, Mishina is rather tall, and I think they would be better off developing 3-3-2 jump combinations under the current rules. Perhaps they could also try 3Lz, 3F, or 3Lo, even though that wouldn't help as much. I think they will emerge as the winners here, and probably the top team of at least the first half of the season.

B/K look so exhausted. It's clear they haven't recovered, and are a bit burnt out from last year. And still shaken by the death of Igor Moskvin. I like them, and I think their elements are great. If they want to develop something else, then quad throw can be realistic, but their 3T+2T+2T has a lot of room to turn into 3T+3T+2T or 3F/3Lz+2T+2T

I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw Panfilova/Rylov. I know they lost quite a chunk of training time due to his issues, so I worried that if she grew and he wasn't there to adjust gradually, it would all come crashing down. Their height difference is not significant for a team with a young girl. She does look to have grown taller, but their elements haven't suffered. I heard they were planning 3S, but still 2A in the short for safety. Perhaps we will see 3S in the free, but probably not.
 

hanca

Record Breaker
Joined
Sep 23, 2008
A poster on a Russian forum says that Vasilieva/Volodin have split up. She may be returning back to single skating. If this is true, her pair career didn’t last very long!
 

Artemisa

Final Flight
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
A poster on a Russian forum says that Vasilieva/Volodin have split up. She may be returning back to single skating. If this is true, her pair career didn’t last very long!
what ? why? she did a good debut!
 

flanker

Record Breaker
Joined
Feb 10, 2018
Country
Czech-Republic
I remember M/G saying about quad throw, and I think it will be possible with how strong Galliamov is. Still, Mishina is rather tall, and I think they would be better off developing 3-3-2 jump combinations under the current rules. Perhaps they could also try 3Lz, 3F, or 3Lo, even though that wouldn't help as much. I think they will emerge as the winners here, and probably the top team of at least the first half of the season.

B/K look so exhausted. It's clear they haven't recovered, and are a bit burnt out from last year. And still shaken by the death of Igor Moskvin. I like them, and I think their elements are great. If they want to develop something else, then quad throw can be realistic, but their 3T+2T+2T has a lot of room to turn into 3T+3T+2T or 3F/3Lz+2T+2T

I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw Panfilova/Rylov. I know they lost quite a chunk of training time due to his issues, so I worried that if she grew and he wasn't there to adjust gradually, it would all come crashing down. Their height difference is not significant for a team with a young girl. She does look to have grown taller, but their elements haven't suffered. I heard they were planning 3S, but still 2A in the short for safety. Perhaps we will see 3S in the free, but probably not.
I would say B/K are back on a train after their FS. I am more fan of M/G, but I'm glad for it.
 

elektra blue

mother of skaters
Record Breaker
Joined
Jul 11, 2018
Country
Italy
A poster on a Russian forum says that Vasilieva/Volodin have split up. She may be returning back to single skating. If this is true, her pair career didn’t last very long!
so soon? bummer! they looked so promising and honistly she looked like she was born for pairs
 

hanca

Record Breaker
Joined
Sep 23, 2008
what ? why? she did a good debut!
No idea. There is no more info about it. It is possible that it is not true (I am hoping!!!). Or it is possible that she decided that she doesn’t enjoy pairs. Or that it is related to her injury she had last season - maybe pairs are not helping her health. We will have to wait and see. :frown:
 

NAOTMAA

Medalist
Joined
Nov 9, 2014
I would say B/K are back on a train after their FS. I am more fan of M/G, but I'm glad for it.
I'm not sure B/K are totally out of the woods yet although the FS they did certainly helps them. The landings on the throws still weren't as clean as they normally were before.

Someone on the other forum said it looked to them like Aleksandra has grown a bit. I'm not good at noticing unless it's plain and obvious but if she did that would explain some things of their last two outings beyond Dmitri's recent illness
 

eterislouisvuitton

On the Ice
Joined
Nov 29, 2019
A poster on a Russian forum says that Vasilieva/Volodin have split up. She may be returning back to single skating. If this is true, her pair career didn’t last very long!
I usually trust your news, and this seems pretty accurate. I'm surprised that she's going back to singles after such a short problem. I recall Davydov saying that she had weight issues, perhaps her physique would not allow her to stay in pairs. Though it seems Volodin had no problem.

This is such a shame. She was so good. She picked up so fast and had so much potential in pairs. Vikita were great too, and I was hoping that this partnership would go far even though I was cautious with Volodin's history. Speaking of Volodin's history, it can't just be bad luck that his partner splits with him ever year or so. There has to be something off there. And before you give me the whole "oh but he always manages to get a new partner and nothing bad is said about him" well let me tell you this. He's a Russian male in pairs who is experienced, tall, and strong. There's always going to be a long line of girls for any guy of a decent level. If a successful partnership splits, then surely there are great reasons. Athletes of this level endure a lot, they do not give up on something for any odd reason. So what could it possibly be with Volodin that makes all the girls run away so fast? Or is it him dumping all of them? And if this is Vasilieva and her family's initiative, surely they know that her future on Ice Partner Search and singles is not nearly as bright as with Volodin? Or does she no longer want to compete at the highest level?
 

Artemisa

Final Flight
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
I usually trust your news, and this seems pretty accurate. I'm surprised that she's going back to singles after such a short problem. I recall Davydov saying that she had weight issues, perhaps her physique would not allow her to stay in pairs. Though it seems Volodin had no problem.

This is such a shame. She was so good. She picked up so fast and had so much potential in pairs. Vikita were great too, and I was hoping that this partnership would go far even though I was cautious with Volodin's history. Speaking of Volodin's history, it can't just be bad luck that his partner splits with him ever year or so. There has to be something off there. And before you give me the whole "oh but he always manages to get a new partner and nothing bad is said about him" well let me tell you this. He's a Russian male in pairs who is experienced, tall, and strong. There's always going to be a long line of girls for any guy of a decent level. If a successful partnership splits, then surely there are great reasons. Athletes of this level endure a lot, they do not give up on something for any odd reason. So what could it possibly be with Volodin that makes all the girls run away so fast? Or is it him dumping all of them? And if this is Vasilieva and her family's initiative, surely they know that her future on Ice Partner Search and singles is not nearly as bright as with Volodin? Or does she no longer want to compete at the highest level?
I think weight depends more on the partner than the skater .. mishina and boikova they have a good woman body and there partners don't have a problem with that... I truly don't understand the split for singles again .. the only way is if she have a 3A or a 4 ...
 

gordana

On the Ice
Joined
Sep 17, 2015
Country
Russia
Speaking of Volodin's history, it can't just be bad luck that his partner splits with him ever year or so. There has to be something off there.
I don't remember much of his history to say that he changes partners every year or so. Alina Ustimkina outgrew him and became tall for pairs discipline. He had been with her to the very end. Some fans in Russian forums advised him to split with her even yearlier. :) And Amina Atakhanova had back issues since the time of her partnership with Ilya Spiridonov. A break in figure skating didn't help her to solve them, injuries appeared again and she had to quit. Nothing to do with Volodin.
 

gordana

On the Ice
Joined
Sep 17, 2015
Country
Russia
I truly don't understand the split for singles again .. the only way is if she have a 3A or a 4 ...
I don't understand it either. And if she have had a 3A or a quad she wouldn't have switched to pairs. Why on earth and what for?
 

eterislouisvuitton

On the Ice
Joined
Nov 29, 2019
I don't remember much of his history to say that he changes partners every year or so. Alina Ustimkina outgrew him and became tall for pairs discipline. He had been with her to the very end. Some fans in Russian forums advised him to split with her even yearlier. :) And Amina Atakhanova had back issues since the time of her partnership with Ilya Spiridonov. A break in figure skating didn't help her to solve them, injuries appeared again and she had to quit. Nothing to do with Volodin.
I know that many of his partners have spoken highly about him, and that he doesn't purposely change. I even saw that Atakhanova posted something about how he stuck with her for quite a few months of treatment, when there were other girls who wanted to skate together. But something is off if a partnership breaks ever year or so. What happened to Sobinina? Why is Vasilieva rumored to be leaving?

Speaking of a partnership that might also be falling apart, Akhanteva/Kolesov :(
 

gordana

On the Ice
Joined
Sep 17, 2015
Country
Russia
What happened to Sobinina? Why is Vasilieva rumored to be leaving?
Maybe Sobinina was somehow disappointed with her expectations about figure skating and went back to circus, who knows.
And as far as rumours concerned, well, who is not rumoured at all?
 

lariko

Medalist
Joined
Jan 31, 2019
Country
Canada
I would be really said if Vasil’yeva Volodin split. She looked so happy after their first competition together. 🥺
 

eterislouisvuitton

On the Ice
Joined
Nov 29, 2019
Maybe Sobinina was somehow disappointed with her expectations about figure skating and went back to circus, who knows.
And as far as rumours concerned, well, who is not rumoured at all?
In her first season competing at the age of 14, she teamed up with a Youth Olympic medalist, qualified for senior nationals, and won the Moscow Junior championship. I cannot fathom her or her family expecting anything more. I heard that she was injured and couldn't skate anymore, but she was tagged in an instagram photo around August, at an ice rink with a group of pairs skaters.

As for the rumors, I was talking about the V/V split and Vasilieva's return to singles. I am also sad, I think she truly has talent in pairs skating and a bright future. I also really liked their sp, how he learned 3F just for her. She looked so happy, so excited, perhaps it was something to do with her old coach Davydov. I also thought Sobinina had a bright future. She had great physical condition and at the age of 14, didn't look like she was going to grow too much more. She was able to pick up on skating, on jumping so fast, that I thought if she can learn two triples in two years, then who is to say she can't learn two quads in four years? It's a shame if she went back to the circus, as I think there would be quite a few <180cm boys wanting to skate with a girl who is clearly very talented and hardworking.
 
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